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.

The other?

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.

The slide would hang up about like this when it failed to go completely back into battery after firing a shot. We recreated the appearance with an unloaded gun for the purpose of illustrating what we saw.

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

David Wolfe

FMK Firearms, Inc.
1025 A Ortega Way
Placentia, CA 92870
p 714-630-0658 x12
f 714-630-0664



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.

7 thoughts on “FMK 9mm: Inconsistent. Don’t trust your life on this gun.”
  1. I was glad to help Emily. By letting her borrow my Glock she was able to finish the class and have a good time, not having to worry about the FMK pistol jamming all the time, she could concentrate on learning and practicing what she was taught.
    A firearm that doesn’t work reliably is no better than a rock and I will not have it around.

  2. “Limp-Wristing” = gunmakers excuse for a faulty gun.

    If your semi-auto won’t fire reliably when held with the thumb and trigger finger only, IT’S A FAULTY DESIGN. A gun that’s only reliable when tightly grasped will fail you if you’re injured or have to fire from an awkward position.

    Frankly, I’m not surprised that Front Sight has endorsed this dangerously faulty POS.

  3. The gun looks as if a Glock pistol and a Heckler and Koch pistol had a forbidden love affair and a FMK Model 9C1 was the product of that taboo night of passion.

  4. The quote from FMK President Wolfe tells me that he needs to be aware that his third grade grammar reflects poorly on his company. If he cares that little about the way he mishandles the English language, then it’s no surprise that the poor attention to detail trickles down to the gun design/manufacture. There’s too much competition in the firearm business to be this careless.

  5. I, too, found it very disappointing that Front Sight bought a big order of FMKs for inclusion in some of their training packages. (They used to use Springfield Armory’s XD series of polymer pistols.) Thanks for exposing the deficiencies of this guns.

  6. OK, folks let’s be realistic here. If I dissed every manufacturer every time I had an issue with a firearm the only thing left in my armory would be a wooden stick. ALL manufacturers have problems from time to time, especially with new stock/products. And we all know that ammo type, magazine fit, grip, and expectations have a lot to do with a firearm’s satisfactory performance. Perhaps the company president was a bit terse in his reply, but it hardly calls for a total thumbs down on this product without a more thorough examination of other samples of this firearm.

  7. look I have all four hi point pistols and the only malfunction I had was user error . Just like the tester for Defense Weekly had if you try to rapid fire you can bump the magazine ejection button with your thumb which causes a miss feed only has happened once . It would be nice to have something nicer but most nicer guns are outside of a lower income budget. So I am just saying ease up a little on Hi point they have come a long way since the 90’s . Had way more malfunctions with my colt 1911 in the military constant stove pipe problems , of course most the ones we had were between 20 and 70 years old.

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