REVIEW: Suppressing The FNX 45 Tactical Pistol with a SilencerCo Octane 45HD

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Suppress everything – That’s my motto. Even though the popularity of the .45ACP round is waining somewhat, due in large part to the performance of modern 9mm rounds, no one in their right mind would pass up the chance to launch 230 grain bullets quietly. So, with the arrival of my FNX 45 Tactical, I raced to order up a new piston for my SilencerCo Octane 45HD.

Ok, so I threw in that line about .45ACP to see how many of you I could ‘trigger’ at light-speed. What I really mean is that I don’t shoot .45 caliber handguns on a regular basis. #9mm_4_life.

I. Introduction:

FN America really has produced an amazing pistol in the FNX Tactical 45 – and it’s a complete package to boot. The whole deal starts with a well made, color matched ballistic nylon carrying case. The FN embroidered logo comes standard.

FN FNX TACTICAL 45 @TFB

FN FNX TACTICAL 45 @TFB

Inside, the FNX pistol has a hook-and-loop minimalist attachment point alongside two magazine pouches, space for a cable lock and a tool pouch. In the top flap is a clear pouch for user manuals and other paperwork. The case is a really nice touch as opposed to the standard flimsy plastic pistol cases that we all have collecting dust in a closet somewhere.

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What’s In The Box Case?

Honestly, I felt like Vincent Vega when he opened the briefcase in Pulp Fiction.

Jules: “Vincent! We happy?”

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Pulp Fiction – Miramax

Vincent: “Oh yeah, we happy.”

II. Specifications/Build Quality:

An alert for you purists out there: yes the FNX Tactical is a polymer framed pistol. So if you have pledged your allegiance to the blued steel of a 1911 and are looking for a new .45 caliber home, be forewarned, you’re going to be holding Tupperware.

Really, really nice Tupperware. The edges and seams are buffed and polished, the texture panels are refined and the cuts and groves are precise. I have yet to hear about someone sending their FNX out for a custom stipple job; a testament to a quality design. (Please don’t be the first – I’ll be forced to write a story about you).

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FN FNX TACTICAL 45 @TFB

Speaking of grip textures, FN has included three additional back strap inserts with the FNX in case the standard option doesn’t meet your needs. Honestly, they all felt the same to me, although it’s a nice touch.

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Three Additional Backstrap Options Included

Also included in the package are the mounting plates and hardware for attaching different manufacturers micro red dot sights. Alas, I have yet to cross over into the RMR world, so mounting and using and optic on the FNX will not be a part of this review.

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Mounting Hardware For Optics.

My test gun wasn’t new by any means, but the excellent FN build quality carried the normal wear-and-tear nicely. Every piece of metal was refined, without any noticeable machining marks.

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The FN Secret To Superior Accuracy? Kryptonite rifling.

The FNX definitely has that intrinsic feel of a quality handgun that’s hard to put your finger on. And although it also comes in black, I chose FDE because it’s well known to have better stopping power than other colors. Sorry, that’s just science.

If you are used to the steep grip angle of a Glock pistol, you may have a bit of retraining to do. I felt that the FNX always wanted to point a little high for me. And while we are on the topic, the suppressor-height sights are a welcome addition to this setup; they clear the SiCo Octane with room to spare.

Speaking of the Octane, the one accessory I needed to make this whole setup run was a 5/8″ x 24 booster. I bought mine from one of my go-to SOTs – Hansohn Brothers in Culpeper, Virginia.

III. Controls:

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What’s This ‘Safety” Thing Doing On My Pistol.

The FNX is fully ambidextrous, meaning that controls like the magazine release, slide stop and safety/decocker are replicated on both sides of the gun. This is a feature set that should be standard on all modern handguns. And not necessarily to appease the lefty’s of the world. If you practice disabled drills (and you should) where you simulate your strong hand being incapacitated, ambidextrous controls are a welcome addition.

Internet reviews on the FNX’s safety/decocker seem to be positive, and I agree, the lever is intuitive. Pressing the decocker with the hammer down disengages the safety. Pressing the safety with the hammer back decocks the action. Press it once more to once again to disengage the safety. As a former long time carrier of a DA/SA Sig P229, the old ‘decock and holster’ routine came back to me fairly easily.

A moment on safeties if you will. A few months ago I penned a tongue-and-cheek piece on how a manual safety has no place on a modern defensive handgun. Since then, I have had a lot of time to think about it, talk to a few experts in new field and dive into some deep self reflection. Well, today I’d like to make an announcement: Safeties still have no place on a carry gun.

Moving on…

IV. Fielding THE FNX:

There no point in denying it, this is a big pistol. Unless you are a linebacker-sized shooter, you should have no illusions about making this gun a concealed carry piece. However, as big as it is, the FNX carries, points and shoots like a manageable handgun should. The magazine release, slide release and of course the safety are all in easy reach with someone with normal sized hands. If you wear extra small gloves, you may want to try before you buy.

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Winter Is Coming.

Between it’s size and adding 15+1 rounds of .45ACP, this pistol definitely has some heft. Which could be why that the recoil impulse was surprisingly light, even with full powered loads. Add in a full-size suppressor, and it is almost like you are toting around a howitzer. Like I said, for it’s size, the FNX handles really well.

FN FNX TACTICAL 45 @TFB

FN FNX TACTICAL 45 @TFB

The double action trigger pull is smooth, however I’d classify it as it being a bit on the long side. The single action pull is short, sweet and to the point. And the reset between DA and SA is defined and repeatable. Being a fan of the stock Glock trigger (gasp), I’d rate the FNX’s mechanism as a solid 8/10.

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That’s A Lot Of Lead.

Chambering, racking the slide, ejecting live rounds, dropping the magazine and locking the slide to the rear were all boringly reliable. As the shooter, I got the feeling that this gun was meant to be a workhorse, focusing on function and reliability over all else. As it should be.

V. Suppression:

With a threaded barrel and suppressor height sights, the FNX was born ready for a silencer. So we now come to the crux of the review. How well does it suppress?

First, ‘how well does it suppress’ is a very subjective statement – what may sound great to me, may seem loud and harsh to you. Yes, we can factor in baseline decibel numbers into the testing (if we had the right testing equipment). But in the end, each shooter, and their environment are going to be different, so numbers are only a small part of the picture.

Second, I have one .45 caliber pistol silencer, and while I think the Octane is a solid performer, a sample size of one make for a poor scientific test.

Lastly, ammo choice is going to play a major factor in perceived suppression levels. Although almost all factory .45ACP ammunition is going to be subsonic, different types of powders burn at different rates, changing the way the discharge sounds. I had two types of ammo to play with for this review.

My first run was two magazines with the Octane dry (no ablative media). Although the report was unscientifically ‘hearing safe’ it was not as quiet as my 9mm setups. I’d classify it as being on the edge of painful. The good news is that thwack of 230 grains of lead hitting steel was impressive, to say the least. That’s raw power right there.

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Blowback

A major downside for me was the amount of blowback hitting me in the face. Using the full-power defensive loads, the blowback particles were actually painful with every trigger pull. Again, there are a combination of factors at play here, but using the same suppressor on my Glock 19 I never felt any blowback what so ever. And although the calibers were different, I used the same brand and type of ammo as I did here with the FNX – Winchester Ranger SXT.

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Blowback

Using 2cc’s of wire pulling gel to run the Octane wet, the sound levels noticeably decreased compared to running the setup dry. However, blowback increased, and after two mags, both myself and the FNX were filthy. Particulate matter to the face, arms and hands increased – this combination was not fun to shoot.

Switching ammo made the blowback issue slightly better, but not by much.

Remember, it could be that the Octane/FNX combination just isn’t a good match. But since I don’t see myself buying another .45 caliber can, this is where my beautiful new friend and I part ways.

VI. Conclusions:

Make no mistake, the FNX Tactical 45 is a superb pistol in every way except for one – adding a silencer to the system created heaps of unwanted blowback with every shot.

But, it would be unfair of me to place the blame solely on the gun without further testing, specifically using five to six other .45 caliber suppressors to see if the issue is inherent to the gun, the silencer or a combination of the two.

Having said all that, just because I wouldn’t buy this gun, doesn’t mean I’m willing to dissuade others from making that decision. It is well built, functions flawlessly and very accurate.

VI. Final Thoughts ON THE FNX TACTICAL:

The Good:

  • Superior quality
  • Great ergonomics
  • Accurate
  • Aesthetics

The Not So Good:

  • Blowback. Lot’s of blowback.

I wanted to love the FNX Tactical – I really did. I even thought that this might be the gun that would push me to buy a .45ACP as a host for my Octane. But it just wasn’t meant to be.

Maybe it’s like George Costanza says when trying to end a bad relationship: “It’s not you, it’s me.”


FNX™- 45 Tactical – MSRP $1,349.00

  • Caliber: .45 ACP
  • Operation: Double-action/Single-action
  • Magazine: 10 or 15 rds.
  • Weight: 33.3 oz. (empty)
  • Barrel Length: 5.3″ (with .578×28 RH barrel end thread pattern)
  • Overall Length: 8.6″
  • Sights: Fixed 3-dot night
  • Made in the USA

SLIDE

  • Stainless steel construction
  • External extractor with loaded chamber indicator
  • Front and rear cocking serrations
  • Slide cut and threaded for optional electronic red-dot sight (not included)
  • Raised night sights for suppressor use

BARREL

  • Cold hammer-forged, stainless steel
  • Polished chamber and feed ramp
  • Threaded 0.578×28 tpi with thread protector

FRAME

  • Polymer construction with replaceable steel frame/slide rails
  • Two interchangeable backstraps with lanyard eyelets
  • MIL-STD 1913 accessory mounting rail
  • Serrated trigger guard

OPERATING CONTROLS

  • Fully-ambidextrous decocking/safety levers, slide stop lever and magazine release

MAGAZINE

  • Polished body
  • Low-friction follower
  • Polymer base

SIGHTS

  • Fixed 3-dot night
  • Includes two mounting bases for optional red-dot electronic sights

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FN America – https://www.fnamerica.com/products/handguns/fnx-series/fnx-45-tactical/

PO Box 9424
McLean, VA 22102
Phone: 703-288-3500
Fax: 703-288-4507
E-Mail: info@fnamerica.com

Special Thanks:

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MAC Tactical – https://www.facebook.com/mactacticalllc/



Pete

LE – Science – OSINT.
On a mission to make all of my guns as quiet as possible.
Pete.M@staff.thefirearmblog.com


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  • John

    If you’re worried about a safety on a handgun, you need to train more. If you’re worried about no safety on a handgun, you need to train more.

    But otherwise, nice gun.

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      I’m not worried. Quite the opposite. External safeties on handguns are dumb. Keep your finger off the trigger and the gun won’t fire.

      • Dave Parks

        The holster is the safety!

        But in all seriousness, safeties are handy on single-action-only handguns with no decocker. Hammers have a way of slipping off of fingers when manually decocking, and things have a way of brushing up against the trigger while holstering.

        That being said, I won’t argue with anyone who says I should spend more time at the range 🙂

        • Harry’s Holsters

          Right on! A 1911 does a thumb safety right. Unless a gun is following that example they’re doing it wrong.

  • D

    I run my Octane 45 on my HK45 Compact Tactical and don’t have these problems. Maybe a little spray when firing it wet. And that can runs great on my Glock 17 and 19 (and surprisingly well on .22 pistols). It’s a nearly universal pistol caliber can. Could be your ammo or shorter dwell time before the action opens. Maybe try a stronger recoil spring or different ammo before throwing in the towel.

  • Nicholas C

    I have a FNX45 Tactical of my own. I don’t know what took me so long to get it. I have shot it suppressed and compared it to my Glock 21 and Glock 41. It is quieter than the Glocks,

    I like the tall sights and ability to use red dots., plus it comes threaded. It does hasp every some blow back but you should try a different suppressor,

    My friend’s Octane 9 is very gassy and spits stuff back at me all the time.

  • DIR911911 .

    . . . Giggitty . . . 🙂

  • Gary Kirk

    That’s very pretty, a pistol I might actually even think about buying in fde.. But at $1350.. Not happening, FN..

    • Gambler X

      When they first came out Gander Mountain had them at $800-900. A small gunshop i frequent had one for $750. “Ill get one later” i said to myself. “Later” they are now $1100

      • Harry’s Holsters

        I’d think they’d sell more and make it up in the volume at $750-$900 but I guess they know what they’re doing.

        • Stan Darsh

          That’s the thing that always seems to happen instead of selling in volume. The product release is popular so the Head of Sales says “We’re selling more than expected and if people can afford to pay $800 then surely they can afford to pay $1300.” Then the public is put off by the price increase and sales stall, so they are forced to keep the higher price to meet the quarterly/yearly quota when they could have easily made a larger profit selling in volume to begin with.

          • Harry’s Holsters

            Not to forget I think most people have a problem paying more than a grand for a polymer handguns that hasn’t been worked over by someone.

  • cwp

    FNX 45: $1,350. Comes in a sweet ballistic nylon case.

    SCAR 17S: $3,350. Comes in a cardboard box.

    WTF, FN?

  • Harry’s Holsters

    My biggest problem with this gun is the safety decocker setup. I wish safety was the middle fire was down and up was decock.

    This would allow you to run is cocked and locked without messing with the decocker. Maybe there are some major mechanical obstacles but I think this system would be cool.

    • Edeco

      Also would be able to use it as a thumb rest. Thinking the points would have to be shifted up a few degrees so fire is still horizontal to keep from bumping it to safe with the meat of the hand.

  • thedonn007

    I am patiently waiting for my paperwork to come back to build a .45 caliber suppressor. Titanium tube and SS baffles. I have a 9mm octane and it works great.

  • Slvrwrx

    How many rounds fired through it from the pictures of the blowback? Seems rather excessive on the outside of the slide.

  • Edeco

    Yep, pretty light throw. I’m surprised I haven’t bumped it up to safe during recoil. Got some police surplus +P 230 gr. ODH* to try, if I don’t bump it while using that I guess it’s OK.

    *Ol’ Dirty Hollowpoint