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FN 509 Tactical Review: Best Full-Size Tactical Pistol?

The FN 509 Tactical is a full-sized duty pistol in the FN 509 series...but is this tactical pistol worth your attention? Come see...

Want a full-size 9mm loaded with features, ready to go right out of the box?

Well, look no further than the FN 509 Tactical…

This striker-fired 9mm lives within FN’s 509 series, but with other options on the table, why should you choose the Tactical?

I’m going to tell you all about the FN 509 Tactical – lay out the pros and cons, get it out to the range. By the end, you’ll be able to decide if this peanut butter colored machine is right for you.

FN 509 Tactical

Spoiler alert. I love it. (Also, you lefties are in for a treat today…)

So, let’s get into it!

Table of Contents

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FN 509 Tactical Review at a Glance

Pros

  • All the bells and whistles – optics ready and threaded barrel
  • Works for left-handed shooters
  • Comes in a nice zippered case with two backstraps

Cons

  • Those with large hands might walk away with some slide bite
  • It’s pricier than other 509 models

The Bottom Line

This striker-fired 9mm is a great bedside or home defense gun that works whether you’re a righty or a lefty.

899
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Specs & Features

Specs

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Width: 1.35”
  • Length: 8”
  • Barrel Length: 4.5”
  • Height: 5.75”
  • Weight: 27.9oz
  • Capacity: 17+1
  • Colors: FDE or Black

Features

  • 17-round standard mags, but you can upgrade to a 24-round mag
  • Optics ready
  • Trijicon 3-Dot Night Sights
  • Accesory rail

Source: FN

Background

In 2017, when the U.S. Army was phasing out the Beretta, everyone and their brother competed to win the Modular Handgun System contract.

Of course, that contract went to Sig Sauer, but that didn’t stop other manufacturers from releasing their entries – including FN.

The M17 is a formidable weapon designed to operate in the military theater
The M17, produced by Sig Sauer, was chosen by the U.S. Army as the replacement for the M9.

The 509 Tactical was FN’s submission for the MHS, but now it’s available in the civilian world for normal, everyday gun owners.

FN has a myriad of 509 models, but the Tactical means it has all the bells and whistles.

FN 509 Tactical
FN 509 Tactical

Who Is It For?

The 509 Tactical is a striker-fired pistol that’s best for those looking for a full-sized pistol with some elevated features. It also works great for left-handed shooters as its controls are ambidextrous.

If you need a bedside gun, I highly recommend the 509 Tactical.

Fit & Feel

This is not a small gun by any means. Being a full-sized, duty pistol means it’s large and not something you probably want to conceal appendix style. But that’s not really what it was designed for.

FN 509 Tactical Shooting

All the controls feel familiar, and this gun just makes sense in your hand. That FN grip feels good. Of course, you can change the backstraps, but whichever you choose, it will feel good in your hands.

But you lefties have already spotted something, haven’t you? The 509 series is completely ambidextrous right out of the box.

FN 509 Tactical
We like ambi

Nothing has to be swapped over – it’s ready to go.

That may not seem like a big deal to righties, but the lefties in the crowd can attest that this is a BIG deal.

Very few guns on the market are truly ambi. Not bad, FN, not bad…lefties are people too.

As far as aesthetics, I think it looks solid. I got FDE, but it’s available in black, of course. There’s some branding on the grip and slide, but nothing obnoxious.

Overall, it’s not a bad-looking gun.

FN 509 Tactical
FN 509 Tactical with a 24-round mag.

How Does the FN 509 Tactical Shoot?

Before we start, I think it’s worth mentioning that this is my personal gun that I bought with my own money.

For this test, I got all the mags together. Loaded them with Remington UMC and let ‘er rip.

FN 509 Tactical Magazines
All the mags!

I was immediately struck with the trigger. It, of course, feels pretty stout. But it’s a duty gun, so that’s to be expected. That said, the reset is shallow, and on day one, I was able to get it running great.

Not sure how to explain it in words, but the trigger is really good for a service weapon.

FN 509 Tactical Shooting

As far as how it ran…well, it ran awesome for me — zero issues, like, for real zero.

Keep in mind I was using factory mags, and I didn’t run it suppressed or in weird weather, just summertime in Tennessee. But boy, oh boy, it kept up with me and ran without failure.

It feeds and ejects without issues and locks back on empty every time.

FN 509 Tactical Slide Lock
Locks back and everything.

I love the reliability. I have two FNs now, and they run like Belgian Sewing Machines.

Accuracy-wise, it stayed on target with no stray shots. It hit where I wanted it to without complaints.

FN 509 Tactical Shooting

The Trijicon 3-Dot Night Sights offer more than standard sights when sticking with traditional iron sights – even when shooting suppressed.

These sights are suppressor height, so you can still see your target even with a can.

FN 509 Tactical Trijicon Suppressor Height Sights
Trijicon Suppressor Height Sights

But again, you don’t have to stay with regular, ole sights. The Tactical model means you get what you need to mount up a red dot. I added a Trijicon RMR to mine, and I really like the combo.

FN 509 Tactical Suppressor Hieght Trijicon Sights
That Trijicon RMR worked great!

The only trouble I had was that I nicked my hand pretty badly on the range. Was that the gun’s fault? Nah.

Truth be told, I was sloppy with my grip, which is totally on me. However, those of you with big mitts, be aware.

What Sets It Apart?

Its ability to be range ready and lefty-ready out of the box is a huge win for the FN 509 Tactical.

FN 509 Tactical Suppressor
All the features…

Want to mount an optic? You can do that. Need a light? It’s ready for one of those too.

Not to mention, the ability to upgrade mags from 17-rounders to 24 makes range reloads so much easier.

FN 509 Tactical Reload
Running those reloads

By the Numbers

Reliability: 5/5

This thing didn’t quit on me a single time. It just kept pinging targets.

Ergonomics: 5/5

It feels great in the hand, and the fact that it supports left-handed shooters is a bonus.

Accuracy: 5/5

It pings targets exactly where you want. No issues here.

Customization: 4/5

You can throw on a red dot, suppressor, or light, and those 24-round mags are great. That said, it doesn’t have the full suite of aftermarket as Glock (but really, who does).

Value: 3.5/5

It’s not cheap…at $900, it’s almost $300 more than a standard 509. Plus, you need to buy more mags. But for that price, you get what I think is a total package.

Overall: 4.5/5

899
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Upgrades for the FN 509 Tactical

The FN 509 Tactical offers a few upgrades you can throw on.

FN 509 Tactical Suppressor
Upgrade me!

First, I recommend a good red dot. I used the Trijicon RMR, but we have a whole list of red dots we recommend over in our Red Dot Guide.

Best Pistol Red Dot
475
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Next, I suggest grabbing a light to get the whole tactical aesthetic. Again, we have some recommendations in our Best Pistol Lights Guide.

149
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Finally, throw on a suppressor. Trust me; it makes shooting way easier on the ears. Again, you can see what we like in our Best 9mm Suppressors article.

949
at Silencer Central

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Final Verdict

Overall, I am happy with my FN 509 Tactical. The folks at FN bring you a fantastic 9mm handgun with a great trigger in an optics-compatible, suppressor-ready platform.

 FN 509 Tactical Suppressor
FN 509 Tactical Suppressor

What more could you want? So, from me, this gun gets two big thumbs up.

What do you think of the FN 509 Tactical? Let us know below. I found my go-to bedside gun…have you? Check out the Best Beginner & Home Defense Pistols.

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9 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Mike

    Ummmm, all the pics with the RMR mounted above are missing the included adapter plate.

    Upgrade with an apex trigger, then add a shooting sight striker to get rid of the rolling break, good setup after that, underrated option.

    September 11, 2022 10:49 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Schmutzli

    If one tricks the pistol out to around $2,500, I certainly hope it would be a pleasure to shoot.

    September 10, 2022 4:17 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Brian Marx

    Very nice to see you back.

    September 9, 2022 4:05 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    TJ

    2 things that will make this gun better, Apex and MCARBO. DARA makes a good holster to fit it even if you end up with all the furniture.

    September 8, 2022 6:32 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      range rat

      yup..love the apex trigger .. have it on both my 509s

      September 8, 2022 7:32 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Dennis Eagleberger

    The pistol with a suppressor and a light looks like a joke

    September 8, 2022 4:24 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    JB

    I think these got a really bad reputation for bad triggers. I've shot mine with a thousand rounds now and it is a great duty quality trigger. I also polished a few things and it's smooth no grit like it came with from the factory. I haven't had one FTF yet. I've shot with steel casin so much it wore off the fde on the slide from the steel shells coming out. I'd love it more if magazines weren't so expensive and there was a little more for holsters. Other than that it's one of my favorites. I also don't think that it's to expensive for everything you get from factory. 3 magazine, 2 of which are 24 rounders, the sights are amazing, threaded barrel, ambidextrous from factory. I actually think this gun is a good deal for what most people will spend on a cheaper gun to get to this point. Ask how I know. I also think the trigger is a great duty trigger but not amazing just for going to the range wanting the best trigger you can get.

    September 8, 2022 4:10 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Silky Johnson

      The trigger is absolute trash, even after a MCarbo trigger kit. The Walther PDP is a couple hundred dollars less and has a superior trigger. FN products are over-priced.

      September 11, 2022 2:50 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Sean

    I love lots of different platforms. This one just seems short of the vanilla G17. Where is the improvements? And not even close to aftermarket support of a G. Looks solid but the WHY? is where it looses me.

    September 8, 2022 3:10 pm
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