The FN 502 Tactical is the gun all proper gun nerds have dreamt of whether we realized it or not. It is a beautiful, full-sized rimfire rendition of the storied FN centerfire combat pistols. The FN 502 packs all that is righteous and wholesome about those superlative tactical tools into a chassis that is versatile, rugged, cheap to run and fun. Simply speaking, the FN 502 is the .22 LR combat handgun for grownups.
The FN 502 Tactical
Unlike most .22-caliber plinking pistols, the FN 502 Tactical is serious social iron. The polymer grip beautifully replicates that of its centerfire big brothers. Likewise, the bilateral controls and killer feature set will seem familiar to anyone who has ever hefted a modern FN defensive pistol.
Additionally, the FN 502 is the gun world’s first rimfire pistol cut to accept a slide-mounted red-dot sight. The FN 502 is the combat simulator.
A Brave New World
One minute it was all Love Island, America’s Top Model, and Game of Thrones. The next, everything was gone.
Profligate spending and woke social justice laid the foundation. A deranged foreign policy destroyed the U.S. standing in the world, and then America quietly passed some ethereal tipping point. Not unlike when Afghanistan fell, once the cavemen got tooled up, it all went shockingly fast.
Most rural spaces fared fairly well. Folks gradually remembered how to coax food from the ground, and communities rallied for self-protection. Big cities devolved into something out of Dante.
Before “The Fall,” the man’s daughter had worked in the city for two years as a nurse at a non-profit free clinic for the homeless. It had killed the man and his wife to see her leave the farm. But she was smart, selfless, altruistic, and driven. The phone call was terse. “Daddy, I need help.” The man was geared up and gone 10 minutes later.
It was dark when he reached the suburbs. He abandoned his truck when the derelict cars and burning tires occluded the roads. Dressed in a bulky field jacket and grubby clothes, he did his best impression of a derelict vagrant as he moved through the screaming crowds toward his daughter’s clinic.
All the while, his hand rode in his jacket pocket wrapped around the grip of his sound-suppressed FN 502 pistol.
His little girl was locked in the building along with two friends, frightened but unhurt. The man checked them all over and explained the plan. His daughter had her 9mm pistol and two spare magazines.
Thanks to her dad, she knew how to use it well. The street outside was illuminated by the flames of a dozen fires, and the noise grew louder.
The man stacked the three young ladies in tight. He swung the AR pistol underneath his jacket around such that he could reach it quickly if needed. Then he retrieved his suppressed FN rimfire, tucking the pistol discreetly alongside his thigh.
It had been 15 years since he had done something similar in Helmand Province, but some things were like riding a bike. Though he had 16 rounds on tap, the man was taking great pains to avoid trouble. However, if trouble came knocking, he would light it up like a Christmas tree.
Dialing It Back
I’ll be honest, that was fun to write. Post-apocalyptic tales are reliable box-office gold, and I love a good zombie movie at least as much as the next rabid gun nerd. However, something’s different now compared to the world pre-Covid.
We don’t have to surf over to Netflix to see stuff like that anymore. We all watched it in real-time in places like Seattle, Portland and Kenosha. Anarchists behaving badly transformed Minneapolis into Mogadishu.
In the face of truly unprecedented urban chaos, a proper sound-suppressed rimfire pistol can be way more than simply a fun way to while away a peaceful Saturday afternoon at the range. Perched atop a century’s worth of sundry .22-caliber handguns, the new FN 502 Tactical is the apex predator.
Most rimfire pistols are recreational range toys that might also have a little practical utility. By contrast, the FN 502 is designed from the ground up to be a serious working gun. That means a red-dot on the slide, a tactical light on the railed dust cover, truly bilateral controls, and a little extra awesome sprinkled liberally over the top.
Details of the FN 502 Tactical
The FN 502 is a hammer-fired, single-action-only handgun. That gives it a delightful 5-pound combat trigger. There is a manual bilateral thumb safety and no de-cocker. Don’t fret about that. A zillion 1911 pistols can’t be wrong.
The slide is cut from aircraft-grade aluminum. There are generous cocking serrations both front and back, and the fixed sights are elevated for a suppressor. There is a dedicated loaded chamber indicator that can be read both visually and by feel.
The 4.6-inch barrel comes from the factory threaded 1/2×28 for a sound suppressor. As the gun is direct blowback the barrel is fixed. The can, therefore, is no impediment to either accuracy or reliability. The gun is a drop-in fit for most FN 509 tactical carry rigs.
Each FN 502 comes with a 10-round magazine and an extended 15-rounder. The slide naturally locks back on the last round fired. Aside from a relative dearth of both racket and recoil, the FN 502 Tactical is a perfect rendition of your favorite centerfire combat pistol.
How Does She Run?
Holy crap, what a rush! Don’t take this thing to the range without a decent supply of rimfire ammo. I outfitted mine with a nice red-dot sight and a top-flight sound suppressor. The dust cover rail perfectly accommodates any standard lights or lasers. The synergistic result is everything your favorite centerfire FN combat pistol might be only way cheaper to shoot.
The trigger is to die for. There is a trivial predictable take-up and a nice, crisp break. Its personality rivals that of a decent 1911. The hardware is in place to carry the gun safely in Condition 1 should the spirit lead.
Magazines leap out of the butt like asparagus through a toddler. The 15-round magazine offers proper combat pistol performance, and there is a handy button on the side that helps compress the follower to ease loading chores. The 10-round version mounts flush with the grip should concealability be the order of the day.
The slide release and safety are perfectly mirrored on both sides, and the magazine catch is a genuine bilateral push button. Lots of guns include a reversible magazine release. By contrast, that of the FN 502 Tactical drops the magazine with equal enthusiasm when pressed from either side.
Running with Optics
The gun comes with three different optics mounts to accommodate the Trijicon RMR, the Shield RMS and the Vortex Venom, as well as other sights that use these footprints. Each mount has its own suppressor-height rear sight built in. The iron sights are high enough to co-witness seamlessly with the red-dot.
Despite the extra mass on the slide, the FN 502 Tactical ran flawlessly with whatever standard velocity rimfire ammo we fed it. Subsonic ammo occasionally failed to cycle the slide fully. But all loads were naturally subsonic out of this pistol-length tube.
Shooting this gun is absolutely intoxicating. Accuracy is superb, and recoil is not a real thing. The beefy geometry and real-world controls make the FN 502 a great understudy for your favorite bedside defensive pistol.
Running the gun, particularly with the suppressor in place, makes for positive habit transfer as well as a more neighborly shooting experience.
So, What’s It Really Good For?
Are you serious? If you had an adequate supply of quality rimfire ammo, you’d shoot this gun until the sun burned out. I honestly cannot fathom a more enjoyable practical handgunning experience.
Whether it is assassinating used beverage cans or printing smiley faces on your pistol targets, the tricked-out FN 502 is just a ton of fun. But that’s just the beginning.
Running a handgun well is hard. Pistols are the most demanding of all tactical firearms to manage effectively when rushed, sweaty, or terrified. The FN 502 Tactical lets you practice your defensive handgun skills without breaking the bank in the process.
A brick of .22 shells will last you through multiple fruitful outings to the range. That’s still not really the practical limit of the FN 502’s repertoire, however.
Every serious gun guy needs a reliable suppressed general utility .22 pistol. A SWAT buddy keeps one handy on live ops to quietly deflate tires, extinguish offending lights or surreptitiously deal with vicious dogs. Those of us who live out in the boonies typically use such a rig for management of household pests.
If ever you were to get “The Call” from a loved one in trouble, you could even conceivably use the FN 502 for real. The FN 502 Tactical is the coolest, most versatile .22 pistol I’ve ever seen.
For more information, please visit FNAmerica.com.
FN 502 Tactical Specs
Caliber: .22 LR
Barrel: 4.6 inches
Overall Length: 7.6 inches
Weight: 23.7 ounces (empty)
Sights: Suppressor height
Action: SA hammer
Finish: FDE, black
Capacity: 10+1, 15+1
|Winchester Wildcat 40||1,036||1.25|
|Winchester M22 45 938||938||2.0|
|Aguila 40 Copper-Plated||1,011||1.5|
|CCI 45 Clean 22||921||1.2|
Bullet weight measured in grains, velocity in feet per second (fps) by chronograph and accuracy in inches for best four out of five rounds fired from a simple rest at 12 meters, measured center to center.
This article was originally published in the Combat Handguns January/February 2022 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions at OutdoorGroupStore.com. Or call 1-800-284-5668, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.