Hook & Barrel’s Brian McCombie reviews the new FN 510 Tactical. Its versatility goes far beyond that of your typical 10mm auto.
If, like myself, you are a huge fan of all things 10MM AUTO, the last decade has been a gift. Actually, a series of gifts – and the the new FN 510 Tactical is the latest.
The 10MM AUTO arrived in 1983 in the form of the Bren Ten pistol; the pistol had a number of functional problems, but the round itself was clearly a more powerful, longer-range option to the 45 ACP.
By the early 2000’s, though, the 10MM AUTO appeared headed into the footnote category of both firearms and ammunition history. Production of 10MM AUTO ammo was at a relative trickle as fewer and fewer handguns were being chambered in this potent round.
Then a strange thing happened: firearms manufacturers began building new pistols in 10MM AUTO around 2010, usually larger framed, heavier models like long-slide 1911’s. Then came polymer-framed, striker-fired models as more people started buying these new 10MM’s, especially handgun hunters. The self-defense market was slower to catch on, but eventually the 10MM was offered in concealed carry and home defense options.
FN 510 Tactical Review
Enter the FN 510 Tactical in 10mm
Now, FN America has offered us the FN 510 Tactical in 10MM, and all by itself this pistol is one hell of a present for the 10MM aficionado.
Styled after FN’s popular FN 509 Tactical, the 510 Tactical sports similar enhanced grip texturing, interchangeable backstraps and slide serrations. Poly-framed and striker fired, the 510 Tactical weighs in at just 32 ounces unloaded.
But it’s considerably heavier when loaded—especially with a fully loaded 22-round magazine! Yes, 22 rounds, giving the FN 510 Tactical a total ammo capacity of a staggering 23 rounds. The pistol also comes with a flush-fit 15 round mag, and both mags are made of steel.
The 4.7-inch barrel is cold hammer-forged and threaded with 0.578″x28 thread pitch. The barrel also features a recessed target crown to protect the rifling and maintain accuracy. The serrated sight “wings” which sit atop the slide protect the rear iron sights from shifting should the pistol be dropped or jarred, and can act as a slide racking surface, too.
The FN 510 Tactical is also optics ready, has both a fully ambidextrous slide stop lever and magazine release, is available in both black and flat dark earth (FDE), and ships with a sturdy nylon zipped case.
Testing the FN 510 Tactical
I received a FDE version of the 510 Tactical and the pistol’s accuracy and functionality were very impressive. For ammo, I ran the pistol with three brands of 10MM ammunition at my outdoor range: Hornady Handgun Hunter launching a 135-grain Monoflex bullet; Remington UMC range ammo loaded with a 180-grain full-metal jacket (FMJ) bullet; and, Sig Sauer’s Elite Performance, also sporting a 180-grain FMJ.
I began my shooting using the pistol’s open sights. The tritium inserts of the suppressor-height night sights popped nicely, and the aforementioned “wings” on either side of the rear sight drew my eye right into place.
Once I had fired off a couple dozen rounds to get used to the 510 Tactical, I pegged five shot groups of 1.5-inches and under at ten yards pretty easily, shooting offhand.
Time for an optic.
Let’s Add an Optic
The 510 Tactical come standard with FN’s patented Low-Profile Optics Mounting System, compatible with every major optics footprint. The mounting hardware included four adapter plates, plus the necessary screws, wrenches and instructions.
AMERIGLO has relatively new reflex red dot optic, the Haven, and I had one on hand. The Haven offers four variations. Mine featured a 3.5 MOA red dot, and, like all Haven models, was built on the Trijicon RMR footprint. And the FN 510 Tactical arrived with the adapter plate and instructions to easily mount the Haven onto the pistol, once the rear sight was removed.
The Haven sports a slightly wider lens and field of view than many red dots, a real help for getting me on target quickly. The unit also featured a handy side-loading battery compartment and very precise elevation and windage controls, plus an aircraft-grade aluminum housing.
I zeroed the pistol and optic at 10 yards from a rest. My last group had the first four shots touching, at just .60-inches, and then I “pulled” Shot #5 and ended up with a group that measured .80-inches. Well, damn!
Check Out The Groups
I shot the 510 Tactical at 20 yards from a rest with all three ammunition brands and had little difficulty drilling three shot groups of 2.0-inches and under. My best groups were the Sig at .91-inches and the Hornady Handgun Hunter with a nice .80-inch group aimed at the head area of a Birchwood Casey Boar Splattering Target.
About that 22-round magazine. I had no problem loading 18 rounds into my magazine by hand. But I needed a magazine loader to get the last four rounds of 10MM into the mag. I used my UpLULA Universal Mag Loader made by Maglula, Ltd. and it worked fine.
That extra-capacity magazine has another benefit. It provides greater stability while shooting because the whole palm of my non-shooting hand presses against the bottom left side of the magazine.
Final Thought: FN 510 Tactical Review
The tactical part of the pistol’s official name notwithstanding, I think this will be a fine hunting pistol, too, given its accuracy, its optics-ready capability, and its powerful 10MM AUTO chambering. And I hope to prove just that in the near future on hunts for wild hogs and report back on how the 510 Tactical functioned afield.
Specifications: FN 510 Tactical
- ACTION: DAO, Striker-Fired
- CHAMBERING: 10mm Auto
- SLIDE: Machined Steel, Front and Rear Cocking Serrations
- FRAME: Polymer
- BARREL: Cold Hammer-Forged Steel, 1:16” RH Twist
- BARREL LENGHT: 4.71”
- MAGAZINES: One 15-Round, One 22-Round
- SIGHTS: Suppressor-Height Trijicon 3-Dot Night Sights
- TRIGGER: Hinged, Target Grade
- HEIGHT: 6”
- WIDTH: 1.45”
- LENGTH: 8.3”
- WEIGHT: 32 oz.
- ACCESSORIES: Threaded Barrel, Optics Cut Slide, Two Interchangeable Backstraps, MIL-STD-1913 Rail, Nylon Case.
- MSRP: Under $1200
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