There are few names better known in the firearms world than John Moses Browning and Fabrique Nationale. Browning, of course was the designer of the M1911 in .45 ACP, and he had a long affiliation with FN, dying at the firm’s Liege, Belgium, factory as he worked on the gun that would become the Hi-Power. Thus it seems rather fitting that FN should offer a high-capacity .45 ACP semi-automatic pistol.
The FNP-45 not only combines two outstanding elements from these earlier classics, but it also brings a good deal of modern improvements while providing a 15-round magazine capacity in a full-size, recoil-operated, polymer-frame double-action/single-action pistol.
Although many pistols are offered with ambidextrous features, few include as many as the FNP-45. In addition to the ambidextrous safety selector/de-cocker, it also includes a fully ambidextrous magazine release and the far-less-common slide lock/slide release, providing left- and right-handed shooters all of the same controls. The take-down lever, however, remains exclusively on the left side of the pistol.
The safety lever allows for cocked-and-locked carry with the Commander-style hammer back on a chambered round and the safety engaged. The safety disconnects the trigger bar when in the up position so the trigger moves freely but does not engage the hammer or fire the pistol. Pushing the safety selector down de-cocks the pistol, returning it from single-action mode to double-action. The de-cocker includes a mechanical block that prevents the hammer from making contact with the firing pin.
Internally the FNP-45 also has a hammer-drop safety designed to prevent the pistol from firing if dropped, and the hammer has a half-cock notch. The gun will only fire if the trigger is fully depressed. Another valuable internal feature is the steel slide rails that are installed into the polymer frame. These can be factory replaced to extend the pistol’s service life.
The polymer frame includes two interchangeable backstraps, one flat and one rounded, each with a lanyard hole. A large accessory rail on the frame’s dustcover is well suited for mounting a light or laser, and the grip features an aggressively checkered texture to ensure purchase even when wet. The magazine well is also widened and beveled for easier and faster magazine changes.
The pistol’s substantial weight is mostly in the large stainless-steel slide, which features a matte-black Melonite surface treatment, providing durability and corrosion resistance. The process leaves a nitride finish directly on the metal that is much thicker and tougher than traditional bluing. The black color is applied on top of the Melonite. The slide features serrations fore and aft, and both the slide and frame narrow toward the front for ease in holstering. A loaded-chamber indicator on the right side of the gun behind the ejection port provides both visual and tactile confirmation of a cartridge in the chamber. The slide is topped with C-More Systems three white dot sights with a snag-free profile, and serrations are machined onto the rear sight to prevent glare from degrading the sight picture.
The blackened and Melonite-coated stainless steel 41/2-inch barrel is cold-hammer-forged. This is a process where a steel blank is hammered around a mandrel creating the lands and grooves as well as the barrel’s chamber. The full-length steel guide rod includes a captive flat-coil recoil spring.
FNH USA ships the FNP-45 with its full Shooter’s Pack, which includes a high-visibility yellow polymer training/safety barrel, one extended 15-round magazine and two standard 14-round magazines (where legal), a polymer dual-magazine pouch and a matching holster with belt or paddle attachments made by Blade-Tech. All of this comes in a lockable fitted hard plastic case with an owner’s manual and cable lock.
It requires a large gun to accommodate such a significant number of .45 ACP cartridges; however, it still fits the medium-size hands of evaluators well, and handled comfortably thanks to the FNP-45’s more than 2 pounds of weight (and that’s with an empty magazine). For accuracy testing we used a sandbag rest at 25 yards with the best group measuring slightly more than 2 inches. There were no malfunctions despite using a variety of hollow-point and full-metal-jacket ammunition.
Fabrique Nationale designed the FNP-45 to be a serious gun for competition or personal protection; and with an ample supply of .45 ACP ammunition on hand, it is clearly well suited for both. When combined with the generous shooter’s pack and accessories provided, this pistol provides excellent value, good accuracy, outstanding reliability and versatility in a gun that can be comfortably handled by most any shooter.