By Wiley Clapp
Since the FNS Combo Kit gun is a unique new product, we have covered it in detail. But it’s best to keep things in perspective and realize that the FNS series of guns do not comprise the complete range of modern service pistols made by FNH USA. Currently, three basic pistols are in the FNX line, and it’s not surprising that they are 9 mm Luger, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. As is the case with the FNS line, the .40 S&W and 9 mm share the same receiver, while the .45 ACP cartridge mandates a slightly larger pistol. Much of my description of the FNS applies to the FNX.
There is a major difference in the arrangement of the lockwork and therefore, in the handling of the two guns. The FNX is an ingenious form of double-action/single-action, one of the most versatile you will ever see. While the FNS fires by means of an in-line striker, the FNX uses a pivoting hammer that smacks a spring-loaded firing pin. That also means you’ll have a great big hammer right in front of your eyes—the best cocking indicator ever devised. Load the pistol by inserting a magazine fully into the magazine well and racking the slide. This will close the slide, chamber a round and leave the hammer cocked. If you want to carry the pistol like an M1911—cocked and locked—just press the safety lever up, and the safety is engaged. To fire, press the lever down (it’s right under the base of your thumb) aim and press the trigger.
On the other hand, if you prefer the DAO approach, you load the gun as before, but this time press the safety lever all the way down. This movement will cause the hammer to de-cock or drop without firing the gun. To fire a shot, just press the trigger through a long-arc, double-action pull and it will fire. In either case, the cycling slide will extract the fired round, eject it out of the pistol, cock the hammer and feed a fresh round as the slide closes. Since the hammer is now cocked, successive shots will be in the single-action mode, i.e. a short, crisp and light trigger pull. Almost all of the early efforts to build a double-action/single-action resulted in a gun that did not offer this option. The FNX does, and it is an arguably better pistol because of it.
The very first of the FNP pistols established a standard of excellence in ergonomics that continues to the FNX and FNS models. The butt section is adjustable in the sense of interchangeable backstraps and the controls—safety/decocker, slide lock and magazine catch—are on both sides of the receiver. In the shooting sense, our range work with a trio of FNX pistols was excellent as the tabulated results show. The three guns were pleasant to handle and fire, although the double-action triggers on my samples were pretty heavy. Also, note that our sample .45 was the FNX .45 Tactical, a variant developed for possible adoption by the U.S. armed services. It came with an extended and threaded barrel to take a suppressor and extra-high adjustable sights to see over one.
We fired all three FNX variations on a very cold winter day. There were no problems with functioning, and accuracy was entirely acceptable with a selected load in each caliber. The FNX strikes me as very appealing in the handling sense. You can carry it in either a hammer down, double-action/single-action mode or cocked-and-locked, single-action mode. In either mode, the gun is safe and shootable. Best of all, its price is in the reasonable range for the features.
Manufacturer: FNH USA; (703) 288-3500; www.fnhusa.com
Caliber: .45 ACP
Action Type: recoil-operated, hammer-fired, double-action/single-action, center-fire semi-automatic pistol
Frame: polymer with inserts
Rifling: 1:16" RH twist
Magazine: 15-round capacity detachable box
Sights: dovetailed front and rear with tritium inserts, elevated for use with suppressors
Trigger Pull: double-action, 8 lbs., 12 ozs.; single-action 4 lbs., 6 ozs.
Overall Length: 7.87"
Weight: 33.2 ozs.
Accessories: tactical nylon case, three magazines, cable, manual, three spare backstraps
Suggested Retail Price: $1,399