Anyone interested in classic firearms such as the FN automatic pistol M 1935 High Power can’t help but know that Fabrique Nationale (FN) is a Belgian state-owned company headquartered in Herstal, Wallonia.
Like many other European gunmakers, FN also produces in the United States (since 1981), although the actual set up is a touch labyrinthine: FN Manufacturing in Columbia, South Carolina, looks after the production side of things, while FNH, incorporated in McLean, Virginia, has been in charge of marketing since 1998. The company name is taken from the parent firm’s initials and the location of its headquarters.
There is also a branch situated in Fredericksburg, which handles the technical development. Group operations have run under the name FN America since 2014. The subsidiary manufactures AR carbines in the types M 4/M 4-A1, M 16 rifles and the machine gun models MK 46, MK 48 and M 240 L alongside the grenade launcher MK 19, all of them on behalf of the American armed forces.
The company presented the FNX pistol in 2009, produced according to specifications defined within the US Joint Combat Pistol Program and available in.45 ACP, .40 S & W and 9 mm Para: It is a polymer pistol with the obligatory Browning-Petter-SIG system, but comes with an external hammer, released via double or single action operation.
The FNX-9 test
Test shooting the FNX-9 ended up a fairly annoying affair. The handgun snagged with almost every type of ammunition – irrespective of whether they were shot from the sandbag support or free-handed and no matter whether the tester held the pistol with one or two hands.
There were incessant problems with the feed system, in some cases from one shot to the next.
Also, the rack capriciously decided to jaunt forwards after the last shot was fired, instead of staying in its intended position in the slide stop.
Given these difficulties, it appears almost inconsequential that the testers spent quite some time dodging ejected shells if they didn’t want to be struck in the face or the head: the testers were forced to deduct half the points in terms of chambering/safety (-5 points).
The sights were very high-contrast, and came with an unusual V-shaped recess at the base of the rear sight notch and a serrated sight plate that was pleasing to the eye. Nevertheless, the halation around the front sight was so generously proportioned that it seemed as if the shooter were swimming to the target when gazing down the sightline (-1 point). Put mildly, the precision was mediocre, reaching a top value of 83 mm (-19 points), while the other groups were quite some way beyond the 100 mm mark, and in one case even beyond the 200 mm mark.
It is actually a shame, as the FNX-9 has a few tidy aspects worth mentioning: the trigger-frame design deserves to be termed successful owing to the anti-slip design and a variety of exchangeable elements. The same is true of the handling elements: none of the testers, right-handers and left-handers, experienced any difficulty reaching the safety/release lever, the magazine release and the slide stop – an aspect that is regrettably hard to find in this firearm category (-0 points in both cases). Takedown was also very easy.
The trigger characteristics: the testers did not feel that discharge was too hard or unpleasant in single or double action. Unfortunately, though, the trigger had a noticeable creep in both discharge modes and also experienced some over-travel (-2 points). There were mixed feelings about the finishing – all of the components and assemblies showed extremely clean workmanship, but there was a distinct rattle in the barrel, slide and grip (-2 points).
Test summary for the FN America FNX-9
All in all, the FNX-9 is a handgun designed exclusively for military and government service purposes, with a susceptibility to malfunction. Its precision is – just about – adequate for the intended purpose. In contrast, the ambidextrous design of the three handling elements, slide stop, magazine release and safety, also the ample accessories with three magazines and three reserve backstrap inserts, deserve to be rated first rate.
VISIER score for the FNX-9 in 9 mm Luger
|Precision (max. 50 points)||31 points|
|Chambering/Safety (max. 10 points)||5 points|
|Trigger characteristics (max. 10 points)||8 points|
|Trigger-frame design (max. 5 points)||5 points|
|Handling elements (max. 10 points)||10 points|
|Sights (max. 5 points)||4 points|
|Finishing (max. 10 points)||8 points|
|Total score (max. 100 points)||71 points|
|Rating||4 out of 6 |
Shooting test: FNX-9
|No.||Factory cartridge||group size||V2||E2|
|1.||100 grs Sellier & Bellot SP||83 mm||382 m/s||473 J|
|2.||115 grs Fiocchi FMJ||115 mm||313 m/s||365 J|
|3.||115 grs PPU FMJ||123 mm||311 m/s||360 J|
|4.||124 grs GECO Hexagon||170 mm||306 m/s||376 J|
|5.||154 grs GECO FMJ IPSC appr.||134 mm||259 m/s|
Note: group size = 5-shot groups, fired at a distance of 25 metres from a sandbag support, stated in millimetres, measured from bullet hole centre to bullet hole centre. V2 = bullet velocity, two metres in front of the muzzle, stated in meters per second. E2 = bullet energy two metres in front of the muzzle, in joules. Bullet abbreviations: SOP = Soft Point. JHP = Jacketed Hollow Point. FMJ = Full Metal Jacket. IPSC appr. = IPSC approved.