There’s no doubt about it. FN America‘s FNX-45 Tactical is a full-sized pistol that offers a lot of .45 ACP firepower—15+1 rounds. It comes ready to roll into harm’s way or keep the peace after that bump in the night with plenty of stopping power to end the situation. The pistol has been enhanced to accept a reflex sight—a popular trend these days with factory pistols—but FN built this capability into the pistol back in 2012. What really makes the FNX-45 Tactical unique, however, is how comfortable and soft-shooting this big-bore pistol truly is. Plus, it has nearly twice the firepower of a full-sized, single-stack 1911 while being about the same size and weight.
The grip angle of the FNX-45 Tactical is similar to a 1911’s, which makes it point naturally when gripped and aimed. The polymer frame accepts four different backstraps—arched or flat, and either checkered or ribbed—in an effort to accommodate a variety of hand sizes. These inserts work well to give the pistol less girth. It feels a lot more like a double-stack 9mm in hand than a double-stack .45 ACP.
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The sides of the grip panels are coarsely checkered and offer good adhesion with no raspy abrasion after each shot. The area of the frame behind the trigger is smooth and comfortable, leading your trigger finger naturally to the trigger. The triggerguard is also undercut so you get a high hold on the pistol for comfortable double-action (DA) or single-action (SA) shooting. This design helps the shooter control muzzle flip.
The pistol’s controls are ambidextrous and designed so the more important controls—the magazine release and decocking lever—are more prominent than the slide stop. That’s also why the slide stop is surrounded by a small ridge. The decocker is placed under the thumb of the shooting hand, a natural location. The decocking lever has two functions: to decock the hammer from SA mode and to place the pistol on “safe” when in DA mode. It functions like a 1911 thumb safety. The up position is “safe” and the down position is “fire.” A red warning dot is exposed when the lever is placed in the “fire” position.
Speaking of the trigger, while the FNX-45 Tactical uses a traditional DA/SA system, it has been enhanced for modern-day gunfighters. The DA press is smooth and consistent, and it measured about 13 pounds on average on my test pistol, though it felt like much less. In fact, I found myself decocking the hammer during the range testing so I could fire the pistol in DA mode.
The trigger is wide, so it spreads the forced required to fire the pistol across a larger surface area. In SA mode, the trigger pull averaged a hair over 5 pounds, making it similar to a 1911. The trigger reset is short, and the initial take-up seemed spot-on for a pistol made for combat, law enforcement, competition or self-defense work. In fact, the FNX series of pistols evolved out of the U.S. military’s Joint Combat Pistol (JCP) program, so military specifications like a method for attaching a lanyard are built into the FNX-45 Tactical.
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In addition to the receiver’s comfortable grip, the triggerguard is curved in lieu of the more common squared-off triggerguard. The front of the triggerguard is textured for shooters who hold this area. The frame also comes equipped with a Picatinny rail for mounting lights or lasers. The grip’s semi-beavertail does an excellent job of keeping your hand away from moving parts. The hammer is rounded, serrated and large enough to grasp on the sides.
The FNX uses steel, double-stack magazines that are fairly easy on the thumbs when reloading. It wasn’t that hard to get the 15th round into each magazine during testing. Witness holes on the backside of the magazines also clearly indicate how many rounds remain. The magazines use rounded floorplates, so inserting each one into the magazine well is comfortable without pinching your hand.
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