The Glock 19 Gen 5 is a great pistol, that’s one of the reasons it was a top seller in 2020. The FN 509 is also an excellent polymer-framed handgun manufactured by one of the premier companies in this industry, FN Herstal. While the Glock 19 is a standard go-to for self-defense pistols the 509 is often overlooked. To find out why, we compared the two for concealed carry and personal defense.
Glock 19 Highlights
The stainless-steel slide with its standard vertical serrations at the front and rear makes for easy slide manipulation and slide checks. One fact I appreciate about all handguns is the ability to manipulate the slide one-handed. The Glock 19 rear sight has a small shoulder that will accommodate single-handed manipulation.
The Glock 19 comes with three 15 round magazines. A nice addition for those who like to carry with two extra mags. Another nice feature is the cut-out at the rear of the mag well that enables stripping of a jammed magazine. The mag well is also nicely flared to assist in smooth mag changes.
The polymer frame is standard Glock and there are two regular backstraps that ship with the pistol, which have no beavertail. Then there are two beavertail backstraps that also ship with the firearm. This ensures that no matter which style you prefer, you’ll be getting the perfect grip configuration. The grip texture is standard Glock, though it does feel adequate, a more aggressive texture would be helpful.
The controls are positioned nicely with the mag release a nice size for easy manipulation. I had to release my firing grip slightly to drop the magazine, but it dropped cleanly and crisply. The mag release is not ambidextrous, but it can be switched from the left side to the right for left-handed shooters. The slide release is ambidextrous and easy to manipulate.
The Glock 19 trigger is nicely done with a trigger pull weight of about 4 to 5 pounds. The sensitivity of the trigger is good. As you pull the trigger you press up to a “squishy” wall and then continue for a short, crisp, break. What I really like about this trigger is the audible and tactile reset.
At the front of the frame is the accessory rail which is apparently Picatinny based with one groove. On checking it did nicely accommodate both a Surefire X300 Ultra, an Inforce Wild 1 and Wild 2.
FN 509 Highlights
Let’s start up top with the FN 509, the slide has nice sharp and aggressive serrations on both the front and rear of the slide. Aiding nicely in slide manipulation and for slide checks.
The sights are steel with a luminescent dot in front and dovetailed sights at the rear. One nice feature of the rear sight is its rather aggressive shoulder that aids in one-handed manipulation of the slide. The rear sight is a deep “U” and I felt took a little time to get used to when compared to the Glock 19.
The FN 509 comes with two 17 round magazines. The mag release is ambidextrous and drops the mags easily. There are two additional backstraps provided to assist in getting a good fit for your hand. I really like the grip texture on the sides, it’s aggressive without being punishing to the hand. The grip texture all around, including the front strap and back strap, allows for a very secure grip, much more so than the Glock 19. There is also a textured thumb and trigger finger groove that assists in gaining a high grip that aids in recoil mitigation.
The 509 also has an ambidextrous slide release that is nicely designed to release the slide without an excessive amount of effort. The slide release also has a shroud around it to help prevent unintended manipulation.
The trigger guard is a good size to accommodate gloved hands. The trigger is hinged as a safety feature. The trigger pull is very crisp with a nice predictable stop before the actual release. The pull weight is stated at between 5.5 and 7.7 pounds. The reset is also nice with an audible click on reset. Up front there is an ample 1913 Picatinny rail that accepts numerous lights and lasers.
I initially thought that I would like the performance of the FN 509 better than the Glock but as I ran both through their paces, I realized that I still preferred the Glock.
Two reasons I think I prefer the Glock to the FN is the trigger pull and the sights. The Glock seems to have a lighter trigger pull, but I’m also more accustomed to shooting Glock pistols. I’m also used to the Glock sights, those being the Glock “U” rear sight, versus the three white dot configuration of the FN. This made quite a difference.
The accuracy test seemed to prove this in that the Glock results of a “fist” sized group, or approximately a 4 inch to a 4.5-inch group, versus the 7.5-inch group I achieved with the FN 509.
The combat test also proved my ability with the Glock was superior to the FN. This was shot at roughly 7-10 yards.
Comparing and Trying to Decide Between the Two Pistols
For the Glock 19 I really enjoyed how easily I could manipulate the controls, both the mag release and slide release. The 509 also had easily manipulated controls, so they are tied there.
Both pistols offer decent sights out of the box, but FN would probably get the nod having the luminescent front sight. Either way, I would probably change out both sets of sights if I owned either of these guns.
I really liked the grip angle of the of FN 509. It assists me in naturally getting up on target. The grip angle of the FN 509 is approximately 17-18 degrees making it quite easy and natural to point. The Glock 19 on the other hand is closer to 19-20 degrees which I don’t like quite as much.
As I have mentioned the treatment of the grip is also a big plus for the 509. The FN welds to the hand better simply because of this grip texture. Finally, the 509 gets another big point for having a truly ambi mag release which is both tactile and easy to manipulate, dropping mags with ease.
The FN 509 is a good defensive handgun with great grips, slide and controls. While the FN 509 is a great defensive gun, I shot the Glock 19 better and therefore if I had to pick one it would be the Glock. Either pistol would make for an excellent defensive handgun, whether it be concealed carry or home defense. They’re both fun to shoot on the range too, meaning that training will never be a burden.