I’m a polymer-framed 9 mm pistol kind of guy. Well, at least I fancy myself one. Truth be told, I haven’t shot enough of them to have the depth of experience to really qualify as a polymer pistol “guy.” But I’m working on it. And when Nick threw me the keys to his FNS 9 for an unspecified amount of time, it seemed like a good time to put another check on the list. Who knew that I’d find a new favorite polymer gun in the process? . . .

Some of the writers on here can just make a review flow flawlessly from one section to another. Me, I like to take the pilot’s approach: checklists. So let me outline some of the more important qualities I look for in a gun, and tell you how the FNS-9 fared in those categories.

FNS-9 (courtesy Tyler Kee for The Truth About Guns)

Reliability

When I asked Nick how many rounds his FNS had down the pipe, he made a vague hand waving motion and said, “Ehhhh like 4000, maybe 5000. I cleaned it at 2500. I do know that.” Leave it up to Leghorn to torture test a gun. To be clear, little maintenance, some oil, thousands of rounds and Nick reports that in that time, the only failure he reported was a hesitation in returning to battery when the gun was absolutely filthy. So long as it was clean, he says, it ran like a Swiss clock. Or a Belgian clock for that matter.

Naturally, I needed to put the gun through its paces as well to confirm Nick’s findings. Not that I don’t trust him, but a year of drinking the blue and white Kool-Aid can do strange things to people. But in my further several hundred rounds of testing I also experienced zero failures of any kind. Check and check.

Accuracy

Originally, I thought the FNS-9 might not be as accurate as my EDC XD(m) as it was throwing some wide groupings. Once I got used to the trigger, and really focused on my technique, I was able to produce some pretty great five-shot groups. In my opinion, it seems like the FNS-9 is capable of some great feats of accuracy.

IMG_8563
7 yards – 115 gr. Blazer

For me, a group like this one is pretty good. In fact, it’s better than I can get out of my other handguns. From the ground up, the FNS-9 seems better suited to me and my shooting style and lets me get the most accuracy I can out of the gun. But while I’m pretty accurate with it, Leghorn’s endless days of practice seem to have paid off.

IMG_8586
7 yards – 124 gr. American Eagle – shot by Nick Leghorn

Nick shot a single ragged 5-round group (with one flier) from that same 7-yard distance.

There’s no doubt that the cold hammer forged barrels in FN’s guns are well made. In fact, Nick reported witnessing a friendly shooting competition between Larry Houck and Tommy Thacker where they went head to head on a steel silhouette target at 100 yards with an FNS-9, rarely dropping a shot. And even after thousands of rounds down the pipe and being neglected in the bottom of a range bag all year, Nick’s FNS-9 still is as accurate as the day it arrived.

Sights

FNS-9 front sight (courtesy Tyler Kee for The Truth About Guns)

This particular FNS has the optional Trijicon night sights, but the factory standard are regular three-dotters. I found them to be very crisp, easy to use and their nighttime visibility is typical Trijicon. They’re bright without being blinding and easy to pick up in low-light and darkness.

IMG_9316

One thing that took some adjustment is that the point of impact differs from the point of aim by approximately two inches (low) at  seven yards. In the orange targets above, I lined up the horizontal plane of the top orange box with the top line of the sights to hit the bullseye. Nick confirms that he spent the entire competition season lining up the top of the rear sight with the middle of the front sight dot to address this problem.

IMG_9312

Tacticool operators will notice that the rear sight doesn’t have a flat or hook to use for one handed slide manipulations. I can take it or leave it, but I’d prefer to have the lip there in case I ever have to move my slide using my belt, shoe, or a countertop. One very nice thing about that rear sight is the V-shaped notch.

With my arm length, you can pick up some light between the edge of the front and rear sight which can be used to perfectly center the front sight between the rear. In my opinion, the V helps center the front sight perfectly because you can compare the amount of light coming through the V. This goes largely unnoticed when shooting quickly, but if the need for a great deal of accuracy is required, the V helps makes sure the front and rear are perfectly centered. Great work, Trijicon.

Controls

FNS-9 (courtesy Tyler Kee for The Truth About Guns)

All control are ambidextrous which our southpaw friends will appreciate. Yay!

The slide release is similarly small but that’s of minor concern since most training I’ve had or read advises manipulating the slide vs. relying on the slide release. I prefer it small and inconsequential so it doesn’t get in the way. This one obliges.

The trigger guard is quite generous which is nice for folks with big fingers, or those using gloves. Speaking of triggers, this is one of my favorites. In my overview video, I show the travel profile and find the break to come (crisply) at 5.25 lbs. There’s a decent amount of take-up which is common among striker-fired pistols. You hit a wall with just a smidge of creep, and then it breaks with very little overtravel.

Reset is audible, doesn’t require much travel and there seems to be a bit of spring tension to “push” your finger forward. This makes “riding the reset” very easy and almost impossible to short stroke. Obviously, this gun has thousands of rounds through it, and the trigger has settled in. Michael Stephenson’s review of the FNS-40 Long Slide indicated that his trigger was gritty and heavy out of the box. Mine has a little more mileage on it. Yours – mileage, that is – could vary.

Last, the slide is covered in sharp serrations and the frame has plenty of aggressive stippling. This helps with the overall control on the FNS-9 and makes holding on quite easy, and slide manipulation a breeze.

IMG_9305

My feelings on guns with manual safeties mirror my feelings on drinking tequila. If you don’t, don’t. If you do, go big. When I think of manual safeties, I think of one of those big-ass flippers on a 1911. Fine motor skills are notorious for being nonexistent in a stressful situation, and the FNS safety requires some detail work to manipulate.

To be clear, I never had issues flipping the safety off in my testing, but I wasn’t on an adrenaline dump with my hands covered in gore like a true operator. I also realize that this pistol was initially marketed to law enforcement and they usually require a manual safety. Also, the FNS, like the M&P, is available without a manual safety, too. Still, if you have it, make it big.

Form

In the last few years, manufacturers have started taking advantage of interchangeable backstraps to help customize the size of the grip to the shooter’s hand. My M&P came with three, my Gen 4 GLOCKs come with four, and my XD(m) came with three. Those three brands all use some variation of a pin to hold the backstraps in place.

IMG_9291

The FNS uses two sliding plates (small & large) held with a spring-loaded plastic tab. Its a cool little system, but I worry that regular backstrap changes might break the spring loaded tab rendering the frame worthless until you’ve glued it back in place.

IMG_9322

Bore axis is low enough that shooting is a dream with very reasonable recoil, and the small beavertail keeps the slide from destroying your hand. The FNS-9 fits my hand well and the controls are in easy-to-reach places. I’m impressed with the layout and attention to detail. It seems that serious thought went into every component, and the end result is a great shooting machine.

GLOCK 19 Comparison

I’ve never been a GLOCK guy, but I own one now (the 19 pictured), and I’m going to make an honest effort to spend some time and give it a fair shake over the course of the year. Part of that is that the 19 is the gold standard when it comes to EDC guns. As a writer for the most popular gun blog in the world, I need to be able to compare pistols I’m reviewing to a gun that most people have handled. Having not done a lot of GLOCK 19 shooting, the followiing impressions are based on a lot of dry fire and manipulation in my house with the shades drawn.

IMG_9328
Slide length is very close

That said, the GLOCK is playing second fiddle to the FNS. First, the GLOCK is a piggy little bastard. Try as I might, I can’t seem to feel like I have a firm grip on it. All of that is due to my small(ish) hands. I wear medium gloves and run all my pistols and AR 15 grips in the smallest setting. If you have big hands, congrats, the world is your oyster. But if you have small hands like me, or 90% of the women out there a GLOCK is not always your friend. The FNS feels different. It seems so much thinner and easier to get a grip on.

Second, the stock sights on the 19 are not nearly as nice as a set of Trijicons. I know. I know. The Trijicons are aftermarket, but they come as a factory option, something GLOCK doesn’t offer. I think those sights and FN’s build quality contribute to the much better accuracy I am able to achieve with the FNS.

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Third, the FNS packs two extra rounds in a package approximately the same size as the GLOCK. That may not sound like a lot, but nobody ever left a gunfight wishing they brought less ammo. Assuming that each bad guy in a theoretical scenario takes three shots to go down, the FNS lets you hit six before you run out versus five plus one extra bullet. Or something like that. Anyhoo, more is better.

Last, I like the trigger better on the FNS. And yes, that’s about the most subjective argument I can make. The Gen 4 GLOCK has some aggressive texturing on the the trigger shoe that seems to rough up my delicate digits. The FNS doesn’t. And I like the tactile feel of the FNS better. You may disagree with me when it comes to stock GLOCK triggers, and I fully admit that I’m not the authority on what makes the perfect striker-fired trigger. I can only tell you that I prefer the FNS.

Final Thoughts

There’s not much more you can ask of a pistol than to hold 17 + 1 rounds in a fairly compact, concealable package, that also boasts great accuracy and provides nearasdamnit flawless reliability. I don’t love the manual safety, but I understand why it’s there. The trigger has a secondary safety so you can choose to carry with the manual safety off if you’d like or buy the version without the safety altogether.

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Specifications: FNS-9 with Night Sights

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Operation: Striker fired
  • Sights: Fixed 3-dot or Fixed 3-dot night (tested here)
  • Magazine: 10 or 17 rds. (17 rounds tested)
  • Advertised Weight: 25.2 oz. (empty)
  • Measured Weight: 24.7 oz with unloaded magazine
  • Measured Weight of slide/barrel/recoil spring: 14.85 oz.
  • Barrel Length: 4.0″
  • Advertised overall length: 7.25″
  • Measured grip width: 1.21″
  • Measured grip length: 2.06″
  • Available in Standard and Manual Safety
  • Made in the USA
  • Price: $591.22 (Bud’s Guns)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Reliability * * * * *
Given the mileage already on the gun, for the purposes of this review, I only fed the FNS a few hundred rounds of mixed FMJ and HP in weights from 115 gr. to 147 gr. Zero hiccups along the way, and Nick reports that he saw no real failures during the competition season.

Disassembly * * * * *

I didn’t address this in the formal review because there’s not much to say. Pull the slide back, rotate the takedown lever, let the slide forward. Disassembly complete. Further teardown of the slide can be accomplished with a small pick if you’re feeling very serious about cleanliness. But as Leghorn proved, obsessive cleanliness isn’t necessary for reliability.

Accuracy * * * * *

I feel confident that the FNS can outshoot me. Mostly because I watched Nick outshoot me with it. Ragged five-shot groups at seven yards are well within the capabilities of the FNS-9.

Sights * * * *

While the Trijicons are very easy to pick up night or day, the fact that the FNS shoots two inches low at seven yards, and the rear sight doesn’t have a flat or hook to use for one handed reloads sets them back to a four star rating.

Accessorize This * * * *

The box it comes in seems to be TSA-approved which is a bonus. However, there certainly aren’t as many holsters out there as for a GLOCK or 1911, but they can be found. It has a Picatinny rail for your lights, lasers, knives, etc. It also has a stellar trigger and (this model) comes with Trijicon sights so you won’t need to replace those. It looks like magazines are +/- $40+ a copy vs. ~$30 for S&W, GLOCK, & Springfield mags. It isn’t the end of the world, but cost of ownership is a little higher.

Ergonomics * * * * 

The controls are very well laid out, ambidextrous, and crisp. I’m no fan of manual safeties, and this one hasn’t converted me. If you’re going to have a safety, make it big and easy to flip on and off. Otherwise, I’m pleased with the thought that went into the design including the trigger, which I consider to be one of the best stock triggers I’ve tested.

Ergonomics Carry * * * * *

The FNS is ever so slightly larger than a GLOCK 19, but stows two more rounds in the mag. It’s no pocket rocket, but with a good holster you could wear this as your EDC gun. It’s friendlier to the smaller-handed folk out there so women and small-handed guys should take a close look.

Overall * * * *

This would be a five star gun if the Trijicon sights were a little better matched to the gun and the manual safety were bigger (or absent). It doesn’t hit exactly where it’s aimed at combat distances, and the manual safety isn’t large enough in my opinion to turn off under stress or with blood, gore, or lube on your fingers. Those are incredibly small nits that I’m picking, but five stars is perfection and those two things keep it from being there. Fix the safety and adjust the sights ever so slightly and this is a perfect gun.

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108 Responses to Gun Review: FNS-9

  1. Fantastic review, Tyler. I have never been able to warm up to FN pistols, and I’m not sure why as I have only ever heard glowing reviews of them. Every time I handle one, it just doesn’t do it for me. Maybe some day…

        • Yeah, you’re right. For some reason, I never looked at the FNX as the “new” FNP, but as a new model entirely. I never shot a FNX, but two of my friends carried FNPs and they are sweet shooters.

        • FNX is still as good as FNP – one of the solid choices available today if you want the classic DA/SA in a modern polymer platform. I love the safety that has an optional decocker, too.

          Then there’s FNX-45, which I don’t have, but which I groped in a store. 15 rounds of .45 ACP! And yes, it’s as big and heavy (fully loaded) as you’d expect it to be, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

      • The FNP-9 didn’t “vanish.” It was simply replaced by the FNX-9, which added the grip texture and some other features from the FNP-45.

  2. I’m a revolver guy. No secret there. But every gun owner should have a service grade semi auto pistol in their safe. Along with a service grade semi auto rifle. we are the militia after all.

      • SKS for me. Arguably the best for a CA resident. 10 round mag limits and bullet buttons don’t leave a wide range of options. Besides, I got my SKS when they were dirt cheap.

        • Agreed. But our NZ gun regs mandate a 5 round magazine…Boo, hiss! But a bunch of stripper clips make it capable of reasonable sustained fire. Try to find a standard 10 round mag anywhere? Not easy. Not legal either, where I live. In my view the original designer got it right and knew what he was doing.

  3. The FNS pistols are perhaps, some of the most underrated or under appreciated line of pistols out there. They are phenomenal pistols.

    • I think the main problem is that police departments haven’t adopted this or the FNX and therefore there is a lack of accessories for it which turn people away. Give it time and these can be up there with sig/hk or atleast CZ

    • I wholeheartedly agree. I picked up an FNS-9 Longslide without the manual safety in December for 3 gun. I adore the damned thing.

  4. Nice review. I had only one small moment of puzzlement. It arose when I read….
    I also realize that this pistol was initially marketed to law enforcement and they usually require a manual safety.

    When did LE start ‘usually’ requiring a safety? Does this mean cheap used glocks soon?

    • Yeah, thats actually backwards. The optional thumb safety is not marketed towards LE but rather those who want it. Many departments don’t want a manual safety because they have to train to the lowest common denominator and so choose to go without a manual safety. (Despite the fact that virtually every long gun in their inventory has a manual safety…MP5, M4 or variant, 870s, Benellis, Rem 700s…you get the drift. There is no accounting for stupidity amongst police “management”.)

        • You must have me confused with the man in the mirror. The manual safety isn’t for dummies thats for sure.

      • While your characterizations of PD management and material may be accurate, there is much more to the issue of ‘should an LEO pistol have safety?” The sidearm fills a very different role than an LEO long gun: It must often be used in tremendous haste, even in the midst of a go-to-the-ground hand-to-hand struggle. It is this, I think, which has encouraged departments to conclude that manual safeties can be …unsafe. This view is widely reflected in recent pistol selections in northern Europe, for example in the Netherlands, Finland, most of the states in northern Germany, and so on. They increasingly have turned to a double-action-only, DS, or heavier trigger as the safety….though their agency carbines and rifles will still have manual safeties.

        • While I have heard this same philosophy bandied around, it doesn’t hold water. Tell that to a SWAT, HRT, SEAL, Delta operator when he is making an entry where long guns are used in tremendous haste. By your name, I would surmise you probably know this.

          The real truth of it is….most departments haven’t the time, money or desire to train their uniforms to operate a pistol in a manner while using a manual safety. Its too bad really….playing to the lowest common denominator blows.

        • The difference is that if a Delta or SWAT “operator” is going through a door or whatever, he knows he’s doing that and should be 100% ready, gun off safety, etc. A beat cop can (at leat it theory) go from providing directions to a lost Swedsh tourist to grappling with a thug on the sidewalk in zero seconds flat. Presumably he carries his pistol in a high-quality retention holster – that’s the safety. If he has to get an M-4, there will likely be time to take it off safe (or load it) since he actually has to get it, whereas the pistol is always on him. And you don’t carry an M-4 in a holster.

        • El Mac, certainly I agree there are arguments on both sides. I cannot equate Delta’s or NSW’s needs with those of a beat cop in the US or Europe. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that much of Delta moved to Glocks, 17’s plus some 21’s and 30’s, a few years back, for maintenance-cost reasons. Undoubtedly they have lots of other items in the shed. I suppose the admiral choosing NSW’s pistols prefers they have a mechanical safety. SAD PMOs and contractors have been caught several times in recent years after being in shootouts. In Pakistan, for example, Raymond Allen Davis (see Wikipedia), former SF and a CIA contractor at the time, was carrying a Glock 17. It doesn’t get much more personal than the choice of a concealed sidearm when operating alone, I suppose.

          Please realize I am not against mechanical safeties. I think they especially have value for guns carried as offensive weapons, for example suppressed pistols in small-unit-tactics military hands: The gun will be up early and the tension will be high. The mechanical safety will often function in fact as a supplement to or replacement for trigger discipline. The pistol, for those people, is either substituting for a broken carbine or is about to take someone out by stealth. They won’t be on a city street suddenly attacked by a meth monster or two at a range of one yard.

          I say “suit yourself.” Your gun is certainly going to be the right one for you in your unique circumstances since you have thought things through.

        • Copy all. My point is simple, one can be trained to operate a safety – easily. Only in recent years have the cop administrators, like they do with most everything else, dumbed things down to the lowest common denominator. And so it is with a pistol safety. A properly designed pistol safety and proper training, will defeat the lowest common denominator argument. If one can be trained to operate an 870 safety that is not intuitive in the least, one can be trained to operate a 1911 style thumb safety on a pistol. I refuse to be dumbed down.

          To each his own.

      • “Many departments don’t want a manual safety because they have to train to the lowest common denominator and so choose to go without a manual safety. (Despite the fact that virtually every long gun in their inventory has a manual safety…MP5, M4 or variant, 870s, Benellis, Rem 700s…you get the drift…”

        Pistols are carried around in holsters, long guns are not. Safeties are more of a necessity with long guns.

        • Yeah, interesting..and long guns are carried around in racks and bags. Until they are deployed….and then they are typically slung with the cop/soldier/operator/civilians hands wrapped aroung them – with the manual safety ON.

          But you seem to advocate that pistol when out of the holster doesn’t need a manual safety when its in the hands of the cop/soldier/operator/civilian…..

          Fascinating.

        • Why do you keep talking about operators, swat, soldiers, and such?

          Unless you are one, please stop, it’s asinine.

        • Because I is one bro. And even if I weren’t, what the hell difference would that make? Do people not talk about football players because they aren’t in the NFL? Or politics if they aren’t a politician? Or actors if they aren’t actors? Gimme a break. Despite what Obummer would have you believe, this is still ‘murica!

          Asinine indeed.

        • Right, because everyone loves hearing about what an armchair QB would’ve done on Monday morning.

          In America you have the right to act like a tool, doesn’t mean should, you know what I mean, SWAT-Operator-Soldier-Man?

  5. FYI, Glock does offer nite sights on their offerings. You can also go to Smyrna and have them furnished and installed for the low low price of $57.

    • Try as I might, I can’t find a reference on the GLOCK website to factory option night sights whereas the FN website clearly states that they have it as an option. If you can find the link on their website, I’m happy to update my review.

        • As are the maritime spring cups, different trigger springs or connectors. Doesn’t mean they sell guns with all kinds of combination of parts in them, you can just buy those options later. I’m pretty sure a few years back some pistols came with the night sights pre-installed from the factory, but when I wanted to get one of those I was told by my LGS that nowadays they only come with standard sights, for civilians anyway.

      • First of all, the Glock 27 on my hip right now has Trijicon night sights. Factory. Check the Brea ProForce website. The Trijicon factory sight upgrade runs about $50 more than the standard sights.

        http://www.proforceonline.com/CurrentFlyer/current.pdf

        Secondly, you need to compare the standard to the Glock 19 Gen 4, which has a smaller grip than the Gen 3, 2, and 1. The Glock 19 Gen 4, or in my case Glock 23 Gen 4comes with medium and large back straps in the box. Adding no back straps is the small / short frame factory option. That is a more fair comparison because you are evaluating the newest models from each brand.

        I’d consider those some pretty significant discrepancies in a gun review. Other than that it looks like a nice piece of hardware.

  6. “The controls are very well laid out, ambidextrous, and crisp. I’m no fan of manual safeties, and this one hasn’t converted me. If you’re going to have a safety, make it big and easy to flip on and off. ”

    That’s one of the reasons I personally chose the FNX9 over the FNS.

    The FNX is their hammer-fired DA/SA pistol. So for those who prefer that, or just like the bigger safety – there’s another option.

    It’s just to bad the magazines aren’t compatible between the two.

  7. Haven’t shot one, but I’ve been curious. This review makes me want to rent and put some rounds through one next time I’m at the range, if for no other reason than to see the hype.

    Nicely done, Tyler.

  8. Have a buddy that has one. Not a bad gun, but I don’t know why I would not buy a Glock 17 instead???

    Not a fan of safeties on a striker fire pistol. The height over bore looks taller than the Glock…a reason I am not a XD fan. Its UGLY as hell as well. As far as Gen 4 9mm block feeling bulky…..you have girly hands.

    I can’t imagine trying to shop for sights, holsters, after market parts to make the trigger smoother etc. All of that would either be hard to find or cost more than a Glock.

    • Funny how I actually started with M&Ps because the slimmer grip feels more comfortable than Glocks. After shooting for a few years, I’ve found that Glock’s blocky grip and strange grip angle causes my hand to grip the pistol in a way that forces my trigger finger to move straight back. I used to push with my finger and throwing my shots right. Have not had that issue with Glocks.

  9. Didn’t these have a trigger issue? Was that fixed? I have not shot one but a friend of mine has the FNX-9 and I really love that pistol.

  10. Nice Review, Tyler. I just bought an FNS-9 a week ago and I’m already impressed. I’m a Sig DA/SA guy normally and this is my first polymer striker-fired pistol. I got mine sans-safety. I was skeptical of the trigger at first but I absolutely love it. My only complaint (if you can call it that) is the texture on the grip is a little over aggressive, but it does what it’s supposed to do.

  11. In my home state SC, FNH was trying to get a police contract over Glock. When Glock won, FNH released a large number of no manual safety 9 and .40 to local FFLs. There were ones with and without night sights. Picked one up, but have only been shooting my walthers.

  12. Thank you for including the slide/barrel/RSA weight.

    I have been looking around the interwebs since your initial post on the FNS-9 and it seems that all the high end race gun guys just measure the slide wight straight up when comparing guns, so if you feel inclined to include this info future tests that is probably the way to go. I had not really thought out that the slide mass and motion translates to the vast majority of the mechanically induced part of the felt recoil.

    Please keep us updated on your relative recoil impressions as you get more time in on the Glock 19, and as you test other 9’s.

    For me, one of the major metrics that I find critical to help get an idea whether I find a particular pistol that “fits” me well is the length of pull at trigger break. I have medium sized hands but find that a longer length of pull tends to make for a more comfortable shooting experience. Rounding out acceptable shooting ergonomics for me would be my take grip and trigger shape, along with trigger feel.

    My previous experience with a FNP-40 left me underwhelmed because of the peculiarities of length of pull at trigger break, a rounded, slippery trigger face, my hand size, and snappy recoil. It always seemed that I wanted to transition from the pad on the tip of my finger trigger finger to the fleshy area before the second knuckle right at trigger break, causing me inconsistency in accuracy and recoil management (along with my usual ineptitude and recent reintroduction to shooting).

  13. Im a big FN fan.
    I have the FNS 9&40, FNX-45, I sold the X-9, but still get to shoot it.
    They all shoot better than me. &
    with exception to the 45…
    They all fit in the Beretta PX4 OEM and Fobus holsters.

  14. I’ve tried the FNS9 and FNS40 at ranges that rented them.

    The triggers on the ones I tried were not especially crisp in either case. The FNS9 had a rather mushy, spongy release. The FNS40 was less mushy but required somewhere north of ten pounds of force to pull the trigger. For what it’s worth both ran reliably and sent the bullets to where I pointed the front sight.

    For what it’s worth, having also tried the FNP and FNX pistols, I prefer the FNS with the manual safety. Being a 1911 guy from way back, I am accustomed to putting my thumb on the safety before the pistol comes out of the holster, and using the safety as a thumbrest, the better to get the highest possible grip on the pistol. The FNS’s safety doesn’t mind being used as a thumbrest. The FNP and FNX, on the other hand, can’t be held that way–as the gun rises and rotates backward in recoil the thumb will move the safety down past the “safe” position and about halfway down to “decock,” locking the gun up until you figure it out and take your thumb off the safety. In my opinion this is a Bad Thing.

    As the whole point of frame-mounted safeties is that they can also be used as a thumbrest in this manner, I can only shake my head whenever I see this misbegotten arrangement–which was introduced by our friends at Taurus, to no one’s great surprise. But then I am an opinionated old fart who loathes decockers and DA/SA systems as well.

    And yes, police departments have been training to the lowest denominator for a long, long time. So have most armies. “The conscripts shoot themselves in the foot whenever we allow them to touch a pistol! What shall we do?” “Perhaps we should teach them to keep their buttscratchers off the bang switch until they intend to fire.” “Don’t be silly, I’ve been reading these sales brochures from Walther…” If I were king of the world, anyone who isn’t competent to operate a handgun that has a manual safety would be walking a beat with a wooden nightstick and a can of pepper-mace.

    • +1 on the FNP-series safety/decocker combination.

      Every time I shoot the (borrowed) FNP-9, I end up reverting to DA mode somewhere in the middle of the magazine. The small metal safety lever is too big to avoid my thumb hitting it, but too small to really own its own territory on the side of the gun. My USP9, has the same arrangement, but with a much larger safety lever and much stiffer spring; it’s never once shown the same propensity for decocking itself for me or anyone else (to my knowledge).

  15. Now that is a gun review. Great job! My only question is if the price quoted includes the extra fees Buds tacks onto the price for a customer who uses their credit card. Please, in the future, consider just giving us the MSRP or perhaps a price quote from a dealer that doesn’t engage in questionable business practices.

  16. I’ve had one for about a year. Absolutely love it. There are still a
    couple issues I’ve noticed. All minor issues really.

    1) Being larger and extending more to the sides the mag release
    is great for reloads but can be a problem when CCing. It
    doesn’t take much to trip the release. Just be a little more
    careful when picking out a holster. I had a mag pop out
    when using a close fitting kydex holster. I switched to an OWB
    that held it away from the body more and haven’t had an issue
    since.

    2) The piece of plastic that holds on the backstrap is a bit thin. It
    doesn’t seem like it’d be hard to bend or break. Considering
    that there is pressure on the piece, especially during handling
    and firing, I think it should be a bit wider and thicker.

    3) The grip is great but can be pretty rough on bare hands. Wear
    gloves.

    One final note on bullet selection. I found that most 115 and 124
    seemed a bit snappy. I reloaded some 147gr XTPs and RN for it.
    The recoil not only felt better but I noticed a increase in accuracy.
    Maybe the pistol, me or combination thereof but there’s definitely
    wiggle room for different bullet loads. On a definite positive note
    the FNS took everything I ran through it without issue; not a
    single FTF, stovepipe etc…

    • It’s not just the gun and it’s not just you. A lot of people seem to agree that the 147gr subsonic loads in 9mm subjectively feel like the recoil feels softer, more of a straight-back push and less snappy, with less muzzle rise, and they have measured their split times to prove they’re not just imagining things.

      Why this should be I do not know. Just going by momentum, and IPSC power factors, the 147gr loads should be kicking a lot harder than the 115s and 124s. But they don’t feel like it. Mild 147gr loads in 9mm are a big thing right now with IDPA competitors and people who shoot steel for prizes. I don’t understand the physics involved, but there it is.

  17. Fantastic review, I like the fns but I already own an m&p that I love, hard to justify spending the extra cash.
    I do think its a little unfair comparing only the barrel to the size of a glock 19 and then touting the capacity advantage, apples to apples would be the gloc 17 which is the same size. If fn made a glock 19 sized model I’d probably be first in line for it

    • There were quite a few more pictures in my original review but the editorial board decided they didn’t contribute.

      For reference, and I know a picture would help, the FNS is about an inch longer in the grip than the GLOCK 19. Hence my comparison on capacity.

  18. Tyler, (and anybody else who found that the FNS shoots low for them) I found the same thing with my longslide when I picked it up a few months ago. The best resolution for me was to replace the front sight with a .256″ tall front sight from Ameriglo for the FNX-45 (I think the FNS front sight is .290″ tall). This shifted the POI up just enough for me. I use a fiber front sight as this is my 3 gun pistol, but they make night sights as well. It’s a good cheap fix.

  19. I have an FNX-9. I found it to be very reliable ect. My only two complaints are minor. I find the stippling on the grip to be a little too abrasive on my bare hands for comfortable extended shooting; gloved, it is perfect. I also find the DA/SA trigger very long. I imagine I could get used too it if I could afford to shoot it more, but as it is, I consistently pull my shots. I rarely fire it do to expense, choosing to focus on practice with my carry piece. It’s a fine pistol, and I would love to give the SA FNS-9 a go some time.

  20. Great review. I’ve got Sigs and a Beretta and I’d never owned a striker-fired handgun prior to my FNS-9. I’ve owned mine for just shy of year and have 3000+ rounds through it. A few things:
    1) I don’t engage in religious wars. I don’t talk smack on Glocks or any other brand of quality firearm. If you love your Glock, good on ya. You have to use what feels good for you. No Glock (not even a Gen 4) has ever felt right in my hands. No judgement on Glock; they’re just not right for me. The FNS-9 grip feels really good and I’m a big fan of the grip angle.
    2) The FNS definitely feels better after a break-in period. Right around 250+ rounds, the trigger smoothed out.
    3) The lack of choices for accessories is a bit of a bummer. On the upside, my FNS-9 fits beautifully in my Galco King Tuck IWB holster.
    4) In 3000+ rounds, not one FTF or FFE. Very reliable.
    5) Takedown is easy, but as a matter of principle, I don’t like having to pull a trigger for takedown. Very minor point though.
    6) Love the Trijicon sights on mine.

    It’s a quality firearm for a reasonable price point.

  21. I’ve had the FNS 9 for about 6 months. after 2500 rds its my EDC now. The biggest problem I had was finding accessories for it.

  22. just picked up the stainless model a few weeks ago to replace my PX4. In the end the FNS9 made me appreciate the Beretta even more. To start the trigger sucks for a striker gun (too much creep and a bit heavy) and the pistol has a cheap ruger like look and feel to it. also hate how far the mag release sticks out the other side. it is also more expensive than the competition and the mag prices are ridiculous.

    on the plus side the grip texture is great and it comes with 3 17 round mags. and it’s lightweight. all in all not a bad pistol but not too impressive either. with it’s flaws and higher price tag and expensive mags it really has nothing on the competition. get a PPQ if you want a striker fired 9 that aint a glock.

  23. Is it fair to compare capacity on these two because the slides are the same length? To my eyes, the FN looks like the grip is the same size as a Glock 17.

  24. “RockOnHellChild says:

    February 25, 2014 at 05:35

    Right, because everyone loves hearing about what an armchair QB would’ve done on Monday morning.
    In America you have the right to act like a tool, doesn’t mean should, you know what I mean, SWAT-Operator-Soldier-Man?”

    Clearly. You’ve proven that! 🙂

    • I only speaking about my experiences based on things that I’ve learned in regards to firearms, either from military training, or from attending professionally instructed, civilian, firearms training.

      I don’t speak about SWAT tactics, what SF Operaters do, what weapons Delta uses, or anything of that nature…

      Anyone who blabs about that nonsense is usually a tool who plays video games and likes to pretend its real life. If that offends you, it’s probably because you’re one of them…

      But hey, nice job trolling and give El Mac a big kiss for me.

      • Yo sister, this is who I spoke about: “cop/soldier/operator/civilians”. So that would include you living in your little fantasy world.

        Trolling, yeah, you know all abou that. Psst…..you might want to lay off the Call of Duty and get out of mama’s basement every now and again.

  25. Great review! Loved reading it Tyler.

    When I finally get my CHL (living in a state where one is required to even look at a handgun…), I might actually pick one of these up. I have small hands too, and that is one of my biggest concerns.

    I’ll keep your review in mind when the time comes. Thanks!

  26. Hi Tyler, thank you for the FNS-9 review. I carried the FN Hi-Power for 40 years of military service and the FN FAL L1A1 (inch version) for the first ten year – they make wonderful firearms. The FNS-9 is very much like the Glock configuration, however the FNS schematic seems a little more complex than Glock. One question, why did FN stick a G17 length grip on a G19 length slide? Miss-matched sights should not detract for the FNS-9 rating. I would like to help out with your G19; please post it to me in northern Thailand and I will love and care for it in my retirement. Your Glock 19 would be the 10th Glock I have owned (17, 19 (2), 22, 23, 26, 27, 35 (2)), loved and cared for. Thanks, Greg

    • Some people, myself included do not care for the chopped feel of a Glock 19’s grip….the FNS 9 feels much better both in profile and in length. YMMV.

      • Hi El Mac, great. If you have a gun that suits your needs and allows to to shoot accuately I am truly happy for you. Please enjoy the freedom you have to shoot your gun because so many people around the world do not have the freedom or opportunity. Kind regards, Greg

        • Thanks Greg. I do and will continue to enjoy my 2A despite what the clods in DC propose…. Hopefully your situation there can be rectified.

  27. Nicely done review Sir. I am 100% in the FNH camp now as well. I cut teeth on revolvers and 1911s. I thought i would never consider a plastic or a striker fired pistol. skip about ten years and after toying with a couple DAO/SAO options I saw something in the FNS line that clicked and I bought the FNS-9 (no external safety). It is a brilliant EDC and service option and I dont even remember the last time I enjoyed shooting a new handgun so much. I do not however share your experience with sight picture/group placement. I have found that a center hold at 10 yrds is right on. I do, however, have the standard 3 dot sight not the glowbie. Keep up the great work.
    ACD

    • Albert, I couldn’t agree with you more. I love my FNS-9. Took it to the indoor range to qualify for my concealed carry for Florida, Arizona and Illinois. Perfect scores. Have my Florida license, waiting for my Arizona and Illinois license. Illinois requires 16 hours of classroom instruction. Great weapon.

  28. In regards to the POI being 2″ low, I have a question. I own an FNP-45 and to aim, unlike most other pistols, you must cover the target with the front blade (after lining up with the rear sight like usual). I don’t know if the FNS-9 uses the same sighting system or not, or if you did this. Perhaps this is the reason for the low POI.

  29. Agree on all points. It’s mildly interesting that my FNS-9 with the fat backstrap fits my big hands better than any Glock I’ve ever fondled.

  30. Hi Tyler, thanks for the FNS 9 review. I have carried a FN Hi Power for 40 of service, a good strong pistol. The only weakness was to two piece barrel that can separate with extensive shooting and not dust cover light/laser rail.
    You seem to make a virtue of firing thousands of rounds with cleaning the handgun; so I guess you are not using it to protect your life.
    Fine motor skills are developed, honed and retained by r regular repetitious training so they develop as a part of your muscle memory.
    So the FNS 9 has a compact slide length and standard size large grip, following the Colt Command style.
    17/15 round magazines. I am a short fat bastard and I find the Glock 19’s butt stick out a bit.
    The FNS 9 has a pre-loaded striker hence the need for a safety catch. All that said the FNS 9 looks nice.
    The FNS 9’s schematic appears more complex than Glock. Thank , Greg

  31. I just purchased the FNS 9 to get back into a 9mm. I wanted it for cheaper shooting and possibly training new shooters after starting them off with the Ruger 22/45. I don’t use the safety when shooting, but I wanted one so that I could teach manual safeties to new shooters. The safety on this gun gives you the best of both worlds. Its small and unobtrusive so that it doesn’t get in the way if you don’t want it, but easily manipulated when warranted. I am very happy with this gun. It is accurate and reliable so far, with about 250 rounds through it. Mine shoots to point of aim. Thanks to hickok45 for letting us know in his YouTube review that this gun fits in a Glock 30 holster. I bought the Fobus paddle holster and it works great.

  32. I picked up an FNS once, but here are the deal killers: 1) Stupid, superflous, tiny manual safety. 2) Flared magazine ends make it much more difficult to conceal than Glock or other full or compact size LKQ polymer pistols. 3) The stippling on the grips is obnoxiously aggressive, but doesn’t give a good a grip as the Glock G4 or Walther PPQ. Besides those three items, it’s a hell of a pistol with a very good trigger.

  33. The grips suck ass on them, uncomfortable as fuck. Maybe it would be different if I wore gloves but I’ll take a Sig over an FN any day. FN is just a bunch of overrated shit, in my opinion.

    • @Alex Nestel, spoken like a true office nerd that never had an honest callous before. The guns are solid. The grip is as it should be.

      • El Mac, I agree. The grip is about as near perfection as I’ve been able to find, for me anyway. It feels nice and thin in my hand, and the aggressiveness of the pattern is about right for me. I’ve shot several hundred rounds through it in one outing, and have never gotten sore hands. I’ve put over 2000 rounds through it altogether, and have never had a hiccup. I don’t understand all the complaints about the external safety, since you can easily get the gun without the safety. And, despite the flared mag well, I’m able to conceal it as well as I can my PPQ. And that flared mag well may save your life if you ever ned to change mags quickly. It is the most accurate pistol I have fired, once again, at least for me.

  34. Now the whole sight picture thing and 2 inches low, you must shoot it at the 9’0 clock position. The Beretta Px4 in 45acp is the same way. Firing both in that position have put it right on target at 25+ yards. have not fielded the px4 any farther because thats about all you need from a pistol.

  35. I have owned my FNH FNS-40, W / black slide, and Trijicon sights for 3 months so far i love the gun!

    I have shot over 1000 rounds without a single problem, or even a minor problem. Its like magic, my gun just works everytime! Very high quality. 5 lbs pound trigger, 3 magazines, 2 backstraps, and a amazing FNS40 striker fire polymer pistol, brand new for $400 bucks! Best gun in the world for the money!

    Glocks do not fit me either, i tried to force myself to buy a glock 19, or glock 17 gen 4. I dont like them. Also at 7 yards my FNS 40 doesn’t shoot low.
    i deer hunt with my FNS-40 at 100+ yards with great success with a heavy 200grain buffalo bore 1100 fps bullet, with 582 pounds of energy. It will drop a adult BUCK LIKE A SACK OF POTATOES , no it doesn’t run even a foot.

    Im planning to mount a Nikon Pistol scope, with the picatinny rail scope mount.

    It is the best pistol to buy in the under $600 range on earth.

    who says you cannot hunt with a .40S&W? Its just a shrunk down 10mm.

  36. The FNS-9 was the first pistol I ever bought. My primary reason for choosing this before reading any reviews was the fully ambidextrous controls. I’m left handed, my wife is right handed.
    Turns out not many semi-autos are built this way. Big thanks to FN for think of us south paws.
    There is not one Sig that has this configuration. Though there are stories of one coming.
    I do like the way it handles. And the 17 round mag is fun at the range. Definitely recommend a mag loader. The 17 round is a biotch to get in manually with brand new mags.
    I haven’t tried an endurance run of 2500 rounds without cleaning yet though. Clean it after each range shoot.

  37. Please, please, please do not continue to spread this fallacy that law enforcement agencies “require” manual safeties and that’s why gun manufacturers put them on their weapons. Glocks are, by far, the most common issued weapons in American law enforcement, and hardly any agencies in this day and age require, or even request, an RFP/T&E with a safety.

  38. I have had my FNS-9 for around a year put 3000 + rounds in it with zero malfunctions. Wish more people would give them a chance. The recoil on it is very smooth. the fit and finish is really nice 3 mags, nice case and some night sights can’t beat thr 587. I paid for it NEW. If anyone asks me what gun should they buy it would be a FNS-9. Even owning glock Springfield XD and S&W I will still go get my FNS-9 if S&%! hit the fan

  39. I like the FNS I have smaller hands so the slimer profile of the gun just feels a bit better. I like that it comes with an extra magazine and night sights that alone should cause one to buy it. It’s a newer gun than the M&P so of course it’s going to have less accessories and after market parts give it time they will be made eventually. All in all nice gun go for it.

  40. I have had all of the Glock 9, 40, and 45 guns made over the past 24 years and currently carry either my Glock 23 or 27 for EDC (I also have Lone Wolf 40 to 9 conversion threaded barrels for my Glock 22 and 23 and a regular conversion barrel for my 27) Last fall I started buying FN pistols and love them. I currently have an FNX 45 Tactical, FNP 45 with night sights (Who doesn’t love a 45 with 3-15 round mags standard), FNX 40 and last weekend got an FNS 9. Even though I’m a big guy I still like the feel and fit of the FN’s over my Glocks, HK’s, and yes even my Sigs. I just seem to be more comfortable and shoot more accurate with the FN’s. However I will always love my Blocks.

  41. I recently picked up the FNS-9C as something to play with. I have S&W M&P with ajax trigger, Spfld XDs along with numerous “older Smiths”. Really pleased and impressed with the FNH. Good sights, feels great in my hand, reliable and damn accurate. Three mags from the factory. I love it and will be using the others on the range, but the FNH for social purposes. Great job on this gun……………..

    • Hey Sgt Bubba,

      I’ve actually been going back and forth between every gun you own as my next purchase!

      Out of all, what do you think conceals best for “you” and what you’d rather carry the most? (aside from social purposes, of course).

      All of the talk about the FNS9c has me really excited for it — especially with its ambidextrous controls (lefty), and reports that it fits well in small (my particularly girl-sized) hands. But my range doesn’t do any rentals — and the only thing similar to that list I’ve gotten to hold is an M&P22c, and that seemed pretty nice. So it had me considering an M&P9c.

      Thanks in advance,

      Travis

  42. I bought the FNs-9 a couple of months ago and I love it dearly. It is one of the most accurate 9mm handguns I have ever shot. Mine has the safety, but I don’t use it. I like it enough that today I bought a new FNH AR15 and I’m hoping it is just as good as their handguns. I also bought a used Glock 17 today that has snakeeye sights that I think are nightsights, but even if they aren’t they are great in the daytime. I have small hands also, so I plan on sending the glock to SMC tactical in North Carolina and have the grip reduced and stippled. They do a lot of gunsmithing for the special operations guys out of Fort Bragg, and I’m hoping they can make my glock much easier to grip and shoot.

  43. Bought the FNS-9 a few months back. I was looking for my first 9mm. Read many reviews on different guns, (many on this very site) and shot Glock, Walther, Springfield, S&W, Sig, CZ, and of course the FN. When i added up cost, feel, shootability, It was a no brainer! I bought the FN. I have only put 600 to 700 rounds through it so far, but have not experienced any issues. Every round feeds, fires, and ejects. I’ve used at least 4 or 5 different brands of ammo. As for POA/POI, I have a dead center hold. This works for me out to 25 yards.
    Did I mention, I only paid $425? If your considering an FN-9, you won’t be disappointed.

  44. I have been seriously looking at FNS-9, I like the looks and though I have not had opportunity to shoot one I do like they way they feel in my hand. As far as the safety, either train to work it, or just leave it on fire. It is not a bad thing just because Glock’s don’t have one. Apparently there is a lot of things Glocks don’t have since the big attraction to them seems to be all the things you can buy to trick them up.

  45. Purchase a FNS 40 in stainless steel with night sights, X3 mags and manual safety for $400. I CC a Ruger SR9c in stainless which has a manual safety so I wanted the same feature on the FN. Very pleased with the feel, weight and fit in the hand. The stainless slide with inset lettering looks amazing. I have very sweaty hands from time to time and the grip of this gun is perfect given my condition. Also the stainless finish hides fingerprints. Seem like a solid reliable weapon and FN has a reputation for making quality guns so hopefully I won’t be disappointed long term.

  46. Nicely done. I am very happy with my FNH FNS9 other than not being a fan of the silver slide. It was on sale for $450 new with three magazines, so I can’t really complain. I’ve had nineteen Glocks, and like it better than any of them.

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