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In case you’ve just jointed us, Jessie J. was the first of two to win a new FNS-9 pistol courtesy FNH USA in our first-ever content contest. She took home the ballistic booty for her thoughtful piece on armed self defense from a mother’s POV. Now that she has her shiny new gun in hand, she’s sent the following: 

When I found out that I’d won TTAG’s FNS-9 giveaway contest I was thrilled. I’d never expected to win. Honestly, I just hoped to get my story published. I even went so far as to tell my husband he could have the gun if I won (an offer I tried to make good on, by the way…but that was before I shot it.) Unwittingly, I had this vision in my head in which I’d pick the gun up, take it to the range we frequent and run a few hundred of the most incredible rounds of my life through it. Then I’d come home, bask in the glow of the gun’s incredible performance and write an equally glowing review. Unfortunately, that was not to be . . .

The whole picking-up-the-gun experience didn’t go quite as I had expected. My husband and I planned to pick it up on our way to the airport, sending him out of town on business. That probably didn’t help matters. But from the time we walked in, everything was, well, odd.

We were dealing with an employee who was new to us. He obviously assumed that the gun must be my husband’s, even going so far as to ask him if it wasn’t really his, even after I’d assured him that it was, in fact, mine. And that I’d won it, too.

The chauvinistic bastard went on to insist that (since it was obviously my husband’s pistol) I didn’t have to fill out any registration paperwork, though Aaron and I both questioned this. Eventually, though, he came out to the range to inform me that yes, I did in fact have to either do the paperwork or present my permit. Duh. So perhaps I just started the whole experience with a bad taste in my mouth, but it wasn’t all I’d hoped it would be.

My very first impression of the gun itself, though, was a great one. The piece turned out to be about five percent smaller in every dimension than I’d expected, which was wonderful. I had expected the gun to be much bigger than I could reasonably expect to conceal, as I prefer IWB carry and most women’s pants really aren’t cut to accomodate that. So I was pleasantly surprised at the FNS-9’s size.

photo (13)

At the line, things got a little hairy again. She (yes, my FNS-9 is a she) demands a firm hand, which I failed to give her on a couple of occasions. That’s something that hasn’t been a problem for me since very early on in my handgunning career, so it was incredibly frustrating when it happened.

The marksmanship, however, was definitely there – the factory standard night sights are great – but about every fifth shot, I’d fail to reach battery. After my husband ran several mags through without a hitch, we discovered that the problem was in the way my hand fit the grip. Fortunately, the pistol comes with a flat backstrap in addition to the more rounded one it wears for shipment. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the correct size punch in our range bag so I couldn’t swap the two until I got the gun home.

The swap was simple enough – all it took was a small punch and less than 30 seconds to complete. For my hand, the ergonomics are now much better with the flatter backstrap, as I suspect my future experience will be.

The action was a little more sticky out of the box than I’d hoped, as well. That, of course, is nothing a thorough cleaning can’t fix.

photo (11)

She’s wearing her new backstrap and has had a good bath now, and I hope to take her back to the range next week. But it will take a few more months and a few hundred more rounds before I’ll feel qualified to give this piece a true review.

In short, I love the gun – the way it feels, the way it shoots, etc. – but, contrary to my foolishly preconceived notion, one (short) trip to the range doesn’t provide nearly enough information for reviewing a firearm. Though I’m sure some of you already knew that.

Primarily, I wanted to write to say thank you to TTAG, FNH USA and all of the individual readers who voiced support for my initial article. I love the gun and genuinely look forward to getting to know her better then writing the review you and the FNS-9 deserve.

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  1. good stuff. hope you like it.

    ignore the store trolls….they don’t usually last long anyway.

    • Not a “troll”, just a new employee. You were once one, probably more than once. Be more understanding. However, he should have asked another employee, or preferably, a supervisor.

      • “New employee”? Jessie wrote the employee was “new to us” — which seems like another way to say “didn’t know us”.

        And regardless of how one interprets “new to us”, that doesn’t excuse stupid. Perhaps “chauvinistic bastard” (Jessie’s words) wasn’t clear enough for you?

  2. This makes two strong articles from Jessie J. Frankly, I’m looking forward to more.

    Yes, that’s a not-so-subtle hint.

  3. There’s one gun shop guy with his head firmly stuck up his ass. Marshal Wiggins and this guy should be partners.

    Jessie, it sound like you may have encountered the same problem I had the first time I shot a polymer framed gun. The breed can be ruthless if you don’t have a perfect grip for each and every shot. I was used to all steel guns that do tend to be more forgiving of our grip. Add a touch of arthritis into the mix and I have to really pay attention when shooting my polymer frame.

    But the silver lining is that the polymer frames are noticeably lighter and easier to carry.

    • I’ve found the opposite to be true. I’ve encountered far more reliability issues with steel framed weapons than with polymer. But I still love a steel-framed firearm.

      • I actually prefer a steel frame handgun myself. I just recognise the benefits of polymer for certain uses. Just another reason for having a selection of guns to chose from.

        • I agree — steel is real. As the weight on your hip will remind you every hour that you carry.

        • Simply put steel is heavier than Polymer ergo it resists movement during recoil due to that weight difference but limp wristing a 1911 will cause short recoil as well; I’ve seen it happen several times

    • Being more “mature” and disabled, I find it necessary to turn to polymer when it comes to carry choices. But in my heart and in my range bag, there will always reside a 1911 with a forged steel frame…

  4. Congratulations on your prize. Glad to hear that it fits your hand well and that you enjoy the pistol. I have one small bit of advise, and that would be to wear a blouse or “T” shirt that comes close to the neck. Once you have a hot piece of brass drop inside your shirt, you will understand why I ‘m recommending this. Dancing around, grabbing at your clothes while holding a loaded firearm in one hand is not a good thing. By the way, nice group you shot!

    • Haha. I read this post as soon as it went up at noon, and I wondered how long it would take someone to come along and “tut, tut” at the fact that her shirt was a little low cut. The answer is “15 minutes.”

      Based on the writing in her previous article and this one, I’d say she’s not exactly new to guns or gun ranges, and I’d say she’s an adult and can wear whatever the hell she wants to the range.

      • I have fired enough rounds with women to confirm hot brass goes right down the cleavage every single time. For me it goes down the back of my shirt.

      • Methinks Matt hasn’t gotten any lately.

        And it’s a ridiculous stretch to associate a warning about hot brass down the cleavage with “tut tut”. Matt’s got some serious projection going on.

        • You can throw whatever ad homs you want. The fact remains that it’s unlikely that you’ll find a single post on this site that has a photo of a female in anything lower than a turtleneck that someone doesn’t find it necessary to point out that she should cover up her cleavage to keep the brass out of it.

          It could be a photo of Jessie Duff, who probably puts more rounds downrange in a couple months than I have in my life, and if you could see cleavage, someone would make the “brass in the bra” comment, as if she’s a silly girl who doesn’t know better. It’s like clockwork. That’s all my comment said, and I was laughing about it.

          By the way, many of those same folks would comment negatively on me wearing flip-flops to the range. I wear flip-flops 95% of the time. It’s one of the benefits of living in Florida and being me. I’ve had brass between my toes on occasion — it’s just part of life — and I can shake it out without interrupting my string, or I can ignore it ’til I’m done. Those that insist I should do it differently are cordially invited to take a long walk off a short pier.

  5. Interesting form factor. In that last pic it reminds me pretty strongly of a SIG P220 Carry, with a stubby slide over a standard grip base. Neat.

    Personally, I’m not a fan of short sight radius pistols, but for many folks such compromises are necessary for good CCW use.

    • +1 on the Mak. Never a jam or misfire on mine. And ammo has been available thru this last draught. I’ve nearly quit shooting the 9×19 because of the ammo shortage.

    • He’s either someone you want in line when buying a lottery ticket or someone you want all the way across town when a lighting storm rolls in. I cant decide which one it is.

  6. Grats. As a die hard-recently converted glock fanboi, shooting leghorn’s fns-9 at a range made me strongly consider one for my next purchase. The fact that I already own way way too many glock mags has made my mind up for me, however.

    Looking forward to more articles. Sorry you had a gun store Neanderthal give you an undeserved hard time. My local gun house has one of the sales men’s girlfriends on staff and she keeps all the guys in line.

  7. Again, congratulations! Still surprised a gun store employee *wouldn’t* want you to fill out more paperwork. Not because they’re bureaucratic jerks, but to cover their ass from the ever looming ATF monster.

    I just realized that my FLGS has at least three female employees: the wife of the owner (so perhaps co-owner), I think a daughter, and another woman. Not a bad ratio, figure it migh make women a bit more comfortable coming in.

  8. Another superb article, thank you Jessie. And quite an impressive grouping for the first time you shot the gun. I feel even more comfortable for your child upon seeing that you know only have the desire to protect your family, but the ability as well.

  9. Congrats to you, Jessie! And I agree, both articles you have written were well done. Maybe RF and the guys here at TTAG need to give her a guest spot and see how she does. I like her writing.


  10. Different pistol designs are more tolerant than others when it comes to grip, but I know a lot of semi-autos can be over-sprung when new, and as the recoil spring wears it should theoretically become more tolerant to a looser grip.

    Then again, maybe I just have massive hands… was shooting my S&W M&P Pro 9mm yesterday and was trying out some new federal hollowpoints for possible carry use and was desperately trying to get it to jam, shooting “homie style” with either hand for several rounds trying to take a finger or two off the grip and couldn’t get it to jam, yet my sister was having difficulties later in the session when she borrowed the pistol with a full two handed grip. That probably has more to do with the flat-nose bullets I’m trying to burn through in my reloads being more sensitive, even though I rarely have a problem with them even weak-hand shooting…

    Good luck with your prize… I’m sure the gun will break in like a new set of leather boots in no time…

  11. Sorry you had a hard time recieving your firearm,loved your article,glad you won!hope you get great service from the new firearm.Be prepared and ready.Keep your powder dry.

  12. Congrats! A well-deserved win on that prize.

    Sucks to hear the gun store guy was a jerk, though… sadly, you’re not alone in that experience. =/

  13. The failure to cycle you experienced was most likely due to the packaging grease that was not cleaned off prior to its debut firing (e.g. the “sticky” action). FN pistols will perform better after their first thorough cleaning, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it never failed on you again. Congratulations!

  14. Jessie, you should go back and inform the manager that you need to bust the clerk in the gonads.

  15. I’m the husband mentioned in the article. I’d like to clarify a few points.

    This was not our typical “day at the range”. We normally shoot on family land near our home, and a normal session takes several hours using a wide variety of guns. This time, however, we coordinated the pick up of the gun with me flying out of town on business, so the session was focused and brief. While we frequent the gun store portion of the facility, this was our first time to use their indoor range. The employee in question was a bit rude and shortsighted, but he’s not representative of their store or staff. In every other trip, I’ve found them to be courteous, knowledgeable, and respectful.

    As far as the gun itself, it’s a great little shooter. Nice ergos, great sights, and 3 standard magazines really round out the package. Basically everything Jess said.

    Also, I’m normally a stickler for cleaning guns before and after shooting them, but neither time nor circumstance allowed that. I guess I fell victim to reading one-too-many “torture test” reviews that are all over the interwebs for new guns of this ilk. I can assure you all that the gun will be well cared for from here on out.

    P.S. – As soon as I can get my shot groups as tight as my wife’s were, I’ll be sure to pass on more photos when Jess does the full review.

  16. We all need the common sense that women provide. Stops us from becoming a boys’ club. And congrats on your award, richly deserved. You are a fabulous writer.

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