FN (aka Fabrique Nationale Herstal) has been a front-runner in service and reliability for more than 100 years.
From among the first striker-fired pistols in 1910 to the first high-capacity 9mm in 1935, Fabrique Nationale has earned a tremendous reputation.
FN certainly deserves to be on any shortlist of the most reliable service pistols.
The FN 509 is a logical development of the FNP pistol, a conventional double-action pistol with a polymer frame. Then came the FNS.
The new pistol, the FN 509, is a result of development of a modern handgun that would meet military requirements.
The FN 509 is a highly-advanced polymer-frame striker-fired gun.
The FN variant did not win the XM17 competition, but the commercially-introduced pistol is well-worth a hard look.
This is a handgun built for soldiers. It is more than good enough for the rest of us.
FN 509 Compact Development
The FN 509 began reach consumers about four years ago, followed by the FN 509 Compact. There is also a medium-sized gun.
The pistol proved to have many positive features.
The fact is, any new design, no matter how outstanding, has an uphill climb against the well-established GLOCK.
The SIG P320’s performance won a military contract.
Some faulted the FN pistol on ergonomics, such as my friend Darrell, who favors the Walther PPQ. Other felt the magazine release was a bit tight.
I like a good tight magazine release, as I am more concerned with magazine security than a super-fast speed load.
Just the same, I found the FN 509’s magazine release positive in operation and not a bit balky. The trigger action is tight and crisp.
The pistol is nothing if not reliable. That is something I treasure.
I am not likely to take a chance on an unknown when there simply isn’t enough ammunition available to thoroughly test a handgun!
The FN 509 is a trustworthy design.
The pistol is an ambidextrous design with excellent features, including good combat sights that are easily picked up quickly and excellent slide serrations.
I especially like the grip texture. This grip isn’t going to slip if your hands are sweaty or cold.
The grip appears to feature four different patterns — all of them good for a balance of adhesion and abrasion.
Dimensions and Features
At present, my preferred FN 509 is the newest pistol, the 509 Compact. This pistol features a 3.7-inch barrel and low-profile optics mounting system.
This is a versatile system with a number of options that is easily mounted and changed. Several mounts are included.
A 10-round and a 15-round magazine are included.
If desired, the FN 509 Tactical Compact version features a threaded barrel for compensators and suppressors.
The overall impression of the pistol is quality. This is a handgun that is dirt tough, yet friendly enough to the operator.
How It Fires
I have fired the pistol extensively the past few months with excellent results.
Speed to an accurate first shot leaves nothing to be desired and relies on the skill of the shooter.
The trigger action breaks at 4.5 pounds and is controllable in rapid-fire.
The pistol has digested every type of ammunition from economical FMJ loads to +P, +P+, and lead bullet handloads.
The pistol is comfortable to fire. A 26.5 ounce 9mm simply doesn’t kick much.
As for absolute accuracy, the pistol is more than service-grade accurate.
Firing from a solid benchrest using the MTM shooting rest, the pistol will put five rounds into two inches or less at 15 yards.
This is plenty accurate for personal defense. The FN 509C is compact and light enough for constant concealed carry.
I obtained the Galco 2.0 IWB holster for use with the FN 509 Compact.
With plenty of adjustment and excellent workmanship, the Triton is a good fit for the FN 509.
The draw is sharp and the Triton’s balance of speed and retention is good.
Conclusion: FN 509 Compact
I find the FN 509 Compact an excellent all-around personal defense and carry pistol.
With good ergonomics, a good ammunition reserve and a good measure of practical accuracy, the FN 509C makes the grade for personal defense, home defense and service use.
What do you think of the FN 509 Compact? Let us know in the comments below!