FN America’s NEW 509 pistol combines modern styling with a century-long history of military firearms production.
FN Herstal was established in Belgium in 1889 as a manufacturer of military arms, and over the course of the last 128 years, the company has produced a wide variety of weapons ranging from the Browning Hi Power and Mauser-style bolt actions to the more modern SCAR, P90 and M240 firearms used by militaries all around the globe. The brand is still the largest small arms exporter in Europe, and its U.S. division, FN America, based in South Carolina, produces a number of firearms for both military and law enforcement professionals as well as civilian shooters.
With such a lengthy record of firearms engineering and manufacturing, FN was an obvious choice to provide a test pistol for the U.S. military when it was looking for a contract handgun. The firearm FN submitted to the test was the 509, a striker-fired, polymer-framed 9mm with a 17-round capacity. Although it wasn’t chosen for military adoption, the 509 is now available to U.S. shooters.
Unlike many guns that start out as full-size models and are then scaled down to serve as carry guns, the FN 509 borrows its architecture from the brand’s existing FNS Compact. The 509 is not simply a larger version of the FNS Compact, though. Changes were made both internally and externally to meet military testing guidelines, so although the 509 is derived from the smaller gun, it is a unique firearm.
Many of the 509’s features are similar to those you’ll find in the sea of full-size striker-fired polymer guns on the market. The large slab-size grip has interchangeable backstraps for added comfort and convenience. The external controls—slide stop, takedown lever and magazine release—are contoured to fit close to