FN Herstal

Fabrique Nationale Herstal (English: National Factory Herstal), self-identified as FN Herstal and often referred to as Fabrique Nationale or simply FN, is a leading firearms manufacturer located in Herstal, Belgium, owned by the holding company Herstal Group which is in turn owned by the regional government of Wallonia.[1] It is currently the largest exporter of military small arms in Europe.[2]

FN Herstal
Founded3 July 1889 (1889-07-03)
FounderHenri Pieper
Area served
Key people
Jean-Sébastien Belle (President)
John Browning
Alexandre Galopin
Dieudonne Saive
ProductsFirearms, Ammunitions
Number of employees
3000 worldwide
ParentHerstal Group
Websitewww.fnherstal.com (Belgium)
www.fnamerica.com (US)
www.fnhuk.com (UK)

Herstal Group also owns U.S. Repeating Arms Company (Winchester) and Browning Arms Company.[1] FN America is the American subsidiary of FN Herstal; FN America was formed by the merger of FN's previous two American subsidiaries: FN Manufacturing and FNH USA.[3] FN Manufacturing, located in Columbia, South Carolina, was the manufacturing branch of FN Herstal in the United States, producing firearms such as the M249 and M240 machine guns and the M16 rifle, among others.[3] FNH USA, located in McLean, Virginia, was the sales and marketing branch of FN Herstal in the United States.[3] After the merger, the facilities in South Carolina and Virginia remained, but with integrated management.[3] A United Kingdom based manufacturing facility FNH UK is now also in operation.

Firearms designed and/or manufactured by FN include the Browning Hi-Power and Five-seven pistols, the FAL, FNC, F2000 and SCAR rifles, the P90 submachine gun, the M2 Browning, MAG and Minimi machine guns:[1] all have been commercially successful.[4] FN Herstal's firearms are used by the militaries of over 100 countries.[5]


FN Herstal originated in the small city of Herstal, near Liège. The Fabrique Nationale d'Armes de Guerre (French for National Factory of Weapons of War) was established in 1889 to manufacture 150,000 Mauser Model 89 rifles ordered by the Belgian Government.[1] FN was co-founded by the major arms makers of the Liège region, with Henri Pieper of Anciens Etablissements Pieper being the driving force and the primary shareholder of the new company. In 1897 the company entered into a long-lasting relationship with John Moses Browning, a well-known firearms designer.[1] FN was an important manufacturer of motor vehicles in Belgium, a development championed by Alexandre Galopin as managing director. Cars were produced in Herstal in the early 1900s until 1935. Production of FN motorcycles continued until 1965, and production of trucks until 1970.[6] In 1973, FN changed its name to reflect a product line diversified far beyond just "weapons of war", adopting the current name of Fabrique Nationale d'Herstal.[7]

One of Fabrique Nationale's handguns, a Model 1910 semi-automatic pistol in 9×17mm (.380 ACP) (serial number 19074) was one of four weapons that were taken from the assassins of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, although it is unknown which of the four weapons fired the fatal round.

John Moses Browning began development of the Browning GP35 'High Power' (sometimes written as Hi-Power) pistol, the GP standing for Grande Puissance or "high power" in French. However, the weapon was finalized by Dieudonné Saive and did not appear until nearly a decade after Browning's death.

The FN Manufacturing LLC plant in Columbia, South Carolina is part of the military division of FN. It is primarily responsible for the production of U.S. military weapons, such as M16 rifles, M249 light machine guns, M240 machine guns, and M2 machine guns.[1]

FN Herstal weapons


Submachine guns



Bolt-action rifles

Machine guns


Helicopter and aircraft weapon systems

  • Mitrailleuse d´Avion Browning - F.N. Calibre 13,2 mm: Heavy airplane machine gun. It was an improved M2 Browning for use in aircraft during WWII. The weapon had increased firerate and fired a more powerful 13.2x99 Hotchkiss cartridge. FN also invented a high velocity high explosive variant of the cartridge just for this weapon.
  • FN HMP250: Heavy Machine Gun Pod. It is a system featuring a .50 cal FN M3P machine gun, a 275-round ammunition box, and a links and cases collector.[17]
  • FN HMP400: Heavy Machine Gun Pod. It is a system featuring a .50 cal FN M3P machine gun, a 400-round ammunition box capacity, and a links or links and cases collector.[17]
  • FN RMP: Rocket Machine Gun Pod. It is system comprising a 12.7mm (.50 caliber) FN M3P machine gun, a NATO Standard 2.75inch/70mm 3-tube rocket launcher and a 400-round machine gun ammunition box.[18]


  • 5.56×45mm SS109: NATO standard 5.56×45mm cartridge.[1]
  • FN 5.7×28mm: Small-caliber, high-velocity cartridge designed for use with the FN P90 PDW and FN Five-seven pistol.[19]
  • EGLM: 40mm Ergonomic Grenade Launcher Module designed for the FN SCAR.
  • FN 303: Less-lethal 17 mm multi-shot projectile launcher.[20]
  • FN 303 P: Pistol version of the less-lethal FN 303 launcher.[21]
  • FN Telgren telescoping shoot-through rifle-grenade.
  • In 1938 the FN modified M1919 Browning aircraft guns to accept MAS shells (modification known as "FN Mle 38")

See also


  1. "Herstal Group: About Us". FN Herstal. Retrieved 2010-06-24.
  2. "Les armes belges, un business juteux" (in French). La Dernière Heure (DHnet). December 31, 2012. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  3. "FN Manufacturing and FNH USA to consolidate U.S. Operations". FN Herstal. June 6, 2014. Archived from the original on August 31, 2017. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
  4. Miller, David (2001). The Illustrated Directory of 20th Century Guns. Salamander Books Ltd. ISBN 1-84065-245-4.
  5. "Report: Profiling the Small Arms Industry - World Policy Institute - Research Project". World Policy Institute. November 2000. Archived from the original on 2017-10-11. Retrieved 2010-07-15.
  6. Francotte, Auguste; Gaier, Claude; Karlshausen, Robert (2008). Ars Mechanica. Herstal Group. ISBN 978-2-87415-877-3.
  7. Stevens, R. Blake The Browning High Power Automatic Pistol. Collector Grade Publications (1990). ISBN 978-0-88935-089-2.
  8. Tirans, Ivars (2009). "Baltic Defence Research and Technology 2009 Conference Proceedings". Military Review: Scientific Journal for Security and Defence (ISSN 1407-1746), Nr. 3/4 (132/133), p 103.
  9. Arnold, David W. "Classic Handguns of the 20th Century: The Browning HI-Power". Handguns Magazine. Archived from the original on 2010-01-07. Retrieved 2010-01-19.
  10. Hogg, Ian (2002). Jane's Guns Recognition Guide. Jane's Information Group. ISBN 0-00-712760-X.
  11. "FN 15® Series - FN®".
  12. "Army Awards New M4/M4A1 Contract to FN - Kit Up!". 23 February 2013.
  13. "IDEX 2015". Archived from the original on 2015-03-16. Retrieved 2015-03-23.
  14. "FN Manufacturing, LLC: Products - MK48 MOD 1". FN Manufacturing, LLC. 2010. Archived from the original on December 4, 2010. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  15. "Fabrique Nationale FN M3P Belt-Fed Vehicle Heavy Machine Gun (HMG)". militaryfactory.com. 18 January 2014.
  16. "FNH USA Shotguns - SLP". FNH USA. 2012. Archived from the original on September 5, 2012. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
  17. "FN HERSTAL - Helicopter and Aircraft Weapon Systems". airforce-technology.com.
  18. "FN HERSTAL - Helicopter and Aircraft Weapon Systems". airforce-technology.com. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  19. "FNH USA Ammunition - 5.7x28mm". FNH USA. 2013. Archived from the original on November 4, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  20. "FNH USA Less Lethal Products - FN 303 System". FNH USA. 2013. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  21. "FNH USA Less Lethal Products - FN 303 P Series". FNH USA. 2013. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
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