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Old July 15, 2002, 05:36 PM   #1
George Hill
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FN 303 advertisment

The September issue has an ad for the FN 303.
The 303 is a very cool looking machine. It gives you 15 rounds of less than lethal law enforcement... BooYaa!

Wait a sec. It's just a paintball gun. FN has made a paintball gun! I love paintball. I've captained 2 teams and love the sport probably just a touch more than I love actual firearms. You think I'm a gun nut? I can totally geek out about paintball.
From a paintball players perspective, FN's new gun (players call them Marker for some reason) is looking like crap. Sure, it looks cool, and I love the big sights on it... but when it comes right down to it, the design is reflecting a very poor configuration, even for a paintball marker.
15 rounds inside a drum? Who thought that up?
Probably the same cat that put the air tank on the side. How lame is that? Tanks are heavy... Why would you put it out on the side?
I can see why, perhaps, if your a police department that wants to add a paintball marker to its arsenal for tactical delivery of less than lethal force - most paintball markers wont gun it. You have a large bottle of air coming off it with a big 200 round ball hopper sticking up in a weird and untactical way... Regular sporting markers just don't cut it from the SWAT perspective.
And how expensive is this 303? Can you say "Very"?
The marker is .68 caliber... but doesn't use regular paintballs... it uses these:

Odd shaped... that means expensive.
You'll be ending up spending a LOT of money feeding your "weapon system" that is of little advantage over conventional special purpose paintballs. With regular paintballs, you can get marking, water filled, OC, and dang near anything you want in a softgel capsule. (okay, the water filled balls use an actual plastic shell - WOW do those buggers HURT!) Conventional paintballs can be found anywhere and most police supply shops can get you the "good stuff" balls any time you want them. These funky FN rounds are just silly. They claim improved range, double that of regular paintballs. But then again they claim a regular paintball's range is only 20 yards. Feh... I've tagged guys out at over 80. And they have the welts to prove it.

Seriously, if your a police department guy looking at getting "something like this"... Don't.
Let me give you a couple other options.
Low end:

This is the PT-Extreme marker. It's only 150 bucks and gives you 10 shots. You can carry this marker on your hip, or in a tactical thigh holster to get into the area. They are accurate, reliable, and will do the job of hitting the badguy in the face with an ball of OC.
If you want to get a bit mroe agressive and are willing to pay a few extra bucks to have a much better marker than FN's creation... there is this:

The Tagline TS1. A magazine fed select fire marker that can carry 20 to 60 shots. You can get these for 400-500 bucks. Note the air tank is used as the stock and not hanging off the marker in a retarded location. Did I mention that it's select fire?

If anyone wants to talk paintball markers... feel free to ask me about them. I've either owned or used most everything out there.
And if your wanting a new design for a tactical marker for police work - I have a killer design that will put both the Tagline and the FN 303 to shame.
This FN 303 - the more I look at it... the more goofy it gets.

Those PT Extreme Markers would be great training devices for your officers for CQB drills, weapon retention, edged weapon, hostage, any force on force training. In fact, if your NOT using paintball as a training tool - your missing out.
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Old July 17, 2002, 03:20 PM   #2
Jamie Young
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Quote:
15 rounds inside a drum? Who thought that up?
I personally HATE the usually hoppers most paint ball guns come with. If your training for combat, don't you think a 15-30rd drum is more realistic that a 400rd hopper?

Quote:
A magazine fed select fire marker that can carry 20 to 60 shots.
Are these magazines spring loaded like real mags are?

I don't know if a magazine that you have to push paint balls into (under stress...paint ball skirmish stress ) is going to be as practical, as a dump it in, gravity fed, paint ball hopper. What happens if paint ball number 25,out of 30, gets squished when your loading up? Maybe a "drum" isn't so bad???

Quote:
Probably the same cat that put the air tank on the side.
I think they should always be straight out the back. I hate it when your pinned down on the dirt and you've got something sticking 10 inches into the ground.

I really would like to see something other than the periscop hoppers on paint ball guns. The last place I played at, I was elimated during a game, because My hopper got shot.


Quote:
In fact, if your NOT using paintball as a training tool - your missing out.
I totally agree.

The guns got to be a little more realistic though.
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Old July 17, 2002, 05:30 PM   #3
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Ahh, but Soda, it ain't being advertised as a training gun, but rather an less than lethal weapon. In that case I would rather have a 200 round hopper than a 15 shot mag. Even if the hopper sat on top of the gun and was therefore "untacti-cool".

I've seen George's paintball gun design. It is better than this thing.

Plus if you are going to make it so that your gun only fires strange rounds and hold 15 shots, why not make it .80, .90, or .120 caliber? Since you are depending on the ball to deliver a payload, why not send an enormous payload?
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Old July 17, 2002, 11:18 PM   #4
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Do you know if anyone ever designed a "Shotgun Paint ball gun?"

Wouldn't that be cool A pump shotgun that sprayed like 5 balls in every shot.
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Old July 17, 2002, 11:23 PM   #5
George Hill
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It's been tried.... never worked very well at all. Best solution is the Double Rifle, PALMER maked a few and they are killer sweet.
Also, you will notice that both markers I suggest are sans large hopper. Being Tacti-Cool is important. Just ask Tactical Trav.

My paintball design is rather FN P90'ish, but my design was created YEARS before the P90 came out.
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Old July 22, 2002, 10:56 AM   #6
Zahnster
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I remember a pump paintball gun I borrowed from a friend one time at the range that was good for long distances. I could regularly get two shots out of the barrel reliably when I accidently pumped it twice. It was really good for long range and sniping I guess.
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Old July 22, 2002, 01:42 PM   #7
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Finally got my issue and was able to look at the ad. I think I understand why the rounds feed from a mag, and the gas tank is on the side. It is modular, look at it. The grip, sights and buttstock come off. I'm willing to bet money that this thing is set up to clamp under the barrel of an M16 like a 203. That is why there is nothing hanging off the rear, or top.
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Old July 22, 2002, 02:07 PM   #8
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I have one of those selct-fire paintball guns. I never really got into paintball, and it was an impulse puchase that I shouldn't have made.

I never really figured out how to work it, as it's not intuitive and it came with no manual, but instead a video. Did I mention my VCR has been broken for a long time? Yeah.

It's pretty cool, I guess, but more difficult to load than a regular paintball gun, and it holds less shots too. The local paintball range won't allow full-auto fire, so that's nullified. Plus, from what I can tell, the gun needs to be pressurized in order to operate. Fair enough, except I dropped it once and put a tiny crack in the plastic "magazine" underneath the weapon, more or less rendering it inoperable. Hopefully I can get that replaced and get an honest to God manual for the damned thing one of these days.

The "magazine" uses like a feed train system, sort of like a little conveyor belt. I've never got mine to work properly, so I can't tell you how it works.
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Old July 24, 2002, 11:03 AM   #9
fal308
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Correia has it correct. According to FN's USA website it is available"... in stand alone or under barrel version for most assault rifles in service today."
http://www.fnmfg.com/lawenf/xm303/xm303.htm
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Old July 24, 2002, 12:44 PM   #10
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And says so on the ad as well
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Old July 24, 2002, 02:25 PM   #11
George Hill
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Is it just me, or is parking a less than lethal weapon under a lethal weapon a very bad idea?
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Old July 24, 2002, 02:43 PM   #12
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George,

I agree that there should be a clear distinction between the weapon used for lethal force and one for less lethal. Many police departments paint the shotguns used for less lethal force options a bright color so everyone knows what it's for.

I suppose one could argue that mounting a less lethal option is no different then carrying OC and an ASP on the duty belt, but I think you are getting into serious liability issues with a setup like FN is suggesting.

"I really meant to fire the OC cannister" Isn't going to cut it when a mistake like that is made. Better to have one officer employ the OC and have him backed by another officer with the lethal force option.

Just my opinion.

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Old July 24, 2002, 02:55 PM   #13
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"Developed to meet the requirement of US Armed Forces "

Uh, I'm in the armed forces, and I didn't know we had requirements for paint guns...

Do we even have paint guns?
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Old July 24, 2002, 04:33 PM   #14
George Hill
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From personal experience, the MK 19 with a belt of training grenades makes for one hellofa great paintgun.
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Old September 10, 2002, 08:05 PM   #15
owen
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What you guys are missing here is those projectiles are filled with Bismuth. The FN303 projectile weighs 8 grams and is fired at 300 fps. A standard PB weighs only 2 grams and is fired at 300 fps.

The 303 will shoot clear through 1/2 plywood. Before it was toned down to get to the "less lethal" power level, 2 or 3 sheets of 3/4 was not sufficient for a backstop.

As far as the military requirements go, it was destructively tested the same way an assault rifle is, and passed.

I'd tell you how I know, but then I'd have to kill you.
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Old September 10, 2002, 10:02 PM   #16
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you guys are killin' me.....

Sorry George, but I'm with Owen.
I've been a fan of paintball to varrying degrees since the Splatmaster first made it affordable for me to get started, but I've researched and handled the 303 and it is not a paintball gun. (note the period)

I'm due to be certified with the thing by November, with a full review coming in the pages of SWAT.

Personally, I love the idea of an easily deployable less than lethal option in the hands of an entry team member (or two) without depriving them of their primary weapon. Obviously, there are training issues, but that's what comes with options. Strap one of those suckers on the bottom of my M-4, its just another tool in the bag that appears to be easy to carry, well made and effective.


More Later.
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Old September 20, 2002, 09:37 PM   #17
4V50 Gary
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Got to shoot the FN 303 at a recent conference but unfortunately, they didn't give us the range to shoot from a distance (that range was reserved for the rifles).

The 15 round drum magazine isn't hard to load but you do have to maintain tension on the spring as you push the hopper forward to load a round. There is only one "open" port and tension will hold that 15th round into place. Granted it's not as fast to reload as a regular paintball, but the round is not your ordinary paintball.

The rounds are available with various color paints, OC (oleoresin capsicum) and to be released soon, a luminous round (see your perp in the dark). There's also a training round that contains a glycol based substance. It still has bismuth so as to retain the flight characteristics of the other rounds. They appear to be like a shortened Minie ball (Civil War era bullet) but like Owen says, they contain 8 grains of Bismuth in the front end. This is not something you want to whack your friends with in a "friendly" game. The lower portion of the round contains the paint marker itself. There are small fins on the round that appear much like the Brenneke shotgun slug. This is touted to give the FN303 the superior accuracy and range over the normal paintball. This is almost akin to the old smoothbore muskets v. the "rifle-gun" of the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and the Napoleonic Wars.

The gun is fully ambidextrious and the magazine release is located in front of the drum magazine. The safety is a paddle that is within the trigger guard and you merely flip it forward to put it in the "fire" mode. The gun has also been adapted for the AR-15 (in lieu of the grenade launcher) and the new FN 2000 bull pup rifle.

Overall, a nifty "less-lethal" addition to police inventory. Since it can be mounted on an AR, the officer using it can readily transition from "less-lethal" to lethal should the perpetrator fail to respond to lesser force. That means the "less-lethal" officer doesn't have to rely so much on a back-up officer or go through a "transition" drill from "less-lethal" to lethal.
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Old October 3, 2002, 11:06 PM   #18
George Hill
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I'll take a "Timmy" and go head to head against anyone with an FN303 any day.

(yeah, I know that's not the point - but it would be fun!)
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Old October 4, 2002, 04:25 PM   #19
Spectre
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Have Rob bring one of those padded training suits he models in the latest issue- an Ogre-sized one. And an FN 303. Invite Larry and I to moderate and take pictures. Then we write an article giving all four viewpoints as to effectiveness and strong and weak points. Just be sure to give me plenty of lead time to get there...
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Old October 5, 2002, 12:23 PM   #20
4V50 Gary
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With that 8 grains of bismuth up front, the FN 303 is no toy for paint ball games. Stick with that fancy one that George point out. Hey George, where can I get it for?

While it does have the range over the regular paintballs (it's smoothbore v. rifles all over again), another advantage of the FN 303 is that it can be mounted on the AR-15 so that the designated "less-lethal" officer can resort to lethal force without transitioning to a deadly weapon. Normally, the "less-lethal" officer must be backed up by a lethal force officer in case the target is so impolite as to respond to being shot with less-lethal by charging the less lethal officer. The back-up, lethal officer, steps up and intervenes with deadly force. Now, with the FN-303 on the AR, the less lethal officer moves his hand back to the AR grip and flips the safety and "bang bang!" More options, less time.

For the $ though, I'd go with paintball and back the less lethal officer up with an AR or shotgun. That FN is nice, but $$$.
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