Richard Johnson is a gun writer, amateur historian and - most importantly - a dad. He's done a lot of silly things in his life, but quitting police work to follow his passion of writing about guns was one of the smartest things he ever did. He founded this site and continues to manage its operation.
The new Compact model has a 3.8″ barrel and shorter grip frame. Standard magazines hold 13+1 rounds. If you are stuck in a reduced-liberty state, 10 round magazines are available.
As with the full-size pistols, the STR-9 Compact is a striker-fired handgun with a polymer frame. It weighs in at 24 ounces (unloaded.)
Stoeger uses a safety that is built into the center of the trigger. This trigger safety, popularized by Glock, helps to prevent accidental discharges. It is naturally disengaged when a shooter presses the trigger.
In addition to helping keep both cost and weight low, the polymer frame allows for the use of interchangeable backstraps. While often found on more expensive guns, Stoeger includes the feature on this pistol to improve the ability of the owner to fit the gun to his or her hand.
Drift adjustable, 3-dot sights are standard. However, the company offers tritium night sights as a factory option.
Additional features of the new Stoeger STR-9 Compact include:
reversible magazine release for left-handed shooters
low bore axis for improved control over muzzle rise during recoil
aggressive texturing on the front and rear of the grip
accessory rail for the addition of a white light or laser module
black nitride finish
As with the other guns in the STR-9 line, the Compact model has an affordable price tag. The suggested retail price is $329 for the standard model. If you wish to step up to the night sights, the price increases to $449. Keep in mind that these are suggested retail prices. Your dealer sets the actual price, which may be even lower.
Stoeger backs the STR-9 Compact with a 5 year warranty.
Concealable pistols continue to drive much of the firearms market, and the new FN 503 is an example of that trend.
FN America just announced the new 9mm handgun that will be direct competition for other single-stack, subcompact pistols like the Glock 43, Smith & Wesson Shield, Walther PPS M2 and the Springfield Armory XD-S Mod.2.
But, how does it compare? Will it build enough of a following to be a viable product long-term?
Let’s take a look at the pistol and what it may offer you.
FN 503 Features
Put simply, the FN503 is a striker-fired subcompact 9mm pistol that was designed for concealed carry.
FN states it took design cues from the FN 509 pistol, which was its entry in the US military’s handgun replacement program. But this gun is clearly built for concealment.
The company claims that the feel of the striker-fired system is “arguably the best in its class” with a crisp trigger break at an average of 5 pounds.
As with other striker-fired handguns, the FN 503 trigger has a safety built into the face of the trigger. Unlike many similar pistols, FN uses an all-metal trigger.
The gun is relatively small. It has a 3.1″ barrel with a maximum width of 1.1″. However, FN built the gun with large controls to make it easy to run – even under stress.
On top, the company uses metal 3-dot sights. They are dovetailed into the slide with a cut that matches that of the FN 509 pistol. That means the sights are large enough to be useable and can be replaced with fiber optics or night sights if you prefer.
FN developed a new grip texture that it likens to skateboard tape. That should provide adequate traction for controlling the pistol when shooting – even when your palms are sweaty.
6 rounds (flush fitting), 8 rounds (extended)
21 oz unloaded
How Does it Compare?
With a variety of other pistols on the market in this niche, is there a compelling reason to purchase it instead of the competition?
Until I’ve had this gun on the range for a full testing and review, I can’t say for sure. However, here is how the gun’s numbers stack up against the competition:
Note: All measurements rounded to the nearest tenth.
You should not buy a defensive firearm solely on specifications. However, specs can help you narrow down your choices. All of the guns in the table above – save the new FN 503 – are currently in my possession. The Walther is my favorite with the Shield and G43 being close runner ups. It will be interesting to see how the new FN pistol will compare once I have one in hand.
While the gun might be a little late to the party, it has the styling and features to put it on par with its contemporaries.
Assuming the gun is reliable, I think it will carve out a place for itself with many gun owners. How large of a market share it can pull remains to be seen.
Market share is important as it will be a key factor for obtaining third party support such as FN 503 holsters.
Does the lever action gun still have a place for personal protection? In this Mossberg 464 SPX review, I answer that question.
From hunting to protecting the homestead, the lever gun proved its worth in American hands time and time again. In the modern era, lever action rifles like this Mossberg do have a place.
In this review, I will show you how Mossberg equipped the rifle, how it performed and where it might fit for your protection needs.
Let’s not waste any time and dive right in.
The quick take:
The Mossberg 464 SPX rifle performed very well in testing. I had a small ergonomic issue with the lever safety, but the gun ran great. If you like the traditional approach of a lever gun but want one with the flexibility to customize for your needs, it might be right for you.
Mossberg 464 SPX
Lever action rifles have faithfully served lawmen, soldiers and ranchers alike.
Even so,Â I’m sorry to say that my first impression of the 464 SPX was that Mossberg jumped the shark with the tactical gear. Since I’ve had time with it, I’ve changed my tune.
Chambered for the classic .30-30 Win cartridge, the gun looks a little out of place with all of the modern furniture. From the A2-style muzzle device to the adjustable buttstock, the gun looks like it has been fitted with gear from my AR-15 spare parts box. For some reason, that rubs me the wrong way. Maybe I’m just a traditionalist.
Nevertheless, the gun is equipped with these things because they work. Isn’t that what we should be looking for in a “tactical” gun – performance over aesthetics?
The SPX is basically a 464 lever action rifle refitted to make it more suited for tactical purposes.
Mossberg shortened the barrel from 20″ to 16.25″ to make it more maneuverable. While they were at it, the company threaded the barrel. As it ships, the gun is fitted with an A2-style flash hider. However, you can easily replace this with a sound suppressor for safer shooting.
Working back from the muzzle, the synthetic forend is textured with grooves to give it a modern look as well as to improve your ability to grip it. Three short Picatinny-type rails are included on the forend at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions. These rails make for perfect mounting points for a flashlight or weaponlight.
The hand grip is fitted with grooves that match those in the forend. Farther back is the adjustable, AR-style stock. My test gun had an ATI stock while the newer production models have a synthetic stock with a QD socket on each side for a sling.
On top of the gun is a set of fiber optic sights. The front sight is red while the rear 2-dot sights are green. They are quite bright in both outdoor and indoor settings. In dark conditions with little ambient light, they are harder to find.
Out on the range, I shot at varying distances to 100 yards with the sights. I’ve recorded how the different ammo performed in the gun below.
The gun met my expectations in terms of reliability. I had zero issues with loading, feeding or shooting. The lever action was smooth and had no hitches in the movement.
Recoil was moderate and on par with other .30-30 Win rifles. The ATI stock has a reasonably thick recoil pad that made a full day of shooting relatively comfortable.
The trigger pull was ok. While the break was crisp, there was quite a bit of take up before you got there. I felt almost no overtravel.
During shooting, I discovered that hand position on the rifle is critical. A plunger on the underside of the stock serves as a trigger safety. When you grip the rifle, the lever should depress the plunger and allow you to fire. However, there were several instances in which I failed to depress the lever far enough to disengage the safety.
I suspect that my regular shooting of AR-style rifles created a typical hand positioning that is slightly different than what should be used with the 464 SPX. The safety is designed to prevent accidental discharges, but is a potential failure point for which you have to train.
Like other Mossberg long guns, there is a tang safety. Push it forward to fire and pull it back to put it on safe.
One thing I was surprised by was the weight of the gun. Unloaded, the gun weighs 7 pounds. Yet, it feels lighter when handled. I suspect the gun’s even balancing reduces the heavy feeling that an unbalanced rifle can relay. For homestead defense, it is possible that you may have to keep an intruder at gunpoint for an extended period of time. The balance and relatively light weight will make that easier for you.
I tested the gun with three different loads: one each from Hornady, Remington and Winchester.
Hornady LeverEvolution 160 gr FTX
Remington Core Lokt 150 gr SP
Winchester Super X 150 gr
Performance measured with a Competition Electronics ProChrono Digital Chronograph at an approximate distance of 15' from the muzzle of the pistol. All measurements are an average of five shots.Accuracy measurements represent the best 5-shot group at 100 yards from a sandbag rest.
With the Hornady LeverEvolution, I was able to get the best 5-shot groups at 100 yards. They tended to range from 2.75″-3.25″.
Shooting the Winchester loads, I was able to get very consistent 3.75″-4″ groups. Unfortunately, the Remington Core Lokt load did poorly in this rifle. I shot groups up to 7″ wide with a best of only 5.5″
These are not the tiny groups you might expect with an AR, but keep in mind that I was shooting with the standard sights – no scope. Additionally, groups are 5-shots, not the three used by a lot of reviewers.
While the ballistics of a .30-30 Winchester cartridge suggest lower theoretical accuracy than a .223 Rem or .308 Win, I freely admit that the weak spot in the shooting is me – not the gun. Frankly, my eyes and hands aren’t as young as they used to be.
Does It Make Sense for You?
So, does the Mossberg 464 SPX make sense as a home defense weapon?
That depends on you and your needs.
For me, a rifle makes good sense. While I like shotguns, the fact is there are three other people in my house that may use the rifle for self-defense. While all of them can shoot a shotgun, the reality is I’m the only one who relishes the punishment a 12 gauge can dish out.
The lever action gun in .30-30 Win is a proven manstopper, yet it is easier on the shooter than a shotgun. In fact, the lever action rifle is even easier to run for most folks.
So, for my family, the Mossberg 464 SPX makes a lot of sense.
Does it replace an AR15?
Again, that depends on your needs and desires.
For many people, a quality AR will be a better choice. AR rifles tend to be a bit lighter in recoil and offer up to 30 rounds in a standard magazine. While I’d rather take a deer with a .30-30 than a .223, the fact is humans are easily stopped by both cartridges.
While this shouldn’t be an issue in the US, the sad truth is you can be perceived in a better light by the criminal justice system by shooting an attacker with a lever gun that with a so-called “assault weapon.” Depending on where you live, this may be an important consideration.
The Mossberg 464 SPX is a solid tactical lever action rifle. I do not hesitate in recommending it.
As with all of my reviews, I fully disclose any potential biases that may sway my opinion.
Mossberg provided the 464 SPX used in this review. It was a loaner gun that was returned after my testing was complete. The company did not offer me money or other consideration to write a review of this rifle. Nor are they an advertiser.
I have no financial interest in Mossberg or any other firearms manufacturer. All of the opinions in this review are my own.
Unlike many (most?) of the gun blogs and forums on the internet, GHG is not owned by a large corporation based in who-knows-where. It’s just me and my family with a few friends that pitch in from time to time.
GunsHolstersAndGear.com is a for-profit website.Â I do not charge readers a dime to access the information I provide.
Some of the links on this page and site are affiliate links to companies like Amazon and Palmetto State Armory. These links take you to the products mentioned in the article. Should you decide to purchase something from one of those companies, I make a small commission.
The links do not change your purchase price. I do not get to see what any individual purchases.
Questions about anything? Please ask in the comments section below. Also, if you’ve spent any time with this gun, please share your thoughts. Agree with me or not isn’t relevant. The more folks talking about their hands-on experience with the gun the better.
I just ask that you keep things civil and free of profanity. I want this to be a family-friendly site.
For anyone building their own AR10 or AR15 from an 80% lower, a good jig is an absolute must. I’ve tried several, but I have a new favorite.
In this 80% Arms Easy Jig Gen 2 review, I completed several different AR15 lowers from different manufacturers and made of different materials. And, even though I tried, I couldn’t find any significant fault with the system.
If you have an AR10 or AR15 lower waiting for completion this review will be of interest to you. So, let’s not waste any time and jump right in.
The 80% Arms Easy Jig Gen 2 proved to be a very accurate, easy and fast jig for completing an AR lower. Of the jigs I’ve tried to date, it is my favorite. In addition to my review here, you can see more on it atÂ the company’s website here.
The Easy Jig Gen2
Making an AR15 is one of the most popular homemade firearm builds today. Even so, a lot of people are hesitant because of the perceived difficulty in accomplishing the task.