Everything about this gun screams tacticool.
From its military-adjacent history to its uber accessorize-able design, the FNX 45 Tactical is a beast of a handgun.
I’ll be completely honest; this is one of my grail guns. I’ve wanted one for as long as I’ve been into firearms.
My local gun range had one available for rent, and I would always go in and drool over the FNX 45 Tactical and Osprey 45 combo.
Like peanut butter and jelly, mac and cheese, boomers and 1911s — it’s like they were made for each other.
FN also developed a (what I would call) neutered version of the FNX 45 Tactical.
The FNX 45 does not feature the raised night sights, the optic cut, or the threaded barrel.
Still, if you live in California and you want an FNX 45 variant, it’s worth the consideration.
Many things make the FNX 45 Tactical a formidable firearm, and we’re going to explore those today.
Prices accurate at time of writing
Prices accurate at time of writing
We’ll look at the history behind the handgun, what makes it cool, and areas that may make it a hard pass for you.
Ultimately, you’ll walk away with a better understanding of whether this FN deserves a spot on your gun shelf.
Table of Contents
History of FNX 45 Tactical
The story of the FNX 45 Tactical begins with an entirely different gun — the FNP 45 Tactical.
Developed for the U.S. Joint Combat Pistol Program, the FNP 45 Tactical came chock full of goodies, as you’d expect from any other gun designed for the military.
So, it makes sense that its successor is better.
Released in October 2012, the FNX 45 Tactical was the new sheriff in town, if that sheriff was robocop and drove a Tesla truck.
Featuring an aggressive grip, interchangeable backstraps, and a threaded barrel, the FNX 45 Tactical had things that other manufacturers had not even dreamed of yet.
The kicker? It all came in an FDE package.
Now, of course, these aren’t all that uncommon. Back in the day, however, a manufacturer making these stock was unheard of.
Has the cool-factor of the FNX 45 Tactical caught your attention yet?
FNX-45 Tactical Features & Specs
FNX-45 Tactical Specs and Features
The FNX 45T is admittedly a pretty niche gun.
In my mind, it really only makes sense if you plan on-duty use or range fun.
Other than that, it’s too large to conceal for most and not the best suited for competition.
Long story short, it’s duty-sized and heavy.
It features a stainless-steel slide assembly and measures 8.6-inches in total length! Furthermore, it stands 6.5-inches tall with a width of 1.5-inches.
No wonder it measures in at 33-ounces unloaded.
Fret not. This behemoth comes loaded with features that justify the size and continue to uphold the standard of modern firearms today.
Don’t let the weight scare you. The FNX 45 Tactical wears it well.
As mentioned before, some of the accouterments that come stock on the FNX 45 Tactical include aggressive grip, interchangeable backstraps, and a threaded 5.3-inch barrel.
That’s already more than some models out today, but the FNX 45 Tactical goes above and beyond.
It also features optic cuts, suppressor height sights to match, and ambidextrous controls.
Even by today’s standards, that is fairly impressive.
Why are these things amazing?
Well, I’m glad you asked.
When it comes to shooting a handgun, grip is everything. That’s why you see all the more modern firearms offer interchangeable backstraps. Additionally, shooters often stipple their guns for added grip.
Both of these problems are solved with the FNX 45 Tactical, and you don’t have to spend an extra dollar to make it right. (Although, the talon grips are pretty a e s t h e t i c.)
Next, the Trijicon suppressor-height night sights and optics cut.
If you’ve had any other gun — which if you’re reading this, you probably have — you know that sending your slide out to get milled for optics can cost a pretty penny.
When you eventually pony up and send it, your old non-suppressor height sights are all but useless. This could cost $300 or more!
The FNX 45 Tactical comes stock with these amenities. Sure, it’s an expensive handgun, but in an industry where turnaround times can be over two months, one must ask, “What is my time worth?”
Most importantly, its best-known feature is its 15+1 round capacity of .45 ACP. That’s right. A whopping 16 big boy, two World War .45 ACP rounds.
Okay, enough gushing over the paper stats. Features don’t matter until we answer one question…how does it shoot?
If you couldn’t tell by now, I’m a huge fan of this gun. So much so that I’ve been racking my brain on how I might be able to EDC it. The FNX 45 Tactical is a chunky boi.
That said, it shoots like a dream.
Probably one of the softest shooting .45 ACP handguns that I’ve shot.
The low bore axis and balance of this gun work hand in hand to make it easier to shoot than most 9mm!
The sights fall right back to where you just left them, but the grip angle contributes to this immensely.
With and without a suppressor, I was able to make a — let’s say — “combat effective” grouping at around 50-yards with a Holosun 507c.
For me, on a gun that I don’t even have half a year of reps on, that’s serviceable.
At closer ranges, I was able to go faster while remaining accurate.
Prices accurate at time of writing
Prices accurate at time of writing
To really put myself to the test, I tried the dot torture test. It’s still a workout, but the gun is balanced well and, in my opinion, much easier to shoot than other .45 ACPs I’ve tried.
As expected from a military service gun, the FNX 45 Tactical will handle whatever type of ammo you throw at it.
I used everything from less than optimal (read: range) ammo to hand-loaded ammo. I didn’t have a single hang up or malfunction.
Large primer, small primer, whatever, the FNX 45 Tactical will eat it up and demand more.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, though…
Oh, and while we’re talking range time, what about shooting suppressed?
Well, luckily, the FNX 45 Tactical makes an amazing suppressor host.
Okay, Some Cons
Early models had a litany of reliability issues that FN seems to have since corrected.
Problems included: failure to feed, failure to eject, and failure to lock the slide back on the last round. But again, FN seems to have corrected this problem long ago.
There are still some drawbacks to this duty-oriented workhorse, though.
Let’s start with the most glaring problem – the trigger.
The FNX 45 Tactical is a double-action/single-action gun.
In so many words, that means the first pull will be long and arduous, while the second is short. Cool. Understood.
The guys in the forums will say it’s a “combat trigger.” And the CZ 75 and M9 Beretta also use this function. It’s great for duty use.
However, the FNX 45 Tactical seems to have an unusually long and hard trigger. It’s also pretty gritty.
Sure, you can train through this, but you shouldn’t have to.
FN is capable of making a better trigger. So why haven’t they?
But surely the aftermarket stepped up, right?
So far, only trigger jobs are available. Whether that’s on your own or sending it into the boys at MK3 Firearms, your options are pretty limited.
In fact, the aftermarket options for the FNX 45 Tactical are limited across the board.
As sure as the sun rises in the East, you will have trouble finding holsters for this firearm.
Most major manufacturers don’t make holsters simply because there just isn’t much demand.
So far, the best options are DME, Dara, and Tier 1. However, the PHLster Enigma and shoulder harnesses also show a lot of promise as alternate options.
Lastly, the FNX 45 Tactical is 33-ounces unloaded.
That’s quite a tall order for anything other than duty use. Even in the context of duty use, that is quite heavy.
I mean, to be fair, what did you expect from a fully decked, 16-round .45 ACP pistol?
Still, concealing this will be no easy task and may not prove the most comfortable.
By the Numbers
As you might imagine, a purpose-built duty gun holds up well over time. Mine doesn’t have that many rounds through it, but I’ve shot ones with thousands of rounds with minimal maintenance. They age like fine wine.
It is what it is. No sugar coating, the FNX 45 Tactical doesn’t have the best ergos. The safety juts out pretty far, and it’s a chonky boi. What do you expect from a gun that holds 16 rounds… .45 ACP, no less?
Accuracy on this is fair. In my opinion, with a finely tuned trigger, this beast could be worlds more accurate. It gets the job done, though, and does so well.
Although it comes out the box ready to go, there isn’t much in regard to customization — you must search far and wide. After weeks of searching, I was only able to locate slide cuts and a custom trigger job.
That said, it’s an amazing accessory host. From flashlights to red dot sights to suppressors, the FNX 45 Tactical accommodates it all. It might weigh a ton, but honestly, who cares. It’s not like you’re throwing this behemoth on for a 12-mile ruck or anything.
The FNX 45 Tactical is like a good soldier. It does what it was trained to do and excels at it. It’s okay at other things too, but admittedly not the best.
Prices accurate at time of writing
Prices accurate at time of writing
The FNX 45 Tactical was built for duty, and it excels in just that. Whether suppressed or unsuppressed, it shoots like a 9mm with all the cool factor of .45 ACP in just as many rounds.
It’s completely modern by 2021 standards, making it all the more impressive when considering it launched in 2012.
It’s undoubtedly an amazing firearm that does one thing extremely well and everything else “serviceably.” But as Garanddaddy says, nothing matters if you don’t look cool. Damn it; you will look cool as hell with the FNX 45 Tactical on your hip.
FNX-45 Tactical Gun Deals
Have you shot the FNX 45 Tactical? What do you like about it? What do you hate about it? As always, let us know in the comments below! Want to see more FN goodness? Check out our reviews on the FN Five-SeveN, FNS-9, and FN 503.
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Recently got one of these, have a couple of Public Service Announcements for other owners. Do NOT get extra magazines from Promag for this pistol. I ordered one and it wouldn't lock into place, kept falling out at the range. So spend the extra money and get FN mags. And if you're looking for a holster, get a Blackhawk hard holster for a Ruger P-95, remove the retention adjustment bolt and spacer inside the holster, and it fits like a glove, even with a Holosun optic on it. I found this holster by doing a search on Youtube, and a guy named "fugitivehunter84" shows how well it fits with removing that bolt and spacer. I also have a Kydex holster that will work with a light, but it's too darn big to wear on the hip.
I've had mine for almost two years and love it, from the 15+1 of .45acp to it already being cut for a red dot sights. but was hoping to get an aftermarket trigger. was hoping to get a straight flat adjustable trigger like I've got on my Sig P220 and a Short Reset Trigger. I got up with the people at Grayguns and was told that they were looking into making one but the demand wasn't there. so I'll keep mine as is
Like mine a lot but couple of drawbacks:
1. The plastic retainer clip for the backstop is begging for issues. Once that integrated locking clip breaks, you're done. Fortunately you don't have to change backstops very often
2. I do not believe they have resolve the F2F/FTE issue, which is in the spring. It is stiff. With factory hardball there is no issue, but if you lighten the load too much you have an issue. I've had success with 200gr FPJ rounds and 80% loads, so no issue there, but add a compensator to the mix and you're done. I put a grizzly on this thing and it will not cycle even factory ammo, much less lighter loads. Working on a resolution to this now, but lighter replacement springs are difficult to find. Ordering a G17 spring today
The trigger is definitely a duty trigger, but you don't buy this to shoot tight groups. You buy it because its a double stack polymer gun in .45ACP
I put the Recoil reducing spring kit by Zahal on mine. Used the softer spring and had no problem with 180 - 200g loads. And, after awhile the gun seemed less sensitive. But, won’t shoot wad cutters, maybe semi wad cutters? The feed angle is too steep.
Hi Tony. I run SWC through mine with no issue, both 178 and 200. The FNX is actually a little less finicky than my 1911's in getting that shoulder to case mouth amount "just right"
I have had my FNX 45 Tactical for a number years now. The biggest problem has been trying to figure out where all my ammo goes, particularly when shooting steel flip around targets.
You will want to put an o-ring at the end of the threads on your barrel, so the thread protector doesn’t cone off.
The Zahal recoil reduction system come with two springs, and the lighter spring works well with 180-200gr rounds.
BTW the Underwood Extreme Defender 135gr works no matter what springs are in it!
I talked to the son of the person who created the 45 Super, and he stated the the gun was tough enough to handle the round.
It is a favorite of Rowland to do the .460 Rowland conversation (that only runs $267). And it can still shoot 45 Super and 45ACP with the other spring in. Unfortunately, I doubt my Romeo 1 (that I have used for several years and league use) would be up to those powerful loads. But, the .460 Rowland would make it good for hunting as well.
A lot of fun any way one goes with it.
I enjoyed reading this article thanks...
I shot an FN FNX at a public range where we had a chance to shoot lots of different guns and it was my favorite of the day...
I found it very comfortable in my hand, and I did well with it...
I hope to add one to my collection soon...
Fnx 45 tactical review
Hey, can you please leave out my last name if you post my review?
I recently ordered the Tactical in FDE because it’s easier than changing everything on my standard.
I have had the non-tactical FNX 45 for probably 8 years. It’s my absolute favorite range gun, and heavyweight when traveling by car.
I’m barely 5’9” with average hand size (gloves large) and the FNX feels like it was made for me.
The non-tactical is practically the same weight, but easy to shoot with one-handed drills, left hand or (dominant) right!
Did I say I love this pistol? I also adore my HK P30SK 9mm, okay? But my EDC is a Sig Sauer P938 BRG, a P365, and sometimes a P320 XCarry.
I’ve put many thousands of rounds through my FNX 45 with only a handful of failures to lock back the slide when empty, and that was always near the end of a training class after 600-700+ rounds.
Accurate. Balanced. Easy to shoot… and less recoil than many of my 9mm’s. It’s a 45 ACP!
Don’t believe me, check one out at your local range.
Not impressed with my FNX-45T so far. Have had it for 6 months and FN has not solved the failure to feed, failure to eject, & failure to lock the slide back issues yet. I have experienced all of these issues with my FNX-45 Tactical every time I have taken it to the range. I have put more than 500 rounds through it and was unable to empty a single 15 round clip without experiencing both FTE and FTF issues, regardless of the type/brand of ammo used. Added a compensator and it FTE after every shot. Cleaned and lubed before and after each range visit. Symptoms point to an issue with the slide spring so It will be going back to FN for repairs/replacement.
Maybe it’s because you’re using a “clip” instead of a magazine..... Jussayin
Thanks for the vocabulary lessons Warren Peace and Dave. I don’t know where this world would be without purists like you two to keep the rest of us deplorables in line.
Dave, the slide lock work-around is readily available on the forums and has helped to improve its performance, allowing me to get through 5 magazines with only 1 FTE. Both of you seem to have missed the points I was trying to make. Let me restate them for you:
(1.) As expected from a military service gun, the FNX 45 Tactical should be able to handle whatever type of ammo you throw at it, right out of the box. It has failed in that regard for me and for numerous other FNX-45T forum participants, both recent and older. The FTF, FTE, and slide lock-back issues all point back to a slide spring issue that has not been solved.
(2.) Buyers of a $1200 firearm should not have to employ work-arounds like leaving the slide locked back for a week to yield the spring so the slide will function properly. Maybe its a quality control issue, but the problem with the slide spring has not been solved by FN.
I wasn’t correcting you because I am a purist. If you’re going to use terminology at least use the correct terminology. A clip and a magazine are two completely different things. It’s not using the correct term that has started our dumda** politicians off without a clue. I’m sure you are an educated person but do you also say “ax” instead of “ask”.
I know this is late... sorry. First off it’s not a clip, it’s a magazine. Clips load rounds into a magazine and a magazine loads into a weapon
Second... lock the slide open and leave it locked open for 3 to 4 days. Problem solved
I just picked one up a few weeks ago after waiting months for one to show up at a local shop. Being that it was going to be my first 45, and it’s expensive, I over googled and consulted a friend who owned one. After being told that he got rid of one because he didn’t like it’s size and inaccuracy, I bought it anyway. I couldn’t disagree with he or his tiny hands more. After dialing in my red dot and a few range visits, it’s probably one of the best shooters in my collection. As far as it’s size and weight I’ve had no issues, because I’m a man, with slightly hairy man-sized hands. It’s probably not an EDC pistol, and carrying IWB is not a logical option. There’s several OWB holsters out there, but they start decreasing if you want one with a light option. This article is pretty spot on about the description of the trigger. The first pull is a country mile, but if you carry cocked and locked it doesn’t become an issue. Overall I love this tan slab, and couldn’t be happier with my purchase. BTW the sweet ass case/bag it comes in is one of the coolest case I’ve ever gotten with a pistol purchase.
Anybody find a good trigger for it yet?
I just got a used but doesn't looked used today at a local shop. I've been looking for one for a few years. Got it to go along with my two SIG P220'S full size and carry and my Sig 1911 Emperor Scorpion carry. love the manual safety and decocker. First thing I'm at to get is a red dot sight and holster
I own, carry and love the FNX 45. In response to the comment about the decocker. I have used my FNX in a high stress duty situation and never had an issue with the decocker. It’s a good trigger for what it was designed for... combat. I run mine either the Holosun 507c (RMR footprint), Streamlight TLR H1 in a Blackhawk Omni holster. LOVE this weapon!
So Dave, I have a quick question for you I just bought mine and while I was lubing and getting myself accustomed to it I noticed a very audible squeak when racking the slide for my training. Is this a normal thing in the FNX lineup? I tested some 509s and this didn't happen with them. I even lubed this up thoroughly.
If they ever got rid of that (fill in expletives here) de-cocker they would sell a lot more! Ever been on the line, had the buzzer go off, drew and disengaged the safety only to find that first trigger pull you spoke of? As much as I hated to, I finally sold my Expert because of it. Bought something I could use, as I’m not a collector. Imagine that same scenario, except being awakened from a sound sleep in the middle of the night... Ug
I really enjoy my FNX at the range and agree with the entire article. I am hoping that someday* APEX can do for my FNX what they for the trigger on my 509.
*and yes I've already pestered them
Great article, and you nailed it on the Robocop/Tesla truck comparison. It is one bad ass weapon. I love shooting it at the range, the sights are awesome and the red dot was easy to install. I went with traditional black instead of the FDE and I just love everything about it. I agree with Richard, this thing is a home defense beast.
Enjoyed the article however I was surprised the merits of the FNX45T for home protection was not included. Adding a Crimson Trace or similar combo makes for a fast, positive ID and accuracy, along with stopping power. My shotgun is no longer king.
The FNX 45T is just a badass. It replaced my H&K USP .45T as my bedside piece as I was looking to have something with an RMR in addition to a can and a light. The bulbous base on the magazine had to go as well because aesthetics are a thing to me so it’s only a 15 round now. Really nice piece and good article.
Wish they had the same trigger as the usp they are nice. Love both of them love fn everything.
* correction: 14 rounds