Concealed Carry

Review: FN 509 Compact

FN 509 Compact pistol on shooting gear

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.

While many shooters have a favorite make and even a consider themselves fans of a gun manufacturer, FN doesn’t seem to have the number of fans that Springfield or GLOCK do.

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 pistol with light
With the TRUGLO combat light, the pistol offers real 24-hour protection.

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.

Disassembled FN 509 pistol
The pistol fieldstrips easily for routine maintenance.

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.

FN Pistol sights
The FN 509 sights are tall enough to offer co-witness with an optic if you choose a red dot.

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.

pistol in leather holster
Galco’s Triton 2.0 offers a high degree of adjustment.

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!

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
Rifle Magazine
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!

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