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I finally put things together for a review on my forums and thought I'd share here too...


FN's FNP9 SAO Review


My current daily carry pieces, the FNP and a Gerber AR 3.5 folder

Ever since I found myself in love with the work of art that is a finely tuned 1911, I've been in search of a polymer gun that exhibits most of the same benefits as John Moses Browning's much heavier platform does. Before ever firing a 1911, I really didn't know what a joy the Single-Action Only trigger could be, unless I count my great experiences with my old Walther P99 (though it's not a SAO gun, you can keep the first shot pre-cocked, effectively giving the same single-action performance on every shot you take). That's the one gun (the P99) that I wish I would have never sold to be honest, but that's a subject for another day. So there I was, searching for something that would offer the same action style as my 1911's; Single Action Only, frame-mounted manual safety, external hammer, short trigger and short and distinct reset, only in a much lighter platform. Truth be told, there aren't many polymer handguns on the market that match that description. Sure, I could have done without one or two of those features and got something else (another Walther P99 most likely), but I was determined. I started looking at a few guns that I'd never really researched before and ended up really liking the specs and user reports on FN-Herstal's FNP. It can be had in DA/SA, DAO and SAO actions, all of the user reports that I found raved about it's short, crisp trigger and quick reset and it had a frame-mounted safety, conveniently placed right about where the safety on a 1911 is. So I was off in search of a local dealer that had one. This proved to be a more difficult task than I had originally anticipated.

The closest I could find anywhere near me was a Browning Pro-9 in the DA/SA variant. FN made these guns for browning in the FNH USA plant in Columbia, South Carolina, Browning simply had their name engraved on it and marked the price up a couple hundred bucks (which likely explains why they never really sold well). I figured that I could at least check the feel of the gun and the placement of the controls (they're all in the same place – the ambidextrous decocker on the DA/SA functions as the manual ambi-safety on the SAO), and I figured that if the single-action part of the trigger felt good on the DA/SA gun, it would be as good or better on the Single-Action-Only gun. After spending about 10 minutes fondling the gun at the counter of a local sporting goods chain, I was sold. The gun felt absolutely great in my hands (almost as good as my 1911's and my old Walther P99 or the IMI Baby Eagle– the benchmarks for the feel of a handgun for me) and the trigger was a seriously good trigger. I decided to take the plunge and have an SAO variant ordered by my local dealer. The guns come in either a matte stainless or a black tool finish which I have heard is pretty durable. I opted for the stainless as I prefer the look of it to a black gun most of the time. When the gun arrived, I was not disappointed in the least (and the guys working the counter at the shop seemed pretty impressed with it as well).



The trigger is exceptional for a polymer gun. Just the slightest bit of take up and then a short, solid break. The reset is very short and distinct, making controlled pairs a simple task (making them accurate is up to the shooter though). The trigger surface is wide and smooth and doesn't feel nearly as flimsy as many polymer triggers do (which is probably due to the FNP's trigger actually being steel that is coated in plastic/polymer rather than being a solid synthetic).

Magazine capacity for the 9mm is 16 rounds in the mag plus one in the tube; 17 rounds ought to be enough, and if not, you can always carry one or both of the spares that come with the gun. Yes, you read that right, FN ships these guns with a total of 3 magazines, something I wish the rest of the gun manufacturers would do.


My FNP after a day of firing 350 failure-free rounds

The extractor is a huge claw that doubles as a loaded chamber indicator (as seen on many other handguns, notably the HK USP) that holds onto the rim of the cartridge firmly and ejects cleanly.

On the grip itself, the rear piece is removable to allow one of two inserts to be used, a rounded insert (as shown in the pictures) or a flat one (similar to the profile of a flat mainspring housing on a 1911). The panels slide onto a dovetail and then you secure with a small, flathead screw. For those concerned with grip size on this double stack 9mm, here's a comparison photo between the FNP and one of my 1911's (Springfield Armory Champion with a 4” barrel).



As you can see, there really is very little difference. The magwell on that 1911 is flush with the grips and frame all the way around, so it's a good representative of the actual size of the grip. The FNP is a little wider on the corners (the 1911's oval shape doesn't really have corners), but there's very little difference in how it feels size-wise unless you have smaller hands.

Disassembly is a snap, just rotate the lever located towards the front of the frame on the left side downward and the slide can be taken off the frame. This is one aspect where the FNP actually completely outshines the 1911 and many other semi-auto handguns. You can have this gun field stripped in under 5 seconds with no special tools or tricks, blindfolded, in the dark, and perhaps even with one hand if your hands are big enough (I can do it).

The trigger assembly itself is one complete unit that can be pulled from the frame for cleaning or inspection, which is a pretty nice feature if you do a lot of shooting and are serious about maintaining your gun. One of the things I really like about the FNP is that has removable frame rails, they're one solid unit up front (long rails) and two rail tabs at the back as shown in the photo below. What this means is that as the gun wears out, the plastic part of the frame or even the rails can be easily replaced unlike most other polymer guns. The slide to frame fit is very solid for a polymer gun and I really like those big rails up front.



Overall, I like this gun very much and I'm surprised it hasn't caught on, especially given the fact that the DA/SA variants can be had for around $360 if you search online. I like mine, and to be honest, I've only carried one of my 1911's one day since I started carrying the FNP.



Pro's:
1. Excellent trigger (pull and reset)
2. Cocked and locked carry and Single-Action-Only, which keeps the manual of arms the same as my 1911's
3. Accuracy good enough for carry/defensive use
4. Disassembly is quick and easy (much like a Sig)
5. Very comfortable grip, with inter-changeable rear grip panels (2 come with the gun, a rounded one as you see in my pictures and also a straight panle that mimics the rear of a 1911 VERY closely)
6. 16+1 round capacity in 9mm
7. So far, it's digested any ammo I fed it (more than 950 rounds now), including a mix of Federal 124gr HST, DoubleTap 147gr +p, Winchester Ranger Talon 147gr, Winchester White Box, UMC FMJ and JHP and some old rounds I found lying in the bottom of my range bag of unknown lineage.
8. Comes with a total of 3 magazines.

Con's:
None yet that I've noticed, except I wish it would turn me into Rob Leatham every time I touch it. ;)


Specs from the manufacturer:
Magazine Capacity = 16
Barrel Length = 4"
Overall Length = 7 3/8"
Weight = 25.2oz







©
 

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nice review, but a small comment:
FN made these guns for browning in the FNH USA plant in Columbia, South Carolina, Browning simply had their name engraved on it and marked the price up a couple hundred bucks (which likely explains why they never really sold well).
not quite that way around. the FN group owns FN-H, FN-USA, Browning and Winchester.

anyhow, this is mostly because Browning carries a different image than FN has (especially in Europe, where it is rather hard to find an FN pistol in civilian hands. they're almost all sold as Brownings.).
 

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Discussion Starter #6
SuA said:
nice review, but a small comment:
FN made these guns for browning in the FNH USA plant in Columbia, South Carolina, Browning simply had their name engraved on it and marked the price up a couple hundred bucks (which likely explains why they never really sold well).
not quite that way around. the FN group owns FN-H, FN-USA, Browning and Winchester.

anyhow, this is mostly because Browning carries a different image than FN has (especially in Europe, where it is rather hard to find an FN pistol in civilian hands. they're almost all sold as Brownings.).
Yes, they own it, but Browning is it's own corporate entity (similar to Chevy, Pontiac and Saturn being all owned by GM but separate corporations) and the FNP was manufactured at FN's plant for the Browning company. Browning really doesn't manufacture things, products with the Browning name on it are manufactured by another company (similar to how the Winchester SX2 shotguns were manufactured by FN on the same line as the FN SLP for Winchester for them to put their name on them).
 

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Thank you sooooo, much for this SAO review. From the first time I saw the FNP, I knew mine had to be a SAO. All of the reviews are of the DA/SA version, which really didnt cover the most intriguing part of the one I want to own in .40 - the single action trigger. I have always carried the Colt 1911's of various sizes, and also use the HK USP Var 1, carried in Condition 1. (But still not a true SAO in C1)

Like you I have searched for years for a true 'Single Action Only' polymer pistol, with traditional external hammer - I have found what I've been looking for,
in the FNP SAO! Give me one in both colors in .40 and .45. :cool:

Thanks again for the great SAO review!

Thank you FN!
 

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I was under the impression that the fire control components are changeable and eventually you will be able to purchase and change out from Da/SA to SAO. Is my understanding correct?
Thanks

Charles
 

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How easy is the safety to flick on and off - As a SAO, it should be pretty easy. It's not shaped quite like a 1911 - just wandering how easy U find it to be. My USPc works pretty well.

Also, did you blacken the dots on the rear sight? I don't see white dots on the rear in the pics.
 

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Im curious about the sights too. I see alot of FN factory night sights for the FNP on gunbroker.com too.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
cnutinsky said:
I was under the impression that the fire control components are changeable and eventually you will be able to purchase and change out from Da/SA to SAO. Is my understanding correct?
Thanks

Charles
The FC can be taken out, but I don't know if that translates to being able to go from DA/SA to SAO or DAO in all honesty.
 

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ShipWreck said:
How easy is the safety to flick on and off - As a SAO, it should be pretty easy. It's not shaped quite like a 1911 - just wandering how easy U find it to be. My USPc works pretty well.

Also, did you blacken the dots on the rear sight? I don't see white dots on the rear in the pics.
The safety is smaller than a 1911, but it's also requires a great deal less pressure to engage/disengage. I can tell you that it's lighter than the HK USP 45C and the USPF .40 that I used to have.

I blacked out the rear dots on the sights, not for any particular reason though.
 

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What about the accuracy of the FNP-9? How does it comare with your 1911? When the FNP-45 comes out I need to decide between SA/DA and SAO, so your feedback would be extremely helpful.
 

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fnfalguy said:
What about the accuracy of the FNP-9? How does it comare with your 1911? When the FNP-45 comes out I need to decide between SA/DA and SAO, so your feedback would be extremely helpful.
In my experience, any combat pistol is going to have similar mechanical accuracy, which is oftentimes more accurate than the shooter. I have three 1911's, two are mostly stock, one is a $1600+ custom job that is probably more mechanically accurate than my stock guns, but, if we're talking a carry piece, mechanical accuracy is not going to be the limiting factor. You don't shoot from a rest in a self-defense situation, so it's more important to have a gun that you shoot well than it is to have a gun that shoots well in a rest.

In my hands, the FNP is as accurate as my custom 1911 (my Walther P99 is more accurate than either of them though). The SAO trigger helps accuracy in my hands because I am used to short, light triggers. I don't know that the FNP-45 is going to be offered in SAO form initially, so you might end up waiting a bit for that one.

You'll probably have to shoot both in order to figure out which is right for you. IMHO, that generally goes for any shooter and any gun. You buy and carry the one that fits you best and performs well in your hands.
 

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Not to get off topic, but +1000 to your Walther P99 comment - I have yet to find a better handgun to suit me... Of course, that doesn't top me from adding to my collection...

Ok, off topic is off now :lol:
 

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Is the SAO variant still available? I stopped by Scottsdale Gun Club today, and the only FNPs they had were one FNP-45 and one DA/SA FNP-9, both with black slides. When I asked about SAO variants, the guy behind the counter was unsure if they were still made. Also, I noticed nothing about an SAO variant on FNUSA's website.
 

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LHS said:
Is the SAO variant still available? I stopped by Scottsdale Gun Club today, and the only FNPs they had were one FNP-45 and one DA/SA FNP-9, both with black slides. When I asked about SAO variants, the guy behind the counter was unsure if they were still made. Also, I noticed nothing about an SAO variant on FNUSA's website.
Glick the link to the FNH USA Catalog at the very top right corner of any page. That is the 2008 catelog.

If U scroll over to the FNP section within the catelog, there will be a list of all variants. If it is there, then it must still be available.
 
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