It has been really quite interesting to watch the evolution of the “tactical” handgun in the last few years. Featured in this video from Tactical Toolbox, the latest rendition of the tactical pistol to take to the market, the FN 509 Tactical, is about as complete of a package as any factory handgun as one could be. Up until the 509’s release, most manufacturers released new handguns with one or two added features like a threaded barrel and suppressor sights and called it “tactical” which is great if you plan on adding a suppressor to it or perhaps an ever increasingly popular compensator. RMR slide mounting systems, interchangeable grip panels, accessory rails, and of course the beloved FDE options have all been sprinkled around the market on various occasions, but FN has gone ahead and bundled all of these features neatly into one very attractive package right from the factory. Thanks to Apex Tactical Solutions, the pistol can be relieved from the only weak point in the whole gun: its disappointing trigger.
These types of pistols are tailored towards professional armed individuals, but their cool factor is irresistible to civilian shooters looking to turn heads at the range or when smoking steel against the timer for the Gram.
Anymore, pistols have become the latest trendy gun to accessorize to the gills, giving AR’s a breather for a bit at least. Lights with all the lumens, silencers, red dot sights, extended mags, ambidextrous everything, flared mag-well attachments, are regularly stuck onto a handgun that has been turned to Swiss cheese with slide lightening cuts milled into it of course. I think back to the HK MK23 and how absurdly bulky and heavy it was, and how the tactically tricked out handguns of today are headed right back to that class of handgun.
By and large, these guns are range toys that look awesome in pictures and videos. They also thrive as a bedside home defense gun, especially when equipped with a light and suppressor. I’d argue that to be the ideal setup for that role, and I’m not just saying that because its exactly what I use for it. Ok, maybe a little, but I will argue with the “just rack a pump shotgun with buckshot” crowd later (…no I won’t, thats silly). Most of them work well, and shoot great with a variety of ammo. Most major companies have their bugs worked out by now, and what can be improved, surely can be with the endless aftermarket upgrades out there. What is most positive about all of these previously custom features being offered in a factory gun is that companies today are listening to what the market wants more and more. I anxiously await what innovations will be offered next!