Competing in an already saturated market, Foxtrot Mike Products recently released its spin on what a modern AR platform should be with the FM-15. Featuring a direct impingement side-charging assembly, the FM-15 requires no buffer tube to operate and can be fired while folded. While I tested the complete 16″ rifle chambered in 223 Wylde, the upper will fit all standard AR lowers.
Unique to the FM-15 is a lightweight bolt carrier group and a proprietary upper receiver that contains a reciprocating dual nested recoil spring. To accomplish this, Foxtrot Mike Products machined their upper receiver approximately 0.25 inches taller to allow for the spring and guide rod to fit where a charging handle would be placed in a standard AR-15. Removing the bolt carrier group is a little more tricky and requires a rod or punch to get the rear cap to slide out of the machined grooves in the upper. I will say that trying to reassemble the upper — I sent the guide rod and spring flying into my ceiling. While I was able to find all the parts, doing this out in the field could have rendered this rifle useless so be careful.
Due to this taller proprietary upper receiver, aftermarket rails will not work with the FM-15. However, do not be dismayed. The lightweight M-LOK handguard is free-floated and gives a full 15″ of rail space to mount anything users may need. This rail also contains a machined slot to allow for the operation of the forward-placed non-reciprocating charging handle. The metal charging handle interfaces with a raised portion on the gas key of the carrier and can be angled up or down, or even swapped from the left to the right-handed side of the rail.
Utilizing a mid-length direct impingement gas system, this rifle runs almost identical to that of standard AR-15s. However, the FM-15 features a unique gas block that indexes to the barrel with an alignment tab. In addition, the gas block is also locked in place with two coil pins to prevent any movement or gas leakage. Running around 500 rounds through this rifle and mostly suppressed, the gas blowback seemed very comparable to that of other AR-15s.
Overall, this rifle comes in at 6.5lbs which is not bad for the size. The 16″ black nitride barrel is chambered in 223 Wylde, allowing the FM-15 “reliability with 5.56x45mm NATO & 223 Remington ammunition” and comes with a standard A2 birdcage flash hider. Throughout my testing, I have been impressed with the accuracy of this platform. I was able to get consistent hits at 500 yards as you can see on my Instagram page here. I also tried 4 different types of ammunition and had an average of about 1.5 MOA groups. Each 5 round group was shot from 103 yards, and I excluded one flyer from each group’s measurements. My groups are as follows:
1.317″ (1.22 MOA) with 55gr FMJ-BT PMC
1.520″ (1.41 MOA) with 77gr BTHP Match Frontier
1.778″ (1.65 MOA) with 56gr FMJ Steel Cased VYMPEL
2.273″ (2.11 MOA) 62gr PMC X-TAC
Unboxing the FM-15 I noticed a sticker that said to break in the platform with 5.56 ammunition. Except for shooting groups, all of my testing was done with either 55gr 223 PMC or 56gr 223 steel-cased ammunition since I didn’t have any 5.56 on hand. While the FM-15 overall ran well, it was not without issue. Out of the box without adding any oil, I had several failure-to-feeds or FTFs.
After lubing the platform thoroughly, it ran better with about one failure-to-feed per every hundred rounds while suppressed. While I thought using a suppressor would simulate the pressure and blowback of 5.56, I guess it wasn’t quite enough for complete reliability during the break-in period. While the amount of 5.56 needed to break in the FM-15 wasn’t specified, I seemed to get better reliability after the first 200 rounds and some lube. The most persistent issue I encountered was that the bolt catch wouldn’t consistently lock back on an empty magazine. I tried both USGI steel, and polymer Magpul 30 round magazines, and only got the bolt carrier group to lock back 50% of the time. While not as critical as reliable cycling, it was still frustrating nonetheless.
Utilizing what I think to be the coolest aspect of the FM-15, I shot it folded as well. I did have one jam while firing when the dust cover was up and hitting the folded stock. However, when I charged the rifle before folding the stock to make sure the dust cover was down and out of the way, I didn’t have issues with the brass ejecting over the stock.
Coming with three textured grip panels, a Magpul pistol grip, and Magpul Zhukov stock, the FM-15 is ergonomic and handles well. I think it also looks pretty cool and style points never hurt.
The FM-15’s lower receiver has smooth rounded edges and incorporates a flared magwell. It comes with a plastic ambidextrous safety selector (feels flimsy), and an acceptable trigger for the price. It has a heavy trigger with spongy takeup but a positive and crisp reset that is right back on the wall and ready for the next shot.
Overall, the FM-15 is a neat new product that allows users to shoot with a folded stock. It was more accurate than I was anticipating, especially being currently available from Brownells for only $899.99. While I had a couple of jams throughout my testing, I wasn’t able to break it in with 5.56 ammunition like Foxtrot Mike Products recommended so I may be able to blame some of my issues on that. Either way, I had a lot of fun testing this rifle, and for the price this is not a bad option for someone trying to mix it up.
- MAKE: FM PRODUCTS–Select–
- FM Products
- MODEL: FM15–Select–
- CARTRIDGE: 223 WYLDE–Select–
- 223 Wylde
- CAPACITY: NA–Select–
- BARREL LENGTH: 16″–Select–
- FINISH: BLACK–Select–
- LENGTH: 35″–Select–
- MAGAZINE TYPE: REMOVABLE