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FN Herstal Lineup & Top Rated Firearms Explained

Standing for Fabrique Nationale Herstal, FN Herstal is one of the largest firearm manufacturers in the world. The company is established in Herstal, Belgium. Trading since 1889, it was initially a car manufacturer before switching to firearms.

At the moment, it’s the largest exporter of small firearms in Europe.

FN Herstal is currently owned by a holding group, Herstal Group, which is also owned by the local government in Wallonia. The company has a few subsidiaries too, with FN America being the most reputable one.

It serves the whole world and has more facilities in different countries.

Initially, FN Herstal focused on armed forces only, but some of its firearms are also sold to the general public. From pistols and submachine guns to machine guns and rifles, pretty much each of its releases was commercially successful.

These days, apart from the commercial sales, the company’s firearms are supplied to official armed forces in more than 100 countries.


Handguns have represented a top choice for FN Herstal and one of the main reasons wherefore it became so popular in commercial sales. Furthermore, there are quite a few options out there, and each of them has dominated the industry during its time.

  • Barracuda is a double-action revolver that comes in three calibers. Making the switch is fairly simple. Users can choose between .357 Magnum, .38 Special, and 9x19mm Parabellum. The switch is done by changing a few parts of the cylinder.
  • FN 510 is a semi-automatic pistol available in the 10mm auto caliber. Based on polymer and nickel-coated steel, it's one of the bulkiest pistols FN Herstal has ever made. It's quite versatile, though, and has a steel slide, as well as sights and options for optics.
  • FN 509 may look familiar with those who have used the FNS pistol before. It’s actually a redesigned and more modern alternative. It comes in the 9x19mm Parabellum caliber and features a double-action operation.
  • FN 502 is similar. After all, it was inspired by the FN 509. The concealed carry pistol is a subcompact solution available in the .22 LR caliber. Believe it or not, it’s the first handgun with a slide-mounted mechanism, optics-ready rimfire operation on the market.
  • FN 503 follows the same rules and is also inspired from the FN 509. The super compact pistol is specifically designed for concealed carry. It only weighs 21 ounces and comes in the 9mm caliber. The pistol stands out with its strike-fired autoloader.
  • FN Five-Seven is one of the most reputable pistols introduced by FN Herstal. Featuring a polymer frame, the lightweight unit has a 20 round capacity. It’s extremely popular in official armed forces and the police in dozens of countries. It relies on the proprietary 5.7x28mm cartridge.
  • FN HiPer is a semi-automatic unit. It’s strike-fired and comes with the 9x19mm NATO caliber. It features a 15 round magazine and is mostly appreciated for its high reliability and excellent ergonomics.
  • FN FNP is one of the most versatile pistols produced by FN Herstal. It’s available in four calibers, .45 ACP, .40 S&W, 9x19mm Parabellum, and .357 SIG. Like other similar pistols, it has a polymer based frame.
  • FN FNX is the direct successor of FN FNP. It represents an improved version. It’s semi-automatic, and it's made in the USA. It's chambered for .45 ACP, .40 S&W, and 9x19mm Parabellum cartridges. It came out in 2009.
  • FN FNS was made between 2011 and 2018 in .40 S&W and 9x19mm Parabellum calibers. It’s similar to the FN FNX, but it has double-action functionality. There are more variants for it, including FNS-9, FNS-9 Long Slide, and FNS-9 Compact.
  • FN 49 failed to get as much notoriety as other pistol in its size range, but it was still well received. The pistol hit the market in two calibers, .40 S&W and 9x19mm Parabellum. The semi-automatic unit is also known as FN Forty-Nine.
  • FN Browning Hi-Power is a semi-automatic unit with .40 S&W and 9x19mm Parabellum cartridges. The design was made popular by John Browning, who passed away in 1926, just a few years before the design finally became reality.

The Hi-Power name was given because of the 13 round capacity. Back then, it was nearly twice as big as the competition had in store, particularly Colt M1911 or Luger. The gun became extremely popular in wars all over the world and has been produced for nearly a century.

  • FN Grand Browning was a prototype back in 1914. The semi-automatic pistol was basically the European alternative to the M1911. However, it came with the 9.65x23mm caliber. Other differences include the grip and sight blade, among others.
  • HP-DA is the double-action alternative to the popular FN Browning Hi-Power. It’s available in the 9x19mm Parabellum caliber. The first version was produced between 1983 and 1987, with a second version kicking in between 1990 and 1999. Variants include BDAC, BDAM, and BDAO.
  • Model 1900 is a .32 ACP pistol designed by John Browning. The semi-automatic unit is single-action. It was introduced in 1896, but the production began later on. This is the first handgun to use a slide.
  • Model 1903 is also known as FN Mle 1903 or M1903. The semi-automatic pistol hit the market with the 9x20mm Browning Long cartridge in 1903. It became a top choice for military and police forces around the world for its accuracy and quick reloading.
  • Model 1905 is a .25 ACP semi-automatic pistol produced for about half a century, between 1906 and 1959. In some European countries, it was sold as Model 1906, mostly because of the manufacturing year.
  • Model 1910 is one of the most recognizable pistols of the last century, being in continuous production from 1910 to 1983. The blowback semi-automatic unit was available in .380 ACP and .32 ACP calibers.
  • Model 1922 is very similar to Model 1910. After all, it was based on it. However, there’s one notable difference, the long barrel. The upgrade was made when Yugoslavia reached FN Herstal for a new pistol request.
  • FN Baby Browning was designed in 1927 and produced since 1931. It’s still being made today. It’s practically a simplified alternative to the 1905 Vest Pocket pistol. It’s a blowback-operated unit running with .25 ACP cartridges.

Submachine guns

FN Herstal has certainly impressed with its reliable and accurate pistols, but also with the technology implemented into some of them. Submachine guns failed to get as much attention, but there are still a few notable units.

  • P90 is a bullpup designed for personal defense purposes. It has a 50 round capacity and comes with the 5.7x28mm cartridge. It's in production since 1990, and it's used by police forces in more than 40 countries.
  • Uzi is built following the standards set by the Israel Military Industries. FN Herstal is not the only manufacturer producing it though. However, like every other producer, FN Herstal has given it a personal touch.
  • M12 comes with the 9x19mm caliber and a 30 round capacity. It can fire in more different modes. It can be used as a semi-automatic gun, but it also offers three round bursts and full automatic features. It’s not an original design, but built under Beretta’s license.


Like pistols, rifles have always been a top priority for FN Herstal. There are more than a dozen different models produced over the past decades, many of them from scratch, as original designs. Some of them are used by military forces.

  • Trombone is a long takedown rifle introduced in 1919. It was produced until 1974, in more than 150,000 units. The rifle has been improved overtime, especially since the initial models were prone to cracking due to the receiver.
  • Browning 22 Semi-Auto Rifle was also known as SA-22, and despite being designed in 1914, it's still in production today. It comes in two calibers, .22 Long Rifle, and .22 Short. It's a semi-automatic gun with iron sights.
  • CAL was made until 1975, for nearly a decade. The so called Carabine Automatique Légère was the first rifle from FN Herstal in the 5.56x45mm NATO caliber. It’s similar to FN FAL, another reputable rifle from the manufacturer.
  • F2000 has the same caliber. The bullpup rifle has been produced since 2001. Given its modern profile, it also comes with modern features, such as a computerized sight. It also has a few different variants and may come with a 12 gauge shotgun or a 40mm grenade launcher.
  • FS2000 is the sporting alternative to the F2000. From this point of view, it’s semi-automatic. Some consider it a variant of the F2000. When designed, the rifle was aimed at civilian ownership.
  • FAL stands for Fusil Automatique Léger and was initially produced in 1953. It’s a 7.62x51mm NATO battle unit. Used by military forces in over 90 countries, it’s one of the most recognizable rifles from FN Herstal.
  • FN-15 uses the 5.56x45mm caliber and is used by both civilians and armed forces. It offers exquisite accuracy and durability, but it also looks and feels great. It has a removable carrying handle, sights, and simple target acquisition.
  • FNAR is a marksman rifle produced since 2008. The semi-automatic unit comes with the 7.62x51mm cartridge. The name could be confusing because it’s not a classic AR model. Instead, it’s based on the Browning BAR.
  • FNC, or Fabrique Nationale Carabine uses the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge and it's in service since 1979. However, the production began in 1970, and it was ceased in 2004. The rifle has been used in multiple wars overtime.
  • IWS came out too early for its time. It was a gun that promised to change the industry, but it was simply too early. Using the super lightweight LICC cartridge model, it has a steel case that makes it light and comfy to use.
  • M16 is a classic. It was produced by more firearm manufacturers. Prior to FN Herstal taking over, the rifle was made by Colt. The rifle uses the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge and represents the top choice for multiple military forces.
  • M4A1 uses the same caliber and works as a fully automatic rifle.
  • Mle 1930 is similar to Browning 1918. It relies on the 7.65x53mm Belgian Mauser caliber. After all, it’s the Belgian alternative to the Browning M1918.
  • Model 1949 has an autoloading feature and has been produced between 1948 and 1982. A different version was produced for the Belgian armed forces, the AFN.
  • PS90 is similar to the P90 submachine gun. However, it works as a semi-automatic carbine, despite having many similar features.
  • SCAR is a gas-operated automatic rifle produced since 2004. It’s been used in pretty much every modern war over the past couple of decades. There are lots of variants for it, including military-only options and quite a few prototypes.

Some of the SCAR variants include:

Prototypes are quite varied too:

Bolt-action rifles

Bolt-action rifles from FN Herstal may seem a bit old fashioned, but were widely used throughout the 20th century. Some of them are discontinued, but they still pop up for sale every now and then.

  • Mauser Model 1889 is also known as the Belgian Mauser, Argentinian Mauser, or Turkish Mauser, depending on where it was sold. It comes in the 7.65mm caliber.
  • Mauser Model 1893 is also known as the Spanish Mauser and is available in a few different calibers.
  • Model 1924 was originally produced for the Yugoslavian army, but it was replaced by M24 later on.
  • Model 1930 gained notoriety in Greece, as it was adopted by local armed forces. It was also known as FN Model 24/30.
  • Karabiner 98k is incorrectly referred as K98, but K98 is actually a Polish carbine and a copy of a variant. It uses the 7.92x57mm Mauser cartridge.
  • Model 1950 is the newer version of Model 1930 and uses the .30-06 Springfield caliber.
  • Model 30-11 is a 7.62x51mm NATO sniper rifle.
  • FN Ballista is a long range sniper rifle. It uses the .338 Lapua Magnum caliber, but it can also be converted to other calibers.
  • Patrol Bolt Rifle relies on the 7.62x51mm NATO caliber, and it's mainly used by police forces.
  • Special Police Rifle is mainly used by SWAT and FBI teams. It has many similarities with Winchester Model 70.
  • Tactical Sport Rifle is inspired from the SPR.

Machine guns

FN Herstal has a pretty impressive range of machine guns. They’ve managed to gain a good reputation throughout history, mostly with their stability and accuracy.

  • FN BRG-15 comes in the 15.5x115mm caliber. It’s been used as an experimental machine gun.
  • M2 Browning is a heavy machine gun using the .50 caliber. It’s in production since 1933 and is mainly used to arm vehicles.
  • MAG stands for Mitrailleuse d'Appui Général and is used by armed forces in over 80 countries. It’s made in more countries, including the UK, Argentina, and Singapore.
  • Minimi is a small machine gun, just as popular in armed forces. It uses the 5.56x45mm NATO caliber.
  • Mark 48 Machine Gun is often considered one of the M249 variants and was produced as a necessity for armed forces in the USA.
  • FN BAR Model 1930 BAR is practically a version of the M1918 BAR, but it comes in a different caliber, the 7.92x57mm Mauser.
  • M3 is a heavy machine gun, mostly aimed at aircrafts, watercrafts, and vehicles.
  • FN EVOLYS was introduced in 2021 with the purpose to offer a lighter and more ergonomic alternative to classic machine guns.


FN Herstal hasn’t insisted much on shotguns, but its current products are widely used for personal defense, but also in the armed forces.

  • FN P-12 has a five round capacity and an 18 inch barrel. It was introduced in 2012, and it's made in Portugal.
  • FN Self-Loading Police is available in more models. Each model has a different sight, capacity, and barrel size. It has gained quite a few awards since it was released in 2008.
  • FN Tactical Police Shotgun has either five or eight rounds in terms of capacity. It’s a more advanced version of Winchester 1300.
  • Browning Automatic 5 was produced between 1902 and 1998. It was the first semi-automatic shotgun designed that actually gained popularity.

Random weapon systems

Apart from supplying the main categories of firearms, FN Herstal has expanded its operations even further. Overtime, the firearm manufacturer has produced various systems for governments and not only.

  • Mitrailleuse d'Avion Browning – F.N. Calibre 13.2 mm is a machine gun specifically created for airplanes. Relying on the 13.2×99 Hotchkiss cartridge, it was mainly created for WWII uses. A different variant of the cartridge brings in a high explosive alternative.
  • FN HMP250 was created with the same purpose. It has a 275 round capacity.
  • FN RMP is a more sophisticated system that consists of two different machine guns and a rocket launcher. It’s used on airplanes only.
  • FN HMP400 is a machine gun for airplanes with an impressive round capacity of 400.
  • EGLM is an ergonomic and lightweight grenade launcher attachment, suitable for FN SCAR.
  • FN40GL Mk2 is similar in design and uses.
  • 303 is a projectile launcher without major lethal capabilities.
  • 303 Pistol is similar, but designed in a pistol form.
  • 5.56x45mm SS109 is a NATO cartridge produced by FN Herstal.
  • 5.7x28mm is a small caliber created for two firearms, FN P90 PDW and FN Five-Seven.
  • FN Telgren is a rifle grenade mix.
  • FN Mle 38 is an upgraded version of the M1919 Browning aircraft gun. The update allows taking 7.5mm French rounds.

Bottom line, FN Herstal has gained a well deserved notoriety overtime. Its innovation has always impressed, hence the impressive popularity of its firearms, many of them adopted and still used by governments and armed forces.

Certain models have been particularly created for official and military uses only, but many others are also available for personal uses and defense.