TFB REVIEW: The FK BRNO Field Pistol
It is rare event that we here at TFB are given the opportunity to handle and shoot unique luxury firearms. As a regular reader of our news articles and reviews, I can understand how someone can get tired of all the polymer pistols, AR15 rifles and vanilla new product announcements. Today I present you with something a little different. The FK BRNO Field Pistol chambered in 7.5 FK is a one-of-a-kind weapon developed in part to engage targets at ranges normally reserved for carbines and rifles while retaining enough energy to drop medium sized game. As with everything in life, there is a balance between performance and functionality – I’ll do my best to give you an unfiltered look at the capabilities of this uncommon handgun and its ammunition.
What I may lack here in print, TFBTV host James Reeves will make up for in an entertaining and informative video review of the FK BRNO in the following weeks.
Let’s start with why. Why was the FK BRNO developed and for what purpose? The designers wanted a handgun that could be concealed yet could provide accurate shots out to 100 meters with a flat trajectory, high velocity that also delivers enough energy for hunting or defensive use. Another requirement was that, even though the BRNO pistol lands squarely in ‘hand cannon’ territory, that it would not have a heavy recoil or an exaggerated muzzle flip.
The 7.5 FK Field Pistol is a single action, tilting barrel type mechanism, with a proprietary recoil attenuating system. This is not a modified design of another product or pistol model. This is a completely new and unique concept and design and the intellectual rights to the system have been registered and claimed by FK BRNO. The design is very ergonomic and even though the magazine holds 15 – 35 mm long rounds, the smallest hands are able to fully wrap around the optimally angled grip of the pistol. The frame and slide are very slender and streamlined for such a size cartridge and caliber.
That last requirement is achieved by having a center of mass located farther forward in comparison to similar sized pistols as well as having a counter weight that shifts during the action cycle. Below is a diagram showing the lines of force under recoil and how the shifting mass reduces perceived recoil.
We will get into the mechanics of shooting the BRNO near the end of the review, but for now let’s go over the basics of this beautiful firearm.
As far as ergonomics, even at nearly three pounds unloaded, the BRNO sat in my hand like it was custom fit. The high curving back strap is comfortable, the slide lock lever is wide and reachable without shifting positions and the thumb safety engages with just enough effort to be both useable as well as safe.
The BRNO is a single action only pistol with a standard three position hammer. If you are a 1911 or Hi Power format shooter, the controls and operation are essentially the same, just a bit more refined.
Trigger feel is such a personal preference. What is perceived as the pinnacle of trigger design to one shooter may be distasteful to others. So as I regular stock Glock user, how do I rate the BRNO Field Pistol’s trigger? It’s beautiful.
Initially, after some dryfire practice, I was concerned that we were going to have a problem – the uptake was a little “sticky”for lack of a better term. But after shooting about 50 rounds, I realized that the BRNO’s trigger is one of the smoothest handgun triggers I have pulled in the last few decades.
The Field Pistol’s magazine, a classic blued steel, is advertised as holding 15 rounds. However, no matter how hard I tried, I could never load more than twelve rounds. Maybe the magazine spring needs a longer break-in period. But while I may have been able to eventually force a 13th round into the magazine, I feel that a 15 round capacity is currently not an option.
The magazine well is flared for easy and fast magazine exchanges – and it functions as designed. The oversized magazine release is also easy to use and required no grip change to manipulate. Magazines dropped free every time, either loaded or unloaded.
Unsurprisingly, the Field Pistol has a long sight radius which assists with accuracy at longer distances. At almost 10 inches, keeping the front sight post/dot centered within the rear butterfly design equates to rifle-like precision. We will talk more about the sight design later on in the review.
FK BRNO Specifications:
- Length: 240 mm (9.5″)
- Width: 25.5 mm (1″)
- Height: 136 mm without sight (5.3″)
- 143 mm with Butterfly Sight (5.6″)
- Weight: 1300 g (46 oz)
- Magazine capacity: 15 +1
- Finish/color: Nitridation / Dark Gray
- Finish/color life: 30+ hours salt spray bath
- Action: Single action
- Barrel length: 152 mm (6″)
- Match use-barrel life: 20,000 rounds
- Normal use-barrel life: 30,000 rounds
- Grip material: Aluminum, Wood, Plastic, G10
- Grip design: Rounded and squared back versions
- Sights: FK BRNO Butterfly Sight
- Three-Point Target Sight is adjustable for windage and the front sight is pre adjusted for elevation
- Accuracy: Guaranteed to shoot less than 100×100 mm rectangle at 100m
Disassembly is straightforward and easy, following John Browning’s original designs. Move the slide slightly to the rear and press on the end of the shaft on the exposed right side. Then rotate the lever counterclockwise to the 12 o’clock position and remove it from the frame. Let the slide push forward and off the frame.
The slide and frame rails run the entire length of the pistol, providing a stable base for a smooth action under recoil.
I found that removing the barrel from the Field Pistol’s slide requires a slight tap from a rubber mallet. And the same goes for reassembly. This is undoubtedly a nod to the exact tolerances used in designing and manufacturing the Field Pistol.
The feed ramp is long and polished to ensure proper feeding to the necked-down 7.5 ammunition. The start of the feed ramp almost looks hand polished.
Below is the BRNO counterweight that sits on the recoil guide rod below the rails in the slide. As designed, it’s a hefty piece that keeps the muzzle flip to a minimum under recoil.
In the picture below we are looking at the muzzle end of the frame back towards the action. This is the channel that holds the counterweight, recoil spring and guide rod assembly. Again, notice the full length rails that hold onto the full length rails of the slide.
Let’s take a minute to talk about the BRNO’s butterfly sight assembly. Prior to actually holding the pistol, I was sure I would hate the design and sight picture. But out on the range, I was able to appreciate the dual use capable setup. For longer shots, the front small dot and blade are precise enough to acquire smaller-sized targets. For closer shots, the rear circle in the middle of the butterfly allows for a clear unobtrusive picture of larger targets. Think of an EOTech optic wil the 25MOA circle and 2MOA dot. Either way, if you hate the design, included with the pistol is a replacement two dot rear sight.
- Muzzle velocity: 610 m/s (2000 fps)
- Velocity at 100 m (110 yds): 465 m/s (1525 fps)
- Muzzle energy: 1200 J (880 ft/lbs)
- Energy at 100 m (110yds): 700 J (520 ft/lbs)
- Bullets weights:
- Europe: 6.67g (103 gr) Spoon Tip Cu Alloy; 6.35g (98 gr) Hollow Point Cu Alloy
- USA : 6.17g (95 gr) Hollow Point All Copper
Earlier this year, TFB’s Nathaniel F. detailed the 7.5 FK round and it’s ballistic capabilities, so I won’t try to regurgitate all that information here. In a dumbed-down nutshell, the 7.5 FK round is a pistol caliber that approaches rifle caliber qualities.
From left to right, below is pictured the 7.5 FK, 9mm, .357Sig, .40S&W and .45ACP rounds.
I pulled a few bullets to get a better look at the powder and the all copper, 95gr hollow point projectile.
The FK BRNO 7.5 ammo packaging.
We are trying to get the Field Pistol and “High Terminal Effect” ammunition over to Andrew at TFBTV so that he can conduct some ballistic gel testing.
Shooting the FK BRNO:
The Field Pistol comes packaged with an outside the waistband leather holster that is actually functional for a piece of gear designed to hold a 10 inch, three pound handgun. As with any leather holster, it is going to require a break in period to easily draw and reholster without needing any assistance from the support hand.
As I discussed above, I fell in love with the BRNO trigger almost immediately. If you have pulled a custom, high end 1911 trigger, you will appreciate the feel of Field Pistol’s mechanism.
Over the course of 100 rounds, I came to regard the Field Pistol as laser accurate, shooting pill-sized targets from the 10 yard line with ease. From the 25 yard line, this handgun is a 10 ring shooter all day long. And I make this statements knowing full well that I am only a slightly better than average shooter.
Moving to the 100 yard line, I could consistently hit a 12” x 12” steel turkey target with ease. And while using a pistol to shoot 100 yard targets is not an exceptional task, remember that the 95gr 7.5 FK round is still traveling at nearly 1600 feet per second at this range.
While the Field Pistol’s recoil was flat and completely manageable, I may have set my expectations of the BRNO counterweight system a bit high. Yes, the recoil is light and the muzzle flip is minimal, but it is hard to tell if that is all due to the internal design or the shear weight of the gun itself. If I had to make an unscientific guess, I’d say it was a combination of design, mass and a well placed center axis.
James’ TFBTV video review will be a better representation of the FK BRNO Field Pistol’s recoil performance.
The Field Pistol is probably the nicest, most unique handgun I have had the opportunity to shoot in my life. It is beautiful, functional, accurate and fits in my hands like a tailor took my measurements for custom gloves. Connecting with 100 yard targets is stupidly simple using the rear butterfly sight and dotted front blade.
With every advancement comes a price – literally/figuratively. While Luxury Firearms, FK BRNO’s exclusive importer/distributor, would like you to contact them for official pricing, current estimates range between $7K-$8K. That’s a lot to ask for a handgun. The “physical” price is evident in the Field Pistol’s length and weight – at 10 inches and three pounds, it is not the largest pistol on the market, but it is a lot to hang off a belt. Ammunition pricing has yet to be officially set, but because of limited availability and uniqueness, I would guess MSRP will push the $1/round mark.
If the major barriers of size, weight and price don’t concern you, the FK BRNO Field Pistol would make quite the target, hunting or personal defense weapon.
FK BRNO Website:
U.S. Delear and Individual Price Requests:
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November 22, 2017 at 05:26PM