Arizona DPS Releases Safety Bulletin Regarding FNS 9 Pistol Discharges

FNS safety bulletin

Courtesy Arizona Mirror and Arizona DPS

The Arizona Department of Public Service issues the FN’s FNS striker-fired pistols to its officers. The Arizona Mirror got its hands on an internal safety bulletin video regarding situations which could result in accidental discharges. The video shows two conditions under which the FN’s FNS pistols may fire when not intended.

With ominous music playing in the background, the AZ DPS narrator says this issue applies to the full FNS line, the 4-inch FNS, the 5-inch FNS-L and the compact FNS-C, in both 9mm and .40 caliber. They also say they have found this issue in brand new, lightly used as well as well-worn models of the guns manufactured over a “broad range of dates.”

Condition #1:  When the firearm is held against an object (such as during a close-in struggle where the gun is pressed against an aggressor to achieve a contact shot) and held slightly out of battery due to the slide being pushed back from its fully forward position. If the trigger is pulled at that point, the firearm will not discharge – as designed. However, if the trigger remains partially depressed and the firearm is retracted from the object, the gun may discharge after the slide returns to battery.

FNS safety bulletin

Courtesy AZ Mirror and Arizona DPS

Condition #2:  The same set up, only the trigger is depressed then released before pulling the gun away from the object.  When the slide returns into battery, the trigger may fail to reset fully.  At this point, according to the AZ DPS people, any sudden movement or jarring impact may cause the FNS pistol to discharge.

In condition #2, a “tap, rack” impact on the magazine, side-to-side movement, or a sudden impact from the top may cause the gun to fire.  In the video, the didn’t show a single instance of the gun not discharging.

The video says this scenario is unlikely to happen to an officer in the course of his or her duties.

Here is the video:

According to the Arizona Mirror story, DPS is replacing the issued guns, though not because of the discharge issue.

It has been roughly eight months since DPS learned of the issue. DPS is in the process of switching from Fabrique Nationale to Glock pistols for duty weapons. So far this fiscal year, DPS has spent more than $160,000 on replacement pistols.

But the department still has 540 FNs in use, meaning nearly half of the agency?s troopers are carrying a weapon they know might accidentally discharge ? or might not fire at all when they need it to.

There are no known incidents in which FNS guns carried by DPS troopers have failed to fire because the firearm was out of battery.

DPS spokesman Bart Graves said the agency is replacing the pistols not because of the defects that DPS discovered, but because FN notified DPS that it intends to ?cease production? of the pistol.

FN had released an earlier statement after Baltimore County had reported problems with their FNS pistols.

FN America, LLC Response to Baltimore County Police Department Statements on FNS?-40

(McLean, VA ? January 03, 2019) FN America, LLC has supported Baltimore County Police Department, above and beyond the call of duty, in their transition to the FNS?-40 pistol. The company made every effort possible to work with the department to alleviate officer concerns and to instruct the department on standard maintenance procedures.

FN America, LLC acknowledges the company was aware of occurrences of officer-induced accidental discharges with the FNS-40 pistols used by Baltimore County Police Department over the past five years.

FN America, LLC is also aware that a report, generated by an independent testing lab following the first incident, certified that there was no manufacturing defect present that could cause the pistol to misfire. This report attributed the incident to an officer-induced accidental discharge.

According to Baltimore County Police Department?s statements to the media following an incident in 2017, department spokesman, Cpl. Shawn Vinson, acknowledged that none of the officer-induced accidental discharges, focused on by your media outlet, could be attributed to a malfunction of the pistol. Please reference the WMAR ABC Baltimore article published Dec. 11, 2018 by Brian Kuebler. https://www.wmar2news.com/news/region/baltimore-county/baltimore-county-police-set-to-spend-14-m-on-new-guns

Baltimore County Police Chief Terrence Sheridan provided two reasons in his Emergency Justification for a Replacement Service Weapon dated Oct. 30, 2018. The first being a reported condition that could cause the FNS-40 pistol to delay fire under a very specific set of unlikely circumstances, originally reported by an Arizona police department. Under manipulation in a closed lab setting, the slide of the FNS-40 was moved out of battery at a very small and specific distance and the trigger was pulled. The pistol functioned as designed and did not fire. However, it was discovered that if the trigger was held to the rear, the pistol could delay firing until the slide moved back into battery, or if force is removed from the trigger and the slide moves back into battery. FN has no knowledge of the condition ever occurring outside of a lab environment. Nevertheless, FN immediately addressed this potential condition with both the AZ department and BCPD by replacing the striker in each FNS-40, at no cost to either agency. FN subsequently posted a Service Bulletin to the public with an offer of a free striker upgrade for those who wished to send their pistol in.

Second, Chief Sheridan describes the potential of a catastrophic failure, attributed to three firearms out of 1,920 FNS-40 pistols in service with BCPD. Three pistols experienced a trigger pin either backing out or moving slightly out of position. This trigger pin is a component that requires routine maintenance and should have been replaced according to the armorer?s manual provided to Baltimore County Police Department range staff.

It is unclear whether BCPD range staff previously serviced any of the FNS-40 pistols in their possession according to the armorer?s manual provided. However, BCPD Police Chief Terrence Sheridan noted in his Emergency Justification for a Replacement Service Weapon dated Oct. 30, 2018, that BCPD range staff were able to quickly replace this trigger pin, returning the three FNS-40s to service.

Through both internal and independent testing of the FNS-40 pistol, FN America, LLC can emphatically refute the presence of any manufacturing defect that could potentially have caused Baltimore County?s officers to experience accidental discharges. FN America also asserts that if the FNS-40 pistols had been properly maintained, the occurrence of ?catastrophic failures? described by BCPD would have been extremely unlikely.

The FNS pistol has been tested thoroughly and certified for law enforcement duty use. We stand firmly behind our product, our testing and quality practices.

FN has since issued a service bulletin for FNS 9mm and .40 S&W pistols made before February 12, 2017:

FN recently became aware of a condition found within the FNS family of pistols that, under a very limited and unlikely set of circumstances, could cause the pistol to delay fire after the trigger is initially pulled.  This condition can only be replicated in FNS pistols manufactured before February 12, 2017.

To our knowledge, this delayed-fire condition has only occurred in controlled testing environments; FN has not received any reports of delayed fire in the field under these unusual circumstances.

The condition may result after the FNS pistol slide is forced out of battery at a very small and specific distance, such as what might occur if the muzzle end of the slide is pressed against an object, and the trigger is pulled.  The pistol functions as designed and does not fire. However, if the condition occurs, one of two scenarios may result: (1) if the trigger is held to the rear, the pistol could delay firing until the time when the slide moves back into battery, or (2) if force is removed from the trigger and the slide moves back into battery, the pistol could fire if jarred.  In the unlikely event that scenario (2) occurs, keep the pistol pointed in a safe direction and rack the slide to the rear to reset the pistol.  Avoid a ?tap, rack, bang? clearing sequence.

While this condition is highly unlikely to occur in the normal course of operation, out of an abundance of caution FN is offering to substitute the striker in affected FNS-9, FNS-9 Longslide, FNS?9 Compact, FNS-40, FNS-40 Longslide, and FNS-40 Compact pistols free of charge. Once the striker is replaced, the condition no longer occurs.  Not all FNS serial numbers are affected by this condition. Therefore, FNS owners are asked to please use the serial number lookup found below. If the pistol is affected, further instruction on returning the FNS for service will be provided. Note: Please do not ship any affected product to FN until a FedEx label has been generated and sent. If the firearm is not affected, a message stating such will be displayed.

For questions about this service bulletin or assistance in returning an FNS pistol for a substitute striker, contact the FNS support team at 1-800-635-1321, extension 145, or by email at [email protected]. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday.

FN Sevice Bulletin: FNS? Family of Pistols

Product Name:
FNS? Pistol
Model Name(s): 
FNS?-9
FNS?-9 Compact
FNS?-9 Longslide
Model Name(s):
FNS?-40
FNS?-40 Compact
FNS?-40 Longslide

 

Not all FNS  serial numbers are affected:  Therefore, FNS owners are asked to use the below link and input their serial number. If the firearm is affected, further instruction on returning the FNS for service will be provided.

Note: Please do not ship any affected product to FN until a FedEx label has been generated and sent to you. If the firearm is not affected, a message stating such will be displayed. FN is deeply committed to providing customers with the safest, most reliable firearms possible. Patience and cooperation is appreciated as we receive, inspect and service these firearms. We will make every effort to return the product back to customers within 3 weeks of receipt. For questions about the service bulletin or assistance in returning a firearm, contact the FNS Support team at 1-800-635-1321, extension 145, or by email at [email protected]. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday.

CLICK HERE TO SEE IF YOUR FNS IS AFFECTED

You will need to enter your 10 digit serial number. 
To locate serial number please see figure below.

Courtesy FN America

 

comments

  1. avatar AutoLode says:

    Striker fire heaven – no thanks !

    1. avatar Guest says:

      Nothing to do with it being striker fired. It’s the trigger mechanism.

      1. avatar Spin Cycle says:

        FN better take a lesson from Remington. Fix the damn gun before the bodies start stacking up. Assuming anyone even used this particular pistol. By the way, what ever happened to Honor Defense?

  2. avatar Texheim says:

    I feel like this should be marked “sponsored content”…

    1. avatar Anner says:

      Sponsored content is essentially an ad written by the company selling the product, or their PR firm. This is a generally critical article on an issue experienced by multiple LE agencies and independent lab testing, as well as the manufacturer’s response and notice of recall policy.

      1. avatar Jeremy D. says:

        If it’s sponsored content it must be sponsored by glock

  3. avatar MB says:

    Although still a issue, this is not the same as a gun that fires without a trigger pull, just dropped. (Sig P320) I would treat this as a hang fire. The gun is hot until it’s made safe.

  4. avatar barnbwt says:

    “When misused, the gun doesn’t work as intended. Wahhh, give us a refund!”

    This seems akin to conolaining about unreliable performance inside running sandblasters.

    1. avatar guest says:

      That isn’t miss use, dummy.

      1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

        “That isn’t miss use, dummy.”

        Really, fuckwit?

        You purposely fire your weapons when in an out-of-battery condition?

        You really are a special kind of stupid, aren’t you?

        1. avatar barnbwt says:

          I *suppose* I could have phrased it instead as “waahhh! You made it idiot proof but we invented a better idiot! Wahhhh, give us our money back we want SIGs now!”

        2. avatar guest says:

          You’re right. Having a gun fire at a random time after the trigger is pulled is a normal thing that’s in line with safe handling.

  5. avatar Michael says:

    Ok, Glock yesterday, Glock today, Glock tomorrow…any comments, concerns or questions? I didn’t think so…11…

    1. avatar Friends Don't Let Friends Drink glock-aid says:

      Ok, glock yesterday ( I had to replace the worthless plastic sights )…glock today ( I had to replace the gritty heavy trigger ) glock tomorrow ( I will have to replace the unsupported barrel )…any comments ( I’m still left with a unnatural grip angle I can’t correct ) , concerns ( glock leg or a glock-kaboom ) or questions ( Why do I have to drink this Kool-aid after I buy a glock ? ) I didn’t think so… ( because the Kool-aid/glock-aid is working ).

      1. avatar JK says:

        Haha. Perfect.

  6. avatar FedUp says:

    So, when you stuff a bunch of loaded FNs in a duffel bag and wedge a key in the trigger guard of one of them, it goes bang when the trigger is depressed?

    Oh, that’s a terrible flaw. It’s so badly flawed that elite professional weapons instructors, the Only Ones qualified to walk around with a duffel bag full of loaded handguns, can shoot themselves with it.

    Or in other words, one of our instructors shot himself and it can’t be his fault so FN must be responsible.

    1. avatar barnbwt says:

      You can’t walk around with a duffel bag full of loaded handguns; that’ll attract attention! Use a briefcase!

  7. avatar jwtaylor says:

    So…if you pull the trigger, the gun goes off. This is surprising?

    1. avatar Anner says:

      Even if the round fired after pulling the pistol back from that barrier (bad guy, windshield, whatever) then the individual still pulled the trigger while pointing the gun in that direction. It might be a little surprising to everyone involved, but the ballistic effect is the same as if the gun had fired upon initial trigger press.

      As far as issues go, this is almost a non-factor.

      1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

        True, but condition #2 (no bang, no reset, bang later when jangled) seems pretty serious.

        1. avatar Anner says:

          Valid

  8. avatar Texican says:

    They just wanted new guns and had to come up with something to justify the expenditure. Secondarily, who uses a holster that doesn’t cover the trigger guard completely? Bueller?

  9. avatar strych9 says:

    #1 seems like a feature rather than a bug.

    1. avatar MattG says:

      Agreed. In condition 1 if i still have my finger on the trigger when it goes back into battery then yes, I really do want it to go bang.
      Otherwise I shouldn’t have my finger on the trigger… In a contact scuffle the last thing I want to do is double stroke the trigger.
      Condition 2 is a different story though. On the flip side, if I press the trigger and nothing happens, I would consider it a hang fire until made safe.

  10. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    Just keep yur finger off the bogger switch if its out of battery. Doesnt take a genius. ………… Now no LEO generalized comments pleaze.

  11. avatar possum, destroyer of arachnids says:

    Gee I thought cops like gunms that inadvertently kill . “Wasn’t my fault, the gunm just went off. When do I start my paid vacation?”

  12. avatar Hannibal says:

    You know, it’s important that a gun go BANG when you pull the trigger… it’s also very important that it NOT go bang when you don’t. This seems to be a recurring problem among modern manufacturing where they are too worried about pushing guns out for contracts and sale instead of making sure they work properly.

    To be fair, this issue is a lot more complicated and unlikely than the simple “drop fires” of a few other recent guns but I still have to think that a good, lengthy testing protocol would have found it.

  13. avatar barnbwt says:

    LOL, FN should forward them a link to those retarded “barrier stop” meat-masher-looking things that attach to the light rail. Sounds like this particular department has a preponderance of fools that have desperate need of them.

  14. avatar GlockMeAmadeus says:

    D’OH! Coulda hadda Glock!

  15. avatar sound awake says:

    one half inch extended threaded barrel with protector fixes all this

  16. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

    They failed to mention another scenario. If you pulled the trigger and the gun did not go off and you then noticed that the slide had not gone all the way forward into battery and you then bumped the back of the slide with the palm of your hand to force the slide into batter then the gun would probably fire because of its defective trigger mechanism.

    And to think I almost bought one of these Turkey’s a few years back. Some one upstairs was looking out for me.

  17. avatar tdiinva says:

    It seems like FN and Sig can’t make a safe striker fired gun. Ok, Sig fixed the problem. If the Croats can make a safe striker fired pistol you would think a company like FNH could.

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      Well FN did fix the “problem”. The link doesn’t find that ANY of the FNS pistols in my collection, 9c or otherwise, fall under this issue.

      The real issue here is the same as with Glock’s takedown protocol: stupid people. Someone pulled the trigger without checking that the chamber was empty and you’re shocked the gun went off? You mean the gun did exactly what it was meant to do but someone was a dumbfuck and the gun functioned as advertised “at the wrong time”?

      You could argue that #2 is a flaw that needs fixed but #1 actually fixes an issue that people have argued for a long time is “an issue with semiautos but not a revolver”.

      1. avatar Marc says:

        My FNS 40 falls under this.

        1. avatar strych9 says:

          I still don’t really see the problem, at least not with #1.

          At best the round in the chamber has a problem. Time to get rid of it, which conveniently would reset the entire gun and the problem would *disappear*.

          I can see how this might be a problem for a cop who jams his gun into someone and then loses it in a struggle. That part should probably be fixed. But the idea that you can hold the trigger, retract the gun from the guy you shoved it in and it goes off right away is a selling point. I mean, you did intend to shoot the guy right? Now you have! The gun did what you wanted it to do. If you did this with a snubbie the result would be the same, just a quarter second faster.

        2. avatar MB says:

          Exactly what I was thinking, the cop pulled the trigger, which means he must have wanted to kill the guy. You would never want the gun to fire out of battery. FN has fixed this, and if anyone has a gun affected by this and they don’t send it back and give FN a chance to correct this issue, well the negligent discharge is on you because YOU pulled the trigger. I am pretty sure FN will repair any gun sent back to them.

        3. avatar Danny Griffin says:

          As does my FNS 40. Not sure if I should send it back or not, though.

      2. avatar tdiinva says:

        They weren’t build right to begin with so you have not negated what I said.

  18. avatar BLG says:

    Still one of the very best compact Handguns made. Downrange with me always.

  19. avatar Jim from LI says:

    I love the weasel words: no “manufacturing defect”. Yes, it was made precisely as designed, flaws and all. A “free striker upgrade”: we’ll replace a defective part with one properly designed. It never happens on guns made since 2/12/17, because that’s when the new design went into production. This reminds me of the GM ignition switches that were replaced if you complained but that GM desperately wanted to sweep under the rug.

  20. avatar rt66paul says:

    Maybe American LE ought to give CZ a try.

  21. avatar Ton E says:

    Baltimore County PD had similar issues with their FNS 40 LS pistols

  22. avatar Mike warren says:

    This article is not telling the truth. The FNS is my everyday carry. And while you can get the FNS to do this, it takes extreme manipulation to make it happen and purposely pulling the trigger while releasing the trigger and still holding other parts. An FNS pistol will not fire without pulling the trigger

Comments are closed.

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