The FN 509 Tactical 9mm: Multi-Feature and Combat Ready

If you want a well thought out and designed pistol for home defense or carry, then consider the 509 Tactical.

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I have really been remiss in my reporting on the FN product line. The only FN firearms I have experience with are the FN FiveseveN 5.7x28mm pistol and the 5.7x28mm PS90 carbine. Both of which are superlative arms with awesome reliability chambered for a seriously underrated cartridge. With a few minor modifications, the 20 shot FiveseveN would have made an outstanding replacement for the 9mm Beretta M9A1 service pistol. I had a chance to shoot the FiveseveN into ballistic test medium a few years ago using the LE only armor piercing full metal jacket ammo. Besides its armor penetrating capability, that particular bullet yaws in soft tissue simulant, and creates damage all out of proportion to the caliber.

I had an opportunity to rectify my oversight this week by testing the 9mm FN 509 Tactical, which was based upon FN's submission for the military modular handgun trials, with additional improvements made for the commercial market. Had the military chosen the FN submission, they would likely have been just as well served as they are with the excellent SIG P320 (now the M17).

The FN 509 Tactical that I tested was rental gun at the Vance Outdoors shooting range, with the slide and frame in Flat Dark Earth-an all-black version is also available. I was impressed as soon as I began to handle it. Here is what I noticed about the FN 509 before firing;

  • The operating controls as well as the barrel are black in color.
  • The magazine and slide releases are ambidextrous.
  • The FN 509 ships with one 17 and two 24-round magazines.
  • The barrel is threaded for suppressor mounting.
  • The trigger utilizes an articulating safety mechanism rather than a center lever-there is no additional manual safety.
  • The polymer receiver features molded-in MIL-STD-1913, railing and comes with two interchangeable backstraps for more personalized fit.
  • The front and rear sights are suppressor height-the Low-Profile Optics Mounting System's rear sight optics slide cap features protective ears to protect the rear sight when no optic is mounted. Currently ten different MRD (Miniature Red Dot) optics can be mounted and all co-witness with the iron sights.
  • The tritium front sight features a white outline-the tritium rear sight uses two smaller vials that have no outline.

I test fired the FN 509 using 115 grain American Eagle FMJ ammunition, and of course the 509 functioned flawlessly as one would expect from a pistol that competed to become our next service pistol.

The 509's trigger pull weighs from 5.5 to 7.5 lbs. My sample pistol's trigger felt close to the 5.5 lbs. and was very crisp for a striker fired pistol. There was no perceived muzzle flip from the 4.5 inch barrel. The sights were easy to pick up and prominent.

I was very impressed with the accuracy. My first 15 shots were fired from 21 feet, and the resulting group measured 2.5 inches with one called flier. 12 of those shots were in a single hole measuring 1.5 inches. Next, I moved the target out to 30 feet, and was rewarded with a 10-shot group measuring 4 inches.

The molded in grip texturing provided a sure hold without being uncomfortable. I am not sure which backstrap had been mounted on the test gun, but the grip feel was perfect for my hand size.

I liked the FN 509 Tactical a great deal. If you want a well thought out and designed pistol for home defense or carry (it weighs only 27.9 ounces) that can easily mount MRD optics and/or a suppressor, then consider the 509 Tactical. It will provide a lifetime of nearly indestructible service.