Freedom Ordnance FX-9 4″ AR-9 Pistol – Review

Maddy_A.R of GBGuns with Freedom Ordnance FX-9 by Graham Baates
Maddy_A.R of GBGuns with Freedom Ordnance FX-9 by Graham Baates

U.S.A. – -( Freedom Ordnance has quietly been cranking interesting and different products.  The belt-fed 9mm AR upper is one that certainly sets itself apart from the crowd.  The more-affordable FX-9 is a little less obvious to casual observers.  In a market full of pistol-caliber carbines and personal defense weapons, or whatever you want to label a pistol capable of accepting a brace some might ask why they should even care about yet another AR-9-type gun.  Those who ask would be the casual observers who haven’t caught the differences yet.

Unlike the vast majority of AR-9 platforms, Freedom Ordnance has built their receivers from the ground up for the 9mm cartridge rather than begin with an AR-15 receiver and fill in the un-needed space.  The result is receivers that are about an inch shorter than your standard AR-9.  This, of course, results in a shorter firearm but also cuts down on the amount of material needed and weight.  This length reduction also makes for a shorter and smaller bolt.  In the hand, the gun feels like a scaled model of an AR-9 and yet still accepts AR accessories and YES, it runs on Glock-pattern magazines.  Take a look in the tabletop video below to get a better idea.

Please note the video was mislabeled as 4.5″.  The pistol has a 4″ barrel.

As you can see, this isn’t just another generic receiver set branded by your favorite charity.  Freedom Ordnance is truly doing something different.  I own and have reviewed their 16″ and 8″ models and enjoy them quite a bit.  The merit of a 4″ barrel may be questioned and with good reason.  A 4″ barrel isn’t going to give you any more muzzle energy than most concealed carry handguns, so why do it?  The addition of brace makes the FX-9 a much more stable shooting platform, and the ability to hold the pistol more like a rifle also makes for increased accuracy potential while the short overall length of just 18.5″ and total weight under 4.5 lbs. keep the pistol portable.  The final two validating points I could find include fun, and freedom!  Specifications below are taken directly from the product web page which also includes specifications for their other models.

  • CALIBER: 9mm (9×19)
  • MAG TYPE: Glock® type
  • Ammunition: 9mm 115 gr. FMJ recommended/select hollow points. We recommend starting with the following ammunition: 115 gr. FMJ Tulammo®, 115 gr. FMJ MAGTECH®, 115 gr. FMJ Wolf®, 124 gr. JHP SIG SAUER® Elite Performance, PMC® Bronze, 115 gr. American Eagle®, 115 gr. Federal®, 115 gr. Remington®. The FX-9 upholds Xtreme reliability with a wide range of ammo including many hollow point designs for self-defense and full metal jacket. We do not recommend the use of non-jacketed ammunition as unprotected lead can cause fouling and buildups that plated and jacketed bullets do not. Do not use aluminum case ammunition in your FX-9!!
  • LENGTH: 4 inch barrel = 18.5″ OAL, 8 inch = 24.5″, 16 inch = 31.5″
  • WEIGHT: 4 inch 4.45 lbs., 8 inch 5.2 lbs., 16 inch 6.1 lbs.
  • MATERIAL: The FX-9 is machined from billet material, anodized type III aluminum components. Steel components are full hard nitride and nickle boron nitirded including the barrel, bolt, ejector, last round hold open, feed ramp and extractor for extended wear properties and corrosion resistance.
  • WARRANTY: Limited Lifetime Warranty.  Using aluminum casing, remanufactured, reloads or lead projectiles could void your warranty. Also, It does not include cosmetics, or issues that may result in changing out the fire control, buffer, buffer spring, or normal wear parts (ex. firing pin spring).

Such a short barrel can be a challenge for blowback operation as there isn’t much time for the pressures needed to cycle to dwell.  Curious to see how it would fare in our “What’s For Dinner?” multi-load test we outfitted the FX-9 with a few cosmetic and interface upgrades from Timber Creek and and aftermarket trigger.  Though Freedom Ordnance warns of possible issues with aftermarket triggers I’ve found this trigger from Optics Planet to be completely compatible.  Code, “GBGuns” knocks another 5% off the price of these triggers.  That code is not an affiliate code and no proceeds go towards GBGuns or AmmoLand, it’s just a way of saying thanks for reading this far.  Below is the footage of testing and how the pistol performed.

As you saw in the video this pistol has ammunition preferences but is otherwise loads of fun and very handy.  Our model @MaddyA.R enjoyed the compact size and light weight.  She’s willing to try just about any firearm, but her light frame means some guns just aren’t fun anymore after a couple of hours.  At the end of our testing I had to pry it away from her.  That testament makes this a great option for those sensitive to firearm weight considerations.  Let us know your experiences with Freedom Ordnance in the comments below.

About Graham BaatesG B Guns

“Graham Baates” is a pen name used by a 15-year active Army veteran who spent most of his time in the tactical side of the Intelligence community including tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. Post-Army Graham spent some time in the local 3-Gun circuit before becoming a full-time NRA Certified defensive handgun instructor and now works as an industry writer while curating a YouTube channel on the side. Visit Graham on Youtube .

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I do agree that there is a concern with shouldering an ar-9 pistol. The ATF already came out and explained that something like the SB Tactical braces do not change the weapon to a SBR. Also if a firearm is originally classified as a pistol it can be converted to a rifle but not the other way around. Bump stocks were not outlawed but restricted from future sales and transfers. All previously sold bump stocks were grandfathered in and are legal to use if they were sold and transferred prior to new regulations. These smaller ar-9’s are pistols and don’t… Read more »

Ej harbet

I’d let the young lady keep it,lol.
I like a minimum of 6 inches and 8 would be ideal for such a firearm.
Why can’t we get enough folks to fix the nfa so firearms dimensions are irrelevant?


I understand that “just because” is a perfectly good reason to buy any firearm, but I still have to wonder about the purpose of any pistol-caliber-AR-pistol. I mean I see the point of a pistol, I see the point of a rifle, there can even be a point to a pistol-caliber carbine, and since the “brace” there is certainly a point to an AR “pistol” — but why have the size and bulk of an AR “pistol” in a pistol caliber? I’m not criticizing Freedom Ordnance for building a gun that obviously some people want, but what’s the point other… Read more »


To answer your question, from a Peace officer point of view it makes a great duty gun to go along with a 9 mm Glock sidearm that I carry. It also is small enough to fit in a cramped squad car which now days include computer, radio emergency signal controls, you name it and you will find out a full size AR rifle and shotgun are really hard to have in a patrol car.
With a weapon that small but will work like a short barrel rifle in an encounter where a rifle is needed.

Jim Hovater

I would have LOVED to have had one of these when I carried a G34 on duty!


While I can’t specifically quote it, there are ATF opinion letters that shouldering a pistol stock does not reclassify the pistol. That view was changed over a yr ago, as I recall. We are free to use a “ pistol” as we desire. That said, a 4” barrel seems like a waste of a pistol. We have 4” pistols that take a 33 rd mag and weight 1/2 the amount!

Mark Zanghetti

I like that little thing and enjoyed the review, that is a sweet little home defense gun. Thank you for giving it the What’s For Dinner test. Looking forward to the next review and Thank You for doing this one!


The fact that so many have expressed concern about “shouldering” an AR pistol illustrates a significant lack of knowledge and understanding IRT ATF /NFA regulations. Design and use are two very different critters. And don’t get me started on how the very popularity of AR pistols is in direct proportion to how much they circumvent the infringement the ATF/NFA represent.


Such an enormous gun for such a tiny barrel. Silly.


These gun reviewers are going to have to stop reviewing these guns designed as pistols, while shooting them from the shoulder.. people need to be discreet about shooting their pistols from the shoulder.. there is entirely too much evidence out there that these are really being used as short barrel rifles/carbines ..the ATF will reverse course on their latest ruling.. if you don’t believe me look at what they did with bump stocks.. and probably suppressors too..


Absolutely correct. All these photos of these “pistols” being shouldered are creating a case to have the firearms classified as SBR’s. Once you shoulder it, it reclassifies the firearm.

Jim Hovater

Again; NOT according to the latest from the BATCE.

Al May

Having that gun up to his shoulder is illegal as it is now considered a rifle with a barrel shorter than 16 inches and that makes him subject to arrest.

Jim Hovater

Not according to the latest BATFE ruling.