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Author Topic: FN FNP-45 Tactical (Warning:lots of pics)  (Read 22179 times)

Offline Thumper

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FN FNP-45 Tactical (Warning:lots of pics)
« on: April 09, 2012, 05:58:10 pm »
This is my review of the FNP-45 Tactical by FN Herstal.   How objective it is, I don't know.  It is my personal opinion of the firearm, so take it for what it is worth.
At the time of this "review", I have had the pistol for about two weeks.  I had fairly high expectations for this gun prior to purchasing it, but it exceeded my expectations once I received it.   It went beyond that when I finally got it to the range. But we'll get to all of that.
The FNP-45 Tactical is a variant of the FNP-45.   The FNP-45 Tactical was developed for the U.S. Joint Combat Pistol Program (JCP).   Since my purchase, FN has changed the designation of the FNP-45 Tactical to the FNX-45 Tactical.  The FNP-45 Tactical comes with a 5.3" stainless steel barrel with a threaded muzzle to allow the gun to serve as a host for a suppressor.  It is a DA/SA trigger setup. The gun is offered in 2 colors, black or Flat Dark Earth (FDE).  I opted for the FDE model.  The slide is also stainless steel.  It comes with high profile Trijicon night sites to help accommodate a suppressor.  (The extra height to clear the top of a suppressor).   The top of the slide just forward of the rear sites is milled and tapped to allow for the attachment of optional red dot sites, and the gun includes a couple of different mounting bases.  There is a plate on the top of the slide that is contoured to keep the lines of the gun, but can be removed by unscrewing the two screws that hold it to the slide. The gun comes with an accessory rail at the front of the gun, under the barrel, on the underneath side of the dust cover.  The gun also features ambidextrous controls: mag release, slide release, and the safety/decocker lever.  The gun also includes 3 x 15 round double stack magazines, 4 different interchangeable backstraps, a gun lock, tools for removing the optic plate/installation of optic, and a nice soft case (that is manufactured by Eagle).  The case has pockets that will hold the two additional mags (with one in the pistol), a muzzle pocket and grip strap to secure the pistol, an accessory/tool pocket, and an additional pocket to store a suppressor should one opt to purchase one as an aftermarket accessory.  All the pockets attach to the case with velcro and can be moved to whatever configuration the user/owner wants. (I swapped the accessory pocket for the muzzle pocket in order to fit the gun with the Streamlight TLR-2s).  All of this is pretty much available from any source with information as to the specifications of the  pistol. 

Here is MY take on the pistol.

Right out of the case, the gun has an excellent fit and finish.  The grip is not as big and fat as I was expecting a double stack .45 ACP to be.  Granted, I do have pretty good sized hands, but it still isn't that bad at all.  The grips are stippled from the factory on the sides of the grip.  The front strap has raised lines, and the backstaps have either raised lines or stippling.  Two of the backstraps have stippling, two have lines.  Each pair consists of a slimmer strap and a thicker strap, so the shooter can change the grip length/thickness as well as the backstrap texture to suit his or her likes.   I kept the backstrap that came on the gun, which was the lined, slimmer strap.  The stippling is not subtle.  It has a VERY positive feel and traction.  Wet (or sweaty) hands will still have no troubles maintaining good grip and control of this gun.  The gun just felt great in hand.  It has a great balance, and the grip angle is perfect (at least for me).  It lines up quickly with little to no adjustment to align the sites.  Great natural point of aim.  Quick and smooth.   The controls are easily reached and work flawlessly, and they are not in the way.  Being low-profile yet easy to reach and operate is a rare combination in controls on a firearm.  One of the great features of this gun, and one of the (many) reasons that I purchased it, was the safety.  The lever is frame mounted and accessible from either side of the gun.  With the lever in the "Up" position, the safety is engaged, and the trigger is disabled.  But one of the great aspects of this particular DA/SA gun is that it can be cocked and locked.  Cock the hammer, engage the safety, and the gun can be carried with the safety engage and ready for a SA shot when needed (once the safety is disengaged), and no long DA pull necessary.  That was a strong selling point for me.  And the with the DA/SA configuration, I got the best of both worlds.  (Something that Beretta owners are not afforded).  With the safety lever in the middle position, the gun is live and ready to fire, either with a DA trigger pull, or an SA pull.   Moving the safety lever to the down position will decock the hammer if it is in the cocked position.  (The lever is spring loaded to return to the "Fire" position once the decocking feature has been used).

Safety on

Safety off


Cocked and Locked

 The slide moves over the frame via metal slide rails on the frame.  The action is very smooth, and the lockup is nice and tight.  No rattling.  And it doesn't take gorilla strength to manually operate the slide.  The slide stop/release does need a few cycles to work in to release it with the thumb.  (Running a full magazine through it seems to work just fine).

The DA trigger pull is long, but not too heavy.  Not much play in the trigger before hitting tension.  The break is crisp, but not like a striker fire gun.   The SA trigger pull is nice and light, with very little play in the trigger, and the break is crisp with not much travel between initial tension and break.  The back of the trigger has a stop to prevent overtravel after the break.  While I loved the trigger and action, I have heard others  complain that the one(s) they had were "sloppy".   I don't know if I got lucky or they got unlucky.   Mine is great.

I utilize a Trijion RM04 Dual Illumination RMR site.  The RM04 has a 7 MOA dot that is powered by either fiber optic or a tritium vial within the site.  This model does not require batteries.   In normal to bright light, the fiber optic powers the dot, which shows up nicely without being washed out in any range of light that I have tried mine in.  Natural sunlight to indoor lighting, it works great.  In lower light, the tritium powers the dot, however it is not nearly as bright as the fiber, obviously.  But this is perfect as you would not want a bright dot in lower light as it would make seeing the target difficult.  In my opinion, it works as it should, matching the lighting/sighting situation by design.   Others prefer the LED versions of this site.  I like this one.  The tritium is rated to last 10-12 years, at which point the vial can be replaced by Trijicon.  (I have no idea what the cost is on that).   The 7 MOA dot co-witnesses perfectly with the tall iron sights on the gun.  The beauty of the dot is the shooter can keep point of aim even if the sites are not aligned (so long as the shooter can still see the dot through the lens.  It works the same way an EOTech, Aimpoint, or other red dot site works on an AR or similar platform.

Dot (off front site)

Dot co-witnessed (well almost.  I have a hard time taking a picture and lining it up at the same time. )

I also equipped my pistol with a Streamlight TLR-2s weaponlight and laser.  This light is insanely bright, and it has a strobe feature.  Once mounted, the controls are easily accessible from the trigger finger (around the trigger guard) or with fingers from a supporting hand.  There is a "paddle" switch that will activate the unit in either a temporary/momentary mode or a fixed on/off mode.  A small toggle switch below the main switch will set the functions of the unit.  Laser only, Light only, or Laser and Light together.   Two quick taps on the momentary paddle activates the strobe.   When the light and laser are used together, the laser shows up very well.  To my surprise, running the light up front does not make the gun nose heavy.

It is a fair sized gun, so unless you are a bigger frame person, this gun is probably not well suited for carry unless it is in cooler weather where a  coat or jacket could more easily facilitate concealing it.  The gun is surprisingly light, even with a fully loaded magazine (which holds 15 rounds of .45 ACP).  There are many holster manufactures that provide holsters for this gun, but if you run it with an RMR, and moreover, with a light, your selections are reduced.  There are some well known name brands like Raven Concealment that make holsters for these guns "fully dressed" (with both RMR and lights), but the wait/lead times can vary.   Other custom kydex shops can be found with a little hunting, and along with an email or phone call, a holster can be custom made to carry (either with hammer down or cocked and locked).  The prices ranges that I have found for these holsters run anywhere from $80 - $180, and can be configured for OWB or IWB. 

At the range:
Once I made it to the range, my expectations were extremely high after I had spent some time really getting to know the pistol.  (Okay, I admit it.  I fondled it non-stop since the day I got it.  It just feels really good in hand).  The results for me, were surprising, even with the high expectations I had and all the research I had done on the gun prior to purchase.  First off, the recoil.  It is lighter than my Beretta 92SF 9mm.  I am not kidding.  It is that light.  Even people who can't handle much recoil would find this gun easy to shoot.  Fast follow up shots were a breeze with the light recoil and the natural point of aim afforded by this pistol. I was shooting Federal 230gr FMJ's, and it was ridiculously light.  Accuracy was a down right hero-maker.  I only shot out from 10 yards, and I ran through 2 boxes of ammo (100 rounds).  Mind you, I picked a very poor day to go to the range.  The wind was blowing 30-40mph with gusts up to 55.  The target stand was waving around quite a bit.  So I had a few flyers.  But for the most part, the group was pretty darned good.  Some sets were slow fire, others were fast.  The repeatability and accuracy of this gun was spot on.  (The shooter was the only thing holding it back).   I did not change targets during this trip as I was freezing (as I underdressed for the weather) and I was tired of fighting the wind.  But you can tell from the pics how the accuracy was.  That is 100 rounds at that target.

It ejects up to the right, and I didn't have a single one come back in my face.  Not one single malfunction during this trip.  No feed problems, no problems firing, no problems ejecting.  The gun performed flawlessly. 

The high profile sights are awesome and line up very easily.  The RMR was a new thing for me, on a pistol anyway.  It lined up nicely, and no matter where I put the dot in the window/lens, I hit there on the shot.  I didn't have any problems with the dot washing out or being too bright.  It worked as it was supposed to.  On quick pull ups to the target, I was surprised how quickly and easily the shot setup up with an RMR.  Whether lifting the arm straight up from the side or extending it forward after a rising draw, it really was handy in lining the shot up faster. 

Breaking the FNP-45 down for cleaning is a snap.  After dropping the mag and clearing the chamber, remove the thread protector on the end of the barrel, pull the slide all the way to the rear, flip the take down lever straight down, and let the slide move forward while ensuring the guide rod spring doesn't launch itself somewhere.  Remove the guide rod and spring.  Remove the barrel.  That's it.  Back together in the reverse order.

That is it for this run.  I will add to this review as I have time to shoot this fine weapon some more.  I'll take more time on the next run and shoot 5 shot groups from varying distances (on a better day or at an indoor range).

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.  I'll answer what I can.
The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war. - Chogun Miyagi

Offline butters

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Re: FN FNP-45 Tactical (Warning:lots of pics)
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2012, 06:18:44 pm »
Very nice review, very well done, I like the accompaning pictures, I have shot the regular FNP 45 and you are dead on in line with how it went when I shot one, and the one i shot has had a couple thousand rounds down the pipe. One of the magazine springs is starting to get weak causing a FTF issue but it can be fixed with a new spring, no issues with the gun.
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Re: FN FNP-45 Tactical (Warning:lots of pics)
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2012, 08:53:05 pm »
Very nice review.  Thanks.
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Re: FN FNP-45 Tactical (Warning:lots of pics)
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2012, 08:00:46 am »
Great review, I've got the FNP-45 and I agree that it is a very smooth shooting, highly reliable pistol.

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Re: FN FNP-45 Tactical (Warning:lots of pics)
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