In the unique world of bullpups, pretty much everybody knows each other. There are several popular bullpups on the market, and today we are reviewing one of the popular from the recent past. The FN Herstal FS2000 bullpup was produced for almost 20 years and has seen service in various militaries across the world. 

If you don’t know what a bullpup is, let’s get that out of the way first.

A bullpup firearm is one where the action is located behind the trigger, versus in front of the trigger. The idea is to reduce the overall footprint of the weapon, but bullpups are often snubbed due to inherent complications of the design.


Table of Contents

The FS2000
Let’s See It!
Controls
Specs
Range Time
Pros & Cons
Conclusion

The FS2000

 

Sometimes dubbed the "tactical tuna," the FS2000 is short but stocky. That funky shape is even more obvious when parked alongside Springfield Armory's Hellion (inset photo). (Photo: Jeff Wood/Guns.com)


The FS2000 is a 5.56 NATO carbine designed for military and police use. The rifle uses a 17.5-inch barrel tucked deep into its bullpup chassis to shorten the platform. The gun uses Stanag pattern magazines, but as far as I can tell only works with the metal GI type. 

The action uses a short-stroke gas piston, a rotating bolt, and an interesting forward ejecting system to make this bullpup truly ambidextrous. With the action next to the face, it would be unpleasant to have brass ejecting out the side if you are left-handed.

The FS2000 has a unique look that has earned it several nicknames such as the “tactical tuna.” Like the other FN bullpup, the P90, the FS2000 features an ambidextrous safety. A small disc located at the bottom of the trigger guard can be rotated from either side with the trigger finger to engage or disengage the safety. 

The charging handle is located on the front left side of the rifle and uses a claw detent to keep it in place. The bolt does not lock back on the last round, so there isn’t a bolt release.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the rifle is at the breech. Since the chamber end of the barrel is deeply covered inside the rifle, there is a spring-loaded trap door just in front of the cheek rest that the operator can open to see the breech and clear any malfunctions.

The rifle features a great deal of sealing designs to prevent the ingress of debris into the rifle. All points of ingress have their own way of closing off, such as gaskets in the mag well and a closed ejection port. 

The rifle weighs in just shy of 8 pounds at 7.9 pounds, and overall length is 29.25 inches. The compact size of the rifle promises to give the user more maneuverability and mobility in action.
 

Let’s see it!

 

The "tactical tuna" nickname always seemed fitting. (Photo: Jeff Wood/Guns.com)


When I opened the box containing the FS2000, I was surprised to find that it had been shipped with both the original foregrip panels and a Picatinny-railed foregrip to accept other accessories. The vertical grip gave better purchase for me than the traditional smooth forearm panels, so I left it installed for the purposes of the review.

The gun seemed lighter than I expected, but I think that’s because it appears bigger and bulkier than it should be. There seems to be a lot of empty space inside. As I lifted the gun to my shoulder, I was surprised by two things. First, I enjoyed the feel of the rifle much more than expected based on my experience with the PS90. And second, it felt rather bulky compared to similar firearms, whether bullpup or conventionally configured.
 

Controls

 

The appeal of the once sought-after battle rifle from FN won me over on the range. (Photo: Jeff Wood/Guns.com)


I ran the charging handle a few times to get a feel for the rifle. I have grown to like the feel of metal and polymers functioning in unison. The FS2000 felt smooth and locked up tight. I gave the trigger a few squeezes to see how it felt. I’ve felt a few bullpup triggers in my day, and this one was not too shabby. There are certainly better triggers, but this one was serviceable.

I gave the remaining controls a once-over. I didn’t care for the safety much – which, again, was no surprise. The mag release is another curious design. It’s a button just in front of the magazine well that you can depress with the edge of your hand while gripping the magazine. It is pleasant to use if you are stripping the mag with intent to retain it, but if you are reloading a fresh mag, it will slow you down. It requires you to strip the mag with your support hand, then grab a fresh mag to insert.

The muzzle of the 17.5-inch barrel is pinned – eye roll – with a muzzle brake, which is not my preference. The gas block has two settings I would have loved to try with a suppressor, but I guess that’ll only happen in my dreams.


Specs

 

  • Barrel length: 17.5 inches
  • Overall length: 29.25 inches
  • Weight: 7.9 pounds
  • Caliber: 5.56x45mm NATO/.223 Rem
  • Magazine: 30-round detachable box magazine
  • Action: Semi-auto short-stroke gas piston system with rotating bolt
  • Barrel: Cold hammer-forged, chrome-lined, with ported muzzle brake
  • Controls: Left-side charging handle, ambidextrous controls
  • Ejection: Unique forward-firing system
     

Range Time

 

The FS2000 had no issues staying on target ... (Photo: Jeff Wood/Guns.com)


It was time to install a red dot and get this thing to the range. Once upon a time, the FS2000 was available with a 1.6X sight attached. The pictures alone made me shudder, so I’m glad I had my own. I dropped a simple Vortex red dot onto the rifle. After gathering up some ammunition, I was on my way to the range.

It had been a minute since I’d loaded some old metal GI mags, but it felt nostalgic. I loaded the magazines with some PMC Bronze 55-grain ammo and began firing my first magazine. A handful of rounds in, the rifle stopped. That old familiar feeling of the bolt not going into battery told me something was up. 

 
... though reloading can be a bit awkward. (Photo: Jeff Wood/Guns.com)


The cunning mechanical device that grabs the spent case and pushes it into the long ejection chute had jammed. The spent case managed to get turned around inside the receiver and bound up, causing quite a disturbance in my shooting. After clearing the case, I finished out the mag and loaded another.

While shooting the rifle, I enjoyed the feel of it. I had no trouble hitting an IPSC target with every round in the magazine at 200 yards – something every battle rifle should be able to do.

Through the rest of my range time that day, the gun ran almost flawlessly. I had one more malfunction as a round got bit going into the chamber, though I’m not sure I could blame that one on the gun. I must admit that I enjoyed the gun much more than I expected, and I’m even a bullpup fan.
 

Pros & Cons

One of my biggest gripes with gun owners is when they discount certain firearms or types of firearms based solely on negligent testing and arbitrary opinions. It’s easy to throw smoke at bullpups. They already get shamed for their looks, so if they aren’t 100-percent perfect in their function, they are quickly discarded.

As a bullpup fan, even I found myself quick to dismiss the FS2000. But I was quickly turned around by its smooth impulses and pleasant shooting. 

Despite my positive experience with the rifle, I must be fair to its critics. There are several awkward things about this gun – the bulk and controls seem to be the most of it for me. I didn’t care for the safety, mag release process, magazine compatibility, and failure to lock back on empty.

In its favor, the rifle was accurate enough to be useful, completely ambidextrous for those lefties out there, and despite the awkward controls, I still enjoyed the rifle quite a bit.

Pros: 

  • Ambidextrous controls
  • Unique ejection pattern
  • Smooth and pleasant to shoot
  • Accurate

Cons:

  • Bulky design
  • Awkward controls
  • Ejection pattern could cause malfunctions
  • Fails to lock back on empty
     

Conclusion


Yes, I enjoyed the FS2000. Although I’m already a bullpup fan, I found something new shooting with this gun. I’ve heard many people of the opinion that military service is some kind of indicator of a firearm’s suitability for severe duty, and the FN FS2000 certainly has seen much service across the world. 

And yet I felt a smidge let down, because I’ve gotten to experience better-suited rifles that those same people would call insufficient for service. The FS2000 is a fun rifle, but I don’t think I could see myself paying the money for just a fun range plinker. 

revolver barrel loading graphic

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