New this year from FN America, formerly FNH USA, are compact models of their FNS series guns. Available in both 9mm and .40 S&W, the Compact models share the same basic design features as their bigger siblings but are sized for carry.
I recently received an FNS 9 Compact model to run through the wringer. Let’s take a look.
The walking tour
The FNS 9 Compact is a striker-fired (hammerless) gun consisting of stainless steel slide and polymer frame. Of course, the important guts like slide rails and fire control assembly are made of steel. The 3.6-inch barrel is cold hammer-forged.
The frame includes a MIL-STD 1913 accessory mounting rail with three slots and enough space to mount any of the lights and lasers I had on hand. The extractor is exterior and doubles as a loaded chamber indicator. You can see the bump just behind the chamber when something is in there, or feel it with your fingers.
One thing I noticed right off the bat is the useful sight configuration. You can order the FNS compact models with either standard dot or tritium night sights. My sample gun arrived with the standard three-dot setup. What’s cool is that the front dot is noticeably larger than the two dots on the rear sight. It jumps out at you. It seems like such a simple improvement, but it really makes a difference with ease of acquiring a sight picture.
While I’m talking about sights, both front and rear are installed with dovetails and can easily be swapped if you like. The rear sight base is a low-profile, ramped design so it won’t snag on clothing.
The FNS 9 Compact is truly ambidextrous. Magazine release buttons are already present on both sides of the grip, so if you have to shoot offhand, the button is there and ready to go. An additional nod to true neutrality is demonstrated by the fact that there are slide lock levers already installed on both sides of the gun. They’re low-profile, so the opposite side lever doesn’t get in the way. It’s just a nice touch that costs just a couple bucks more during manufacturing but makes a big difference for those who shoot left-handed. The takedown lever is on the right side, but this is not an “operational” feature, so I doubt anyone really cares where it’s located, as long as it’s out of the way.
The whole package comes in a hard plastic case with an interior molded to fit the gun and all three magazines. The case not only clamps shut, but has a padlock hole, so it’s ready to go for air travel.