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Author Topic: FN C1  (Read 6725 times)
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« on: May 15, 2009, 09:47:00 pm »

I remember the day the FNC1 entered service, at least for me.  When I became an army cadet in 1956 and then a militiaman in 1957 we trained on the entire family of WWII small arms -- .303cal. Lee Enfield Mark 4 Number One Star (my first rifle number was 31L8551), Bren Gun and Sten Gun.  On our first parade after the start of the new training season, likely on or about 15 September, 1957, we were introduced to these long cardboard boxes, bound around both ends by steel bands which, once cut and the box opened, revealed a true marvel of the modern military world.

It was like stepping into a science fiction movie, moving from the old reliable Lee Enfield, with its bolt-action, 10-round box magazine of rimmed cartridges and spike bayonet to this new wonder.  Putting it to use required a whole new approach because, although it weighed about the same as the rifle it replaced, it was different in every respect.  Training seemed to take forever because there was so much to learn -- safety precautions, stripping and assembly, care and cleaning, holding, aiming and firing, fixing and unfixing the bayonet, and especially rifle drill, were all new.  I had been a marksman with the Lee Enfield and after much practice I was finally able to achieve the same results with the new weapon -- but not until I traded my first rifle for one with the proper butt length.  I had grown some and didn't realize I now needed and extra-long, which put the rear sight at the proper distance from the eyeball and made the aim more precise.  The drill got easier, too, because after I got over no longer sloping arms, I no longer had to bend over on my right side to grasp the foresight while standing at attention or at ease or preparing the first shoulder-arms movement.  And on the range, the new weapon was a thing of beauty, especially when used in mass rapid fire.  Where we used to be able to get away 10 rounds of aimed fire from the Lee Enfield as fast as we could work the bolt before having to recharge the magazine, with the new weapon we could fire 20 rounds, change the magazine and let go another 20 rounds, in the same or less time.  Compared to the old rifle, it made you feel like Superman.

I retired just as the new family of 5.56mm small arms was being issued so I consider myself fortunate to have seen three entirely different sets of weapons carried by the Canadian Army.  aldi
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