We’re taking another look at what I feel is an overlooked option for concealed-carry, the FN America FN509. Even in full-size configuration, the FN509 is approximately the same size as the Glock G45 or G19X, both of which are widely regarded as excellent concealed-carry pistols. The FN509 is a tiny bit taller in the grip than the G45/G19X, weighs a few ounces less and is nearly identical in overall length. Even the concealed-carry standby G19 is only slightly shorter in grip length than the 509 – less than half an inch.
While it’s a subject for debate whether the grip or the slide is the harder part to conceal, an extra .4 inch isn’t going to make or break whether you can conceal the handgun. There are two immediate benefits, too: an additional two rounds in capacity, and, more importantly, a full three-fingered grip for the strong-hand and plenty of real estate for the support hand as well. Being able to shoot the pistol comfortably means you’re more likely to practice more, and that’s a good thing.
It's no secret that the 509 was designed for the same purpose as the aforementioned G19X/G45 – the Army’s modular handgun solicitation project. As a result of this program, the 509 came out with a 17-round magazine, forward and rear cocking serrations, striker-fired operation and a loaded chamber indicator, among others. Another thing commonly associated with the MHS program is a manual safety, which the 509 does not have.
One thing the 509 does have, that is vanishingly rare these days, is a trigger that has a hinge to prevent activation if dropped rather than the bladed-safety common at first to Glock, but most recently on the revamped M&Ps. Should you be a fan of the hinge – or, like me, just don’t care for the tactile feel of the bladed-safety trigger – the 509 is a remaining option. In any case, it’s a well-tested pistol suitable for everyday needs.
Holster: Henry Holsters Spark AIWB (MSRP: $85)
One advantage to a handgun the size of the FN509 is it can serve dual purpose as both a home- and self-defense pistol. Using it for both purposes makes a lot of sense – it’s the same gun no matter what the use. Having a weapon-mounted light makes a lot of sense for home defense, and while folks might argue about needing one for your carry pistol, keeping everything consistent is a smart idea and a great way to build familiarity. Finding a solid holster, then, is important, which is why we’ve chosen the Henry Holsters Spark AIWB for this kit.
With single-sheet kydex construction and twin-screw retention, the Spark indexes on the weaponlight and is contoured to the individual pistol. Currently, fits exist for the SureFire X300 and Streamlight TLR-7 lights, with pistol fits for the Glock family and, obviously, FN 509. A Modwing comes standard to help tuck the Spark into the body to optimize concealment, sweatguards can be had in full or partial lengths and belt attachment options include DCC monoblocks, griphook clips and the pull-the-dot loops shown here.
Knife: SOG Flash AT Garnet Red (MSRP: $74.95)
Rounding out our rock-solid, no-nonsense kit, SOG’s Flash AT Garnet offers a bit of flash in an eminently useful pocketknife. Featuring assisted opening via a thumbstud, the Flash AT uses SOG’s proprietary AT-XR Lock system to keep the blade open. If you’re leery of frame- or liner-lock mechanisms, because these systems more or less have you close the knife with your finger under the blade, SOG’s AT-XR is a welcome change. Simply push either side of the mechanism, then fold the blade into the handle.
Constructed of D2 steel, the 3.45-inch long, drop-point blade wears a titanium nitride finish for abrasion resistance and a bit more flair. Scales are glass-reinforced nylon and can be had in black, blue or gray in addition to the garnet red we have here. The blade is also offered in a half-serrated version, for those who prefer that option. The pocket clip is reversible for left- or right-pocket carry, but only in tip-up configuration, and is mounted high to allow for maximum concealment in the pocket.