Seems like everything these days is getting smaller. Apartments get smaller, laptops get thinner, and even the mighty Big Gulp is down to a mere 64oz; surely, this is a sign of the Apocalypse. The good news, however, is that this also applies to guns. It used to be that a compact pistol meant sacrificing on features its big brother came with. Depending on the brand, that could mean missing out on small stuff, like suppressor-height sights, or it could mean losing some big features, like an adjustable backstrap, optics mounts, or a threaded barrel. That’s simply not the case anymore, however, and there’s now several pint-sized pistols offering those same big-boy features. But these little guys can sometimes feel overwhelmed, and while they may have all the goodies, they often still feel a little undersized for big-boy work.
Enter the new FN 509 Compact Tactical. Unlike some of its competitors, the 509 is built on an already proven platform, FN’s 509 striker fired handgun. That means it has all the same great ergonomics we love from that pistol, including a very comfortable grip (with interchangeable panels!) and ambidextrous slide stop and magazine release controls - a big plus for those cursed with left-handedness.
(FN also makes the 509 Compact Tactical in their popular Flat Dark Earth)
Even better, it carries over the great FN Low-Profile Optics mounting system. Take out a couple of screws and you'll expose a mounting surface for optics. That’s not so unusual, but what is unusual is that the iron sights are designed to co-witness with the optic for easier target acquisition. Plus,in a very clever design, when there’s not an optic on board the plate does double duty and acts as a protector for the rear sight.
Maybe the 509 Compact Tactical’s best feature is just how much of its big brother’s job it can take on. The 509 is a great choice for a full-size handgun, and that size especially helps with balance if it’s going to be suppressed, which the 509 practically begs to be. Sometimes it can be just a little too big, however, and that’s where the compact makes sense. That half-inch off the overall length makes a big difference when there’s already a big long can hanging off the front. So does the shortened grip, and with the available 15 and 24 round magazines with grip extensions, the compact doesn’t lose anything in capability.
With all that capability comes a great price. With its feature set, the full size 509 Tactical is already a great deal, especially in light of the fact that many of its competitors would need pricey custom work to get all the same feature set. It’s the exact same story with the Tactical Compact, as it comes with exactly the same features at exactly the same price.