One of the most popular spots on the SHOT Show floor appears to be at the FN America booth’s Military Collector’s Series display. Now, two of the guns in the series are the FN 15 Military Collector M16 and the FN 15 Military Collector M4. Each of these guns is a semi-auto civilian replica of the gun used in by the military. The M4 model has a 16-inch chrome-lined 1:7” twist barrel, an A2-style compensator, 6-position adjustable stock, and an ambidextrous selector switch. It also has a Knights Armament M4 Rail Adapter System with rail covers. The M16 model has a 20-inch barrel, also with a 1:7-inch RH twist, A2 compensator, and ambidextrous selector. It has a fixed A2-style full rifle stock and a Knights Armament M5 RAS with covers. Each has an MSRP of $1,749. Both are as close to the real thing, made by the real manufacturer, as consumers are going to get.
The buzzing crowd, however, is drawn to the display by the weapon above the M4 and M16 replicas. It’s the FN M249S, a civilian semi-auto replica of the military’s M249 Squad Automatic Weapon. The civilian SAW is, like its Military Collector Series brothers, virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. It has a 20.5-inch cold hammer-forged barrel with quick-change capability and a removable heat shield. The receiver has a formed steel frame with a carrying handle and a folding bipod, a flip-up feed tray cover, and top rail system. The stock is ergonomic polymer. It has a crossbolt safety, operates from closed-bolt, and has a non-reciprocating charging handle. It can operate either belt-fed or using standard AR magazines. In short, the FN M249S is truly a civilian SAW and it immediately went onto everyone’s wish list. Like its combat zone brother, though, the FN 249S has a well-known drawback: it weighs in at 17 pounds and almost everyone posing for photos with it comments on the heft. It probably won’t be chosen for 3-gun competitions. The FN M249S has an MSRP of $7,999
Further down the hall, the Crimson Trace LinQ combines a green laser and a 300-lumen white light in a small unit that mounts on the bottom rail of an AR-style rifle. That isn’t particularly noteworthy these days, but the LiNQ’s control system is worth a second look. No wires snaked along the handguard or pressure switches Velcroed in the least inconvenient spot here. The LiNQ uses a wireless connection embedded in the included pistol grip to control the laser and light. An instinctive activation button is located on the grip right below the trigger guard, making operation almost automatic.
Switches on the side of the grip allow easy cycling of the unit’s modes: Laser + Light, Laser Only, Light Only, and Laser + Strobe. The grip itself is made of waterproof polymer and has a sync indicator and a master on/off switch. It takes only a minute to familiarize oneself with the operation and then it feels instinctive. Under pressure, that split second can make all the difference in the world. The demo unit at the show had a smooth pistol grip unit but the final production model will likely have textured panels for a better grip. Crimson Trace expects it to be available late this summer and it will have an MSRP of $549.