FN 509 Review: Does It Make The Cut?

by Daniel Young

March 22, 2024



Being the gun nut that I am, I’ve seen some guns succeed and others flop in the market, and unfortunately, FN’s striker-fired pistols fall into the latter category.

They just haven’t gained much traction commercially. I recently had the chance to head out and run some rounds through the FN 509, and in this FN 509 review, we’ll explore what I feel are the pros and cons of this pistol and answer the question: Does the FN 509 buck the trend?

Back in 2022, I gave this gun a thorough once-over, however, over time I have put a couple hundred more rounds through it. Because of the time and some changes to the gun, I have to admit this review needed an update.

So, let’s get into the updated review of this g

FN 509 Specs

  • Barrel length 4.0”
  • Length 7.4”
  • Capacity 17 rounds
  • Action Striker-fired

FN 509 Review – FN 509 Background

As a lifelong gun enthusiast, I’ve seen the evolution of firearms and the rise and fall of various models. FN, with its storied history as a firearm manufacturer, has indeed made significant contributions to the field. Their work with John Moses Browning led to some legendary firearms like the M2 .50 BMG and the Browning Automatic Rifle.

FN went on to introduce the Hi-Power, which was the high capacity 9mm to beat for decades. Their FAL became known as the “right arm of the free world” for how widely adopted it was by western nations, and they won the M16 and M4 contracts from Colt.

This streak of success has, unfortunately, not carried over to their striker-fired pistols. The FNS was their first attempt at that market segment. It was not a great commercial success but also not a total failure.

A modified FNS competed in the U.S. Army XM17 Modular Handgun System (MHS) competition. The Sig Sauer P320 ultimately beat out the FN submission, as well as offerings from Glock, Beretta, and others. FN did not want to waste the effort and expense that went into their MHS submission, and it morphed into the 509.

The 509 lineup has become very diverse, ranging from compact models to full-size tactical and competition variants. But the 509 had the misfortune of hitting the market at a time when the striker-fired pistol market was much more crowded than it was in the days of the FNS.

FN 509 Features

FN 509 Features
1 Interchangeable back straps
2 Luminous sights for low light
3 Accessory Rail

FN 509 Models

The FN 509 lineup is much more than a single full-size model. Midsize models retain the 4-inch barrel of the full-sized model but have a shorter grip. The magazine capacity is reduced to 15 rounds, but higher capacity versions fit as well. Compact models further shorten the grip and barrel. MRD versions of the midsize and compact are able to accept red dot sights.

Tactical models have threaded barrels and slides that are cut to accept red dot sights. The tactical models also include a 24-round extended magazine and are available in black or flat dark earth. Compact and midsize tactical models are also available. The LS Edge variant is the “competition” model with an extended slide, a better hinged trigger, and extra slide cuts. Ten-round magazines are also available for states with restrictions.

FN 509 Review – My Take

The FN 509 is not a class leader in any category. It attempts to mimic its more successful competitors but fails to distinguish itself in any way. The magazine capacity of 17 in the full size and 15 in the midsize is directly comparable to other brands of similar sizes.

Shooting the 509 is a thoroughly lackluster experience. The trigger is mushy and indefinite, and long even by striker-fired standards. Recoil is not noticeably more or less than any similar pistol. It points well enough coming onto target but is not appreciably better or worse than its competitors. The 509 is the firearm equivalent of a modern superhero movie; it works well enough but is generally not memorable.

FN 509 3

Reliability is the only area where the 509 is noteworthy. The gun used for this review is a rental on the shooting range where I work. It has been on the line for several years and has been shot, handled, and dropped by people who did not know what they were doing. The cleaning and maintenance schedule it has survived would best be described as infrequent or occasional. Despite a rough life, it has kept working, and FN deserves credit for that. The only reliability issue was the slide failing to lock back on a few occasions where it should have, and it is possible the slide wears out near the end of its service life on this particular gun.

FN 509 2

Ergonomically, the 509 is ok. There is nothing shockingly bad or noticeably good. The controls are ambidextrous and the backstraps can be changed to accommodate different hand sizes. The backstraps can add a bit of a swell, but the grip is still very squared off and feels like holding a 2×2.

One thing that bugs me is the placement of the magazine release. If you’re someone who likes to wrap your support hand’s index finger around to pinch at the base of the trigger guard for added stability, well, tough luck with the FN 509. They decided to stick the magazine release right there, so you can forget about that technique.. 

The 509 is a suitably accurate gun for most purposes but it is not a stand-out. At seven yards it will print groups that are thoroughly average. At 25 yards, it takes real work to keep a decent group. Most of that struggle stems from the poor trigger. I generally do not like changing triggers away from factory models, but if you have a 509 and are determined to make it better, a replacement trigger should be considered.

FN 509 1

Other accuracy issues with the 509 stem from the factory sights. The rear notch is very wide compared to the front sight. At closer ranges, this can help with getting a faster sight picture.

However, when shooting for the accuracy or at distances beyond 15 yards, it is so wide that it becomes a liability. The front sight feels like it is swimming in the canyon of the rear sight. The sights feature luminous dots (like a watch face) that glow once they have been exposed to light, but they are not tritium. This style of sight is inferior to true night sights because a pistol stored in a safe or holstered in concealment will probably not have enough exposure to light for the sights to glow. Tritium night sights are available on the aftermarket

Possibly the most underwhelming feature of the 509 is the price. Despite its flaws, it is priced like a premium pistol. Tactical models cost around $900, and base models are around $600. The LS Edge with its extended slide and more ornate slide cuts is over $1,300. While those prices are not unusual among Glocks and Sigs, those guns are more able to justify the price. Perhaps the 509 would have more success if it was competing with the $400 handguns instead of the premier options. Spare magazines for the 509 also run about $50, which makes buying a stockpile of magazines an expensive endeavor. 

Also, the FN 509’s aftermarket support is not that great when compared to some of the other brands out there. While you can find some accessories and upgrades for the FN 509, the selection is limited compared to what you can find for Glock or Smith & Wesson pistols. It can be a tad frustrating trying to deck out my FN 509 to my liking with this narrower selection.

My Final Verdict

All in all, in my opinion, the FN 509 is a decent enough firearm for self-defense or duty purposes, but it doesn’t really stand out from the crowd. In a market flooded with great options, the FN 509 just doesn’t manage to carve out its own niche or excel in any particular area. It’s functional, sure, but it’s not bringing anything groundbreaking or exceptional to the table that would make it a standout choice among its competitors.

Furthermore, add all that to high cost, and I don’t recommend you get this pistol. Sadly, I’d only start to consider it if it were in the $400-500 price range.

FN 509 Pros and Cons

  • Reliable
  • Awful trigger
  • Weak aftermarket
  • Overpriced
FN 509 Final Grade

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Reviewed by Daniel Young

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Based on 15 Reviews

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FN 509 Review – FAQs

How do I disassemble the FN 509?

To disassemble the FN 509, make sure the firearm is unloaded by removing the magazine and verifying the chamber is empty. Then, lock the slide back using the slide stop. Rotate the takedown lever clockwise to the 6 o’clock position. Release the slide, then pull the trigger to disengage the sear. Finally, pull the slide forward off the frame

Does the FN 509 have a loaded chamber indicator?

Yes, the FN 509 features a loaded chamber indicator located on the extractor. When a round is chambered, the extractor protrudes slightly, providing a visual indication of a loaded chamber.

Is the FN 509 suitable for concealed carry?

The suitability of the FN 509 for concealed carry depends on your personal preference and comfort. While it is a full-size handgun, FN also offers you compact models within the 509 lineup that may be more suitable for concealed carry purposes.

Does the FN 509 have safety features to prevent accidental discharge?

The FN 509 includes several safety features, including a drop safety mechanism that prevents the pistol from firing if dropped, making sure it only discharges when you intentionally pull the trigger.

Can the FN 509 be carried with a round in the chamber?

Yes, the FN 509 can be carried with a round in the chamber, commonly referred to as “Condition One” or “chambered and locked.” This allows for faster readiness in self-defense situations. However, always follow safe firearm handling practices and make sure you are comfortable with the pistol’s manual of arms before carrying it in this manner.

Range Rounds


MagTech 9mm 115 GR FMJ Ammo

Cost Per Round
Natchez Shooter’s Supply $0.24
Brownells $0.23
Palmetto State Armory $0.34

Best Defense Rounds

Box of Hornady 9mm pistol ammunition

Hornady Critical Defense 115 GR

Cost Per Round
Cabela’s $1.24
Midway USA $1.24

FN 509 Accessories

Apex Tactical FN 509 Action Enhancement Trigger Kit
  • Direct drop-in replacement of factory polymer trigger, trigger bar and sear
  • Reduces trigger pull weight to approx. the 5.5 lbs. range
  • Reduces trigger pre-travel, over-travel and reset distance
Check Price
Pink Rhino 9mm Laser Cartridge
  • Bright red Class 3A
  • Works with MantisX, LaserLyte, iTarget, G-Sight, LaserHit
  • Works with all visible laser targets and simulators
Check Amazon
PINEWORLD K3 Biometric Handgun Safe
  • Reliable Biometric Scanner
  • Sturdy and Well Built
  • Extremely cheap
Check Amazon
FN 509 Magazine 9mm
  • 17 Round Capacity
  • Fits FN 509 handguns
  • Stainless steel body with black finish
Check Price

FN 509 Maintenance

An important aspect of owning a firearm is knowing how to field trip and clean it. While scouring the internet we have found a great short video on the disassembly and cleaning considerations for the FN 509 which I would highly recommend.

FN 509 Documents


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About Daniel Young

Daniel is an attorney and lifelong gun nerd. His Instagram account, @fromtheguncounter, grew out of his work at a gun store and shooting range. He can usually be found in the hills with a rifle when he's not working.

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  1. Great pistol, ergonomics are great, fully ambidextrous controls, accurate, reliable, tac rail, nice front and rear slide serrations, nice tri textured grip. Mine came with trijicon night sights….only negative I could say about the pistol is it has a bit of a grainy trigger reset, trigger pull if good

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