One of my articles a good while back took a look at FN’s FNS-9 handgun. I’ve had the opportunity to train with and employ a few of the machine guns FN builds and I’ve had the chance to train with and employ their ARs. All that remained to round things out nicely would be to get my hands on one of their scatter guns and see if there was any firearm FN couldn’t build right. Having now been able to partake from what they have to offer both military and private citizens, I can tell you with complete certainty they do in fact build guns right.
A few months ago I was able to contact FN (their PR Specialist is probably the most helpful individual I’ve ever coordinated with) and have one of their SLP (Self Loading Police) MK1 shotguns sent over for some T&E. I was a little concerned with the FFL shipping process out here in Eastern North Carolina; it seems like most of the shops out here are so concerned with getting tripped up by one of the Waste of Paper laws they’ve got around here the shops feel obligated to go above and beyond the actual requirements to cover their b-hinds. I can’t fault ‘em, but it can make things frustrating. Fortunately I was able to coordinate with Eastern Outfitters, and their firearms department manager made things a breeze. They’re confident in their knowledge of the letter and intent of the law and therefore don’t feel the need to impose their own additional ‘requirements’. If you’re in the area, check them out here- easternoutfitters.com.
There are already some great, extensive, detailed reviews for this shotgun out there. In the interest of individualism, I’m going to break the mold here and start with the painful side of things first. At or above $1000.00, this gun is on the pricey end of at least my privately owned spectrum as far as stock guns go. Not many people that I talked to had this thing’s price tag in mind when I asked what their thoughts were on a 12 gauge. With that being said, unless you’re prepared for that you’re probably not going to be looking into a firearm like this, I’d barely call this shotgun stock, and there is validity to the expression ‘You get what you pay for’. That was awkward…moving on.
The details of this shotgun are what make it what it is. The controls are all oversized and very handy to manipulate. This is one of those guns you don’t have to sit down and figure out, the setup just kind of lends itself to being instinctually operated. The gun points very well, and the aggressive rail on top helped funnel my focus to the front sight and offered an easy setup for optics. I appreciated the rail being mounted a bit off the receiver because it forced consistent stock weld and acted as a great point of reference. Running a red dot on that rail creates a very fast setup. The chrome-lined bore and chamber is a great touch, but it’s really the gas operating system that seals the deal.
This gun cycles fast. I could not get my trigger finger to move faster than the action to fire off the 8 + 1 it holds. Multiple range sessions found me topping off the magazine tube, centering myself in front of my backstop, and just trying to pull the trigger faster than the gun could run. Whenever I took this gun out to the range I would bring every type of ammunition I could get my hands on, and a small fabrication shop from out west, Hagerbuilt Fabrications, contributed to the testing by providing magnum shells, slugs, birdshot, and regular OO buck. Whatever I fed that gun, it ate and asked for seconds, and thirds, and so on.
I brought out other shotguns to act as a comparison, and with help performed many a drill attempting to see which gun could cycle faster. The thing to keep in mind is this shotgun is geared toward competition shooting and real life tactical work, and we’re talking fractions of a second between first and fifth place in some events, life or death in others. Out in the field the level of proficiency among our little shooting group was diverse enough to disallow consistent results apart from the fact that everyone that touched the gun commented on the quality of the build, the ergonomics, shootability, and lower perceived recoil.
The 22in barrel is a breeze to move from target to target, probably due to the nimble weight of just over 8lbs that’s allowed by the aluminum alloy receiver. The Invector choke tubes are simple and produce readily identifiable results and shifts in shot pattern. All of this wrapped up in a nice black finish and I consider this shotgun ready to go.
I’m assuming I’m not the only one that’s taken the plunge on a high-end firearm only to be handed a nondescript cardboard box. I just traded an arm and a leg for this thing, and while some folks do manage to hang onto their cardboard boxes for years, I don’t want any part of my purchase to be anything less than pleasant. Let’s say, hypothetically, you were to finish reading this article and, being so moved you can’t help yourself, you power down you computer and head to your favorite gun shop. Selecting the SLP would ensure you would not experience that Corrugated Cardboard Cringe. The padded hardshell case the shotgun comes in is sturdy and attractive and easy contains the gun, the extra chokes and gas cylinder, plus room for cleaning gear, lube, or whatever you like to pack out.
Knowing that the only complaints about this shotgun I could find have to do with brand new guns not liking light, cheap loads, and knowing this gun has been broken in hard by its life in the T&E department confirms the build quality. I had no problems with any ammo, so if you decide to go out and get one and experience any issues, I guess you’ll just have to think about it, pray about it, then go shoot it some more…