LAS VEGAS -- FN America may have lost its bid to win the Army Modular Handgun System contract last year, but it's still betting on its proposed design.
The 9mm FN 509, based on the company's MHS proposal, made its debut at SHOT Show's industry range day Monday, following a public introduction last April. In all, four companies competed for the Army's $580 million handgun contract. The service announced during SHOT Show 2017 that it had selected Sig Sauer's P320 design.
While Beretta has made no move to convert its proposed MHS design, competitors Glock and FN both highlighted commercial variants of their proposals on range day. Glock's 19X is for civilian use, while the FN 509 aims to span the law enforcement and commercial markets.
Tom Victa, pistol product manager for FN, told Military.com the company had taken feedback it received from the Army through the MHS process to refine the design for the 509. In promotional materials for the 509, the company boasts one million rounds worth of testing to prove the worth of its design.
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"Reliability, durability, perfect," Victa said, describing how the MHS proposal had been raters. "It's the little things like some of the controls. That's what you saw a lot of the evolutions on."
These changes included adjustments to the grip, improvements to how the slide stops, and refinements to front and rear cocking serrations, Victa said. And the company has a lot riding on its belief that it has a winner on its hands.
"The 509 will be our platform that we will grow on; that will be our pistol for the foreseeable future," he said.
While FN is still marketing the gun hard to a law enforcement and military audience, it's exploring ways to make the gun more customizable to draw civilian consumers.
"Our guns have always been reliable, accurate, durable, all these things, but a lot of the customers, they want to make it their own," Victa said. "So that's what you'll see in the next year or two."
Suggested retail price for the 509 is $649, but Victa said the gun can be found for around $550, similar to some Glock 9mm models.