FN’s 5.7x28mm cartridge has been around for
over fifteen years now, and the cartridge has proven to have
merit as to the task for which it was originally developed, that
being a lightweight, low recoil projectile designed to penetrate
soft and hard personal body armor. Made for up close and
personal military applications from a compact fully-automatic
weapon, the five-seven delivers. However, the cartridge is
offered in a modern semi-automatic pistol also, and that is the
subject of this piece. I reviewed the PS-90 carbine a few months
ago, and Frank James also reviewed the carbine on Gunblast.com a
couple of years back., but now we are looking at the 5.7
cartridge and the handgun which fires it; the Five-seveN USG
As a handgun cartridge, the 5.7 round is an
interesting concept. I have often recommended the .22 Winchester
Magnum handgun to folks who write to me asking advice on a
defensive handgun, when there are physical problems which do not
allow the user to handle a cartridge with even moderate recoil,
such as a .38 Special revolver or a 9mm pistol. The .22 Magnum
penetrates better than a .38 Special in flesh, and the light
recoil makes hitting the target repeatedly a lot easier than
with a heavier-recoiling cartridge, for people who have weak
hands or crippling arthritis. Even for those of us with normal
strength in our hands and wrists, the .22 Magnum cartridge,
fired from a hand gun, is a pretty good choice for many
applications. The 5.7x28mm cartridge is very similar to the .22
Magnum cartridge in application, but offers even better
The Five-seveN is not a small handgun at all.
It is a full-sized pistol, but could be concealed with a proper
holster. Still, it is better suited to fit a duty holster, and
is an ideal size for a house gun. The Five-seveN is not heavy,
weighing in at 23.1 ounces with an empty magazine in place.
Speaking of magazines, the Five-seveN comes with three of them.
Thanks FN. Every new auto pistol should come with at least two,
and supplying this pistol with three is a good practice.
Carrying the Five-seveN fully loaded with the two spares gives
the owner sixty-one cartridges at his disposal. Each magazine
holds twenty cartridges. The weapon is easy to hold, the
controls are easy to operate, and the recoil is relatively mild.
The safety is in an unusual, but very handy, location on the
frame just above the trigger, and it is ambidextrous for easy
operation with either hand. The safety is easily reached by the
trigger finger, or with the thumb of the support hand. In
addition to this manual safety, there is also a magazine safety
that renders the pistol inoperable with the magazine removed.
The slide release is on the left side, and pushes downward to
close the slide. The magazine release is large, easy to operate,
and is reversible. There is a special tool provided with the
pistol to reverse the mag release, if desired. The sights are
easy to see, and drift adjustable on the test gun, but fully
adjustable sights and also night sights are offered as well.
Shooting the Five-seveN was a pleasure, as
recoil is pretty light. It is a loud pistol, but no more so than
other centerfire defensive cartridges. I would like to see this
pistol offered with a threaded barrel to easily attach a sound
suppressor. That would greatly lower the sound signature of the
weapon, and would be welcome when fired indoors. Still, the
muzzle blast is no louder than most pistols, and again, the
recoil is light. The trigger pull measured a very smooth four
and one-quarter pounds on the test pistol, and hitting human
silhouette targets in the kill zone in rapid fire at twenty-five
yards was easy. The test gun proved to be very reliable. I
encountered one failure-to-feed early on, but after that, the
pistol performed flawlessly. I tried several different
commercial loads from the Five-seveN from both FNH and Elite
Ammunition. FNH currently offers only one load to the general
public, but it is a good one, using a 40 grain polymer-tipped
jacketed bullet. That load also proved to be the most accurate
tested, grouping into one and five-eighths inches at twenty-five
yards using a hand-held rested position. Elite offers a wide
variety of loaded ammunition to fit various needs. Chronograph
and accuracy testing was done at a temperature of around ninety
degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity of eighty-five
percent; typical muggy Tennessee Valley Summertime. Velocity
readings were taken ten feet from the muzzle. Velocity readings
are listed in feet-per-second (fps). Bullet weights are listed
in grains. Accuracy is the average of five-shot groups at
twenty-five yards, measured from center to center of the
farthest two bullet holes in each group.
|Elite Ultra RapTOR
|FNH SS195 LF
|FNH SS197 SR
As can be seen from the information in the
chart, accuracy varies greatly depending upon the ammo chosen,
but this accuracy applies to the one test gun only, and accuracy
can vary from weapon to weapon, so experimenting with various
loads is recommended, as one gun might shoot a particular load
well, while a like gun might prefer another. Anyway, ammo for
the Five-seveN is readily available, and is pretty easy to find
online. It is also less expensive than most centerfire defensive
ammo. I paid $21 per box for the FN ammo, purchasing it online
and they had plenty in stock the last time that I checked.
The Five-seveN pistol fills a unique niche,
and within that niche it has no competition. It holds three
times as many cartridges as does the AMT Automag II, which is a
semi-auto .22 magnum pistol. The Five-seveN also packs a bigger
punch, yet is still easily controllable. For anyone that needs a
defensive pistol that offers light recoil but good penetration
and explosive expansion, depending upon the ammo fed it, the
Five-seveN is a good choice.
Check out this and other FN products online
For the location of an FN dealer near you,
click on the DEALER LOCATOR at www.lipseys.com.
To order the Five-seveN online, go to www.galleryofguns.com.
To order the Elite Ammunition online, go to www.eliteammunition.com.
To order the high quality handgun rest, go to
|For a list of dealers where you can
buy this gun, go to:
||To buy this gun online, go to:
Accuracy testing was done using a Target
Shooting, Inc. handgun rest.
Pistol comes with sturdy hard plastic case,
cable lock, instructions, three magazines, and magazine
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