Foxtrot Mike Products is one of many firms churning out AR-15 rifles and AR-9 pistols. As a pistol-caliber carbine, their FM9 holds plenty of promise. The FM9B features a billeted aluminum receiver set up for Glock magazines and an upper that is genuinely scaled down correctly for the 9mm Luger cartridge. The FM9H trades out an aluminum lower for a polymer one. One distinct feature of both is the inclusion of not one, but two magazine wells.
The FM9H is a straight-blowback operated PCC with the superficial lines of a scaled-down AR pattern rifle. The only appreciable difference between it and the FM9B is the use of an aluminum-reenforced polymer lower receiver. The FM9H is available with or without a pistol brace and with five, ten, and sixteen-inch barrels. Foxtrot Mike even offers a seven-inch barreled option exclusive to Primary Arms.
Operationally, the FM9H is mostly ambidextrous. The charging handle is placed behind the aluminum upper receiver like an AR-15 and it can generally be manipulated with either hand, but it is a bit less friendly for left-handers. The safety, magazine releases, and bolt release are similarly appointed like an AR but are truly ambidextrous. And yes, I said, magazine releases. The FM9H has a conventional magazine well forward of the trigger guard that feeds ammo into the chamber, but the pistol grip is hollow, allowing you to keep a spare magazine in storage.
Otherwise, the Foxtrot’s receiver comes optics-ready with a Picatinny rail. The aluminum handguard is slotted for M-Lock accessory rails and comes with a 1/2×36-inch threaded muzzle to take a tri-lug adaptor for the quick-detachable suppressors of your choice.
Compared to other PCCs on the market, the Foxtrot fits into the same short-barreled braced-pistol category shared by the Stribog and the CZ Scorpion, although a sixteen-inch model could compete quite well against traditional PCCs like the Keltec Sub 2000. But for the tactical market it is intended for, the Foxtrot is plenty of gun for half the price of other braced options out there. But when Jeremy Stone of Gun Mag Warehouse took the FM9H out for a field test, he found it lacking.
Jeremy went to the range with a braced five-inch FM9H. When paired with a suppressor and an EOTech optic, he was able to get rounds on target quickly and quietly. The pistol had no cycling issues, but the ergonomics leave something to be desired, particularly for the southpaw.
While the controls are technically ambidextrous, some of the buttons and switches appeared to be an afterthought. The one-sided charging handle that came stock with the pistol was already replaced with an ambidextrous version. The safety functions as it should on both sides, but the bolt release and pistol-grip magazine release were problematic.
On the left side of the pistol, the bolt release meant to be hit with the right thumb was prominent and easy to activate. But the release on the opposite side was smaller in size with no thumb pad for purchase. Jeremy had great difficulty locking the bolt to the rear using the right-side bolt release due to that lack of real estate and the fact that the upper receiver was not milled for the bolt release’s cycle of travel.
The idea of using a hollow pistol grip for storage is nothing new but using the grip to hold an extra magazine can be problematic. While storing a shorter flush-fitting 17-round Glock magazine might be worthwhile, the 33-round extended magazines that Jeremy used give the pistol an ungainly, shield-like appearance.
Leaving appearances aside, the redundant magazine release was easy for Jeremy to bump, allowing the extra magazine to fall out of the pistol. This phenomenon was likely due to Jeremy shooting the pistol left-handed, while the release is still set up for right-handed shooters. But no matter how much is moved around, the end user has to be mindful of it unless you don’t use it at all and carry your extra magazines in a pouch.
Although a solid PCC all around, the FM9H could stand for the elimination of this single superfluous feature and a redesign on one that end users not only expect but need.