The FN FNX 45 Tactical: Initial thoughts and observations

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Thread: The FN FNX 45 Tactical: Initial thoughts and observations

  1. #1
    Senior Member Dragonfly's Avatar
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    The FN FNX 45 Tactical: Initial thoughts and observations


    I’ve been a member here for a few years now, and have spent most of my time over in the FS2000 forums, but recent developments have led me down the FNX path. After an 18-month wait I finally had my cataract surgery in January. One of the downsides was that I didn’t have quite as much near-focus vision as I’d had before…not that much less, but enough that regular pistol sights were a little more out of focus for me. I’ve been using reading glasses for the past year or so so it wasn’t a huge change, but it was enough that it gave me the idea to try a pistol with a compact optic. I’ve been using red-dot sights on my black rifles for years, but I hadn’t tried a handgun with one. I picked up a couple of second-hand Trijicon RMRs off the EE, and both a Glock 17 MOS and FX FNX 45 Tactical from a couple of online gun dealer. Here are some thoughts after the first week. I picked up the FDE model—the appearance of the colour varies a fair bit depending on the light from almost an olive colour to a caramel brown. The “Tactical” version of the FNX varies from the regular version, I think, by having a longer (5.3” vs. 4.5”) barrel, higher “suppressor” night sights, and a slide pre-milled for compact optic mounting.


    It’s a full-size pistol for sure—the normal cap magazines holds an impressive 15 rounds of .45 ACP. I was apprehensive about the grip size but it’s surprisingly manageable—the extra capacity is achieved not by increasing the grip’s girth but by having a grip that is longer than other comparably-sized pistols. The grip circumference is only 14.5cm (5.7”), just a bit more than the 9mm Glock 17 at 14cm (5.5”). It’s a very manageable grip, even with my small hands.



    The grip has raised grooves on the front strap and a bold pyramid-like texture on the side. I like the grooves—they let your fingers slide into a good grip easily while still providing a solid purchase. The pyramids feel, to me, more or less the same as a Gen 4 Glock…maybe a bit more aggressive.



    The only grip customization is changeable backstraps. What’s neat is that in addition to two different shapes (straight and curved) you have a choice of textures (grooved or pyramids)—I don’t know if any other pistols have this feature.



    I’ve got the straight-backed pyramids on mine. (Is that a lanyard loop at the bottom?)



    The FNX is a DA/SA pistol with a combination safety-decocker. The safety can be applied with the hammer down or cocked. It’s not quite as positive-feeling as the safety on an H&K USP, and there’s not as much of a “stop” when sweeping the safety off before activating the decocker…it feels to me like you might inadvertently decock the pistol under stress. The slide release is a Glock-style nub that’s protected by inadvertent activation by some protrusions. I prefer a larger-to-activate slide release myself. It seems that smaller slide releases might be becoming more common—my Sig P226 Legion has a similarly small one. I guess the modern thing to do is the slingshot slide release but I prefer a slide-stop release. The real suppressor sight is significantly higher than the normal sight.



    Controls—even the mag release—are ambidextrous. the mag release is your typical push button release, not a H&K or Walther paddle-style one (which I would have preferred).



    The trigger is smooth and there are no humps or grooves inside the trigger guard (I hate those on the HK45 or SFP9). There’s a molded-in overtravel stop on the trigger (but what’s funny is that there’s still significant overtravel after the break).



    Here’s a quick demo of the trigger pull—I like it.



    The front sight is, of course, tall as well. A thread protector is included…this would be an awesome pistol for a suppressor!



    Here’s the sight picture through the RMR (I always find it hard to get a picture that represents what your eyes see). The high sights do cover a fair bit of the RMR window. I guess that since they co-witness I should be able to zero the sight more easily. I’ve heard that seeing the sights means you can locate the red dot more easily but I’m a little dubious as to if that’s a worthwhile feature. I’d prefer, I think, if they were shorter.



    There are robust-looking rails inside the frame for the slide to run on.



    There’s a plate on the top of the slide that you remove to reveal the drilled and tapped holes for the various optics.



    An RMR-compatible plate and screws are included (not like Glock that make you buy the screws separately. The same screws are used to mount both the sight and plate.



    The mags are a little odd—instead of having a notch in them there’s a small lug on the front the the mag body that engages the mag release notch. I’ve had it fetch up on the release a little a few times when inserting the mag…I’m a little concerned it could sometimes be an impediment to a smooth mag change. All three mags had the same brazed area—it must be part of the pinning process to limit them to ten rounds.



    Disassembly is easy—lock the slide back, unscrew the thread protector, swing the disassembly lever 90°, retract the slide a bit then ease it forward. The guide rod is steel (and the mainspring quite stout).



    The pistol comes with a really nice case with room for extra mags, the extras mounting plates and even a suppressor (which I’m using for the trigger lock)



    So, what do I think? As fas as regular DA/SA polymer pistols go I think I prefer the H&K USP—the trigger pull is a bit better, and the safety has a more positive feel (and I prefer the USP’s slide stop and paddle mag release). The trigger pull on the FNX is a bit lighter, if I remember correctly, and the FNX’s grip is more manageable. I do like the ease of mounting an RMR (which is why I bought it in the first place). If we were allowed normal cap mags in Canada 15 rounds would be awesome, too, as would suppressor use. As for other polymer .45s, I like the feel of the FNX better than the Glock 21 (which I find a bit large in the grip) and the HK45 (which I always found too slippery in the hand, plus the damn trigger guard groove bit my finger under recoil. I'm pleased with it so far.


    With a foot of snow on the ground and another expected early next week I expect it'll be some time before i get to the range—I'll update the thread once I'e had a chance to shoot the pistol.
    SeaMac, Support Gunner, pez and 10 others thanked this.


  2. #2
    Senior Member SeaMac's Avatar
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    I'll tell'ya what I think, that was one FINE write up on the FNX-45T!

    I had one in -the more accurate black- had to send it on its merry way, too big and that was the only reason it went bye bye.
    Μολὼν λάβε

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    Senior Member BigBuckeyeGuy's Avatar
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    Dragonfly - thanks very much for the detailed write up review, photos & videos. I too think the FNX 45 Tactical is a perfect pistol!!!
    Smurky thanked this.

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  5. #4
    glc
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    Thank you very much for that great review!! Awesome presentation!
    You just helped cement the fact, that most of us on this forum already know that the FNX 45T is one helluva pistol.

  6. #5
    Senior Member Fourth Horseman's Avatar
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    Excellent review. Thank you!

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    Senior Member Smurky's Avatar
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    Very nice review, appreciate an update after you've shot the X45T!
    BigBuckeyeGuy, dank and LESTER thanked this.

  8. #7
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    HK SD9 Tactical's Avatar
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    Very nice. Extremely clear pictures. Please review the rules about posting pictures and their sizes for future references.
    "We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office." - Aesop

  9. #8
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    Great pics, interesting review until I laid sight on the gluuck! We are certainly lucky to have a market with so many choices. I find the H&K trigger to be poor compared to the FNX. The more I shoot it the more I consider its size unimportant and the more I want to carry it.

  10. #9
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    Great write up, thank you.

  11. #10
    Senior Member Dragonfly's Avatar
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    I finally had a chance to take the FNX45 to the range today. I only had an hour to try out three new guns so I was a little pressed for time. Even this short shake-down, though, was enough for me to really appreciate the pistol.

    I started with my usual “out of the box” test for a new pistol—10 rounds at 10m at a brisk pace (the first clip in the video below shows this string). The first thing I noticed was how mild the recoil was—my last two polymer .45 pistols were a GLock 21 Gen 4 and an H&K Mk23 and the FNX was noticeably milder in recoil than those two…surprisingly so, even. Having the co-witness sights made my at-home sight adjustment pretty close—I was pleased with this first group.




    I tried a few more magazines-full with no problems and finished off with five rounds at 25m. I was feeling a little rushed and I am pretty well out of practice—I haven’t shot at this distance since last fall and I haven’t been shooting at in in more than two months so I know this group is not representative of the pistol’s potential but I’m OK with it. The slide did not lock back on the last round for the final string, although it did when I racked the slide. This was the only issue with the pistol.



    Here’s a comparison of the dot sizes for the 9MOA RMR on the Glock and the 3.25 MOA on the FNX (the black aiming mark on the target is 4.5” and the distance is 25m. The large dot on the Glock did not bother me—I'm not planning any long-distance shooting with the, and the green really stood out.



    I enjoyed shooting this pistol very much—the recoil was a pleasant surprise and the trigger pull was easily managed, too (although there was one shot where the longish reset caught me up a little bit…it’s at the 17 second mark in the video). I had my RMR-sighted Glock 17 MOS out for the first time as well and I must say I enjoyed shooting the FNX better. Despite it being a .45 I was able to track the dot better though recoil than I was with the Glock. I’m not sure if the it was because the co-witnessed sights help re-orient me faster or because the Glock’s snappy recoil jumped the sight around. There was a few times that the Glock’s window came up that I did not know here the dot was. More shooting with both I think will help. In my earlier post I mentioned that the sights seemed a little distracting but at the range the were much less noticeable. Overall I am really pleased with the pistol.

    pez and BigBuckeyeGuy thanked this.

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