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FN 509 Tactical Review: A Tactical “Do It All” 9mm preview image
Jul 30 2023
8 min read

FN 509 Tactical Review: A Tactical “Do It All” 9mm


FN released the 509 back in 2017 and has since delivered several variants, with my favorite being the 509 Tactical. I look at it as somewhat of a dolled up and fancy version of a Glock 45, which is not a bad thing!

fn 509 tactical review and range test
Something about the 509 in FDE makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

The 509 started out as FN’s run for the military’s Modular Handgun System contract but ultimately was not chosen. However, it then transformed into this awesome civilian platform that we have in front of us today.

In addition to us regular folks enjoying it, numerous law-enforcement and security agencies have chosen the 509 as their duty pistol. Most notably, the LAPD chose the FN 509 MRD-LE for its roughly 10,000 uniformed officers.

If the 509 made the cut for the LAPD, there must be many reasons for it. Let’s take a closer look at the FN 509 Tactical to see how it stacks up.

FN 509 Tactical Review

FN 509 Tactical For Sale



Barrel Length4.5 Inches
Overall Length7.9 Inches
Width1.35 Inches
Height5.75 Inches
Weight27.9 Ounces
Trigger Pull5.5 – 7.7 Pounds

Pros & Cons

  • Fantastic ergonomics and grip
  • High capacity – ships with a 17 and 24 round mag!
  • Ambidextrous controls
  • Reliable and accurate
  • Suppressor ready – threaded barrel and suppressor-height sights
  • Pricey – get that checkbook ready
  • Heavier trigger (but smooth and consistent)

In the Box & Shooting Report

fn 509 tactical review and range test unboxing
The soft zippered pistol case is a nice touch. The days of plain old cardboard boxes will hopefully be behind us soon!


I’ve heard nothing but positive things about the reliability of the 509.

My experience with it was no different. I put 175 rounds through it with zero malfunctions. It didn’t matter what ammo I used, how quickly I shot it, or if the mags were loaded to capacity.

I’m confident that with more rounds, I would have similar results. There is always the possibility of a one-off malfunction with any gun, but I wouldn’t expect any more than that with this particular pistol.


The 509 Tactical is a very well-balanced gun. The result is a flat shooter that’s easy to control.

Out to 25 yards, I had no issue maintaining tight headshot groupings on some zombie targets. That was without an optic mounted, so the groupings would likely only get better if I did mount one.

As you can see, the recoil is minimal with the 509 Tactical.

Overall Feel

Simply put, this gun feels great in hand.

The grip height, the grip angle, and the grip width are all winners in my book. With the 24-round magazine loaded, there is a heft to the gun that makes you feel like if the gun was to ever completely jam, you could throw it at someone and knock them out.

fn 509 tactical review hands on test
I could shoot this gun all day.


Optics Ready Slide

These days, optics are the talk of the town. FN made sure to give the people what they want with its patented Low-Profile Optics Mounting System. It enables the gun to accept more than ten different optics that co-witness with the suppressor-height sights.

If you decide to not mount an optic right away, the slide cap/cover plate fits flush and provides extra protection for the iron sights with its raised wings.

fn 509 tactical cover plate
The cover plate fits nice and flush in case you decide to not mount an optic.

Suppressor-height Night Sights

One thing I never understood is when a company markets its pistol as “optics-ready” and then ships that pistol with standard low-profile iron sights. Here is another instance where FN is giving us what we want by throwing on suppressor-height sights.

I’d like to add – not just standard suppressor-height sights either. FN went with Trijicon tritium night sights…kudos to whoever made that call!

fn 509 tactical front sights
Some people aren’t in favor of night sights, but I’m not one of those people.

Ambidextrous Controls

Not only is the slide stop lever ambidextrous, but the magazine release is too. Often, the mag release is reversible and not truly ambidextrous.

While I didn’t have any accidental mag drops, I actually think I may prefer a reversible mag release instead, just in case. But, to each their own.

fn 509 tactical grip trigger slide
The mag release is truly ambidextrous, as opposed to just reversible.

Threaded Barrel

The 4.5-inch barrel features ½” x 28 threads to accept most of the 9mm suppressors.

It also comes with an integrated O-ring within the cap to prevent it from loosening. If only I had a suppressor to run it with…maybe soon?!

fn 509 tactical threaded barrel
A ½” x 28 threaded barrel comes standard with the 509 Tactical.

How We Tested

I shot strictly indoors during all three range sessions.

I focused my shooting around the 15-20 yard mark, but the distances did range between 5 and 25 yards. With a mix of rapid-fire, reloads, and accuracy drills, I was able to get a solid feel for how the gun performs.

Ammo Used

Not too long ago, I got an order of 115-grain Blazer Brass FMJs in, so I’ve been working my way through them.

For 150 out of the 175 rounds, I shot the Blazer. For the other 25, I loaded up some 124-grain Federal Punch JHP to see how the gun handled defensive rounds. Both rounds performed well.

fn 509 tactical range test with cci blazer ammo
Blazer Brass has been one of my main range ammos for several years now.

Score Card

Reliability (10/10)  

No malfunctions, and haven’t heard any horror stories from others.

Ergonomics (9/10)

For me, this gun felt amazing in hand and was very easy to control.

Customization (9/10)

With the accessory rail, optic cut slide, and a ton of aftermarket parts available, you can customize it as you wish.

Appearance (8/10)

The grip looks rather “plasticky” (yes, I’m aware that’s not a real word), and I’m not a fan of the sight side caps from an aesthetic perspective.

Value (8.5/10)

Solid and reliable, but overpriced in my opinion.


Trijicon RMR Type 2

Trijicon RMR Type 2 LED Red Dot Sight

Depending on your preference, you can choose between a 1 MOA, 3.25 MOA, or 6.5 MOA dot.

It’s a pricey optic, but you get outstanding durability, high-quality glass and electronics, plus a limited lifetime warranty. For a tactical and potential duty gun like the 509 Tactical, the RMR Type 2 will complement it extremely well.

Streamlight TLR-7A

Streamlight TLR 7A

Depending on your preference, a TLR-1 HL would work great too.

The 7A is not as long as the TLR-1, so it sits closer to flush with the end of the barrel and slide. It puts out 500 lumens for an hour and a half and is very durable. You can’t go wrong with Streamlight, especially for the price.


Springfield XD-M Elite 4.5 OSP Threaded

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The XD-M elite, from a quick glance, can look very similar.

It has suppressor-height sights, a threaded barrel, and ambidextrous controls. The slide is optics-ready, and you get an accessory rail to mount your favorite lights. Capacity is no issue with it either, as it comes with two 22-round magazines.

Plus, the MSRP is almost $400 less than the 509 Tactical!

Glock 19 Gen5 MOS

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You’ll see a lot of comparisons on Google between the Glock 19 and the FN 509.

The Glock 19 does have a 15+1 standard capacity, but you can also use Glock 17 magazines which are 17-rounds. The Gen5 MOS model is optics-ready, plus the grip and trigger have been improved upon from previous generations.

There are more accessories on the market than you’ll know what to do with too.


The 509 Tactical delivers everything that you’d expect from an FN firearm.

It’s reliable, accurate, and well-configured, but pricey. I would not be mad at owning a 509 Tactical, if I got it for a better price than I’ve seen lately. While you can get them for below MSRP almost any day, there are more affordable 9mm pistols out there with similar features.

With that being said, if you have the opportunity to pick up a 509 Tactical at a good price, I would recommend jumping on it!

Written by Ryan Domke
Ryan Domke photo Ryan Domke is a freelance writer, photographer, and social media consultant with a passion for guns and tactical gear. He works with some of the largest manufacturers in the firearms industry, allowing him the opportunity to continuously learn from and knowledge share with the 2A community. Ryan has contributed his writing expertise to numerous reputable publications, including, Cheaper Than Dirt, Springfield Armory's 'The Armory Life,' Smith & Wesson's 'The S&W Bench', and The Mag Shack. When he’s not spending time with his family, you’ll likely find him at the range or starting a new DIY project.


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