with Andrew L. Butts
SHOT Show 2012: The striker-fired FNS from FNH USA
Nothing draws a crowd like a new duty pistol.... and nothing draws a crowd like SHOT 2012! FNH USA has been making their external-hammer FNX series for some time, and has just released their striker-fired variant dubbed the FNS. The FNS looks very much like its external hammered sibling and shares a common magazine. However, the gun is a new design and fills a void that had been lacking in the FNH lineup.
Why striker-fired? Many people are making the switch from a conventional external hammer to an internal striker. External hammers usually require a hammer strut and hammer spring that extends into the pistol ‘s grip. The hammer ‘s internal parts usually take up space inside the pistol ‘s frame which leads to a larger grip. External hammers also usually need a slot, groove or some type of opening for the hammer and hammer strut to pass. These openings can make an entry point for dirt, dust, lint and other debris that can clog a pistol ‘s delicate lockwork. Changing over to an internal striker virtually eliminates the openings at the rear of the pistol and makes for a more sealed design. Removing the hammer, strut and spring from the frame and replacing these parts with a striker housed within the slide also make for a smaller grip.
The FNS is, like most modern duty pistols, ambidextrous with operating controls located on both sides of the pistol. The FNS uses a frame-mounted thumb safety that ‘s small and unobtrusive but is still easy to manipulate and should be nothing unusual for those who’ve been trained on the 1911-pattern pistols. The pistol also has an internal block that locks the striker and doesn’t allow the striker to move forward unless the trigger is actually pulled.
In talking with Erik Lund from FNH’s shooting team, I found that the FNS has been in the hands of the team for nearly a year. Having the gun in the hands of their competitive shooters allowed the company to incorporate feedback directly from these users. In keeping with the modern trend, the FNS features removable grip panels. Users can choose between an arched and a flat backstrap insert. The inserts are easily changed by depressing a small detent in the center of the backstrap using a small punch or bent paperclip. Much effort has been given to making the FNS as user friendly as possible.
The FNS trigger has the typical take-up but it breaks cleanly with a very short and positive reset. The trigger is typical of most service-type pistols in that it is rather heavy, but unlike most striker fired pistols, the trigger is free of the spongy or mushy feel that can haunt some of these systems.
FNH is currently making the FNS in 9mm Luger and .40 S&W but does have future plans for a model chambered in .45 ACP. In addition, the gun will also be offered in a “long slide” version later on down the road.
Nothing draws a crowd like a new duty pistol. And nothing draws a crowd like the new striker fired pistol from FNH.