The FNS line of handguns, in particular the compact variety, made a decent splash when they came onto the market. Many good articles and reviews were published regarding this new entry into the competitive “concealed carry” market, but I have yet to read an article from someone who purchased and carries one, explaining why they chose it over competing models and how it performed outside of a basic “gun review” drill.
How did it start?
I want to first back up to my original concealed carry pistol. When I turned 21, almost 10 years ago, I immediately pursued my carry permit, and wanted to identify a suitable carry gun. I have always been drawn to 1911 platform handguns; they have great history, a genius designer, endless customizations and a solid caliber (45 ACP). I looked at all sorts of potential carry guns, from the newly introduced Springfield XD, Kahr, Glock, Taurus and so on, but as soon as I picked up my first 1911 Compact, I knew that was it. I found a reasonable price on a Springfield Compact, and loved it. It can devastate whatever point on a target I want to, and I have modified it to perform exactly as I like.
Time for a change
I might have continued with the 1911 for many years to come, but the one weakness of the traditional 1911 is the ~6-7 round capacity. As I started researching last year, I came across the much published FBI research regarding utilizing 9mm . This was supported by many others I respect in both LE and military roles. I started thinking that, as much as I liked the 1911, perhaps a concealed carry gun wasn’t the right place to entertain my more nostalgic and romantic tendencies and began looking at new concealed carry options. To start with my requirement was a high quality compact double-stack (10+rd) 9mm.
Fair enough, so why not just get a Glock?
After some initial research I determined that somewhere around $500 was a sweet spot in that market, with good offerings from Smith & Wesson, CZ, Glock, SIG, FN, Springfield and more all falling in a range between $4-600, so I focused in on that, but still there were too many “good” options, more “filters” were needed.
Both my 1911, and alternate carry gun, a S&W Bodyguard, had a manually operated thumb safety. While I believe modern handguns are “safe” without this feature, I thought it would be good to be consistent with what I was used to and not have to “learn” a new manual of arms. This would also make it easier to switch back to the 1911 or Bodyguard if the need arose, and finally with a toddler in the home I thought an extra barrier would always be welcome. This eliminated many of the options, most conspicuously Glock.
Now finally I was down basically to the CZ, S&W M&P, and the FNS. These were all fine guns, and I’d be happy to carry any of them. I ruled out the CZ first, even though it felt best in my hand, it lacked an accessory rail, was hammer (vs. striker) fired, and cost about $100 more than the others.
The M&P was an appealing choice, however I liked the feel of the FN a bit better, and FN is a pretty solid company when it comes to small arms. Also, FN includes 3 magazines versus the usual 2. If you live in a state without restrictions you get 2 12 round and one full-size 17 round magazine. I did some research around them and decided to “pull the trigger” and ordered an FN FNS-9C with manual safety from my local gun store.
I consider that there are two critical aspects for a carry gun
- It needs to fire and cycle reliably every time the trigger is pulled.
- It needs to hit where you aimed.
I’ve now had, and carried the FN for a few months, and several hundred rounds at the range, and am very happy with it overall. I did give up some aftermarket support that the S&W M&P has, but the FN’s accuracy has been good, as evidenced in the image above, and I have not had even a single hiccup at the range with any ammunition.
While your requirements may differ from mine, and there are many great choices on the market, I think the FNS should definitely be “on the table” if you are considering a compact 9mm or 40S&W.