FN M249S Civilian Version Now Available – An In-Depth Look

Back in January, we were delighted to get a glimpse of what FN had in store with the military collector series. Among those models, one that garnered perhaps the most suspicion was the FN M249S. Based on the military SAW, this model follows tight specifications and offers a real taste of what it is like to be on the battlefield. Of course, with a price tag reaching about $8,000 it seemed a bit out of reach for the average gun owner. For those wondering if it is worth the investment but don’t have time to watch the video, our summary might help you out.

Following Those Military Specs

The first thing to consider about the FN M249S is to remember that it’s a civilian version of the SAW. While the gun is extremely similar to its military counterpart, it does have some changes that you would expect from a weapon offered in this marketplace. To start, it features a semi-automatic system only; unlike the military SAW, which offers a full-auto system.

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Next, the military model uses an open-bolt while this civilian-ready model is only offered with a closed-bolt. Another major change is the fact that this model uses a floating firing pin, unlike the military fixed firing pin. Finally, they machined in a few components that would prevent an easy full-auto conversion, which is to be expected on a civilian model. Otherwise, it’s identical to the military model, which means long-lasting quality you can count on.

Looking Over Some Basic Features

While the system may be similar to the military model in many respects, one of the first concerns you might have is how it stacks up against the machine gone. Though it won’t be the best weapon for cover fire on the battlefield, it still provides a continuous 70-80 rpm without damaging the barrel if used properly. This is due mostly to the high-quality manufacturing of the hammer-forged, fully-removeable barrel.

Beyond this rate of fire and accurate barrel, it offers an integrated carry handle, which is useful considering the weapon weighs about 22 lbs. with a fully loaded ammo belt box. Though it includes integrated sights, it also offers a picatinny rail, which allows you to use whatever optics you want. It may be important to note that the government uses either an Elcan or Trijicon scope on their SAWs, but it works fine without any other optics, at least out to 100 yards.

Since the weapon is so heavy, it come standard with a folding bipod, which is how this gun was meant to be operated anyways. For transport, that bipod folds into the handguard, making it convenient for carry. With the removable buttstock, it offers a hydraulic buffer system, diminishing recoil considerably. To help with accuracy, the stock include a flip-up shoulder piece, allowing you to position it and maintain stability.

Taking a Closer Look

Featuring the exact same trigger group as the military model, this one features a 4.5 lb. trigger that is easy to maintain accuracy and speed. The reviewer in this video goes as far as claiming it is the best trigger he has ever shot. Using both belts and standard magazines, the gun shoots flawlessly, with zero feed issues despite some potential confusion if you have never shot with an ammo belt before.

Speaking of the ammo belt, the gun uses a nifty box design that does an exceptional job of protecting the belt. While it may take some practice to properly insert the belt, this box offers simple placement in place of the standard magazine and allows for reliable functioning at the range.

Disassembly and Cleaning Your FN M249S

Since the original model was built for military use, the FN M249S can endure quite a bit of abuse, but it does need to be maintained. Understanding the frequency of maintenance on the battlefield, this model was designed for easy disassembly. It starts by inserting the bolt hold open device, which is included with the gun for your convenience. This locks the bolt back and allows you to push the lever just in front. Pulled on the handle, you can remove the detachable barrel and access both that and the gas system.

Next, you can remove the buttstock by pushing out the two self-retaining pin. This allows you to pull the stock right off. With both of these removed, you can unclip the lower (including the trigger group) and remove it from the body. Finally, you flip up the top cover, which reveals the primary operation of the weapon. Pop up the feed tray and clean as necessary. In this way, the only “tool” you need for field stripping is the hold open device.

Our Final Thoughts

As the video stresses, the new FN M249S is a solid weapon. While it may not have the appeal of a full-on machine gun, it does include a familiar system for those with military experience using the SAW. It’s solid construction allows for rapid fire and delivers accurate reliability wherever you might be. With these weapon just now shipping, you can order yours over at the FN Herstal online storefront. Just head on over to the main Omaha Outdoors website and place your order.

Do you intend to get your hands on a new FN M249S? What feature are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments below.

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