SS197 (5.7 x 28mm) Put to the Test from a FiveSeveN

ShootingTheBull410 (one my absolute favorite YouTube channels) has tested the SS197 5.7 x 28mm projective in his characteristic ballistics gel test. Tested out of the FiveSeveN, the SS197 comes in between the 22LR and 9mm in terms of ballistic energy. Combined with a ballistics tip and extreme velocity, one would expect the terminal results to be fantastic…

Nope. Four of the five rounds fail to achieve expansion (likely a result of low velocity). With one round expanding and others showing some signs, the pistol is just on the hairy-edge of effective velocities for the bullet design. Logic would dictate that the round would perform better out of the PS90 with the higher velocities.

Those carrying the FiveSeveN may want to look at another round for ever-day carry.

Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • bbmg

    I disagree with the conclusion, the bullets penetrated to sufficient depth and would have been lethal if they struck a vital area, and therefore more than adequate for defensive purposes.

    • sianmink

      22 magnum does the same thing, but is hardly ideal.
      SS197 just isn’t good in the pistol. It’s considered a sporting round. The SS195LF or the SS198 would likely perform better in these tests.

      • J.T.

        Even those were designed to be fired from the longer barrel of the P90.

      • valorius


    • iksnilol

      So you considet FMJ completely adrquate?

      • ed


        • iksnilol

          So you consider FMJ completely adequate? In reference to that it didn’t expand reliably. I was writing on cellphone.

          • valorius

            Yes again…. US military has killed an awful lot of people with 9 mm full metal jacket ammunition

          • iksnilol

            But 9mm FMJ is not 5.7mm FMJ. The latter has less energy, weight and a smaller bullet.

            + millitary will not get sued for everything they own if they shoot through their target and hit someone behind.

          • bbmg

            The “shooting through the target” argument hold no water, most shots fired in a combat situation miss their target completely, you cannot relay on the target’s body to be a reliable backstop.

          • iksnilol

            Combat and SD are vastly different, that and no matter how you look at it a hollow point or frangible bullet is going to go through less walls than a FMJ.

          • valorius

            5.7mm fmj tumbles on end exactly like ak 5.45mm ammo.

            I certainly would not want to be shot by a 5.7mm OTM round.

          • iksnilol

            Neither would I but still, it performs decently but unreliably. No reliable expansion out of a pistol. Why should I choose a FiveSeveN over a CZ-SP01 with good hollow point loads (especially if you use HPs with a steel or copper BB in the cavity)? They both conceal decently, both have about 20 rounds, only one is much easier to feed and more likely to stop instead of merely wounding a target.

            Not knocking the 5.7 but it ain’t an ideal pistol cartridge.

          • valorius

            Ss195/198 and s4m tumble. They’re not supposed to expand.

            The ss197 in this test is the lowest powered 57 ammo on the market.

          • valorius

            Use the cz if you like, im not knocking 7.62x25mm at all.

            The fn 57 is a much lighter platform though, as is the ammo.

          • Commonsense23

            Cause they are forced to. They is a reason most SOF guys bring their own hollowpoint aammoon deployment.

          • valorius

            Whether they’re forced to or not, it works.

          • Commonsense23

            Hey the Ford Model T works, but that doesn’t make it a good daily driver. Just cause it can kill you eventually doesn’t make it a good round.

          • valorius

            There are a lot of dead bodies from 9mm fmj, probably more than any pistol,caliber and round on earth.

            Its used by every military on earth for a reason.

          • Commonsense23

            Its used do to the Hague conconventions prohibiting the use of expanding ammunition. Not cause of its terminal ballistics are better than what’s currently on the market. There is a reason that agencies that aren’t required to use FMJ don’t.

          • valorius

            Fmj actually is ideal for military needs, as is the 9mm caliber itself. Flat nose would be an improvement though.

          • Commonsense23

            Explain how FMJ is better than any sort expanding or fragmenting rounds. The US military has stated itself it is only using FMJ 9MM due to restrictions. They would much prefer expanding ammo.

          • valorius


            In a military context penetration is vastly more important than expansion.

          • Commonsense23

            I seriously can’t tell if you are trying to troll me are just that clueless. What beneficial penetration is 9mm ball going to give over something like 9mm critical duty.

          • valorius

            Im a former us army infantryman, im being dead serious.
            9mm crtical duty cant wipe the nutsweat off of us m882 ball (which verges on 9mm+p+) when it comes to tactical barrier or soft tissue penetration.

            Critical duty penetrates about 12-14″ of gel. M882 penetrates closer to 40″ of gel. Meaning if you hit someone in prone or any other odd angle, youre going to lance clean through their whole body and be ensured a deep penetrating hit.

            Critical duty is also vastly overpriced ammunition.

            Soldiers are festooned with all manner of gear that will stop a jhp, but that wont stop a +p+ fmj. Like radios, magazines, compasses, pocket knives, etools, etc,etc,etc.

            A true pdw caliber pistol with soft armor penetrating capability like 5.7mm ss190 would be even better.

      • valorius


  • MrPotatoHead

    It would be nice to see a company like Lehigh Defense take a shot at the 5.7x28mm.

    As for choosing another carry round, I disagree. The round is more than capable of penetrating and creating a sufficient enough wound channel to cause significant damage. Also, given the very low recoil of the round, it makes putting 20+1 rounds down range accurately, a fairly quick and easy process.

    • J.T.

      A PMR 30 can do the same thing, with more rounds, for less money.

      • Divotmaker

        NO! I see this all the time. As an owner of 2 current pmr-30 ( one pre craze, one new) and a MII 5.7 pistol I will tell you the pmr -30 will NOT do this, because no matter how careful you load it, the FTF/FTE rate is unacceptable for SD.

        The 5.7 on the other hand is as reliable or more so, than any modern semiauto handgun. I understand arguments about round effectiveness, but 20 rounds of easily controlled 198LEO ammo ( which you can buy all day online for the same cost as other high quality SD ammo), will ruin the day of those on the receiving end.

        I live to play with my pmr-30, but after shooting two for 3 years and thousands of rounds, I would never rely on one for SD.

        • valorius

          Ss198 will defeat some lvel ii and even iiia vests too.

          • dan citizen

            So does 17 HMR

          • valorius

            From a handgun?

        • dan citizen

          If your PMR 30 has a significant FTF/FTE rate your gun needs fixing.

      • valorius


        5.7mm elite s4m- 2450fps and 400fpe from five seven pistol.

        • iksnilol

          So will AP 7.62×25.

          • dan citizen

            Hell, FMJ 7.62 x 25 is damned hard to stop with soft armor.

          • valorius

            Yes, but no modern platforms in 7.62×25, sadly.

          • iksnilol

            Dominion Arms (AKA Norinco) P762

          • valorius

            Looks like a sig clone. I like it.

          • valorius

            Seems like its not available in the us.

          • iksnilol

            can’t you just import from Canada? Or get a parts kit without the frame? then just make a frame.

          • valorius

            If it doesnt meet atf guidelines, no.

          • iksnilol

            What are ATF guidelines for pistolas?

          • valorius

            They have a checklist and points scoring system.

        • dan citizen

          The FN does okay, but they blow up a bit too often to be taken seriously as a defensive handgun….

          Google FN kaboom, you can find a huge number compared with the number of these in circulation. Statistically they blow up more often than HiPoints do, and HiPoints come in real calibers.

          • valorius

            Mine worked perfectly fine, and was 100% reliable.

            With a 30rd mag of elite s4m and a viridian c5l laser/light, it was probably the most devastating handgun ive ever owned.

            Sold it during the gun scare for a huge profit.

    • valorius

      Elite makes super hot 5.7mm ammo.

    • dan citizen

      .32 acp was considered plenty adequate as a police round for decades. 5.7 and the boutique gun that shoots it can be lethal too.

      So what?

      Let’s look at this list:

      Expensive gun
      expensive, uncommon, ammo
      small, velocity dependent round

      These are not really in favor of it’s practicality as a defensive carry round, and It’s intended use was in a select fire PDW against soft armored targets. Not a common scenario in the US.

      There are a long list of reasons why nobody is following this formula in defensive firearm design.

      • valorius

        Some companies are getting on the pdw bandwagon. It may take decades, but eventually everyone will use them.

  • G0rdon_Fr33man

    Let me ask you guys in here. When/if you en up in a defensive situation, do you (intend) to shoot to kill?

    • Matrix3692

      RULE 101: don’t ever shoot at anything you don’t wish to kill.

      • Daniel

        Rule 102- Don’t ever shoot anything you don’t intend to kill.

      • NotoriousAPP

        RULE 103: always don’t never not use triple negatives when trying to make a point.

      • Rule 104: Shoot, or do not. There is no shoot *at* 🙂

    • skippie

      I don’t shoot to kill. I shoot to neutralize a threat.

    • dan citizen

      No. I do not and never have shot to kill.

      I shoot to stop.

    • Cymond

      Dan & Skippie are right. We never “shoot to kill”, we shoot to stop the threat. Whether the attacker lives or dies is secondary to stopping the threat. Stopping an attacker and killing the attacker are not the same concept. A baseball bat to the knee might stop him without killing, and a poison dart might kill without stopping him.

      So again, we shoot to stop, not to kill.

    • big daddy

      You shoot to stop the attack. There is no such thing as shoot to kill or anything else. You shoot to stop the person from doing what they are doing.

      • dan citizen

        Use the phrase “shoot to kill” after a defensive shooting and the jury will gut you.

  • Nandor

    The anemic five-seven round was used with the velocity robbing FN pistol to fatally shoot 13 people and injure more than 30 others at Fort Hood. As the recent FBI report mentioned recently on TFB, ballistic gel testing isn’t everything.

    • tactical guest

      Well, ballistic gel isn’t everything but that’s same to any other rounds.
      And wounds profile is direct measure of damage.

      And other facts to say: (Sorry to victims, treating you like this way. Wish your souls rest in peace.)
      2009 Fort Hood Shooting – Nearly 200 5.7x28mm rounds fired – 14killed 30 injured.
      2014 Fort Hood Shooting – Nearly 35 .45ACP rounds fired – 3killed 14 injured.
      Killed/Shots ratio – 2009: 0.07 2014: 0.085
      Injured(Including killed)/Shots ratio – 2009: 0.22 2014: 0.48
      Math is so simple. Which seems more effective now?

      • tactical guest

        Missed 2009 victim numbers, it was 13. So blasphemy.
        Looks math isn’t simple even for me. Blah.
        …Well, 5.7x28mm effectiveness is slightly lowered furthermore.

      • valorius


      • Stephen

        Even with those examples we have to remember that shot placement is the most important factor at play here. And we have no way of measuring that element between the two examples.

        • bbmg

          This is the crux of the matter – if you want to show that say the 45 is more lethal than the 5.7, you would have to demonstrate that those who survived their wounds when shot by the 5.7 would have not survived had they been shot in the *exact same place* with a 45.

          • valorius

            According to brassfetcher, who has done gel tests on several 57 rounds, ss192, ss195, ss198, and elite s4m are equivalent or slightly superior to 230gr .45acp jhp.

            Elite s4m meets fbi penetration, sheds and partially fragments its jacket, and tumbles end over end in gel. At nearly 2500fps and 400fpe energy, it is an overmatch for any iiia vest ive ever tested, or seen it tested on.

            It penetrated almost completely through both panels of my safariland iiia, and cleanly defeated my us armor iiia, which actually stops the fn ss198 le only 5.7mm round.

      • floppyscience

        All that proves is that the guy in 2009 was a horrible shot. He fired 200 rounds and only hit 44 people. The second guy fired 35 rounds and hit 17 people.

        If you want to compare people actually hit the people actually killed, the 5.7×28 actually seems more lethal as 33% of the victims died, where in the second shooting with .45 Auto 18% of them died.

    • valorius


    • Giolli Joker

      Shall we count how many people have been killed with 22LR?

  • Mark Wallace

    Interesting new caliber (new in the past few years that is). For me it’s a novelty at the moment but if prices of the package (gun/ammo) become affordable relative to other similarly performing calibers I might just purchase one for the collection…

    • Jeremy Star

      If you consider 24 years as “the past few years” then sure, it’s new.

  • Science Content

    Out of curiosity, let’s try the same tests with the ss190 LEO/Mil round.

  • dan citizen

    I’m just too lazy to fill in the blanks…

    1) Generic left handed complement about 5.7 x 28
    2) Insult about price and availability
    3) Quote about barrel length
    4) Comparison to .22 WMR
    5) Citation of other forum discussions
    6) FBI penetration argument
    7) Conclusion showing 10mm or 357 sig is the best round ever created

    • dan citizen

      Angry Pro 5.7 x 28 response!

      1) Statement extolling 14 year old PDW round logic
      2) 5.7 out of rifle is better than 22 WMR out of pistol rebuttal
      3) Argument that rimfire fails to fire 120% of the time
      4) Citing why 5.7 is better with ammo illegal in USA
      5) Defense of $1600 spent on pistol
      6) Fort hood reference to show lethality

      • JR

        LOL. Dan wins all the internetz today.

      • Zachary marrs

        That, that was beautiful

        • valorius

          And wrong.

          • Zachary marrs

            But soo right

          • dan citizen

            I was merely distilling the we discussions of 5.7… they follow this formula pretty close.

            5.7 is a great caliber…. when fired select fire from the P90’s 10 inch barrel… and presuming you are a tanker facing a soft armored enemy.

            Oh, wait. Hard plate armor is now common, and select fire is a no no in the US…. And you don’t drive a tank…. and you can’t buy or use the AP ammo.

            That leaves us with an overpriced PMR30 shooting overpriced crappy performing ammo.

          • valorius

            Wrong on every level again.

            The five seven handgun will easily defeat any level iiia vest on the market with several civilian legal rounds. Dont need a tank to carry a handgun.

            Elite s4m from 57 handgun: 2450fps, 400 fpe, defeats iiia vest. Exceeds 12″ penetration. Tumbles end over end on impact with gel.

            .22 mag? Uh…no.

            No select fire? Well if thats your thing, the ar57 will work with a slidefire, and holds 50rds.

            So, any other myths youd like to perpetuate today?

          • dan citizen

            “any other myths youd like to perpetuate today?”

            OMG, yes! Too many to list.

          • valorius

            I’ll be here all night. 😉

          • AK™

            Doesn’t the Tokarev do the same thing with basic FMJs?

          • valorius

            In an ancient, heavy, low capacity platform.

            Its the same as asking, “Doesnt the browning hi power do the same thing a glock does?”

      • valorius

        There is no 5.7mm round that is illegal in the us.

        Five seven pistols are not 1600 bucks. More like 1100ish.

        • iksnilol

          The AP ammo that was made for it is LEO only, can be gotten by us civvies through the grey market but still it isn’t common for us.

          • valorius

            Its still legal.

            The best ammo is made by elite. Check out their s4m and t6.

        • dan citizen

          I guess I did over estimate the price, My bad, I don’t buy, own, or shoot boutique guns. A shooter could save some money by purchasing the Masterpiece Arms in 5.7 ( At least until HiPoint comes out with one.

          – Federal law prohibits the manufacture, importation, sale or delivery of armor-piercing ammunition, with very limited exceptions

          – Several states criminalize the discharge, but not the possession of armor-piercing ammunition.

          – The following states ban possession:
          District of Columbia
          New Jersey
          North Carolina
          Rhode Island
          South Carolina

          • valorius

            Ss190 is not classified as armor piercing ammo, and is perfectly legal to own.
            The fn ss198 police rd is also legal to own.

            The most powerful 57 ammo is made by elite, in the usa.

      • n0truscotsman

        you have done well. very well 😀

        • valorius

          The uk queens personal body guards carry five seven pistols with ss190 black tip.

    • XHLN

      1) 10mm is the best round ever created
      2) 10mm is the best round ever created
      3) 10mm is the best round ever created

      • John Yossarian

        4) And 9×25 Dillon from the same Glock 20

        • Jimmy Bob Raytheon

          Or Glock 29, and actually be able to conceal carry it.

    • AK™

      You ever meet a person that lived after being shot with .50BMG?

      Zaptal carry of a M107 is the safest carry of the most effective caliber. 😉

      • dan citizen

        I do in fact know a man who was shot in the neck by a .50 BMG

        He was fighting in the pacific ww2. As he was walking along he felt something smack him in the neck and he fell down. A .50 round fired some distance away (they were not engaged in the fighting at the moment) had skipped along and hit him with just enough force to lodge 2/3 into his neck meat. He was fine after a couple stitches. He kept the round as a keepsake the rest of his life.

        I’m gonna go with the Anzio 20mm cannon

  • DogtheBountyHunter

    There’s a video somewhere out there where a guy compares three types of 5.7 ammo out of the pistol and then the PS90. With the latter, even some non-ammo piercing rounds made it through a vest and produced a pretty good wound channel.

    • Xanderbach

      That would be MAC from the Military Arms Channel.

      • DogtheBountyHunter


  • valorius

    Elite ammo sells a version of vmax in 5.7mm with 200+ fps more velocity. It expands very well, and will defeat a level ii vest.

  • valorius

    Elite ammunition is the way to go in 5.7 mm.

    If you must use fn ammo, use SS 198 green tip.

  • valorius

    I don’t like this guy in the video, I watch all his reviews on 380 ammo and found them to be shortsighted and overly focused on penetration.

  • michael

    simply put, it’s just too expensive

  • big daddy

    I’ll stick to a 9mm with Federal HST ammo.

  • DrewN

    As someone who has put a fair number of rounds downrange from select fire PS90s, I love the 5.7 in that application. But there is absolutely no reason to choose it in a work/duty pistol, not when 16+ capacities are the norm in 9mm. For fun? Why not, although what I really want for plinking is a 10/22 style carbine in 5.7.

    • valorius

      Armor penetration and super light weight are both good reasons.

  • kyphe

    Why is this guy focusing so exclusively on the fact the bullets did not expand fully if they did so much damage via tumble? that is what happens with pointed bullets, they tend to tumble and tumble prevents expansion!

    In this case they either tumble and don’t expand as the face of the bullet is no longer in line with the direction of travel or they do expand as they did not tumble. In either case the bullet did quite a bit of damage to the gel target and would have done more with the changes in soft mass and solid bone in a real body.

    The round may not meet this persons expectations as per the advertising on the box and is right to criticize that advertising as misleading, but he can not claim the round is ineffective regardless of it’s failure to open while at the same time commending the damage channel the little rounds made.

  • Cal S.

    Either way, it’s a pistol round. We’ve been told that pistol stopping power is a myth by the FBI. The FBI is always right. Therefore, anything smaller than .50bmg is a myth and not worthy of consideration.

  • So an expensive round in an expensive platform isn’t the best option for self defense… huh, I do love Shootingthebulls videos though, he’s my favorite shoot the ballistic gel guy out there