I’ve owned a rare FN firearms over the times (Browning Hi-Power pistols that were made by FN), and they were all great guns. So when I ran across a related FN FNS 40 S&W in 99% format my neighborhood gun shop & snapped it up for $399.00 out the door.
The first thing I noticed about this pistol was that it fit my fingers correctly; the second was the excellent trigger pull. Although it’s double action only (DAO), it breaks at a short 5 pounds. And the part thing was that this gun had all of the new factory 14-round magazines, and it comes with three of them.
The fabric is some polymer, which is nicely checkered for a sure grip. I swapped the arched back strap for the flat one that also came with the gun; I like that unity better. The beginning of the trigger guard is serrated as well.
The slide is stainless steel, but black; a shiny stainless version is available. The chamber and feed ramp was polished, and it fed every kind of 40 S&W ammo I threw at it. There is also a Mil-Standard 1913 accessory rail on the frame for lights or lasers.
My model has the ambidextrous lock, but they also make them without a manual safety. Slide release, safety, and magazine release are all ambidextrous. There are white dots on the sights, one on the front and two on the rear view, and the front dot is a little bit bigger than the dots on the rear sight.
My FNS was match-grade accurate, right out of the box, I couldn’t believe how accurate it was with all ammo tested; I could easily print 2.5 to 3-inch groups, and when I fell, I could get sub-two-inch groups. And unlike my GLOCK 23, the FNS doesn’t have sharp recoil with full-power 40 S&W loads. It was a real joy to shoot this gun!
As is my usual practice for accuracy testing, I used a rolled-up sleeping bag on the hood of my SUV. The shooting was done at 25 yards. I used the following ammo from the Black Hills and Buffalo Bore:
- Black Hills 155-grain JHP reloads
- Black Hills 155-grain JHP
- Black Hills 180-grain FMJ reloads
- Black Hills 180-grain JHP
- Buffalo Bore 125-grain standard pressure Barnes TAC-XP
- Buffalo Bore 140-grain standard pressure Barnes TAC-XP
- Buffalo Bore Outdoorsman 200-grain hard cast flat nose
- The Buffalo Bore 125-grain TAC-XP was the hottest load. It let me know I had something there. I was shocked the recoil was more than the 140-grain Barnes load.
So, which round won the accuracy contest? Well, this FNS shot everything exceptionally well. When it came hair to it, the Black Hills 155-grain JHP would once in a while break the 2-inch mark, and the Buffalo Bore 200-gr HC FN Outdoorsman load would shoot around 2 inches all day long and wasn’t punished in the least.
One of the guys who works at the town gun store has the FNS in 9mm, and he shows me that his gun is also super perfect. He said it’s a real “keeper” in the collection.
The FNS 9mm & 40 S&W pistols are close in size to the GLOCK 23–just a tad thicker and a little bit longer. I think it’s an excellent open carry or duty firearm for law enforcement or defense work. The FNS strength is one of the best-kept issues in the firearms business these days. I’ll readily admit that I never really gave a thought to getting one before, but I’m sure glad I latched on to one. And don’t forget that you get three 14-round magazines with the gun.
The frame has a vital beavertail that should defend against “slide bite.”
The polymer frame has a short beavertail that worked great for my hand size. I’ll bet even meaty-fisted users will not have some issues with the slide as it recoils. The views of the grips were flat with just a little-sculpted relief near the back edge of the magazine release. Again, here’s where the ergonomics come into play. The manual safety levers, slide stop levers, & magazine-release buttons are all fully ambidextrous. They are more subtle, meaning compact and small, yet quite usable. The slide stop has a ridge on either side of it, doing it snag-free. It fell directly under the pad of my thumb for either hand. I could operate the thumb lock, which is shaped similar a tiny, rigid tool, with a swipe from the side of my pollex with either control. Swipe the protection up to lock the trigger (but not the slide), or swipe down to reveal a red dot showing the weapon is ready to fire. The pollex safety seemed to provide the right amount of protection.
The magazine release is large & shaped like a teardrop. I had no issues releasing the magazine using the thumb of either shooting hand. The magazine release is massive, almost like a magazine release on a competition gun. I like this since the scope of the release button works well with gloved hands. As stated, the backstraps are interchangeable. I used the arched one for testing. Both backstraps include a lanyard ring that is not intrusive. To swap out, backstraps insert a 1/16-inch punch, or the end of a small paper clip, into the hole in the backstrap & gently push inward to release the backstrap retainer. While maintaining pressure with the tool, slide the backstrap down toward the butt and mag well & off the grip. Install the backstrap by sliding in the rails until it snaps into place. The magazine fit is a black, open-mouth design that easily disgorged a full or empty magazine. It is flared &funnels a magazine home. Ramp up period for reloads was nil. I could keep my sights on the cardboard target & reload without looking down at the pistol.
The dust cover has a real Mil-Std-1913 associate rail for attaching a tactical light or laser. Embedded in the dust cover are the serial number and a scannable QR-style code.
The trigger guard was large. I fired the pistol with gloves & found no hang-ups. It is formed at the front with a textured finish for those shooters who grab on to it. The outside of the trigger is full and smooth and slightly arched in the center. With the pad of my trigger finger on the trigger, I could control groups downrange. The articulated trigger requires that the bottom portion of the trigger be pulled/pressed to shoot the pistol. On medium, the trigger pull was 5.75 pounds. The trigger was as steady as it can be on a striker-fired defense, meaning I like it. Trigger reset was short and acceptable; I could hear the audible trigger reset sound after each shot.
The 10- or 14-round magazines sport a base pad that creates a slight shelf to keep your small antenna steady on the front strap. Magazine bodies are metal and use a polymer follower. I found the magazine easy to load, even to capacity. There are no sharp magazine lips to cut or abrade your thumbs.
The FNS-40 was simple to field strip into five main components: magazine, frame, barrel, recoil spring, and slide. Unload and remove the magazine, lock the slide in its rearward position with the slide stop and then rotate the takedown lever down to the six o’clock position. While examining the slide, release the slide stop and squeeze the trigger to release the protester. You can then remove the slide off the support. Gently compress the recoil origin along the guide rod to free it from the barrel, then the barrel tips out of the slide. Once disassembled, the interior of the gun was well machined, stamped and molded. That’s what I expected from FN. Those of us conventional to polymer-framed pistols will find the guts of the FNS-40 easy. The takedown lever is set into the side of the gun’s frame & is also snag-free.
My test FNS-40 had a clear preference for specific brands, namely Winchester White Box and Winchester PDX1. The FN tolerated the Federal Hydra-Shok ammo, but I needed to make sure I did good work on the trigger press & grip. This is not to tell all FNS-40s will react the same way with the related ammo. I am splitting hairs since the difference between the groups with the Winchester ammo, & the Federal ammo was around 1 inch. The FNS-40 is not a pointed pistol; it is created for military & law enforcement applications, & it provided accuracy for a duty pistol.
At the different end of the spectrum are hand loads. I tried some handloads that I have used for Glock Sports Shooting Foundation (GSSF) competition. I was amazed at the efficiency. At 25 yards, and using my shot bag as a base, I was ready to cluster 10 rounds into one ragged hole. I had to check twice at the target. As I said, this pistol is an excellent example of why many types of factory ammo need to be run through a modern gun, as well as how handloading can optimize a weapon’s accuracy potential. There were no mishaps at all. The FNS-40 worked like a champ.
The FNS-40 should find appeal among law enforcement agencies and the concealed carry defense community. With this polymer-framed, striker-fired pistol’s balance, looks and performance, FN provide a quality product that’s rugged & reliable enough to get the job done.