FN Herstal FNS-9 9mm Striker Fired Handgun Review

Welcome back, everyone. Today we’re going over the FNH FNS-9 that you see here. This one here is the law enforcement restricted model, but this one is starting to be sold to the general public as well, which, I think, is definitely a good thing. Obviously, restricting guns is kind of absurd to a certain market, but it is what it is. Right now, we’re going to keep putting some rounds on range. After that, we’ll step inside and take a look at some of the details of this gun — how it comes apart, goes back together, some of the specs of it, and then what I think of it overall. That’s what’s coming up today, guys.

I guess the first thing we’ll do is just go ahead and disassemble it. You want to make sure it is clear. Drop the mag. It does come with three 17 round magazines. I’ll lock the side of the rear and inspect the chamber — it’s clear. I rotate the take down lever, here. Incidentally, while we’re talking about that, the take down lever here is the only thing on the gun that is not ambidextrous. The mag release and side lock are ambidextrous on all sides, just not that take down lever. Next, I’m going to go forward, point in a safe direction, pull the trigger, and take the slide off the gun. Pulling it out, you’ll notice that the guide rod is stainless steel. The barrel, just in case you forget, is nicely marked with “UP” on there. That way, in case you go ahead and reassemble it wrong, you can’t do that. Move the barrel. Now, the barrel, here, is a cold hammer-forged, stainless steel barrel. Some of the best barrels in the world, in fact, come out of FN, so you definitely cannot knock that at all. It does have a polished feed ramp and a polished chamber, which is also nice for reliability reasons.

Taking a look here at the inside of the slide, you’ll note that it does have the striker safety up here, similar to the Glock, as well as the rear side plate. That said, working on these guns is a little bit more detail-oriented than working on the Glock, where you’re going to pull them apart. I’m not going to do it here, in this video, though I may in the future. The slide is pretty similar. It’s just the trigger back here that is a little bit more complex. It’s not terrible, but it’s just a side note there if you’re comparing the two guns. Which, obviously, the Glock is a natural comparison to this gun.

Reassembly: go in the exact opposite order. Go ahead and put it back in, put your stainless steel guide rod in there, and lock it in place. Note that the polymer frame here does have very large stainless steel inserts in there. Now, some of the competitors out there are going to be a little bit shorter. I’m not sure if that’s needed, per se, on the 9 millimeter, but it is worth noting that it is pretty beefy in there. Now, that does add up to a little bit more weight. The gun, unloaded, comes in right at 25 oz. So, not terrible, but a little heavier than some of the competitors out there.

While we have it back together, let’s talk about the trigger. The trigger is excellent as far as striker-fired pistols go, in my opinion. It does have the little safety here, so without pressing that, you cannot actually fire the gun. That little piece right there has to be pushed in. When I first got this gun, it was a little bit on the heavy side, and it was breaking right over 7 lbs. Since then, it is now breaking at just over 6 lbs., so it did break in a little bit. It has a great tactile and audible reset and the travel is not too long, either. It has a very predictable wall, so you get a little bit of uptick, the wall’s there, and then it breaks. It’s very nice.

Some other features of the gun worth noting is that, up front here we do have our 1913 style rail, for any sort of accessory mounting that you might have. It actually has a stippled front strap, here on the trigger guards. That way, if you want to push it up against a barrier or something like that, you’ll have a little bit of a grip on there. I know some folks also like to shoot with their finger out there. Not my preferred style, but if it’s yours, it’s something that may interest you. It does have some nice lines here across the front strap of the actual grip itself, as well as the checkering here on both sides of the grip. That checkering provides a very good, positive hold, but doesn’t tear up your clothing or something like that if you’re going to have that underneath, like, say, a la the Glock RTF2. It doesn’t have that problem there. It does come with interchangeable back straps. I have large hands, so I have the large, swelled one on there, but it does come with smaller ones for those of you guys with shorter hands.

To remove that, you just push in right here – just take a little paper clip, that’s what I’ve used. Push in there and it comes right out. It has a beaver tail here and prevents slide bite, so when the gun’s all the way in the rear position, you’re not going to get any slide bite there in the back of your hand. It does have an extremely low bore axis, which I know is something I harp on a lot here on the channel, but it really does help for fast follow-ups and reduction in muzzle flips. The bore sits very low in relation to your hand, which is always a good thing, in my opinion. The sights on the pistol are excellent, in my opinion.

On the rear here we do have a nice U-shaped notch, which we’ll kind of zoom in on there so you can take a look at it. Nice and wide, with those tritium inserts on there. Up front there is a nice front sight with the white outlines, so it’s easy to pick up, especially with that U-shape in the rear. Now, some folks aren’t going to like the U-shape because it is relatively wide. Some folks want it a little bit narrower. It’s a personal preference at that point, but in my opinion, they’re excellent sights.

They do have the serrations on both the front and the back to cut down on the glare and there’s actually even a little ledge right there on the front of the sight. I’m not sure how noticeable it is. You can use that for one-handed slide manipulations. I like to see that a little bit more exaggerated, but it is usable if you choose to do so. Another feature on the gun – we’ll go ahead a load a snap cap in there — you do note that there is a loaded chamber indicator on there. When you go ahead and feel it, you can feel it, tactilely, and you can also see it. I’m not sure how visible that is there on camera, but there is a little bit of a red indication letting you know that there is a round in the chamber.

For those that haven’t handled one of these in person, we’ll do a quick size comparison here with a Glock 17. The FNS has a 4 inch barrel, a la the Glock 19, and a 17 round mag, so it makes sense that if you just look at it, that grip’s going to be right about the same size. We’ll move it up here, so you guys can check that out – it’s almost identical, in fact – but the barrel there is going to be about a half inch shorter than what you’re going to see here in a Glock 17. Width is almost identical as well.

When this gun first came out, it got some bad press because it had a trigger issue. The issue was essentially that if you had a bad primer, the round didn’t ignite, and when you pulled the trigger, the gun would actually lock up. We’ll go ahead and show you what that would look like now. We have an empty chamber, so it will simulate the same thing. The trigger is back now. This gun was made in October 2013. This one has the updated trigger system that all the new ones are coming out with. I don’t know when the exact date was, but anything after that date, you can pretty much be sure that you’re going to be good. If you do that, you have your dead trigger, you can just tap, rack, and access, and if you need to start shooting you can, but the trigger will not be dead. You’ll be able to fire rounds after clearing the round out of the chamber with no problem.

A few things I always try to cover in any gun review is going to be price, accuracy, and reliability. So, accuracy, it’s more accurate than I am, that’s for sure. It’s easily as accurate as any other striker-fired gun I have, which includes Glocks, XDs, and MMPs, so it’s a very accurate gun. It’s more accurate than I am, really, which is all you need to say about it. I can’t give you an “it shoots this inch groups” because I haven’t done that, but it definitely does its part if you do your part. The cost is going to be anywhere from $500-$600, depending on the options you get. The stainless slide that you see here is going to be a little bit more than the blackened one and night sights are going to be a little bit more, etc. For some of you guys that live in non-gun friendly regions, it’s going to be a little bit more. It’s going to vary, but comparable to most other polymer striker-fired guns out there.

And reliability, reliability has been 100%. I brought this gun off to several events where new shooters were — both the NC state and New Shooter Gun Day. Which you guys saw if you follow me on Facebook, you saw pictures from that a few months ago. A few hundred rounds went through it that day. Also, I brought it out to the viewer meet and greet, which you guys have also seen footage of, and a few hundred rounds went through it that day. The reason I bring this gun out to those events is, it’s kind of like a hidden gem, in my opinion. A lot of folks just don’t know about it or haven’t given it a shot, but once you do, a lot of folks really like it. The reliability: excellent. It’s probably had 1500-2000 rounds through it, or somewhere in that range, and I’ve had zero malfunctions.

A few things that I haven’t pointed out about it include the grip angle. If you guys like the FNX series of guns or MMP series of guns, and you like that grip angle, and it points well for you, you’re going to like this gun. It has a very similar grip angle and very similar ergonomics, which are excellent in my opinion.

Cons to the gun. The biggest one is going to be parts availability. These guns are becoming more and more popular, but they’re certainly not out there in the quantity as the M&Ps or the Glocks or the XDs. They’re just not. Parts availability aren’t quite there, but that said, it does come with three mags, and a lot of the holsters for the FNPs and FNXs will fit this gun. It’s not terrible, but it’s not on par with some of the competitors, that’s for sure.

All in all, though, it is an excellent gun. If you get a chance to shoot one, I highly recommend you do, because you may really like it. When I brought it out to a viewer meet and greet, TWANGnBANG, a lot of you, I know, watch his channel, he shot it, put about five rounds through it, stopped, looked at me and said, “Man, this gun’s what a Glock wants to be when it grows up.” I don’t know if he wants me to share that, but I just did, so it’s too late. His impressions were good and he shoots a lot. I shoot a lot, and we both like the gun a lot, so that’s two data points, you could say. If you guys have any questions about this gun, anything else I covered here on the channel, or anything I didn’t include in this video, feel free to post on the comments section. You can always post over at my Facebook page as well, if you don’t want to post here. Thanks for watching, thanks for subscribing, and I hope to see you guys on the next video.