Originally Posted By PalmettoStateArmory:
Originally Posted By ArmedLibertarian:
Isn't FN barred in their contract with DoD to compete with civilian AR manufacturers?
For the record, we have no idea what lurks in contracts FN has signed with the DOD, or anyone else for that matter, and I suspect few people do.
We get our FN barrels the way many other AR makers do. They are first run, top quality products, purchased through legal channels.
I don't doubt this, and it sounds like you may not have the answer yourselves, but I too am curious as to how FNMI gets around the contract details that prevent them from otherwise profitting from proprietary information contained in the M16 TDP.
I do know that I have toured the FNMI plant in Columbia, and know first hand that PSA is not the only company they provide barrels for.
I don't suspect FNMI or PSA are doing anything shady, but people at FNMI have told me directly that they are not allowed to sell M16s, AR15s, and components commercially due to contract obligations - because the M16 TDP is proprietary information, and their contract specifically states that they cannot sell anything utilizing propriety information provided under that contract for commercial sales.
For starters, I believe that this is the biggest reason we will never see an FN branded commercial AR15 - they burden of proof would have to fall on them to prove that no part of the TDP was used in the development of a commercial AR15, something that would be quite difficult to do.
I suspect that they can get around being a barrel source for other manufacturers based on the fact that they do not generate the specifications (the TDP) for the components they produce. PSA, or one of the other companies comes to FNMI with drawings and specs that they have already generated - and ask FNMI to turn them on their machinery. Since the entities that have contracted with FNMI to produce barrels do not have access to the TDP provided to FN, when FN produces the barrels and profits from their manufacture, they are not profitting from proprietary TDP information, they are simply profitting from their manufacturing capabilities and ability to manufacture barrels that meet a customer's specifications.
This is even for CHF barrels since military (TDP) barrels are not CHF, which is why (I suspect) most of the AR barrels that FN makes for the commercial market are in fact CHF barrels, not button cut profiles.
Since the SCAR was developed by FN, and furthermore, no stipulation was included in the SCAR contracts about the SCAR TDP being government property and that FN could not profit commercially from them, they are free to sell SCARs using information from the TDP. The real reason that FNMI's M16 contracts come with that stipulation, is because it is legitimately protecting propriety information developed by Colt. If that stipulation didn't exist, what would there have been to stop FN or any other company bidding on the M16 contract to just undercut Colt on unit costs, just so they could get their hands on the TDP and start cranking out rifles and selling them commercially?
A "milspec" PSA barrel made by FN, I would think, would necessarily be a breach of contract for FN. So, that's not what you get. You get a PSA-spec barrel. How similar or not PSA's specs happen to be to milspec is irrelevant as far as the contract is concerned.
That being said, FN can be a provider to customers, because they can just use the customer's specs, and not the TDP - it would be much more difficult for them to commercially produce their own line of AR15s, because you would have to totally segregate the engineers working on the AR15 from those working on the M16s and prove that none of the "AR15 Team" had ever seen the TDP, or maybe even talked to one of the "M16 Team" in the break room and gotten proprietary information from them.