Firearms

FN 502 – A .22 LR Pistol for Tactical Training

Meopta MeoSight IV on a FN 502 .22LR semi auto handgun

In my mind, there are certain handguns with a well-defined role. The best of these may be pressed into use in a chore they were not expressly designed for. A .22 for plinking may be minimal. A .22 pistol for target shooting must be more accurate.

A rabbit shooter should be accurate and light enough for field carry. A .22 for tactical training should mimic a defensive centerfire handgun as closely as possible. The FN 502 may be the latter, intended for use as a tactical trainer.

optics-mounted rimfire pistol
An optics-mounted rimfire pistol is a joy to fire and use.

At the same time, the FN 502 is a sterling plinker and accurate enough for small game. It is a versatile and useful firearm. It is pricier than most .22 caliber pistols, but then, it is among the most useful. I like this piece a lot and find it a well-mannered, reliable, and accurate handgun.

Design and Features

The FN 502 reflects FN’s desire to offer a rimfire version of its successful centerfire handguns. The pistol is similar to FN’s 9mm handguns in outline and profile. The pistol features a suppressor-ready barrel and optics cut, in the same manner as the more expensive centerfire handguns.

Hammer-fired rimfire handguns are more reliable — according to engineers. The 502 is a single-action, hammer-fired pistol. It takes more force to ignite rimfire priming compound. Realistically, a rimfire will never be as reliable as a centerfire cartridge.

The 502 features a rowel hammer and ambidextrous safety levers. The pistol features a compact grip with a 10-round flush fit magazine. The extended magazine holds 14 cartridges. The pistol features an optics mounting platform with adaptors for the popular red dot sight footprints.

Disassembly is simple enough. Be certain the pistol is unloaded! First, remove the magazine. Then, lock the slide to the rear, and check the chamber. The takedown lever, located in front of the slide lock, is rotated to release the slide.

magazine for the .22 LR FN 502
Loading the magazines is easier than most. A button allows depressing the follower for loading.

While the pistol is a simple blowback action, the barrel is not fixed and may be removed from the slide along with the recoil assemblies. So, the Umarex-built pistol is similar in profile to the 509 series but features a design that is friendly to the .22 Long Rifle cartridge.

The utility of a .22 caliber handgun for practice is a valid modern concept. The pistol allows firing drills that would be more expensive with centerfire ammunition. While this is true, it is also true that a good quality .22 opens the door to a world of shooting opportunity. Plinking and small game hunting are among these.

The FN 502 is accurate enough for any of these pursuits. I originally purchased the FN 502 based on experience with other FN products. I admit that I begrudged the price a bit, but you get your money’s worth with this pistol. Accuracy and reliability are well above average. There is an attention to detail and quality that equals the price point. Handling is simply superb.

Field stripped FN 502 .22 LR semi-auto handgun
Fieldstripping is simple enough.

The steel 4.6-inch barrel is nicely rifled and finished. Lightweight material was used throughout the 502. You don’t need heavy, forged steel to contain the pressure of a .22 Long Rifle cartridge. However, you do need a lighter mass slide to ensure reliable function with the light recoil impulse of the 40-grain .22 Long Rifle.

A neat trick is that the FN 502 runs well with a wide range of ammunition. Getting proper function with a .22 Long Rifle is a tough engineering feat. Add the additional weight of an optic and you’ll have another issue.

The handle is similar to the FN 509 9mm compact. The handle features a good balance of adhesion and abrasion. The single-action trigger breaks at a clean four pounds with good reset and little loose motion. The pistol features a threaded barrel.

threaded barrel on the FN 502 to mount a suppressor
The threaded barrel allows the use of a sound suppressor.

Accuracy and Handling

The evaluation was done in two parts. First, I fired the pistol without a red dot sight. Accuracy and function were excellent. However, due to the pistol’s suppressor ready (tall) sight, which allows the shooter to co-witness sights and dot, the pistol fires high. No matter the range or the hold, the FN 502 fires at least two inches high.

Accuracy potential is high. You may purchase standard height sights for less than $60 or go all the way with XS night sights. I continued the initial firing session confirming reliability with a good mix of .22 Long Rifle High Velocity.

The magazines are easily loaded featuring a button that depresses the follower. Load the magazines one cartridge at a time and you will enjoy complete reliability. Don’t attempt to hold the follower down and dump ammunition into the magazine.

MeoSight IV Specifications

Magnification: 1x
Objective diameter: 24×17mm
Dot size: 3 MOA
Battery: CR1632 3V
Battery lifetime: 30,000 hours
Transmission:  ≥ 80%
Impact per click (in/100 yds):  1.04
Impact per click: 1 MOA
Elevation range (in/100 yds): 126
Elevation range: 120 MOA
Windage range (in/100 yds): 126
Windage range: 120 MOA
Length: 1.89 inches
Depth: 1.41 inches
Width: 1.22 inches
Weight: 1.2 ounces
Anti-reflective coating: Yes
Anti-scratch coating: Yes
Hydrophobic coating: Yes

After the initial evaluation, I chose to mount a Meopta MeoSight IV red dot. I have enjoyed excellent results with Meopta products. Using one of the pistol’s supplied plates, I mounted the Docter footprint MeoSight. After a minimal effort in sighting in, I had enjoyed superior speed and accuracy.

Bob Campbell aiming the FN 502 .22 LR pistol with an Inforce weapons light using his non-dominant hand for training
Attaching a combat light to a polymer frame and firing with the non-dominant hand is a sure test of reliable function. The FN pistol did well.

FN 502 Specifications

Caliber: .22 LR
Operation: Single-action-only
Mag capacity: 10 or 15 rounds
Sights: Suppressor/optics-height iron sights with optics-ready slide
Weight: 23.7 ounces
Barrel: 4.6 inches, threaded 1/2×28″
Overall length: 7.6 inches
Height: 5.8 inches
Width: 1.4 inches
Finish: Black or FDE
Trigger pull: 4.0 pounds

Firing out to 25 yards, the 502 delivered excellent accuracy. Using the dimmest dot setting at 25 yards, I was able to fire several groups of 1.5 inches for five shots. Most of the ammunition expended was the Remington Golden Bullet.

FN 502 with a Meopta MeoSight IV over a burglar target
Accuracy materially improved after the Meopta MeoSight IV was mounted.

We also fired a couple of boxes of Aguila RNL load. At this point, the pistol has gone 420 rounds without any problem — sort of a record for a self-loading rimfire handgun. I am pleased with the FN 502. As we may say, quality remains when the price is forgotten.

Do you step down to a smaller caliber for training? How the FN 502 compare to your favorite .22LR pistol? Share your answers or review in the Comment section.

  • magazine for the .22 LR FN 502
  • target group fired in offhand rapid fire with the FN 502 gun
  • Bob Campbell aiming the FN 502 .22 LR pistol with an Inforce weapons light
  • optics-mounted rimfire pistol
  • threaded barrel on the FN 502 to mount a suppressor
  • Meopta MeoSight IV on a FN 502 .22LR semi auto handgun
  • suppressor ready sights
  • Field stripped FN 502 .22 LR semi-auto handgun
  • Inforce combat light on the FN 502 .22 LR pistol
  • Bob Campbell aiming the FN 502 .22 LR pistol with an Inforce weapons light using his non-dominant hand for training
  • forward cocking serrations, a light rail, and threaded barrel on the FN 502
  • FN 502 in tan with a Holosun red dot sight, left profile
  • Ambidextrous safety on the FN 502 .22 LR pistol
  • FN 502 with a Meopta MeoSight IV over a burglar target
  • FN 502 .22 LR handgun with an open box of Remington .22 LR bullets

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.


Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Handloader
Rifle Magazine
Handguns
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns



Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (3)

  1. David

    I love this gun! Bought it at retail. Used to get a writer discount now it is endangered species discount. LOL

    It is a great gun to be certain.

    Bob

  2. Bob, I envy you getting the FN502. I’m a big fan of the FN509 and as soon as I saw that 22 version I wanted it. But it’s a little out of my price range for a .22. Reading about your experience makes me want to save up a bit or maybe sell something else. Good review. If by chance that’s a writer’s review copy and you don’t want it, I do!

  3. A lot of similarities here with the Glock 44, in disassembly, magazine design, and mirroring the Big Brother/Sister equivalent. Although the Glock 44 with OEM sights, seems too lac a little on accuracy, but can be improved with aftermarket sights, although I doubt it will be as accurate as your FN 502 at 25 yards. The Ruger 22/45 is supposed to resemble a 1911, and it sort of does, with the grip, and controls location, but not so much on the slide part. I believe there is a place at the range for guns mimicking their bigger Brother/Sister versions, and they are fun. The advice you give on loading the magazine is exactly what Glock recommends in a video on the Glock 44 webpage, for trouble free function, in that is eliminates a lot of FTF & FTE issues, and basically mimics what a Maglula loader does in centerfire models.

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