The following is an update to the original FNS9-C review, originally published on August 18, 2017. I still own and shoot this gun.
FN Herstal has a deep and rich history of manufacturing some of the best guns the world has ever seen. Their pistols are no exception to that rule, and the quality of the FNS9-C shines through in that I beat the snot out of it whenever I can and it keeps running strong for me.
First Impressions of this pistol from FN:
I remember opening the small, tan, soft case this little compact pistol came in for the first time while at my FFL. As is my general practice, I always open up the case and inspect my new test guns. I always run my finger over the entire piece, check out all of its contours and lines, do a chamber check, and then feel the trigger.
I was surprised at what I felt, but in a good way. The trigger shoe was large and beefy, leaving no doubt whether the pad of my finger was right where I wanted it to be.
This trigger was, for the most part, as crisp of a trigger as I’ve ever felt on a polymer-framed, striker-fired gun. It’s not the best trigger out there, but better than most.
To my benefit, as a shooter, there is a tactile trigger break after a small amount of take up without any over travel. The trigger reset can also be felt and heard. I really appreciate the work FN Herstal put into this compact concealed carry gun.
The grip’s texturing may be a bit aggressive for some, but I can say that it didn’t bother me at all, and, actually, I liked it. I’ve had guns in the past where the grip texture was annoying on my skin as I carried. While I haven’t changed the positioning of my carry gun, this one isn’t so aggressive that it rubs me the wrong way.
And the grip on the gun works well to keep the gun planted firmly in hand, even when sweaty.
I guess now is a good point to mention that FN also includes two different backstraps for different sized hands. I can say that the one that came installed on this concealed carry gun hasn’t been changed because it works well for me.
I have the distinct thought that says this: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I can hit my target well at ranges varying from 5-25 yards with ease, and the compact 3.6 inch barrel did not hinder me at all.
There is an accessory rail that I admittedly don’t remember ever using once during the past 5 or so years I’ve had this pistol. It is there should I need it, however.
This is the 9mm version of this concealed carry pistol, and this double-action compact handgun is reliable almost to a fault. I mean, how boring, right? To not have any malfunctions after running several thousands of rounds downrange?
I was really able to put it to the test a couple of years ago when I took a combat pistol class taught by Chris Cerino. I ended up with about 1,000 rounds through the gun in a short time frame (two days) and didn’t clean the gun once.
The pistol performed flawlessly. I ended passing the class and getting a certificate for it. I highly recommend that class, and really any advanced pistol class you may be able to take.
My point with this, is that I don’t own guns that won’t work when dirty. I’m not one of those prissy gun owners who thinks a gun is dirty after shooting a box of ammo through them.
If it won’t work when dirty it has no place in my lineup.
At the present moment in time I have many thousands of rounds through this little compact gun and it works so well that I did end up buying it from FN after the original review was over. I carried it for quite a long time, though it is no longer my main carry gun.
It now serves a role in home defense with frangible ammo stuffed in the magazine, but I don’t think I’d ever sell it.
And while FN Herstal no longer makes this pistol, I had to do an update this FNS9-C review because they’re still available on the used market.
If you can buy one of these pistols at a good price they’re totally worth the money and should work well for you. There is some holster support for them, though not as much as your Glock and Sig carry guns.
How is it as a carry piece?
Every single time I get a pistol in I carry it concealed, regardless of size. There are exceptions to this, of course. For example, I don’t carry guns for self-defense if they suck. If it’s a jam’o mattic, I will not carry it because if I need to defend myself with it I don’t want it to have a malfunction when I’m trying to not die.
It doesn’t matter which gun it is, if it works I conceal it. Thankfully, this time the handgun was a compact gun that is designed to be carried for self-defense. It concealed nicely and with the short, 12 round magazine with pinky extender, I never even knew it was there.
Of course, I was able to slide the 17 round magazine into a mag pouch for even more bad-guy stoppers. Let’s see … 12 in the short magazine, plus 17 in the full-size mag, plus one in the pipe equals 30 rounds of 9mm.
I now carry a SIG 365XL (review).
This is where things start to get a bit tricky. Even though this gun has been out for a bit in another color, there is not a tremendous amount of holster support for it. In fact, I reached out to my go-to holster companies for help and they each said they don’t have anything for it.
That’s fine, because I did find someone to help me out. JM4 Tactical provided me with one of their newest magnetic holsters that’s a bit different than the one you saw me do a review on in the past. This particular leather holster allows the gun to sit up higher, so you can get that full, combat grip from the draw a lot easier.
I wanted to dedicate a small section just to these magazines. The pistol FN sent out to me came with a 12 round mag and a 17 round magazine. I’ve heard many other people claim that their magazines did not drop free when the release was pressed, but I didn’t have any drop-free issues whatsoever.
This leads me to believe that one of four things happened —
- They fixed the issue
- I got a lemon
- Other people lied
- Other folks have no clue how to operate a firearm
I believe that the first one is the most likely option and that there was an issue at some point with mags not dropping like they should, requiring them to be stripped. Again, this pistol ran flawless in every regard.
I will say this, however, if your fingers are effing ginormous like mine are with thumbs that don’t bend in the right spots, you will have a hard time pressing the tear-shaped magazine release.
That’s something I don’t like. But, this happens to me on all mag releases of this type and I generally need my mag release to stick out more. I’m guessing the reason why these are so low-profile, is because they’re trying to create a snag-free design.
If that’s the case, which I believe it is, FN America succeeded because as far as I can tell, there’s nothing to snag except the 3-dot sights.
It’s bound to happen, because no single gun can be perfect. Plus, it’s my duty as a gun writer to inform you of any potential pitfalls to be aware of. Having the gorilla-sized hands I do, I don’t have a hard time grabbing the slide on any firearm and pulling it back.
However, those folks with weaker hands (both men and women of all ages), may have a hard time sending a round into the chamber because the recoil spring is a bit on the stiff side. Again, if you have at least average strength in your hands, you should be fine.
Also, any firearm that requires the trigger to be pulled for disassembly is a recipe for disaster. NOT because the gun is unsafe, but because people are stupid.
Seriously, the more you handle a gun the more complacent you’re likely to get. If you remember the basic rules of firearms safety and then follow these additional rules for safety, this should be a non-issue.
But again, people are stupid.
And then, I believe this brings me to my final point …
Takedown of the FNS-9 Compact:
It’s simple. So simple, in fact, I’m not even going to show you how to do it. Simply remove the magazine, make sure there are no rounds anywhere in or near your gun, pull and lock the slide to the rear, rotate the take-down lever, release the slide, pull the trigger, and then pull the slide off.
Of course, you should do all of that with this 9mm handgun pointed in a safe direction.
To put it back together, just reverse the process. It is that simple. Just like many other guns on the market.
While these are no longer made, they are excellent choices if you can find one used. They shoot well, are reliable almost to a fault, and there are some holsters available for them.
FN makes good guns, and if you’d like to read about the pistol that replaced the FNS series, you can read my 509 review, when you click on that link.
Here are some specs, taken from FN:
- CALIBER: 9mm
- OPERATION: Double-action
- MAG CAPACITY: 10, 12, or 17 Rd.
- WEIGHT: 23.4 oz.
- BARREL LENGTH: 3.6″
- OVERALL LENGTH: 6.7″
- TWIST RATE: 1:10″ RH
- HEIGHT: 5.2″
- WIDTH: 1.35″
- TRIGGER PULL: 5.5 – 7.7 lb.
- SIGHT RADIUS: 5.6″