Mike (Garand Thumb) has gotten one of his dream guns. The FN FNC carbine was designed and produced in the 1970’s to compete against the emerging 5.56 rifles sweeping into NATO service. It came after the FN CAL which was FN’s first 5.56, and a market failure. They tried to capitalize on the success of the FAL but also tried to save money on production because the FAL was expensive to make. The CAL was also, it turned out in the end. The FN FNC was a proposed solution but it didn’t do well in trials.
The development continued and it was eventually adopted by Belgium in 1989 where it would serve until replaced by the SCAR in 2004. In many respects it was a refined AK design that took the AR magazine to compete against the AR. Longstroke rotating bolt gas piston with a folding stock option.
But.. it was heavy. 8.5 lbs slick. vs 6.4lbs for the M16. Nations weren’t interested. Many developed their own home grown solutions. The L85, the FAMAS, the AUG, etc. or they didn’t give up their FALs and G3’s at all.
But it’s an interesting, aesthetic, and well developed piece in late 20th century small arms. And where it was originally designed to undercut the price of AR-15’s they now go for many times the cost of a quality AR. Such is the way of the markets.