What sets the FN 509 LS apart from the stock FN 509? Is it really any better?
FN Herstal arms the United States military with machine guns and M16s, and at one point, aimed to produce their next handgun. FN submitted the 509 series to the MHS trials, but SIG ultimately won. However, FN knew they had a winning pistol and marketed it outside the military. The FN 509 became an entire series of pistols. Outside of the civilian market, they saw adoption by Brinks armored cars and the LAPD. The latest model is the FN 509 LS Edge, and it's truly something special.
The FN 509 series utilize a polymer frame and striker-fired design. They come in 9mm and in a variety of sizes, including full, compact, subcompact, tactical, and now beyond full size with the LS Edge. The LS stands for long slide, and this isn't your typical concealed carry pistol. It's a big boy made for serious use. It can be concealed carried, but make sure you pack a good holster backed by a good belt to do so.
The FN 509 LS Edge comes with a nice soft padded carrying case, three 17 round magazines, and a system of plates and screws to attach a variety of optics. The LS Edge holds nothing back size-wise and doesn't try to be a meek little blaster.
We get a five-inch long barrel complete with a lightened slide. The gun weighs 31 ounces and has an overall length of 8.2 inches. The rear sight is pressed rearwards, and the total sight radius is an impressive 6.7 inches. Three 17 round magazines keep capacity current, and a 24 round tactical magazine is also available.
The matte stainless slide blends fantastically with the black polymer frame. Fit and finish are excellent and well done. The frame features the Picatinny rail we all know and love. FN maintained a good balance by lightening the slide to provide a weapon that didn't feel front-heavy.
FN cut the slide for optics and includes a variety of screws and plates to allow the LS Edge to use a wide variety of optics. It utilizes all popular optics patterns, including Trijicon, Leupold, Docter, and many, many more. It's an impressive system that's simple and handy. On top of the optic's cuts, we also get suppressor height sights for cowitnessing.
It's a nice tough, and I hope that more companies follow FN's lead in including suppressor height sights with optics-ready firearms. The front sight is a high visibility fiber optic design that's thin and unobtrusive. If I was using a red dot, the thin front sight wouldn't distract from the red dot reticle or fill my view.
FN installed a flat-faced trigger that fires as soon as it reaches 90 degrees. The trigger comes with the safety dingus design that ensures only a proper pull will fire the weapon. At the bottom of the gun, we have a rock-solid aluminum magazine well that makes reloads quick and easy.
It was love at first shot. The big LS Edge pistol is a blast to shoot. Let's start with accuracy. The light 4.5-pound trigger provides a smooth pull that's very crisp and clean. The takeup is minimal, and the wall is stiff but breaks cleanly. As such, you can be quite accurate with the gun, especially when combined with the thin front sight, full-grip, and long sight radius.
How accurate? Well, I could punch out a 2-inch circle at 15 yards without issue. At 50 yards, I could ring a 10-inch steel gong over and over with hardly a miss. The thin front sight makes it easy to see these targets at longer ranges.
How about control? Well, it scores high in that regard as well. The LS Edge is a big gun, and big guns are easy to control, and the LS Edge scores high in control factor. We get minimal recoil, and the gun makes it quick and easy to fire fast follow-up shots on target. The lighter slide keeps things balanced, and it's especially nice when handled with one hand.
Driving the gun between targets or rapidly firing into a single target at multiple points is easy and responsive. The grip texture keeps your hand in place, and the design allows for a high grip on the gun. Keeping the gun on target doesn't take much practice, and tracking the green front sight provides minimal challenge.
Ergonomically the gun is mostly sound. The grip is thin enough for most shooters, comfy to get your hands on, and adjustable with various backstraps. Dropping mags and reloading come easy with the big magazine release. Hit it, the mag drops, and you can get a fresh one quickly into the gun due to its big magwell.
What I don't like is the slide lock and release. It's too easily pinned down with a thumb's forward-firing grip. Besides being placed slightly too far rearward, the design itself proved nice. FN textured it and made it large and easy to engage with when being pressed upwards or rearwards.
The FN 509 LS Edge provides one heckuva pistol. It's large and in charge, but also very capable and easy to use. It might not be great for concealed carry, but for duty, defensive use, and competition, it's out-of-the-box ready. The FN 509 LS Edge clings and dings on demand, and it's the top-tier FN 509 variant.
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. Travis has trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army.
He serves as an NRA-certified pistol instructor and pursues a variety of firearms-based hobbies.
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