By Brian Jensen
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.