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Here at the NRA Annual Meeting, the talk of the show is the semi-auto M249 from FNH USA. Everyone is talking about it, and three days later, the original story is still the most popular article on TTAG. Half a million people have seen it on Facebook, another 100,000 people have read the original article. And while there was some good information in that piece, some details were missing. I circled back to get the full details, and get my hands on the actual article.

First things first, the price. There’s no official word on how much this will cost — the R&D process for this specific firearm only kicked off in December, so they’ve barely made one much less figured out all the costs involved. But the hope is that the price will stay as close to what the U.S. Government pays for the real deal as possible. Wikipedia puts the unit cost of an M249 at a hair over $4,000 under contract, but my spidey sense is telling me MSRP will be $1k to $2k higher (and street price somewhere in between). Like I said they are nowhere near done quite yet with all the planning, so everything is subject to change.

The overall design of the rifle is identical in every way to the original M249, with the exception of the innards. There are some extra bits that have been welded into the receiver to keep the full-auto parts from fitting in the gun, and the moving pieces are similar in construction to the originals but re-designed to use a moving firing pin instead of the fixed firing pin of the open-bolt full auto gun. The trigger pack has also been re-designed to use a hammer instead of the usual bolt release at the end of the trigger mechanism, but the trigger itself is the exact same as the original.

In other words, everything about the look and feel of the rifle is as identical to the original as you can legally get without a demo letter or a really cool millionaire friend. The only real difference is that there will be no delay between pulling the trigger and the round going off like there is in the full-auto version. But really, is that such a bad thing?

To be fair, the design of the gun isn’t the most up-to-date version, and that’s for a reason. The latest and greatest M249 sports rail sections all over the place and the bipod no longer folds away, but FN decided to roll with a slightly older but more recognizable version of the rifle that includes the fold-away easy storage bipod and has a much slicker stock. That reduces price, makes the gun more comfortable to hold, and honestly makes it look a lot more cool.


We asked very nicely, and FN cracked the case open to let me fondle the gun. It feels… exactly like a full auto M249. From the feed tray cover (which they yelled at me when I tried to open) to the weight and balance, it is every bit an FN M249. Which makes sense, since it is made with the same parts and is 100% compatible with existing replacement barrels, accessories, and generally everything that doesn’t interact with the main operating bits.

Speaking of parts compatibility, a 300 AAC Blackout version might not be imminently available, but with the easy barrel change system (seriously it takes like 5 seconds) it should be a trivial matter to get a replacement barrel in whatever 5.56 NATO based caliber your heart desires.

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    • Asking a serious question here:

      Why would anyone want one of these things? It will do exactly the same thing an AR will performance-wise, be several times heavier (and more awkward – not to mention a huge pain to shoulder), have much less adaptability, and be a complete bitch to clean.

      Oh yeah, and $$…

      Is it for the look or the novelty? That I understand at least.

      But if anyone says it is practical in any way, especially if said person is one of the many who doesn’t “get” PCCs, I will have trouble keeping a straight face.

      • Having lugged the real-deal around several AOs downrange (both the 249 and M2 BMG), to me semi-auto versions of MGs are a huge waste of money….. somewhat akin to owning a muscle car with a neutered V6 & automatic transmission but fully-optioned with a killer sound system and paint. But hey, if all that matters is appearances and stroking one’s ego and/or ballistic masturbation…… by all means.

        • That’s kind of where I was coming from too.

          I still have very strong memories of having to help the SAW gunners clean these EXPLETIVE DELETED things all day long. No thanks.

      • Speaking as someone who carried one for four years, the only fun thing about an M249 is the feeling of your ammo drum getting substantially lighter by the second.

        If you take that away, congratulations, you now have the ability to pay an obscene amount of money for a gun that has had its ONE REDEEMING FEATURE removed.

      • Because you can bet someone will make a bump fire stock for it, and that will mean 250 rounds of giggle fun.

        • Actually, there is a “crank” adaptter for AR trigger housings that make them fire damn near full auto. IM picturing THAT on the M249! Then you have a belt fed gatling gun!

      • You guys sound like the antis. There are plenty of guns that make no sense to own, that people own just for the fun of it. And buying one to “play army” or for “ballistic masturbation?” You sound like MDA drones. I wouldn’t mind having one, but I also would not want one to be playing army or anything like that, rather just for enthusiasm purposes.

      • Im with you on this one. Why get a semi auto 5.56 with double the weight and size? Oh right because this is a LMG and is supposed to be ready for a barrel swap on the fly and needs long range capacity while mounted – either this or a 240B. Spend $2k on a Rock River with a drum mag- less weight, more compact, shorter barrel, and just as deadly. Novelty- thats why this gun is a thing.

  1. To be honest I would prefer a semi-auto version of PKM. Now that will be cool, firing low cost surplus ammo.

    • A small manufacturer (the name is escaping me) made a run of semi-auto PKM’s built around Hungarian parts kits that are supposed to be very nice… but the going price for them is over 10 grand. For some reason PKM parts kits are actually relatively rare, at least compared to the huge amount of Warsaw Pact AK and RPK kits still hitting the market. Even rarer is a company willing or able to put the kits together into a functional firearm apparently.

      • It was Marcolmar.

        And as far PKM kit availability – obviously, less of them were made then off-the-shelf AK-47/74s. And unlike RPDs, they are still considered to be front-line weapons, so there is relatively few of them getting decommissioned. Put the two of those factors together, and the result is a rare kit.

        • perhaps even if they can see your thoughts or dream about firearms, might be the reason for your detention

        • When I went to Indonesia a few years ago on a business trip, I made sure I left my firearms license behind along with any other documentation that supported the fact I owned firearms. I even removed my club ID cards and my range-officer certification card as well.

          And then I checked my bags before I packed then in case there were any other items left over from range trips.

          It was an uneventful trip, aside from the bout of Bali Belly I contracted a few days before heading home.

        • And that is why we are a free country and if our government tries to take our guns we will fight back.

          • Um, big “No” on this idea. Even the NRA for all of LaPierre’s bluster that our guns keep tyranny in check, ultimately advocates doing everything within the framework of the law. You may have a couple hundred max (3% is a ridiculously high number) who would fight, but I doubt it. Guns are already being taken away under the guise of mental health and domestic abuse prevention and there is a collective yawn.

    • Are you kidding me? Do you want criminals to have an easy to conceal weapon firing those nuclear tipped armor piercing 5.56 death ray machine bullets?

      • I realize [/sarcasm], but…

        Yes. Let the antis reap what they sow. How many kids have to die before they decide free stuff is not worth it? Oh, wait, they don’t care about their kids as much as they care about free stuff…

      • n Indonesia, even to have a picture or photograph any firearm you can already arrested,perhaps even if they can see your thoughts or dreams about firearms, might be the reason for your detention

  2. Obvious question, after that sign off, after we clip that barrel to around 9″ and drill it to .300 blk, will a pinned and welded 8″ suppressor leave me only needing the form 4 for the suppressor? God, would that be fun, or what?

  3. As an old Marine Machine gunner I occasionally used the weapon, although it’s a rifleman’s piece our squad kept an extra one to swap with my M240. Ours were not that reliable, but they were so ancient most hardly had any finish left on them. Since it’s now closed bolt and semi I wonder if it will still chew mags up? It would be awesome if they make the pare trooper barrel and collapsible stock available for those wanting to SBR it.

    I think it’s a good move by FN since the Marines are getting away from the SAW, and with peace time taking effect they may find themselves with a large bin of 249 pieces and machinery gathering dust.

  4. You can get a functionally comparable rifle in the same caliber for much less money (and weight) and it’ll still be semi-auto only. This is like putting a sports car body around a dodge neon’s engine and then paying more than either.

    I mean, if you wanna play make-believe there are replica airsoft guns for less than $400…

    • The difference here genius is that the gas system et al is made for sustained fire.

      Try running 500 rounds through an AR15 non-stop without melting the furniture or dooming the barrel to a premature death.

      If they truly are using the real deal 249 parts for the gas system and barrel then those are designed for sustained full auto fire, which means you couldn’t destroy them in semi-auto even if you were trying.

      Maybe it never comes up for you, but I’m sure there are people out there who would relish the chance to hose something down without worrying about killing their gear, even if they’ve gotta pull the trigger a lot to get it done.

      • Cool hand, you do realize that running 500 rounds straight through a 249 would also destroy its barrel right? There’s a reason why those barrel bags held two extra barrels and the recommended duration of fire was 2-3 round bursts

        • Don’t destroy those Call of Duty delusions.

          It’s not nice.

          I was an AB (ammo bearer) in a line unit weapon squad. I always get a chortle when all these internet know it alls try to lay down “facts” about shit they know absolutely nothing about.

    • I agree. It shoots the same boolit as a S&W Sport, but way heavier and more expensive. Why not just make a lookalike Magpul stock that wraps around a 10/22 and call it a day? Maybe somebody needs a $5k piece of history for feral hogs, but I’m good.

  5. I’m just waiting for someone to mount their’s to the top of their pickup and start hunting hogs with it

  6. I am not really sold on a semiauto version of a firearm that was designed to be run in full auto.

      • They were not engineered around full-auto like a machinegun. It’s sorta why we call them ‘assault rifles’ rather than ‘machineguns.’

        • Wasn’t the AK-47 full auto or safe only? If I recall, it’s selector switch had only two positions: happy and safe, and I do not mean the AKM, but again if I recall correctly military AKM’s are still the same, as far as their selector switch?

      • Apples and oranges. ARs and AKs are generally used in semi-auto mode, with full auto available for room sweeping and OMFG moments. A semi AR or AK loses 10% of its functionality. This is a belt-fed MG – the real thing doesn’t have a semi mode at all.

  7. Well seeing as my dealers sample cost on a M249 Para is $6,999 I can’t imagine how much this is going to cost, seeing as a P90 tactical is only $899 and a PS90 is around $1,150.00 at cost.

  8. It’s cool and all but seriously, what’s the actual point, especially at that (estimated) price point? Another toy for people with more money than they know what to do with.

  9. I’m of two minds about this:
    On the one side, there’s no denying that it’s really frigging cool, even if it’s semi-auto only, and next to impossible to convert to full, assuming there were any legal methods to do so. And it’s purpose designed to feed from a belt.

    On the other side, there are other rifles that offer quick change barrel systems, can feed from large box magazines, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera that are much lighter and cheaper than the M249S most likely will be. And it’s designed to feed from a belt, with STANAG magazine feeding of questionable reliability/functionality. Belted ammo is uncommon, whereas P-Mags, Beta drums, Surefire 100 and 60 round coffin mags and other makers drums and large magazines are common, and cheaper in the long run from a dollar and time cost, especially if you want to link your own ammo vs. sourcing milsurp.

    I’m thinking this will follow the trajectory that Tracking Points guns did: they’ll fly off shelves for the first year or two, then, once the low hanging fruit has been plucked (well to do gunnies), they’ll have to adjust their marketing/pricing to attract more buyers, or maintain it as a special order only niche product.

    • Any rifle that was originally designed as a gull auto and converted to semi auto for sale to the public can be converterted to full auto if you know the right people………..not saying it right or legal…….but in almost all cases people who know about the inner working of rifles can make it happen.

      • Yeah, right. If this was the case, the gun buybacks would be awash in converted 10/22’s. Second, somebody who has the knowledge and expertise won’t risk federal charges and losing everything they have worked for. I hope you were just trolling for laughs (I actually appreciate a bit of sarcastic trolling now and again) and not being serious.

  10. I seem to remember on the original (teaser) post this being marketed to the “average” buyer. Made me laugh then, and I’m laughing now. Might be true for the average professional that has no kids, no mortgage, no other avocations, etc. Kinda neat as a “fun gun,” some of us have to be more practical. Not gonna be a big seller. IMO.

    • You fail to realize that the”average” gun owner today could easily aford the $6 to $8 thousand these guns will sell for. A custom .45 or a custom big game rifle comes close to half or exceeds this amount and lots of gun smith’s are making a good living day in and out turning out same. Any collector worthy of the name already has one or more guns in this price range, I know I do!


  11. I hope IWI follows suit and makes a semi-auto version of the Negev and Negev NG7.


  12. Cool, but if I’m going to spend over $4k on a single firearm, it’ll be finished in old world rust and nitre blue and color case hardened, wearing some fancy walnut; it won’t have rivets.

  13. Yeah I think I’d be pretty into one of these. Expensive range toy really… but if the price was right.

    And you know I seem to remember DS arms once selling US LEO only PKMs chambered in .308. Personally I’d be far more into THAT than a M249.

  14. I would be interested at no more than 2k. Anything higher and there other guns I would spend my money on than a pure range toy, no matter how fun it might be.

    If you guys with more disposable income pick one up, let us know when the range day is.

  15. I wouldn’t touch this or really any other “civilian-legal” belt-fed with a ten-foot-pole.

    1.) It’s not full-auto.

    2.) It’s in 5.56MM NATO only and not full-auto.

    3.) There isn’t much of an after-market that you could readily jump into without having to take out a second mortgage on your house.

    I’d much rather get a MK.46/48 clone from Machine Gun Armory that’s more up-to-date, and they offer conversion kits in 5.56 and 7.62MM NATO, 5.45 and 7.62x39MM, .300 BLK, and 6.8MM SPC II. And they’ll take registered full-auto H&K trigger packs and sears.

  16. I just couldn’t help myself and had to ask… yes they plan on doing it in FDE with the 16″ Para barrel and clapsable stock.

  17. Color me not impressed. Maybe it’s because I carried one for awhile in Kosovo and Iraq. Maybe it’s because FNH thought about going with the para look, but decided to go with the original and outdated M249. But it’s because it’s a semi-auto, closed bolt version of a mediocre machine gun.

  18. That is so cool that I had to share. If the price is north of $3K it’s going to be a tough call, but past experience leads me to believe that the M-249 semi won’t be in production for long, and I know for a fact that semi versions of full-auto military weapons appreciate like a rocket when they go out of production. For verification check the price of any semi-auto M2-HB, M-1919 or M-1918 BAR, if you can find one.

    One complaint I heard about the M-249 semi was that it doesn’t have the heavy barrel, but your article gives me hope that we can add a heavy barrel to the production version without modifying it, and that’s ‘tres cool!

  19. I was at the convention yesterday and one of the guys at the FN booth told me the MSRP would be around 7k.

  20. I’m not seeing any reason to buy a semi-auto single shot version except as a curiosity piece.

  21. Hmm… this just might cause a mass exodus from CA. Hell, all the money I’d save on taxes would pay for this rig in less than a year.

  22. “Everyone is talking about it, and three days later, the original story is still the most popular article on TTAG.”

    So popular that it needs a follow-up piece that provides virtually no new information?

    “And while there was some good information in that piece, some details were missing. I circled back to get the full details, and get my hands on the actual article. First things first, the price. There’s no official word on how much this will cost.”

    And yet, this glowing puff piece, for a firearm which has only been fondled, not fired, is misleadingly titled “FN’s Semi-Auto M249: Details, Pricing, and Hands-On”, as though such details were available? Don’t we criticize “Guns & Ammo” for pulling this stunt?

    Here’s where I get banned from TTAOurSponsors’ProductsPlacements:

    New reader policy, for myself: Anything with “FN” in the title gets automatically skipped.
    New purchase policy, for myself: Anything with “FN” on the box gets automatically skipped.

  23. Maybe it’s just me. I don’t know what it is about the accompanying photos but Leghorn looks like a complete drooling fool and Semper Fi wannabe. Want to shoot the real thing at real bad guys? Man up and join the armed forces for crying out loud. Otherwise stick to the Airsoft version.

  24. Oh well. I have always believed that children need to develop a good work ethic. I am sure that WHEN I buy this and there is no food in the house they will be sufficiently motivated to get a job. [NO SARC]

  25. A lot of you guys sound like the antis. That buying it must only be something little boys wanting to play soldier would do, and no one “needs” such a thing, etc…a lot of people who would purchase it would just purchase it for fun and enthusiasm, not out of a need or wanting to play Delta Force. Why does anyone “need” multiple rifles and/or hand guns and/or shot guns? And the “join the military” bit also gets me, as if one cannot be an enthusiast of weapons unless they are a professional soldier, otherwise you are just a little boy in a man’s body compensating for something.

    • Yep the hypocrisy is astounding. No wonder the 2nd Amendment is doomed. I do not want it but if someone wants to buy it they should have the freedom to do so if FN is offering it. Too many people taking themselves way too seriously.

  26. I’m all for any legal purchase of any firearm in this country including belt-fed semi- and fully-automatic weapons. I guess the pictures of a doofy kid with a really stupid grin on his face got to me. I’m sorry.

  27. God knows I don’t have $7000, but it would be cool to let kids experience it.

    “I was the Unit Armorer, and HQ Plt Sgt told me to just pick someone after avoiding a decision for 2 weeks. I didn’t want to Blue Falcon anybody, so I took it myself for my last year. God it sucked. Check it out!”

    Practicality leans toward a MK48 clone w/ trigger pack, and I’d take it instead of the car/motorcycle/boat etc others seem to prefer toward retirement.

  28. When I went to BOOT CAMP…we fired the 1903 Springfield..No – not the A3 , but the ’03.
    My first real FULL Auto was the BAR..that a MARINE laid out for me to shoot — on the bipod..but…did not tell me it was on “FULL”.. SURPRISE…it slid me forward on the deck about 4″..
    Later on..I got so into weapons that I became a ARMORER – building the M1 GARANDS MATCH – with Don McCoy… Helped the JARHEADS with the 30.338 Sniper Rifles M40…Then the M21 Rifles — which I used a lot… When I had time was the M60 and M2… Never tired of the M60.. My best hit was at 1000 yards with the M21..I still use one..
    Then..I retired..and occasionally got down to the range and tried the M240 – and was impressed with it… It – to me is far more complicated than the M60 – which I can rebuild nearly blindfolded..but the 240 is another story..
    I had a SEMI M60 and a SEMI MA DEUCE…..WHY…too damn heavy..Replaced the MA DEUCE with the M82A1…which I’ll replace with a 249.. Yeah — nuts I guess — but – is fun – right guys….
    The BARRETT is sighted in at 1 mile…and I can take out 5 gallon cans at that range… 240 – 249 will not do that 🙂
    I say..if you like it…get it…!! Have a good one… TOP

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