Offering a 15+1 capacity in a frame just slightly smaller than a Glock 19, the FN 509 Compact is good to go when it comes to reliable carry pistols. 

With a manufacturer's asking price of $679, it runs about $120 on average cheaper than the same-sized FN 509 Compact MRD, which is optics ready and about $370 less than the FN 509 Compact Tactical with a threaded barrel, an optics cut, and suppressor-height night sights. This makes the FN 509C a good choice for fans of the 509 platform that don't anticipate adding an optic or can to their carry gun. 

Overall length is 6.8 inches with a 3.7-inch barrel. Shipping complete with low-profile iron (not plastic) sights, the FN 509 Compact tips the scales at 25.5 ounces with its standard flush-fitting 12-shot mag inserted while standing 4.6 inches high. With the longer 15-round mag inserted, we found the loaded FN 509 Compact to weigh 32 ounces and come in at a height of 5 inches flat over the top of the rear sight. By comparison, a loaded G19 with 16 rounds ready is 7.36 inches long, 5.04 inches high, and a weight of 30.2 ounces. 
 

FN 509 Compact
Not a huge difference, but still noticeable, and if you are good with running the 12 rounder, the FN 509 Compact is even more concealable. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

 

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FN 509 Compact
For those who aren't a fan of FN's famous "50 shades of FDE," the 509 Compact also comes in black. (Photos: FN)


The Compact has a MIL-STD-1913 accessory mounting rail with three grooves for lights, lasers, bayonets, or whatever other pistol accessories you want to hang off it. Other features include a fully ambidextrous slide stop lever and magazine release as well as a modular grip frame that ships with a second rear insert. 
 

Related: First Look at the FN 509 Compact Complete With Comparisons and Field Strip
 

FN 509 Compact
The mags use a high-viz/low-friction follower and have a polymer base with a black finish and the gun ships with both a 12- and 15-rounder. For those behind the lines, 10 rounders are available. Likewise, the gun can accept all higher capacity FN 509 magazines, such as the 17- and 24-rounders seen on Tactical and Edge models.  (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)
FN 509 Compact
Genetically, it looks like a dead ringer for the circa 2015 FN Model FNS-9C but has much-updated ergonomics and 509 internals.  (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

 

At the range


FN bills the trigger, which has a flatter face than previous designs used by the South Carolina-based company, as having a cleaner break than previous 509s and a 5.5-to-7.5-pound pull. We found that our test gun broke at about 6-pounds and felt nice for a stock trigger on a striker-fired handgun with a firm wall and super clean break. There are worse out there. 
 

FN 509 Compact
The three-dot sights have a drift adjustable blacked-out rear with a bright canary front post that acquires rapidly. Dovetailed into the top of the slide, they accept 509-pattern replacements.  (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)
FN 509 Compact
The slide catch and mag release are ambi and are out of the way when not needed, protected by fences on the frame. When these surface controls are needed, the extended, well-textured surfaces are easy to actuate. This is a bonus for southpaws looking for a good carry piece.  (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

 

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Across four range trips, we fed the FN 509 Compact a diverse variety of factory 9mm ammo running the gamut from 115- to 147-grain loads in FMJ, TMJ, JHP flavors to include both brass and steel cases. The results after 1,000 rounds were exactly zero malfunctions that were attributed to the gun.
 

FN 509 Compact
The FN 509 Compact utilizes the same "million round" research the company put into their entry to the MHS competition that is used by the rest of its family. The customer is not the beta tester on this series.  (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)


The mix of at least four different surface textures on the front, rear and sides of the grip frame couple with the ergonomics to make the gun easy to control while shooting, with recoil staying manageable even with the shorter barrel.

 

Contest: Enter to win a range-ready, envy-inducing FN 509 Compact Tactical direct from FN!

 

FN 509 Compact
The gun handles very naturally and feels like you are shooting a full-sized 509, with the 509C "sticking" to your palm, even in one-handed firing. Note the brass still in the air while the muzzle is almost back on target. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)


Thus, with +P loads: 
 

 

 

FN 509 Compact
Practical accuracy was phenomenal, with this being the average 27-shot 15-yard group in rapid-fire.  (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

 

Closing 
 

About the worst thing you can say is that the holster selection for the 509 Compact is not as wide as other models, so the hunt for a good carry rig that really fits well may involve reaching out to custom makers.
 

FN 509 Compact
Holsters for the FN 509C are not super common, but they are out there. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)


As already stated, the gun does not have the provision right out of the box for miniature red dots, but for that you can get an FN 509 Compact MRD. On the upside, you get an ultra-dependable 9mm with a 12+1 or 15+1 capacity that is reverse-compatible with its larger brother's mags and brings snag-free iron sights and ambi controls along for the ride. In addition, the 12-shot mag, just long enough to comfortably get your pinky firmly on the grip, is ideal for carry with the longer 15 being a reload mag. 

FN runs the motto of "The World's Most Battle-Proven Firearms" and, although the 509 Compact isn't direct from the battlefield, it runs like it is ready for one while wearing like it is ready to tag along, unseen, as they say, in the best places.
 

FN 509 Compact
MSRP of the FN 509 Compact is $679. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

 

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