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.

FNS Performance

Target

I consider that there are two critical aspects for a carry gun

  1. It needs to fire and cycle reliably every time the trigger is pulled.
  2. 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.