FN Herstal

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Fabrique Nationale Herstal
FN Herstal
IndustryArms industry
Founded3 July 1889; 133 years ago (1889-07-03)
FounderHenri Pieper
Area served
Key people
ProductsFirearms, ammunition
Number of employees
3,000 worldwide
ParentHerstal Group

Fabrique Nationale Herstal (French for 'National Factory Herstal'), trading as FN Herstal and often referred to as Fabrique Nationale or simply FN, is a leading firearms manufacturer based in Herstal, Belgium. It is currently the largest exporter of military small arms in Europe.[1]

FN Herstal is owned by the Herstal Group holding company, which is in turn owned by the regional government of Wallonia.[2] The Herstal Group also owns the Browning Arms Company and the U.S. Repeating Arms Company (Winchester).[2]

FN America is the U.S. subsidiary of FN Herstal, which was formed by the merger of FN's previous two American subsidiaries – FN Manufacturing and FNH USA.[3] A United Kingdom based manufacturing facility, FNH UK, is also in operation.

View of the factory site

Firearms designed and/or manufactured by FN include the Browning Hi-Power and Five-seven pistols, the FAL, FNC, F2000 and SCAR rifles, the P90 submachine gun, the M2 Browning, MAG, Minimi and the FN Evolys machine guns;[2] all have been commercially successful.[4] FN Herstal's firearms are used by the armed forces of over 100 countries.[5]


1913 FN motorcycle with four-cylinder in-line engine and shaft drive
1931 FN cabriolet

FN Herstal 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.[2] 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 Browning, a well-known American firearms designer.[2]

The company was an important manufacturer of motor vehicles in Belgium, a development championed by Alexandre Galopin as managing director. FN cars were produced in Herstal from the early 1900s until 1935. Production of FN motorcycles continued until 1965, and production of trucks until 1970.[6] In 1973, FN changed its name to reflect a diversified product line far beyond just military Small Arms and Firearms manufacturing, adopting the current name of Fabrique Nationale d'Herstal.[7]

One of Fabrique Nationale's handguns, a Model 1910 semi-automatic pistol in 9×17mm (.380 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 fired the fatal round.

Browning began development of the GP35 "High Power" pistol, the GP standing for Grande Puissance (French for high power), which is well-known as the Browning Hi-Power. The weapon was finalized by FN's Dieudonné Saive and did not appear until 1935, nearly a decade after Browning's death; it remained in production until 2017.

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.[2]


FN Five-seven pistol with 5.7×28mm cartridges
P90 personal defense weapon
FN SCAR-L (MK 16) assault rifle and FN SCAR-H (MK 17) battle rifle
United States sailor fires an M240B, a U.S. version of the FN MAG, adopted for infantry use in the 1990s
Early M249 manufacture of FN Minimi
FN 5.7×28mm cartridges as used in P90 personal defense weapon and Five-seven pistol


Submachine guns[edit]


Bolt-action rifles[edit]

Machine guns[edit]


Helicopter and aircraft weapon systems[edit]

  • Mitrailleuse d´Avion Browning - F.N. Calibre 13,2 mm: Heavy airplane machine gun. It was an improved M2 Browning for use in aircraft during WWII. The weapon had increased firerate and fired a more powerful 13.2x99 Hotchkiss cartridge. FN also invented a high velocity high explosive variant of the cartridge just for this weapon.
  • FN HMP250: Heavy Machine Gun Pod. It is a system featuring a .50 cal FN M3P machine gun, a 275-round ammunition box, and a links and cases collector.[20][unreliable source?]
  • FN HMP400: Heavy Machine Gun Pod. It is a system featuring a .50 cal FN M3P machine gun, a 400-round ammunition box capacity, and a links or links and cases collector.[20]
  • FN RMP: Rocket Machine Gun Pod. It is system comprising a 12.7mm (.50 caliber) FN M3P machine gun, a NATO Standard 2.75inch/70mm 3-tube rocket launcher and a 400-round machine gun ammunition box.[21][unreliable source?]


  • 5.56×45mm SS109: NATO standard 5.56×45mm cartridge.[2]
  • 5.7×28mm: Small-caliber, high-velocity cartridge designed for use with the FN P90 PDW and FN Five-seven pistol.[22]
  • EGLM: 40mm Ergonomic Grenade Launcher Module designed for the FN SCAR.
  • 303: Less-lethal 17 mm multi-shot projectile launcher.[23]
  • 303 Pistol: Pistol version of the less-lethal FN 303 launcher.[24]
  • FN Telgren telescoping shoot-through rifle-grenade.
  • In 1938 the FN modified M1919 Browning aircraft guns to accept 7.5mm French rounds (modification known as "FN Mle 38")

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Les armes belges, un business juteux" (in French). La Dernière Heure (DHnet). December 31, 2012. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Herstal Group: About Us". FN Herstal. Retrieved 2010-06-24.
  3. ^ "FN Manufacturing and FNH USA to consolidate U.S. Operations". FN Herstal. June 6, 2014. Archived from the original on August 31, 2017. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Miller, David (2001). The Illustrated Directory of 20th Century Guns. Salamander Books Ltd. ISBN 1-84065-245-4.
  5. ^ "Report: Profiling the Small Arms Industry - World Policy Institute - Research Project". World Policy Institute. November 2000. Archived from the original on 2017-10-11. Retrieved 2010-07-15.
  6. ^ Francotte, Auguste; Gaier, Claude; Karlshausen, Robert (2008). Ars Mechanica. Herstal Group. ISBN 978-2-87415-877-3.
  7. ^ Stevens, R. Blake The Browning High Power Automatic Pistol. Collector Grade Publications (1990). ISBN 978-0-88935-089-2.
  8. ^ "FN Introduces FN 503 Slim 9mm Pistol for Concealed Carry". fnamerica.com (Press release). March 16, 2020. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  9. ^ a b 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.
  10. ^ Arnold, David W. "Classic Handguns of the 20th Century: The Browning HI-Power". Handguns Magazine. Archived from the original on 2010-01-07. Retrieved 2010-01-19.
  11. ^ "FN Grand Browning: The European 1911 that Never Happened". 17 February 2020.
  12. ^ a b Hogg, Ian (2002). Jane's Guns Recognition Guide. Jane's Information Group. ISBN 0-00-712760-X.
  13. ^ "FN 15® Series - FN®".
  14. ^ "Army Awards New M4/M4A1 Contract to FN - Kit Up!". 23 February 2013.
  15. ^ "The Spanish Mauser Family by Hector J. Meruelo" (PDF). Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  16. ^ "IDEX 2015". Archived from the original on 2015-03-16. Retrieved 2015-03-23.
  17. ^ a b "FN Manufacturing, LLC: Products - MK48 MOD 1". FN Manufacturing, LLC. 2010. Archived from the original on December 4, 2010. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  18. ^ "Fabrique Nationale FN M3P Belt-Fed Vehicle Heavy Machine Gun (HMG)". militaryfactory.com. 18 January 2014.
  19. ^ "FNH USA Shotguns - SLP". FNH USA. 2012. Archived from the original on September 5, 2012. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
  20. ^ a b "FN HERSTAL - Helicopter and Aircraft Weapon Systems". airforce-technology.com.
  21. ^ "FN HERSTAL - Helicopter and Aircraft Weapon Systems". airforce-technology.com. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  22. ^ "FNH USA Ammunition - 5.7x28mm". FNH USA. 2013. Archived from the original on November 4, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  23. ^ "FNH USA Less Lethal Products - FN 303 System". FNH USA. 2013. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  24. ^ "FNH USA Less Lethal Products - FN 303 P Series". FNH USA. 2013. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013.

External links[edit]