FN Herstal Firearms banner

1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
136 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
.

FNP-45/FNP-45 USG IN-DEPTH RANGE & PERFORMANCE REVIEW

I finally got over to the indoor range with my new FNP-45 USG. It’s a two-tone black polymer with matte stainless steel slide. I write this report for all the regular Joes out there trying to find out what another “Joe” (or Art, in this case) may think about this new handgun from Fabrique Nationale USA. Since, as far as I can tell, the only differences between the FNP-45 and the FNP-45 USG are the extra serrations on the USG's slide front end and the fact it has a safety in addition to the decock positions on the selector switch (allowing for carrying the weapon "cocked & locked," if chosen) this should apply well to both models.

Photo Above: FNP-45 USG Matte 2-Tone Stainless Steel Slide & Black Polymer Receiver, Curved Backstrap, Extended 15rd Magazine and Streamlight TLR1 Tactical Light.
NOTE: The only real difference between the regular FNP-45 and the FNP-USG (US Govt) is that the USG has the added serrations on the slide front, a SAFE position on the Selector Switch (intead of just a Decocker) and comes with one 15 rd magazines plus the two 14 rd mags, instead of just the three 14 rd mags, which is STILL one more magazine than you'll find offered by other manufacturers as standard issue!


While I still consider myself an excellent long gun firer, with many years of military experience and awards to attest to the fact, I don’t feel any way near as confident in my handgun skills and still think of myself as a new student...(though my range results are often, if not usually, superior to those I often see around me, including many local LEOs, but more on my opinions about that observation at a later date and somewhere else).

After putting my two carry weapons (Glock 23 and S&W 642) through their obligatory paces; starting with the little guy and ending with the Glock. Satisfied with their (and my) performance, I ran a Bore Snake through each, reloaded with Federal HST (G23) and Hydrashock (642) LE rounds and put each back in their respective concealed holsters on my person. Now it was time to put the new .45 through a few paces to get a feel for what to expect if Zombies caught me off guard at home before I could get to my Mossberg 500 12 gauge (for Zombies breaking indoors) or Stag Arms 2T M4 (for those more distant Zombies to be found outdoors).


AMMUNITION
Since my order for Federal HST 230gr JHP had not yet arrived from Ammunition To Go (seems the election has caused a bit of a back-log in both orders and delivery on ammo and other weapons related items) I was going to be using economical Wal-Mart White Box 230gr FMJ rounds to get a feel for the old girl.



TARGET MINDSET
I had decided that I’d fire the FNP-45 for groupings, but with a defensive mindset in regard to distances fired and firing positions used. Since this new weapon was to now be my nightstand weapon (replacing my Ruger GP100), I’d decided to fire it with the new Streamlight TLR-1 Tac light I recently ordered attached and do so at distances that would reflect those same distances in my bedroom, within the home and out on my immediate property. There was one exception: I didn’t fire at the 3 yd target spot. I figured that if the gun couldn’t perform well at 5, 7 and 15 yards straight out of the box, then, 1) it wasn’t produced as advertised (a ready “combat” weapon) and 2) it probably wouldn’t perform much better with me coming out of a sleepy 2 AM haze at those same distances.

In addition, since this gun was meant to be a defense weapon for me, I chose not to use a bench rest or other support. I planned to fire all these initial rounds in a modified Weaver, the Strong Off-Hand and the ubiquitous (for me anyway) Isosceles stances. An apology to the handgun experts reading this but, though “archaic” to some, the military Isosceles stance it’s still the most familiar position for me to assume and perform with a sidearm. Besides, it still works great; especially if you’re a soldier or LEO with body armor to equalize the full frontal position offered to the enemy. Even without body armor it provides me with a better first shot potential, when stationary, than the bad guy might get. Of course, that could prove to just be wishful thinking on my part, considering I've had no official combat training with handguns. But it's that very point that I’d just a soon practice each of the stances I know when I can.


GRIP
The first thing I wanted to check out was the grip. The FNP-45 came with the flat backstrap attached. It felt alright, but I don’t like quite so much finger on the trigger. I tried out the curved backstrap and she fit my hand very comfortably. For what it’s worth, my hands are an 8.5 - 9.0 surgical glove size. The average male hand is in the 7.5 - 8.0 size range, so I have a slightly larger hand than most, but they are not what one might consider noticeably large, much less huge, in any way. However, my wife feels the weapon is much too big and heavy for her, yet she can fire the GP100 revolver comfortably, so this might not be the gun for a .45 user with small hands.

A good grip on the FNP-45, as with any auto-loader, I suppose, requires me to consciously hold higher on the back strap than I might with my revolvers, which seem more instinctive to me at this time. However, once I gained such a grip I found my right thumb comfortably in reach of the selector switch with no chance of the slide biting me during racking or the recoil cycle. My support thumb rests comfortably on the small ridge above the magazine release button while my firing thumb rests equally nestled above my support thumb. This allows a slight rest of the thumb knuckle on the selector switch in the FIRE position. I find that I can move the selector switch from SAFE to FIRE and back using the inside knuckle of my firing thumb without any change to my overall grip. Since all the controls are ambidextrous I can only assume that a Leftie with the same grip as mine would not have any difficulties either.



SELECTOR SWITCH
It would also seem to me that, since the selector switch is not near the thumb pad, there would be even less chance of accidental selector changes when tightening the fingers as your thumb pad would be too far forward to be involved in any manner. Further checking found that if I deliberately put added pressure downward to see if a stronger firing hand grip would force the selector switch into the DECOCK position. I found that, while I could do so, it took a conscious effort and did not seem to be something that could occur accidentally during an adrenaline influenced firing of the weapon. I think that if one always practices and uses the 70-30 grip rule with the support hand doing the majority of the gripping (to leave the trigger finger loose), that “accidentally” placing the switch into the DECOCK position is all but improbable.


Photo Above: FNP-45 USG Selector Switch in First Position. The "SAFETY ON" Position.
If the hammer on the weapon is cocked, this is also the "Cocked & Locked" position. Hammer is cocked & ready to fire (note trigger is back in the Single Action [SA] position), but Safety in SAFE or ON ("up") position. This is the "Stage 1" Defensive Carry that some Concealed Carry folks choose to use.




Photo Above: FNP-45 USG Selector Switch in the Second or "SAFETY OFF"/"FIRE" position.
This 2nd position allows the weapon to fire once trigger is pulled & is so indicated by the red "Warning/Danger" dot). Weapon will now fire with only 4 lbs of pressure on the trigger.




Photo Above: Selector Switch in the Third or DECOCK Position.
This brings hammer safely forward without hitting the firing pin & trigger moves back to the forward Double Action (DA) position. Weapon can still fire, but will need about 11lbs of pull on the trigger. NOTE: the Selector Switch will not lock in the Decock position. It springs back up to the FIRE position after de-cocking.



GRIP TEXTURE, COMFORT & STABILITY
When I had first handled an FNP-45 in a gun store this last summer I’d noticed that the points of the checkering were very pronounced and wondered if they might even prove irritating or painful with firing. However, the gun I ended up with did not seem to have the same ”needle points” but, rather provided a good stable grip that did not slip or need re-adjusting at any time during my firing session. I think that if one were to get grips similar to the first one I’d handled a very fine sanding would take off any burrs (if that was the problem) quickly. Other than that, I can see no reason to modify the present grip with any extraneous add-ons at a later date.



WEIGHT & BALANCE
While the TLR light was noticeable when first bringing the weapon to bear I found I quickly forgot its presence, especially with anything from a full to half-full magazine in place. I found the balance to be combat acceptable as no perceptible added effort on my grip, wrist or forearm muscles seemed necessary to keep the FNP-45 aligned comfortably.


SIGHTS
I have no complaints with the sights provided on the FNP-45. I especially enjoy the slightly wider spacing of the rear sight notch allowing me a more easily balanced sight picture. Having spent so many years firing the M16A1/A2 I am used to balancing my sight picture with the extra space and find filling my sight picture with a solid horizontal bar distracting and annoying. From what I’ve read I understand the opposite seems true for many with a civilian shooting background. So take this comment for what it may be worth to you personally. Since this weapon was originally designed for the military I think they did a good job allowing just a bit more of the human target to be perceived within the sight picture, so, to each his own on this issue.


NATURAL SIGHT PICTURE
Closing my eyes and bringing the gun up to targeting level several times found the front and rear sights to be in almost perfect alignment. Several times I was dead on with my worst sight picture being off only 4-5 inches to the left of center target at 7yds once I opened my eyes. Not bad, at all! This might prove even more noteworthy to those who practice point shooting.


MAGAZINES
The magazines (both 15 rd & 14 rd) were smooth and easy to load, especially with the Maglula Uplula loader. However I did load one 14 rd magazine by hand, just to try it out, and found it possible.

Photo Above: The expanded FNP-45 15 round magazine (Left) the regular 14 rd FNP magazine (Right).
Despite the flash you can make out the "15" and "14" of the respective magazines to the left of each bottom viewing hole.


It does take a conscious, but not overly physical, effort to lock a full magazine in the well. After all, 14-15 rds of .45 ACP is hefty and a light upward tap to seat the magazine is, as Dirty Harry would say, “...ain’t making it.” All rounds fed smoothly with no need to sling-shot rack the weapon or slap the upper receiver (slide) completely forward to finish loading rounds while firing.


TRIGGER
Trigger pull in double action (DA – hammer forward) was smooth with no noticeable hitch and not as long as some of my bigger revolvers. It was definitely smoother than my G23, but I’m not sure that is a just comparison, but perhaps worth something to those who have a Glock. I tested the pull at the range and DA trigger pull registered at just over 11 lbs; slightly under that of my favorite Ruger GP100.

In single action (SA – hammer locked to the rear) the trigger pull is smooth, pleasant and still a surprise when the hammer falls, as it should be. Pull test was around 4.4 - 4.6 lbs. This is MUCH lighter than I am used to with either my revolvers or my G23, but it never felt like a “hair trigger.” Again, a good weapon trigger for combat situations.


RECOIL
I was so surprised with the perceived recoil, or lack of it, that I actually caught myself smiling - not a normal frame of countenance for me on the range. After having just fired an ultra light-weight snub .38 special and a snappy .40 auto-loader, the FNP-45 felt just like firing a big pillow. What’s more, the front sight rise seemed miniscule and settled immediately back to the point of aim. This made quick shooting (firing rounds at less than one per second) easier and more accurate.


FAILURES
No failures to feed, fire or eject were noted in the 100 rounds fired. We'll have to see how the next 900 rounds go, but I don't expect any difference.


EJECTED CASINGS
Since I was firing in a stall I can only say that all the ejected casings were pooled around my feet and not behind me as the .40 cal shells were with my Glock. But it would take firing out in the open to see where and how far they can actually fall. However, firing in such a stall does give you a good idea as to whether you might be distracted by hot brass bouncing off your hallway while engaging Zombies in the front room...it turns out that it won't.


TARGET RESULTS
Overall, I was VERY pleased and strongly feel that any less than satisfactory impacts were wholly my fault and had nothing to do with the FNP-45.

5 YARDS
Target: Standard pistol bullseye
Stance: Iso & Weaver
Grouping: All within 2-2.5 inches

Photo Above: First 15rds at 5 Yards Using a Modified Weaver Firing Stance.
Rounds were fired slowly from the FNP-45 USG allowing full recovery between rounds to settle sight picture. Normal self-defense encounters (gun fights) happen at a distance of less than 15 feet. Each ring is 1/2 inch wide. Even with 3 fly-away rds the grouping was an impressive 2.5 inches. Remember: This is Combat Defense weapon, not a target pistol.



Photo Above: Another 15 Rounds at 5 Yards Using Military Isosceles Firing Stance.
Notice that the firing group is still within 2.5 inches and a bit more compact.



7 YARDS
Target: 5 separate 2 inch rings/ 2 rounds per ring
Stance: Iso & Weaver
Groupings: All within or breaking the 2 inch ring, minus one fly away

Photo Above: Here are 10 Rounds at 7 Yards.
These rounds were fired in 2 shot succesions moving around the perimeter and shooting the final center ring last. Shots were fired at less than 1 second intervals (as soon as the front sight came back on target). I was pleasantly surpised with the soft (perceived) recoil that allowed such quick target re-acquisition. Note only the one fly-away (my fault) on the second target fired upon (upper right)..



15 YARDS (my perceived maximum handgun defensive distance, especially using only one hand)
Target: 7.5 inch high silhouette
Stance: Strong Off-Hand
Groupings: All within 5 inches (13 of 15 rounds were within 3 inches)

Photo Above: 15 Rounds Fired at 15 Yards.
15 yds is what I consider a maximum distance for defensive pistol use (in my personal estimation). All rounds were fired at 1 second (or less) intervals in a Modified Weaver stance.



20 YARDS
Target: 6 inch black circle with 1.5 inch white square bullseye
Stance: Modified Weaver - Slow fire
Groupings: All rounds within 3.5 inches (10 of 15 rounds within 2.0 inches)

Photo Above: 16 Rounds Fired at 20 Yards.
Using the extended 15 rd magazine plus one round in the chamber, I fired at at this 20 yd target in the Military Iso stance. Rate was a very slow fire. This is a VERY NICE grouping that gives me great confidence in this weapon for home and personal defense.



THE FINAL TEST FIRING

5 YARDS

Target: 6.5 inch high sillouetter
Stance: Strong (right) Off-Hand - No Support
Grouping: All within 2.5 inches

Photo Above: 15 Rounds Fired One-Handed at 5 Yards.
Noting that the target is only 5 inches across, I find this to be a superb grouping for me using such a large weapon and .45 ACP with only the one hand and no support. Nice job, FN!
:?


TAKE DOWN/CLEANING/REASSEMBLY
I found this no harder (if not easier) on all three counts than with my Glock, which is famous as being simple as all get out! So 'nuff said on that, I suppose.

CONCLUSIONS
Keeping in mind that only 100 rounds have yet been fired. I think that the weapon can only get better for me as far as ease of use and accuracy is concerned as practice and continuing to break the weapon in can only improve the results found thus far.

So, based on the ease of take-down, cleaning and reassembly, in combination with excellent target acquisition, combat accuracy and, finally, the blue-collar price I feel it will be hard for anyone I know to find a better weapon that meets all these categories in one package. I find the FNP-45 USG a "keeper." Thank you again. Fabrique Nationale USA. :?

I hope this helps those "Joes" out there with enquiring minds in regard to the FNP-45 or FNP-45 USG.

Note: The FNP-45 USG is, or will be, available in the following models, based on aesthetics.

47577 - Black Slide/Black Polymer Frame
47579 - Matte Stainless Steel Slide/Black Polymer Frame
47980 - Black Slide/Flat Dark Earth Polymer Frame

There will also be three more model numbers in the future to reflect the Night Sights once they become available in mass production.


AN ONLINE SLIDE SHOW IS AVAILABLE!
Just click the sight below and then click the small green arrow next to "Slide Show" to begin. Once started, you can choose to remove the captions if they get in the way of you seeing the entire photo. Enjoy!

http://picasaweb.google.com/artabshire/FNP45RangePerformancePics#

.
 
  • Like
Reactions: acftmech

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,553 Posts
+1

Superb report :shock:

Very good analysis. I've found with my 9, that it ejects casing about 6 feet to my 4 0'clock position and leaves a nice pile of casings. I've only fired it outdoors on one occassion at several distances, and there were distinct piles of casings.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
:?

Good stuff to hear. My first outing with the USG was similar, although my accuracy was awful. It's a big change from the feel of my M&P9, but not a bad one.

Might be useful to add that you don't have to pull the trigger (or use a worthless tool) when taking it down for cleaning. Not sure if that's a big issue for anyone around here though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
319 Posts
Very nice review. :?

The grip on mine had the cheese grater checkering. Pretty sharp and noticeable after holding it longer than 2 minutes. a small file and 15 minutes later it was GTG.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
873 Posts
Well done sir.

While not in the military, I have shot in NRA Service Rifle competition and find the military sight picture far more intuitive than the "standard" civilian commercial type iron sight. Hence the FNP-45's sight picture was a revelation to me.

My FNP-45 is my nightstand weapon of choice as well for all the reasons you state. I don't have to think about using it, it just naturally happens. Not many firearms have this magic quality. FNH USA did their homework on this one, and did it well.

As to the "cheese grater" grip, mine felt like that at first, but after some handling and range sessions it is now smooth and quite comfortable, while still offering a stable, solid grip on the weapon.

Your report should be a "first read" for anyone new to FNH handguns who is considering a purchase.

:?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
FNP-45

Excellent report.
I think anyone considering purchasing a .45 should read your report first. It's very thorough and informative... I experienced most of what you put into writing myself last week when I took my new FNP-45 to the range.
This is very informative and I think everyone who has had the opportunity to use one will agree, a dead-on assessment of this pistol.
Good Job!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
136 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm glad so many are enjoying this so far and I hope it helps those considering a new .45 in making a decision.

What I had thought would only take an hour to post ended up taking me the entire weekend.

Must be that OCD, again. :-?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
95 Posts
Thanks Art;
That was a great review and it makes me want to crank up the effort to find a USG. I had been half heartedly looking for the last couple of months and passed up a few as other things demanded my attention and money, but now I'm really going have to look a little harder so I can give it to myself for Christmas. I'll remember to thank my wife. My real desire is for a tan / FDE frame model but I can wait for that a while longer I suppose. I am still hopeful they will release it in that model soon.
Thanks again !

:?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,479 Posts
Excellent review. I really like that 20yd target. :?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,553 Posts
healthcommando said:
Are those mag bodies made out of stainless steel? :p
Yup.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
265 Posts
Very nice write up. :?

You might look at Speer 230 gr. Gold Dot, Winchester Ranger SXT LE, or Federal HST for carry ammo.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
133 Posts
I think that is another often missed benefit to the FN45 (and other FN hand guns). SS is more resistant than blueing. While I have seen some rust on a much abused S&W Sigma police trade in ss mag body, that is the only one. I see many more rusted blued steel magazines.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
136 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Templar said:
Very nice write up. :?

You might look at Speer 230 gr. Gold Dot, Winchester Ranger SXT LE, or Federal HST for carry ammo.
THANKS!

I do use the 230 gr Federal HST rounds in both my FNP-45 and in my Glock 23.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
In well over a thousand rounds now I've only had one round fail to feed. and when it comes to Ejecting casings.... mine fly a long way!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Fantastic report. Better than a lot of gun rags do. :)

I'm still weighing it out, the catalog and website have me thoroughly confused on part numbers and options, but at least now that I'm here on this site I realize that no 45's come with night sights. That kinda stinks, oh well.

I handled an FNP9 in the store and it felt great. But I like the frame/selector of the 45 from the looks of it, neither store I went to had the 45, only 9 and 40. I'd rather not just take the plunge, but might have to just do it.

It does not explain really on the website, so the USG just means the addt'l serrations, and the decocker huh.... ok then. USG it is.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,553 Posts
jp233 said:
Fantastic report. Better than a lot of gun rags do. :)

I'm still weighing it out, the catalog and website have me thoroughly confused on part numbers and options, but at least now that I'm here on this site I realize that no 45's come with night sights. That kinda stinks, oh well.

I handled an FNP9 in the store and it felt great. But I like the frame/selector of the 45 from the looks of it, neither store I went to had the 45, only 9 and 40. I'd rather not just take the plunge, but might have to just do it.

It does not explain really on the website, so the USG just means the addt'l serrations, and the decocker huh.... ok then. USG it is.
The 45 USG is decocker/safety (not just decocker), serrations, and 'slim slide' which is hardly noticeable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Sweet. Now I'm going to have to ceremoniously spend more loot with the new commander in chief officially in power. The new regime is upon us!
:grin:

This 2008 FNH catalog really confuses me. The FNP45 lists night sights, and doesnt show a USG spec one with the matte stainless. Thats the one I want, although that FDE one is starting to really grow on me. Anyways... I guess the website tells me the one I want is the 47979

OBTW western MI rawks. I have a ton of family there, was married there, etc.
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top