Faxon Firearms FX-19 Hellfire Compact 9mm Pistol

The FX-19's have all the features of custom pistols, but keep within conventional price ranges.

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Faxon Firearms, located in Cincinnati, is a manufacturer of improved AR15 uppers, lowers, and complete rifles. Since I originally encountered Faxon at a writer's conference several years ago, they have expanded into the tactical/defensive handgun field by introducing the FX-19 pistol series.

I had the opportunity to test one of the two FX-19 pistol models-the Hellfire-at the Vance Alum Creek Range. At first glance, the Hellfire appears to be a "dandified" version of the Glock 19 with a fancy slide mounted atop a G19 frame-but first glances are frequently wrong. It is much more than that.

As great as Glock pistols are-drop dead reliable, accurate, and nearly indestructible in normal use-they leave a bit to be desired in terms of ergonomics. The overall feel has been improved with the change to the Gen5 grip on the 9mm's and the use of interchangeable backstraps, but there still is one underlying complaint that some shooters-especially new Glock shooters-have. That is the tendency to feel that Glocks initially point low when first presented to the target. While I, too, have noticed that tendency, it never bothered me enough to not be a Glock fan. This tendency top point low is one of the primary areas that Faxon addressed.

While at first glance, the polymer frame Hellfire (and Patriot) pistols appear to use a slightly modified G19 frame, closer inspection and research reveal that the original Glock grip angle has been modified to a 1911 style grip angle-which most experienced shooters agree is darn near perfect in terms of feel and point-ability.

The double undercut trigger guard is more obvious. It combines with the modified grip angle to help more perfectly position the shooting hand. The front rear and sides of the grip feature a stippled finish, and there are no molded in finger grooves. The magazine release is slightly extended. The Glock dual takedown latches are retained. There is an enhanced low-profile magwell, which projects forward into a "pinkie support" ledge. There is a molded in accessory rail section up front. Despite the grip angle change, the FX-19's use standard G19 (or G17) magazines. The pistols are shipped with one G19 magazine and a five-round extension. The FX-19's accept all aftermarket Glock parts and accessories.

The slide is more obviously modified. In addition to rear grasping grooves, there are partial front serrations. They are partial because there are three slide lightening cuts on the front, top and sides of the slide. The slide is made from 17-4 stainless steel, and given a Diamond Like Carbon (DLC) finish.

The slide has an optics cut that will accommodate a Trijicon RMR or Holosun 507C sight. The three dot sights are suppressor height. A G19 Match Series threaded barrel is used. The trigger is an Overwatch Precision Trigger. The trigger face and red safety lever are flat.

Faxon really did its homework in terms of listening to what shooters wanted in a modern 9mm pistol. The G19 frame was an ideal choice to design from. The Patriot version is designed for concealment and lacks a threaded barrel, while the Hellfire is a great home defense, suppressed, or competition gun.

As expected, the Hellfire rental pistol performed flawlessly, which should be expected from a pistol that has survived a 15,000 round durability test. American Eagle 124 grain FMJ ammo was used for testing. The grip feel was excellent, although I would have preferred to use a G19 magazine sans extension, since it doesn't improve grip control like an extension on a magazine of a Glock 27 does.

The trigger pull was remarkable-truly target grade-helping me quickly realize that Faxon hadn't just warmed over the Glock design. The Hellfire was comfortable to shoot and there was no "trigger sting" of the finger pad. There was no tendency to point low when acquiring the targets. My first 10-shot group at 20 feet measured two-inches with a called flyer. Other 20-foot groups were in the same range. At 30 feet groups opened up a bit to the 3 to 3.5 inch range, which is great practical accuracy.

If you like Glock pistols, but felt there was some room for improvement, consider trying the Faxon FX-19 series of guns if you want to see what happens when you take the design to its zenith.

Advanced designs don't come cheap. The FX-19's have all the features of custom pistols, but keep within conventional price ranges. Try them out at the rental counter, and see if you are as impressed as I was.