My Combat Rifle students often bring homemade rifles. They always run into issues: malfunctions, broken parts and assorted failures. SMH. I always advise shooters to buy a complete rifle from a reputable manufacturer; a package that includes the trigger, sights, lower and upper and lower receiver, barrel, hand guard and birdcage flash hider. That’s because . . .
factory rifles from reputable manufacturers must meet stringent standards to ensure accuracy, integrated performance and end user safety. But most of all, they’re reliable.
You have no idea when you might need your rifle: home defense, natural disaster, riot, neighborhood protection, hunting, etc. As the Talking Heads cautioned us, this ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no foolin’ around.
Whatever else you can say about your rifle’s capabilities in these dire circumstances, it must not fail. Which brings us to . . .
The FN 15 Tactical Carbine II. It’s a complete factory AR-15 rifle, designed, manufactured and assembled by the Belgian company who makes The World’s Most Battle-Proven Firearms®. True story!
The FN 15 TC II’s controls are AR platform standard; there are no ambi options for the safety selector, charging handle, mag release or bolt catch. FN’s fitted the rifle with a full complement of Magpul furniture, including a 30-round Magpul PMAG, Magpul MBUS sights, a Magpul MOE SL stock and MOE pistol grip.
The FN 15 Tactical Carbine II performed as a factory rifle should. Over the course of a month, I ran well over 1,000 rounds through this gun, from 45 grain Sinterfire frangible ammo to IMI 77 grain OTM.
At the risk of lowering the tone of this review, I can report that I shot the sh*t out of the TC II without a single issue. No malfunctions. No broken bits. Not a single cause for concern.
Of the rounds tested, CapArms 69gr SMK rounds delivered the best group at just over 1 MOA. That’s significantly — and reassuringly — better than 3 MOA group FN’s owner manual says owners should expect from the Tactical Carbine II.
The result could have been even better if not for FN 15 Tactical II’s trigger.
Like the go-pedal on the aforementioned standard-issue M4, the TC II’s trigger is good enough to get the job done — and nothing more. It’s not great, not bad. IF you were going to modify anything on your go-to rifle — or any factory-issue rifle — that’s the best place to start. And, I’d say, finish.
That said, a Timney drop-in AR trigger would add around $240 to the FN 15 Tactical Carbine II’s $1599 msrp.
Yikes? Understood. I can’t deny that the FN 15 Tactical Carbine II is not the most exciting or least expensive choice for a reliable AR-15.
But the TC II is a proven quantity — both by reputation and my own experience. Cool stuff you assembled yourself or total peace of mind? Either way, one way or the other, you’re going to have to pay.
Specifications: FN15 Tactical Carbine II Rifle
Length: 33.7″ – 37″
Barrel Length: 16 inches
Barrel Twist: 1:7
Trigger weight: 4.75-7.75 lbs
Gas system: Direct impeg- Mid Length
Weight: 6lbs 7.7 ounces
MSRP: $1,599 (about a hundred bucks less via Brownells)
RATINGS (out of five stars):
Reliability * * * * *
Zero malfunctions with over 1,000 rounds through the rifle in a month.
Accuracy * * * *
Just over 1 MOA with CapArms SMK 69gr ammo.
Aesthetics * * *
Even with the modern, slim M-LOK fore-end and three-prong flash hider, it’s nothing too special. It’s an AR.
Ergonomics * * * *
Ambidextrous features would have been nice, especially at this price point.
Overall * * * *
FN knows how to build AR’s and the Tactical Carbine II show it. The rifle performs extremely well and will go bang when you need it. However, for the price point, it would have been nice to see a few more features.