...Yep another FNS-9 review

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Thread: ...Yep another FNS-9 review

  1. #1
    Member Redbeard's Avatar
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    ...Yep another FNS-9 review

    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.


    Pros:
    -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.

    Cons:
    -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.

    Summary/Conclusion:
    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.
    Remington R1 1911 / Glock 30 / FN FNS-9 / S&W 22A


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    I bought my FNS-9 several weeks ago as a low cost fun gun/ car gun. It was a blue label, no safety and 3 mags. Trigger was very good and the pistol was as accurate as my PPQ. Good buy I thought.

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    My FNS-9 has become my favorite 9mm pistol. For me the grip is perfect. The trigger is a typical striker fired gun with a gritty takeup then a nice break point, but definitely not a 1911 trigger. I like the Trijicon three dot sights that came on the gun. To me the gun shots right on, POA=POI. I find the gun to have low recoil, but slightly more than some of my other 9mm's. I don't use the slide stop to release the slide when chambering a round as it's a small lever so with this gun I prefer to use the slingshot method. Excellent polymer striker fired gun.
    Last edited by labhound; 09-23-2012 at 01:04 PM.

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    Member Redbeard's Avatar
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    Quick follow-up. I've been shooting this for a while now. I've gotten better with it and the trigger. I'm adjusting to the three-dot sights very well.

    The slide stop has gotten easier to manipulate as time has gone on and I use it for magazine changes on dry guns during matches.

    I know some people have been getting bent out of shape about the safety. I gotta say it's 95% unwarranted overeaction. Shooting IDPA requires me to use the safety. A couple of decent draw/dry-fire practice sessions and I don't even have to think about it. I will admit not having it there would be nice but it's not a deal breaker by any stretch.

    I'm also getting used to shooting fast with both eyes open. I've been to a couple IDPA matches and while I'm not fast I'm accurate and I'm getting faster. This was definitely a good purchase.
    Last edited by Redbeard; 12-18-2012 at 08:33 PM.
    Remington R1 1911 / Glock 30 / FN FNS-9 / S&W 22A

  5. #5
    Member Redbeard's Avatar
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    Long term follow-up. I shot the FNS for 1,600 rounds before I sold it post SH. It became my primary pistol. Carry/range/IDPA. It is a good workhorse pistol.

    As I progressed learning about IDPA it was a good teacher. Grip/sight picture/trigger control/slide & magazine manipulation/etc...

    I sold it to consolidate my pistols to .45 acp. I have since been converted to shooting Glocks. I have a G34 and a G21 I compete in IDPA and USPSA with regularly.

    I came back across this sight to get more info on the FNS-9 competition/longslide. Perhaps there will be another FNS in my future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Redbeard View Post
    Long term follow-up. I shot the FNS for 1,600 rounds before I sold it post SH. It became my primary pistol. Carry/range/IDPA. It is a good workhorse pistol.
    I have since been converted to shooting Glocks. I have a G34 and a G21 I compete in IDPA and USPSA with regularly.

    I came back across this sight to get more info on the FNS-9 competition/longslide. Perhaps there will be another FNS in my future.
    I too shoot IDPA...
    I started with an FNX, which wasn't a great idea lol... It's a great gun but not a competition gun...

    I switched to a FNS-9L about a month ago, and it REALLY REALLY made a difference in my shooting.
    I've been shooting about 2.5 months, and ran the Classifier at 114.96 (with two procedurals...Retention reloads)
    Sure I practice a lot...but I give a LOT of credit to the pistol.

    I don't think there is any comparison to it and a G34...the 9L is a far superior competition gun (straight out of the box)
    as I mentioned in another thread... the build of the Longslide's...Slide...makes it have very little flip. It's got a lower bore axis than a G34. The added inch is constructed with extra metal (it's really thicker there than anywhere else on the gun) and it makes the balance of the slide dead even...unlike with the G34 (with the cut out in the slide) the balance point is nearly behind the breach. It's like the FN Longslide has a factory built in compensator.
    The mag well is already reasonably flared...
    And you really can't beat the finish FN puts on their magazines... makes those suckers just spit right out of the gun...no matter what angle you have it sitting.

    I think if people had the opportunity to try the 9L more they would catch on HUGE in IDPA and USPSA...but I have yet to see one in a rental cabinet...and with everyone and their momma screaming GLOCK every other word...It's an uphill battle...

    But I kindof take pride being the only FN shooter amongst a sea of GLOCKs at my local matches...and then seeing my name at the top of the score sheet.
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