Friday, December 30, 2011

FNX-9 - ambidextrous and rock-solid reliable

In March of this year I decided that I needed a new handgun for EDC (everyday carry) as well as concealed carry. Up until then I had been carrying my full size 1911 chambered in .45 ACP. As most of you know there are a myriad of handguns available on the market; however not very many of these cater to left-handed shooters as most handgun controls, such as the magazine release and safety, are designed for right-handed shooters. So off I went in search of a polymer handgun that would work well for a leftie. After some time spent searching I had narrowed my choices down to either the M&P 9 or the FNX-9, both chambered in 9mm. Each of these were excellent handguns, felt good in my hand, and came with all the features I was looking for, primarily the ambidextrous controls. I decided on the FNX-9 for a couple of reasons - first off, the location of the controls was almost identical to my 1911, and secondly FN Herstal has a rock solid reputation for reliability and durability that has been proven over the years.

Having carried a 1911 for so long I was a bit apprehensive about the grip size of the FN. Upon removing it from the box I immediately noticed how comfortable it felt in my hand. The FN comes with four different back straps so that the shooter can get the fit and feel the he wants. The grip of the FNX-9 is strongly checkered, which helps with retention during bad weather and adverse conditions (rain, mud, snow, ect.). I was also very pleased that it came with three 17 round magazines, quite a difference from my eight round 1911 magazines, and a bonus over other manufacturers who only include two magazines with their handguns.

One of the immediate limitations of the FNX-9 is that very few companies make a holster specifically for it. I did find one company, Arizona Gun Leather, who made a holster for the FNP line of handguns, and ordered one from them. While waiting for that one to arrive I still needed a holster to use. After some research I found that Springfield XD holsters work very well. The first holster I used for this handgun was a Fobus Paddle for the Springfield XD 4”. While using this holster I had absolutely no problems with retention while training. I also had no issues with the AGL holster after receiving it.  I have also used a Galco Concealable Belt Holster, made for the XD 4”, which Galco now makes specifically for the FNX-9.  A few months ago I started exclusively using a Comp-Tac Infidel IWB (in-waistband) holster, made for the XD. It works great, but I had to perform a few minor modifications to allow room for the safety selector and magazine release button.

On the range this handgun is amazing.  The sights are of the three-dot variety, one large dot on the front sight blade, and two smaller dots on the rear sight. The large front dot helps with front sight focus, because the two smaller rear dots just fade out. My FNX-9 has now had over 5,000 rounds fired through it since I bought it and the only failures it has experienced have been due to user error. The weight of the gun makes the recoil extremely manageable. I am not kind to it or gentle with it, either. After purchasing it I wanted to truly test it and put about 1000 rounds down range before it got it first cleaning. I perform very little maintenance on this handgun, and it still continues to run with no malfunctions. After a good hard range session I run a bore snake through it and throw some lubrication in it, and put it back in the holster.

The price point for the FNX-9 is about average (around $500) for a modern polymer framed handgun. In my opinion this handgun is an excellent value for those lefties looking for a user-friendly handgun or for anyone looking for a solid 9mm handgun. The only drawbacks that I have experienced with the FNX are the lack of holsters available and the price of replacement magazines. A replacement magazine for the FNX is $45. Other than these issues I would say the FNX-9 has easily held the FNH reputation. I look forward to carrying this pistol for years to come.

Real training sucks, EMBRACE the suck.
- John Pinnix