Retailers are well aware that many customers want the same guns that they see on television and the movies and that are used by the military. There is just something about having a gun that has been designed for and tested under severe conditions. Some customers want a gun they can trust to last under hard use and some are just collectors of military style guns. But getting a current issue M4 or M16 built to Military Specifications that can be sold in the civilian marketplace is not possible due to current law.

No AR-15 currently made and sold commercially is really Mil-Spec, despite what the manufacturer says. It can’t be because Mil-Spec calls for a select fire gun, and current law says that no gun capable of firing full auto or in bursts that was built after 1986 can be sold on the commercial market. But some manufacturers still call their guns Mil-Spec, and that may be true, but usually only to a certain degree.

Military Specifications for the M4 and M16 not only set forth dimensions, materials and finish, but also how fasteners are secured and what testing must be done on each individual gun. While some manufacturers may adhere strictly to those Mil-Specs that by law they can adhere to, many simply won’t comply with the testing and inspection requirements because to do so would make the product too expensive to compete. So the buyer must beware that what a manufacturer may call Mil-Spec may not be really Mil-Spec.

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But FN America makes M4s and M16s under contract to Uncle Sam, so the company is already set up to fully comply with Military Specifications. Recognizing the demand for military style guns – ones that are as close to Mil-Spec as is lawful – the company recently introduced the Military Collector Series M4 and M16.

“The FN 15 Military Collector M4 and M16 are as MIL-SPEC as you can get without having to enlist,” says FN 15 Product Manager J.P. Reconnu. He goes on to say that there are only four main differences between a real M4 or M16 and the Military Collector M4 and M16.

The commercial guns are, by law, semi-automatic only, although the Military Collector versions are still marked with three selector switch positions, SAFE, FIRE and AUTO. The second difference concerns the M4 which has a permanently attached, instead of a removable, flash suppressor on the end of the 14.5 inch barrel to bring the barrel length up to a legal 16 inches. Also, the real guns are marked with the legend, “Property of the U.S. Government”, which has been omitted from the civilian versions, and fourth, the UID label on the side of the receiver has a QR code that links to the FN America website.

Some ARs currently sold commercially may have more features and accessories, some arguably better than those on a Mil-Spec gun, but there is no question that these Military Collector M4s and M16s appear to be the real deal. Not only are the handguards correct and made by Knight’s Armament, the rear sight is the fully adjustable flip up aperture made by MaTech. And accuracy is much better than called for in the Military Specifications with the two guns received for testing consistently printing groups of around 1.5 inches at 100 yards.

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These Military Collector M4 and M16 guns may be a great sales opportunity for the right retailer. Mark Hanish, Senior Director, Commercial Sales for FN America says, “The M4 and M16 Military Collector guns have been very well received in the market. The initial production run sold out quicker than expected and we are back-ordered on both models awaiting the next production run. These rifles have connected with shooters, collectors, and with the over 2.5 million veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.”

Sales appear to be going well and the demand is there. For more information, contact FN America, 855-536-4872, www.fnamerica.com.

SPECIFICATIONS

FN 15 Military Collector Series

M16

Caliber:                            5.56x45mm

Barrel length:                   20 inches, 1:7 twist

Overall length:                 39.5 inches

Weight:                            8.2 pounds empty

Stock:                               synthetic

Sights:                              A2 style front, adjustable rear

Action:                             direct gas impingement, semiautomatic

Finish:                              black phosphate and anodized

Capacity:                          30 + 1 rounds

Price:                                $1,749

M4

Caliber:                            5.56x45mm

Barrel length:                   16 inch, 1:7 twist

Overall length:                 30.5 to 34.2 inches

Weight:                            6.6 pounds empty

Stock:                               synthetic

Sights:                              A2 style front, adjustable rear

Action:                             direct gas impingement, semiautomatic

Finish:                              black phosphate and anodized

Capacity:                          30 + 1 rounds

Price:                                $1,749