FN America is a quality firearms manufacturer that has put some renowned battle firearms into production. A Herstal Group company based in Belgium, the company started in 1889 when it was tasked with manufacturing Mauser rifles for the Belgian government. They purchased Browning in 1977, and their current U.S. arm manufactures firearms for the military, law enforcement, and civilian hunting and sporting markets.

FN is known for its high-quality firearms, most notably the FN Scar, FAL, and the PS90.

The Carbine

We ran the FN 15 Patrol Carbine with M-Lok furniture through its paces. FN first started manufacturing the FN 15 in the early 2010s and has continued to add variants to this platform ever since. Specifically manufactured with the needs of law enforcement in mind, they emphasize reliability and durability.

We had the pleasure of working with the Patrol Carbine chambered in 5.56x45 NATO. There is nothing epic about the carbine except that it is a great quality firearm manufactured by a quality company. I do love the AR platform, and I like this carbine for its size and weight. This carbine has a 16-inch barrel length with an overall length of approximately 31.9 inches. 

The overall empty weight is 6.5 pounds. The barrel is 4140 alloy steel, chrome-moly vanadium steel, and has rifling with a 1:7 right-hand twist. The rifling process is button cut. The robust barrel is great for heavy use as all well as maintaining accuracy. One of FN’s legacies is its excellent barrels.

Overall, this is an easily managed and manipulated carbine on the range or in the field. I’ve listed some additional specs below:

Other Specifications

FN Patrol Carbine above steel targets
The FN-15 makes a great AR-15 for the beginner or experienced user due to its proven reliability. (Photo: Rutsen Eagle/Guns.com)

Starting at the FN-branded M4 “waffle stock,” there is not much to see here if you are familiar with quality AR rifles. It’s a collapsible, six-position stock with a fixed sling mount and very aggressive “waffling.” Next up is the H1 buffer, which assists in recoil mitigation and a carbine-length direct-impingement gas system. 

It also has a standard charging handle and an M16-style bolt carrier group that is MP inspected. The receiver is black anodized aluminum with a standard forward assist.

There is nothing “glitzy” about the controls in that there are no ambidextrous or oversized surfaces. Everything is standard but quality. There is a left-side-only safety/selector switch and bolt-release paddle with a right-side-only mag release. The magwell is slightly beveled, aiding in mag changes.

A shooter loads an FN-15 rifle
There is nothing that will sweep you off your feet about the FN Patrol Carbine, but it's easy to maneuver and operate. (Photo: Rutsen Eagle/Guns.com)

The rifle comes with a standard 30-round aluminum magazine. The trigger is FN’s mil-spec combat trigger. Again, it’s nothing exceptional but a good utilitarian trigger. Some might say it is somewhat “squishy,” but it’s not too bad with use. It also has a fairly short reset. The pistol grip is another standard fare with an FN mil-spec grip. The side treatment is acceptable but not amazing.

Topping off the receiver is a 7-inch 1913 Picatinny rail. This is great for optics and easily accepts the included iron sights. Those are metal pop-up sights with a small/medium aperture peep. The foregrip is a Magpul M-Lok polymer two-part handguard. This is great for limited mounting of lights, lasers, vertical grips, etc. The M-Lok system can be a little challenging when mounting any accessories, so just be patient. The Magpul handguard also does a good job of heat dissipation.
 

A Marine in Afghanistan with his rifle
FN firearms have served in some of the harshest conditions and proven their worth. (Photo: Chase Welch)


The A2-style front post with bayonet lug is not my favorite choice, but it’s very utilitarian and robust. This is also the location of the second sling mount. Finishing off the barrel is a standard A2 flash hider with a 1/2x28 thread. All in all, this is a great package right out of the box. I also do mean box, since there is nothing fancy about the packaging that is simply a cardboard box. Still, the gun is ready for immediate action.

At the Range

FN Patrol Carbine
At the range, we experienced no hiccups and lots of joy, all to be expected from FN. (Photo: Rutsen Eagle/Guns.com)

On the range, we were using 77-grain OTM 5.56x45 NATO. It performed flawlessly in the FN with zero malfunctions. We were able to get very good groups just below 1 MOA. It’s a joy to shoot, but the AR platform is one of my favorite rifle platforms. I guess I am somewhat biased, but the high quality of the FN brand and the quality of this FN 15 was obvious and enjoyable.

In general, this AR shoots like most other comparable AR platforms. The FN carbine handled extremely well with easily managed recoil. Of course, the 5.56 round is a light round to begin with.

Within approximately 25 to 30 yards, we were able to get effective hits on our target. Follow-up shots were quick, and center-of-mass hits were very consistent. Depending on your optics – and your abilities – you should be able to get consistently accurate shots out to 400 to 500 yards. Both tactical and slide-lock mag changes were smooth and relatively fast. 

Conclusion


The FN 15 Patrol Carbine is a nice addition to anyone’s basic defensive firearms collection. It comes from a quality company with world-class barrels and a very solid and dependable bolt and trigger system. It can be a workhorse if you are active in law enforcement or military service, but it’s also a great choice for self-defense preparedness. Adding some minor accessories can also give you a go-to rifle for every need.

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