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Inside Look: LAPD Chooses FN 509 MRD LE

The LAPD will use the optics-compatible FN 509 MRD-LE as its new duty pistol...and we got the inside scoop on how the decision was made.

The Los Angeles Police Department traded in Smith & Wessons for an optics-ready model, announcing that the FN 509 MRD-LE will now serve as the department’s new duty pistol.

FN 509 MRD LE Police
FN 509 MRD LE (Photo: FN)

FN’s 509 MRD-LE went head-to-head against several competitors in a 20,000 round endurance test.

We chatted with the LAPD to find out what their testing entailed and ultimately why the 509 MRD LE was chosen as the new duty gun.

Additionally, we’ll walk you through the MRD LE and what this announcement might mean for regular gun owners in the future.

Table of Contents


LAPD Testing Procedure: How the FN Won

Pew Pew Tactical talked to Sergeant II Salvatore De Bella of the LAPD to better understand the department’s 20,000+ round evaluation process.

According to Sgt. De Bella, the LAPD rigorously tests duty pistol contenders on the range while also taking into account features that might help officers in the field.

(Photo: LAPD via Facebook)

To begin, LAPD evaluators selected three identical handguns from a handful of manufacturers they fielded. Out of these three guns, evaluators randomly selected two for testing.

Each gun saw a minimum of 3,000 rounds of non-toxic ammo ran through it.

Canik Mete 9mm Ammo Box
We doubt the LAPD has a bunch of this lying around…

“We found that the non-toxic ammo is pretty harsh on the breechface of the gun. So, we want to see if there’s going to be any degradation to the pistol from that,” Sgt. De Bella explained.

After that, each pistol received a combination of roughly 5,500 of ball ammo and 1,500 of duty ammo fired through it.

For this specific test, Sgt De Bella said the LAPD used a mix of Speer G2 – its current duty ammo – with Winchester SXT, the previously used duty ammo.

at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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In total, each pistol fired roughly 11,000 to 12,000 rounds. So, multiplied by two, since they tested two guns per manufacturer, essentially each make pushed out a combined 22,000 to 24,000 rounds.

During this portion, the LAPD looked for pistols that performed reliably with few to no malfunctions.

Though Sgt. De Bella could not release the makes and models of the six other guns tested alongside the FN 509, he did offer that the FN experienced zero malfunctions.

To meet accuracy requirements, pistols must also shoot under 3.5-inch MOA at 25-yards. In the case of FN, the 509 shot 2.5-inch MOA.

“The FN performed phenomenally well, exceeding our standards,” Sgt. De Bella said.

For the FN 509, Sgt. De Bella explained that easy maintenance protocols coupled with the ability to instantly accept the most popular red dots on the market really made it stand out.

“When it came to closing things out with the FN, [FN] really worked with us to have a specific configuration. They built their FN 509 with suppressor height sights for us as we want a pistol to be ready to go should our officers decide to purchase a pistol mounted optic.”

In addition to suppressor height sights, the LAPD’s new duty pistol will support a flat trigger breaking at 5.5-pounds, 17-round capacity, and a 4-inch barrel.

In all, Sgt. De Bella said the LAPD is extremely happy with the new duty guns, which will replace the current Smith & Wesson M&Ps.

“We put our equipment through some of the most extreme environments that a law enforcement officer would be exposed to. We believe that the FN 509 pistol is going to help officers handle critical incidents confidently,” Sgt. De Bella said.

“Our cops want to do the right thing and perform well for the community. And we believe that this pistol will help our personnel perform to the expectations of the community and the nation when it comes to our response and critical incidents.”


Based on the FN 509 series, the LE version sports a polymer, striker-fired 9mm design topped with the company’s Low-Profile Optics Mounting System.

at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

A result of the U.S. Army’s Modular Handgun System trials – which the Sig Sauer P320 eventually won – the optics mounting system opens the door for users to add a red dot to the pistol for greater precision and sighting.

Any mounted optic will also co-witness with the tritium 3-dot iron sights, offering backups should the red dot fail.

“LAPD needed the ability to quickly and securely mount a variety of duty-rated micro red dots to their service pistols to improve the accuracy potential of their handguns and their officers,” Charles “Bucky” Mills, Sr. Director of Law Enforcement Sales, said in a press release.

“FN pioneered the MRD mounting technology the LAPD required, enabling precision shot placement and immediate target engagement no matter the environment.”

Weighing in at 27-ounces, the FN 509 MRD-LE measures a total length of 7.4-inches with a 4-inch barrel. Mag capacity sits at 17-rounds.

FN said it was pleased with the LAPD selecting the 509 as its duty, though not surprised given the reliability and performance of the platform.

“The Los Angeles Police Department is one of the largest and most elite law enforcement agencies in the country, with roughly 10,000 uniformed officers, and we are proud that they have chosen the FN 509 MRD-LE as their next duty pistol,” Mark Cherpes, President and CEO of FN America, said in a press release.

Impact on American Consumers?

Cherpes continued, “Serving the men and women of an outstanding law enforcement agency like the LAPD brings great pride to everyone at FN, we look forward to supporting their police force with a remarkable handgun platform their officers will rely on every day.”

On the surface, this announcement may not seem all that spectacular, but it is a significant win for FN and may shape what consumers chose down the road.

The military and law enforcement often largely influence consumer sales throughout the U.S., especially in the concealed carry and defensive firearms realm.

The M17 is a formidable weapon designed to operate in the military theater
The U.S. Army’s adoption of the Sig Sauer P320 platform saw sales boom for the gun in the civilian sector.

Usually occupied by Sig Sauer and Glock, FN’s win with the LAPD could see more gun owners move towards the 509 platform for concealed carry and home defense.

Though the 509 MRD-LE is limited to law enforcement, FN offers the optics-compatible 509 Midsize and Compact MRD pistols.

Both sport the Low-Profile Optics Mounting System, pairing with most popular pistol optics on the market.

at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

What do you think of the FN/LAPD announcement or the 509 series? Let us know in the comments. Want to catch up on more FN guns? Check out our reviews on the FN Five-SeveN and the 503 or read up on the History of FN.

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23 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Dave Schiebel

    There is a reason that LAPD Metro, and SWAT carried the 1911 45. I see no reason to change.

    March 25, 2022 11:44 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Kinda poor writing to have an "Impact on Consumers" section on the LAPD without mentioning the roster. The impact on consumers in California is pretty much zilch.

    September 1, 2021 3:53 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jacki Billings, Editor

      When writing this, I was evaluating this from the perspective of the American consumer...not just Californian consumers. But thanks for the feedback!

      September 2, 2021 8:01 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Martin Smith

        I definitely get that and I understand that most Pew Pew articles aren't written with a California-based audience in mind. But I'd think law enforcement choices would have substantially more impact near their own jurisdiction. I'll admit it's hard for me to see this through the perspective of someone not from Southern California, but I suspect the LAPD has very little mind share outside of (and indeed inside of) Southern California. I'll also admit it touches a bit of a nerve hearing an LEO talk about firearms that the rest of us can't own, especially from an agency with a checkered past like the LAPD.

        September 2, 2021 11:20 am
        • Commenter Avatar
          Michael Perez

          I am sure a hero like you could turn the LAPD around

          December 5, 2021 10:44 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        Most of your videos show funny grips AR15s being shot by a fully bearded orange hair hipster. If that doesn't scream California based company idk what is. You should have mentioned the roster and that your company and the people that LAPD serves cannot purchase this firearm but the California government can't execute any citizen with it.

        September 8, 2021 9:20 am
        • Commenter Avatar
          Jacki Billings, Editor

          Thanks for your feedback, Joey. I don't live in Cali (and most of our writers/staff don't either) so I can actually purchase the FN 509 MRD. That said, I tend to look at articles through a national lens. As always, though, thank you for your thoughts and feedback.

          September 8, 2021 9:48 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Hahaha.. he siad LA PD is elite.. GTFOH with that garbage..

    September 1, 2021 6:19 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Kent Jackson

    I've owned three 509s, including the vaunted 509 LS Edge. I kept hoping that FN would get their act together but to no avail and while I'm a big fan of their ARs, the 509 series just doesn't compare to like offerings from Sig, Walther and especially HK. My last go at it was with the LS Edge...fortunately I didn't pay full retail ($1500???). I dumped it in a hurry. Compare the Edge to the Sig P320 AXN Pro...no comparison and the Sig retail is several hundred less. Or...just head to head a FN 509 to the HK VP9.

    Quite honestly, I was really surprised that the LAPD made this choice. The trigger is terrible, but perhaps this type of trigger is what they were looking for. It sure isn't a smooth shooter and even switching to Apex doesn't completely solve the problem.

    September 1, 2021 4:14 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Brian Edgett

    Did this get posted two weeks ago? Are you just reposting old articles.

    August 31, 2021 6:16 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jacki Billings, Editor

      Hey Brian, we did initially run a piece on the LAPD selection a couple of weeks ago. Since then, we were able to get in touch with the LAPD for an interview on their selection process. We felt like that was a worthy addition and something our readers would want to learn about. So, we added that to the original article and then republished it. Hope that answers your question! Thanks!

      September 1, 2021 4:07 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    John Wick

    Gotta love those "police exemptions" right? Funny how this pistol is considered safe for the LAPD, but not for regular CA residents.

    August 21, 2021 8:53 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Silky Johnson

    Enjoy that shitty trigger! It’s one of the worst triggers and anyone that says it’s good is full of crap. Everything else about the 509 is great.

    August 17, 2021 1:01 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      range rat

      the trigger on my 509 full size was actually pretty good .. full disclosure I did swap it out for a red Apex flatty mostly for cosmetic reasons .. the trigger my 509c def needed the upgrade tho

      August 31, 2021 5:26 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I hope FN beefed up the striker in these versions, had to swap in the Apex striker after the original one in my 509 tactical broke in less than 500 rounds.

    August 17, 2021 3:52 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Can't figure out why they even have a LE only version. It doesn't appear to have any features that would be banned for civilians (in non-communist states). FN did the same thing with their Patrol Carbine at some point after this site posted a glowing review.

    August 16, 2021 9:59 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    the malfunction drills, during combat, will be good real life training...should have stuck with the 4506 or m9s..

    August 16, 2021 8:24 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    JD Grayman

    It isn't going to do anything to drive "consumer sales" in California, since it's "off roster". But hey, shiny badges grant you special Constitutional rights here in Cali.

    August 15, 2021 5:05 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    The police should be restricted to the same list of guns that the population of Kalifornia has to pick from. To bad the firearms companies won't restrict their sales to government entities in the state until their products are added to the "Comrade Approved" list. Seems they are taking the small sales in lieu of potentially big civilian sales.

    August 15, 2021 8:54 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    no, no police officer deserves to die because of a malfunctioning pistol just because the rest of California can't get their hands on one

    August 14, 2021 10:17 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      yes true, but the people deserve guns too. even in California.

      August 15, 2021 7:10 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Anthony Medina

    If the citizens can't have guns, the police should not have guns.

    August 14, 2021 6:47 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      sure, but the citizens do have guns: about 393 million

      August 14, 2021 10:16 pm
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