FN 503: The Slim New 9mm Pistol

FN 503 Review

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.

FN503 9mm Handgun

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.


magazine capacity6 rounds (flush fitting), 8 rounds (extended)
barrel length3.1"
weight21 oz unloaded
finishmatte black

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:

FN 503

Glock 43

Kahr CM9

S&W Shield


Walther PPS M2








capacity (flush fitting magazine)







barrel length







weight (unloaded)

21.0 oz

18.0 oz

15.9 oz

19.0 oz

21.5 oz

19.4 oz

width (thickest portion)



not given











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.

Final Thoughts

FN 503 9mm Pistol

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.


Ruger PC Charger Pistol

Ruger PC Charger Pistol Review

One of the runaway hits for Ruger has been its 9mm rifle. Building on that success is the new Ruger PC Charger Pistol chambered in 9mm.

Based on the company’s PC Carbine, the new PC Charger Pistol has a wealth of features that will make it a great candidate as an SBR or the addition of an arm brace.

Here’s a quick look at the new pistol.

Quick Note

I’m a fan of the original Ruger PC Carbine. It proved to be an excellent shooter and had the feeling of being a quality build.

While the PC Charger Pistol is likely to be more of a niche gun, I fully expect it to be an excellent shooter.


Palmetto State Armory PS9 Dagger: $300 Glock Killer [UPDATED]

At the 2020 SHOT Show, Palmetto State Armory announced a new 9mm pistol called the PS9 Dagger.

With its combination of features and price, the new gun stands to make quite a splash in the industry.


Diamondback DBX – Dual Piston Pistol

Diamondback DBX Review on Range

Diamondback Firearms announced the new DBX pistol at SHOT Show 2020. The new gun is chambered for the 5.7×28 cartridge and has a variety of interesting features that might grab your attention.

So, let’s not dally about and jump right in.

General Information

The new Diamondback DBX is in the general style of an AR pistol, but it should be readily apparent that it is not as simple as that.

Diamondback Firearms manufactured this semi-automatic pistol as a locked-breech design with a dual-piston gas system. I’m looking forward to getting some time with this gun to see how the system is designed.

Diamondback DBX at SHOT Show in 5.7x28

Unlike some of the alternatives, this is a bottom feeder with the magazines inserting in the AR-standard position. The gun runs on FN Five-seveN 20-round magazines. However, the company has also announced that a second gun that will feed from the Ruger-57 pattern magazines will also be released. One magazine is included.

The 8″ barrel is threaded. It comes fitted with the company’s new DBX muzzle device.

Up front, the forend has M-LOK attachment points on the left, right and bottom for a wide range of accessories. Included with the gun is a Magpul handstop kit. For a gun this short, I like that the company includes this as a standard accessory.

Review Diamondback DBX Pistol at the Range

Diamondback includes a side folding arm brace with the pistol. It attaches to the Picatinny rail on the butt end of the gun.


Here is a breakdown of the Diamondback DBX specifications:


Diamondback DBX





barrel length


overall length

16.1" without brace


7.3" without sights


3 lbs with empty magazine, without brace


7075 aluminum


hardcoat anodized matte black



What Gives?

The new Diamondback DBX is one of several new guns recently announced for the 5.7×28 cartridge. Additionally, there have been some new ammo additions like the Speer Gold Dot self-defense load.

Why the sudden surge of interest in this cartridge?

I don’t have any inside information, but I believe all three guns were developed independently. This suggests that the sales and design teams at three different companies reached the same conclusion on the market data they had. That conclusion: there is enough market demand for guns chambered for the cartridge to make the projects financially viable.

So, what happens when three companies move to satisfy the same demand?

Diamondback DBX LEft Side

In this case, I believe it will work out well for all of the companies.

Starting with the Ruger-57, there has been a lot of discussion surrounding the cartridge. When CMMG announced its own rifles and pistols (along with AR conversion kits) in 5.7×28, even more people took notice. With a third company jumping into the pool, it will make a lot of people ask “What am I missing?”

Will those people turn into buyers? I think a lot of them will. With the support of premium ammunition for self-defense, target shooting and small game hunting, the cartridge suddenly has a life I did not expect to see.

I look forward to a Diamondback DBX review, but what do you think? It is hard to carry concealed – after all, you can’t slip it into a Ruger-57 holster, but for a home defense weapon, it might be a great choice. Are you interested in this cartridge and/or pistol?


Ruger Lite Rack LCP II in .22

Ruger LCP II in 22 LR

In the run up to the 2020 SHOT Show, Ruger announced a new pistol chambered for the .22 LR called the Lite Rack LCP II.

In what appears to be a riff off of the incredibly popular Smith & Wesson M&P 380EZ line of pistols, Ruger highlights the ease of slide manipulation and soft recoil of the Lite Rack.

The new Lite Rack has a number of interesting features that sets it apart from the existing LCP line. Let’s jump into them right now.

Quick Note

This gun has been selling out as soon as they hit the shelves of the local dealers. Here are a few online sources you can check for the gun. Purchases through those sites are affiliate links and help pay my bills.

Lite Rack

Ruger Lite Rack LCP II in 22 LR

Ruger appears to have recognized a need for easier to manipulate slides. For years, many people with poor upper body strength have struggled with slide operation. On small guns with heavy recoil springs, this has been a significant issue.

While many people can master slide manipulation with a good technique some people are simply unable to do so.

For these folks, the new Lite Rack LCP II may be a good option.

Ruger designed this pistol to function with a light recoil spring. This means there is less resistance to the slide being pulled back. But, working in concert with the lighter spring is the new Cocking Ears.

Cocking Ears

Most handgun slides have serrations to assist the shooter with gripping the metal when working the action. To further improve the shooter’s grip on the slide, Ruger uses pronounced Cocking Ears.

Ruger Lite Rack Cocking Ears

Located at the extreme rear of the slide, the Cocking Ears jut out from both sides of the gun to provide a ledge for the hand to press against. This should, in theory, improve the shooter’s ability to push/pull the slide.

Heckler & Koch included similar ears on its popular VP9 duty pistol. When I reviewed the HK VP9, I found the ears improved my hand’s grip on the slide while maintaining a sleek profile.

Unlike the HK device, Ruger’s Cocking Ears appear to be a machined part of the slide.

New Floorplate

Ruger updated the LCP II floorplate on this model. Compared to the simple pinky extensions available on the .380 ACP variants, the new plate is a little beefier.

The additional bulk is likely needed to fit a full 10 rounds of .22 LR into the magazine.

Whatever the reason, the floorplate does add extra real estate on the pistol’s grip. Many people will appreciate the extra length.

Rimfire Not Centerfire

Light Recoil from the Ruger LCP II Lite RackLight Recoil from the Ruger LCP II Lite Rack

While .380 ACP ammunition is not abusive, it can still provide harsh recoil to a newer shooter in a small, light handgun. A .22 LR is a much lighter recoiling load.

For the new shooter and those with upper body strength issues, the Lite Rack LCP II may be a fantastic option.

New Thumb Safety


Right Side View of Ruger Lite Rack LCP II

Like many .22 LR pistols, the Lite Rack LCP II has a thumb safety. It is quite pronounced and should be easy to operate by anyone regardless of hand strength.

Pushing forward on the safety deactivates it and allows you to fire the gun. The safety is on the left side of the gun only.

The pistol also uses the trigger safety to help prevent accidental discharges.



Lite Rack LCP II


.22 LR



barrel length


overall length





11.2 oz

grip frame



matte black



Final Thoughts

I like the new LCP II in .22 LR. It incorporates a number of features that will make it appealing to a range of shooters. As a guy with increasingly severe arthritis, I am happy to see another company offering a gun that can work for people with reduced hand strength.

The new Lite Rack LCP II has the same suggested retail price as the standard .380 ACP model: $349.