Warning: Fabrique Nationale FNS Series Pistols Fire Out of Battery
Russ Chastain 04.30.19
A recent article in the Arizona Mirror states that the Arizona Department of Public Safety has been “quietly replacing guns issued to all troopers” after serious problems were discovered in certain FN pistols being used by state troopers: They will fire unintentionally under certain conditions.
The guns at issue are Fabrique Nationale FNS C, FNS, and FNS L pistols in both 9mm and 40 S&W. The Mirror obtained a DPS safety bulletin video via a public records request, which they posted on YouTube and I’ve included below. The purpose of the video is to demonstrate how easily FNS pistols can be made to fire unintentionally and instruct troopers on what to do should they experience these conditions.
It appears to be a serious design flaw.
From the video:
Two conditions were observed in which the pistols may fire when not intended. Various FNS pistols over a broad range of manufacture dates have been tested, from brand-new-in-box to lightly-used to heavily-used, with the same results in each case.
The conditions in which the pistols will fire abnormally:
Muzzle of pistol is pressed against an object (or person) and held slightly out of battery (slide moved just a little bit rearward) and trigger is pulled, and pistol is then moved away from the object (or person) with the trigger still pulled.
Muzzle of pistol is pressed against an object (or person) and held slightly out of battery and trigger is pulled, trigger is released, and pistol is then moved away from the object (or person). Trigger may not fully reset, allowing just about any sort of sudden movement or jolt to fire the pistol.
These conditions have been recreated consistently under laboratory environments.
In the video, we see numerous examples of condition 2, and are told that actions which can cause the gun to fire include tapping top of slide, inserting a magazine, or even holstering or drawing your pistol.
The video’s narrator noted that testers COULD NOT cause these same malfunctions with the FN 509.
FN has issued a service bulletin in which it claims the problem only exists in pistols manufactured before February 12, 2017, and offers to “substitute the striker in affected FNS-9, FNS-9 Longslide, FNS-9 Compact, FNS-40, FNS-40 Longslide, and FNS-40 Compact pistols free of charge,” adding “Once the striker is replaced, the condition no longer occurs.”
Want to know if your FNS is affected? Go here and enter your serial number.
According to the Mirror article, “FN notified DPS that it intends to ‘cease production’ of the [FNS] pistol.”
I don’t know about you, but if I had an FNS I think I’d get rid of it in short order. Check out the video and let us know what you think.