Friday, June 30, 2017

FN Makes a Glock, But It's Alright

Credit: FN America
No, it’s not just your mind playing tricks on you; the FN 509 is basically just a Glock. More than external resemblance, the internals tell the tale. For instance, the Glock inspiration can be seen in:
  • The slide stop lever tab that contacts the magazine follower
  • The cruciform sear
  • The double-coil recoil spring
  • The slide internals (FN’s firing pin safety appears to be located in the rear) 
Credit: Truth About Guns
Some of differences are more apparent than the features common to the Glock system. It does not use a trigger blade safety, but rather an articulated trigger similar to the Smith and Wesson M&P. American Rifleman states this was for shooters’ comfort. The interchangeable backstraps are something that the Glock Modular Handgun System (MHS) trial gun lacked. The lever style disassembly lever is much better than the funky Glock tab.

How can FN get away with this? The basic Glock design is no longer under patent and thus you have the DIY Polymer 80 series of 80% receivers. Smith and Wesson got in trouble with their Sigma series pistols, which were so similar to Glocks, that S&W was ordered to pay royalties after a lawsuit. The Glock design was so popular that the Massachusetts company decided to pay the fine and pump out their copy of Gaston’s masterpiece. But imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so it’s no shame that FN borrowed heavily from the Glock, which itself was based on a study of the most successful pistol designs.

FN isn't also restricted by Glock's assertion that its pistols are perfect and is free to improve major elements of the design, like the hard to grasp takedown tab become a lever and the rail is a standard M1913 style instead of a proprietary one. Forward cocking serrations and no front strap finger groves come standard to this model, unlike the law enforcement only Glock M and Summer Special half-generations. 

If a Sig Sauer and a Glock had a baby, it would look like the FN 509. The slide serrations look a bit Swiss and slide release is in almost the same place as Sig's. The FN wins over the Glock on style points, even if it will suffer from a deficit of aftermarket parts. For most people who appreciate the blockier style of handguns and don’t need or want to add a plethora of custom parts or doo-dads to their gun, the FN may be good choice for them. Reviews seem to have found it reliable, as expected from the original Browning system manufacture, and the quality is likely equally superb. 

-GC

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