Tactical

Shooting the Ed Brown FX2 Commander

Now, I won’t begin this piece by implying that you need to hit a certain price point to obtain reliability in a carry pistol, but if you have the means, it doesn’t hurt to invest. Although mass-produced handguns have improved in unimaginable ways, good automation will never replace skilled gunsmiths like the ones at Ed Brown. Owning a custom pistol means getting exactly what you want, with a team of technicians standing behind it. Not only is it easier to stake your life on a firearm like this, but you’ll likely get to the range a good bit more because it’ll simply be easier to enjoy. Shooting the Ed Brown FX2 proved that theory.

TESTED: Shooting the Ed Brown FX2

Ed Brown attended its first-ever Athlon Outdoors Rendezvous recently and allowed us to beat their guns up through some of the worst conditions yet. They had rain, snow, sleet, and mud to contend with, yet each of their pistols persevered. Many of them caught my eye. However, none more than this fetching little commander-sized number that I would later learn is called the FX2.

The FX2 is a radical 1911 that pushes the boundaries of concealed carry. Enhanced with Ameriglo night sights, this firearm seamlessly blends innovation and practicality. The FX slide-cut package, adorned with distinctive American flag rear serrations, showcases a level of originality and skill that simply stands out. The Commander Bobtail frame is a functional work of art featuring a captivating Snakeskin texture on the front strap and mainspring housing. The entire pistol is finished in bold Industrial stainless for an audacious aesthetic, making it tough to tuck under a shirt. The flush barrel with a recessed crown, coupled with black undertones on the trigger and barrel bushing, perfectly complements the black G10 grips. Each FX2 is meticulously hand-built with fully machined parts, so you won’t find any metal-injected molded shortcuts anywhere within the firearm. Because of this dedication to quality, it, like all Ed Brown pistols, carries a lifetime warranty. 

Digging Down on the FX2

Interested in getting more time with it, I requested one for some homework. When it arrived, I was surprised to find it came with the Trijicon RMRcc still attached from Rendezvous. Digging a little deeper, I discovered that Ed Brown offers this as one of the options when you build an FX2 via their website or call center. There’s a little more than what meets the eye in situations like this. Cutting a slide to accept an RMRcc is radically different than cutting a slide to an RMRcc. Milling to a specific optic means removing only the metal that needs to be removed. This yields a snug fit between the slide and dot housing, drastically reducing the abuse it will take and the possibility of it getting knocked loose.

Furthermore, manufacturers taking this route benefit utilizing a Trijicon optic; Trijicon builds them like tanks. They also yield an extraordinary battery life. For those not yet onboard with red dots, the front sight, milled directly in front, produces a backup to the electronics. The system provides a failsafe for those hardwired to look for irons.

Get a Grip

With my hands no longer numb from the frigid temperatures in Idaho, I was able to get a better feel of the grip texture. One of my favorite aspects of G10 material is its ability to hold aggressive patterns. Years of “working for a living” have made my hands rougher than Andrew Dice Clay on the first two rows in the audience (OH!). Therefore, I appreciate a little grit, especially in smaller .45 ACPs, as they are known to be a bit snappy. The serrated pattern worked wonders for my situation, as did the cheese-grater-like snakeskin front and rear straps.

Working down, I got to get a better look at the Bobtail cut and started wondering why this hasn’t become the standard yet. Clipping that corner off eliminates a major digging point in the shooter’s hand while making the platform ever more concealable. Being that the slide serrations are the stripes of old glory, racking open the FX2 1911 might just be the most American thing you can do in the world of firearms. While intended to be cosmetic, these cuts are undoubtedly functional. Pressing the mag release rocketed out a genuine Ed Brown 7-rounder, which is a large part of their success.

Feed It Well

Sadly, the 1911, with particularly any ammunition beyond 230-grain ball, owns a reputation for unreliability. However, most of its woes trace to its feeding devices. But Ed Brown places a premium on magazine design. Built largely from hardened 410 stainless steel, reconfigured feed libs better handle modern ammunition. Polished inside and out, a patented steel follower and proprietary spring completes the magazine. They believe so strongly in these that they offer a turn-in program to upgrade whatever magazine you are currently running in your 1911.

The FX2 comes loaded with featurs.

Being that the gun came ready to roll, all that stood between me and the range was ammunition. To that end, I decided to make this test a Rondy-redo with some of the best ammo from that event. Federal sent us a ton of its American Eagle Lead-Free .45 ACP, and being that I had some tight shots on AR-500 planned, this made an optimal time to run some. Wanting to ensure reliability, I added Lehigh Defense’s Controlled Fracturing and Fiocchi’s Defense Dynamics to the mix, as both feature an exaggerated hollow point. With proven terminal ballistics, each is a top candidate for my personal carry ammo.

Rounds Downrange

I started my range day by firing a few shots with the midweight Lehigh Defense ammo for the sake of establishing zero. As expected, both the iron sights and RMRcc were pretty much on target, save an inch or so high. I decided to leave them alone, as that will change with ammunition type and target distance. With that, it was on to accuracy testing, which was eye-opening. I printed exceptional groups with all three types of ammunition, something that doesn’t happen often. Even more impressive was the fact that the FX2 stabilized the unorthodox designs as well as it did, as those are typically troublesome. Just as it was in Idaho, the pistol ran without a hiccup and promptly pointed me in the direction of my steel pit.

Ed Brown built the FX2 for defensive-style shooting far more than for bulls-eye target work. So, with that, I proceeded to dump a few pairs into a full-sized Caldwell AR-500 IPSC. This test always shows me if there is any slop in a pistol, as recovery will be erratic and skewed. The FX2 is built so tight it was as if it barely got bumped in between each shot. Complementing this design feature was a superb trigger, which, now that I had blood flowing to my fingers, I could also appreciate. Taking it to my Lyman Digital Trigger Gauge, I recorded an average break at 4 pounds, 14 ounces, which isn’t as light as it feels, largely because of how clean it breaks. Additionally, the FX2 features an extraordinarily short and snappy reset, expediting my double taps, box drills, and Mozambique. 

Final Shots

I ended the day with a quick field strip and wipe-down with CLP. Having the gun apart gave me an opportunity to inspect for any tool marks, blemishes, or general manufacturing sins. True to their word, the gun did not exhibit a single one. After reassembly, I dropped it back into my holster and pulled my coat over it. For a 41-ounce gun, it masterfully disappears on the waistline, quickly forgotten about. However, with as much fun as it is to use, I bet it’ll spend an equal amount of time in my range bag, where I can’t stop thinking about shooting it again. For more information, visit edbrown.com.

Range-Ready Gear: 5.11 Boots

5.11 boots.

I won’t downplay it; Rendezvous was a little rough this year. A driving rain turned our range into downright sloppy proving grounds, testing both gear and man. Having the foresight to check the weather before heading out, I packed a pair of 5.11 EVO 2.0 Waterproof boots to get the job done. Their sealed zip-up design keeps out the elements without the hassle of having to lace them up every morning. They kept my feet dry the entire weekend while providing exceptional slip resistance. More than six months later, they have yet to show any signs of wear, easily proving their value. Hitting them with a little soap and water before a quick polish also turned them into a great impromptu dress boot for the Athlon Cocktail Party, earning them a permanent place in my travel bag. (511tactical.com)

Ed Brown FX2 Accuracy Results

Load Velocity Accuracy
Federal American Eagle 137-grain Lead-Free 1,028 1.21
Fiocchi Defense Dynamics 200-grain JHP 851 0.98
Lehigh Defense 170-grain CF 978 1.39
Bullet weight measured in grains, velocity in feet per second, and accuracy in inches for best five-shot groups from 15 yards.

Ed Brown FX2 Specs

  • Caliber: .45 ACP
  • Capacity: 7+1 
  • Barrel: 4.25 inches
  • OA Length: 7.75 inches
  • Weight: 41 ounces
  • Grips: G10
  • Sights: Ameriglo tritium front, drift adjustable rear, optics cut w/RMRcc included
  • Action: SA
  • Finish: Industrial stainless
  • MSRP: $4,495 (as tested)

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