FN Herstal FNS 9mm Pistol Review [2018]

LAST UPDATED: August 17th 2018
GUIDE: Chris Browning

If you’re looking to get a new 9mm handgun, there are a lot of options to choose from.

You might have looked at so many, your dreams are filled with dozens of them, come to life and looming over you.

To make your decision a little easier, it will help if you narrow down what you want to use a 9mm for. Are you in private security or law enforcement? Will you carry concealed?

The FN Herstal FNS™ -9 is a relatively inexpensive 9mm handgun. It’s got loads of features, including available manual safety and 3-dot night sights, a loaded chamber indicator, polymer frame with accessory rail, and ambidextrous safety and magazine release.

It ships with two interchangeable backstraps and three magazines, with either 10- or 17-round capacity.


What to Know Before Buying

Though FN Herstal is an international firearms manufacturer, they have operations in the U.S. as well.

So, firearms purchased from FN America will be compliant with all U.S. firearms regulations. As long as you purchase a firearm from FN America, you shouldn’t have to worry. But, if you purchase a second-hand pistol, make sure it is stamped with “Made in USA” on the barrel.

The FNS™ -9 comes with a trigger safety. Some shooters don’t like this type of safety. And if you want even more security, you can get one with a manual safety, too.

As for warranty, FN America doesn’t offer a written warranty, per se, because of government regulations requiring a “limited” warranty on firearms. But, they do have a service and repair policy.

Features and Benefits

The FNS™ -9 is loaded with features to benefit a range of shooters, from personal defense to law enforcement and military personnel. Let’s look at some of these features so you’ll gain a better understanding of them.

Striker Fired

Rather than being hammer-fired, the FNS™ -9 is a striker fired pistol. When the slide is racked to load a round into the chamber, the internal striker is also cocked. The only way to de-cock the striker is to pull the trigger (never do this with a round in the chamber unless you’re at the range!).

Glocks, Barettas, and the Springfield XD are other examples of striker fired handguns, though, for the most part, these pistols come with a higher price tag.

Safety

All models of this 9mm come with a trigger safety, which engages when you put tension on the trigger.

It’s also available with an additional manual thumb safety, a switch located on the back of the slide. This combination gives you two means of security, which is perfect if you have a family.

For law enforcement or personal protection, you’ll want to practice drawing and releasing the safety so you develop muscle memory. That way, in a situation where you have only a second or two to react, your body will flip off the safety as you draw.

On models with a manual safety, the thumb switch is ambidextrous, so it can easily be operated by either right- or left-handed shooters.

Polymer Frame with Rail

The FNS™ -9 comes with a molded polymer frame with accessory rail. The polymer makes for a durable, shock-proof frame with a checkered pattern for a secure grip. The MIL-STD 1913 accessory rail allows you to add a tactical light or laser sight with ease.

This type of frame is excellent for law enforcement or security use because it stands up to repeated holstering and is durable enough for daily care, even getting smacked around when you jump in and out of a vehicle.

Loaded Chamber Indicator

This 9mm also comes with an external extractor and a loaded chamber indicator. This enables you to see at a glance that there is no round inside the chamber.

However, this does not mean that you should ignore firearms rule #1: Assume all firearms are loaded until you check them. Always follow proper firearm safety even with a loaded chamber indicator.

Ambidextrous Magazine Release and Slide Stop

This handgun has ambidextrous buttons for the magazine release and slide stop. This makes it easier for left-handed shooters to operate.

The magazine release is positioned so it shouldn’t interfere with the average shooting grip. But, if you have large hands, you might want to examine your grip to ensure you won’t drop the mag when shooting.

Polished Feed Ramp and Chamber

I first saw this on a Taurus 24/7, and a polished feed ramp makes a difference in smooth round feeding.

I never had a misfeed on the Taurus and was highly pleased with the performance of the firearm. Since then, I’ve seen many manufacturers offering a polished feed ramp in their semi-automatic pistols.

Interchangeable Backstraps

FNH ships this 9mm pistol with two interchangeable backstraps. This makes it easy to customize the firearm for your grip.

You should be able to achieve the perfect grip with one of these backstraps. They also come with eyelets to attach a lanyard to.

Magazine Capacity

This pistol ships with 3, yes, that’s 3 magazines in either 10- or 17-round capacities. For those in law enforcement or security occupations, a 17-round magazine can be a lifesaver.

Even though some may claim 17 rounds is overkill in personal defense situations, you can still choose to use the higher capacity magazine.

Extras

Besides the 3 magazines and 2 backstraps, you’ll also receive your 9mm with a locking mechanism, a fired cartridge, and a fitted polymer case that you can also lock. Plus, you’ll get an owner’s manual.

Check out this awesome YouTube video by hickok45 as he shoots and discusses the FNS™ -9.


Special Pricing

FNH offers special pricing for law enforcement or military personnel. You can request special pricing by emailing FN America at [email protected].

However, this is a relatively inexpensive firearm even if you don’t qualify for the special pricing.

Warranty

FN America, like many firearms manufacturers, doesn’t offer a written warranty because of Federal regulations about the wording of warranties regarding firearms.

But, that doesn’t mean they don’t have a policy in place to cover services or repairs. They do have a page on their website dedicated to service and repairs.


Alternatives to the FNS 9

If you’d like to look at some other options, there are alternatives to consider.

Smith & Wesson M&P 9 M2.0™

This is a similar firearm with a ¼-inch larger barrel. It comes with 4 interchangeable grip inserts and is backed by S&W’s limited lifetime service policy. This 9mm costs a little more than the FNH pistol.

CZ-USA P-10C

You might also consider the CZ P-10C. This is a 9mm striker fired pistol with a 4-inch barrel. It features an ergonomic grip with both a firing pin block and trigger safety.


Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a new, relatively inexpensive 9mm handgun, you might be surprised at how many are available.

Perhaps you’re just not a Glock person, but you want something that’s a striker fired pistol. You don’t want to break the bank, either.

The FN Herstal FNS™ in 9mm might be the best choice for you.

Whether you plan to carry for self-defense or if you’re in law enforcement or security, this is a relatively inexpensive firearm that has loads of features.

It’s available with 3 10- or 17-round magazines and comes with or without an additional manual safety.

It’s also got a trigger safety and is shipped with two interchangeable backstraps so you can achieve a perfect grip.

Overall, the FNS™ -9 is an excellent firearm with a range of features you’d come to expect from handguns priced much higher. FN America has a service and repair policy and ships the firearm with a lock and a locking polymer hard case.

For the price, this might be a pistol any shooter should add to their arsenal.

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