So, I bought the FNS-9 and it has been a few firsts all at once. It's the first 9mm I've owned. It's the first striker fired pistol I've owned (I've shot a few just never owned one). It's the first FNH product I've owned aside from my FN/FAL which wasn't really. The reciever was a no-name brand "Target 314" and the rest was FAL parts. So, that digression aside, this is all very "fresh" to me.
Now, my review comes from a pistol shooting background of 1911's (like '50s vintage commercial, WWII officer issue sidearms, and my Dad's "fancy" Cold Double Eagle). I don't have any real experience with the new and hot Kimbers and/or Springfields. I just bought a Remington R1 which feels pretty-much like an older commercial 1911. The other principal pistols I shot were L-framed .38/357mag S&Ws and N-framed .44mags with occasional Colt Python thrown in for good measure. Of course there were the obligatory .22s but I will leave the descriptors out. So, comments about trigger feel/pull, recoil, grip, etc are coming from that perspective. Please keep that in mind when I express my feelings on any particular point.
That all said, and if you're still reading, on with the review in a [Pro (commentary) - Con (commentary) - Final Feelings] format.
-I'm left handed. It has nice left handed controls.
-Trijicon night sites. Epic win.
-9mm (I shoot a bunch of .45 and 9mm is soooo much cheaper while still being a centerfire pistol)
-17rd magazines x 3 (I can get into IDPA/IPSC with the gear in the box).
-Grip is comfortable and easily repeatable.
-Simple take down and cleaning
This pistol feels good in my hand. The sights are easy to see with both eyes open or one eye-ball. It really fit my requirement of being a good range gun that would be fun to shoot and good for competition. Night-sights mean I can play in low-light events as well. The magazines are nice and feed well. They drop right out, with the awesome left-handed mag-release, and feed in easily. I like that I can take it down easily and the spring is pre-loaded so I don't have to worry about containing the "exploding" slide-spring during take downs. Past field stripping getting the striker and associated mechanisms out along with the extractor is quite simple and easy to clean afterwards. These are all really good reasons to own the gun. It's simple and cycles cleanly. Shooting it I feel great control and my groupings at 10 yards during slowfire (1 round every 1-2 seconds) is 2.5 inches. Rapid fire ( < 1 sec between rounds) it expands to about 5-inches. I'll take that any day of the week. I'm not a pro shooter nor do I ever plan to be so that level is good enough to make me happy.
-Trigger is heavy and "break" is not clean.
-3-dot sights are akward to shoot precisely.
-Natural point of the pistol is a tad low.
-It's difficult to recover from the "snap" in the recoil.
-The slide-stop is hard to actuate to drop the slide even with a full magazine.
The trigger is the first thing that has been an issue. It was gritty when I got it but after messing with it I got rid of the grit and polished the contact points for a smoother more predictable break. It's still much heavier than I am used to shooting. The 3-dot sights are AWEFUL to shoot with. I have them on my 1911 R1 and they are getting tossed for a nice adjustable set-up. I am used to lining-up the front sight-blade with the rear sight and bisecting my target. This three-dot thing makes me cover-up my target and now I am unsure what I am aiming at. I know it's psycological but it doesn't change my thoughts on that. The natural point of the pistol is just a hair low than what I am used to. I need to adjust my grip to compensate. 9mm has a snap to it's recoil that I'm not used to compensating for while shooting. The .45s have a push that is very predictable. There is a slide-stop on the left side which is awesome except for the fact it is very stiff and doesn't work to drop the slide while shooting.
It's a good gun. I'm going to keep shooting it. The issues I have with the point/sight picture/trigger pull can all be learned. When I do focus I pull off groupings as good as my 1911. It will take a while to become as profficient with the FNS-9 as I am with a 1911 (I've been shooting them since I was 9; 23 years ago). The pluses of having this pistol are great. Easy to clean and good to shoot consistently (when I focus) and it is a great low-cost alternative to shooting .45. For the price I'd say it's hard to beat and the quality of build is nice. I have a feeling that this will become a good "workhorse" pistol.