Some say the key to developing a new firearm is to start with a good, reliable magazine and then build a gun around it. In the case of KELTEC’s new P50, they’ve not only found a good magazine, but a very high-capacity one in the form of FN’s 50-round P90 mag . . . and they literally built a pistol around it.
Two of those P90 magazines come with every 5.7x28mm P50, which are slated to begin shipping later this quarter.
I give it zero months before the retro futuristic P50 finds itself on a movie production set. How darn cool is that P90 magazine just chillin’ right down there in the middle of the P50?
And you just gotta love flipping up the belt-fed machine gun-style heat shield top cover to access the magazine below. Clearly this doesn’t make for the fastest magazine change on the market, but it just might be the most fun.
Worthy of note: in a FN P90, the magazine faces downward, while in the KELTEC P50 it’s facing upward.
If you aren’t familiar, yeah, the P90 magazines are pretty weird. They’re a double-stack, box-style magazine right up until they aren’t. Designed to fit along the length of the weapon instead of perpendicular to it, a spinning feed system lifts and rotates the on-deck round 90 degrees and serves it up for the bolt to feed it into the chamber.
While it’s clearly more complicated than a typical magazine, that maxim of starting a gun design with a good, reliable magazine still holds true here as the P90 mags are both of those things. They’re easy to load, too, if slower than a typical mag. No worries about feeding slowly; they’ve never had an issue keeping up with fully automatic fire from the P90’s screaming fast 850 to 1,100 RPM cyclic rate.
Now all we need is for 5.7x28mm ammunition production to bump up. With the release of the Ruger-57 and the Diamondback DBX (FYI I just finished testing of the DBX and the full review is coming soon), we had high hopes this year of widely available, inexpensive 5.7x28mm.
That hasn’t come to pass. In fact, during the current ammo drought, we’re seeing exactly the opposite. I’m sure when manufacturers get caught up there will be a renewed focus on affordable 5.7, but right now ammo availability for the KELTEC P50 is my biggest concern for its sales prospects.