FN Herstal FNS 9C Compact Handgun Review

Welcome back, everybody. Today we’re going over the FNS 9C. Now, first and foremost, I want to thank the folks over at OmahaOutdoors.com. They sent this pistol out to the channel for us to review for you guys. So, it’s because of them that we’re bringing this review to you guys. So, definitely thanks to them. Their website will be here in the screen, as well as down in the video description. This gun here is one that we’ve had a lot of requests to review.

I very positively reviewed the big brother, the full sized version of this gun, and I get a lot of questions about it. That’s actually one of my more popular reviews. So, I was, again, very pleased with that. Everyone that we’ve sent that gun to — I believe Scootch reviewed that gun; couple other channels we’ve given it to as a loaner for reviews and the thing’s got a lot of rounds through it and it’s going strong. So, that’s definitely a good firearm. The compact version has been long awaited for folks that like that pistol. It’s here now and what we’re going to do is a little bit more shooting. We’re going to do an accuracy test on this little gun and then get into all the details of it coming up next.

Time to test the accuracy of this pistol. Typically we don’t do that on a lot of the pistols we review, but this one — spoiler alert — I like a lot, and it’s going into my carry rotation. So we’re going to see what kind of accuracy we can get out of it. God forbid the event that I ever need it; I want to know what it’s going to do. So, the ammo in there right now is standard pressure, 124 Grain, Federal HST and a flush magazine, which is the one I’m going to carry it with. So, figure I’ll test it that way. We’ll go top right here on the target you guys are looking at. Let’s go check it out.

For a gun of that size, we’ll take that accuracy. At least what I can see here, the squares are two inches, just to give you guys a reference point. So, we’re looking at two and a half…hold on; just a little over two and a half inch group there. Five shot group at twenty five yards, so we’ll take that and not complain a bit.

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Getting into details, we’ll work our way from front to back just so we have some sort of a semblance to order here. You can see up front we have the 1913 style rails. They’re relatively short. However, some of the short lights out there will work just fine. The Streamlight TLR-4 and 3 should work on there just fine and we’ve used the Viridian on there that you guys have seen throughout the review. So, that does give you an added option. Say, if you wanted to use this as an all-around gun, maybe home defense and carry gun, you’d have the capability there. Or I know a lot of folks just like to carry with the lightest. So, you’re certainly fine there either way.

You can see up front here the trigger guard does have some sort of grip texturing on there. I know a lot of people like to put their finger up there, so for those of you that like that, you probably are going to like that added texture on there. We have our takedown lever here which we’ll show you how to use here in just a second. We do have front cocking serrations so that you guys who like to do press checks using those, it is an option for you. Moving on back here, we do have the slide release and slide off, which is ambidextrous on this pistol. The only thing that’s not ambidextrous on the pistol is going to be that takedown lever. So you’ll see here on both sides, we do have the slide lock and mag release on both.

Speaking of the mag release, I need to bring up a point with this pistol. This is obviously its full sized brother and you can see the mag releases are different on there and they actually function a little bit different as well.

On the compact model, you really have to depress it hard to get that mag to come out. So it’s almost impossible to accidentally bump it. You know, I’m pushing it out right now — I don’t know if you guys can see that — I’m actually depressing it, but the mag’s not popping. You have to push it in to get it out, which I like. So if you’re carrying inside the waistband, that’s a big deal; you don’t want to accidentally knock it off. Of course, the pistol will fire with the magazine popped out so there’s no magazine safety or anything like that, but on the full size, it’s much easier. You can see there that it’s actually larger and it sticks out a little bit more. Maybe at an angle you can kinda see it there, if we can do that, but I assure you it’s easier to activate here on the full size and I don’t think that’s a con at all. It’s just something to point out.

Another thing to point out here on the frame is this stippling. It has these little polymer nubs on there which do a really good job of giving it added texture. There’s also some serrations up front, and like I pointed out in a million different reviews, if you are going to have lines on the front strap of your pistol, it’s better to have them horizontal than it is vertical. It gives you a good gripping surface and makes sure the pistol doesn’t move around in your hand. Same here for the backstrap — really tucks in your hand. One thing to point out is that the pistol actually ships with this smaller backstrap here and it’s a little flatter as well. However, I have very large hands so I swapped that out and actually put the smaller one on there. It’s really easy to do. You just push out a pin right here on the rear, comes out, slide this one in and you’re in business.

The sights that you see here on the gun are the only thing that isn’t factory. The factory sights aren’t bad in terms of actually shooting them and engaging targets. You have two small dots on the rear and a large dot on the front which draws your eye to the front sight. Definitely a good thing. The problem with the sights and the reason that I replaced them is they don’t have a ledge at all on them. So, trying to do any sort of one handed manipulation is next to impossible. So, for that reason I replaced them with these AmeriGlo. This is an AmeriGlo set here. There are tritium inserts so they do have low light capabilities. I picked these up over at www.brownells.com. We’ll put a link down in the video description. Very good sights and I’m definitely happy with them.

One nice thing about this pistol is that it comes with three different magazines. It comes with two 12-rounders and a 17-rounder. The 17-rounder is identical to the full size magazine, so you can use the mags from your full size FNS 9 or FNS 40. It’ll work just fine in here.

It does have this grip sleeve on there. Honestly, guys, let me just show you how it works here. If you can put it in there, it’s got the same contour, so basically it feels like you’re shooting the full size FNS. The problem with these grip sleeves, at least in my opinion, is that a lot of times people will carry them down in their belt and it will come a little bit loose like this and if you go to reload it and you try and jam it in there, it can cause problems. Of course it will function completely fine if you just remove the sleeve insert like that. So, just one man’s opinion from experience here, if you’re going to use that as a backup magazine, I do recommend taking the sleeve off. It may not look as good, but functionally you’ll be glad you did in my opinion.

So, the two 12-rounders here come with this one that’s a flush magazine and you can see that it has a little bit of a ledge there which definitely helps because it gives you sort of a grabbing surface, if you will, for your two fingers that are going to be on there. Some folks with small hands may be able to get all their hands…all their fingers I should say, all their fingers on there, but again, I have relatively large hands; that’s just not the case. However with the finger extended version I can, but of course you’re going to have a little bit of a larger surface and it’s going to print a little bit more — concealed carry.

Before we disassemble it lets get into the trigger here. Now you have this hinged trigger safety here which blocks the actual trigger from going backwards. It’s in the event that you drop the pistol. So it is an additional safety in addition to the striker safety switch I’ll show you here in a second. So a lot of people are going to like that. A lot of people don’t like the little safety on the Glocks. They say it irritates their fingers. I guess it’s personal preference and opinion at that point, but you do have this takeup here and then you hit a wall and it has an extremely crisp break. It breaks right at five pounds on my trigger pull gauge and you can see the reset here. Very short and very tactile and probable. I’m a huge fan of the trigger on these FNS pistols. This one actually breaks about a pound better than my full size. I don’t know if it’s just variation from pistol to pistol or if the actual updated versions have a little bit lighter trigger, but it’s crisp and it has very little over travel and a really nice reset. So I’m a fan of the trigger for sure.

Field stripping the pistol is pretty simple; we’re just going to lock our slide back by pushing up here on the slide lock. At that point we make sure it’s empty. Rotate this little lever here down and release the slide. Now you have to point in a direction and pull the trigger. The slide will come right off. We’ll remove our recoil spring and guide rod. It is a steel guide rod, you’ll note there. One thing I want to point out on this barrel that you’re going to see, is it probably — unless the video gods intervene — it’s probably going to be relatively hard to get this barrel out — and yep it is. That’s because it’s an extremely tight fit there. It’s kinda like the opposite of what you’d see with a Glock. Very likely that contributed to some of the accuracy you guys saw earlier in the video. Very, very tight lock up there on the barrel.

We should point out the barrel there is a 3.6” barrel. It’s cold hammer forged. We do have a nice polish feed ramp on there and it’s a super wide feed ramp to feed in any sort of hollow points that you want to put in there. So, putting it back together, very simple as well and one thing we can point out there, is you see the wear marks on there if I can get the barrel out again? Yeah, it’s not easy. See some wear happening in there? The slide is a stainless steel slide and it does have a nitrided finish, so a very durable type of finish. Nitrocarburizing — great for corrosion resistance and wear, but we have a good bit of rounds in this pistol at this point. So, that’s why you do see the wear. We should point out actually, while I have it off, that it does say “up” on the barrel, just in case you get confused. Gotta love FM man. Too many years of making guns for military folks and draftees… um… putting “up” on the barrel… but we’re going to seat our recoil spring and you can see while we have it apart here: very large metal locking lugs here and also very large beefy metal rails here on the rear. So, that’s the trigger mechanism. Looks identical to what we saw on the full size as you’d expect. So, at this point we’re just going to slide the slide back on; lock it to the rear; rotate our lever; function check; we’re good to go.

This gun’s a relatively new offering, so we’ll do some size comparisons for folks looking for it. You can see, compared to the full size, there’s a longer barrel there on the full size and, of course, the grip is longer due to the rep magazine length. However, width, they’re identical. Now, a gun that most folks are familiar with here is our Glock 19. This one here’s the RTF2 finish. You can see the barrel’s a little bit longer there. Of course the magazine’s longer because you have two extra rounds in there. However, width-wise, pretty similar. Not too much difference there between the two. We’ll grab the Glock 26 here — the baby Glock — which is a little bit smaller. Holds ten rounds and the barrel is a little bit shorter as well. You can see the difference in the barrel length. Probably a better way to look at the barrel length is from here, obviously, of course. A little bit longer barrel there on the FNS. Again, width — pretty similar — a little bit of a width — a wider frame I should say — there on the FNS and, of course, you get two extra rounds, so it’s a little bit longer there in the magazine. It’s sort of in between the 19 and the 26, size-wise.

A few years ago when I reviewed the full sized gun, a lot of folks were asking about accessories, availability, magazines, all that stuff. At the time they were pretty scant and hard to find. However, now-a-days the FNS sorta caught on in popularity and folks started to learn. These are pretty great little guns here and compact’s been really popular. I’d be willing to bet the compact’s selling better than the full size, currently, due to a lot of the reasons we’ve already talked about. There are holsters available for it, not too many, but they’re getting there. Alien Gear, they make this Cloak 3.0 holster for it that’s been great and we’ve been carrying it so far. It has a little polymer shell here. We’ve reviewed Alien Gear holsters here in the past as well and they’ve always been good to us. Work just fine and are very budget friendly. You can see it has good retention in there. It has a stainless steel insert which sorta takes the shape of the gun. You can see it’s already starting to form to it here and a neoprene backing for comfort, but so far it’s been great and the gun carries pretty well.

Long time viewers of the channel here probably have noticed that most of my videos don’t have sights that we picked up for the gun, holsters that we picked up for the gun. Sometimes holsters, but they generally don’t have those things in there, but the reason this one does is because those things were picked because I like the gun so much that I’m adding it to my concealed carry rotation. So that’s large and heavy praise for a gun, at least in my opinion, because right now I have four guns that are in my carry rotation. So adding this one to it as the fifth is certainly a big compliment. The reason we did that is a lot of things that we talked about so far.

The accuracy that you guys saw — that’s phenomenal accuracy. For a gun of this size to get that kind of accuracy out of it — of course, obviously it’s from a rest, but still — awesome, awesome accuracy there. The trigger’s good, obviously aiding in that accuracy; very shootable; has a relatively old bore-axis in my hand which really minimizes any kind of recoil impulse that could be sort of enhanced by a small gun like this. Relatively light weight gun as well. For the size, again, real light weight. Actually it’s the same size or just a little bit different than the XD-S pistol, which is obviously a single stack gun. So weight-wise it’s doing really well there. Really, I just like a lot of things about it. It’s had zero malfunctions at the course at any time with any ammo that we’ve put through it. We ran a Wolf through it, Minuteman Munitions and HSTs and Gold Dots. So all of those have fed without issue.

Really the only con I think you could say for this gun is going to be magazine availability. People always complain about FN magazine availability, which is somewhat legitimate. They’re relatively expensive when you find them and they’re kinda hard to find, but it comes with three of them from the factory. Of course you can use the full size ones if you want as well. So I don’t really consider it a huge con, at least not for me anyway. I’m not out there shooting matches with it every weekend like some of you guys that go through mags after mags after mags, so not a huge deal for me. Price on it is pretty good as well. We’ll roll on a screen shot of what it’s going for currently over at Omaha Outdoors. So, very reasonable on that front as well. Not really a whole lot else to say about it. If you guys have any questions about the gun we didn’t cover here in the video, by all means post below in the comments section. You can post over at my Facebook as well. Thanks for watching guys. Thanks for subscribing and I hope to see you in the next video.