Gun Review: FN Five-seveN MRD Mk3 Pistol

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FN Five-seveN Mk3 MRD

When FN created the latest generation of Five-seveN pistol, they didn’t just add an optic cut to the slide and call it good. The FN Five-seveN MRD (Micro Red Dot) is an evolved update to a unique handgun that many love and others can’t seem to figure out. The new Mk3 (actually Mk3T for tactical) version, however, eliminates more (but not quite all) of the objections that some have had to what’s always been incredibly fun, accurate, light-shooting handgun.

At its core, the new Five-seveN MRD is largely the same pistol FN’s been making since the late 90’s. It holds 20+1 rounds of light, fast 5.7×28 ammo in about the same size as a 17+1 GLOCK 17 or SIG P320 full size. And those smaller, lighter bullets travel faster and penetrate better than anything that shoots parabellum bullets…and with three more rounds on board than its 9mm brethren.

FN Five-seveN Mk3 MRD vs Mk2P
FN Five-seveN Mk2P (top), FN Five-seveN MRD Mk3 (below)

As you can see from the A/B photo above, with the Mk3 MRD update, FN has also improved the looks and the ergonomics of the Five-seveN. And they’ve added that slide cut for a micro red dot, an accessory that’s now become a must-have for so many pistol shooters.

FN Five-seveN Mk3 MRD

FN has given the Mk3 MRD a multi-textured grip, more along the lines of what’s on their 509 series handguns.

FN Five-seveN MRD Mk3T Pistol
The FN Five-seveN MRD Mk3 has a 4.8″ hold hammer-forged barrel.

As for the slide, the Mk3 MRD has greatly updated things with a more modern, angular contour and deep, grippy slide serrations fore and aft. It’s a big step up from the Mk2 slide in both looks and ergonomics and answers the criticisms of some who said the earlier versions looked too much like an airsoft gun.

FN Five-seveN MRD Mk3T Pistol

Like earlier versions, the Mk3 slide is still polymer-jacketed steel. But with the upgraded angularity and deep serrations on the outside, no one will be mistaking this for an airsoft pistol.

FN Five-seveN Mk3 MRD

The Five-seveN Mk3 is still fully ambidextrous, with a reversible magazine release and a truly ambi frame safety.

FN Five-seveN Mk3 MRD

Ah yes…that safety. It’s right where it’s always been since the first Five-seveN rolled off the Belgian production line back in ’98. It’s not in the usual thumb-flippable position at the rear of the frame. Instead, the Five-seveN’s safety switch is located in the middle, just above the trigger.

FN Five-seveN MRD Mk3T Pistol

Yes, that horrifies some…until they shoot the pistol. Then they usually stop their bitching and appreciate the thought process that went into that. You can easily manipulate the switch with either your trigger finger or your weak side thumb.

Granted, if you’re used to flipping your safety on and off with your thumb — and you probably are — that’s going to take some training. But it’s not nearly as big a deal as you’d think and you may very well come to prefer that positioning.

FN Five-seveN MRD Mk3T Pistol

If you’re old school and will be shooting your Five-seveN with irons, you won’t be disappointed. The suppressor-height sights are excellent, with a photo-luminescent front post and an adjustable rear sight. It’s a shame FN isn’t offering a threaded barrel version, but there are rumblings of one coming down the road.

FN Five-seveN MRD Mk3T Pistol

That brings us to the Five-seveN MRD’s optic cut. No other pistol maker today does as good a job on red dot compatibility as FN.

FN Five-seveN MRD Mk3T Pistol

You won’t buy a Five-seveN Mk3 and then have to figure out what mount your red dot of choice uses, then spend another $30 to $50 for the right plate. As FN describes it . . .

The FN Five-seveN MRD’s proprietary optics-mounting system consists of a series of plates that match your optic to the slide for a quick and seamless setup – simply remove the cover plate, select the compatible optic plate and screw set that match your MRD and mount using the provided hardware. The system is compatible with most common optic footprints, offering an unmatched variety of options.

FN Five-seveN MRD Mk3T Pistol

Exactly. It’s all right there in the box with your pistol. That’s a huge plus that prevents a lot of aggravation when mounting your MRD.

As for the trigger, the Five-seveN has come a long way since it first hit American shores almost 25 years ago. FN now gives the trigger mechanism a new coating that they say makes the Mk3 trigger feel like a well broken-in Mk2 trigger from the very first pull.

FN Five-seveN MRD Mk3T Pistol

While I’ve never been a trigger snob, the Mk3 MRD’s trigger is more than serviceable with a smoother pull as well as tactile and audible reset. That means it won’t slow you down on follow-up shots or hinder the Five-seveN’s inherent accuracy which, after all, is one of the big reasons so many people buy the pistol.

FN Five-seveN MRD Mk3T Pistol

As for that accuracy…it’s excellent. Not only is 5.7×28 an exceptionally flat-shooting, low recoiling round from the Five-seveN’s 4.8-inch cold hammer-forged barrel, it lets you reach out and touch targets at greater distances than standard handgun ammo.

FN Five-seveN MRD Mk3T Pistol
A 5.7×28 round next to a standard 9mm cartridge (Dan Z. for TTAG)

The 5.7×28 cartridge is like a mini-5.56 round with more effective range and less felt recoil. You’ll get tight, accurate groups at distances 9mm just can’t match.

FN Five-seveN MRD Mk3T Pistol

Those longer rounds mean longer magazines and therefore a longer grip. There’s no getting around that. For most shooters, that won’t be a problem at all. If you’re like me and have unnaturally small hands, you’ll want to get your mitts on one before buying.

That said, I’ve had no trouble shooting it and shooting it accurately. The biggest issue small-mitted folks will have is the reach to the magazine release. You will have to adjust your grip. Physics (and genetics) is a harsh mistress.

FN Five-seveN MRD Mk3T Pistol
Even small-handed shooters can reach the Five-seveN Mk3’s trigger. (Dan Z. for TTAG)

And then there’s the issue of cost. Unlike the olden days (of about three years ago), there are now other 5.7 handgun options out there. Those competitors do what the Five-seveN does and do it a lower price point. But they do it in more bare-bones, less elegant packages (and without the Mk3’s optic-readiness).

A side benefit to those competitors is more people shooting 5.7×28. That will mean more ammo produced which will translate into increased availability (yes, it’s out there) and, one would hope, lower prices.

FN is still making and selling the Mk2 version of the Five-seveN, though you’d have to wonder how long that will last. In terms of MSRP, the Mk3 is $130 more…that’s an easy buying decision given the upgrades FN has made to the new MRD version. As for real world street prices, you can find the MK2 pistols for between $1000 and $1100. The new Mk3 can be had for around $1275.

FN Five-seveN MRD Mk3T Pistol

The Five-seveN MRD is clearly the 5.7x28mm Mercedes E-Class to its competitors’ VW Jettas. They’ll all get you there, one just does it with far more refinement and panache. And if you’re a red dot shooter, FN’s MRD mounting system is simply the best there is.

If those differences are worth it to you, you definitely won’t be disappointed by this latest iteration of Five-seveN. It’s one hell of a fun, accurate handgun.

Specifications: FN Five-seveN MRD

CALIBER: 5.7x28mm
OPERATION: Delayed blowback, Single-action only
MAGAZINE CAPACITY: 10 or 20 rounds
WEIGHT: 25.2 oz. (without magazine)
HEIGHT: 5.6″
WIDTH: 1.35″
TRIGGER PULL: 4.4 – 7.87 lb.
MSRP: $1449 (retail price about $1275)

Ratings (out of five stars): 

Style: * * * *
The Mk3 is a huge improvement in looks over earlier versions of the Five-seveN. No one will mistake this one for a toy pistol. And it’s available in black or tactical peanut butter, depending on your color preference.

Egonomics * * * * 1/2
Again, FN made all the right moves here. The recontoured slide with its deep serrations and the multi-texturing on the grip put the Mk3 head and shoulders above predecessors. Yes, it’s still a thick grip, but that’s part of the price of admission to running 5.7×28 in a handgun.

Accuracy * * * * *
This is where the flat-shooting Five-seveN has always really shined. You’ll get tight, repeatable groups out to 100 yards and beyond.

Reliability * * * * *
Perfect. Period.

Customize This * * * * 1/2
With the addition of FN’s excellent MRD system, you can now add a micro red dot. There’s rail space, of course. Half a star off for no threaded barrel option, though aftermarket solutions are out there and we hear FN may have something in the works for the future.

Overall * * * * 1/2
If you’re someone who just doesn’t get the whole 5.7×28 thing, you probably still won’t be down with the updated Five-seveN. But for the significant number of folks who know and love the round, the updated Five-seveN is unquestionably the best-in-class 5.7 pistol. If you’re OK with its cost, the Five-seveN MRD is head and shoulders above anything else that’s chambered for the round.





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  1. I get the 5.7 x 28. But I’m not getting on the bandwagon until military type ammo is cheap and plentiful. Otherwise, 9mm or 45 acp will have to do.

      • I worked at a car auction. Jump starting euro cars was a routine. We had mercedes and bmw lease returns. 3 yo and more temperamental than any toddler.

        Yes an occasional Mercedes will do a million miles. So will any other car. But consistent high mileage performance you want a Toyota.

      • My boss’s Mercedes had the transmission start slipping this weekend. Only 3 years old. But, he has lots of money apparently, because he traded it for another Mercedes (an EQB)

    • Spot on. Toyota is what to get as we look into the abyss of EVs. People have to learn the hard way, looking at you rolling blackouts Cali-people.

  2. I just can’t get excited about a smaller caliber. This one isn’t close to new. Or the pistol. Though I’m sure it’s a decent handgun. Pass.

  3. A real P90 makes a lot of sense. 50 rounds is enough for several bursts making it like a super short shotgun that can penetrate armor with the right ammo. I’d buy one in a heartbeat if I were able to. But I can’t and neither can almost anyone else. The firearms chambered in 5.7×28 that I can purchase are basically firing a single piece of buckshot at a time and with a 5” barrel, not even that. Some designs are still useful without full auto like a Glock 17 or an AR-15. Others like this or a semiauto beltfed are not.

  4. Why won’t gun manufacturers make their red dots conform to a one of the major footprints?
    Plates could provide the option of a different type but it sure would be nice to do awau wiht adapter plates altogether, like the way the SCS just drops onto a Glock slide.

  5. now i can’t stop seeing it as airsoft.
    “…like a mini-5.56 round with more effective range and less felt recoil.”
    no, and, of course.
    “…100 yards and beyond.”

  6. The 5.7 is an intriguing cartridge but not much use to the civilian. Without the military’s armor piecing rounds which are banned in the U.S. there is probably little use for the cartridge, especially in a vastly overpriced gun for what you are getting. It was designed to take out enemy soldiers or maniacs wearing bullet proof vests and slaughtering innocent people with their assault rifles every couple of days in Capitalvania where the Far Right consider people to be cheap and expendable.

    Lets face facts a plasticky and stamped sheet metal gun is worth no where near the price they are asking. I think most people who want to experiment with this cartridge will go for its lower priced competitors guns like the Ruger which you can buy for half the price.

    The gun is basically an oddity and show off piece at the range which might interest your friends but few would really buy such a pistol.

    For home defense the gun is not the best because even when using expanding ammo it will result in over penetration. For street carry its way to big and once again has too much penetration.

    Ammo expense is another big drawback which few people are willing to spend their money on.

    It might be interesting to try this cartridge on a European style wild hog drive which is basically like shooting fish in a barrel. Michael Bane did a TV show on driven hogs in the U.S. and he warned viewers “This is not what you would call a fair chase hunt” That was an understatement. He would have been better off having never aired this slaughter which drew howls of protests from people who do not hunt and associated it with what all hunters do even though that is not true at all. Of course Bane has never been noted as being very swift of the mind. It was another one of his “not so swift moves”. He did more to denigrate hunting than promote it.

    The real question would be “Would the 5.7 perform on wild hogs better or worse than when Michael Bane and his fellow clowns slaughtered them using 10mm pistols. Looking at the past history of other smaller caliber high velocity pistol rounds I would predict the 5.7 would probably be superior to the 10mm and do it with way less recoil and higher accuracy and of course way better penetration. Most normal hunters do not like “canned hunts” of wild boar hunting or even hunting on Pheasant preserves where you pay to slaughter dizzy spun around dumb ass pen raised pheasants because they are no where near the experience of hunting wild birds.

  7. It’s not that I don’t get the whole 5.7 x 28 thing, I just value my eyes and fingers. In these times of trouble if you can’t reload ammo for what you own it just isn’t worth owning it. This cartridge is super finicky, has very little room for error or you risk kaboom.

  8. Just another hunk of completely unnessessary ballsocks. Nobody on gods green earth needs anything more than a decent 9mm SLP or a .38 calibre for any legitimate purpoose NOBODY And that includes anything that can even remotely be considered as ”self defence” Anything else is for Dick-Swinging Rambo wannabe fluck-wits . A good old BROWNING 9mm Hi-Power is a much handgun, and more, as anybody actullay needs.. Mr Average wannabe isn’t going to be able to shoot accurately with handgun in an emergence anything over 15/30ft or so anyway.

  9. I have two 5.7 handguns and two PS90s (2 is 1 and 1 is none) and love them, but they are not first handguns or first rifles as someone said. These are more handgun/rifle 10, 20 etc. They have their place in a collection if you have the means to feed them. Real ammo is also readily available if you are willing to pay.

  10. They’re following Glock’s example of putting low sights on optics cut guns so that they’re useless with the red dot installed.

  11. Ruger is coming pretty close to this. They have an optics system on their 57 handgun, and now they have a weird “micro AR-kinda” small rifle with a folding stock that takes the same mag as the pistol in the grip, and has the same controls as the pistol.

    For medical reasons my wife is recoil-adverse. I could get her that rifle version, buy the Ruger 57 handgun version for myself and the magazines, controls and basic operation would be the same across both guns.


  12. Suppressor height sights, but no threaded barrel option? Another $400 for an aftermarket 1/2×28 barrel?
    I get it. Not everyone has a need, but a suppressor ready 5.7 handgun should be an option.

  13. I own the original (actually V2) of the Five Seven. It’s a so so gun. I like it but it’s too big for practical purposes. I reload but won’t bother reloading for the 5.7×28, a waste of time since I don’t shoot it that much. The newest version of the FN Five Seven looks like shit to me. Pretty much the same as their newest version of the Browning Hi-Power, which is not a Hi-Power at all. It should be called something else, 917 maybe. There is a world of handling difference between the original Hi-Power and the new FN 917. The original just feels good in the hand, the new version not so much.

  14. My EDC CCW AIWB is the MK2. Completely invisible under any t-shirt with two additional 20 round mags in small pocket mag pouches. The MK3 is to big with the bottom of the grip easily seen versus the contoured MK2 grip. In the 2017 agency trials the 5.7×28 round did very well, so much so that there was a seperate agency study commissioned for the round and pistol. The MK3 looses several CCW steath and two reliability features to support the flat range crowd who in competition make shuffling crab like movements engaging brown paper targets.

  15. I like mine overall, but the optic adapter plate fit is sloppy. You can see gaps between it and the polymer slide cover that will let water, dust, etc into the inner workings of the slide. Adapter plates with reliefs molded into the bottom like the cover plate has would be much better. Also, luminescent paint dots have no place on the sights of a $1,275 pistol. For that price point they should be tritium.

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