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