FN 15 Tactical Carbine , FN’s Fighting Rifle ~ Review

By Mike Searson
FN 15 Tactical Carbine (Fabrique Nationale) Review.

FN 15 Tactical Carbine
FN 15 Tactical Carbine
Mike Searson
Mike Searson

United States -(AmmoLand.com)- A major selling feature of the AR-15 rifle is its use by our military in the select-fire M16 and M4 platforms.

The majority of shooters are content with whatever variant they find on the shelf or build for a specific purpose, but there are shooters and collectors who want their rifle as close to what the military uses as possible. For decades this was Colt, but FN (Fabrique Nationale) has been making M16s and M4s for our servicemen and women since 1989.

While FN's storied history as an arms maker goes back over a century, their role with developing and building firearms for the US military only goes back to the mid 1970s with contracts for the M240 machinegun and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon.

This is probably the key quality on FNH USA's FN 15 Tactical Carbine as their background in making barrels for machineguns from both engineering and material standpoints means that these rifles can be rode hard and put away wet after digesting a large volume of rounds.

We asked FN to sample one of their rifles and they got it to us rather quickly. Our FN 15 Tactical Carbine test rifle, was shipped with a 16″ barrel, collapsible stock, MLOK rail with Picatinny crowning the upper receiver and a Vortex style three prong flash suppressor.

Furniture and sights were courtesy of MagPul.

FN 15 Tactical Carbine The Good

FN 15 Tactical Carbine
FN 15 Tactical Carbine

The build quality on this rifle is top shelf all the way. Fit and finish is on par with the best because FN sets a standard that others only hope to match. Too many ARs on the market these days have an average feel to them, the FN-15 is superior.

From an accuracy standpoint, we could not have been happier. Using an EO Tech with a LaRue scope mount we were firing quarter sized groups or better at 100 yards. We are confident that better optics will deliver even better results.

FN 15 Tactical Carbine The Bad

FN 15 Tactical Carbine MLOK Rail & Friends...
FN 15 Tactical Carbine MLOK Rail & Friends…

We probably sound like a broken record over this point, but it haunts so many rifles from the factory and that is the trigger. When building a rifle from the ground up or taking advantage of good pricing on a complete one; we really do not mind springing for a new trigger. However, when a rifle retails for more than $1000, the trigger should be upgraded at the factory. We personally would pay the extra cost of the upgrade factored into the retail price, but after laying out more than $1000 for a rifle, the last thing we want to do is buy a trigger, install it and part with more cash.

The flash suppressor worked as intended dissipating flash, but in all honesty we would prefer just a threaded barrel to mount our favorite rifle can.

If we were to write an open letter to FN, personally, we would say: “Keep the muzzle device, give me a better trigger”.

FN 15 Tactical Carbine The Reality

FN 15 Tactical Carbine Standng at Attention
FN 15 Tactical Carbine Standng at Attention

If MLOK is your choice of rail system, you will dig this rifle and of course if you want a battle proven piece, look no further. We are still on the fence about MLOK, it offers a slim hand guard and you do not need rail covers to hold it. The FN version allows rapid cooling and does not trap hot gasses. Our only concern at this point in time is aftermarket support and the selection of compatible accessories seem to get better every day.

The FN 15 is produced in areas of the FN South Carolina plant which are completely separate from where the military versions are made, but the same technology, materials and engineering that go into our war fighters' rifles can now be had in the civilian sector.

Already have a lower you love but want that fit and finish of the FN-15? FNH USA sells the upper receiver of the FN 15 Tactical Carbine online.

FNH USA - Fn15 / AR 16" Tactical Carbine Upper Receiver : http://goo.gl/6yRiNy
FNH USA – Fn15 / AR 16″ Tactical Carbine Upper Receiver : http://goo.gl/6yRiNy

FN 15 Tactical Carbine Resources:

About Mike Searson:

Mike Searson’s career as a shooter began as a Marine Rifleman at age 17. He has worked in the firearms industry his entire adult life as a Gunsmith, Ballistician, Consultant, Salesman, Author and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1989.

Mike has written over 2000 articles for a number of magazines, websites and newsletters including Blade, RECOIL, OFF-GRID, Tactical Officer, SWAT, Tactical World, Gun Digest, Examiner.com and the US Concealed Carry Association as well as AmmoLand Shooting Sports News.

  • 9 thoughts on “FN 15 Tactical Carbine , FN’s Fighting Rifle ~ Review

    1. I bought the Tactical Carbine along with a budget anderson carbine, you can tell the difference in quality immediately. Fn15 has a upgraded milspec trigger that is impressive compared to Andersons milspec trigger. I replaced both Triggers with Geissele G2 Triggers when they were on a holiday sale. Now they both have a crisp 2lb trigger

    2. I traded a rifle I didn’t like for the FN Tactical Carbine in December of 2015. I’d looked at DD, BCM and Noveske prior to the FN. The FN has everything i wanted except I wasn’t thrilled with the flash suppressor. It comes with ALG Defense’s QMS trigger which is a lesser grade of suck according to Geissele. Several hundred rounds later it will shoot small groups, the trigger has broken in nicely. The muzzle device works quite well in low light conditions and would make a devastating impact weapon. I’m not changing anything.
      All my other rifles are languishing in the safe since I bought this rifle.

    3. Bought one of these about 6 months ago. Went in looking to buy a DD. After handling the DD I didn’t like the quad rail. The guy helping me asked what features I was interested in and after telling he recommended the FN Tactical Carbine. Best AR decision I have ever made. It’s the most reliable and accurate AR I’ve ever owned. I’ve bought, sold, and traded Stag, Sig Sauer, S &W. Non of those were bad guns but this one is just a step above the others. Only change I made was ridding it of that ugly flash hider and replacing it with a dead air sandman muzzle brake.

    4. Fantastic platform. One of the best lesser known weapon systems on the market. No frills, simple, go to war gun. The only folks that won’t like this system are arfcom fanboys. I own bum, did, and era, would put this war pig up against any.

      1. its not another ar platform its the platform the other 1000 companies try to compete with. FN is oon the battle fields right now.

    5. TONY CLIFTON LOVES ALL FN PRODUCTS…………………

      NAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH……………………

    6. I hear you about the trigger!
      I bought a DDm4 for more than a grand, and I DON’T LIKE the trigger! It functions, obviously, but it just don’t “pop” when I expect it to.
      I like going to the range and putting holes in 100 yard targets, but that “indecisive trigger action” drives me crazy. I know I could and should get “one hole” results from that rifle. I am looking to replace that factory trigger, and eventually I will, once I’m sure it’s just not a case of needing a “breaking in” period.
      Being an old 11bravo, I have plenty of experience with the platform and couldn’t tell you how many rounds I’ve fired out of a 16 in a reflexive, defensive manner, or fired up to replace ammo and clean the mags…..but never had that “gritty trigger feel”!

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