FN debuted its smallest double-stack 9mm pistol in April, and we have been hitting the range with it to see if the Reflex has what it takes to top the micro carry market. 
 

Table of Contents

Overview
The Specs
Features
Trigger
Reliability
Accuracy
Pros & Cons
Conclusion

Overview


FN over the past few years has been trying to shrink down its 9mm carry offerings as an answer to market demands sparked by guns like the SIG P365 and Springfield Armory Hellcat. While the 6+1-shot FN 503 was small and dependable, people seem to have that double-stack micro 9 itch and, to scratch it, FN has debuted the Reflex. 
 

the FN Reflex 9mm micro compact
With a 3.3-inch barrel that gives it a 6.2-inch overall length, the FN Reflex falls into the increasingly familiar micro 9 subcompact category blazed by some rivals in the past few years. (All Photos: Chris Eger/Guns.com)
the FN Reflex 9mm micro compact
Hitting the scales at just 18.4 ounces right out of the box, it runs a flush-fit 11+1 round mag with a pinky extension for better grip support and ships with an extended 15+1 round mag. 
the FN Reflex 9mm micro compact
Besides the always popular Flat Dark Earth – this is FN, after all – the company also offers the Reflex in a more traditional black finish. Both finishes are also offered in standard and MRD optics-ready variants as well. 


Related: First Looks at the FN Reflex, how it Compares to the P365 & Hellcat 


The Specs

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 11+1 and 15+1 (10 rounders available in restricted states)
  • Trigger Pull: 4.3 pounds (10-pull average)
  • Weight: 18.4 ounces with an empty 11-round mag
  • Barrel Length: 3.3 inches, 1:10 twist
  • Overall Length: 6.2 inches
  • Sight Radius: 5.05 inches
  • Height: 4.27 inches
  • Width: 1 inch
  • MRD Optic Footprint: Shield RMSc/Holosun 507k/407k

Features

 

the FN Reflex 9mm micro compact
Take-down is simple, via a dedicated lever that rotates 90 degrees. Surface controls include a swappable magazine release that drops the mag free when pressed and left-side take-down and slide catch levers. 
the FN Reflex 9mm micro compact
The iron (not plastic) sights on both standard and MRD models are excellent, featuring a two-dot rear...
the FN Reflex 9mm micro compact
...and a front night sight with a tritium insert and high visibility orange circle.


The MRD models have a removable steel cover plate – a lot of competitors use a plastic plate these days – and are direct cut (no adapter plates needed) for Shield RMSc and Holosun 507K/407K micro red/green dot optics. This would also allow Riton 3 TACTIX MPRD 2, Swampfox Sentinel, and SIG Sauer Romeo ZERO series dots that use the same footprint. FN's Reflex mounting system includes screw sets that utilize self-locking nylon patches on the screw threads, eliminating the need for a thread locker to remain tight. Nice. 
 

the FN Reflex 9mm micro compact
We added a Holosun 407K green dot to the Reflex and found it to be a rock-solid fit once mounted. The deck is also low enough to allow co-witnessing with the installed irons. 
 
the FN Reflex 9mm micro compact
When speaking of ergonomics, the Reflex includes front and rear slide serrations that aren't just decorative, a deep beavertail that allows a high purchase on the back of the grip – thus allowing better control – while an undercut trigger guard and slim grip allow those with smaller hands ease of manipulation. Meanwhile, there is texture everywhere on the frame, allowing the pistol to "stick" to the hand. 
the FN Reflex 9mm micro compact
The multi-faceted grip texture extends across the magazines, being particularly notable on the extended 15-rounder. 
FN seems to have patterned the accessory rail on the Reflex after the one on the Glock 43X MOS and therefore any rail-mounted accessory that will fit that gun should work. Reps recommend the Surefire XSC and Streamlight TLR7 Sub micro compact lights. 

 

Trigger


In a true, "but wait, there's more," moment when it comes to the Reflex, FN has pulled off the magic trick of engineering the little 9mm to be hammer-fired, something that sets it apart from the competition which almost all use striker-fired actions. 
 

the FN Reflex 9mm micro compact
Yup, that's a hammer in there. 
the FN Reflex 9mm micro compact
The hinged trigger safety prevents the trigger from moving rearward under inertia should the pistol be dropped and, gratefully, there is no safety plunger design in the breechblock (ala Colt 80 series) that adds mush, nor is there a magazine safety such as the one incorporated in the latter generations of FN/Browning Hi-Power. 


Why does being hammer-fired matter? First off, it makes it easier to cycle than other micro 9s as there isn't a striker to cock and re-cock as part of the action. Next, it allows the pistol to be field-stripped without pulling the trigger as part of the disassembly process. Finally – and most importantly – it can allow for it to be smoother and lighter in pull. 
 

the FN Reflex 9mm micro compact
The hinged trigger has most of its take-up in the bottom of the bow and meets the wall quickly, breaking almost flat.


Right out of the box, the trigger broke at 4.7 pounds on a 10-pull average. After 500 rounds and a cleaning, this average dropped to right at 4.3 pounds and smoothed out a little more. This is notably lighter than the striker-fired P365 XMacro and Hellcat Pro, which we found to trend to the 5-pound mark and beyond. 

Check out the trigger in action, strong hand only, with some pretty stout self-defense loads.
 

 

Reliability


We fired 500 factory-loaded rounds in initial testing across three range sessions without cleaning the Reflex or adding any lube other than what it shipped with. The fodder included a mix of FMJ and personal protection loads, using both steel and brass cases, and in bullet weights from 115-grain to 147-grain. Across the 500 rounds, we experienced no stoppages. The worst thing we have to report is that the slide failed to lock back on empty a few times. 
 

the FN Reflex 9mm micro compact
The bulk of ammo used in testing included CCI's Blazer Brass 115-grain FMJ, of which we burned through six boxes, and four boxes of Federal's excellent Punch 124-grain JHP self-defense loads. Both proved accurate and dependable. 

 

Accuracy


The iron sights on the Reflex were excellent and allowed a great sight picture. This was augmented and enhanced once the Holosun was added. Despite the short sight radius and snappy recoil, the pistol was able to get back on target rapidly, especially when using a two-handed grip and working the trigger reset. On the menu at 25 yards were torso-sized plates with no issue, which is nice for such a small-framed handgun that is typically meant for much closer engagements. 
 

the FN Reflex 9mm micro compact
The typical groups at 10 yards with Federal Punch, standing, with an offhand isosceles stance, the group on the left with the flush fit mag (note the flier by the front sight of the pistol), and on the right with the extended mag. 

 

Pros & Cons

 

Pros:

  • Reliable.
  • Accurate.
  • Great trigger.
  • Compact.
  • Ease of maintenance with a safe takedown process.
  • Direct mounted optic system with no plates to fail and common footprint.
  • High viz steel sights.
  • Lots of variants including two colors and with/without optics cut.
  • Two magazine options are included.

Cons:

  • The accessory rail is noticeably short limiting its usefulness to micro lights
  • Few holsters are available.

 

Conclusion


FN came out swinging with the Reflex, and if it had been introduced a few years ago, would have quickly cornered the market and sent the other handgun makers running to the drawing board. Instead, the Reflex now has an uphill fight against a crowded sea of broadly similar pistols with the same broad strokes when it comes to dimensions, caliber, and magazine capacity. Where it surpasses many of its competitors is in the fact that it has a direct-mount optics footprint rather than relying on the questionable fitment of an adapter plate, is hammer-fired rather than striker-fired, and includes really good sights. 

Plus, when you load it and take it to the range, it works! 

The worst rock we can throw right now is that we are having problems finding holsters that work with it, especially when looking for a Kydex holster that accommodates an optic (FN has one in their eStore for preorder), and a good pistol-mounted light has also thus far proved elusive. Odds are the market will catch up with solutions for both of those problems. 

Stay tuned as we pile on the ammo and push the Reflex to the 2,000-round mark to see if we can get something to break!
 

the FN Reflex 9mm micro compact
The MSRP on the FN Reflex 9mm micro compact ranges between $599 and $659, depending on the model. 

 

revolver barrel loading graphic

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