FN 15 Tactical Carbine
Build or buy? Whether it’s the first or one of many, this is the question to ask oneself when considering an AR15. Luckily, for those you who are on a budget but want a solid mil-spec rifle, FN USA has your answer. The FN 15 Tactical Carbine has mil-spec anodized forged receivers and is chambered in 5.56. Its 16″ barrel with 1:7″ twist will stabilize heavier bullets. OAL is 33.7″ (collapsed), 37″ (extended) and weighs 6.6lbs empty. It offers some of the same features as the standard model but has a match-grade free floating (no A2 front sight post), chrome-lined, cold hammer-forged barrel for increased life and easier cleaning. It comes with features like a 3-prong flash hider to reduce flash and a mid-length gas system/ H1 buffer to decrease recoil. Plus, enhancements such as Magpul’s MOE grip, MBUS sights and SL buttstock plus Midwest Industries‘ 12″ M-LOK accessory mounting system. Also, there’s an enhanced combat trigger for smoother pull, a cleaner break and less grit. You get all these features right out of the box along with FN USA’s amazing customer service and warranty for somewhere between $1200-$1500. This price point is below that of other comparable rifles on the market from Daniel Defense, BCM, and Colt.
The great thing about getting an AR15 from a factory such as FN USA, you can be assured of the quality control. FN USA currently makes the M4 carbine and M16A4 platforms for the United States Military, as well as the well known and loved M249 SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon). This attention to detail and quality can been seen throughout their product line. Right out of the box the rifle felt not only super light but extremely solid. There are no gaps or wobbles anywhere. All parts moved smoothly and freely without any burs or tooling marks.
One of my favorite features on this rifle is the Midwest Industries LWM 12″ handguard with M-LOK. It’s simple and ultra-light with a thinner profile than tradition RIS style systems. While it’s a lot smaller diameter wise, it is not any less rigid or prone to flex than a quad rail. This profile also allows for a more ergonomic feel especially when using a vertical grip for support. Even though it is more narrow, it does not have any problems with heat dissipation when firing a high number rounds; the handguard does a very good job of dissipating heat quickly. The only time we have had any issue with heat soak was on a day that was over 100 degrees ambient temperature while shooting in an indoor range; after about 150 rounds, the temperature inside the building and lack of airflow did not really allow for heat dissipation.
We like to follow the motto of K.I.S.S. ( keep it simple stupid). I don’t want my home defense carbine to have a ton of accessories that I won’t use 90% of time. It just adds weight and bulk to a gun that is supposed to be a lightweight and reliable tool. The Midwest Industries LWM 12″ handguard with M-LOK system is perfect for this motto. This allows the user to only add on small pieces of rail for sections that they wish to add accessories such as lights, foregrips, or laser systems. For this, we chose to use the MAGPUL hand stop mounted forward on the rail system to allow for a stable shooting platform, as well as the PRO (Patrol Rifle Optic) from AIMPOINT. Future plans to include addition of INFORCE WML (Weapon Mounted Light).
Match grade barrel free float barrel 1in7 twist allows to shoot most ammo on market well. Midwest Industries Handguard with M-LOK system. Only 6.6 pounds empty/ just around 7 with accessories and Aimpoint PRO added. Magpul furniture. Enhanced combat trigger, has a clean break good for battle rifle. Out of the box accuracy is amazingly good.
MBUS sights are plastic but still does the job. Muzzle device could be traded for a better muzzle brake.