Major news broke from FN Herstal Thursday. The iconic manufacturer of rifles, pistols, machine guns, and more for military use unveiled a new machine gun in two different calibers. The FN EVOLYS ultralight machine gun, with models in 5.56x45mm NATO and 7.62x51mm NATO, aims to shift the paradigm of shoulder-fired suppressive fire.
FN EVOLYS Machine Guns
“The FN EVOLYS is a radically different, ultralight weapon that combines the firing capabilities of a belt-fed machine gun with ergonomics and balance similar to an assault rifle,” stated an FN release. “This is exactly what is needed and expected by users for current and future operations.”
At first glance, the weapon system appears cleverly scaled down. The 5.56 weighs in around 12 pounds, while the 7.62 weighs 13.6 pounds. A traditional M249 SAW weighs around 17 pounds, so there’s real world weight savings implemented here.
“This reduced weight enables the user to move across difficult terrain quickly and to engage with a high volume of fire when needed with no difficulty,” FN stated.
While the weight and handling cut down closer to rifle weights, the components mirror many aspects of the traditional M4/M16 platform. An ambidextrous fir selector resides in a familiar location. An adjustable buttstock changes both heigh and length. Finally, a Picatinny top rail enables a host of optics and night vision installed.
Operationally, the machine guns fire from the open bolt position, utilizing a short-stroke piston system. Operators can perform all functions one-handed, with either hand. Cartridges automatically reposition upon closing the feed cover, eliminating failure to feed first round. So even if the belt isn’t placed on the feed tray correctly, rounds still get sent downrange. Finally, the platform ejects the last link automatically. The system clears the way for a reload, so operators can quickly get back in the fight.
The new FN EVOLYS comes at an interesting time. Lightweight, scaled down, and chambered in traditional NATO cartridges, the system looks legit. But as the U.S. Army continues its Next Gen project, one wonders how these two new machine guns will compete. Hopefully we will get some trigger time on the new guns real soon. For even more info, please visit fnherstal.com.
FN EVOLYS Specs
|EVOLYS 5.56||FN EVOLYS 7.62|
|Caliber||5.56x45mm NATO||7.62x51mm NATO|
|Operating Principle||Gas operated, open bolt, short stroke piston||Gas operated, open bolt, short stroke piston|
|Buttstock||Adjustable Length and Height||Adjustable Length and Height|
|Weapon Length||850mm (retracted), 950mm (extended)||925mm (retracted), 1,025mm extended|
|Barrel Length||14 inches||16 inches|
|Overall Weight||5.5 kg||6.2 kg|
|Firing Modes||Full-Auto, Semi-Auto||Full-Auto, Semi-Auto|
|Rate of Fire||Approximately 750 RPM||Approximately 750 RPM|
|Feeding||Free Belt or FN MINIMI Pouch||Free Belt or FN MINIMI Pouch|
|Pouches||100 or 200 rounds||50 rounds|
|Maximum Effective Range||800m||1,000m|