Warning: This post is image intense.
It’s taken a while to get this review out, partially because I wanted to bump the round count up to about a thousand before commenting and partially due to losing my Glock 20 for an extended amount of time due to mods (since I’ll use the G20 for comparison).
I try not to be a fanboy of any particular manufacturer or model, so the strongest statement I can make to open the review of the FNX 45 Tactical is that if I had to bug out or face the Zombie Apocalypse with only a single firearm, I would choose this one without hesitation. Of course, you know I’d cheat and bring more than one, but that’s another issue :)
To begin, the FNX 45 Tactical is available in two colors, all black and FDE.
It features an extended, threaded barrel, optics-ready slide, and raised night sights to more easily co-witness with an optic. Here is mine with the Trijicon RMR.
At first sight, it looks like a pretty large gun. Here’s how it compares to my G20 with a 5.5″ extended, threaded barrel.
The G20 is my EDC, most often in a vertical shoulder holster. The following comparisons are difficult with a cell phone camera, but here is the FNX on top
Overall height is 5.47″ for the G20 and 6.5″ for the FNX 45 Tactical. Now, the Glock on top.
I had to hold the top firearm in place with one hand while snapping the picture with the other, so please forgive the poor quality of the photos.
As we might expect, double-stack .45 is wider than double-stack 10mm.
You get a better idea of the aggressive grip texturing of the FNX 45 Tactical from this shot. The safety switch was show in safe position in the above photos. Firing position is level, as shown below.
Push the selector down to its lowest position to de-cock.
Mags are stainless steel with a polished finish and a black polymer floor plate. The FNX mags have Glock-style holes to indicate the round count.
There has been some question as to whether or not you can use FNP mags in the FNX. FNX 45 mags have a different feeding geometry from the FNP equivalent (to rectify issues with certain popular types of ammo in the FNP). I asked FNH about this at the NRA show and they stated very firmly that you should not do this (even if it happens to work) for extended periods of time. I’ve had the best luck obtaining FNX 45 mags from T&G Sales at the north Texas gun shows. Excellent prices.
So, here are my impressions in a variety of categories regarding the pistol.
You’ve probably seen the cool soft carrying case and it’s just as cool in reality as it is in pictures. You get three 15-rnd mags. with the package. That’s a lot of .45 :)
The aggressive texture has more bark than bite. I thought it might eat into my hand and although it’s designed to provide better gripping with tactical gloves, I’ve never had an issue shooting the firearm without gloves even in 200+ round sessions. Interchangeable backstraps are provided, although I found the grip to be just fine right out of the package, and I have average-sized hands.
Grip angle is similar to a Glock (perhaps slightly less), so I’ve had no issues moving back and forth between the G20 and FNX 45 Tactical, other than getting used to the different actions.
The DA/SA action was new for me, so I did a lot of dry-firing before actual practice. All my early sessions were 2-3 round strings so that I could get a lot of practice manipulating the safety and de-cocking. The pull is very smooth and the trigger breaks at the very end. I’d describe it as very revolver-like, so if you’ve shot revolver before, it will be familiar. Do not try staging the trigger as you might a DAO. The SA pull is very light and because of the longer pull, you are very unlikely to twitch and fire an errant round.
Trigger reset is longer and less evident in terms of feel than a Glock. I like to get into a rhythm when shooting multiple rounds, so because of the DA pull on the first shot, I tend to release the trigger just past reset, but not all the way, before beginning subsequent SA pulls. You’ll have to experiment to see what works best for you.
You can carry cocked-and-locked or de-cocked with one in the chamber. I tend to prefer the latter.
Controls are ambidextrous.
This is the first pistol I’ve ever owned that required a definite break-in period. The slide is pretty heavy and the factory spring is quite stiff. In the first five rounds I shot, I had a stovepipe and one failure to feed. I honestly thought I had forgotten how to shoot. I had another FTF in the second five rounds. So, I loaded another five and asked the RSO at the range to give it a try. He had a stovepipe on his first round.
No more stovepipes, but a few FTF’s in the first fifty rounds. Then, at about sixty rounds, it seemed that the pistol hit it’s stride. From there until I finished off a hundred, it functioned very smoothly. I have not experienced a single issue since and I’m currently very close to a thousand rounds through the firearm.
I talked with FNH about this at NRA and they said the factory-supplied spring is ultra-stiff (their words) and requires a break-in of about two hundred rounds. One of the people on their shooting team told me that they do not compete with any FNX pistol until it’s had a thousand rounds through it.
So, don’t have a heart attack if you spend all that money and the first fifty to a hundred rounds experience failures.
Breakdown and cleaning of the FNX 45 Tactical is almost too easy. The thread protector will come loose during shooting, and some fouling will get on the threads, so be sure to clean them as well. The only knock on the current FNX’s is that they supposedly can not be detail stripped without sending them back to the factory since the safety lever needs to be broken and replaced to complete the process. I asked FNH about this at NRA and got three answers.
– Yes, that’s required.
– No, I don’t think you have to do that.
– I don’t know, let me find out.
The manual states that you should send the pistol back to FNH once a year for inspection. Hmmm ….
What recoil? It’s more of a solid push and the firearm gets back to level very quickly for follow-up shots. At first, it may seem like the gun gets back on target quicker than the trigger can be released and squeezed again (because of the long pull). It takes a bit of practice to get into a rhythm, but I don’t think you’ll have any issue with felt recoil or muzzle flip, regardless of load.
I’ve shot 185 gr Barnes-X, 200 gr. Speer Gold Dot +p, 220 gr. Hornady Critical Duty +p, and a variety of 230gr. FMJ through the pistol. The FNX 45 Tactical (after break-in) seems to like everything I feed it and I can best describe the feel of shooting the firearm as ‘smooth.’ If I could find the magic ammo tree and shoot one handgun all day, this would be the one.
I got a great deal on a Trijicon RMR at the NRA show. If you have the proper tools, installation looks pretty easy. Taking a picture of the green dot is pretty difficult with only one person and a cell phone camera.
The equipment is more accurate than I am. It does take some practice to get use to shooting with both eyes open and using the optic. Here’s what I consider to be more of a worst-case scenario. This was my first outdoors practice session with the RMR. I shot at roughly a 30-degree angle to the target from approximately 18 yards (19 long paces). The angle was both for practice purposes and to keep me under the shade of the huge tree to the left of the practice area (this was a June practice session in Texas) I shot 2-5 round strings as fast as I could get a sight picture at the target center. Then, I stepped back another seven long paces and shot controlled triples at the head (finished off the last two rounds as a pair).
Shooting at an angle to the target was valuable practice as I had never done that before. I was a bit low with the first few head shots, then I over-compensated. It took a few rounds to get into a groove of shooting with the RMR at distance.
Like I said, the equipment is more accurate than I am.
This is a tough one. The RMR renders some holsters designed for the FNX 45 Tactical unusable. You should be careful at gun shows as I’ve had more than one overzealous sales person try to push a holster on me, swearing that it will fit. Well, yes, it fits an FNX-45. The tactical model has raised sights to co-witness with an optic, so that holster probably will NOT work. I hate to say this, but you probably know more than over half the people behind the tables at most shows.
I still have not found an OWB holster I like. One of the cool folks from CJS Enterprises wears a BladeTech (and he has an RMR installed), but I can not find one in stock. I do have a couple options for vertical shoulder carry that I’ll discuss in later posts. You may spend a while looking for a good one.
Overall, I just love this gun. All the controls work so smoothly. It is very well-balanced and the grip texture is easier on the hand than I first imagined. Excellent lock-up and the slide is easy to engage for press-checks (after break-in). The gun feeds and fires practically any ammo I load. It may take you some time to get used to the trigger pull and DA/SA action, but if you shoot a lot of revolver, just put yourself in that mindset and you will be in great shape from the beginning.
You can mount any variety of goodies on the rail, although they will increase the gun’s print. I find the FNX 45 Tactical suitable for carry only in the winter with a loose jacket. The mag floor plate tends to print too much under my hiking jacket in the warmer months.
With the availability of .45 ammo, I’d feel very comfortable leaving the apartment to face the Zombie Apocalypse with just this one firearm.
Thanks for spending part of your day at Texas Gun Show Review.
– Diligencia, Vis, Celeritas