March 13, 2019
By James Tarr
Pistols mounting mini red-dot optics are the new hot trend. In just the past year there have been 40 new pistols introduced that were equipped with or designed to accept miniature red dots. One company that has embraced this trend is Ed Brown Products. It offers numerous models equipped with Trijicon RMRs and offers these red dots mounted on many of its other models as an option.
Ed Brown offers several versions of the FX1, and O selected the FX1 RMR to test. It comes from the factory with a mounted Trijicon RMR. The Ed Brown FX1 RMR is available in .45 ACP, .38 Super and 9mm, and I chose a 9mm. There is a choice of two finishes: a brushed stainless, which Ed Brown labels “Industrial,” and the one I chose, Dirty Olive. At first glance, the Dirty Olive looks like a black gun with olive-green grips, but a closer look reveals dark green highlights all over the brushed finish.
This FX1 RMR sports a 4.25-inch Commander-length slide over a full-length grip, with an extended magazine well on the bottom of the frame to speed your reloads. The rear corner of the magazine well has been relieved so it will not print under clothing any more than the bare frame.
One quick glance will tell you this is no GI 1911. The large FX1 pattern on the slide forward of the ejection port seems like a larger stylized version of the radius cuts on the front of the slide above the recoil spring plug. Look closely and you’ll see some serrations built into that FX1 pattern, making it easier to rack the slide from the front if you’d prefer.
There are also relief cuts in the slide behind the front sight that might fool you into thinking the barrel is ported, but it is not. The stainless 9mm barrel has a supported chamber, but unlike a lot of 9mms on the market, the barrel is not integrally ramped, and the bullet nose will slide up a traditional feed ramp on the slide before entering the chamber. The barrel has an aggressively angled recessed crown.
The front and rear of the frame are covered in Ed Brown’s FX Snakeskin texturing. It is nicely aggressive and closely mirrors the texturing on the black-and-green G10 composite grips panels made by VZ Grips. Your hand will not move on the gun while shooting. Trigger pull weight was crisp and measured 4.25 pounds.
Atop the slide you’ll see a Trijicon RMR red dot sight, the adjustable LED version featuring a 3.25-m.o.a. red dot whose brightness you can adjust via buttons on either side of the sight body. It came from Ed Brown nicely zeroed. The slide also sports tall night sights, also from Trijicon, with tritium inserts. These sights can be seen through the RMR’s window.
The barrel/slide/frame fit is ideal, as you would expect from a custom 1911. Because it is chambered in 9mm, the recoil spring on this pistol is easy to work. Between that, the red dot and the great trigger, it would be a great pistol with which to train new shooters.
With its all-steel construction, the mag well, the Trijicon RMR and mounting plate, the tall sights and the tactical rail on the frame, this pistol weighs 40 ounces with an empty magazine. I’ve carried a gun this big and heavy, but for most people it’s a bit more than they’d want to conceal. There are positives to that weight. It makes this 9mm recoil like a .22, even if you’re running +P ammo. Trips to the range are a joy, and for the bedside table, with or without a weapon light clamped to the rail, this pistol shines.
Ed Brown has been one of the go-to places for top-of-the-line custom 1911s for decades. In that time, things have changed. Originally, everything on these guns had to be built by hand, so by their very nature they were one-offs. With today’s computer-aided design programs, companies like Ed Brown can custom design everything on the pistol, such as the American flag-pattern serrations seen on the right side of the FX1 RMR’s slide, which I really, really like.
There are also untold custom touches to this gun, for example, every sharp edge dehorned and that recessed serrated slide stop pin. What I’ve described and what you see in the photos is the Dark Olive FX1 RMR in 9mm catalog offering. But Ed Brown is a custom 1911 shop, and you can order your pistol with your choice of more than 100 different options (such as getting that flag-pattern serration on both sides of the slide).
ED BROWN FX1 RMR
BARREL: 4.25 in.
OAL /HEIGHT/WIDTH: 7.8/6.6/1.3 in.
WEIGHT: 40 oz.
CONSTRUCTION: Dirty Olive Gen 4-finished carbon-steel slide and frame
GRIPS: VZ G10
SIGHTS: Trijicon 3.25-m.o.a. adjustable LED RMR; Trijicon 3-dot night sights
TRIGGER: 4.25 lb. pull (measured)
SAFETIES: grip, thumb
MANUFACTURER: Ed Brown Products, EdBrown.com