Recently I got my hot little hands on one of the new FN America rifles for 2015. This one is the FN-15 DMR or Designated Marksman Rifle. It’s designed to shoot accurately. More specifically, it’s designed to shoot longer and heavier projectiles accurately. Does it? Let’s find out.
What makes a DMR a DMR?
If this rifle claims to be for a designated marksman, then it needs to have marksman-like features and do marksman-ey things exceptionally well. Let’s take a look at the specific characteristics first, then later we’ll get into more detail on accuracy performance.
Right off the bat, you’ll notice that the whole rifle is longer than the typical AR-15. That’s because it has an 18-inch, match-grade barrel. It’s hammer forged, chrome plated and chambered in 5.56mm NATO, so you’re good to go with either .223 Remington or 5.56mm military ammo. Partnered with the extended-length barrel is a mid-length gas system. The longer barrel provides extra velocity over the standard 16-inch barrels with most ammunition while the longer gas system chills out the recoil action noticeably. AR-15s chambered in .223 Remington / 5.56mm NATO don’t have much recoil to start with, but this one takes soft shooting to a whole new level.
Capping the end of the muzzle is a Surefire ProComp 556 muzzle brake. The brake has large side ports which make the rifle somewhat loud near the shooter. There are two small ports on the top of the brake pointing upward and slightly back, presumably to keep the muzzle from rising and enable fast follow up shots. The muzzle brake is plenty effective. While shooting offhand or from the bench, I could detect no real muzzle jump, so staying on target was easy. As nice as the muzzle brake is, the first thing I would do is put a 5.56mm suppressor on this rifle, perhaps something like a SilencerCo Saker 556. Yes, it would make a long rifle even longer, but I’m thinking the combination of the 18-inch barrel, mid-length gas system, and a silencer would make this an exceptionally fun gun. The included Surefire muzzle brake is not suppressor compatible, so I would probably mount a standard flash hider for a suppressor mount. I really can’t imagine that this rifle would start jumping from recoil if I switched from a brake to a flash hider.