FN Five-seveN
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A recent article by NBC Bay Area waxed hysterical about the FN Five-seveN pistol, claiming the pistol and the cartridge it shoots “alarms authorities”. Allegedly.

“When you get this type of a firearm, it really raises everybody’s antenna of concern and fear,” San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe told the news station. “It’s a scary thing, because it can go right through a protective vest of a law enforcement officer.”

OMG! Is 5.7×28 the modern day Black Talon? Do we have a new COP KILLER bullet on the streets?!

No. No, we don’t. What Mr. Attorney Who Fancies Himself A Cop just spouted for the press isn’t true.

Now, before anyone jumps me in the comments, yes, some versions of 5.7×28 can go through not only a level II vest, but a level IIIa and perhaps more. The SS90 and SS190 ammunition in this caliber is designed to penetrate body armor, but what the Chicken Littles aren’t telling you is that those steel-core and other penetrator rounds are already illegal.

On top of that, availability of 5.7×28 ammo isn’t there for criminals the way normal guns and ammo are (especially now, when it’s virtually unobtainium). We know that BATFE is quite serious about prohibiting sales of rounds that could possibly fit the legal definition of armor piercing, and my personal experience using AP or even rounds that might be AP on law enforcement ranges is that they’re very careful about not letting any get out of their hands.

You can’t really cast them or build them at home, given their relatively complex construction, and given their limited effectiveness compared to much cheaper alternatives (more on that below), it wouldn’t even make sense to waste time and money to make or buy them.

FN Five-seveN
FN Five-seveN (JWT for TTAG)

To be concerned about the FN Five-seveN pistol (or the Ruger-57) is to either show ignorance of the situation or to admit that gun laws might not keep the special rounds out of the hands of criminals. Neither is a good look for people pushing for more civilian disarmament laws.

No one who is familiar with the actual ballistics of 5.7x28mm is surprised by its inability to penetrate soft body armor without the use of those special already civilian-illegal rounds. ChuckHawks.com covers this in much greater detail than I will here, but the TL;DR on this is that 5.7×28 is very similar in performance to .22 WMR. I’ve never heard anyone call that varmint round a “cop killer” and it’s been around since the 1950s.

When you also consider that the test barrels for 5.7x28mm need to be 10 inches or longer to even achieve .22 WMR ballistics, it makes even less sense to fear the Five-seveN pistol that has a barrel less than half that length.

FN P90 PDW SBR
FN P90 PDW SBR (courtesy FN America)

Another thing that kills the “cop killer” myth surrounding 5.7x28mm is cost. Looking at FN Five-seveN pistols on GunBroker, they’re tough to find for under $1,000. The semi-automatic PS90, a bullpup PDW that fires the same round, tends to cost quite a bit more.

When you consider that one can get a used 9mm, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP pistol for less than 1/3 the price or an an AR-15 that will shoot that same .224-caliber bullet at much higher velocities, it makes little sense for anyone in the criminal industry to waste their time and money on guns chambered in 5.7x28mm.

FN PS90 5.7 bullpup
The semi-automatic FN PS90 5.7 bullpup (JWT for TTAG)

Sure, you’ll find the occasional drug dealer with Liberace’s AK who could afford to waste money on a P90 if they were big fans of Stargate SG-1, but most criminals aren’t making that kind of money hand over fist. Spending less money on a weapon that’s far more effective (nearly any rifle and most pistols) makes more sense. Economics are hard to ignore, even especially if you’re a criminal.

What The Round Was Actually Made For

In fact, the round was originally invented for military personnel “in the rear with the gear”, or in other roles where combat isn’t the main job. It’s no substitute for a real rifle with intermediate ammo like 5.56mm NATO, full-power 7.62x51mm NATO, or similar rounds used by other militaries.

5.7x28mm is actually a compromise round. It’s designed to give better penetration than a 9mm pistol, but only when used with the armor piercing ammo that isn’t available to the public in the U.S. The main benefit is that the P90 bullpup is lighter, smaller, and easier to carry for military personnel not serving in combat roles. Nobody in military who’s out looking for trouble would be carrying such a weapon unless there was a very specific need for something small, light, and concealable that could outperform common pistol calibers.

The most common users of the P90 globally are special forces and law enforcement, and usually for the needs described above. Special forces use it for its light weight and capacity. One university police department I know adopted the gun because it would be easier for an officer to carry around, less bulky or visible than an AR-15, and gives a lot of capacity for a short-range fight with an active shooter.

Even then, the department’s officers keep an AR in their trunk and would prefer to run into a situation with that, if they have the time or are responding in their vehicle.

Another well-known user of the caliber is the U.S. Secret Service. They use P90s for similar reasons as the officers described in the last paragraph, but also benefit from the gun’s concealability.

The round had gained new popularity before the ammo bust with the addition of the Ruger-57 and firearms like the CMMG Banshee Mk57 and Diamondback DBX57. But those were introduced in The Time Before, when 5.7×28 was readily available in stores and online. There’s no telling when that kind of sanity will return to the ammunition market.

Given all of this, no law enforcement official who actually knows what he’s talking about can honestly call the5.7×28 a “cop killer” round. But that doesn’t make for salacious headlines.

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66 COMMENTS

  1. Black and white psychopathic murders of police officers have done just fine killing law enforcement officers for more than 100 years without the 5.7 and will continue to do so.

    • If a gun and ammo combination isn’t capable of killing a cop or other government agent or government official acting in an unlawful manner then what good is it?

      Seriously, what is the Second Amendment all about? Is it not about the Right of the people to be able to defend themselves against a tyrannical government that has over stepped the limits of their authority… Such as maybe one that is constantly passing and enforcing laws that circumvent the Constitution instead of abiding by and following the directives of the Supreme Law of the Land which clearly state that only via the constitutional amendment process can the Constitution document be lawfully changed or altered. After all the primary role and duty of the American government is supposed to be to protect the Rights of the American people.

      Read the founding documents. Article VI, Sec 2 of the Constitution requires that all US law be “made in pursuance thereof” with respect to the Constitution. And the Preamble to the Bill of Rights states very clearly the reasons for for those first ten amendments; with that being that the Founding Fathers “expressed a desire, that in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added…” Their clear intent was for a small and limited federal government with the power residing locally with the states and with the people… In fact, that is pretty much what the 10th Amendment states. And there is no provision anywhere in the Constitution for all of the federal bureaucracy that exists today.

      These parasites routinely and regularly violate their oath of office and their actions clearly show zero respect for the Constitution. It is we the American people that need to be able to protect ourselves from them!

  2. I’ll stick with my .22mag, thanks very much. 🙂 And if that don’t do it, there’s always 12 gauge Brenneke. 🙂

    • .22 Mag is a good choice. I’ve shot a buddy’s FN57 handgun at the range, and wasn’t as impressed as I thought I’d be. I’m not discounting the cartridge, as it was fun, but I won’t be ditching my trusty 9mm or .22 Mag guns any time soon for it.

      • My wife has Marlin bolt action 22mag that is a tack driver. Trigger sucks bad, more of a yanking than squeeze, but the rifle works for her so I no touchy.
        I would consider buying a PMR-30 but IIRC the first gens were recalled so I am hesitant. I know convicted poachers that have taken deer with headshots using WMR rounds. It is a versatile cartridge.

        • “I know convicted poachers that have taken deer with headshots using WMR rounds. It is a versatile cartridge.”

          I’ll bet even more were taken with subsonic .22lr and an improvised suppressor…

      • Some really good bullet options for .22mag. For example the .45gr Critical Defense from Hornady, designed specifically for short barrel revolvers, and a wide range of rifle cartridges. My old Winchester 9422M is my go-to out here on the farm for varmints – armadillo, ‘coons, ‘possum, etc. 100yd+ shots are easy.

  3. I had a guy in a gun store once tell me that the only reason the P/S90 was a thing was so that you could hijack an airplane with a plastic subgun. I laughed in his face.

    As for the “cop killer” claims, base projection + fear porn. The claim’s been around for a long time, it’s no more true now than it was 20 years ago.

    • Probably the same person who thinks a lock on the zipper closure will save his luggage…

      I miss the good ol days of being able to duct tape a black trash bag and use it as luggage.

  4. Remember that the liberal idiot Ted Kennedy wanted to ban 30-30 ammo in the 80’s. It just never ends with these people.

  5. Check out Paul Harrell & his video “expose” of the po-leece penetration round. Pretty damn anemic boutique boo-lit. If you can find it…

  6. If you look around, you can find 7.62 x 25 SMG ammo made in the combloc. It is old, but still performs. Use a Tok/CZ and you have a high velocity, flat trajectory round, that goes through many items that other handgun ammo won’t.

    • AND… you can take some of that plentiful spent .223 / 5.56 brass, cut it down to about 1 inch long, and then run them through your standard 7.62×25 resizing dies, and soon have more 7.62×25 Tokarev brass than you know what to do with… AND, it of course all uses nice commonly found small Boxer style rifle primers. I don’t know how to describe this exactly, but there just seems to be something oddly satisfying about fast & accurate, custom-tuned-specifically-to-what-your-particular-firearm-likes-best, 7.62×25 Tokarev cartridges with .223 or 5.56 head stamps on them.

      Do a YouTube search for “convert .223 / 5.56 to 7.62×25 Tokarev” and similar, to see this being done…!

    • 7.62X25 is an unrated caliber. I suppose it didn’t catch on in the U S. Is because it’s a Ruskians gunm?.
      The 54-1 is my EDC, one of the longest shots I’ve made with a pistol was with it. A blue heron at 200 yards or there abouts. It’s a real pocket rifle.

    • It is true. From FN’s press release:

      FN America, LLC is pleased to announce that the FN-designed 5.7x28mm caliber has been standardized by NATO. The caliber was designed in the late 1980s for use with the FN P90® and FN Five-seveN® pistol. With almost three decades of trusted use, the FN 5.7x28mm continues to leverage the groundbreaking design to improve range, accuracy and terminal performance from small arms. As NATO adds the FN 5.7x28mm to their standard small caliber ammunition portfolio, FN proudly continues its long legacy of small arm innovation as it enhances service to civilians, law enforcement, and militaries across the globe.

      • “FN America, LLC is pleased to announce that the FN-designed 5.7x28mm caliber has been standardized by NATO.”

        Endorsed by ex-Maj. Nidal Hasan…

    • It’s adopted for use in PDWs, not front-line combat troops. Vehicle drives, tankers, officers, weapons crews, etc would be able to have a weapon that’s lighter and more compact than a full size rifle or carbine, but more powerful and easier to hit with than a pistol. It’s similar the issuance of the M1/M2 Carbines in generations past.

      • I understand exactly what the application is supposed to be. I’m actually a strong believer in the general concept of a PDW. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that, wherever concealability isn’t a factor (as it isn’t for 99% of the military, a fair majority of cops, etc.) a pistol is a Wrong Answer. The NFA has had the unintended consequence of perpetuating the long gun / handgun false dichotomy even for people who are exempt.

        I’m not a fan of this (1990s SCHV) version of the concept, though. Everything is a tradeoff, until it isn’t. One way to practically guarantee a loss is to trade away capability for an “advantage” that isn’t really applicable to your mission set. 5.7 et al are heavily skewed toward soft-armor penetration – which is great if your expected threat is a WWII bomber crew, police patrolman, or doomsday prepper.

        And, again, even if one believes in the concept, .22TCM does the exact same thing except with a little more power and a lot more adaptability toward a wide range of weapons currently in NATO service.

  7. Nobody in military who’s out looking for trouble would be carrying such a weapon unless *they’re running through Stargates*

    FIFY.

  8. See that hole in the end of the bullet, nah that’s not a hollow point, that’s where you insert a sheet metal screw.* Kaprung*

  9. This magic round is just muffin puffin’. Any savvy gun owner knows that .9mm is the wave of the future. Why? A concealed handgun in .9mm caliber almost disappears completely in the pocket.

  10. 5.7 ????

    It’s a 40gr 22 for God’s sake. You need 11 of those bullets just to add up to 1 ounce.
    That is WEAK!

    Of course, if you’re squirrel hunting, it should be up to the task.

    Heck, 11 of my 45 405gr weigh 10 ounces, over 1/2 lb….
    You need mass to quickly destroy a target.

    Oh well, people will fall for anything, as long as it’s expensive … 🙂

    • You shoot squirrels with a 45-70?
      Jest in case a person ever has to use a big gunm for squirrels my grandpa showed me to “barkem” , shoot just under them on the limb there sitting on.

      • Wish I had a 45-70 just to shoot Tree Rats. Little bastards did significant damage to my house. I have declared Jihad against their kind. I am winning for now with my trusty pellet gun but a 45-70 would be more satisfying.
        Instant Obliteration! As the Tree Rat’s brothers and sisters bark in protest and grief. (maniacal laughter)

        • Ha ha, I was thinking of a Popeye cartoon. He blowed his house full of holes trying to shoot a fly.
          I did shoot my kitchen faucet shooting a mouse with a .22, water all over.
          Better stick with the pellet gunm, besides makes you a better shot👍

      • I shoot Buffalo Bore 405gr Magnums.
        2000 fps and 3,600 ft.lbs…. Flat faced bullet, expands to over 1″ diameter.

        They call it the best black bear load ever devised…
        Can’t use it on squirrels though, it damages the trees too much and smooshes the squirrels…

  11. Most normies are not even aware that a C&R com-bloc pistol from the early 30’s (tt-33) can punch through kevlar. There are several other lesser known handguns one can add to the list. Watching soccer moms have a silent mini-stroke is gold 🙂

    • How much kevlar?
      I’ve not shot kevlar, cars, ovens , refrigerator’s, car tires, car batteries, red iron, bridge guard rails, wood, couches, recliners, sinks, toilets, ceilings, floors, walls, bed mattress, radios, cast iron skillets, mud, raccoons, coyotes, armadillos, snakes,squirrels, rabbits, one deer. The 7.62X25 will keep up with a .44 mag on everything except the critters. Has been my experience.

    • 7.62×25 has trouble with IIIA armid fibers, unless the magic steel core stuff which is becoming short supply is in play. I’ve stopped 7.62×25 in modern IIIA that 5.7 penetrated..

  12. So some doofus in the Bay Area of Commiefornia is worried about an illegal penetrating round, and a pistol that we can’t even find if we wanted to in this locked down state? What drew this idiot out of his hole? Uhhh, just shut up pleez…

    Go eat your kale,with some tofu on the side.

  13. This is recycled pearl clutching.
    They should move on to 7.5 FK.
    At least then they could pretend they aren’t spinning the tires of retardation.

  14. They did not do it right. They forgot to spray Teflon on the bullet head. Yes, they trying to do the KTW scare tactic again.

  15. Why are people spreading misinformation?

    The current law is any round that can be fired in a handgun that has a steel core is defined as AP. You can have steel core 30-06 ammo. You can’t legally have steel core .45acp.

    The 5.7×28 is special because it fires bullets out of a handgun at like 2000+ FPS. It’s velocity that defeats armor! That’s why IIIa vests stop handguns but not 223 or 7.62×39.

    FN voluntarily restricted the hot ammo, ss190 to mil and LE only. There is no steel core (actually illegal) ammo available for the Five-seveN today. It’s not illegal- it just costs like $500/box. Jay Wolf at Elite Ammmnition makes hot ammo for the Five-seveN today. His DevestaTOR will rip through 4 IIIa vests.

    So anyone who is saying the 5.7×28 is really just like 22wmr is lying. Maybe the de-rated slow ss197… but the good stuff is way better if you are engaging people wearing armor. Against soft targets? Yeah 9/45 are way better. But if you’re getting Randy Weavered? Five-seveN with T6B, s4M or ss198LF is not a joke. I keep a Glock 19 in my night stand. I keep a Five-seveN on my WROL kit.

    You can buy ss198LF at lucky gunner now. (Not sure post covid)

    • Wow bigly- someone who actually knows their stuff.

      Not to mention, it holds 20rounds in a flush mag. Stop the Five-seven hate. It actually is really good if you intend to defend yourself against people wearing armor.

  16. Uh- my not drop safe torkarev can defeat armor. Waaaaa- do you actually carry it?

    22wmr?

    Kel-Tec PMR 4.3″ barrel
    Calibers: .22 Magnum (.22WMR)
    Energy (40gr): 138ft-lbs 187J

    FiveseveN Pistol 4.75 inch barrel
    40gr EA Protector 2,092fps-389 ft LBS
    28gr EA Trident T6 2,570fps-411 fl LBS

    GTFO. 5.7 is twice as powerful as 22wmr. 5.7 is more powerful than non +p 9mm. And it holds more, with less recoil and longer range.

    5.7 is superior for Combat or defense against vested people in every way.

  17. I thought that the liberals were delaying that the police be defunded and disbanded because they were murdering thousands of innocent, unarmed Black men. You would think that they would want citizens, including Black people, to have guns that would be effective against the police.

  18. “The guns in the city of Richmond have gotten ridiculously out of control,” she said. “When does it stop? When does the gun violence stop?” -Hmmm, must be because CA’s gun laws aren’t strict enough.🙄

  19. if they were smart they would just talk about how expensive it is and how underpowered it is
    and how people who lack adequate physical size or hand strength are drawn to it by its low recoil
    its not rocket science

  20. “5.7 is superior for Combat or defense against vested people in every way.”

    I would take my 357 and 3″ barrel ANY day…
    Of course, I haven’t heard of too many burglaries, home invasions, etc. with vested criminals..

    A 357, 44 mag, 45 , etc.. WILL STOP a perp much sooner than a wimpy 28 grain at 2700 fps.

    I’m a big believer in bullet cross-sectional areas, weights, and final expansions as the best indicator of damage to your enemy. At this point in time, I don’t consider cops to be my enemy.

    If I need vest piercing in the future, Ill just use the trusty old 45-70 or the AR with the M855 green tip.

    • You’re making an apples to oranges comparison. Of course 45-70 and m855 are better at piercing armor than 5.7. 357 mag out of a 3in revolver will not pierce a vest and will not allow for fast follow up shots. Also goodbye ear drums. Most people can shoot a 5.7 much more accurately than a 357 out of a j frame.

      But for a handgun, 5.7 is hands down the best against people wearing armor. Also- 55g m193 is better than green tip at piercing armor within 100yd. VELOCITY IS WHAT DEFEATS ARMOR.

      Yes 357 mag is better for home defense against a single unvested attacker. If an entire BLM gang wearing armor surrounds your car- 5.7 is what you want. Good luck having an AR15 on you at all times.

      Also- like .223, the hot round out of 5.7 tumble. They are almost as good as 9mm against soft targets. Ft Hood is proof.

      The right tool is the right tool for the job. If you have to concealed carry something for defense against multiple armored targets, like a BLM mob- a Five-seveN with S4M is the choice.

  21. “Yes 357 mag is better for home defense against a single unvested attacker. If an entire BLM gang wearing armor surrounds your car- 5.7 is what you want. Good luck having an AR15 on you at all times.

    1) I live in a small town surround by forests.
    2) The closest BIG town is 20 miles away and has a population of around 11,000.
    2) I don’t go out much, just 2800 miles in my 1 year old pickup
    3) We have legal loaded guns in our glove boxes.
    4) We carry at home and on our property
    5) Anyone in my area is fully aware that burglary or home invasion is extremely dangerous for them, since heavy gun ownership is pretty universal here, regardless of party affiliation.
    6) BLM, Antifa, etc., don’t even know we exist.
    7) We are the most typical rubes you can imagine. We don’t cotton to no troublemakers here, we don’t take no crap, and don’t dial 911.
    8) My daily carry pocket knife is a 6” blade assisted opening stiletto with this carved into the blade: “REDNECK TOOTHPICK”. 🙂

    So, for all practical purposes, I’m armed, and need to be because I’m an old fart.

    Even though I have a few 22s, including an 22LR AR15 style (25 rd.mag) and a 5.56 AR15, I still don’t like them for self defense…
    I consider my 7.62, 45-70 and 20 gage perfect for home defense, and also the 357s, and the 9s.

    As a former design engineer of armored vehicles and weapons, I learned that heavy is good, and too heavy is just right.

    • Are you my neighbor? That sounds about like where I live, but I am a few miles closer to town than you. I choose a 1911 because that’s what I shoot the best and a 12 gauge is always close if things get serious. If I had (or could find) a compact 20 gauge, I would be completely happy with that too. If there’s ever a riot within 50 miles, I’ll make a different choice.

      Life in the sticks is good…last time anyone in this area used (or really wished they had) multiple magazines worth of ammo for home defense was when Jeb Stuart’s cavalry was sight-seeing in late June, 1863.

      • Hey Todd, you what they say in prepper land: two is one, and one is none.

        It sounds like you’re smart and living the dream, like me. I’m glad I wasn’t around in 1863 though.

        You just can’t beat rural America for the best life has to offer. In addition, what happens in Washington generally seems to have no bearing to what happens locally. 🙂

  22. I really wish Chuck Hawk’s article would stop being referenced because they don’t even check any of their numbers they use to base their “assumptions”. The new Speer Gold Dot will do 1800 fps from the pistol and will penetrate lower class IIIA (Aramid fibers). It takes a 16″ barrel in 22 mag to = that of the Ruger/FN Pistol.

  23. The Editor or Person in Charge of approving “news” which will be broadcast should be fired for allowing the article with such relatively easy lies to be aired. This is just a scare tactic by the unknowing media inorder to stoke the fires of fear with untruths. I would love to have them all for 3 weeks of basic weapons training.

  24. Don’t knock the 5.7×28 round until you try it out of a ps90 they might only be 40 grains but they kick ass I have a 22 mag this will kick the 22’s ass , it is a very fast round , I shoot one of the chains that hold up my steel plates and nearly cut the chain in half you can’t do that with a 22mag ,don’t underestimate the 5.7×28 round

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