Firearm: American Tactical FXS-9 (MSRP: $349.95)
A few months ago, at a writer’s event, the folks at American Tactical gave attendees a sneak preview at the FXS-9: a striker-fired, polymer-frame 9 mm with 17-round capacity. It’s a pretty ubiquitous design, and one that gained prominence during the MHS trials for the new U.S. Armed Forces handgun that brought us the Glock G19X and the winner, the SIG Sauer P320. Obviously, the FXS-9 wasn’t part of that solicitation, but copied the formula in the design of the pistol.
With a 4.1-inch barrel, overall length of 7.45 inches, unloaded weight of 26.5 ounces and 17-round capacity, the FXS-9 is sized similarly to many popular concealed-carry staples like the Smith & Wesson M&P or FN509. It’s on the larger side, of course, necessitating a little more care in choosing cover garments, but offering a full, three-finger grip with plenty of room for the support hand in exchange for that slightly bigger footprint. Also, it takes common CZ-75 magazines, which means finding spare magazines won’t be difficult nor terribly costly.
The FXS-9 has both an ambidextrous thumb safety for those who prefer such devices as well as the standard trigger-based safety to protect against accidental discharged if dropped. Other controls include a generous magazine release, a slide stop lever and a takedown lever similar to the SIG P320. Other niceties include three interchangeable backstraps to best fit the FXS-9 to your hand, a loaded chamber indicator and a striker-status indicator. Pretty much standard, a three-slot accessory rail for lights, lasers or combination units graces the end of the dustcover.
Here’s the real kicker: All this comes at an MSRP of $350. Sure, there’s only one magazine included, but additional mags can be found for around $25 to $30. Yes, it is manufactured in Turkey, which does matter to some folks; my experience with Turkish firearms has been overwhelmingly positive, all politics aside, and the FXS-9 is one of the best examples I’ve seen so far. It’s a good pistol at a great price, and adds another affordable option to the concealed-carry marketplace.
Holster: Kinetic Concealment Hybrid Holster (MSRP: $64.95)
When it comes to, well, non-standard guns, finding a suitable holster for concealed carry can be challenging. Sure, sometimes you luck out and your non-traditional blaster will fit into another gun’s holster, but more often then not, anything that’s not a Glock, M&P or P320 is going to require some digging to find a decent holster. Fortunately, in the case of the FXS-9, the folks at Kinetic Concealment offer its Hybrid Holster for this pistol.
With a leather backing covered by a neoprene layer and a kydex outer shell, the Hybrid follows a familiar pattern. The neoprene keeps sweat and moisture away from the leather backing, which helps prolong the life of the leather itself – a common problem encountered with these hybrids is the leather softening over time and posing a potential hazard should it fold over while reholstering. Retention on the trigger guard is positive and secure, yet allows for a rapid draw.
Light: Nightstick USB-320 (MSRP: $71.04)
Rounding out our affordable EDC kit today is the Nightstick USB-320 handheld flashlight. A good light is easily one of the most useful items you can carry every day, and one that’s allowed just about everywhere. Nightstick’s USB-320 offers 320 lumens in either momentary-on or constant-on capacity in a USB-rechargeable light that’s 4.5 inches long and weighs only 3 ounces. It’s a comfortable size either in the hand or in the pocket, and has a lithium-ion battery for years of use.
Drop- and water-resistant, the USB-320 has a 1.5-hour run time, and takes about 3 hours to charge. The USB port is protected by an o-ring-sealed sleeve that prevents water from entering the port when fully closed. There’s even a charge indicator light that stays red when charging and turns green when the light is fully charged. It’s a great addition to your EDC kit, and while the MSRP is slightly more than $70, real-world pricing is much closer to $50.