Take the storied quality associated with Belgium’s FN, Fabrique Nationale. Mate it with the solid American workmanship of FNH USA (Fabrique Nationale Herstal/United States of America) at a modern plant in Columbia, South Carolina. Shape it into the polymer-framed, striker-fired form that has taken America and the rest of the world by storm. Chamber it for the most popular centerfire cartridge today, the 9mm Parabellum, and size it for concealed carry. Et voila, we have the FNS-9C pistol, the subject of this article.
Its sculpted slide tapered toward the top, with currently-trendy forward slide grooves to complement the usual ones at the rear, the FNS-9C has a two-piece pivoting trigger a’ la the Smith & Wesson Military & Police. Its trigger reach is roughly the same as a Gen4 Glock 26, the market-dominating subcompact 9mm it is obviously designed to compete with. The front of the frame is a bit more square than the “baby Glock’s,” which means it won’t quite fit in a holster designed for the latter gun, but makes up for that by having a rail for light/sight accessories molded into its dust cover. (It did fit OK in some of my Glock 30 holsters, but what the hell, when we buy a new gun, we’re supposed to buy new holsters to fit it.)
The FNS-9C sent to On Target came with three magazines. Two short ones, holding 12 rounds each thanks to a slightly extended floorplate with a flange for the pinkie finger, and one 17-rounder for the larger FNS 9mm which worked just fine. The slide stop is ambidextrous, with a lever on each side. This is particularly well executed. A slight protective shield is molded around it in the frame, enough to keep a thumb from accidentally hitting it and bumping it up to lock the slide open in mid-cycle during a string of fire, but not so obtrusive as to make it hard for the shooter to intentionally lock the slide open during clearing procedures.
Sights were typical of the breed—dovetailed front and rear for easy replacement and adjustment, fixed, with three white dots—but improved in that the rear sight has a BIG U-notch and its backface is grooved to break up light reflection. I REALLY liked the rear sight.
As is the style these days, pioneered long ago by Walther, this polymer framed FNS has interchangeable backstrap panels to adapt the gun to the shooter’s hand. The gun came with the arched lower end installed, and a flat-back replacement in the box. Grip feel is —like anything else with the word “feel” in it—highly subjective. For my part, I definitely preferred the arched backstrap: like the similar shape on a baby Glock, it locked into the hollow of my hand and helped stabilize the pistol. As they say on the Internet, “YMMV”: “Your mileage may vary.” Try both and decide. Options are good.
Speaking of good options, it’s available with or without an ambidextrous thumb safety mounted on the frame. When a jacket drawstring gets caught in the trigger guard while holstering, or if a bad guy gains momentary control of your gun, you’ll appreciate the manual safety. Not everyone agrees. Your choice. Our test sample came “without.”
The serial number of our test pistol was CSU0000822. A serial number with a range that will last until the ten millionth of that model is built shows, if nothing else, confidence in the product on the part of its manufacturer.