Another Micro-9: The FN Reflex

In a sea of Micro-9s, Fabrique Nationale threw their hat into the ring in April 2023 with the FN Reflex. Is this just another Micro-9, or does it bring some innovation to the table? Well, get ready because we’re going to give you the full rundown on this little pistol.


The past several years have seen a marked trend in the handgun market the likes of which we’ve never seen before. Micro pistols, many of them in 9mm caliber. In fact, the country is rushing back to the 9mm as though it were the long-lost prodigal son returning from a sojourn.

Many police agencies have realized that the .40 caliber, while a good round, is not the utopia it had been painted to be originally back in the 1990s. High pressures mean that the round causes a lot of wear and tear to the pistols that it’s chambered for. And the recoil is snappy in handguns. In addition, it is more costly than the 9mm.

The 9mm has proven to be far better for chambering in smaller pistols. Consequently, gun companies are cashing in on this renewed popularity by making smaller pistols that hold far more rounds than we’d ever imagined.

The Reflex

This pistol is FN’s response to the rest of the small 9mm pistols on the market. They’ve obviously taken their time, considering it was first introduced in April 2023. We’re not sure how long they spent in the design phase, but it doesn’t appear to be rushed. Many other gun makers beat them to the punch by a span of years. Is that necessarily a bad thing? Let’s take a look at the finished product, and you can be the judge.

Tech Specs

We’ll take a look at the technical specifications here to see just what we’re working with.

As mentioned, this is a 9mm pistol and is rated for +P loads.

The Reflex weighs 18.4 ounces. Its barrel length is 3.3 inches, and its overall length is 6.2 inches, putting it in the running with the other pistols in this class on the market.

The height is 4.27 inches, with the width being an even one inch.

Magazine capacity has three options: 10, 11, and 15 rounds.

The 3.3-inch barrel is hammer-forged and has a 1:10 Right-Hand twist. The feed ramp is also polished, which certainly helps feed rounds reliably.

The frame has a rail that allows micro lights/lasers to be attached. It’s a Picatinny rail with one groove.


The sides of the grip have a stippled finish, while the front and rear feature more aggressive textures that resemble rectangles. Between the two, the Reflex is very unlikely to slip or shift in the shooter’s hand. One of the things that jumped out at me when I picked this pistol up was how comfortable the grip was. FN knocked it out of the ballpark on this one.

The Reflex's controls and grip.
The controls are pretty standard. The magazine release is easy to reach and activate. The grip texture keeps the pistol anchored in the shooter’s hand and is very comfortable. Photo: Jim Davis.


At the beginning of the article, I mentioned that we’d see if FN brought anything innovative to the table with this little pistol. And indeed, they have! This is a hammer-fired, Single Action Only (SAO) pistol, setting it firmly apart from the other manufacturers in this category. The hammer is completely internal, so it’s not visible from the outside.

Why does this even matter? Because it gives the Reflex a unique and excellent trigger pull. It feels like a striker-fired pistol when you’re going through the take-up phase of the trigger, except that the take-up feels lighter. But then you hit the wall, and when it breaks, the trigger pull is very crisp and not at all heavy. All in all, the trigger pull is excellent. It’s very probable that the excellent trigger pull lends to the pistol’s accuracy. FN lists the trigger pull in the 4.5 to 5.5-pound range.


The slide wears a PVD finish, and ours was in a Flat Dark Earth color, which honestly looks really cool. There are front and rear cocking serrations on the slide, and they work well. Also of note, the slide was relatively easy to rack, especially when compared to some other pistols on the market. This might be a factor for those with hand injuries or weakened hand strength.


The sights on the Reflex deserve special mention because they are metal and of the three-dot variety. However, FN went the extra mile and made the front sight tritium. The front sight dot has an orange circle around the tritium insert, which makes the sight very visible and easy to pick up. Moreso than some other sights on the market, we really like that orange circle!

The Reflex sights.
The orange circle of the front sight is fast to pick up and very visible. The fact that it’s a tritium night sight is outstanding. Photo: Jim Davis.


The magazines are exquisite and made in Italy, which tells us they are likely produced by Mec-Gar, the highest quality magazines available. Mec-Gar makes factory magazines for most of the big-name companies in the game, and there are none better.

The Reflex with a spare 15 round magazine.
The FN Reflex comes with an 11-round (seen in the pistol) and a 15-round magazine. Both have their advantages. Photo: Jim Davis.

The 11-round magazine comes with a flush-fit base pad and a pad with a pinky extension (that one was installed from the factory). For obvious reasons, we preferred the pad with the pinky extension. Plus, having that extended base pad on the magazine really didn’t interfere with the pistol’s concealability.

The 15-round magazine has an extension that perfectly matches the pistol’s grip molding and extends the length of the grip to that of a more full-size pistol. Interestingly, the Reflex will still conceal rather well with the 15-round magazine in place. Shooting with the 15-rounder in place allows a better grip and more leverage on the pistol. At any rate, having such a small pistol with a capacity of 15+1 is still a modern marvel.


All controls are just where you’d expect them to be. The magazine release is reversible and, when activated, efficiently pops the magazine out of the mag well. The release is elongated and has checkering, so it’s easy for the thumb to reach and activate.

The slide release is very tiny, but then we shouldn’t really be using it to release the slide. Instead, we should rely on gross motor skills by using our hand to release the slide.


We were able to do our best shooting with the 15-round magazine in place. It seems that having a full-length grip just facilitates better control. With that said, the 11-round magazine was no slouch either, especially with the pinky extension base plate installed.

The Reflex in the hand.
The Reflex is incredibly comfortable in the hand. The slim profile lends itself perfectly to concealed carry. Here, the 15-round magazine is in place, giving a full-length grip.  Photo: Jim Davis.

The concept of a full-length grip and a short barrel is not a new one, though some newer shooters believe it is. Colt pioneered this concept decades ago, and it’s still as sound today as it was then. You have a hand-filling grip that gives leverage and control, and the short barrel clears leather faster than a long barrel. Plus, it indexes on targets faster, especially when negotiating corners, such as inside a structure or around vehicles. That shorter slide shaves fractions of a second off drawing and indexing. And in a fight for your life, life might be measured in fractions of a second.


We were a bit shocked by the accuracy (in a good way). Sometimes smaller pistols can be difficult to make good hits on target. Such is not the case with the FN Reflex. With very little effort at 15 yards, we were able to shoot some tight groups, and it almost seemed as though the pistol was shooting itself. This is the mark of a very accurate and shootable pistol.

A 15 yard group.
A rapid-fire group at 15 yards was more than satisfactory. Photo: Jim Davis.

We took it back to 25 yards and received pleasing results there, too. No, we weren’t expecting one-inch groups from that distance, nor did we achieve them. Instead, we got excellent combat accuracy at a rapid pace, and that’s what it’s all about. This pistol will deliver as long as you do! The only minor issue we ran into was the fact that it shoots a bit low. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s a small factor. I’d still take the pistol without complaint.

At The Range

We’ve already covered the accuracy aspect of the Reflex.

Reliability was 100%, with various rounds being run through the pistol from Federal, Herter’s, and Igman.

Given their small stature, many such pistols are very snappy during firing. Our experience with the FN Reflex is that the pistol is definitely among the more pleasant micro-9 pistols to shoot. We dare say it was fun to shoot at the range, which is high praise indeed.

The 15-round magazine was easier to shoot, and we have a certain preference for it. It is better for controllability, and accuracy reflects that.

Final Thoughts

FN’s Reflex pistol is a decisive winner. Despite being a little late to the game, FN made up for lost time with this pistol.

It’s very accurate, 100% reliable, and looks good doing it. The FDE finish enhances the appearance in a positive way.

The comfort that the grip displays is among the very best of any of this class of tiny pistols. Many people have noticed my love affair for the Springfield Hellcat series, and their excellent grips are a significant part of why I love that series. Putting that aside, though, I have to say that the FN Reflex’s grip is at least as comfortable as my beloved Hellcats — and maybe just a smidgen more comfy!

So, what do I think of the FN Reflex? To be honest, I’m currently scheming on how I can obtain one of my own. You see, the pistol in this review belongs to a very good friend. He bought it as a private purchase; FN did not send us this sample, and so we have no vested interest in how this review turned out. It’s just simply a damn good pistol, and I want one!


Above, I mentioned that I wanted a Reflex of my own, so I bought one at my local gun shop (FN did not send one to me, nor were they involved in any manner with these reviews). Having high hopes and expectations, I headed to the range to put my own FN through its paces.

Surprisingly, my pistol did not mirror the performance of my friend’s pistol in that I experienced numerous stoppages. The rounds would go up the feed ramp but would hang up before fully entering the chamber. I tried a few different brands of ammunition, but the failures to feed continued. This was most disappointing and surprising, given FN’s pedigree.

Another issue with my Reflex was that the tritium front sight did not glow; it was completely dead. Even in pitch darkness, I could not see any glow. Believing that my eyes might have finally given out on me, I had a few other people confirm this, and they also verified that there was no glow whatsoever. I sent an email to FN about it and am still awaiting their response. This is a small matter in the overall scheme of things, but it points toward poor quality control.

This was all so disappointing. I really liked the Reflex, and I wanted it to work. It was going to be a favorite in my carry gun rotation, but at this point, I really can’t trust the pistol, given its numerous failures. Caveat Emptor.

Jim Davis served in the PA Dept. of Corrections for 16 ½ years as a corrections officer in the State Correctional Institute at Graterford and later at SCI Phoenix. He served on the Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT), several of those years as a sniper, and also the Fire Emergency Response Team (FERT). For 25 years, he was a professional instructor, teaching topics including Defensive Tactics, Riot Control and Tactical Operations, Immediate Responder, and cognitive programs as an adjunct instructor at the DOC Training Academy. He was then promoted to the title of corrections counselor, where he ran a caseload and facilitated cognitive therapy classes to inmates. His total service time was close to 29 years. He was involved in many violent encounters on duty, including incidents of fatalities. He is a dedicated Christian and attributes any skills that he has to the glory of God.

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