FN has a long history of manufacturing specific competition versions of their regular military and law enforcement focused firearms. Once they perfect the internals they paint the exterior their special shade of blue. The last time I saw something come out in this line was an SLP shotgun, and while there was some discussion of a competition version SCAR I don’t think it ever made it past the prototype phase (although the blue SCAR that Larry Houck had was pretty awesome looking). FN’s now out with a competition AR that’s a direct competitor to the other top tier out there, and they’ve done a pretty spiffy job of it . . .
The receiver set on the FN competition rifle is CNC machined from aluminum billet while their standard rifles are machined from forgings. The receiver has been reinforced in key locations like the buffer tube attachment area and where the receiver joins with the handguard, forming a seamless transition from one area to the next with barely any rough patches. The forward assist and shell deflector have also been machined into the receiver instead of being add-on attachments.
The controls are mostly ambidextrous. There’s a magazine release and a bolt catch release on both sides of the gun, but the safety selector is not mirrored. Operating in close proximity to that safety selector is a Timney trigger with their typical crisp and consistent trigger pull.
The bolt is nickel plated and features the FN logo on the side and it’s visible through the ejection port. Because why not?
Out front the gun sports a full-length free-floating handguard that attaches to the upper receiver directly instead of timing onto the barrel nut. This adds extra stability and also is just really really cool. The handguards have a full-length Picatinny rail on the top and M-LOK accessory mounting slots on the remaining three sides. Underneath is the gold standard FN Manufacturing cold hammer forged barrel, a product I’ve personally tested on many occasions and remains my favorite barrel for its perfect mix of reliability and accuracy. There’s also a muzzle brake out front.
The gun is really cool. I’m digging the blue color scheme, and the parts are well chosen. The downside: the gun isn’t inexpensive. MSRP will be $2,249. Then again, that’s still less than a SCAR.