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FNH has been known primarily for the Browning High Power as well as the FN FAL – two firearms that are legendary in the gun community and heralded as the top of the class of their respective categories. Handguns, however, have been a different story for FNH, as the company has always been considered an unserious contender for the crown of handgun manufacturing supremacy. Glock has been the consensus class of the field, and the thought of a gun surpassing the quality and reputation of Glock was hard to fathom for some time. FNH-USA’s highly anticipated FNS-9 takes aim at the Glock 19, the handgun widely considered the industry standard. An assortment of companies, from Smith & Wesson to Springfield, have made similar guns that have attempted to take aim at and one-up the Glock 19, but the consensus opinion has been that all have fallen short. The FNS-9 could be the challenger that does in fact overtake the Glock 19 for striker fired handgun superiority, and launch FNH into the top-tier of handgun manufacturers.
Polymer is all the Rage
With polymer-framed hand guns now being all the rage, it’s no surprise the FNS-9 long-slide pistol is turning heads. Full-disclosure, I personally have never been too big a fan of polymer hand guns. I’ve seen polymer guns’ damage and crack and suffer from heat and cold issues too many times to prefer them to good old fashioned steel. However, the build quality of the Glock 19 and now the FNS-9 have begun to change my mind.
The FNS-9 features a lengthened long slide that accommodates a barrel that is an inch longer than that of the standard FNS pistol, and that also matches the Glock 19 in size. In fact, that FNS-9 features the same shape, length, width and unloaded weight as the Glock 19. It’s unsurprising that this is the case, given the praise Glock 19 received for having achieved what is considered an ideal shape and weight. FNH must have figured, ‘why mess with perfection?’. Although there are many similarities between the Glock 19 and FNS-9 there are many things that set them apart.
Ergonomics and Feel
The true highlight of this gun, and where FNH really takes things to another level as compared to the Glock 19, is in the ergonomics of the model. It really needs to be held to be understood, but the gun fits, dare I say, “like a glove” in your hand. This is in large part to the thinness of the grip itself. In addition to the ideal shape of the handle and gun, it comes with three removable back straps, all of which are nicely textured and comfortable to grip and allow the shooter to find the ideal ergonomic feel for his or her hand. The grip allows for just enough adhesion without causing any discomfort, which makes shooting it as comfortable as can be. The trigger guard is an ideal and accommodating shape, large enough to fit a gloved hand, but the roundness of it keeps it from looking too large.
Slide and Aesthetics
The slide is very well done and aesthetic, with serrations in the front and rear that make for a beautiful looking gun. I own the black on black model but the silver matte on black frame model looks really nice in person as well. The thinness of the slide looks great and makes for an improved take on the Glock 19 model. It’s thinner than even the compact version of the 19, and makes for a great shape where the 19 slide looks perhaps a bit blocky. The FNS-9 features a pleasantly low bore axis, similar to the 19, but again the FNS overtakes the Glock in that it features larger sights that show up really nicely on the frame.
The FNS-9 is a very welcoming gun to left handed shooters such as myself, as both the magazine release and the slide release are ambidextrous, featuring releases on both sides of the gun. The controls are very thin and low to the frame, which again makes for a more aesthetic weapon and outclasses other handguns that feature busier, more crowded looking frames. In a word you would have to describe it as ‘clean’; the slide features are recessed really thinly and close to the weapon while the FN logo, 9MM, Made in the USA and FNS-9 imprints offer stylish accents to the gun.
World-Class Build Quality
The beveled magazine well on the gun is a really nice feature, as it allows the magazines to swap out quickly. The gun carries 17 rounds, in contrast to the 15 that the Glock 19 carries. The model comes with a four-inch barrel, but there are also compact and long slide models offered as well – I’ve held both and they feel great, however the compact model would probably serve best for someone with a smaller than average hand size. At 25.2 ounces the model is really light, like the Glock 19 as previously mentioned. The reset and trigger of the gun feel perfect, it’s easy to tell that the gun is well-made, the reset even springs your trigger finger forward just a little which is an ideal feature. At five-and-a-half pounds, the trigger pull weight is nearly identical to the Glock trigger, but the FN offers more of a crisp feel. Again, this is the kind of quality that needs to be experienced to be fully understood, it’s almost surprising how good the gun feels once you have it in your hand. The beaver tail of the gun flares out just a little, covering just enough of the surface of the back of the hand to feel good but not excessive as we have seen with some other handguns.
There are models that offer a frame safety in addition to the standard trigger safety, firing pin safety, an internal drop safety, and finally an out-of-battery safety. Assembly and disassembly of the gun is as easy as can be, which is again a testament to the build quality of the gun.
Concealed Carry Friendly
The thinness and sleekness of the gun is absolutely ideal for concealed carry purposes – generally speaking you’d expect one would have to opt for the compact model of the weapon in order to properly concealed carry, but the FNS-9’s frame conceals perfectly.
It should be noted that I have only had this gun for a short period of time. However, FNH standards mandate that the gun goes through the company endurance testing protocol, which means that 25,000 rounds were fired, after which there were no reported failures. Additionally, the gun was first distributed only to law enforcement agencies, who then gave FNH their feedback before the gun was available for purchase by the general public.
With that being said, my personal experience has been that the gun fires like a dream. The pivoting trigger that the gun features is consistent and smooth, round-after-round, and has excellent pull. The accuracy is true – I put the gun through my standard shooting drill in which I attempt to put all bullets inside of a five-inch circle from ten yards, and the gun was as accurate for me as any polymer handgun I have fired.
One area that the FNS-9 does unfortunately fall a little short in is accessories. You’ll still be able to find your standard holsters, trigger kits, mag extensions, etc., but they in no way compare to the amount of accessories available for the Glock 19. Not a major problem, but if you’re looking for a specialty accessory you may be out of luck.
The FNS-9 is a breakthrough gun for FNH, as well as for polymer handguns in general. The FN has taken what was great about the market leader in this category, the Glock 19, and improved on it nearly across the board. Quite frankly, any complaints about this weapon (manufacturing deficiencies notwithstanding) strike me as disingenuous, as I personally have not experienced a gun that I have taken to as quickly as the FNS-9. From beginner to intermediate to experts, this is a gun that would be well-suited for anyone looking to add a polymer handgun to their collection. I eagerly await FNH’s future handgun models – if they’re anywhere near the quality of the FNS-9, I have no doubt that the gun community will begin to appreciate the company as much as I do.
Once again thanks for stopping by Gunivore.com, here’s a video of Hickok45 playing around with the FNS-9