The 124-year old firm of FabriqueNationaled’Herstal (FNH) has long been an innovator. It is the company that gave us the M1900, one of the first reliable pocket pistols, and the Browning Hi-Power, which was arguably the best combat pistol for the middle third of the 20th century. In terms of polymer arms, the Five SeveN as well as the FNP series have been around for quite some time. Today, their primary entry into the market of full sized polymer pistols is the FNX.
Ergonomics and Recoil
Marketed by FNH USA and manufactured at their South Carolina plant, the FNX hit the market in 2009. The first thing you notice about the pistol is its huge trigger guard. Looking rather like the winter guard on the old school Japanese Nambu pistol, the FNX is designed with users of heavy combat gloves in mind. Fully ambidextrous it offers both a functional magazine release and a safety/decock on both sides of the frame. Short and rather thick because of this, it resembles the Beretta PX4 in overall appearance. Like the PX4, it has a blocky Lego-style grip with four interchangeable rear backstrap pieces to adjust the thickness and fit. With most tactical training today not using a slide release (preferring to just use it as a slide stop), the fact that this lever on the FNX is rather tiny is a bonus rather than a hindrance.
The gun’s recoil was mild and controllable and returned to target rapidly. The gun is designed with a low-bore axis, which means you’ll feel less recoil when shooting.
Trigger and Accuracy
With its single-action/double-action safety decock design; the pistol gives a rather typical heavy double action pull followed by a gentle single. When firing single action the FNX has a little more creep and travel experienced by other such guns in the same class. For those used to hooking the index finger of the offhand on the end of the trigger guard for support, the large rounded guard on the test pistol proved an uncomfortable change. The skeletonized hammer gives the FNX a nice combat appearance and tactile feel while not snagging on clothes and gear.
Accuracy was above average with nice no-frills 3-dot sights. However, the front post did seem slightly thin and the sights cannot be adjusted but work well for what they are.
Reloading and Disassembly
The magazines are a steel body with low-friction follower and a plastic floor plate. They have individual witness holes for each round, which is helpful. The pistol indexes well for both tactical and administrative reloads. Like many of these new double stack magazines, fully loading the 17-rounds in a 9mm version takes determination. The FNX-45 version carries an impressive 14-round magazine that fits flush
Disassembly is the same as the SIG P-series and Beretta 51/92 series, which incorporates a takedown lever that pivots downward 90-degrees to release the slide from the frame. This keeps the pistol in line with generations of military trained users who are familiar with this type of field strip. It’s fast, easy to master and hard to confuse.
Reliability and Durability
The FNH symbol has been synomonous with qualitysince the company began. The test gun suffered no malfunctions other than the occasional user error. In short, its designed for a military/LE market and you can feel it from the moment you pick it up.
Like Ruger, FNH is hard to nail down on the exact terms of their warranty limits, but it appears that they support their products, even when they don’t have to.
The FNX pistol is well made with a lot of great features. It’s these ambi features that make the gun a standout for those who need to shoot left-handed only direct from the box, but trade off in making the design rather thick across the frame. FN has reached for the stars with this one and come up with a very nice service sidearm that would benefit those who carry these firearms for a living. For self-defense or CCW work, however, it falls slightly behind the pack.