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[Gun Review] FNH FNS-9

A gun that might beat our favorite Glock 19! See how we review the FNS-9 in terms of reliability, cost, shootability, upgrades, safety, and more.

Although this is a review for the FNH FNS-9 pistol, I’m going to start with the Glock 19.

I have referred to the Glock 19 as a “Goldilocks Gun.”

Its size allows it to easily be concealed for daily carry but it’s not so small that it’s uncomfortable to shoot.

There’s a good reason why the Glock 19 is Glock’s most popular model if not one of the more popular guns on the market.  It’s no wonder that just about every company makes a striker fired handgun in a similar shape, size, and frame.

Smith & Wesson has the M&P 9c, Springfield has the XDm 3.8 and, of course, FNH has the FNS-9 pistol.

See how I brought that back around?

at Cabela's

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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FNS-9 Vs. Glock 19


The FNS-9 4″ has a shape, length, width and unloaded weight that matches the Glock 19.  They’re both striker fired 9mm pistols.  There are some aesthetic differences, of course.

Beyond that, the FNS-9 is almost exactly like a Glock 19…except slightly better in almost every way.

Cue the Glock fanboys copying and pasting their carefully worded hate message in the comments below…

I’m not going to say that the Glock 19 isn’t a good gun.

It is.  It’s a great gun.

It’s easy to just say something is better but let’s get into some specifics.

First off, the aforementioned aesthetics.  The slide is curvy and angled.  The ridge on the left side has similar curves to a 1969 Mustang.  It’s got full ambidextrous controls.

On the Glock, the only thing left-handed shooters get it the ability to swap the magazine release button around.  On the FNS-9, all the controls are there and ready to go.  You can swap hands and continue to use the gun with no issues.

Glock 19 vs FNS-9
Glock 19 vs FNS-9

It’s also got a flared magazine well.  This makes it easier and faster to swap mags.

You have the option of night sights from the factory or their standard 3 dot sight.

I have the standard sights on this one and they remind me of the XS aftermarket sights.  The dot on the front site is much larger than the rear dots and makes for very fast acquisition.  The FNS-9 holds eighteen rounds (17+1) as opposed to the Glock 19’s sixteen round (15+1) capacity.

Beyond all that, when you take the gun apart there are even more indicators of the quality.

The first thing that jumped out at me was how much surface area the slide rails covered.

In a Glock 19, the rails that hold the slide on to the frame are surprisingly small.  There’s just 4 small points of contact.  In the FNS-9, there are still 4 points but they take up more than half the length of the frame.

In fact, if you combined the length of all the Glock rails, it wouldn’t even be as long as the rear rails on the FNS-9.  I’m honestly not sure how much of a difference that makes but, to me, it makes me feel more comfortable about the structure of the gun.

Can you tell I liked this pistol?

The thing is, my personal feelings about this gun aren’t the focus.  This is a great gun but is it a great first gun?  Is it worth it to spend an average of $50 more on this than the Glock 19?

Testing time!

Ease to Breakdown

More FNS-9 Goodness
More FNS-9 Goodness

Lock the slide back and then twist the takedown lever.  Gently return the slide to its normal position then pull the trigger.  Push the slide off the rest of the way.

It breaks down exactly like XDm’s, SIGs and M&Ps.

You get the added bonus of being “forced” to verify the chamber is empty before continuing to take it apart.  The SIG, XDm, and XDs all break down the same way and they got 5 out of 5 so…

By the Numbers

Maintenance 4/5

The nice thing about striker fired guns is that they’re quite simple.  In the grand scheme of things, there isn’t much to them.

As I’ve always said, things get a bit dicey when it comes to fully break it down and cleaning that striker.  Also, with a slightly smaller footprint than a full sized pistol, there are some crevices that you’ll have to break out the Q-tips for.

In the end, we’re looking at a 4 for this one. Right on par with the Glock 19, here.

Reliability 5/5

It handed my cheap ammo as well as a few different types of defense ammo I had with me.  It ate it like I eat a package of Oreos.  Modern pistols really do a great job of working with all kinds of different stuff.  5 out of 5

Safety 5/5

The FNS-9 has the same kinds of internal safeties as a Glock 19: trigger safety, firing pin safety and drop safety.

It also has a manual safety switch.  The thing about the switch is that it’s not in the way.  It’s stiff to engage and can be disengaged easily with a swipe of the thumb.  In theory, you could use this gun without ever engaging the safety and not have any problems because it would work just like a Glock at that point.

It’s almost optional.

Still, practice disengaging it on the draw just in case.  Beyond that, the extra feature nudges it ahead of the Glock here. 5 out of 5

Poor Technique 5/5

I tried to kill this gun.

I tried everything.

I did my uber-limp shooting with my left hand even trying to get it to jam or misfeed or bite me.

Let’s put it this one: the most common problem I get when doing my poor technique tests is that, in times of extreme limp wristing, the slide won’t lock back on an empty magazine.  This gun didn’t even have that problem.

Slide locked back every single time.

It says something about a gun when it actually annoys you that it works so well.  Gimme something to criticize, will ya!?  5 out of 5

Starter Kit 3.5/5

You get a very nice case, a cable lock, and 3 magazines.  That’s 1 magazine more than the Glock but that’s about it.

Not bad but not the best.

Magazines tend to be the first thing I buy with any gun and I consider 3 magazines to be the bare minimum.  I never used the mag loader that came with the Glock but I did have to buy a mag right off the bat there.


All things considered, I’ll call this one even: 3.5 out of 5.  I still haven’t found anything that matches the XDm’s gold standard starter kit.

Accessories/Upgrades 2/5

Here’s the chink in the FNS-9’s armor: toys.

While it has a Picatinny rail, which means you can pull all kinds of lights and lasers on it, there isn’t much out there that’s made specifically for this gun.

I wasn’t able to find any trigger upgrade kits, just replacement triggers (not that you’d need an upgrade, mind you, the trigger is awesome).

The magazines are also expensive.  The average price I’m seeing is $44 and I don’t see any third party manufacturers jumping in to make any cheaper ones.  Even Pro-Mag doesn’t have any!  It’s still a relatively new gun on the market and I’d like to think that it will get some more toys eventually.

In the meantime, I have to give it a 2 out of 5 here.

Final Word

In terms of beginner guns, this is just as good of a first gun as the Glock 19.

If you’re an intermediate or even well-experienced shooter, you can’t go wrong with this one either.

The FNS-9 is a heck of a gun here.

In the interest of full disclosure, this was a T&E gun sent to me by FNH.  Don’t think the glowing review was because of that.  I’d rather risk a relationship with a manufacturer than to risk my integrity.  Truth be told, I was actually planning on buying this gun for my next pistol when FNH offered to send it to me so it was a happy stroke of luck.

Final score: 4.5 out of 5

at Cabela's

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Needless to say, I’ll be sending them back a check instead of the gun.  Want to learn more?  Check out our Best Pistol/Handgun for Beginners & Home Defense.

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15 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar

    Guns are good. FN is terrible at producing extra mags for people to purchase. Their 15 round for 509c has been out of stock for several months. Can buy from other retailers but not the 15 rd. Ridiculous. Emailed FN and they said hard to keep up with demand. Other manufacturers like SIG can pump them out like nothing. Disappointed in FN. Something to keep in mind if you are purchasing an FN.

    November 14, 2020 1:03 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    david davis

    I just picked one up took it out to my range and put one mag through it love the gun. Easy to control esay to aim if you find one buy it

    June 13, 2020 12:51 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I've yet to fire one but after picking it up at the gun store...

    1) A best in class grip IMHO
    2) Excellent Trigger stock
    3) Generally exceptional ergos and looks.
    4) Great price

    November 21, 2019 9:26 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jake Black

    Your review is just as good as my FNS 9 accuracy, superb! Spot on in all areas. My only issue with the FNS 9 is more with FN in general, the cost of replacement mags. FN designs a series of pistols which clearly outperform the market leader (Glock) in all areas and promptly stifle sales by pricing magazines in the stratosphere, go figure. Oh well..

    February 21, 2018 5:22 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Eric Hung

      Thanks Jake and yup...the do cost a pretty penny!

      February 22, 2018 10:56 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Seth Burgin

    I am a Sig snob, and realize that engineering a DA/SA hammer fired action that works that nicely costs money. I don't hate Glocks by any means, but the first thing any Glock needs is upgrading, so that kind of kills that "Glock Perfection" claim. FN, CZ, H&K, Walther, Springfield Armory, and even the lowly Canik is giving Glock a run for it's money, and at $200-$300 less in price. Walther, Sig's striker fired guns, FN, Canik, all have better triggers than Glock. So what did Glock offer? A gen 4 package with a captive double recoil spring guide rod, that failed, an extra magazine, and a $2 mag loader. I bought a Glock 43 to pocket while I am buying gas at 2:00 AM in a strange town, but I will probably swap it for a Sig 928, SA mini 1911, or maybe just dig out my old Kahr PM9 again. Glock has been riding high on hype for 35 years, with help from movies, television, and Glock fan boys. They still are like the 1992 Honda Civic of handguns. Reliable almost to a fault, and able to keep up with a Ferrari, unless the person driving the Ferrari actually knows how to drive, and then it is nothing more than extremely adequate. Eventually you may even catch up with the broken down Ferrari, and pass it. That pretty much sums up Glock, but they are charging way too much for what you get out of the box, now. Glock's patents have expired and the better gun makers are, well.........making better guns. What did you think would happen?

    January 22, 2017 11:43 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I carried a 19 for years but the FN is light years better, even if it was JUST the trigger that would be enough but I can not say enough about the trigger on this gun. It actually helps you shoot better. I have the FNS 9C which is slightly smaller not a great concealed carry gun in the summer but plenty small enough for a coat in the winter.

    December 8, 2016 11:07 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Thanks Daniel!

      December 8, 2016 2:47 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Great article. Love the; no BS assessment! I would have to agree with you on all aspects. Although, mine is a FNS 9c.

    September 20, 2016 1:52 pm
    • Commenter Avatar


      September 20, 2016 9:03 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I own the hammer fired FNX .40 and I love it. FNH makes a great product that is sexy, well built, truly ambidextrous, and accurate. And then they give you 3 mags! I look forward to adding a FNS 9 to my collection.

    August 3, 2016 5:55 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Seth Burgin

      FNs just feel good in the hand too! Glocks, never felt good to me, but I was firing Browning Hi Powers at age 10, back in 1977. Glock was still making curtain rods back then. The grip angle on a Glock is an easy adjustment, just angle your wrist forward like you have some old fart's German Luger battle field pick up souvenir from WWII. Glock started giving out a 3rd magazine in their Gen 4 packages, along with a $2 mag loader. Too bad the recoil spring assembly in the Gen 4 was junk, and had to be recalled. Glock refuses to say why, but they requested we send in the old assembly and exchange it for a new one. I don't know about you, but when I buy a gun, I buy it to have it ready for use, not waiting for parts.

      January 22, 2017 11:52 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mike Hughes

    Had glock 19 goin on 9 yrs. Bought fns 9 two weeks ago. Took range, steadly proped, 30 ft.. Out of 18 rds 14 tore one ragged hole.FREAKIN AWSOME PISTOL!

    June 28, 2016 9:16 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      That's awesome!

      June 28, 2016 9:30 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Keep It Sleazy

    September 26, 2014 12:48 am
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