When you bring up FN in conversation, people will nod their heads. If you ask them to say something about FN, a few of the folks nodding their heads will say “Well, they make guns for the military.” The old guy will clear his gullet and say, “John Browning’s Hi-Power.” Well, both of these are accurate, but FN’s history spans far more than just these two great guns. The BAR, The FN FAL and the M2 Ma Deuce would all be quickly added to the discussion as the group thinks began to kick in. Even these additions only scratch the surface, so let me take you through the high points of FN before we discuss my time on the range with the FNS-9 Longslide.
Fabrique Nationale d’Armes de Guerre (FN) was created in 1889 to build Mauser Model 89 rifles for the Belgian government. Hart O. Berg, the FN sale manager, was touring the United States in 1897 to learn about bicycle manufacturing. It was during this tour that he was introduced to John Moses Browning. In 1902, FN began making the Browning Auto-5. This was the first mass-produced semi-auto shotgun.
- 1927 FN began producing the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR).
- 1932 FN began making the “Baby Browning”
- 1934 FN kicked off production of the High-Power pistol.
- 1947 The first prototype of the FN FAL was created.
- 1953 The Canadian army adopted the FN FAL, with over 100 countries to follow.
- 1981 FN opened FN Manufacturing in Columbia, SC, to produce the FN MAG (M240) for the U.S. Army.
- 1988 the U.S. Army selected the M249 as the Squad Automatic Weapon.
- 1990 the unique FN P90 was put into production (this would later enable creation of the Stargate series).
- 2003/2004 the U.S. Navy selected the FN M3M and designated it the GAU-21
- 2004 the FN Five Seven pistol was developed to fire the 5.7X28mm., matching the P90
- 2007 FN created the FNP -45 to compete in the Joint Combat Pistol Program
- 2010 the SCAR was deployed with U.S. Special Operators at the MK 16 & MK 17, along with the MK 13 Grenade Launcher.
- 2009 FN introduced the FNX Line, with offerings in 9mm., .40 S&W and 45ACP.
- 2011 FN introduced its FNS line of pistols.
- 2017 FN revealed its 509 as a one-off, for entry for the XM17 handgun trials.
Mind you; this list contains just the high points. There are way too many FN guns to cover in totality. By the way, did I mention that Browning is a subsidiary of FN?
Let’s focus on what I think is a real sleeper in the FN line up: the FNS-9 Longslide. Urban dictionary defines sleeper as follows:
The FNS Longslide looks plain, but delivers performance that is on par with all of the polymer competition guns. It carries out this task with its 5-inch barrel and slide, without any special cuts or milling to give away the performance that lies within. This gun has been tested in every type of major shooting event, from high-speed IPSC/USPSA to grueling 3-gun matches to precision Bullseye and actions events, like the NRA Bianchi Cup.
This striker-fired autoloader comes standard with drift windage-adjustable fixed 3-dot sights, external extractor, loaded chamber indicator and front and rear cocking serrations. The slide is finished in a matte black over the stainless-steel construction. The barrel is cold hammer-forged stainless steel with a polished chamber and feed ramp to assure reliable function with all ammunition. The recoil spring is something special; it has a 1-inch-long stainless-steel extension screwed to the carbon steel guide rod, holding the flat wire spring captive. I can discern two purposes for this setup: it adds the necessary length to accommodate the longer barrel and slide, and it adds weight to offset the reciprocating mass, allowing for a softer recoil impulse.
The frame is made of polymer, as you would expect, with two interchangeable backstraps with lanyard eyelets. The Longslide has a steel frame/locking block, in conjunction with rear slide rails for the slide to run on. There is a true MIL-STD-1913 accessory mounting rail on the dustcover. Both the slide stop and magazine release are fully ambidextrous without the need to make a switch over to accommodate left hand use. The trigger guard has a generous opening to accommodate gloved hands, with eight lines of serrations on the front.
My sample arrived with three 17-round magazines. The magazines had polished bodies, low-friction followers and polymer base pads.
On the range
I’ve shot this pistol for almost 10 months, and over that time it has made numerous trips to the range. I have put this gun in lots of peoples’ hands, and their results have all been comparable. This is a point I would not glaze over, as what works for one shooter may not be consistent with others based on several factors, such as hand size, shooting style (or lack thereof) and the type of shooting the gun demands.
The first thing I would point out is that the gun seems to shoot low. This can be observed on the accuracy target. The self-defense ammunition tended to exhibit the least of this effect. A cursory inspection of the sights appeared to indicate that the front sight was taller than the rear. However, a thorough examination with calipers revealed that they were the exact same height. This would be easy to solve with a lower front blade. As this was a sample gun, I simply employed Kentucky windage and held it a little high.
The trigger is a 2-piece polymer design with a swivel at the midpoint that must be fully depressed before the trigger can
be pulled. The trigger was quite serviceable and broke cleanly at just under 5 pounds on my Wheeler digital trigger pull gauge.
The FNS-9 was easy to reload, with a generous magazine well that was flared on 3 sides. The grip had 3 different checkering designs to allow you to keep a firm firing grip. On the rear and sides, it had small pyramids that were quite sticky. On the front of the grip were 22 horizontal lines to help with muzzle flip, and at each transition point, there were vertical lines.
The recoil was noticeably light, even with self-defense loads, and follow-up shots were fast and accurate. The reliability was as you would expect from FN. During testing, this gun ate several thousand rounds, and I never once serviced it with even a drop of oil.
The Bottom Line
This gun is a sleeper because it keeps an easy pace with the flashier offerings in its category, but it has a plain vanilla wrapper. You get a lot of gun for your money, and it’s gun that is made in America by Americans. I am not quite sure why the FN line of striker-fired pistols is not better known, but they should be. You owe it to yourself to give this gun a try!
For more information about FN USA pistols, click here.
To purchase a FNS-9 Longslide on GunsAmeria, click here.