I’ve had the opportunity to test out, shoot, and own pretty much every single iteration of the 9mm micro-compact category of pistols. Since the introduction of the SIG Sauer P365, every company has strived to match the groundbreaking and quite honestly “game-changing” features set that the P365 offered concealed carriers and shooters. While FN pistols haven’t been my favorite, there have been some notable releases like the FN Five-seveN as well as the 509 Tactical that have impressed me quite a bit with the Five-seveN being the dream gun of pretty much anyone who has watched Battle Star Galactica or played Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell. FN’s newest offering, however, doesn’t have the backup of the silver screen or the video game industry this time, but what does it have to offer? I’ve had my hands on an FN Reflex for a while now and today I’ll share with you my initial thoughts on it, and where I think it falls within the highly competitive market of micro-compact 9mm pistols.
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Is the FN Reflex Late to the Party or the New Star 9mm Micro Compact?
My gut reaction to the release of this pistol was that it was “too little too late.” Nearly every major manufacturer and a lot of the smaller ones already have micro-compact 9mm pistols with 10+ rounds of capacity, optics-ready capability, and dust cover rails for adapting them to use with weapon-mounted lights. Furthermore, all of these options already have the full support of the aftermarket industry making them more customizable to the end user, and ensuring that people will have a healthy amount of holster options right from the get-go. However, before we try to tear the FN Reflex apart, let’s take a look at what it brings to the gun counter.
- Caliber: 9mm
- Capacity: Available in 10+1, 11+1, and 15+1 rounds, offering ample ammunition for personal defense.
- Weight: With an unloaded magazine, the Reflex weighs in at at 18.4 ounces, ensuring comfortable everyday carry.
- Barrel Length: The 3.3-inch cold hammer-forged barrel strikes a balance between maneuverability and accuracy.
- Overall Length: Measuring 6.2 inches, the Reflex is compact, making it ideal for concealed carry.
- Sight Radius: The Reflex boasts a generous sight radius of 5.05 inches, contributing to enhanced accuracy.
- Optics-Ready: The FN Reflex offers MRD (Micro Red Dot) variants with a factory-milled slide, allowing for quick and easy installation of popular micro red dot optics such as the Shield RMSc and Holosun K-series.
- Hammer-Fired Action: Setting itself apart from many competitors, the Reflex utilizes an internal hammer-fired action. This design choice enables a smoother and lighter trigger pull.
- Ergonomic Design: The Reflex features front and rear slide serrations, a beavertail for a high grip, and an undercut trigger guard. These elements enhance control and manipulation, while the slim grip accommodates various hand sizes comfortably.
- Accessory Rail: SureFire XSC and Streamlight TLR-7sub compatible. Equipped with an accessory rail, the Reflex welcomes the addition of microlights or lasers, expanding its versatility for low-light situations.
- High-Visibility Sights: The three-dot sight system includes a tritium front sight with an orange circle for easy acquisition in low-light conditions.
- Textured Grip: With in-mold stippling on both sides, the Reflex provides a secure and comfortable grip, even during rapid-fire scenarios.
- Multiple Magazine Options: The Reflex supports various magazine capacities, including flush-fit 10-round and 11-round options, as well as a 15-round extended magazine for those seeking additional firepower. You can get a variant that is legal in nearly every state in the US.
The FN Reflex is extremely compact, and holds 11 rounds in its flush-fit magazine, but also offers you up to 15 rounds in a slightly longer magazine that also provides you with a better grip on the gun due to the small pinky extension it features. For me, the most interesting part about the FN Reflex compared to any other micro-compact options out there is its single-action internally hammer-fired action versus the traditional striker-fired action we are used to seeing on micro-compact 9mm pistols.
The pistol takes down similarly to other handguns with a small lever being pushed up and out of the way before the slide comes off the rails of the frame. The lever is a bit hard to move out of the way so newer gun owners might find the disassembly process a tiny bit frustrating compared to the relatively easy time they’ll have with manipulating the slide.
I’ve taken the FN Reflex to the range a few times and put about 250 rounds through it with each range session for a total of around 1,000 rounds. I’m extremely stubborn when it comes to new guns as I don’t like learning to get used to the new feel but I gotta say, it’s been surprisingly reliable and accurate. One thing that really helps with the accuracy is the super light single-action trigger pull, which sets it apart from the usual striker-fired systems you find in other micro-compact 9mm guns. The trigger breaks at just under 4 lbs according to my Lyman Trigger scale, a metric that is supported by Jame Reeves’ findings with his own copy of the FN Reflex.
Like other micro-compact 9mm pistols, the FN Reflex has some pretty snappy recoil. However, the biggest advantage that the pistol might have at the range is the effort it takes to fully retract the slide. For new shooters or those with weaker hand strength, the FN Reflex gives users a break from the stiff slide action that striker-fired guns have and instead gives the user a very light slide racking action which makes it much easier to manipulate.
The FN Reflex is still pretty new on the market, which means there aren’t tons of holsters designed specifically for it yet. Unless you’ve got a weapon-mounted light that lets you use those more universal micro compact holsters, finding a good fit might be a bit of a challenge – something to keep in mind if you want to buy and start carrying this immediately.
FN has a Kydex IWB holster option on their website that was developed specifically for the FN Reflex, as well as ANR Design, Blackpoint Holsters, and several others.
Overall, though, it’s been an interesting experience with the FN Reflex. I don’t think I’ll be in any rush to switch over to it, as I already own so many micro-compact 9mm pistols that I’m not only used to shooting more, but that I already have holsters, optics, and other accessories for. However, if you’re someone who has trouble manipulating the slide on CCW handguns, or are looking for one of the better triggers in this specific category of firearm, the FN Reflex might be worth considering alongside other options like the P365, Hellcat, and GX4.
Other options on the market are more compact, have more capacity, or just have more aftermarket support. The FN Reflex, however, brings a lot to the table and I think it deserves to be considered alongside the other popular options out there simply because of its ease of use, light trigger, and reliability alone. We’d always like to hear what you have to say about this new offering! Let us know what you think of the new FN Reflex down below!
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