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(This is a reader gun review contest entry, click here for more details.)

By Chad A.

Having recently moved from magazine capacity-limited Colorado to small town in rural Missouri, I was naturally in the market for a new gun. My first week in town I was checking out the two local Ma and Pa Gun ‘n Pawn shops and lo and behold one of them had a brand new FNX-9 I’d been eying. And it was a bi-tone! And better yet they offered me a fair trade-in value for my Glock 19 Gen 3 that I never really liked all that much (though I ended up keeping it). I did have to get over the ironic fact that this FNX was equipped with three 10-round Second Amendment-restricted magazines, but I rationalized I could easily ditch them on Gunbroker for near the cost of standard 17-rounders so I took the plunge . . .

When you purchase the FNX-9 it comes in a nice case with the obligatory swappable backstraps, cable lock, user manual, and three magazines. I was most satisfied with the three mags. I’d trade all the throw-ins (holster, mag holster, speed loader, cleaning rod) that some of the other companies offer for a third magazine any day.

One of the first things I noticed when handling the FNX is the very aggressive texturing on the grip; not abrasive or uncomfortable but definitely gives an impression that this baby won’t slip. The texturing sure beats the heck out of some of those grip stickers people put on their handguns (myself included).

There was nothing surprising with the layout of the controls, which were similar to most polymer hammer-fired handguns. It also disassembles easily, so anyone who has disassembled a modern handgun won’t need to flip through the manual. The biggest difference compared to some others is that the paddle safety also functions as a de-cocker if you press it all the way down.

I like the option of having both controls and it was never a problem for me drawing from the holster and flicking off the safety from a cocked and locked position. My sister, a new shooter, had some confusion with it. If I handed it to her with the safety on she would inadvertently press all the way down and, in the process, initiate the decocker. She would be quite surprised at the double action trigger pull wile expecting single action. While that has never happened to me, I wouldn’t discount the possibility of accidently decocking the hammer in a panic defensive gun use situation. This is just something to be aware of and a reason to practice firing double action as well.

Accuracy Testing
I really like shooting this gun. Upon side-by-side testing along with my GLOCK 19, I shoot it more quickly and accurately as displayed on my unscientific backyard steel target.


Mounting a laser to a rail and firing at 20 feet off of a backpack rest proves that the less unscientific results match up; it’s a pretty solid shooter.


After two shooting sessions and about 100 rounds through the FNX I was just getting ready to consider putting my reliable GLOCK 19 up for sale and promoting the FNX to bedside duty. However, just before doing one quick shooting session in the backyard I had what I consider to be a pretty big failure. I felt something strange on my right hand, like an uncomfortable poke. I immediately stopped shooting, looked down at the gun and saw the right side safety completely gone and the retention clip for the entire safety assembly mangled and dangling.

Finding the ejected brass, it appears that the handgun may have fired out of battery…not good. Doing some Googling afterwards, I found a few other cases with similar stories reported on various gun blogs. The gun would still dry fire, but the safety/decocker was capable of sliding out of the left side with the retention clip missing. The turnaround with the FNX warranty department was pretty quick (2-3 weeks) and painless. I received a vague work slip that listed replacing missing parts and a full service of the gun.


Since receiving the FNX back from FNH USA I have put another 100+ rounds through it and I keep asking myself how many rounds it will take for me to trust it enough for bedside duty. Or perhaps, as well as I shoot it, it will stick around as a range/competition gun. Good thing I kept the GLOCK 19 around. We’ll see.

Ratings (out of five stars):

Reliability: * *
While my example has been less than reliable as stated above, several other reviews I’ve read along with torture tests have shown it to be quite reliable. Mine may very well just be a lemon as spending an hour Googling my failure only yielded 2-3 similar reported failures.

Carry: * * * *
This is obviously a good size handgun, the weight is very low for a handgun that holds 17+1.

Ergonomics: * * * * *

Fit and Finish: * * * * 1/2
Great! At first the weight is so light that it feels cheap or flimsy, but everything is incredibly solid, with one exception, the safety/decocker lever. It just feels a bit subpar, especially on the right side for lefties.

Customization: * * *
Average, most of the aftermarket bits you’d need, but not much for choices.

Overall: * * * 1/2
I’m torn with this rating, as the reputation of the handgun is very good, and mine may just be a lemon. But as is, 3½ stars may be generous.

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  1. To paraphrase Erskine in George Orwell’s in “Keep the Aspidistra Flying”

    “Oh, Gordon, Isn’t there enough duty-sized polymer handguns in the world?”

  2. Call me old fashioned. But if parts puke out of my brandnew handgun in the first 100 rounds I’m taking it to the next buy back.

    • Agree, it would be gone if I didn’t shoot it well. I’ll be keeping a close eye on it and I’m not sure if this example could ever reach carry status for me…

    • Depending on the amount of money involved I can understand the author consideration to keep the gun around for range work. But if that results in not getting a different gun for bedside duty (which is what the author final goal was, I think) then I would send it packing. As far as ever using this one for bedside duty “that dog won’t hunt”

    • I agree. Moreover, writing a review after shooting mere 100+100 rounds seems to be quite inadequate. I’d expect somewhere between 500-700 rds without any cleaning/lubing to go through the barrel before any judgment on a gun can be made. 100 may be good for something that is second-hand 40 years old bought for occasional plinking, not something meant to bet a life on.

      • Do you drive your car for 10,000 miles without oil in it? No? Then why would you fire a pistol for 500 rounds without cleaning or lubing it? Those torture tests are idiotic in the extreme.

        • 500 rounds gives you a warm fuzzy that it’s not liable to choke after a hundred rounds of slightly dirtier ammo that you may have to buy during the next Big Ammo Crunch.

          I wouldn’t recommend that everyone make a practice of not cleaning a gun that often, but it’s good for a reviewer to do so so that you have an indication that the design isn’t finicky.

        • 500 rounds without cleaning or lubrication is not a stretch for a day at the range… Not a torture test in any way.

          This assumes that the gun was properly cleaned and lubed BEFORE the 500 rounds, however.

        • So do you get an oil change every time you drive your car?

          500 rounds without cleaning is not a lot and calling that a “torture test” is just plain dumb. If you have a gun that can’t do 500 without cleaning then that’s a crappy gun.

  3. Mines been reliable through 1500 rounds of mostly ball ammo, sorry to hear yours is problematic. I can’t agree with your five-star assessment of the ergonomics, it earns 3.5 in my book. Lack of palm swell causes the gun to shift around in my hands during firing. I’ve been looking to get rid of it for this reason and replace it with something I can shoot faster.

    • Admittedly I haven’t fired everything under the sun, but ergonomics and speed for me on the FNX surpass Glock 19, Springfield XD/XDM, CZ P07, and a handful of others, no 1911 experience to compare to though.

  4. I have been drooling over some DA/SA guns lately. The FNX-40 is on my short list. I love the idea of a combination decocker/safety, but I prefer my SA safeties to move down, not up. How easy would this be to unhook in an defense situation? I imagine I would just carry decocked instead of cocked and locked.

  5. Owned one.

    Sent mine down the road after it kept ejecting the mag by itself .Apparently the ambi- release button is perfectly made so that on recoil my support hand bumps the button.

    Thus, I’d seriously consider firing one live before plunking the Benjamin’s.

  6. Real guns fail. Shoot enough ammo, and something will eventually break or jam. M16s, Glocks, 1911s, M&Ps, XDs, can all fail. Granted, it’s usually after a much higher round count.

    Sorry for your experience, but I’m glad you shared it with us.

    • I had this exact thing happen to my Sig P239. The case even looks identical. It blew the top fifth of the right plastic grip right off. Replaced with a hogue from the range store I was shooting at and I was back up and running in 15 min. That Sig continues to be the most reliable firearm I’ve ever owned.

      • Yeah I believe the FNX would have been able to continue firing, however with special attention given to the safety as the retention was no longer there and it could be pulled out the side of the gun. As I mentioned I only dry fired after the failure, went with precaution and had it sent back before firing again.

    • If it fired OOB, shouldn’t you be able to test that? Like (unloaded, of course) moving the slide back slightly and seeing if it will fire? If it will fire OOB, it should be repeatable, otherwise I’d look at the ammo.

  7. Comes with ten round magazines when it doesn’t need to? Boo! (CZ does the same thing with their CZ-75 in .40–apparently it COULD hold 12 or maybe 13 rounds (I don’t see why not even 14) but the gun comes with a 10 rounder. (You *can* buy a 12 rounder from either CZ-USA or CZ Custom or both, I find both websites slow to navigate, one of them is total hash in one common browser, and don’t want to wade through a zillion search results, or I’d narrow that down.) The point is, just like your pistol, the gun should come with that magazine unless prohibited by law.)

    A related gripe: Almost as aggravating as the @#$%!! un-fricking-constitutional mag limit itself here in CO, is the fact that in many cases you don’t get a 15 rounder (legal here) to substitute for a 16 or 17 (or 20 or 30 or…) round mag, you get a stinking 10 rounder. Admittedly it’s hard for the manufacturer to stock a whole bunch of different weenie-capacity mags, but still.

    • “Comes with ten round magazines when it doesn’t need to? Boo!”

      Guessing this particular shop got their hands on a gun that was destined for a restricted magazine state. Standard FNXs ship with 17-rounders.

    • As a New Yorker, I appreciate the 10 round mags. I would have an XDm by now if they made 10 rounders for the full sized versions. My only option is to find someone who will chuck the magazines so I can special order mag blocked versions.

      • In your case it’s appropriate for the ten rounders to be shipped with the gun. and XD is only hurting themselves (preventing at least one sale, right?) by refusing to supply them where legally required. I’d find that frustrating. Here, it tends to push people away from full size guns, because the full size guns, normally >15 capacity, have LESS capacity (with 10 round mags supplied because they don’t want to make a 15 rounder) than compacts (which hold up to 15 depending on brand). Then I bet the companies wonder why their full sizes don’t sell worth a damn but their compacts fly off the shelf. Different species of the same frustration.

        My originally posted gripe is with people deliberately reducing mag caps where not required, or more than required. (Ruger, under previous management, was among them.) I’d like to see gun manufacturers be a bit more flexible.

        Or better yet, get rid of the stupid mag restrictions.

        PS I am just glad now that when I buy guns I tend to buy a ton of mags after-market for them. I’m safely “grandfathered” on my CZ full size. For now, until they make it a PRK like non-grandfathered ban.

        • I am against mag caps as well. Also, 9mm greatly loses the “capacity” perk in my state. I can get a compact handgun that holds 10 rounds of 9mm, or 40 S&W, or 8/9 rounds of 45.

      • Have in the past (see my fecal ton of grandfathered, 16 round ever-so-slightly-evil mags) and will in the future. Thanks for the reminder.

  8. 10 rd mags. It makes the thugs safer and the antis feel safer. And a constant reminder you live under the thumb of the state telling you what you need to be safe.

  9. I’m confused. You move the lever from safe to fire and then to decock? Or is decock on the other side of safe? If it’s the first, that sounds awful.

    My old ruger P89 would drop the hammer when switched to safe, yeah the other way around would drive me crazy.

    • This is correct, it is notably further down to decock and there is positive engagement in moving from safe to fire. It’s not like fire is somewhere randomly in the middle, but as I mentioned my sister moved the FNX from safe all the way to decock at least twice while just wanting to get to fire.

  10. I have had my FNX-40 for about a year now, and have put in the neighborhood of 1000 rounds through it. No problems as described concerning the parts or the magazines. I do clean it after every trip to the range, as I use it for daily carry, and bedroom duty. I got one after examining the one my neighbor carries. It is much lighter to carry around than my former ccw–a S&W 4506. I love the way it shoots, the way it looks (I think the Glocks are ugly looking), and the inclusion of the variety backstraps as I have smaller size hands.

  11. It’s hard to write an honest review, but that’s what you’ve done. Hat’s off to you for being willing to share your experiences. Maybe after another 500-1,000 rounds, you should write an update!

    • I just need to attend a couple IPDAs that I’ve been meaning to attend to get to that round count sooner than later. If I do I’ll send TTAG an update.

  12. Are you just getting in under the wire for a review? Polymer guns need to run right to even get 3and a half stars. Whatever…

  13. having owned 2 fnx, 1 fnp, and fn 5.7. i am a big fan. and i’ve never had a single jam, failure, or functionality related issue with any of them. this gun gets a 5 star in every category for me except for ergonomics as i have small hands and s/a is easier and faster for me to shoot than d/a. therefore i carry it hammer back at all times. i absolutely trust my life and the life of my family to any fnh pistol out there, especially the ones i own. unfortunately your experience differs from mine

    • Second that. FNH makes top-notch weapons. My FNS40 is so unfailing & consistent, I’ve been meaning to see if it fires without ammo.
      Can’t wait for the FNS9/40 compact recently seen advertised.

  14. I tried one of these a few months back. Recoil was only slightly harder than my CZ-75 SP01, despite weighing almost a pound less. The accuracy was about the same between the two. However, the magazine spring was so stiff that I could only get in 13 rounds and it kept jamming (100 rounds of Federal RTP). I really wanted to like it because it was my first choice for a carry gun before learning of the CZ.

    • My FNX9 had that issue with the magazines, I loaded them to capacity using a friend’s speed upala thingy and let them sit for a week before unloading. Now the springs are buttery but still a tad bit stiff however, I can load all 17 rounds easily by hand.

  15. I love my Fnx 45 tactical. I sold my glock 17 last spring to buy the FNX45. I put about 2000 rounds through it with no problems. I would clean and oil about every 200. I was so in love with it that when the tactical model went on sale I traded up. I have about 1000 rounds through it with no problems. Conventional ammo works well. Only the lacquer coated cases fte. I have a streamlight a reflex sight and a kydex holster. This is my edc and I am as happy with it as I think so could be.

    • Doug, my fnx slide failed to stay back only once in about 450 rds. However it did fail multiple times by failing to extract and failing to feed. Sent back to factory 2 times but they fail to admit it is a lemon. Took a beating selling it but couldn’t trust it for self defense. Sorry to hear that 2 lemons left the factory. If you are a big gun dealer, you may get better satisfaction from the factory than I did. I do have a fns-9 that has never malfunctioned and love it.

  16. I have at least 1000 or so rounds in my FNX9 – not one issue. Like the feel of the weapon and it’s dependability. When are you going to do an update?

  17. To Dan Zimmerman,
    If Glocks had dicks, would you suck em dry as much as you could.
    We KNOW the reputation of Glocks, but damn man, everyone is getting tired of deliberately being shown one end of the spectrum to forcibly and falsely accept the other end – meaning that you can easily make any gun whatsoever, look like shit just by saying how you were about to abandon your unfathomable god of guns (i.e. glock) because of this presumed replacement (i.e. fnx-9) , just to show that at the end of the review, you are so lucky for not selling the only hand gun that has never failed an in any time and space. Have you searched online for faults in glocks and measured the reliability of the brand rather than just your actual personal gun that you specifically own and hold? An FNH weapon (and other weapons for that matter) is just as reliable as YOUR precious glock, as much as it has it’s faults in dis-functioning as THE glock in general. Yes, the glock can only be perfect if none of its units ever failed. But its not.
    200+ rounds, or 2000+ rounds is nothing vs owning and using the device for 12 or more months straight to truly define reliability.

  18. I own a FNX 40 and a FNX 9. I have about 2500 rnds through the 40, 1500 in the 9. The only issue I can report is if I press and HOLD the magazine release on the FNX 40, an empty magazine is slow to drop free. If I press and release, no issue. The 9 has no issue to report. I once had a squib round in the 40, it still cycled without an issue! The bullet even cleared the barrel.

    The only faults I have with the design are, relatively, minor. The long, 14lb lawyer induced DA trigger pull is annoying at best! It is difficult to make the first double tap quick and accurate. The SA trigger pull is right about where it should be at 4lbs. It is very easy to shoot accurately in SA.
    Another is, FNH drank the glock coolaid and made the slide stop rediculesly tinny! Whomever thinks this is a good idea should be made to clear a jam in a lowlight gun fight wearing gloves!! Goodthing the FNX just doesn’t malfunction, mine anyway.

    There is absolutely no good reason why any production semiautomatic handgun shouldn’t be fully ambidextrous. None. I own over two dozen handguns, the four most reliable semi-autos I own are fully ambidextrous. Two of them are FNX’s. The others are a Bersa thunder and a CZ 85.

    I trust my life to eather of my FNX’s. The FNX is extremely reliable, accurate and fully ambidextrous. In my opinion, this makes it one of the top handguns made.

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