FN Herstal

FN Herstal, S.A.
Native name
French: Fabrique nationale d'Herstal
Formerly called
Fabrique Nationale
Industry Firearms
Founded July 3, 1889 (1889-07-03)
Founder Leopold II
Henri Pieper
Headquarters Herstal, Wallonia, Belgium
Area served
Key people
Jean-Sébastien Belle (President)
John Browning
Alexandre Galopin
Dieudonne Saive
Products Firearms, Ammunitions
Parent Herstal Group
Website www.fnherstal.com (Belgium)
www.fnamerica.com (US)

Fabrique Nationale d'Herstal (French for: National Factory of 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, and is owned by the holding company Herstal Group which is owned by the regional government of Wallonia.[1] It is currently the largest exporter of military small arms in Europe.[2]

FN is a subsidiary of the Belgian Herstal Group, which also owns U.S. Repeating Arms Company (Winchester) and Browning Arms Company.[1] FN Herstal is the parent company of two United States entities: FN Manufacturing and FNH USA.[1] FN Manufacturing, located in Columbia, South Carolina, is the manufacturing branch of FN Herstal in the United States, producing firearms such as the M249 and M240 machine guns and M16 rifle, among others.[1] FNH USA, located in McLean, Virginia, is the sales and marketing branch of FN Herstal in the United States.[1]

View of the factory site

Firearms designed and/or manufactured by FN include the Browning Hi-Power pistol, Five-seven pistol, FAL rifle, FNC rifle, F2000 rifle, P90 submachine gun, M2 Browning machine gun, MAG machine gun, and Minimi machine gun[1]all of which have been very successful for the company.[3] FN Herstal's firearms are used by the armed forces of over 100 nations.[4]


1913 FN motorcycle with four-cylinder in-line engine and shaft drive

FN 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.[5] 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.[6]

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 actually 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

FN Five-seven pistol with 5.7×28mm cartridges
FN P90 submachine gun
FN FNC rifle equipped with bayonet
U.S. sailor fires an M240B, a U.S. version of the FN MAG, adopted for infantry use in the 1990s
Early M249 manufacture of FN Minimi
FN 5.7×28mm cartridges as used in P90 submachine gun and Five-seven pistol


Submachine guns


Bolt-action rifles

Machine guns


Helicopter and aircraft weapon systems


See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 "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. 1 2 Miller, David (2001). The Illustrated Directory of 20th Century Guns. Salamander Books Ltd. ISBN 1-84065-245-4.
  4. "Report: Profiling the Small Arms Industry - World Policy Institute - Research Project". World Policy Institute. November 2000. Retrieved 2010-07-15.
  5. Francotte, Auguste; Gaier, Claude; Karlshausen, Robert (2008). Ars Mechanica. Herstal Group. ISBN 978-2-87415-877-3.
  6. Stevens, R. Blake The Browning High Power Automatic Pistol. Collector Grade Publications (1990). ISBN 978-0-88935-089-2.
  7. 1 2 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.
  8. Arnold, David W. "Classic Handguns of the 20th Century: The Browning HI-Power". Handguns Magazine. Retrieved 2010-01-19.
  9. 1 2 Hogg, Ian (2002). Jane's Guns Recognition Guide. Jane's Information Group. ISBN 0-00-712760-X.
  10. http://kitup.military.com/2013/02/army-awards-m4m4a1-contract-fn.html#more-23457
  11. http://fnherstal.com/primary-menu/news/press-releases/2015/idex-2015.html
  12. 1 2 "FN Manufacturing, LLC: Products - MK48 MOD 1". FN Manufacturing, LLC. 2010. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  13. . militaryfactory.com. 18 Jan 2014 http://www.militaryfactory.com/smallarms/detail.asp?smallarms_id=820. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. "FNH USA Shotguns - SLP". FNH USA. 2012. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
  15. 1 2 "FN HERSTAL - Helicopter and Aircraft Weapon Systems". airforce-technology.com.
  16. "FN HERSTAL - Helicopter and Aircraft Weapon Systems". airforce-technology.com. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  17. "FNH USA Ammunition - 5.7x28mm". FNH USA. 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  18. "FNH USA Less Lethal Products - FN 303 System". FNH USA. 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  19. "FNH USA Less Lethal Products - FN 303 P Series". FNH USA. 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
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