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Old February 27, 2015, 07:42 PM   #1
TunnelRat
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FNS 9c: First Impressions and Pic Comparison with M&P 9c

Hey all,
Today my FNS Compact in 9mm arrived. All told it cost me $470. I honestly think this gun could prove to be a really good value. It came with the pistol, an extra flat backstrap (as opposed to the curved on the pistol), a 12 rd mag with a flat baseplate, a 12 rd mag with a pinky extension, and a 17 rd magazine with a sleeve (this is a nice touch as you can use the same gun for the range or home defense with no penalty to capacity, ala XD/XDm).

Box with accessories:


Fullsize magazine with sleeve:
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Last edited by TunnelRat; February 27, 2015 at 07:49 PM.
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Old February 27, 2015, 07:43 PM   #2
TunnelRat
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The trigger pull is averaging out to 6 lbs. 7 oz. off a 5 pull average on my Lyman digital gauge (the M&P 9c measure at 6 lbs. 11.5 oz. stock). Below are some pictures illustrating the break point, reset point, and total trigger travel. Overall it's very good IMO. The trigger breaks much further forward than an M&P, more akin to a Glock or HK VP9. It stacks just a tad before the break, but the break itself is easy to find and the reset is extremely audible as well as tactile. The overtravel is noticeable, however, though I think in the same ballpark as a Glock.

Trigger at rest when cocked:


Break point of the trigger:


Trigger fully at the rear after the break:


Reset point of the trigger:
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Know the status of your weapon
Keep your muzzle oriented so that no one will be hurt if the firearm discharges
Keep your finger off the trigger until you have an adequate sight picture
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Last edited by TunnelRat; February 27, 2015 at 08:12 PM.
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Old February 27, 2015, 07:44 PM   #3
TunnelRat
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A feature that it also has taken from the Glock (which the M&P lacks) is an easy way to visually tell if the striker is cocked. Once the striker is released the trigger will remain at the rear. This can serve as cocked indicator. With the M&P the trigger returns to the full forward position. Personally I like seeing if the striker is cocked having come from hammer fired guns.

Trigger at rest when cocked:


Trigger after the striker is released:


The pistol also features a loaded chamber indicator that is tactile when it protrudes from the slide and visual in the red indicator that is seen when it protrudes. I know a lot of folks don't care one way or the other about loaded chamber indicators, but it's here if you want it and it doesn't seem to impeded function in any way.

Red dot when chamber is loaded:


Protrusion from slide when chamber is loaded:


FN has mentioned how both the slide and the frame have minor cosmetic differences for the Compact model. One I noticed is that the rather large and prominent magazine release of both the FNX/FNS has been lowered in profile slightly to prevent the magazine from being released accidentally when carrying against the body (it as an ambidextrous magazine release and slide release as well). I find it still plenty large enough for actuation.

Lowered magazine release for carry:
__________________
Know the status of your weapon
Keep your muzzle oriented so that no one will be hurt if the firearm discharges
Keep your finger off the trigger until you have an adequate sight picture
Maintain situational awareness

Last edited by TunnelRat; February 27, 2015 at 10:23 PM.
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Old February 27, 2015, 07:46 PM   #4
TunnelRat
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Lastly, the capacity and size of this pistol are the sincerest form of flattery for the M&P 9c. I personally love the size of the M&P 9c, and the FNS 9c is darn near identical. What follows are a number of comparison pictures with an M&P 9c.

Bore axis comparison:


Height comparison with pinky mags:


Height comparison with flat mags:


FNS 9c on top of M&P 9c:


M&P 9c on top of FNS 9c:
__________________
Know the status of your weapon
Keep your muzzle oriented so that no one will be hurt if the firearm discharges
Keep your finger off the trigger until you have an adequate sight picture
Maintain situational awareness

Last edited by TunnelRat; February 27, 2015 at 07:56 PM.
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Old February 27, 2015, 07:47 PM   #5
TunnelRat
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I find that I have a bit more finger room on the FNS 9c than the M&P 9c with both the pinky extension and flat magazines (the grip is the tiniest bit longer on the FNS 9c). I actually like it when it comes to the flat magazines as with the FNS 9c I feel I can get my pinky on there enough for shooting, whereas on the M&P 9c my pinky will fall off when shooting. I know the flat magazines sort of assume two fingers on the grip, however it's nice anyway. I do have slender fingers so others might not find they can get a pinky on there, but if they feel cramped or comfortable with the M&P 9c hopefully this helps comparison wise.

FNS 9c finger placement with pinky mag (I wear a men's medium glove):


M&P 9c finger placement with pinky mag (I wear a men's medium glove):


FNS 9c finger placement with flat mag (I wear a men's medium glove):


M&P 9c finger placement with flat mag (I wear a men's medium glove):
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Know the status of your weapon
Keep your muzzle oriented so that no one will be hurt if the firearm discharges
Keep your finger off the trigger until you have an adequate sight picture
Maintain situational awareness
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Old February 27, 2015, 07:48 PM   #6
TunnelRat
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Both pistols feature steel magazine bodies, with the FNS using rear witness holes and S&W using side witness holes. The FNS magazines are shiny, but they aren't as silver as the magazines for the FNP were (more of a charcoal color on this FNS).

Magazine comparison:


Both pistols have generous feed ramps, though the FNS feed ramp is both wider and a bit longer. Both feedramps are polished nicely.

Feedramp comparison (M&P on the left, FNS on the right):


Perhaps one of the most noticeable differences is the profile or thickness of the barrels. The FNS has a noticeably thinner barrel than the M&P. That being said, the FNS has a cold hammer forged barrel whereas the M&P does not. FN pistols (the FNP, FNX, and FNS series) have had thinner barrels in the past and I am not aware of it being an issue.

Barrel profile comparison (FNS on the left, M&P on the right):
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Know the status of your weapon
Keep your muzzle oriented so that no one will be hurt if the firearm discharges
Keep your finger off the trigger until you have an adequate sight picture
Maintain situational awareness

Last edited by TunnelRat; February 27, 2015 at 10:25 PM.
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Old February 27, 2015, 08:09 PM   #7
smee78
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Thanks for the comparason between the two guns, I am a fan of the FNX-45, I like having a hammer on my 45 (sold my G21 to a good friend that wanted it so I replace it with the FN). I have thought about adding one of these to the collection but havent pulled the trigger just yet. Now time for a range report.
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Old February 27, 2015, 08:36 PM   #8
Dirty_Harry
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Great comparison. I would love to pick one up. I already have the FNS9, and it doesnt get enough credit.
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Old February 27, 2015, 09:15 PM   #9
Cyanide971
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Great write-up and comparison TunnelRat!
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Old February 28, 2015, 08:05 AM   #10
GeoJelly
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Great article and photos – Thanks! Makes me wish I had some more money ...
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Old February 28, 2015, 03:26 PM   #11
TunnelRat
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Thanks for the kind comments guys. It's pretty damn cold here today, but hopefully I can get to the range tomorrow. The trigger does seem to be breaking in a bit with dry firing.
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Know the status of your weapon
Keep your muzzle oriented so that no one will be hurt if the firearm discharges
Keep your finger off the trigger until you have an adequate sight picture
Maintain situational awareness
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Old February 28, 2015, 04:06 PM   #12
saf11
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Tunnelrat, thanks for sharing. I like your new gun. I like it a lot.
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Old March 1, 2015, 02:53 AM   #13
greenred
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Tunnelrat, Thanks for the excellent write and comparison!
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Old March 1, 2015, 05:06 PM   #14
TunnelRat
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I wanted to post a shot of the internals before the range pictures. The FNS 9c is pretty standard fare as far as striker fired pistols are concerned. Slide features the standard striker block, barrel lockup seems standard for production pistols being about the same tightness as an M&P (maybe a bit tighter), and the recoil spring is a captive spring that features two stages as opposed to the single spring width of the M&P 9c. The frame is similar to the M&P, though I will note that after shooting there were a number of crannies I needed a Q-tip for in terms of cleaning. The locking block up front is very stout as is the sear housing block at the rear. The rails at the rear of the FNS 9c run the full length of the sear housing block as opposed to the protrusions on the M&P 9c. Honestly I've never found full length rails necessary but that's just my personal opinion.

Slides, barrels, and recoil springs (M&P 9c on the left, FNS 9c on the right):


Frames (M&P 9c on the left, FNS 9c on the right):
__________________
Know the status of your weapon
Keep your muzzle oriented so that no one will be hurt if the firearm discharges
Keep your finger off the trigger until you have an adequate sight picture
Maintain situational awareness
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Old March 1, 2015, 05:29 PM   #15
TunnelRat
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I finally got to the range today. Temperature was about 25 degrees and we have a bit of snow. The snow is as high as the waist high shooting benches:



The FNS 9c shot well. In 140 rds of 115 gr 9mm Blazer Brass I had no malfunctions. All casings extracted and ejected without issue. The spent casings all had nice primer strikes that were very consistent:


I found the pistol had a natural point of aim and the point of impact seemed to be exactly what I'm used to (covering the desired aimpoint with the front dot). The stock FNS sights are actually quite nice. The dots are recessed with white paint and the front dot is noticeably larger for fast acquisition. The rear sight is also serrated to reduce glare and also features a V notch that I personally prefer on a defensive pistol (similar to what you would find on Trijicon HDs). Glare actually was a bit of an issue (excuse alert) as the glare of the snow was pretty strong.

10 rds at 10 yds standing steady fire with the FNS 9c:


The group above was pretty standard for the day, that being 2"-2.5" at 10 yds. Honestly I'm not the best shot out there and that's about what I can expect from myself on most days. The one flyer to the right was called. The pistol recovered from recoil well and follow up shots were pretty easy, though to be fair I wasn't shooting anything overly hot. I had no issues keeping controlled pairs together or transitioning from target locations. The texture on the grip was pretty aggressive. Now what's important is that it neither hurt my hands as some aggressive stippling jobs have done nor do I find it catches on clothing when carrying concealed. But if you're someone who has sensitive hands you likely won't like this grip.

My hand after shooting the FNS 9c, note the indentations left from the texture pattern:


In the spirit of full disclosure, I have to admit that the overtravel was noticeably different between the M&P 9c and the FNS 9c. I can shoot the M&P faster as the reset is shorter and the return spring also seems a bit stronger, making the reset a bit more forceful on the M&P. I've found that overtravel is one of my biggest pet peeves the more I shoot, as it disrupts my sight picture for the next shot and tends to be less forgiving of weaknesses in trigger control. Case in point, a 10 shot group with the M&P.

10 rds at 10 yds standing steady fire with the M&P 9c (the holes above the red horizontal line at the base of the diamond were part of this string):
__________________
Know the status of your weapon
Keep your muzzle oriented so that no one will be hurt if the firearm discharges
Keep your finger off the trigger until you have an adequate sight picture
Maintain situational awareness
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Old March 1, 2015, 05:42 PM   #16
TunnelRat
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I finally got to the range today. Temperature was about 25 degrees and we have a bit of snow. The snow is as high as the waist high shooting benches:



The FNS 9c shot well. In 140 rds of 115 gr 9mm Blazer Brass I had no malfunctions. All casings extracted and ejected without issue. The spent casings all had nice primer strikes that were very consistent:


I found the pistol had a natural point of aim and the point of impact seemed to be exactly what I'm used to (covering the desired aimpoint with the front dot). The stock FNS sights are actually quite nice. The dots are recessed with white paint and the front dot is noticeably larger for fast acquisition. The rear sight is serrated to reduce glare and also features a V notch that I personally prefer on a defensive pistol (similar to what you would find on Trijicon HDs). Glare actually was a bit of an issue (excuse alert) as the glare of the snow was pretty strong.

10 rds at 10 yds standing steady fire with the FNS 9c:


The group above was pretty standard for the day, that being 2"-2.5" at 10 yds. Honestly I'm not the best shot out there and that's about what I can expect from myself on most days. The one flyer to the right was called. The pistol recovered from recoil well and follow up shots were pretty easy, though to be fair I wasn't shooting anything overly hot. I had no issues keeping controlled pairs together or transitioning from target locations. The texture on the grip was pretty aggressive. Now what's important is that it neither hurt my hands as some aggressive stippling jobs have done nor do I find it catches on clothing when carrying concealed. But if you're someone who has sensitive hands you likely won't like this grip. The slide serrations might not look it but they are also very grippy and give you plenty of traction. If you're worried about wet/bloody hands, this would be a great pistol that in its stock form might not need any stippling.

My hand after shooting the FNS 9c, note the indentations left from the texture pattern:


In the spirit of full disclosure, I have to admit that the overtravel was noticeably different between the M&P 9c and the FNS 9c. I can shoot the M&P faster as the reset is shorter and the return spring also seems a bit stronger, making the reset a bit more forceful on the M&P. I've found that overtravel is one of my biggest pet peeves the more I shoot, as it disrupts my sight picture for the next shot and tends to be less forgiving of weaknesses in trigger control. Case in point, a 10 shot group with the M&P (one flyer that wasn't called).

10 rds at 10 yds standing steady fire with the M&P 9c (the holes above the red horizontal line at the bottom tip of the diamond were part of this string):


So, am I going to sell all my M&Ps? Honestly no. I think the FNS 9c is a very solid design. I would need to put around 500 rds total through it to be comfortable in carrying it regularly, but so far it seems to function like any FN product I've owned, that being very well. Part of my reason for trying the FNS was past experience with S&W. In a dozen M&Ps I've owned, 3 needed to go back to S&W for function related problems. S&W fixed the pistol and had it back to me in 3-4 weeks with free shipping both ways every time, but it still needed the trip. In fact the M&P that shot the group above (which is honestly one of my better groups with that pistol) features a new slide and barrel because of peening issues that arose after 800 rds. I've only owned 4 FN pistols but I never had an issue with any of them.

However at this point I can't deny that frankly I find the M&P a bit more ergonomic. The rear of the grip is a bit more rounded on the M&P and that allows me to get the pistol into a bit better of a pocket for rapid fire. The texturing on the FNS is awesome, but I don't think the M&P is deficient either (some folks want all the grip they can get and find the M&P lacking). There are also right now of course many more aftermarket options for the M&P, especially the awesome products from APEX. I don't think the FNS "needs" a trigger job, but if you wanted one idk where you'd go. Lastly, while you can find fullsize FNS magazines pretty easily, even on FN's online store I don't see magazines for the compact model listed, despite my particular example having been made in November (according to the spent casing package).

The FNS 9c is a very good compact striker fired pistol likely for the use of carry as well as home defense with the larger magazine and sleeve. The only issue I see for it is a market already flooded with very good striker fired pistols.
__________________
Know the status of your weapon
Keep your muzzle oriented so that no one will be hurt if the firearm discharges
Keep your finger off the trigger until you have an adequate sight picture
Maintain situational awareness

Last edited by TunnelRat; March 1, 2015 at 06:51 PM.
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