Gun Review: FN FNX-45 – The 45 Re-Engineered

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At first glance, the FN FNX-45 handgun looks both familiar and new. After all, the 45ACP is the classic American caliber, associated for more than a century with the 1911 pistol, but this isn’t quite the same. This review of the FNX-45 handgun traces how FNH USA, the branch of Fabrique Nationale established in the United States, has re-imagined the 45ACP pistol and developed this exciting new handgun for the 21st century.

The FNX-45 is the result of years of innovative development, drawing on advanced engineering techniques. In 2007, FNH USA introduced the FNP-45 service pistol, under the U.S. Joint Pistol Program. Even that success wasn’t sufficient: FN has been a leader in firearms manufacturing for more than 125 years, after all. Their designers used that service model as a starting point and worked to increase the ergonomics, added safety features and greater ease of operation with either hand and from any firing position.

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Durability and reliability are key to the FN Herstal handgun. It uses a double action/single action hammer-driven design, with a cold hammer forged stainless steel barrel and a steel slide. The polished chamber and feed ramp also help ensure dependable operation. The frame is manufactured from durable polymer material, with replaceable steel frame and slide rails. The same attention has been paid to the magazines. They are made with a nickel-coated steel body, a low-friction follower and a polymer base.

Shooters are also offered flexibility in operation. A manual safety also acts as a decocking lever, allowing the pistol to be carried with a round in the chamber under a safer condition level. It is also ambidextrous, as are the slide stop lever and magazine release. A Picatinny rail, MIL-STD 1913, is integral to the frame and provides a mounting platform for light and laser aiming systems to supplement the fixed 3-dot sights.

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The ergonomic design is obviously carefully considered. The grip is canted at an angle that will be familiar to 1911 shooters. The finish of the polymer frame is checkered and the trigger guard is serrated for a firm grip. Both the front and rear sections of the slide are also serrated, to provide an easier grasp when working the slide. To allow shooters to customize the size of the grip, to allow for different hand sizes, two interchangeable backstraps of different thicknesses are provided. Both backstraps have lanyard eyelets at the base.

Safety features are, of course, an important consideration. The FNX-45 uses an external safety lever which, as noted before, can also act as a decocker. In addition, the external extractor features a loaded chamber indicator so that state of the firearm can be determined at a glance.

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The FNX-45 has a 4.5″ barrel, with an overall length of 7.4″. The weight is 33.2 ounces, empty. The standard magazine holds 10 rounds, but a 15-round version is also available. Made in the USA, the pistol has the high level of manufacturing and finish that is to be expected from a company that traces its history back to the legendary Belgian gunmaker Fabrique Nationale.

John Moses Browning, the great gun designer, was the father of the 1911. He also had a long and happy partnership with FN, beginning early in the 20th century which, while it did not include his famous pistol, did manufacture some of his other designs. It seems fitting that, more than a century later, FNH USA should provide a new platform for the venerable 45ACP round, one that combines advanced engineering with detail to comfort and safety. A pistol review can only introduce this handgun, however; to really understand it requires to actually take it out for an afternoon of shooting. It’s easy enough to find out: the FN FNX-45 can be ordered online from Omaha Outdoors.