Offering users either a 12-pound belt-fed machine gun in 5.56 NATO or a 14-pound model in 7.62 NATO, FN's new Evolys platform has reached the market. 

While it may be easy for some to shrug off the Evolys series as just a lightened Minimi/M249 or FN Mag/M240 – an evolutionary outgrowth of guns like the compact MK 46 and MK 48 if you will – the latest machine gun series out of Herstal utilizes a number of new thoughts to make it more of a 21st-century gun.

Evolys Machine Gun Patent
The Evolys series incorporates a number of new patents 

The company put lots of R&D into the platform, with FN filing over a dozen international patents on behalf of inventors Pascal Franssen, Marcel Henri Denis, Robert Beckers, and others between 2017 and 2020 for a number of machine gun component innovations that can be seen on the new weapon, followed up by trademarking the "FN EVOLYS" name last month as it neared unveiling. 

M249 Machine Gun
The Evolys moves past simply lightening current designs, such as taking the 17-pound M249 SAW, bottom and turning it into the 15-pound M249 PARA, top, and is a new machine gun platform. (Photo: Chris Eger/



Both Evolys guns use relatively short 14- or 16- inch barrels, both models have an open-bolt gas-operated short-stroke piston action for reliability. As a byproduct of their short barrel length when coupled with a SCAR-style adjustable buttstock, the Evolys series of MGs are carbine-length guns that run between 33 and 40 inches. 

FN Evolys Machine Gun
The FN Evolys 5.56 uses a 14-inch barrel, which gives it a length of 33.46-to-37.40 inches due to its retractable stock. Weight is 12.12 pounds. (Photo: FNH)
FN Evolys Machine Gun
The FN Evolys 7.62 uses a 16-inch barrel which gives it a length of 36.42-to-40.35 inches due to its retractable stock. Weight is 13.67 pounds. (Photo: FNH)

Designed from the start to use suppressors – and clean with its piston action – FN says the guns run exceptionally well with cans installed. 

The concept behind the guns is for them to be easily man-portable by a single user over rough terrain while still being able to get quickly into action from any normal rifle or shooting position. As such, they have a sling interface readily adaptable for each. 

FN Evolys Machine Gun
The FN Evolys series is designed to be as more of a reliable select-fire piston-action belt-fed carbine as it is a machine gun.  (Photo: FNH)

They are capable of 750 rounds per minute when run at the cyclic rate and can be fed either via a free belt or a Minimi-pattern pouch. An installed hydraulic buffer provides a steady rate of fire while reducing recoil.




The lateral feed mechanism is reportedly easy and fast to use by either left- or right-handed gunners with one hand, while the feed cover and pawl system are designed to automatically reposition cartridges when the cover is closed on a belt that is not correctly placed in the feed tray. 

FN Evolys Machine Gun
The guns are as ambidextrous as possible, without being a top-fed Bren or Zb vz. 26 of WWII fame, and a belt can be loaded with one hand.  (Photo: FNH)

The below debut presentation, in English dubbed over French as FN Herstal is in Belgium's Wallonia region near Liège, starts off dry. But it progresses through a series of great action shots putting the Evolys through its paces in a series of live-fire demonstrations after about the ~12-minute mark. 

FN Herstal intends to display the Evolys series at the upcoming DSEI international trade show, set for London in September. We'll be looking for them at SHOT next January. 

For a look at how FN's American operation in Columbia, South Carolina, makes SCARs, M240s, and all the other good stuff, check out our Select Fire factory tour we did in 2019. Word is we are firing up the old Select Fire van and hitting the road again soon, so stay tuned!