Fabrique Nationale of Herstal, Belgium has been a major manufacturer of firearms since 1889. In that year they were tasked by the Belgium government to produce 150,000 Mauser Model 89 rifles. Over the next 20 or so years they collaborated with John Moses Browning to produce various versions of his legendary designs for the European market. They also are saddled with the unfortunate distinction of having produced weapons for both the Nazis and the Allied powers during World War II. They began the conflict by manufacturing firearms for the Allies and then for the Nazis after the German Army overran Belgium.
The subject of this review is the FNS 9 Long Slide chambered in 9 X 19mm. In my subjective opinion it is a handsome pistol with sleek lines running across the slide and front & rear cocking serrations intersecting those lines in attractive diagonal patterns. The only thing that could make this pistol more attractive would be an aluminum, instead of polymer, frame and nicely figured wood grips. Even without these enhancements I must say that the pistol fit my hand very well and felt like a natural extension of my hand and arm. The FNS 9 LS comes with three 17 round magazines making it both a great competition and home defense handgun. The dimensions of the pistols are:
- An overall length of 8.25 inches
- A height of 5.5 inches
- A width of 1.35 inches at the top of the slide and a width of 1.5 inches at the bottom of the grip.
The FNS 9 is a striker fired, double action pistol with the aforementioned black checkered polymer frame.
While I am not usually a fan of three-dot white sights I must say that the this pistol's sights are the most utilitarian with which I have ever worked. The rear sight is spaciously cut allowing the shooter to quickly and easily pick-up the front dot.
The FNS 9 Long Slide comes with a cold hammer forged 5 inch stainless steel barrel and weighs in at 26.5 ounces. My specimen had a 7 pound 2 ounce trigger pull with minimal creep and a crisp let off.
The FNS 9 is produced with four passive safeties including:
- A trigger pull safety with prevents the pistol from firing unless the trigger is pulled.
- A firing pin safety that prevents the striker from being launched into the cartridge primer without the trigger being pulled.
- A drop safety with prevents the sear from releasing the striker unless the trigger is pulled.
- An out-of-battery safety which won't release the striker unless the slide is fully seated in the forward position.
When I asked about the FNS 9 LS the owner stated, "Boy, there are championships to be won with this pistol". I thought this was odd for a couple of reasons. First of all, he called me "boy" and I have at least a good 15 or 20 years on him. Secondly, he didn't specify what kind of championships.
The championship will likely not be a bullseye competition. While other print and online reviews of this pistol touted it's accuracy my experience with it was a tad less than average rather than exceptional.
Rounds Fired At 21 Feet
Here are 18 rounds of Mag Tech 115 grain FMJ ammo fired at 21 feet. Not bad, but not up to the accuracy of my regular or long slide Walther PPQ, Glock 19 or either my CZ 75 full or compact size.
Speer 124 grain hollow point ammo faired better at 21 feet.
However, Federal Hydra Shok ammo opened up a little further.
Further Shots Down Range
The Mag Tech ammo at only 30 feet begin to open up even further with most clustered low and to the left.
At a mere 40 feet the pistol's groups open up even further.
Seeing the handwriting on the wall I did not attempt to roll targets out to 50 or 75 feet as it was clear that I wasn't going to be happy with the results.
I do not know if this is a part of the reason for the less-than stellar accuracy but the slide-to-barrel can only be described as "loose".
With no manual safety to slow the shooter down and the fast acquisition sights this pistol would be fine for home defense or action sport competitions. In both instances the shooter is facing humanoid targets (either real or of the paper variety) at short to moderate distances without the need for pinpoint accuracy.