FN-USA’s long slide version of their standard duty pistol performs perfectly.
By Steve Tracy
The Baltimore County, Md. Police Department ordered 1,920 FNS-40LS pistols for duty carry by their officers. They’re a large department and that’s a whole lot of duty pistols. So what were the factors that guided their decision? It would seem the answer is that the FNS line of polymer frame, striker fired pistols comes equipped with every feature law enforcement deems necessary. Right out of
All the Features the Police Need
There is a trend toward firearms manufacturers offering 5-inch barrel semi-automatic pistols in addition to their standard length guns with 4- to 4.5-inch barrels. A longer sight radius equals a firearm that is inherently easier to shoot accurately. That has to be a plus in police work where an officer’s life, or someone the officer is sworn to protect, is on the line.
The FNS long slide is available in either 9mm or .40 S&W chambering and the test pistol had the .40 caliber hole at the end of the barrel, since it’s the most popular police pistol cartridge today. The long slide version weighs 29.7 ounces unloaded, which is 2.2 ounces more than the 4-inch barrel pistol. That small amount of extra weight at the muzzle helps with recoil management.
Sights are the Warren/Sevigny dovetailed steel sights with either white dots or optional tritium night sights. The rear sight is serrated and sits as far to the rear of the slide as possible. The Warren/Sevigny rear sight features a v-shape at the bottom of the notch. This makes it easier to see the front white dot or tritium insert quickly. It was found to work very well.
The slide is matte-black stainless steel and the barrel is hammer forged steel. Front cocking serrations are part of the slide and the extractor has a red painted section that protrudes out to the right when the chamber is loaded. The red portion tells you that your FNS is loaded and the extractor can be felt with your fingers in the dark.
The steel-magazine release button and slide stop/release are mirror imaged on both sides of the pistol’s polymer frame. The FNS caters to left-handed officers who no longer have to make due with features intended only for right-handed shooters. The frame is sharply checkered for a secure purchase under any conditions, but it’s not to the point where chafing occurs to your hands when firing the pistol for long hours during training. Two interchangeable backstraps are included in the heavy-duty plastic carrying case with each FNS pistol. One is flat and one is arched. The flat backstrap caused the FNS-40LS to point very naturally in my big hands. There is also a built-in lanyard hole at the rear of the grip. The grip tang extends fully to the rear to prevent any slide bite on the shooter’s gripping hand.
Three 14-round steel magazines come with each pistol. The thick plastic bottoms prevent damage when dropped free and can be quickly removed by pressing a small tab if the magazines need to be cleaned. The front of the magazine base extends forward to provide your strong hand with a secure grip. There is also an undercut where the large trigger guard (which easily accommodates gloved hands) meets the frame to allow a high grip on the pistol.
A Picatinny rail mounts lights and lasers, and there is some checkering on the front of the trigger guard for an offhand index finger if one chooses to utilize that style of two-handed grip.
Field stripping the FNS is simple. With an unloaded pistol, the slide is locked to the rear before the takedown lever on the left side is rotated downward. Then the slide is eased forward until it reaches its closed position, at which time the trigger is pulled. Then the slide will ease forward off the frame. The captive steel guide and recoil spring can be lifted out and the barrel removed. The steel chassis can be cleaned without removal from the polymer frame. Reassembly is accomplished by reversing these steps, leaving out the need to do anything further with the trigger.
The trigger pull on the FNS-40LS averaged 5 pounds, 10 ounces, which is just about perfect for a combat pistol. The polymer two-part trigger pivots at its halfway point. The handgun cannot fire unless the trigger is purposefully pressed. This is the only safety on the test pistol, although a version is available with a 1911-style ambidextrous thumb safety. Making the trigger even better was the fact that once it broke, there was no further over-travel. Trigger reset was also very good and followup shots were fast.
The FNS-40LS was found to work with an Uncle Mike’s size 25 Pro-3 security duty holster listed for the Glock 21 and S&W M&P. The overall dimensions of the FNS-40LS are very similar to the S&W M&P Professional.
Drawing and firing from the holster was natural and the FNS came to point at the target quickly. Some pistols point high in the hand and some point low. The FNS-40LS aligned its sights almost all by itself. Less time spent searching for your front sight means rounds on target faster. The excellent sights, ergonomics, and quality trigger combined to cause one ragged hole in the center of the target with this
Prior to test firing, the FNS-40LS was cleaned and lubricated before Hornady TAP, Critical Duty, and FTX, Winchester Ranger and Black Talon, Speer Gold Dot, and American Eagle ball ammo were fired through its bore. The FNS-40LS never encountered a jam or misfire with these various types of .40 caliber ammunition.
Several officers tried the FNS and all came away impressed. Its balance, sights, and trigger pull were mentioned as the gun’s positive attributes. Its overall ergonomics were praised and left-handers appreciated its controls, as did those who train to shoot with both strong and weak hands.
A Duty Gun for All Officers
After handling and shooting the FNS-40LS, it’s no wonder Baltimore County’s finest selected FNH-USA’s outstanding duty pistol made at their Columbia, S.C. facility. Each of their officers can be handed a case containing his/her pistol, three magazines, and user-swapped backstraps to customize the gun to his/her own hands. Regardless of which hand an officer uses to shoot with, the FNS-40LS will work for them. The longer slide should make hitting center mass less difficult due to the longer sight radius and the quality Warren/Sevigny sights. The superb trigger works in conjunction with the excellent ergonomics and makes the FNS-40LS a pleasure to shoot. PM
Steve Tracy is a 26-year police veteran with 24 years of experience as a firearms instructor. He is also an instructor for tactical rifles, use of force, less-than-lethal force and scenario-based training. He can be reached at email@example.com.
- The FNS field strips safely. With the magazine removed and the slide initially locked to the rear, the takedown lever is rotated down. Then the slide is eased forward and the trigger pulled on the empty chamber. The slide then eases forward off the frame.
- The right side of the FNS displays its fully ambidextrous magazine release button and slide stop/release.
- Loaded chamber indicator is the extractor, which shows red when a round is in the pipe.
- The FNS-40 Long Slide is the issued duty pistol for the Baltimore County, Md. Police Department.
- Unique rear sight has a “V” notch at the bottom, making it easier to see the front sight’s big white dot.
- Seven different types of ammo in both hollowpoint and FMJ cycled without fail through the FNS-40LS.