5 Reasons to Carry the FN 509 Compact MRD

Authors Clay Martin Columns

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Editor’s Note: FN America is running a hot Summer Sizzle rebate program for their new FN 509 pistols till September 30, 2023. You’re looking at a sweet deal with up to $220 value. You get free virtual pistol training classes from the pros at Sheepdog Response, worth $120, and cash back of up to a cool $100 depending on the gun model you snag. Just remember to make your purchase between July 17 and September 30, 2023, and cash in on the rebate online by October 31, 2023. You can find all the details over at FN America’s website.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I got my hands on a member of the FN 509 family of weapons, the Compact MRD (Modular Red Dot) model. I had overlooked the FN 509 models, and that was an absolute mistake. The 509 Compact MRD might be a dark horse contender, but one worthy of betting the farm on when it comes to performance. This week, I am going to give you five good reasons to carry the 509 Compact MRD.

FN 509 MRD with Holster and Red dot
FN 509 Compact MRD ready to roll!

1. FN’s Reputation

FN has the motto, “The World’s Most Battle-Proven Firearms,” and that isn’t a statement without merit. Between the M2, Browning High Power, FAL, SCAR, M240, M249, and M-16/M-4 production by FN, it’s hard to argue they aren’t correct.

But on the handgun side, while the 509 series is new, it also has a heritage with a proven track record. The FNX-45 Tactical is still a hard one to beat in the battlefield sidearm department, and the 509 series is a direct descendant.

During testing, it had not one hiccup, and I shot it more than I should have. This gun is so much fun, and so easy to run fast, that it is hard to stop loading magazines. Highly recommend you order a case of 9mm when you order your 509 (see the review video embedded below).

509 MRD with Hornady ammo
509 Compact MRD with Hornady XTP.

2. Versatility

The 509 Compact MRD can fill a variety of roles, everything from a primary carry gun to a backup duty pistol. This is largely due to the magazine size one opts to use because depending on the choice it can feel like two different guns.

With a 12-round magazine inserted, you have a grip and profile like most other compact guns in class: Glock 19, M&P Compact, etc. But with the 15-round magazine inserted you don’t just get more bullets. The configuration smoothly extends the grip profile as well. This makes it the equal to what I call hybrid size guns, or polymer “Commanders,” like the Glock 19X and SIG P320 X-Carry.

For that reason, I usually carry mine with the 15-round magazine inserted, and the 12 as a reload (If I opt to carry a reload). That is a bit backward from the norm, but it puts most of my bullets upfront if the party starts. And as soon as my spare 15s arrive, I will carry them exclusively.

FN 509 MRD from the top
With Delta Point Pro from Leupold.

3. Red Dot Ready

You may not be ready to carry a red dot just yet, but the future is coming. Also, just like mine, your eyes aren’t getting any younger. In this day and age, it is really nice to be able to buy a gun that can be equipped with red dots if you like. And the 509 Compact MRD does just that. With a patented red dot mounting system that also gives it a best-in-class depth of mount, the 509 Compact MRD is a perfect choice.

Included in the box are adaptors for 10 popular red dots. I paired it with the Leupold Delta Point Pro because it is has a reputation as being incredibly durable. The Delta Point dominates the competition market, so you know it is going to survive normal concealed carry use. It also features motion-sensing auto on/off and efficient circuitry to extend battery life.

FN 509 MRD through the red dot
The 509 Compact is purpose-built for optics.

4. FN 509 Shootability

The 509 Compact MRD really blew my doors off during review time because of how well it shot. Compared to the competition it is absolutely among the best and is remarkably smooth for a striker-fired gun. That, coupled with the unique grip texturing, had me hammering targets with the 509 like it was an old friend. On the first magazine!

This is a trigger you need to feel at the gun counter (or preferably the range) to truly appreciate. On paper, it is the same weight as many others, 5.5 pounds. But the geometry of the pull and design of the trigger shoe make it feel like much less. Just a dry fire or two, and you will see exactly what I mean.

 MRD gripped
In hand with a 12-round magazine.
FN 509 MRD in hand
In hand with a 15-round magazine.

5. Market Support For the FN 509

With an all-new gun usually you will have to wait a while on accessories. But since the 509 Compact MRD comes from the already popular 509 series, and FN is a massive manufacturing force, “stuff” is already available.

Most important for a concealed carry, holsters are available. And in plentiful supply. I counted a dozen in a quick search, including this one from PHLster. PHLster has a reputation for innovative CCW platforms, as well as comfort. These guys actually carry things and think about it, not just smash Kydex together. With the PHLster, the 509 disappears into your waistband. Definitely recommend it.

Magazines, parts, night sights — everything is already available. This means you can customize to your needs, always a bonus.

FN 509 MRD holstered
Holsters are easy to come by.


In the highly competitive compact handgun market, it is rare to see a real contender to the crown. But the 509 Compact MRD is just that. Small enough to conceal, but still big enough to shoot. With the crisp trigger and optional grip length, the 509 Compact MRD surges to the head of the pack.

Learn more about the pistol by visiting FN

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  • Jay Smith August 29, 2023, 8:56 am

    I carry the non flush mags in my Hellcat & Kahr too. The grip feels better.

  • TERRY August 28, 2023, 11:30 am

    This still doesn’t outperform the SIG P365. The trigger is much smoother and lighter on the P365.

  • Roy Curry December 7, 2020, 9:26 am

    Probably a good gun, but why carry a “FN9” (pun intended) when you can carry a .45?

  • Arion May 17, 2020, 12:19 am

    I played with the FN 509 Tactical at the gun shop the other day and the trigger was gritty and stiff. Maybe 7 lbs. The rest of the gun felt great but the trigger was just yuck compared to my P365 and LCPII.

  • Colin May 15, 2020, 8:07 pm

    I carry an FNS9C and the trigger is great, I thought I liked my M&P until I shot this!

  • Mark Hood May 15, 2020, 10:27 am

    Digging the sunglasses Clay! Who knew you were a fashion mogul 😉

  • me May 15, 2020, 7:18 am

    Glad to hear it has market support. That is one thing the FNX 45 lacks. I could not find a ready made holster for it. I even contacted FN to see if they new where to look, but didn’t receive a reply. Finally I had to have a holster made for it for a local guy since I could get the well known holster makers I contacted to build one.

  • Chick May 15, 2020, 6:28 am

    How much does this pistol weigh? How does it stack up to the Sig 365?

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