We considered titling this entry “Junk Gun”, but that wouldn’t have been fair.
One out of two specimens of the FMK Model 9C1 pistols we saw in our June NRA Personal Protection in the Home course seemed to work as it should.
Jam-o-matic piece of junk. It made Hi-Point 9mm pistols look like highly-reliable engineering masterpieces (see our story “A malfunction every 28 rounds”).
Imagine our surprise when these FMK Model 9C1 guns were either brand new or shot for maybe a magazine or two before coming to our class. They weren’t broken down clunkers.
Imagine our double surprise to see that these FMK Model 9C1 guns came from Front Site, a shooting school with a generally pretty decent reputation as far as what they teach and how they teach it. (As for the reputation of the proprietor, the bloviating Scientologist guy, that’s an entirely different matter.)
“Front Site Firearms Training Institute” was emblazoned right on the slide, as well as molded into the handle of this piece. It came in a FMK box also molded with the name of Front Site.
How did this problematic gun come to our attention?
One of our students, a young woman just out of college, was becoming very discouraged with her first shots in the class. She indicated she was having “some issues”. We watched and the gun malfunctioned every time in ten rounds fired. The ammunition used was Winchester “Value-pack” 9mm FMJ as we recall.
Most of the time it failed to go back into battery.
It also gave us a stovepipe malfunction and two instances (out of ten rounds!) of the slide riding halfway over the top cartridge in the magazine and hanging up.
The young college grad, a very sweet girl, was almost to the point of crying she was so frustrated and stressed. We put her on a Glock for the rest of that range segment and asked if we could poke around on her gun and she happily agreed.
Between sessions, we field stripped the piece and found what seemed like a half a quart of lightweight motor oil inside. We exaggerate, but not by much. It was as if they gun was dunked in oil prior to shipping.
We gave it to one of our certified Glock armorers with instructions to clean the darn thing out and try to find what the problem was. He worked for probably fifteen minutes to clean out much of the grossly excess lube and poked around.
His first comment upon return was, “I can’t believe Glock hasn’t sued these people for patent infringement.”
He also indicated that it felt as though the slide was binding or hanging up in not one, not two, but three separate places.
Even after proper lubing, the gun still malfunctioned consistently, so we took it out of service.
The good news was Emily, the young woman whose dad brought the FMK 9C1s to the class, took to the borrowed Glock like a fish to water and finished the class very strong. She was all smiles, thanks to a pistol that worked.
Shooting is supposed to be fun.
If you buy an FMK product, you’re rolling the dice that you’re not going to have a fun experience.
Worse yet, it could cost you your life if you use this gun for personal defense.
We’re shocked and appalled that Front Sight has resorted to giving out unreliable handguns to their students. They must not really like their customers, or want them to return.
While a sample size of two is hardly scientific, we’re not at all impressed with FMK.
One of the instructors who joined us as a guest instructor that weekend asked us to hold off on publishing our findings until he could contact the company. He emailed the FMK company asking about the gun.
Here’s the reply from the president.
If I read your comment correctly it sounds like you didn’t have any issues shooting the pistol it was only your customer. She must be limp wresting is my guess. Our pistol are a little tight right out of the box so during the break in period we suggest not to use Winchester ammo than after the first 300 rounds you should be able to run it no problem and the pistol will be a lot more forgiving. I hope this helps
FMK Firearms, Inc.
1025 A Ortega Way
Placentia, CA 92870
p 714-630-0658 x12
Limp-wristing? Does he think we fell off the instructor turnip truck yesterday?
If she was limp-wristing it, somehow the Glock was a lot more forgiving than the FMK product.
As you can see from the above photo, she wasn’t a “limp-wristed” shooter.