The first step in my selection process, before firing them, was to get a feel for them. In my previous article, I compared how they felt in my hands, where the controls were located, and their specifications. The FN 509 Tactical came out on top followed by the Glock, Smith & Wesson, and Nighthawk Custom.
Last week, I was finally able to get some trigger time. I set up a standard torso-sized AR500 target at 15 yards with a 10-inch swinging hostage target. Whichever gun shot the best was going to win some major points in my selection process.
First up was the G45. With the barrel and slide of the G19 combined with the grip of the G17, it’s a solid combo. It should be noted that the G45 has front serrations, unlike earlier G19 and G19x, which is a nice touch.
Prior to firing the G45, the main issue I had with it was a lack of grip texture and the squishy trigger.
After the first shot, I noticed the recoil on the Glock was snappy. This is due to it being the lightest of the four guns at 24.48 ounces unloaded. Although it was snappy, it was not unpleasant.
Although I felt the lack of grip texture might be an issue, it wasn't. I was able to keep a good grip on the Glock when firing. However, if my hand was wet, it might be an issue.
I did not like the trigger. Not being a seasoned shooter, firing fast consecutive shots caused my accuracy to diminish greatly. But if I slowed down my cadence and took up the trigger slack to the wall and fired that way, I was able to land most of my shots where I wanted them.
SMITH & WESSON M&P
Prior to firing the M&P, my issues were mainly the trigger. It was long and squishy. That didn’t change when I fired it. I preferred the Glock trigger to the M&P. In my mind, it’s the least desirable of all four triggers.
Being only slightly heavier than the G45 at 26.7 ounces unloaded, the M&P was snappy but certainly not unmanageable. The grip texture was the best of the three polymer guns, which helped me keep a firm grip on it.
My accuracy was similar to the Glock. Again, if I could take up the slack and get the wall and fire that way, my accuracy improved greatly. I’m sure with lots of practice, my accuracy would greatly improve. I also understand why it's not uncommon for people to upgrade the trigger on M&Ps and Glocks.
FN 509 TACTICAL
The 509 Tactical was at the head of the pack coming into this category. I loved the way it felt in my hands, and all the controls were perfectly placed and very responsive.
Weighing 27.9 ounces unloaded, its slightly heavier weight counteracted recoil better than the first two. But the elevated sights took some getting used to. I had to adjust my aim to get on target. I’m sure with practice, I could overcome it, but my accuracy suffered.
The trigger is decent, definitely better than the G45 and M&P. It’s not perfect, but it's a little less long and squishy. Grip texture was good, and if I used one of the 24-round magazines, I could shoot for a long time.
NIGHTHAWK CUSTOM BOB MARVEL
The fanciest of all the guns, the Bob Marvel is a gem. There’s a part of me that’s a romantic, and I had to include at least one 1911, albeit in 9mm, which some might scorn.
At 37.6 ounces unloaded, it’s the heaviest of the four. This weight, combined with the Everlast Recoil System and crisp single-stage trigger, made this gun the most accurate and most enjoyable to shoot. Almost every shot landed where I wanted it, and the recoil was buttery smooth. Shooting was an enjoyable sensation.
After putting at least 250 rounds through each gun, all of them were 100% dependable. I did have a few occasions when the slide didn’t lock back on the last round. At first, I thought this was an issue with the guns, but after talking to a few friends, I realized this was a result of me riding the slide with my thumbs. Something to pay attention to in the future.
Despite the fact that I shot best with the Marvel, there were simply too many drawbacks to make it my first and only gun. The limited 10+1 round capacity and external safety, although perfectly placed, were the biggest factors against it. The inability to add a light under the barrel or an RMR up top – combined with its price tag – all worked against this beautiful gun. I will certainly consider a Nighthawk Custom down the road.
The FN came in third place because the elevated sights and extended barrel made the overall gun bigger and heavier than the G45 and M&P. I also think the elevated sights threw off my accuracy a bit. The fact that I will personally likely never add a suppressor makes this feature unnecessary. The price is almost double the M&P and G45 as well. I do love the gun. It is very high quality. I will be checking out the FN 509 non-tactical model in the future for sure.
And that leaves two. The M&P and G45. I think both of these guns are excellent. I don't think you can go wrong with either. Both have amazing specifications, are well priced, dependable, and accurate. But since I have to choose one, I'm going to go with the Glock G45 as my first handgun as an American.
Fortunately, Glocks are some of the most customizable handguns on the market. I will likely be making a few modifications to my G45. I'll add a light under the barrel and possibly an RMR. It should be noted that if you want to add an RMR, make sure you get the MOS version of the G45 that allows to you do this. My G45 is slightly older, so I will have to purchase a slide with an RMR plate on it.
I'm also going to change the trigger and add some grip. After these upgrades, I believe I will have an incredibly capable and reliable handgun. I’ll be continuing my journey with training and lots of practice, so please stay tuned for more articles and videos coming to Guns.com soon.
What do you think of my choice? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.