FNS-9 & FNS-40 – New Striker Fired Pistols From FNH

by Administrator on January 25, 2012

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The FNH FNS-9 is a well made pistol, with a very fine trigger.

The FNH FNS-9 is a well made pistol, with a very fine trigger.

The FNS series had forward cocking serrations, ambi controls, a forward mounting rail for lights/lasers, and night sights as standard.

The FNS series had forward cocking serrations, ambi controls, a forward mounting rail for lights/lasers, and night sights as standard.

The FNS-9 and FNS-40 come with either a blackened or stainless slide.

The FNS-9 and FNS-40 come with either a blackened or stainless slide.

By Brian Jensen

http://www.fnhusa.com/

FNH came to SHOT introducing their new FNS series pistol. This is their first entry into the striker fired pistol market. These pistols come in 9mm and .40 S&W (the FNS-9 and FNS-40). I had a chance to speak with Erik Lund of the FNH Shooting Team, who showed off the pistol for GunsAmerica.

First thing first; I had to ask why? With the number of striker fired pistols out there why did they decide to make one as well. The answer was far more straightforward than I expected. Lund said that striker fired weapons are inherently lighter, thinner, and simpler due to the limited number of parts needed to make the gun. There is less large steel parts needed, such as a hammer in more traditional designs, and there are less parts to break. This makes the gun easier to maintain, and more reliable. All you have to do is look around at all the striker fired weapons out there, they all boast these same benefits.

Lund added that the FNS was obviously a stab to go after military / government LE contracts for service weapons. This benefits the consumers who also get to purchase these. One of the US Military requirements is a manual safety, and the FNS series have a very unobtrusive ambi thumb safety to meet such requirements.

It was apparent that the team at FNH looked to the 1911 as their model in many respects, not just the safety. The feel of the trigger was light, crisp, and felt very much like a 1911 pistol, but the trigger is stated as 5.5 lbs. I will say they made that 5.5 feel like something entirely better than a standard striker trigger. It was by far, the best trigger feel I have ever felt on a striker-fired pistol. The bore axis looks to be pretty low in the hand, which will generally translate into better handling and less muzzle flip which was FNH’s intent to allow for rapid, aggressive fire.

Internally, I saw the gun has a metal chasis inside that looks like it’s part of the locking block. It would make sense, that if the rails fail or crack, the gun is not done for, you just replace the rail/locking block insert.
The FNS has interchangeable backstraps to adapt the gun to different shooters. Other nice features are night sights as standard, and a 17 round (9mm) or 14 (.40 S&W) round magazine. The FNS has front and rear cocking serrations, an integral light rail, and an external extractor that doubles as a loaded chamber indicator. The gun also is fully ambidextrous with safety and slide release on both sides, while the magazine release can be reversed to adapt to either left or right-handed shooters. Guns will come with black frames, and either a stainless or blackened slide. They come in a standard 4 inch barrel, but I saw a picture of an extended slide version in their catalogue. Price point on the FNS series is around $699.

Lund said the pre-production guns were handed over to the FNH Shooting Team to take on the road. These guns were then shot, and shot, and shot. (I believe he said they shot the “beejezus” out of them, but I didn’t want to get too technical.) These guns have seen heavy use in their competition circuit, and have kept on going. Lund said the trigger does get even better with time and use.

The question is why should I, as a consumer, put my hard-earned money into buying a FNS-9 or FNS-40. After looking at it, the answer was that his gun has a trigger that I believe those who love the 1911’s crisp trigger will come to appreciate. Reset is minimal and if this gun performs as promised it will be a hard trigger to compete against. It is just that good. The gun has a solid feel, is much slimmer than previous FNH pistols, and sets naturally in the hand.

I am sorry I didn’t get a chance to shoot this pistol before this went to press. It is one of a very few pistols that I am really curious about. From everything I have heard, it should live up to expectation.

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Houstin January 26, 2012 at 8:51 am

I viewed the video Ok but the website pictures overlaid the word copy making it unreadable.

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Paul January 26, 2012 at 10:34 am

Come out with one in 357 Sig, or at least a conversion barrel, and I’ll be in line to buy!

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Matt January 26, 2012 at 11:39 am

Ambidextrous, not ambidextrious. :)

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MotoJB January 26, 2012 at 11:43 am

Why do so many people on this site complain about audio/video issues, website pics overlaid on word copy, etc…hello!?!?!? It’s YOUR pc software and/or internet speed causing the issue for YOU, NOT EVERYONE ELSE. How about a review on the content, not your personal PC woes? Very annoying for the rest of us.

Back to the review – great review on the new FN striker pistols, thank you. They look great. I’m in the market for a hammer fired FN myself. FN appears to offer great pistols for the money.

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John January 26, 2012 at 12:14 pm

I just do not get it, there is no need for a thumb safety on this otherwise nice handgun. Safeties on hand guns, that is to say, manual safeties are unneeded. Given this seemingly does not have the key lock (an abysmal concept) and a bastardized grip safety like the one that aided in ruining the XD for me.
In light of those personal thoughts, I am sticking with Glock’s and revolvers. I would love to see a 1911 with only a trigger safety, or an actual striker fired 1911 esc (clearly absent the grip and thumb safeties.)
I like every shooter have some personal perceptions about what I want in a handgun. In the unlikely event I have the need to deploy my handgun in defense, I want nothing to come between my thoughts of self preservation, and threat analysis which is difficult enough in .01 seconds. Yes I understand that if I practice with one it will become second nature, but I did try that, and it was not for me, which is why I have what I have, and shoot what I have.
I hope FNH is reading this and can potentially adapt these thoughts in future models, or give them consideration.

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Mark January 26, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Did you read the article?

Third paragraph:

“Lund added that the FNS was obviously a stab to go after military / government LE contracts for service weapons. … One of the US Military requirements is a manual safety”

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Marc January 26, 2012 at 9:41 pm

From what I’ve seen about this gun on other web sites, the manual safety is optional. So, I’m guessing that you will be able to buy models that do not include it. *crosses his fingers*

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Don January 28, 2012 at 3:45 am

Obviously you have never been in front of a Grand Jury for a defensive shooting. The first thing the jury will look for is was the safety on and at what point was it disengaged. Then they will ask if the trigger is a factory 5 lb standard.
When you discharge a firearm and it results in a fatality, you will be judged not the dead guy. Then if your shooting was found to be justified you have to worry about civil lawsuits.
You can take all the defensive courses you want, it boils down to 12 people , probably non gun owners that will decide your fate.
People say it is better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.
I say the court cases and lawsuits and lawyers will cost about 100 grand.
So be sure before you pull that trigger, you can’t take back the bullet .

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Bill April 23, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Don – Many states have castle doctrine type laws which make the shooter immune from civil liability, the most popular as of late being Florida’s stand your ground law. If you are in a clear defensive shooting, your trigger mods, safeties, etc dont mean a damn thing with the backing of said laws.

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David January 28, 2012 at 4:15 pm

John, just because it HAS a safety it dosen’t mean you HAVE TO USE IT.

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Brandon January 26, 2012 at 12:17 pm

This one really interests me. I have a lot of trigger time on the FNP-40 and think it’s a great gun especially considering the price. If the FNS trigger is as good as everyone says it is, this will be a very nice pistol.

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Mike Orick January 26, 2012 at 12:39 pm

It has a safety cuzz the last several times the US military tried to select a new pistol (MHS, AFFH, AFH, CP, JCP, SOF-CP), they asked for a safety. Ok, I’ll be the first to ak the obvious: where’s the 45!? Where’s the compact?

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Veniceneon January 27, 2012 at 12:11 am

Yeah Mike, exactly what I was thinking, where’s that .45? I wonder as well if they come out with a compact or a sub compact too. This is a 4 inch, so is it considered a full sized pistol or compact at this point?

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Tony January 29, 2012 at 11:17 am

I’ve actually fired the FNS 40. I own a Glock Model 27 and a Model 30. Both of these are super defensive pistols. I used to carry a Sig Saurer 239 as a Special Dep. US Marshall. The Sig was also a super, extremely well-made pistol.

A few weeks ago I fired over 100 rounds through the FNS 40. It is an incredibly accurate, well-designed, natural shooting weapon. The ergonomics are fantastic. The trigger pull is, for me, almost indistinguishable from a 1911 Officer’s Model. I used to have to qualify in a course of fire which included 6 rounds (of 50) at 25 meters. To fire 100%, I had to brace my left hand against a supporting pillar, just to hit the target with any of my other subcompacts. When I tested the FNS 40, I fired at least 15 rounds at a circular metal target (about 15 inches in diameter) at slightly more than 25 meters. Without any support, using a normal firing stance, I could NOT miss. It was amazing.

Felt recoil is minimal. From point to shoot, to aimed fire at 25 meters its a superb firearm. FNS reps told me that they will begin to market the FNS 40 without an external safety in February 2012. I’m waiting anxiously. I will buy one immediately. They also claim that they are developing a subcompact version.

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Vince April 23, 2013 at 11:01 am

Great review. Extremely helpful. Thanks for taking the time to inform us.

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WG January 29, 2012 at 3:18 pm

I’d call it a tween.

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GKJ February 25, 2012 at 8:49 pm

After reading the reviews, as well as a personal choice, I have just purchased an FNS 9. I have a number of pistols of various makes and models – Sigs, Glocks, Springfiellds, CZs, S&Ws etc. I collect them and shoot them and carry them. To me guns are like fishing rods – each one has a specific purpose – rifiles, shotguns and handguns. I stop short with Muzzleloaders and Archery equipment. I chose the FNS because it comes with factory night sights standard, the review of the trigger – as I always have the gunsmith work my triggers – at least the Glocks and Sprinfield XDs, and the fact that it HAS a manual safety. If I were to carry this gun in a holster (my preference is a shoulder rig with the pistol on the left and double magazines on the right) I would not want a safety and any of my Glock or XDs are the perfect choice for me. However, this gun is going to be in a pistol rug, in a large pocket or in a concealed pocket I have on the side of my seat cover. A Glock style safety system without a holster is an accident waiting to happen as everyone knows or should know. I believe Plaxico Burris can atest to that with first hand experience. In any case, for the my intended use, I wanted the manual safety and as one other poster put it – it is there, but you do not have to use it if you do not want to. The location on the FNS is not different than having a decocker if you do not want to engage it. I also like the stainless steel slide as I wanted something a little different. The price was $ 550 which is comparable to what I have paid for a Glock 17, 22 or 31 or a Springfield XD Tactcial with Night Sights. I also like the grip features and the lack of a grip safety so I can add a grip sleeve like I do to all my Glocks and S&W M&Ps. My choice of a 9mm over a 40 S&W is strictly because of ammo prices – besides I have a copule more 40s than 9s at this point. On the website they also list a compact, however, there was no picture available or any specs, otherwise i would have considered one. The website is not very robust let’s say. I will report back after I receive and test the firearm.

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GKJ March 3, 2012 at 12:18 am

Just received my FNS-9. I really like it. It appears to be quality made through and through. I got the stainless slide model and it sure looks good. The safety is nice and small and clicks off and on easily and positively. So far exactly what I wanted. Comes in nice hard case with 3 magazines, an extra back strap, a lock, a fired cartridge and an owner’s manual. The night sights are Trijicon and the rear dots are smaller than the large front dot which I like. The rear sight has a deep V notch and may take some getting used to. I shoot all of my pistols, in fact any gun, with the same sight picture – that is the two rear dots even with the front dot. I will report back after shooting the firearm some.

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GKJ March 14, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Fired it and loved it. The sights are very nice and accurate and the deep notch lines up quickly with the large front dot. The trigger is excellent and the pistol is well balanced. Personally, I can’t say enough about the quality and design. As I said in a previous post – exactly what I wanted – a striker fired pistol with a great trigger, great sights (night sights are always a requirement for me and I would not have looked twice at this pistol without them), a great feel, and a manual safety for my purposes – which is to have ready outside of holster use. I would buy another in a second and may consider puchasing the 40 S&W as well. Is it better than anything else out there ? For my specific purposes – yes. For other uses, that would open the great debate ;)~~~ enjoy…

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Siefer March 29, 2012 at 1:36 pm

I am in the market for a .40SW and have been seriously considering the M&P .40 and the FNS-40. I have read many posts today about the reliability of the FNS-40 and yet the M&P .40 is a great firearm and backed by Smith and Wesson’s lifetime service policy. Which one do you guys think is better weapon all around?

If it comes down to it I might have to buy both ;)

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GKJ April 13, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Siefer, I liked the FNS 9mm so much, I purchased an FNS 40 S&W as well. I do have a Smith & Wesson M&P in .357 Sig. While I do like the pistol, I just had to send it off to Smith & Wesson for service about a month ago. Any brand of cartridge I attempted to fire, jammed, and I had to re rack the slide. I received the pistol last week and test fired and the problem appears to be fixed, although the description of the parts replaced had nothing to do with the problem. It is once again reliable. I like the feel of the pistol and it is accurate, but after the problem mentioned, I am not sure I would buy another. One key feature of the FNS pistol is that it comes with excellent night sights. For me, that is the first thing I look for because I am going to put them on anyway if they do not have them. In the case of the M&P, the problem is that the aftermarket replacement night sights such as Trijicon and Meprolight have a shorter rear sight and I do not like the way they fit the gun and I actually have a set from Meprolight and have yet to install them. Personally, I like the manual safety on the FNS, another reason I purchased it. It is small, silent, and accessible. I also like the FNS grip. If they came out with a .357 Sig, I would purcase one of those as well. The .40 S&W magazine actually has .40 S&W / .357 Sig on it, so who knows ? We may be seeing one in .357 Sig. I just fired the FNS .40 S&W yesterday, a couple of boxes and it worked flawlessly. The only note I have is that it tends to shoot lower than some of my others when you have the large front dot even with the two smaller rear dots. Knowing that, I left the front dot higher on the target and again I had good accuracy. I would buy it again…

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GS May 13, 2012 at 7:27 pm

@Siefer: I’m giving some consideration to an FNS 40. I used to have an H&K .40 compact and I really enjoyed that. At this time I have the M&P .40 full size and I love it. I’ve fired many types of ammo through it, both new and old and I’ve never had a single problem. One advantage of the M&P is that S&W also offers a full M&P in .22 LR, so you can train with the same gear you use for your .40 at a much cheaper price.

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GKJ May 19, 2012 at 2:20 am

One other note: the all black variation of the pistol seems to be scarce. I would have bought the all black in the 40 S&W I mentioned in a previous post if I could have found one. I finally did see one on GA last week. The compact version, even though it is referenced on the FNHUSA website still does not have pictures and I have not seen a compact version in any variation for sale yet. I do like the stainless, but I bought a 9mm first in stainless and I would have liked to have had the 40 S&W in black just to have something different. I can also tell you that at the repair center, which is Browning in Arnold, Missouri, parts are backordered which to me means that they have not scaled up Production to full capacity as they are waiting to see what the market response is which explains to me the reason for the shortage and a the lack of a full scale product offering – the lack of compact availability and presence on the FNHUSA website. No meaning intended anywhere just an observation and if you send a unit in for service it may be a while depending on the service requested. My 9mm had a small dent in the rear sight I noticed after shooting a few magazines through it and obviously I could not return it, so I had to send it in for service. That was March 13, 2012 and they are still waiting on the part which is just a rear sight.

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GKJ August 6, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Update on service: I received the 9mm FNS mentioned above back last week. I am not happy at all with the service provided. I could tell that the rear sight was replaced by tapping the sight into the dovetail as the scratches on the dovetail edges and the bluing suggested. I had to use Presto blue touch up on the left side of the sight. You know they do make sight installation tools for that reason – which is exactly why I absolutely hate sending any of my firearms in for service – there is always a new scratch or a new mark somewhere or the job just is not done right. In addition, I was stupid enough to include my orginal paperwork as evidence that I just purchased the firearm and of course it disappeared. Enough said – it is the same everywhere. If I could have purchased the same sight, I would have done it myself. I will sell the firearm because of it, take the loss, and buy a black one.

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Brett August 23, 2013 at 6:22 pm

PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE MAKE A 45 FNS!!!!!!!

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Cameron April 3, 2014 at 5:17 am

I owned an FNS 40 for a year put 1000 rounds through it and the trigger never got better, always had a gritty feel and pieces of polymer would shave off of it from time to time, sold it to buy a Springfield XD which in my opinion has a better trigger, some would argue but there is always a PRP trigger kit if you don’t like the factory reset; accuracy is so far unmatched with the fns, I loved the loonnnggg sight radius and minimal weight, the other issue was the way the backstrap attached, not very stable and the thin piece of polymer began to warp. Other than that fine product, mine was purchased without an external safety.

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