Bullpups are often the subject of futuristic media like movies, video games and such. Part of the reason is their design and shape seem so foreign and different from the norm that they seem to have fallen out of a time machine.
The FN FS2000 is one of those guns, originally released in the early 2000s, its strange features and look made it instantly recognizable and set apart.
The FS2000 is certainly unconventional, besides just being a bullpup. Its operating system is one of the most unique around. It uses a gas-operated bolt-carrier, with a canted gas block on a forty-five-degree angle.
It is fed from GI metal Stanag pattern magazines seated behind the trigger and grip. The 17.4-inch barrel is chambered in 5.56 NATO, with a pinned muzzle flash-hider.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the design is its cunning ejection system; much like its sibling the PS90, the FS2000 is completely ambidextrous. This is achieved by mirrored controls on the rifle and an ejection system that captures spent casings at the breach and funnels them forward into a channel where they are expelled from the front of the rifle.
The trigger and safety appear to be the same design as the PS90, with a rotating disc at the bottom of the trigger guard used for selection. The rifle is loaded using a front-mounted charging handle on the left side with a retaining system to prevent involuntary reciprocation.
The FS2000 has seen military service with many countries across the world, often paired with an optical sight made in a polymer housing that can be added to the rifle. I had seen and played with the FS2000 before, but this would be my first time shooting it.
As a bit of a bullpup fan, I was more open to the rifle’s attributes than most, and my initial impressions are quite positive. Time would tell if the FS2000 would join my stable of rifles.
FN FS2000 Overview
Bullpup rifles in general are designed to provide a full-size rifle experience and performance with the size of an SBR or smaller weapon. One of the advantages of this design is you get the energy and ballistics of a full-size rifle while retaining the portability and compact size of a smaller weapon. The FS2000 promises to do all that and provide ambidextrous use, which is ideal for service weapons.
These qualities make the rifle ideal for someone looking for a compact rifle, particularly if they frequently fire the rifle from the right or left or plan to share the weapon with someone who does.
Be aware – bullpups usually produce either feelings of disdain or they become an addiction, just know that before starting down this path.
|Capacity||30 round standard|
|Barrel twist||1 in 7 inches|
|Color options||Black/black, OD Green/black, FDE/black|
Pros & Cons
- Compact size
- Ambidextrous controls and shootability
- Military service record
- Uses GI pattern magazines
- Two-position gas valve
- Uses ONLY GI pattern magazines
- Bulkier than comparable rifles
- Occasional Malfunctions
- Pinned muzzle device
- Singular mag release requires you to strip mag
First Impressions of the FS2000
I was genuinely curious to see how the FS2000 functioned, as I’d seen them many times but never fired one. As I lifted it from the case, I was surprised to find that this model came with a Picatinny foregrip rail and a down grip mounted.
This was a welcome discovery, as I don’t particularly care for the original “tactical tuna” shape of the rifle.
With the rifle shouldered, I could really get a feel for the rifle. It felt much lighter than I had expected it to be. But it was also quite bulky, considering what it was. This made me think there was abundant space inside the shell of the rifle.
It definitely felt and looked like a space gun. I felt like a Starship Trooper on an alien planet. My rifle didn’t come with the FN optical sight, and thank goodness because I think they are hideous. Instead, I mounted a simple Vortex red dot to the top pic-rail of the rifle.
Running the charging handle felt good. The rifle was smooth and felt solid. The trigger and safety left a little bit to be desired, mainly the safety. The disc design makes it easy for right or left-handed operation, so I get why they did it, but it was goofy enough I simply chose to avoid it.
The trigger was certainly serviceable, and considering other bullpups, it’s actually not bad, but if you’re expecting a decent AR trigger pull, you might be let down.
The FS2000 utilizes several different action sealing methods to prevent dirt and other contaminants from getting in the rifle.
A gasket seal protects the magazine area from such debris, but the downside is that the magazines don’t drop free when asked. Like not even close, you have to push up the mag release with the back of your fingers as you grab the magazine, and pull it out to be tossed aside.
I like the operation for a mag stripping and retention drill, but if you are trying to quickly reload it, it will definitely add some time. It would certainly be better to have a mag release you could operate with the trigger finger while drawing your next magazine with your support hand.
More modern-designed bullpups like the IWI Tavor X95 and Desert Tech MDRX use such a system, and I prefer them. (They also use P-mags and other options)
The interesting ejection system of the FS2000 utilizes a nylon shuttle arm to move the spent cases from the bolt face into the ejection channel. This is all done inside the rifle, so FN put a neat little spring-loaded hatch at the breach, just in front of where your cheek rests.
You can quickly open up the hatch to chamber check or inspect for malfunctions.
The rest of the gun is fairly self-explanatory with a cursory visual inspection. A no-nonsense plastic butt-pad and a square peg-like take-down pin for disassembling the rifle are at the rear.
My first few magazines on the range with the FS2000 weren’t what I would call stellar.
The second round out of the rifle caused a pretty good jam, failing to go into battery. After clearing it and starting over, it went smooth for a bit. I like the very modest recoil and the sensation of the bolt carrier cycling the various parts.
Before I could even finish that first magazine, I experienced another malfunction, this one even more nefarious than the first.
A spent case had come out of the nylon shuttle and become wedged between the actuator and the outer shell of the rifle. It did take me some time to get it worked out, but had I been on the bug planet in actual combat, I would have surely been smitten.
I was already slightly irritated with the rifle at this point, but I will say something in its defense. I frequently deal with folks new to certain firearms, and nothing raises my hackles like people that disregard a firearm because they don’t know how to use it properly.
I don’t know if that’s the reason the rifle malfunctioned, but it’s certainly possible that I fudged something causing the issue.
The FS2000 is a service rifle, and using it for hitting man-sized targets inside of three-hundred yards seemed pretty good.
I was able to put the whole thirty rounds on a steel IPSC at two-hundred yards, which isn’t hugely impressive, but the ability to place the shots on the target made it feel very reliable in the accuracy department.
Sub 2 MOA is not unreasonable for a rifle like this, and I believe this rifle can do it.
Shooting the FS2000 was actually a lot of fun, I enjoyed it far more than I expected to. I still feel it is a lot of bulk for such a small rifle. It kind of has a big Nerf gun feel to it. The controls aren’t bad other than the safety, but I rarely use them so it’s a small concern.
Despite my dislike of a few features of this rifle I still found it to be fun and not terribly hard to be proficient with.
As a military-style weapon, ambidextrous controls are a big plus.
The rifle is easily operated right or left-handed, and either way, it will take a little getting used to if you’re coming from an AR-type rifle. I didn’t care for the safety styling, but it works, so that’s up to you.
The seventeen-and-a-half-inch barrel uses a 1-7 twist which will stabilize most ammunition, particularly those designated for military use. The extra inch and a half will probably get you a little better velocity than a standard sixteen-inch barrel, though I was kind of irritated with FN’s pinned flash hider.
It seems like such a Euro thing not to allow your customer a plain, threaded barrel. With more time, I might have pulled out my Dremel and 1776’d that pin so I could Patrick Henry my suppressor on the rifle.
Forward Eject System
The forward ejecting system was interesting; I would have said cool had it not malfunctioned on me. It is a little strange to have a few brass casings rattling around in the rifle and falling out randomly, but it certainly keeps brass out of the face of the shooter.
The front port where the brass actually comes out has a snap-shut door to prevent ingress of debris.
I can’t help but think you’d have been KIA if you had a jam like the one I experienced in the heat of battle. I’d be interested to ask those soldiers who’ve fielded the rifle if they ever experienced the same type of malfunction.
The magazine release makes perfect sense for the way the system is supposed to be run.
As you grab the magazine, you can use the back of your thumb to push the release. Then in almost the same motion, you can strip out the magazine. I found it was pretty easy to get good at the execution, but it still requires you to strip the mag away from the rifle before being able to load a fresh one.
While it’s a pretty slick system, you would be much faster if you could release the magazine while your support hand went for the fresh magazine.
The picatinny foregrip of the rifle gives you many additional accessory options. I really appreciated the vertical down grip instead of the original.
The FS2000’s exterior lines almost make it look like it was made to be towed behind a boat, and the original grip kind of gives you the sensation of grabbing a small boat by the keel. The Picatinny handguard allows the use of other grip styles, as well as adding accessories like weapon lights or other similar devices.
The FS2000 has a built-in pop-up rear sight to use,a front pin can easily be added to the pic rail up front. These are handy if you got in a pinch and had to ditch your primary optic.
Two Position Gas Valve
The FS2000 has a two position gas valve that is easily adjusted by hand, this can be helpful when tuning the rifle for optimal performance with differences in ammunition.
How We Tested
I spent a few days on the range with the FS2000, once in the dry desert and another day in the high Rocky Mountains in several feet of snow. Neither location affected the performance of the FS2000, but it allowed me to get additional insight into the rifle.
Maneuvering the rifle is easier than a longer and more traditional carbine rifle, though for a bullpup it is still a little bulky. The rifle has a significant vertical girth, particularly if any significant optics are installed.
I shot many magazines of 55-grain ammo through the rifle, and I will say it felt great. Unlike generations before me, I don’t dislike the synthetic feeling of plastic and metal working together.
After doing some initial shooting just to see the function of the rifle, I started to have fun with the rifle. I tried doing several reload drills to see how good or bad I could get at it.
Shooting long strings of fire gave me a good feel for how this rifle performs. Soft recoil made it easy to keep on target, and I was able to get hits over and over without fatigue.
The balance of bullpups is something I am familiar with, and the FS2000 is great in that aspect. With most of the weight closer to your shoulder it is easier to keep the rifle up and in the shooting position longer.
Even running the rifle single handedly is not difficult, which could come in handy if you need your other hand for things like opening doors or other tasks.
The ambidextrous nature of the FS2000 made it easy to shoot from the strong or weak side, which also allows the shooter to maintain concealment behind cover if needed.
I fired several hundred rounds through the rifle and was quite pleased with the results, other than the few malfunctions I experienced.
The majority of my shooting was done with PMC Bronze 55-grain ammunition.
The malfunctions I experienced were not helpful at all, though I am open to the possibility that I could have perhaps done something to exacerbate the issue.
I’ve mentioned my dislike of the safety. The peculiar standard foregrip and teacup grip aren’t exactly my thing, but your results may vary.
This is another hard spot for the FS2000. Being a singular rifle, there are fewer aftermarket accessories for the rifle. The Picatinny sight rail and the Picatinny foregrip do enhance the ability to customize the rifle somewhat. But nothing like you would with an AR.
I’m not a huge fan of the looks of the rifle, but you can’t deny the rifle has a futuristic and interesting aesthetic.
And I think those rifles provide a bit more value, custom options, and performance. Honestly, I think unless you are a hardcore FN fan or a collector, it would be a hard choice to spend the money on this rifle.
The FS2000 definitely deserves a good sight. I used a Vortex Strikefire II, which worked quite well with the rifle.
I would absolutely get the Picatinny foregrip for the rifle, it enhances your options for accessories and grip options.
A simple sling like the Vtac from 5.11 allows you to wrap the butt of the rifle with the sling, which is handy for the FS2000.
You’ll want spare magazines for this rifle, and P-mags won’t work. So I used some of the Brownells Aluminum AR15 magazines with success.
I’ve already mentioned the Desert Tech MDRX as a good alternative.
It has a more modern forward ejection system, still completely ambidextrous like the FS2000, the ability to change from large and small frame rifle calibers. It comes with a lifetime warranty.
The IWI Tavor X95 is another good alternative with a distinguished military service record. There is no forward eject option, but it can be reversed right or left.
The affordable rifle is compatible with most magazines and has a strong aftermarket for accessories and upgrades.
Check out our X95 review here.
The Springfield Hellion is another good option; while it is reversible in its ejection system, it, too, has a few odd controls.
A rear-mounted mag release and squeeze to operate bolt-release aren’t as practical as the push-button style used by the other two alternatives. But the rifle is a strong performer again with a military history as the second generation VHS from Croatia.
The FN FS2000 is quite famous due to its futuristic looks and proliferation in some military circles and certainly in video games.
While I did end up liking the rifle more than I anticipated, I think that it was a futuristic rifle for a future that has already passed.
The somewhat awkward controls and bulkiness of the rifle are slightly offset by reasonable accuracy and very soft shooting. The engineering behind the rifle is interesting and deserves recognition, but the end product doesn’t seem to be worth the cost. This is coming from a guy who is a huge bullpup fan.
While if I was forced to fight with such a rifle, I would not feel outgunned. But in the real world, if I was given a choice between the FS2000 and a comparably priced AR-15 or one of the other bullpups I’ve mentioned here, I would probably leave the little FS2000 on the rifle rack.
What do you think of the FS2000?