| November 20, 2009 | 8 Comments

I finally got over to the indoor range with my new FNP-45 USG. It?s a two-tone black polymer with matte stainless steel slide. I write this report for all the regular Joes out there trying to find out what another ?Joe? (or Art, in this case) may think about this new handgun from Fabrique Nationale USA. Since, as far as I can tell, the only differences between the FNP-45 and the FNP-45 USG are the extra serrations on the USG’s slide front end and the fact it has a safety in addition to the decock positions on the selector switch (allowing for carrying the weapon “cocked & locked,” if chosen) this should apply well to both models.
Photo Above: FNP-45 USG Matte 2-Tone Stainless Steel Slide & Black Polymer Receiver, Curved Backstrap, Extended 15rd Magazine and Streamlight TLR1 Tactical Light.
NOTE: The only real difference between the regular FNP-45 and the FNP-USG (US Govt) is that the USG has the added serrations on the slide front, a SAFE position on the Selector Switch (intead of just a Decocker) and comes with one 15 rd magazines plus the two 14 rd mags, instead of just the three 14 rd mags, which is STILL one more magazine than you’ll find offered by other manufacturers as standard issue!

While I still consider myself an excellent long gun firer, with many years of military experience and awards to attest to the fact, I don?t feel any way near as confident in my handgun skills and still think of myself as a new student…(though my range results are often, if not usually, superior to those I often see around me, including many local LEOs, but more on my opinions about that observation at a later date and somewhere else).

After putting my two carry weapons (Glock 23 and S&W 642) through their obligatory paces; starting with the little guy and ending with the Glock. Satisfied with their (and my) performance, I ran a Bore Snake through each, reloaded with Federal HST (G23) and Hydrashock (642) LE rounds and put each back in their respective concealed holsters on my person. Now it was time to put the new .45 through a few paces to get a feel for what to expect if Zombies caught me off guard at home before I could get to my Mossberg 500 12 gauge (for Zombies breaking indoors) or Stag Arms 2T M4 (for those more distant Zombies to be found outdoors).

Since my order for Federal HST 230gr JHP had not yet arrived from Ammunition To Go (seems the election has caused a bit of a back-log in both orders and delivery on ammo and other weapons related items) I was going to be using economical Wal-Mart White Box 230gr FMJ rounds to get a feel for the old girl.

I had decided that I?d fire the FNP-45 for groupings, but with a defensive mindset in regard to distances fired and firing positions used. Since this new weapon was to now be my nightstand weapon (replacing my Ruger GP100), I?d decided to fire it with the new Streamlight TLR-1 Tac light I recently ordered attached and do so at distances that would reflect those same distances in my bedroom, within the home and out on my immediate property. There was one exception: I didn?t fire at the 3 yd target spot. I figured that if the gun couldn?t perform well at 5, 7 and 15 yards straight out of the box, then, 1) it wasn?t produced as advertised (a ready ?combat? weapon) and 2) it probably wouldn?t perform much better with me coming out of a sleepy 2 AM haze at those same distances.

In addition, since this gun was meant to be a defense weapon for me, I chose not to use a bench rest or other support. I planned to fire all these initial rounds in a modified Weaver, the Strong Off-Hand and the ubiquitous (for me anyway) Isosceles stances. An apology to the handgun experts reading this but, though ?archaic? to some, the military Isosceles stance it?s still the most familiar position for me to assume and perform with a sidearm. Besides, it still works great; especially if you?re a soldier or LEO with body armor to equalize the full frontal position offered to the enemy. Even without body armor it provides me with a better first shot potential, when stationary, than the bad guy might get. Of course, that could prove to just be wishful thinking on my part, considering I’ve had no official combat training with handguns. But it’s that very point that I?d just a soon practice each of the stances I know when I can.

The first thing I wanted to check out was the grip. The FNP-45 came with the flat backstrap attached. It felt alright, but I don?t like quite so much finger on the trigger. I tried out the curved backstrap and she fit my hand very comfortably. For what it?s worth, my hands are an 8.5 – 9.0 surgical glove size. The average male hand is in the 7.5 – 8.0 size range, so I have a slightly larger hand than most, but they are not what one might consider noticeably large, much less huge, in any way. However, my wife feels the weapon is much too big and heavy for her, yet she can fire the GP100 revolver comfortably, so this might not be the gun for a .45 user with small hands.

A good grip on the FNP-45, as with any auto-loader, I suppose, requires me to consciously hold higher on the back strap than I might with my revolvers, which seem more instinctive to me at this time. However, once I gained such a grip I found my right thumb comfortably in reach of the selector switch with no chance of the slide biting me during racking or the recoil cycle. My support thumb rests comfortably on the small ridge above the magazine release button while my firing thumb rests equally nestled above my support thumb. This allows a slight rest of the thumb knuckle on the selector switch in the FIRE position. I find that I can move the selector switch from SAFE to FIRE and back using the inside knuckle of my firing thumb without any change to my overall grip. Since all the controls are ambidextrous I can only assume that a Leftie with the same grip as mine would not have any difficulties either.


It would also seem to me that, since the selector switch is not near the thumb pad, there would be even less chance of accidental selector changes when tightening the fingers as your thumb pad would be too far forward to be involved in any manner. Further checking found that if I deliberately put added pressure downward to see if a stronger firing hand grip would force the selector switch into the DECOCK position. I found that, while I could do so, it took a conscious effort and did not seem to be something that could occur accidentally during an adrenaline influenced firing of the weapon. I think that if one always practices and uses the 70-30 grip rule with the support hand doing the majority of the gripping (to leave the trigger finger loose), that ?accidentally? placing the switch into the DECOCK position is all but improbable.

Photo Above: FNP-45 USG Selector Switch in First Position. The “SAFETY ON” Position.
If the hammer on the weapon is cocked, this is also the “Cocked & Locked” position. Hammer is cocked & ready to fire (note trigger is back in the Single Action [SA] position), but Safety in SAFE or ON (“up”) position. This is the “Stage 1” Defensive Carry that some Concealed Carry folks choose to use.

Photo Above: FNP-45 USG Selector Switch in the Second or “SAFETY OFF”/”FIRE” position.
This 2nd position allows the weapon to fire once trigger is pulled & is so indicated by the red “Warning/Danger” dot). Weapon will now fire with only 4 lbs of pressure on the trigger.


    Photo Above: Selector Switch in the Third or DECOCK Position.

This brings hammer safely forward without hitting the firing pin & trigger moves back to the forward Double Action (DA) position. Weapon can still fire, but will need about 11lbs of pull on the trigger. NOTE: the Selector Switch will not lock in the Decock position. It springs back up to the FIRE position after de-cocking.

When I had first handled an FNP-45 in a gun store this last summer I?d noticed that the points of the checkering were very pronounced and wondered if they might even prove irritating or painful with firing. However, the gun I ended up with did not seem to have the same ?needle points? but, rather provided a good stable grip that did not slip or need re-adjusting at any time during my firing session. I think that if one were to get grips similar to the first one I?d handled a very fine sanding would take off any burrs (if that was the problem) quickly. Other than that, I can see no reason to modify the present grip with any extraneous add-ons at a later date.

While the TLR light was noticeable when first bringing the weapon to bear I found I quickly forgot its presence, especially with anything from a full to half-full magazine in place. I found the balance to be combat acceptable as no perceptible added effort on my grip, wrist or forearm muscles seemed necessary to keep the FNP-45 aligned comfortably.

I have no complaints with the sights provided on the FNP-45. I especially enjoy the slightly wider spacing of the rear sight notch allowing me a more easily balanced sight picture. Having spent so many years firing the M16A1/A2 I am used to balancing my sight picture with the extra space and find filling my sight picture with a solid horizontal bar distracting and annoying. From what I?ve read I understand the opposite seems true for many with a civilian shooting background. So take this comment for what it may be worth to you personally. Since this weapon was originally designed for the military I think they did a good job allowing just a bit more of the human target to be perceived within the sight picture, so, to each his own on this issue.

Closing my eyes and bringing the gun up to targeting level several times found the front and rear sights to be in almost perfect alignment. Several times I was dead on with my worst sight picture being off only 4-5 inches to the left of center target at 7yds once I opened my eyes. Not bad, at all! This might prove even more noteworthy to those who practice point shooting.

The magazines (both 15 rd & 14 rd) were smooth and easy to load, especially with the Maglula Uplula loader. However I did load one 14 rd magazine by hand, just to try it out, and found it possible.


    Photo Above: The expanded FNP-45 15 round magazine (Left) the regular 14 rd FNP magazine (Right).

Despite the flash you can make out the “15” and “14” of the respective magazines to the left of each bottom viewing hole.

It does take a conscious, but not overly physical, effort to lock a full magazine in the well. After all, 14-15 rds of .45 ACP is hefty and a light upward tap to seat the magazine is, as Dirty Harry would say, ?…ain?t making it.? All rounds fed smoothly with no need to sling-shot rack the weapon or slap the upper receiver (slide) completely forward to finish loading rounds while firing.

Trigger pull in double action (DA ? hammer forward) was smooth with no noticeable hitch and not as long as some of my bigger revolvers. It was definitely smoother than my G23, but I?m not sure that is a just comparison, but perhaps worth something to those who have a Glock. I tested the pull at the range and DA trigger pull registered at just over 11 lbs; slightly under that of my favorite Ruger GP100.

In single action (SA ? hammer locked to the rear) the trigger pull is smooth, pleasant and still a surprise when the hammer falls, as it should be. Pull test was around 4.4 – 4.6 lbs. This is MUCH lighter than I am used to with either my revolvers or my G23, but it never felt like a ?hair trigger.? Again, a good weapon trigger for combat situations.

I was so surprised with the perceived recoil, or lack of it, that I actually caught myself smiling – not a normal frame of countenance for me on the range. After having just fired an ultra light-weight snub .38 special and a snappy .40 auto-loader, the FNP-45 felt just like firing a big pillow. What?s more, the front sight rise seemed miniscule and settled immediately back to the point of aim. This made quick shooting (firing rounds at less than one per second) easier and more accurate.

No failures to feed, fire or eject were noted in the 100 rounds fired. We’ll have to see how the next 900 rounds go, but I don’t expect any difference.

Since I was firing in a stall I can only say that all the ejected casings were pooled around my feet and not behind me as the .40 cal shells were with my Glock. But it would take firing out in the open to see where and how far they can actually fall. However, firing in such a stall does give you a good idea as to whether you might be distracted by hot brass bouncing off your hallway while engaging Zombies in the front room…it turns out that it won’t.

Overall, I was VERY pleased and strongly feel that any less than satisfactory impacts were wholly my fault and had nothing to do with the FNP-45.

Target: Standard pistol bullseye
Stance: Iso & Weaver
Grouping: All within 2-2.5 inches
Photo Above: First 15rds at 5 Yards Using a Modified Weaver Firing Stance.
Rounds were fired slowly from the FNP-45 USG allowing full recovery between rounds to settle sight picture. Normal self-defense encounters (gun fights) happen at a distance of less than 15 feet. Each ring is 1/2 inch wide. Even with 3 fly-away rds the grouping was an impressive 2.5 inches. Remember: This is Combat Defense weapon, not a target pistol.

Photo Above: Another 15 Rounds at 5 Yards Using Military Isosceles Firing Stance.
Notice that the firing group is still within 2.5 inches and a bit more compact.

Target: 5 separate 2 inch rings/ 2 rounds per ring
Stance: Iso & Weaver
Groupings: All within or breaking the 2 inch ring, minus one fly away
Photo Above: Here are 10 Rounds at 7 Yards.
These rounds were fired in 2 shot succesions moving around the perimeter and shooting the final center ring last. Shots were fired at less than 1 second intervals (as soon as the front sight came back on target). I was pleasantly surpised with the soft (perceived) recoil that allowed such quick target re-acquisition. Note only the one fly-away (my fault) on the second target fired upon (upper right)..

15 YARDS (my perceived maximum handgun defensive distance, especially using only one hand)
Target: 7.5 inch high silhouette
Stance: Strong Off-Hand
Groupings: All within 5 inches (13 of 15 rounds were within 3 inches)
Photo Above: 15 Rounds Fired at 15 Yards.
15 yds is what I consider a maximum distance for defensive pistol use (in my personal estimation). All rounds were fired at 1 second (or less) intervals in a Modified Weaver stance.

Target: 6 inch black circle with 1.5 inch white square bullseye
Stance: Modified Weaver – Slow fire
Groupings: All rounds within 3.5 inches (10 of 15 rounds within 2.0 inches)
Photo Above: 16 Rounds Fired at 20 Yards.
Using the extended 15 rd magazine plus one round in the chamber, I fired at at this 20 yd target in the Military Iso stance. Rate was a very slow fire. This is a VERY NICE grouping that gives me great confidence in this weapon for home and personal defense.


Target: 6.5 inch high sillouetter
Stance: Strong (right) Off-Hand – No Support
Grouping: All within 2.5 inches
Photo Above: 15 Rounds Fired One-Handed at 5 Yards.
Noting that the target is only 5 inches across, I find this to be a superb grouping for me using such a large weapon and .45 ACP with only the one hand and no support. Nice job, FN! Thumbs Up

I found this no harder (if not easier) on all three counts than with my Glock, which is famous as being simple as all get out! So ’nuff said on that, I suppose.

Keeping in mind that only 100 rounds have yet been fired. I think that the weapon can only get better for me as far as ease of use and accuracy is concerned as practice and continuing to break the weapon in can only improve the results found thus far.

So, based on the ease of take-down, cleaning and reassembly, in combination with excellent target acquisition, combat accuracy and, finally, the blue-collar price I feel it will be hard for anyone I know to find a better weapon that meets all these categories in one package. I find the FNP-45 USG a “keeper.” Thank you again. Fabrique Nationale USA. Thumbs Up

I hope this helps those “Joes” out there with enquiring minds in regard to the FNP-45 or FNP-45 USG.

Note: The FNP-45 USG is, or will be, available in the following models, based on aesthetics.

47577 – Black Slide/Black Polymer Frame
47579 – Matte Stainless Steel Slide/Black Polymer Frame
47980 – Black Slide/Flat Dark Earth Polymer Frame

There will also be three more model numbers in the future to reflect the Night Sights once they become available in mass production.

Written and authorized by Art_Sc over at thr.

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  1. kai says:

    Thank you, your review helped me finalize my decision in going with the FNP 45 over the HK USP 45 and Sig 220.

  2. FNP-USG Hopeful says:

    Truly excellent review, please post updates to the FNPUSG with the increased round count. I’m buying this one.


    I absolutely love this gun and everything about it, both my wife and I were hitting targets comfortably 35 yards down range, she has small hands yet chose to use this gun over the small framed S+W 3904 9mm, Only one issue, I began also using the Winchester white boxed training Ammo do to it being cheap, This ammo did not fire well through my weapon causing it to Jam up every 8 to 12 rounds, yet some entire magazines fed through without incident, I contacted FNH to return the weapon to have it fixed or exchanged, They informed me, without me telling them what ammo I was using, that I must have been firing the white winchester boxed ammo, and that although it says made in USA on it, that some of their brass is obtained from Mexico and has been measured to be slightly different circumfrences as well as lengths which I found to be true upon examination against other rounds, They recommended I stick to using Remington UMC or Federal American Eagle ammo, so I change my Ammo and have not had any problems since, I also use Federal Champion. I have sold this gun over and over again at the shooting range as it creates a buzz every time I fire it with a line forming to try it out, everyone loves it. Thanks for posting this info !!

  4. Kim L Ohman says:

    I too found the write up and range report very helpful. I was sold on the gun as the army and black ops units are testing & using this model. I am getting the FNP USG in black & black due to my vendor not having it in brown & black. I may just spend the extra 300.00 to get the color I want and the step milled in the rear of the slide for mounting a red dot for my elder tired eyes. I felt the each item the step & color brown where worth the extra coin but did not need the treaded barrel & high rear and front site on the Tactical model. What ever model I decide to go with will replace the Brazil made Springfield 45 gov I sold to buy the FN. I liked the Springfield but wanted a gun with a front rail and installing one on the gov was in my eyes costly for what you get.The FN has a lot of bang for the buck in extras and am looking forward to a day at my range myself.

  5. T. J Campbell says:

    Bought my P45 back in the fall and qualified for the $125 rebate. That felt good even though it took forever to finally deposit the check (one of FN’s checks bounced by the way).
    I fired the piece for the first time last week and had 43 stovepipes for 43 shots, pretty unimpressive. The weapon had been cleaned and lightly lubed the previous day so I assumed I had a bad lot of PMC ammo. I borrowed some 230 grain el cheapo ammo from number one son and fired off five rounds without incident so I’m assuming that I had a bad lot.

    Overall I agree with the authors conclusions in every respect. My groupos were tight even though I had to rack and release each round and often remove the magazine just to clear the weapon. I thought that the grip might cause me problems but the reverse was true and it felt both comfortable and stable in my hand.

  6. George Sanders says:

    I have a FNP USG 45. The pistol was good out of the box, but I found it unreliable with hollow point bullets. After polishing the feed ramp and throat, the gun will comsume all types of bullets I feed it. I also polished all internal parts and the action is as smooth as silk. I was slightly disappointed in the internal finish which showed a lot of machining marks. I know they can’t hand fit each gun, but if you do a little tweaking you can make a fantastic gun out of it. Pistol is very very accurate out to 25 yards. I have not shot it past that.

  7. Larry Ward says:

    I carried the 1911A1 in Vietnam, wish I had the FNP 45 back then. Magazine capacity considered.

    I’ve shot more accurate with the FNP 45 verse other .45’s I have had. Baby Eagle .45, 1911A1.

    Reocil is lighter than expected, and target aquisistion is reliable.

    Overall, this FNP 45 is my choice for a self-defense handgun.

  8. Mike Perrine says:

    Thanks, Art! I really liked the review-I was on the fence, and the cocked and locked carry sold me on it, just after I saw it worked well for you. To be honest, I don’t like the H&K sales bastards and their crappy attitude, having been a law enforcement supplier at one time. Sure, I loved the MP-5’s in the service, but their nazi attitude I encountered trying to get some US Marshalls their weps sooner than a couple of years was worse than the Seinfeld “Soup Nazi” character. I like the handle, Mr. Revolver Guy, too-I am a nut for mint Ruger Police Service Six revolvers, as well as the Speed Six. Not as enamored with the Security Six; I don’t see the need for adjustable sights on most revolvers. Thanks again, and De Oppresso Liber! Mike

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