Military Wiki
Fabrique Nationale d'Herstal
Type Private
Industry Arms [1]
Founded 1889 [1]
Headquarters Herstal, Belgium [1]
Key people
Products Firearms [1]
Employees 3,000 [1]

View of the factory site

Fabrique Nationale d'Herstal (French for National Factory of Herstal) — self identified as FN Herstal and often referred to as Fabrique Nationale or simply FN — is a firearms manufacturer located in Herstal, Belgium.[1] It is currently the largest exporter of military arms in Europe.[2]

FN is a subsidiary of the Belgian Herstal Group, which also owns U.S. Repeating Arms Company (Winchester) and Browning Arms Company.[1] FN Herstal is the parent company of two United States entities: FN Manufacturing and FNH USA.[1] FN Manufacturing, located in Columbia, South Carolina, is the manufacturing branch of FN Herstal in the United States, producing firearms such as the M249 and M240 machine guns and M16 rifle, among others.[1] FNH USA, located in McLean, Virginia, is the sales and marketing branch of FN Herstal in the United States.[1]

Firearms designed and/or manufactured by FN include the Browning Hi-Power pistol, Five-seven pistol, FAL rifle, FNC rifle, F2000 rifle, P90 submachine gun, M2 Browning machine gun, MAG machine gun, and Minimi machine gun[1]—all of which have been very successful for the company.[3] FN Herstal's firearms are used by the armed forces of over 100 nations.[4]


1913 FN motorcycle with four-cylinder in-line engine and shaft drive

FN Browning Hi-Power pistol

FN originated in the small city of Herstal, near Liège. The Fabrique Nationale d'Armes de Guerre (French for National Factory of Weapons of War) was established in 1889 to manufacture 150,000 Mauser Model 89 rifles ordered by the Belgian Government.[1] FN was co-founded by the major arms makers of the Liège region, with Henri Pieper of Anciens Etablissements Pieper being the driving force and the primary shareholder of the new company. In 1897 the company entered into a long-lasting relationship with John Moses Browning, a well-known firearms designer.[1] FN was an important manufacturer of motor vehicles in Belgium, a development championed by Alexandre Galopin as managing director. Cars were produced in Herstal in the early 1900s until 1935. Production of FN motorcycles continued until 1965, and production of trucks until 1970.[5]

One of Fabrique Nationale's handguns, a Model 1910 semi-automatic pistol in 7.65×17mm (.32 ACP) (serial number 19074) was one of four weapons that were taken from the assassins of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, although it is unknown which of the four weapons actually fired the fatal round. The British .303 Browning aircraft machine gun introduced in the late 1930s and used in World War II was actually a license-built FN Browning design, not a "Colt-Browning" as often claimed.

John Moses Browning began development of the Browning GP35 'High Power' (sometimes written as Hi-Power) pistol, the GP standing for Grande Puissance or "high power" in French. However, the weapon was finalized by Dieudonné Saive and did not appear until nearly a decade after Browning's death.

The FN Manufacturing LLC plant in Columbia, South Carolina is part of the military division of FN. It is primarily responsible for the production of U.S. military weapons, such as M16 rifles, M249 light machine guns, M240 machine guns, and M2 machine guns.[1]

FN Herstal weapons

FN Five-seven pistol with 5.7×28mm cartridges

FN P90 submachine gun

FN FNC rifle equipped with bayonet

U.S. sailor fires an M240B, a U.S. version of the FN MAG, adopted for infantry use in the 1990s

Early M249 version of FN Minimi

U.S. Marine aiming FN 303 fitted with holographic weapon sight

FN 5.7×28mm cartridges as used in P90 submachine gun and Five-seven pistol


  • Barracuda: Double-action multi-caliber revolver that can be switched between three calibers (9×19mm Parabellum, .38 Special and .357 Magnum) by changing parts of the cylinder.
  • Five-seven: Lightweight polymer-framed pistol with a 20-round magazine capacity, and designed to use FN's 5.7×28mm cartridge. In service with military and police forces in over 40 nations throughout the world.[6]
  • FNP series: Series of polymer-framed pistols offered in 9×19mm Parabellum, .357 SIG, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP.
  • FNX series: Updated and reengineered version of the FNP series pistol in 9×19mm Parabellum, .40SW and .45ACP.
  • FNS series: Polymer striker-fired pistols in 9x19mm Parabellum and 40 S&W.
  • Forty-Nine: Pistol chambered for 9×19mm Parabellum and .40 S&W.
  • Hi-Power: Single-action pistol chambered for 9×19mm Parabellum and .40 S&W. One of the most widely used military pistols of all time, having been used by the armed forces of over 50 nations.[3][7]
  • HP-DA: 9×19mm Parabellum pistol, double-action variant of the Browning Hi-Power.
  • M1900: .32 ACP blowback semi-automatic pistol.
  • M1903: Blowback semi-automatic pistol chambered for .32 ACP and 9×20mm Long Browning.
  • M1905: .25 ACP vest pocket blowback semi-automatic pistol.
  • M1910: Single-action pistol chambered for .32 ACP and .380 ACP.

Submachine guns


Semi-automatic and select-fire rifles

  • CAL: Carabine Automatique Légère, 5.56×45mm NATO assault rifle.
  • F2000: 5.56×45mm NATO bullpup assault rifle, part of a system with a computerized sight and 40mm grenade launcher or 12 gauge shotgun.
    • FS2000: Semi-automatic sporting version of the F2000 rifle.
  • FAL: Fusil Automatique Léger, 7.62×51mm NATO battle rifle. One of the most widely used rifles in history, having been used by over 90 nations.[8]
  • FNAR: Semi-automatic rifle chambered in 7.62×51mm NATO.
  • FNC: Fabrique Nationale Carabine, 5.56×45mm NATO assault rifle.
  • M16: 5.56×45mm NATO rifle (produced under license by Colt Defense via a U.S. Government contract since 1991, by FNH USA).
  • Mle 1930: Belgian variant of the Browning M1918, chambered in 7.65×53mm Belgian Mauser.
  • Model 1949: Semi-automatic rifle chambered in .30-06 Springfield, 7.92×57mm Mauser, 7.62×51mm NATO, and 7×57mm Mauser.
  • PS90: Semi-automatic sporting carbine version of the P90 submachine gun.
  • SCAR: SOF Combat Assault Rifle, modular assault/battle rifle system with dedicated versions in 5.56×45mm NATO and 7.62×51mm NATO.

Bolt-action rifles

Machine guns


  • P-12: 12-gauge pump-action shotgun with 18-inch barrel and 5-round capacity.
  • SLP (Self-Loading Police): 12-gauge gas-operated semi-automatic shotgun offered in four different models with various barrel lengths, sight options, and capacities. Introduced in 2008, and named "2009 Shotgun of the Year" by American Rifleman magazine.[10]
  • TPS (Tactical Police Shotgun): 12-gauge pump-action shotgun with 5 or 8-round capacity. It is an upgraded version of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company Winchester 1300.


  • 5.56×45mm SS109: NATO standard 5.56×45mm cartridge.[1]
  • 5.7×28mm: Small-caliber, high-velocity cartridge designed for use with the FN P90 submachine gun and FN Five-seven pistol.[11]
  • EGLM: 40mm Ergonomic Grenade Launcher Module designed for the FN SCAR.
  • FN 303: Less-lethal 17 mm multi-shot projectile launcher.[12]
  • FN 303 P: Pistol version of the less-lethal FN 303 launcher.[13]
  • FN Telgren telescoping shoot-through rifle-grenade.

See also


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 "Herstal Group: About Us". FN Herstal. Retrieved 2010-06-24. 
  2. "Les armes belges, un business juteux" (in French). La Dernière Heure (DHnet). December 31, 2012. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Miller, David (2001). The Illustrated Directory of 20th Century Guns. Salamander Books Ltd. ISBN 1-84065-245-4.
  4. "Report: Profiling the Small Arms Industry - World Policy Institute - Research Project". World Policy Institute. November 2000. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  5. Francotte, Auguste; Gaier, Claude; Karlshausen, Robert (2008). Ars Mechanica. Herstal Group. ISBN 978-2-87415-877-3. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Tirans, Ivars (2009). "Baltic Defence Research and Technology 2009 Conference Proceedings". Military Review: Scientific Journal for Security and Defence (ISSN: 1407–1746), Nr. 3/4 (132/133), p 103.
  7. Arnold, David W.. "Classic Handguns of the 20th Century: The Browning HI-Power". Handguns Magazine. Retrieved 2010-01-19. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Hogg, Ian (2002). Jane's Guns Recognition Guide. Jane's Information Group. ISBN 0-00-712760-X.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "FN Manufacturing, LLC: Products - MK48 MOD 1". FN Manufacturing, LLC. 2010. Retrieved December 5, 2010. 
  10. "FNH USA Shotguns - SLP". FNH USA. 2012. Retrieved September 7, 2012. 
  11. "FNH USA Ammunition - 5.7x28mm". FNH USA. 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
  12. "FNH USA Less Lethal Products - FN 303 System". FNH USA. 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
  13. "FNH USA Less Lethal Products - FN 303 P Series". FNH USA. 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 

External links

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