General

Switching to Backup Pistol

I have decided to switch to my backup pistol. My Beretta is still my favorite pistol, but I realized that I’ve had it for nearly five years and thousands of cycles, and never replaced the main recoil spring. This may not be an issue at all. But, taken together with the loose front sight, I think it’s time I set it aside until it gets the custom treatment from Wilson combat.

I originally chose the Beretta because it closely matches the ergos and feel of the M9 pistol that I am issued. I believed it would be best to keep consistency in the manual of arms for the betterment of my military job.

However, the FNS-9 would be my preferred carry pistol if I lived in a state that allowed me to do so. I purchased it in the Spring of 2012, when they were new to the market. I had always really liked the FNP/FNX series, and I was in the market for a striker fired 9mm (I still want a FNX-45 some day). My wife affectionately refers to this pistol as “Mew Mew,” a reference to the mispronunciation of Mjolnir in the Thor movies (my M1A, which shares a similar two-tone color scheme is called Mjolnir).

My FNS–9. Picture taken with my old iPhone 4S after reading an article in Recoil several years ago about taking gun photos at home

The FNS-9 feels significantly lighter than the Beretta, mostly due to it’s smaller size and use of polymer frame. Nevertheless, it still feels like a quality pistol. To date, I likely have around 2500-3000 shots through this pistol with no malfunctions of any kind. I intended to do the 2000 round challenge with it when it was brand new (2000 shots fired with no cleaning, maintenance, or malfunctions). But after about 1200, I got bored and decided to clean it. A great selling point for me is that the FNS is completely ambidextrous. The slide catch, magazine release, and safety are all mirrored on both sides of the pistol. When I purchased this, the only option was to have the safety, and newer models have been released without it. Despite that, the safety is small and unobtrusive, yet easily deactivated when needed. I have always preferred to have some kind of manual safety available, if for no other reason than storage in a house that children may somehow get access to it. All of my pistols have external safeties, and I naturally practice to deactivate them as part of the draw.

The trigger is OK. I was quite pleased with it early on, but more striker fired pistols have entered the market with what I think are best-in-class triggers (specifically, the Walther PPQ). The wall is very clear, and the reset is very positive. At the time, my options were Glock and S&W M&P. I have always hated the Glock trigger safety and the grip angle. The M&P trigger felt mushy. I know the latter has been fixed, and could always have been improved with Apex parts. But the M&P, at the time, also had a negative reputation for accuracy due to its twist rate (this has also been fixed).

I only have two complaints about the FNS, and the 1st generation specifically. It is possible to lock the slide from cycling by manually pushing the trigger all the way forward when the pistol is uncocked. To fix this, I simply pull the trigger back to it’s designed spot and all is well. This has been fixed since it was discovered, but I never felt that it was a problem since the pistol would never actually be carried uncocked in any practical sense. The second complaint is that the trigger is fairly heavier than I’m used to (about 6 lbs) for most pistols (to be fair, my Beretta’s single action is about 4 lbs and my 1911 is less than that). There is a slight grittiness to the take up, which appears to be the safety mechanism rubbing against the trigger bar and the double action of cocking the firing pin. There are fixes for this, such as polishing the trigger bar and striker channel, but it will also take care of itself with enough shooting. Rumors have circulated that Apex is looking into doing FNS replacement parts. However, the apparent complexity of the FNS trigger has lessened enthusiasm from aftermarket producers.

I will provide updates with this pistol as time goes on.

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