It takes a lot to impress me, I’ve become pretty used to Tokyo Marui’s continuous improvements over the years. Although it’s fair to say that even their older pistols are more than capable of holding their own… The newer models have taken a leap forward in functionality such as decockers and ambidextrous controls where appropriate.
The FNX was originally designed to compete in the Joint Combat Pistol program in late 2006, an ill-fated attempt to find a replacement for the Beretta M9 but with a requirement that the pistol be .45ACP in caliber and also be able to be suppressed. Ill-fated it might have been, mostly due to ever changing demands from those in power but it led to the creation of this pistol… Which in itself might be the program’s sole redemption.
Seen mostly in games such as ARMA 3 and Day Z, the FNX 45 is a hell of a pistol concept. A double stack 15 round magazine fed .45acp pistol with the ability from factory to mount a Suppressor, Laser or Light via a built in rail and… A slide mounted optic.
All of this in a design that takes the best of Colt, Beretta and Sig… A package that could be described as one of the best all-round pistols on the planet.
Designed to be more than simply a sidearm, the FNX 45 is an intimidating weapon that would potentially serve you just as well as a carbine in an offensive situation much like the Mk23 was designed for many years before.
The main problem with the H&K effort being that the Mk23 was deemed to be far too large and cumbersome, SEALs from a certain unit (Ahem, DEVGRU) apparently going for it’s smaller nephew, the HK45CT for that .45acp suppressed stopping power.
Had the FNX been available at that same time during the height of the GWOT, it might have been the FNX and not the H&K being seen in operators holsters.
Back to the Marui though, why are they 4 years behind the VFC manufactured/Cybergun Licensed FNX that did remarkably well upon its release? Who knows… Marui don’t give a reason for most of their decisions, they simply build what appeals to them at that moment in time, their fan base being loyal enough to almost guarantee a profit in their products.
I’ve had a fair amount of hands on experience with the Cybergun FNX, a good friend of mine has owned one from damn near their initial release. A good looking pistol according to some, ugly according to the majority… in an ever increasing world of custom glocks though with threaded barrels, RMR cut slides, ambidextrous controls and aggressively stippled lowers, this pistol packs those features fresh out the factory.
When opening the box you’re confronted with that typical Marui pistol design, placed in a card overlaid polystyrene cut out, sitting more on than in the bottom of the box but secured enough to prevent damage.
The cutout also has perforated areas to include the Micro Pro sight, a loaded magazine and the Suppressor should you choose to add these to the pistol.
A fancy bit of artwork also contains a box which holds the accessories for the FNX 45, spare bolts for attaching an RMR directly to the slide, an Allen key for said bolts and the typical Marui inclusion of a red muzzle cap and a pair of inserts to allow your pistol magazines to fire continuously with an empty magazine.
Included with the pistol, alongside the spare magazine is 3 additional back-straps. An aggressive textured or smoother, line textured back-strap in both small or medium sizes (the medium sized aggressive one being fitted from the factory).
The first thing you notice is the colour, or colours actually… The Marui FNX replicating the dual FDE tone of the real FNX. The pistol itself is a little different from most others you’ll have held, it blends some of the SIGs lines with the simplicity of the Glock. Funnily enough I found it similar to the Beretta in more than a few ways. Maybe that was intentional by the original designers looking to replace the iconic M9, maybe it’s just two people approaching a problem the same way.
A set of “Suppressor” high mount irons sit atop the FNX, a three dot standard sighting arrangement that you find on most tactical pistols nowadays. What it took me longer than it should have to realise is that the dots are glow in the dark… Whilst I’ll inevitably end up buying tritium sights for this at some stage, the glow in the dark dots are a very welcome addition!
Just forward of the rear sight you’ll find a removable panel, which can be used to accommodate either Marui’s Micro Pro Red Dot Sight or a number of real options. Handily there is a pictogram showing the correct bolts to use in order to prevent damage to the pistol when mounting either the Micro Pro Red Dot Sight or its original cover.
Vortex’s micro venom sight has been proven to fit, and looking at the pic posted by Wolf Armouries tech guy Jon, it looks stunning (although I’m not sure if I prefer the cerakoted FNX).
The slide itself is very Sig P226 in its shape with more than one person remarking at a recent game that it looks like a love child from a one night stand between a 1911 and a P226, maybe with a cuckold Beretta M9 hiding in the closest and H&K USP videoing the whole thing.
Back to reality… Subtle serrations on the front and rear of the slide gives a good grip no matter how you choose to cock the pistol, A separate metal extractor is just for show but contrasts nicely against the FDE slide.
Onto the barrel, a very well finished threaded barrel with a knurled thread protector sits inside the slide, a separate recoil rod and spring sits below this and locks into the hop unit. The thread is 16mm Clockwise which means that most suppressors will not fit.
The suppressors from a Mk23 however or some aftermarket ones such as Ace 1 Arms Osprey will fit with the correct adaptor applied. Oh and the barrel… It’s metal! Maybe Marui have done this before but it’s a new one for me, maybe Marui are starting to push even further away from the gentlemen’s agreement set up in japan over 3 decades ago regarding metal replicas.
The frame and grip of the pistol is chunky, in a good way though. The FNX 45 doesn’t have the uncomfortable brickesque feel of the Mk23 or a Desert Eagle but equally, it’s not a pistol suited to concealed carry.
The frame has a very visible mould line, this is actually a pretty legit piece of workmanship as the real FNX 45 has a rather prominent mould line running down the middle.
On the frame you have a complete set of ambidextrous controls, at the rear you have a Safety/De-cocker which is very much in the same position as of 1911 model pistols. Up will put the pistol into safe and bar the trigger from being pulled.
Down will put the weapon into a ready “fire” state and with an additional push down it will partially de-cock the pistol to a half cock. My decocker doesn’t work as well as it could, a firm press needed on both levers to make it actually function.
A de-cocker isn’t something I’ll usually use, I carry mine with the hammer back when in game and unloaded outside of the game but it’s never crashed to see functions replicated, although it could work better.
Forward of the safety is the slide release, this being an option to release the slide once a fresh magazine has been loaded into the pistol. The slide release is fully ambidextrous and there is no discernible difference operation it with either hand, although ergonomically its a little to far rearward for my liking… Maybe I’m just an old Fudd used to his 1911s.
The slide can be removed from the frame using a very similar locking mechanism to the Beretta, push in the button and rotate the lug to allow the slide to come forward and free of the frame. The only difference being that you need to have the slide rearwards to disengage the slide.
Once the slide is removed you can access the hop unit, Marui have had a recent obsession with hops that you can adjust via the ejection port… I’ve yet to find a reason why this would be a good idea and if anything can only cause potential damage as you need to use a small tool such as a flat blade driver to adjust the hops of this type anyway… On the FNX 45 we see a welcome return to the traditional type of wheel adjustment on the breech of the pistol, one that isn’t so much better but could mitigate a few accidents whilst adjusting the hop.
The magazine release is ambidextrous too… instead of relying on a paddle release such as seen on the H&K USP (a system I personally love, despite its negative feedback from most users), the FNX 45 has a more traditional button release with the catch actually engaging with the front of the magazine, not the side. The only difference being that the button is a bar that follows through to the other side allowing it to work whichever side you push on. It’s stuff enough to prevent any accidental magazine drops but smooth enough to be fast for the user once enough time has been spent practicing reloads.
The FNX 45 has an external hammer, whilst this doesn’t actually make much difference in Airsoft terms (with Airsoft replicas effectively all being striker fired) it does have an impact on the trigger pull.
The pull from double action is shorter than that in the Beretta M9, but longer than you’ll be used to on a Single Action only pistol like a 1911 or striker fired pistols like Glocks. The trigger itself is comfortable to hold (as is the pistol in general), much better than the Glock and M&P design in my opinion and certainly better looking.
Once the hammer is cocked though it’s a different beast, it requires a smooth but firm trigger pull with an intuitive release point on the sear. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as good as the 1911 or M45A1 but it’s noticeably better in my opinion than any of my other double action pistols, the USP 9mm included.
The pistol has the now almost mandatory 20mm picatinny rail, for your choice of weapon-light. Personally, I find the blinding beam of a Surefire X300 Ultra a favourite for finding my way around dark rooms but it will fit any light designed for a standard 20mm pistol rail.
The threaded barrel is obviously there to facilitate the use of a Suppressor, but it’s fair to say that in Airsoft there’s little to be achieved by using a Suppressor unless you’re running a Non-Blowback pistol such as Marui’s Mk23, or have an incredibly well set up AEG.
On a gas blowback pistol, all they tend to do is add weight and bulk in an area you really don’t want it.
The Suppressor that Marui suggests is the same as offered as part of the HK45 Tactical package, now available separately in either Black or Tan. It’s not really based on any particular Suppressor but looks the part nonetheless. I’ve been informed that the Suppressor from a Mk23 will fit but as for cycling? It’s a fair amount of weight on a tilting barrel and there will likely be issues or at least an efficiency loss with cycling.
Finally, the Magazines… a really chunky bottom provides a good amount of area to grip them while loading, it should also allow for a little protection if letting your mags drop to the floor (having dropped one onto the roads of Caerwent already I can confirm they’re pretty tough).
The rest of the magazine is finished in that dull metallic finish (unlike Cybergun’s over the top chrome) and each one will hold a whopping 29 shots! Nearly double that of the real pistol.
Performance wise, I’d heard tall tales of this pistol being able to lift .4 ammo out to 80 metres as stock, so I had to give it a go… I was incredibly shocked to find that indeed it will lift .4s (tested using Geoffs .4s) but as far as range goes? Certainly not 80 metres although the sheer ability of a stock pistol to lift this ammo does now give another option for those seeking a heavy hitting pistol.
Gas efficiency… it’s an area I don’t like to get too tied up in, generally reviews that give you figures like “hits out to 70 metres” or “3 whole mags with one fill of gas” are full of shit and don’t equate to real in game use.
Marui pistols for the most part will give you at least one full magazine of shots with good results at a comparable range to a good quality AEG and a slide that consistently locks back on empty. Some guys might care about getting 3 mags from one gas fill but that’s not the ideal way to use a pistol, treat it like your car and keep that tank full whilst your playing… reloading in game isn’t really something I do and if I were to load ammo into anything it’d probably be my primary.
Range is another thing that I never like to get into… I will say that it’s got some legs… more so than the Glock 19 or USP 9mm, without a doubt this pistol will push as far as my M45A1 or the Desert Eagle (both of which are probably more accurate up to 50m than their real counterparts).
holster options are a bit more limited than for your average Glock or Sig user but most of the big names will have an FNX holster in their line up, Bladetech make a very nice Kydex holster and Safariland obviously is going to be another high end option. IMI/Fobus and Blackhawk! Also make more affordable holsters but being left handed and a massive fan of Kydex Holsters I’ve opted for another from the excellent line up at HW Holsters.
Internally, Marui have innovated where they’ve had to. The piston and cylinder design are oval so help accommodate the low cut RMR slide, a fantastic soliciting but one that will require proprietary parts should repairs or upgrades be needed.
A Marui standard inner barrel, made from Brass and 6.08mm across its bore by 113mm long gives good results. It’s always made me chuckle when people are searching for the ultimate barrel for their replica… Marui did a shitload of research in the 80s and most of it still holds water… 6.08mm allows a small air cushion whilst providing a tight enough seal for a consistent shot each time.
Sure, there’s always certain set ups that work better than the norm but Marui don’t profess to being the most accurate Airsoft manufacturer in the world, simply the most consistent. You’ll struggle to beat the stock barrel and hop rubber in a Marui pistol and it’s not down to the magic Marui fairy dust, it’s simply high quality engineering and close tolerances with a QC department that would make some car manufacturers jealous.
All the controls are responsive and don’t feel loose, I’ll keep an eye out for issues down the line but I’m yet to have anything cause me worry on any of my pistols (except for my old 226 which caused me nothing but hassle).
Overall, this is one of the finest pistols to come out in recent years… And that’s including the other Marui releases. I’d love to start reviewing more than just Marui but having shot so many other pistols from ASG, RWC/RWA, WE, Marushin, Western Arms, KWC, KJW, KWA, Etc… I’m yet to find anything that matches Marui’s ability to shoot well out the box and come anywhere close to their reliability. Up until now I’ve bought my replicas out of my own wallet, it’s got to be something I like the look of but it also has to be a sure thing before I spend my hard earned on it.
The FNX45 just feels so polished and complete that I can see it being regarded as one of the classics in years to come, it’s not groundbreaking like some of their previous releases such as the PX4 or HK45 and it’s limited use in the real military world will obviously limit its appeal but for those who treasure function above form, this is a contender for that perfect Airsoft sidearm.