FN 509 Tactical Review: Battle-Ready Belgian Banger Or Boring Bauble?
Hopefully the FN 509 Tactical is not a tricked-out tack driver you're ignoring, as we'll go over in this FN 509 Tactical review. If you're looking for a pistol that's ready to get all the bells and whistles, including an optic and suppressor for competition or home defense use - or both! - it's a fine option.
Just like the Beretta APX Combat, the pistol comes ready to use with or without a reflex optic, any lights/lasers you might want to add, and comes with a threaded extended barrel so you can add a suppressor if so desired.
You might think of it as the sport version of the FN 509. Is this a tactical pistol worth adding to the safe?
FN 509 Tactical Specifications
But first, the tale of the tape: the FN 509 Tactical specifications. There are only a couple differences from the standard FN 509.
|Overall length||7.9 inches|
|Unloaded weight||27.9 oz|
|Capacity||10+1, 17+1 (flush) or 24+1 (ext) depending on magazine|
The primary difference between the FN 509 Tactical and the standard 509 is the 509 Tactical adds a threaded, extended barrel, and the slide is milled for use with a reflex optic adapter plate. The pistol comes with a plate with a rear sight shroud. The sights are also changed from standard height to suppressor height Trijicon Bright & Tough night sights, a three-dot set with concentric day/night (white fluorescent outer/tritium inner) inserts.
Obviously, it's not going to be a concealed carry gun! If you wanted an optic-ready CCW, the Sig P320 XCompact is probably a better choice.
Just like the standard 509, it has swappable backstrap panels (you get two: standard and flat) to get the proper fit, grip stipling for good traction, and a MIL-STD 1913 rail for mounting a laser/light accessory.
The FN 509 Tactical we received had an FDE finish, though you can also order the FN 509 Tactical BLK which - shocker - has a finish that's...wait for it...you'll never guess...is black.
What did we think?
FN 509 Tactical Review
The gist of this FN 509 Tactical review is that it's the same as the FN 509, just with more stuff! It's kind of hard to deny it, because that's basically what this pistol is.
Is that a bad thing, though? Not really, no; what they add does add up to quite a bit, so the hefty increase in price tag (almost $400 in MSRP; street prices, of course vary quite a bit) is justified.
The added features are actually very intelligent; FN put some serious thought into it. Whereas other companies just give you a milled slide and it's up to you to get the right plate, the FN 509 Tactical comes with four different mounting plates besides the shrouded slide plate for use without optic.
The barrel cap, and this is a cool feature that not everyone thinks of, includes an O-ring for a tight fit, so it's far more secure than other barrel caps while shooting. Again, while not an earth-shattering, paradigm-shifting upgrade, it's a very smart touch.
The pistol comes with a soft case, which includes a standard (17+1) and two extended magazines (24+1) along with an additional backstrap panel, mounting plates and hardware. Instead of just a gun, you might think of it as a tactical pistol system. They even toss in a second (increased power, for use with +P ammunition) recoil spring and guide rod assembly.
The included mounting plates are compatible with Leupold DeltaPoint Pro, Trijicon RMR, J-Point, Docter Optic, Vortex Venom, Viper and Razor, C-More STS2 and Burris reflex optics, which are pretty much the most popular models on the market.
That's a lot of kit! Like we said, if you're going to spend more on the upgrades, you definitely get your money's worth.
Did we like the gun?
FN's pistols are very well made, and many consider them to be better overall than many other striker guns on the market. In many regards, we'd agree.
It has pleasant feel in the hand with the standard backstrap panel, with an easy trigger reach and very decent factory trigger. It has a slightly crisp break at about 6-ish lbs, with a short, positive reset. It isn't PPQ or VP9 good, but it's decent. The trigger guard is ample, so it can be used with light gloves.
Another cool feature about the 509 platform is that it's almost fully ambidextrous. The magazine releases are ambi, as are the slide stop/release levers. The takedown lever isn't...but so what? It's as lefty-friendly as many pistols get.
What we really like about this gun? It's ready to rock and roll right out of the box. Competition...no sweat. Home defense gun...John Wick would be proud, if he actually existed. If you're looking for a big gun to go "pew," you could do a heck of a lot worse.
If you wanted a big 9mm with all the bells and whistles...it makes a pretty strong case for itself.