Tag Archives: Pistol

LAPD Goes…FN?

Since FN’s 509 series debuted in the aftermath of the Army’s Modular Handgun System program, which FN did not win, I’ve kinda liked it.

To be fair, I also have reviewed (and run 5K rounds through) the Glock G19X and Sig Sauer P320-M17), the last two models standing for the MHS contract, and, while I liked them as well, the texture/ergos and sights of the 509 appealed to me more. Over the years, I’ve run (and now often carry) the FN 509 Compact, and the FN 509 Edge LS longslide (which I liked, but found overpriced for what it is and who it competes against), so I think I have done my time with the family.

Well, although FN couldn’t get the nod from Big Army, it looks like they did just catch the eye of big LE, as the LAPD is apparently moving away from generations of Glocks, Berettas, and S&Ws and is going with a variant of the FN 509 MRD as its new duty pistol.

The 509 MRD-LE model selected by LAPD, has a 4-inch target crowned hammer-forged barrel with a polished chamber and ramp. Other features include the company’s new flat-faced precision trigger and high-performance striker, adapted from the FN 509 LS Edge, as well as 3-dot tritium night sights co-witnessed to installed micro red dots that can be mounted via FN’s Low-Profile Optics-Mounting System, originally developed for the Army’s Modular Handgun System program.

More in my column at Guns.com. 

Walking the Edge: Testing FN’s 509 Longslide

The FN 509 LS Edge– with the “LS” being for Long Slide– is a polymer-framed practical/tactical striker-fired 9mm that hit the market earlier this year. It’s the size of an M1911, packing a 5-inch barrel and a Hi-Power slide nose profile– but is considerably lighter than either.

I have taken a liking to 509s in recent months and recently just swapped out my EDC piece in favor of a Compact variant from the same family tree and I thought the Edge, after I ran 1,000~ rounds through it, had a lot of things to like about it and one big thing to kinda not like so much: the cost.

Double taps from 7 yards in rapid-fire on old casino castoffs were a snap, so the gun is on point, but costs a bit more than direct competitors, for instance, going about $500 higher than the HK VP9L OR.

More in my review at Guns.com.

My New Carry Gun is an FN

There, I said it.

If you have been following me for the past few years, my primary for a long (long) time staple EDC was a 3rd Gen Glock G19 or a newer G19X with a well-used S&W Model 642 J-frame or FN 503 as a BUG. This, I switched up in 2019 after testing the S&W M & M&P M2.0 Compact, which was the same size/capacity as the G19 but felt so much better and more accurate to boot. The Smith chewed through 2,000 rounds with no issues and, as I was able to buy it cheap, was my go-to, especially when flying around the country.

Now, after three months of kicking the tires, I am putting the M&P back into the safe in favor of an FN 509 Compact.

Just slightly smaller than the G19 (or M&P Compact) it offers a 12-round chopped mag in the chopped down grip and a 15 if you want to go more full-sized. Not a huge difference, but still noticeable, and if you are good with running the 12 rounder, the FN 509 Compact is even more concealable. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

After going northward of 1K rounds without a hiccup, I bought the gun from FN rather than sending it back and will be carrying it for keeps moving forward.

My reasons why? Check out my column at Guns.com.

Meet No. 24

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but back in 2015, I was one of the first people in gun media– or any media for that matter– to cover the story of Alabama Congressman Mike Rogers’s effort to include an amendment to the NDAA while the Pentagon spending policy bill was in the House Armed Service Committee. Rogers, who represented the district of Northern Alabama that included the Annison Army Depot and CMP’s headquarters operations, found out that the Army had 100,000 surplus World War II-era M1911s in long-term storage at a cost of $200,000 per year, or about $2 per gun.

The amendment: save Uncle Sam the cash by transferring the guns to the CMP for sale to qualified members of the public, with the funds generated used to support worthwhile marksmanship projects ranging from JROTC to 4H and the National Matches.

I continued to cover the story, which grew legs and captured the imagination of– no joke– millions according to the analytics. Over the course of the next half-decade, I would file at least a dozen updates for a couple different publications. In 2017, after an initial batch had been greenlighted for transfer by the Obama administration (!) on a visit to the “Army’s attic” the Army Museum Support Center at Anniston Army Depot, I was shown crates packed and filled with M1911s pulled from the military’s museum stocks that were in excess of the service’s needs, pending shipment to the CMP once the handgun program got underway.

The thing is, 19,000 people got excited enough about the first round of M1911 sales from CMP and submitted packets for the first 8,000 guns transferred. With that, I felt I had little to no chance of getting one for myself, so I did not wade into the deep waters of trying to get one of these old warhorses through the program.

C’est la vie, right?

However, as CMP announced their Round 2 of the M1911 program earlier this year, I cautiously allowed myself to get optimistic that, perhaps, my chance had come as the really rabid collectors had already shot their bolt– CMP only allows an applicant to get one of these pistols– in the initial go-round.

So I spent a day getting my packet together, sent it in during the open window (January 4 to March 4, 2021), and sat back to wait. On 6 April, I got an email saying I had a randomly generated number (20581) and found out that the current batch of orders was going to start at 20,000.

Nice.

Then, on 20 April, I got the call. All three grades (Service, Field, Rack) were available, so I selected Service– the best– and asked politely for a Colt.

The very next day (after a mandatory two NICS checks!) I walked away from my FFL with this:

The M1911A1 has a Colt GI Military frame, SN 904594, of 1943 production with GHD inspector’s stamp (left) complete with a dummy mark (!) and ordnance wheel/US Property/M1911A1 US Army stamps on the right.

Rather than the original slide, it has a “hard” GI replacement slide with FSN (Federal Stock Number) #7790314 M (magnaflux inspection) TZ (IMI Israeli, who supplied such slides under contract to the U.S.) with a minty chrome-lined barrel marked with FSN #7791193 91. The plastic grips have “24” rack number.

Although I could find no arsenal rebuild stamps, I am theorizing that the gun was reworked at Anniston late in its life, probably in the 1980s, then put back in storage.

I’m totally happy. It was worth the wait.

The 7791193 series barrels have a good reputation for accuracy. I’ll let you know…

The Best Concealed Carry Piece of 1903 Still Looks Good Today

Compact, slim, accurate, and simple. All mantras for the most modern concealed carry pieces today. They all apply to a design introduced 118 years ago as well – the Colt M1903.

While well-engineered semi-auto pistols abound today, the same statement simply wasn’t true in the early 20th Century. Most early autoloaders were downright funky (see the Bergmann 1896), had bad ergonomics (Borchardt C93), were overly complex (C96 Broomhandle, which are notoriously hard to disassemble), and proved to be evolutionary dead-ends (the Luger – not a lot of toggle actions in production these days). 

Enter the gun guru of Ogden, Utah, Mr. John Browning, who largely hit it out of the park with his freshman semi-auto handgun, the FN M1900 of 1896, the first pistol with a slide – let that sink in. A simple blowback single-stack chambered in .32ACP – which he also invented – he followed that up in 1897 with his short-recoil operated Colt Model 1900, a larger gun whose action was recycled into the Colt M1902, which we have talked about before, then scaled down to make the Colt M1903. 

And with a “carry melt,” easy maintenance, and outstanding ergonomics, the new gun is surprisingly modern when compared to today’s offerings.

Boom, sweetheart. 

More on the Pocket Hammerless in my column at Guns.com.

Like the Same Old 509 You’ve Come to Love, Only a lil bit Smaller

Announced earlier this year, the FN 509 Compact builds on the legacy – and growing popularity – of the platform that was originally designed in 2015 to compete in the Army’s Modular Handgun System program. While the Pentagon ultimately went with Sig, the extensive R&D led FN to release the 509 to the commercial market in standard, Tactical, MRD, Mid-Size, and LS Edge variants since then.

Overall length is just 6.8 inches with a 3.7-inch barrel. Shipping complete with low-profile iron sights, the FN 509 Compact tips the scales at 25.5 ounces. The size puts it a skosh smaller than the Glock 19 and, with the included 12-round flush fit and 15-round pinky extension mags, able to carry the same capacity of 9mm.

I’ve been checking one out for the past few weeks, and it is my current T&E carry gun.

If you think that grip texture is super aggressive and “sticks” to your hand, you are absolutely correct, my friend!

More on the FN 509 Compact in my column at Guns.com.

Repairman Jack’s Gatt

Originally billed as a “vest pocket .45” built for maximum concealment in mind, the 4+1 Semmerling LM-4 pistol was only 5.2-inches long, 3.7-inches high, and a svelte 1-inch wide. For reference, this puts it in the same neighborhood as common .32ACP and .25ACP pocket pistols, but in a much larger caliber. Today it still holds the title as perhaps the smallest .45ACP that isn’t a derringer and, for comparison, it is about the same size as a Ruger LCP.

It is also the only manually-worked slide action .45ACP carry gun I can think of…

And I have been fooling around with serial number #31 lately

More in my column at Guns.com. 

Guns of the U.S. Army, 1775-2020

While you may know of today’s standard U.S. Army infantry rifles, and those of the 20th Century, how about those present at Lexington and Concord or the line of Springfield muskets from 1795 through 1865? What came after?

For all this and more, check out the easy 2,000-word primer I did for this last weekend at Guns.com.

From Hush Puppy to Starsky & Hutch

In the late 1960s, Smith & Wesson started a project to provide Vietnam-deployed SEAL Teams with a modified S&W Model 39 9mm pistol that included a slide lock and threaded barrel for a suppressor as well as a 14+1 magazine capacity, a big jump from the Model 39’s standard 8+1 load.

The gun, intended for NSW use to silence sentries or their dogs, became dubbed the “Hush Puppy.”

Note the chest holster…Hush Puppy inside

Well, by 1971, Smith thought the basic model, sans suppressor-ready features, would make a good gun for LE and the consumer markets and introduced it as the more polished S&W Model 59, which soon saw some serious success in the hands of Disco-era police, including a regular appearance on cop shows of the era.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Paging hand cannons, paging hand cannons

Recently I’ve been fooling about with some rarely-encountered but nonetheless very cool guns:

The Auto Mag .44AMP of Mack Bolan fame… 

…and a Wildey gas-operated .45 Win Mag of Charles Bronson vintage 

Both are aristocratic hand cannons from a different era. We call it the 1970s and 80s.

With that in mind, I’ll be in Las Vegas for SHOT Show all week, so stay tuned for updates on cool guy stuff.

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