FN F2000 assault rifle (Belgium)
June 11, 2008
Caliber: 5.56×45 mm NATO
Action: Gas operated, rotating bolt
Overall length: 694 mm
Barrel length: 400 mm
Weight: 3.6 kg empty, in standart configuration; 4.6 kg with 40mm grenade launcher
Magazine capacity: 30 rounds (any NATO / STANAG type magazines)
During the late 1980s and early 1990s famous Belgian company FN Herstal began the search for its next entry into the assault rifle world. The aim this time was to produce a modern, modular weapon, and this ultimately resulted in the FN F2000 rifle, which was first displayed in public in 2001. The F2000 offers all of the most popular features of the modern assault rifle, such as a compact bullpup layout, completely ambidextrous handling, and a modular design with plenty of options and add-ons already available, which allow the rifle to be “tailored” for any particular mission or tactical situation. For example, for peacekeeping operations F2000 could be fitted with less-lethal M303 underbarrel module, which fires tear gas or marker projectiles using pre-compressed air. On the other hand, the F2000 could be fitted with various 40 mm FN EGLM grenade launchers and a proprietary computerized fire control system, instead of the standard low-magnification optical sights. So far FN F2000 rifle found only few buyers, including Armed forces of Slovenia and Belgian Special operations forces. Nevertheless, it is one of most promising assault rifles on the market.
Quite recently FN also introduced a civilian version of F2000, known as FS2000. It has a somewhat longer barrel and is limited to semi-automatic fire. Otherwise it is the same excellent weapon, with great ergonomics and 100% ambidexterity.
The F2000 rifle is a gas operated, rotating bolt, selective-fire weapon, featuring a polymer stock with a bull-pup layout. It utilizes a short-stroke gas piston and a 7-lug rotating bolt which locks into the barrel extension. The unique feature of the F2000 rifle is its patented front ejection system: the spent cases, extracted from the chamber, travel from the rear part of the gun to the ejection port near the muzzle via a special ejection tube and fall out of the gun at the safe distance from the shooters’ face. This is achieved using a special swinging guide, which enters the way of the closing bolt, and directs the spent case, which is held on the bolt face, to the ejection tube, while, at the same time, lower lugs of the bolt are stripping a fresh cartridge from the magazine. The cocking handle is mounted well forward on the left hand side, just above the fore grip, and it can easily be operated with the right hand when the gun is held left-handed. The selector switch is mounted at the bottom of the trigger guard. All of these features combine to make the F2000 the first genuinely ambidextrous bullpup, able to be used with equal ease by right and left handed shooters without requiring any adjustments. In its standard configuration, the F2000 is perfectly balanced around the pistol grip.
The stock has built-in standard rails on the top of the weapon (for different sights and scopes etc) and a mounting point ahead of trigger guard, where additional modules may be installed (such as grenade launchers, non-lethal modules etc). In the basic configuration, the upper rail mount is fitted with a 1.6X magnification optical sight, and the lower mounting point is covered by a removable handguard. At the current time, the F2000 rifle may be upgraded, depending on the mission, with FN’s 40 mm low-velocity grenade launcher (on the lower mount, instead of the handguard), or with M303 non-lethal module; other options are handguards with built-in laser pointers or flashlights. The standard low-magnification combat scope, which has a back-up open sights on its top cover, may be replaced by any other scope on Piatiny-style mount, or with FN’s proprietary computerized fire control module with laser rangefinder, for both the rifle and 40 mm grenade launcher.