The FN Five-seveN Pistol (5.7x28mm)

The FN Five-seveN pistol is chambered for the same 5.7x28mm cartridge as the famous P90 PDW, but the short barrel of the pistol results in less velocity. Still, the Five-seveN is perhaps the perfect sidearm for a man using the P90 as a primary. It also makes for a great range gun as the low recoil and nearly absent muzzle flip result is a very pleasant shooting experience. In this installment of TFBTV we do a quick overview of this little gun from FN. The pistol featured has an aftermarket barrel installed.

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Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


  • Rick O’Shay


    • Z


      • Rick O’Shay

        The gun and the ammo ARE ridiculously priced for what they are, though. Every guy I’ve ever known who’s bought one, bought it because video games.

        • Ammo’s actually gone down in price quite a bit; the SS197 blue tip VMAX is selling routinely for $0.36 a round, making it comparable to .45 ACP/.357/.223. Especially good considering it’s a premium ballistic tip projectile, and not a FMJ.

          • Amplified Heat

            17$/ at PSA…not bad for Hornady Vmax hollowpoint pistol ammo

        • Bjørn Vermo

          I never saw it in a video game. I got it because of weight and overall quality. It just handles well. I am not too good with handguns, but can triple tap with the FiveSeveN in less time than I can get back on target with a 9mm. That is what makes it expensive to use, though. I run through 200 rounds in no time at all. Ammunition is not really expensive per round unless you buy the super premium stuff.

    • What about the guys with Korriphila pistols?

      • Anonymoose


        • Longhaired Redneck

          Coprophilia? Oh go eat sh!t…

      • Giolli Joker

        I’d go for an SVI Tiki.

    • Longhaired Redneck

      Please stop yelling!

    • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

      I gave up on reading your comment on the second line. There is nothing wrong with using letters like they were meant to be used.

      • AC97

        You haven’t heard of Ivan Chesnokov, have you?

    • tiger

      Fascist Italian suits? Nazi Mercedes? Seriously in 2016…

      • Mike

        He could add Empire building British cars if he wanted to insult people

    • supergun

      H&K 9mms, and Sig Sauer 9mms cost as much or more than the FIVE SEVEN. Each gun has a purpose. I bet the person on the receiving end could care about descriptions from these pistols.

  • Gambler X

    I liked the FiveSeveN and the PS90. I didnt like that every range trip with them cost $400 in ammo.

    • Amplified Heat

      800-1000 rounds per trip?!

      • Gambler X

        400-500 per trip. Fine $400 is a bit of an exaggeration but its not cheap.

        • supergun

          PSA has them on sale as low as $13 a box. I purchased a thousand at this price.

    • yodamiles

      I looked online couple of times and the ammo cost is not bad at all. More expensive than dirty surplus of course, but more or less the same prince with other 9mm brands

      • Gambler X

        you looked online a couple of times….

        • Palmetto state armory routinely has SS197 on sale for $17 a box.

          • Gambler X

            And when i sold both it wasnt $17 a box, it was near $30 if i could actually find it.

          • Amplified Heat

            At one point FN was the only supplier, and there was a six-month strike in Belgium, hence the high prices. Now that there are several suppliers globally, and an aftermarket making ammo to boot, and tens of thousands of guns chambered for the round, it’s far less a concern (well, apart from AWB’s)

          • Gambler X

            Pre-2006 maybe. Since 2006 the FN branded ammo was made by Fiocchi in Italy.

  • M-dasher

    Glock 17 w/ +2 mag bases shooting liberty civil defense 50gr 9mm……….the same performance as the FN for 1/2 the cost.

    • AC97

      You do realize that not all level IIIA vests are defeated by that round out of a five inch barrel, right? Also, the terminal ballistics on that round are garbage.

      • CommonSense23

        I’ve seen Libertys 9mm round used in a live tissue lab. Its terminal ballistics are very impressive.

        • AC97

          If it just penetrated soft armor, no, it won’t be that impressive, and it doesn’t reach the 12 inch penetration mark as per the FBI standard anyway without penetrating armor (obviously, this will be much more of a problem if it got slowed down by kevlar).

        • Amplified Heat

          What, do they pay hobo volunteers to get shot, or something?

          • CommonSense23

            Of course not. Its what junior enlisted is for. Or pigs, whatever is cheaper.

        • Could you describe how it performed? And was it the civilian “Civil Defense” load or the 55gr Brass “National Defense” designed for LEO/MIL?

  • The Five-seveN is an interesting pistol. The only other handgun I know of with a forward rifle type safety is the Gramaton Cleric’s pistol.
    But what really makes it most interesting, is the cartridge. Out of the pistol, this round is hitting like a .22 Magnum RIFLE. That’s substantial. In an a package that is very light weight, accurate… and easy to make long range (for a pistol) hits with. I’ve range steel plates with one out to 400 yards.
    What I’d really like though, is a gun like a Savage 93R17, chambered in 5.7.

    • Anonymoose

      Yeah, well, I want a Five-seveN and a PS90 chambered in .30 Carbine…

      • ostiariusalpha

        You want a Five-seveN chambered in .30 Carbine? Très gallant.

        • mazkact

          Yeah, well, I want a M1 carbine chambered in .22 TCM, come on Armscor.


    • Dave

      “The only other handgun I know of with a forward rifle type safety is the Gramaton Cleric’s pistol.”

      Thats the takedown lever of the beretta’s they used for those prop guns, not the safety

      • Of course. But still… I got to reference Equilibrium. So I got that going for me. Which is nice.

  • One of the cool things about the FsN/PS90 is how light and compact the cartridges are. A 50rd box is about 1.5″x1.5″x3″, so you can fit 200rds in a cargo pants pocket.

    At 6.9 grams a cartridge, 5.7×28 weighs 1/2 as much as 9mm (12.6 grams) and 1/3 as much as .45 ACP (21 grams.) Makes for an excellent hiking/travel/survival cartridge in that regard.

    • Anonymoose

      But will it kill a charging bear…or a moose?

      • A polar bear that escaped from the NYC zoo was killed with a single shot of 148gr Lead Round Nose .38 Special, so anything’s possible 😉

        • The Raven

          I think I’d rather have a .45 or 10mm in that instance…

          • AC97

            Define .45.

          • iksnilol

            Like, 308 with the neck blown out and a .45 caliber bullet loaded in.

          • AC97

            Yeah, that sounds like it would work.

          • iksnilol

            If we can compress the powder enough.

      • Daniel M. Ramos

        I would think that if you were being charged by a bear or a moose and you pulled out a 5-7 pistol and unloaded 20-30 rounds into the animal it would certainly die.
        If you were nervous and running away I bet the 20-30 rounds and increased accuracy might come in handy. Also, if you hit a moose or bear with even one round they might just reconsider running towards the thing causing the pain.

        • Robert Kalani Foxworthy

          The previous record for polar bear was killed with a 22 with one shot.

    • Giolli Joker

      Never shot either the P90 (I love it, BTW) or the Five-seveN, however I handled both and the plastic insert on the Five-seveN, together with its diminutive weight, was really off-putting… it really feels like a toy. I handled airsoft toys that felt much more “real”.
      I truly believe that it’s a serious pistol and I’d love to try it, but that’s the initial impression.

      • That’s the point of the FsN, to be as light as possible. Loaded with 20rd’s it weighs 25.6 oz, compared to the Glock 17’s weight of 25.06 oz empty.

      • Daniel M. Ramos

        I understand that sentiment. I can shoot much straighter with a heavier pistol. It makes a big difference to me.

  • ozzallos .

    Obligatory .22 TCM comment.

    Nealy the same performance when you start comparing similar bullet weights and ammunition the public can actually get. Also available in 1911 flavors with conversion kits to 9mm for an actually reasonable price. And has a rifle made to chamber it.

    • The greatest strength of the .22 TCM, that it works in .45 and 9mm pistols, is also its greatest weakness.

      Namely, in order to remain compatible with legacy firearms, the .22 TCM can only be loaded with really short, stubby projectiles designed for the .22 mag.

      This prevents it from using any of the modern Spitzer style projectiles designed for .224, unlike the 5.7×28, which can be loaded with any .224 projectile from 27gr-55gr.

      While the factory loads from FN are deliberately underloaded, ammo from Elite, R&R weapon systems, Vanguard, and Desert Ammo supply all hit the true velocity of the round – 2000fps w/ 40gr ammo, and 2450 w/ 27gr out of the FsN.

      • Goosey

        Are they really “underloaded”? I don’t think so. It’s not loaded as hot as possible, but FN designed and specc’d this cartridge, not Elite Ammunition. The commercial SS195LF and SS197SR have comparable energy (~350-370 J) to their SS190 (~370 J) or SS198LF (~360 J) .

        A 230 grain .45 ACP at 850 fps is not underloaded just because Underwood and Doubletap happen to offer a 230 at 1000.

        • In the case of the SS195 and SS197, they are deliberately underloaded in order to not penetrate body armor (or more correctly, to be unreliable at piercing IIIA.) Elite’s loadings are not even +p, as they are below the SAAMI 50kpsi spec.

          Really even the SS190 mil/leo round is underloaded vs it’s potential.

          The closest ballistic comparison I could give you is that the 5.7×28 is a .357 SIG cartridge, but FN is loading them to 9X19 velocities – fully 200-400fps slower than the cartridge and weapons are capable of safely firing.

          Underloading the cartridge, plus the dated design of the SS190 projectile (essentially a SS109/M855 with an aluminum vs lead base) is why Mil/LEO sales of the round are stagnating due to a perceived “lack of stopping power.” The SS190 is subject to the same “fleet yaw problem” that caused the 5.56 M855 to have a reputation as a “poor stopper.” Basically it offers an inconsistent tumbling depth – either tumbling within 2-3″ and working very well as designed, or tumbling late, at 10″+, and making an ice pick through and through.

          That’s why there’s such conflicting reports of the 5.7×28 in Mil/LE use – reports showing it working great are when the round tumbled early as designed, and reports of having to fire long bursts with the P90 to get a stop are due to rounds tumbling late and going through and through.

          When loaded to the proper velocity, and using better projectiles, the round is capable of substantially more performance then the current FN SS190 provides.

      • ozzallos .

        And you’re only proving my point. Similar projectiles offer the same ballistics across platforms. A 40gr 22tcm will push 2kfps all day long. Proven, chronographed, googled. I don’t know of any underweight loads like 5.7 27gr, but there’s no reasons to expect dissimilar performance… Legacy platform or not.

        • Right, I’m not disputing the velocity of the .22 TCM. The velocity is excellent.

          The issue I’m pointing out is that the .22 TCM cannot make use of the potential of the cartridge, because it is limited to firing the very limited number of short, stubby bullets designed for the .22 mag and .22 hornet due to the need to retain the short OAL needed to fit in .45 acp length magazines.

          The 5.7×28 can be loaded as hot as the .22 TCM (1950-2050 w/ 40gr,) but the .22 TCM can never be loaded with the projectiles that the 5.7×28 is capable of firing, due to the limits imposed by the legacy magazines it’s fired from.

          Ideally, an entirely new pistol would be created with a longer magazine that allows the .22 TCM to fire real, Spitzer .224 projectiles. That would absolutely outperform the 5.7×28.

        • Robert Kalani Foxworthy

          You are sacrifing better bullet coefficient and bullet yaw. for more power out of factory loads with less bullet selection.

  • Pete – TFB Writer

    Thanks. I kinda want one…

    • Get one! By far one of the most fun and interesting pistols to shoot, especially if you enjoy long range target shooting. Hitting 7/10 shots at 100 yards off hand is pretty easy with the FsN.

      • iksnilol

        *cough* Tokarev *cough*

        If you’re on a budget and whatnot.

        • I really like 7.62×25, used to have a CZ52. However the pistols that fire the round are really dated. Overall the combo of 5.7×28’s low recoil / flat trajectory + the excellent adjustable sights and crisp single action trigger of the FsN is what makes it such a fun long range blaster.

          I’ve shot beer bottles off hand at 80 yards with mine. Takes about 3 shots – the first two rounds to show where the ammo is hitting at that range, and then once you adjust your aim up or down (depends where you had zero’d your sights) the third shot vaporizes the bottle.

          It’s as close to a laser pistol as currently available. The price of the gun is high (arguably over priced in terms of manufacturing cost to produce) but the value in terms of performance and enjoyment is totally worth it. Having spent quite a bit of time shooting $1000+ 1911’s and high end Sphinx’s and custom CZ’s that cost similar to the FsN, I have to say the FsN provides the most “bang for the buck” satisfaction and is totally worth the price.

          • iksnilol

            I am not a Belgian man who is of wearing fascist Italian suit and driving nazi Mercedes to prove he is money.

            Besides, a Tokarev is basically a simplified 1911 (with a trigger pack to boot). Not the most fancy, but fancy enough.

            I sorta, kinda doubt I can get 5.7 in Scandinavia at all :/

          • Yeah it’s a tricky firearm to acquire outside of the US; I believe its even specifically banned in CZ, which is otherwise a very gun friendly country.

            Are Glock’s available in Scandinavia? If you reload, you can get 90gr 9mm’s going 1600-1700fps out of the G34, which is fairly close to the 7.62×25 out of a modern platform.

          • iksnilol

            Glocks are available, but why bother with a Glock? I mean, I am going through some hoops, I have to be a member of a pistol club for 6 months and of course I need to actually compete with the blasted thing. Why bother getting a Glock then?

          • If you’re just shooting regular 9mm loads then absolutely go with something a bit more high end (Sphinx if you can get ahold of one.)

            I only suggest the Glock for shooting lots of hot +p+ 9mm loads. The gun is durable and cheap, and every single part can be easily replaced. So in general I’d be more comfortable shooting lots of high pressure loads out of the Glock vs a Sphinx or high end CZ due to it being so modular / disposable.

          • iksnilol

            If I am mucking around with strong loads, I’m going for a good steel frame. Is safer with a bent frame than an exploded one.

            + CZs are cheaper than Glocks here and you can get the parts easily.

          • Stan Darsh

            After seeing the Norinco/Dominion Arms P762 Sig-clone, I really need to make a trip to Canukistan.

          • Mike

            I would like a modern high capacity gun in 7.62×25. I heard that there is a Sig 226 clone from Norinco in this caliber, but not importable here

      • Pete – TFB Writer

        I need a threaded barrel for sure. Do you shoot it suppressed ar all?

        • I haven’t dipped my toe into the NFA game yet, hopefully next year. However I’ve been on Five Seven Forum for years, and a lot of guys there are running suppressed (Buffman’s youtube channel is a great resource.)

          Elite and EFK both sell threaded barrels for the FsN, and reloading subsonic 5.7×28 is fairly simple (comparable to loading .223). Loading hot/full power loads for the 5.7 can be a bit hair raising, but loading subsonic is really easy as the powder charge is so low.

          What’s interesting from Buffman’s testing of the FN factory subsonic SB193 testing is that the subsonic 55gr FMJ is a) nearly .22lr quiet and B) can still defeat level IIIA. Basically the coolest suppressed pistol combo possible.

          • Pete – TFB Writer

            Great info. Thank you. I’m intrigued for sure.

  • Kent

    I have only done one range trip with this thing as a rental. It was a trip and easy to get on target with little kick. But boy did that thing throw flames out of the end of the barrel. I hated the gripping which cheese grated my hands after about 50 rounds. I liked the ps90 too but loading the mag is too wierd and the weight distribution is too wierd to me. Maybe it would not be that wierd to me know that I have a Tavor, but felt that way at the time.

  • S. Cautela

    This video absolutely had to address the ammo type, availability, performance and price, but did not… Felt like more of a promotional video than the normally funny, honest, and sometimes acerbic Alex C. video.

  • Curious George

    Which threaded barrel are you running there? Not a Jarvis custom for sure – EFK or made Tornado thread your factory barrel ?

  • Anonymoose

    I saw a Gemtech 5.7 suppressor at my LGS. I’m pretty sure it will never ever sell.

    • Ripley

      You could put it on a .22-250, Gemtech mentions this.

      • Anonymoose


    • Daniel

      You can shoot 22 or 223 out of it. I not ideal but does work.

  • pseudo

    Yeah, I have to say that while I absolutely want one, I don’t see myself ever buying one. My first firearm purchase was a ps90 tri rail. I sold it because ammo dried up and was ludicrously expensive. I understand that is not the case anymore, but the pistol itself is also ludicrously expensive. After handling the ps90, I thought it was also a bit overpriced, but not so much as the fiveseven. A little surprised there was no mention of any of that.

  • Qba

    What about MHS?

  • Bub

    Alex, it is my understanding this pistol works best with 40gr ammo. Has this been you experience or have you tried any of the lighter stuff?

    • ostiariusalpha

      That’s like saying that 5.56x45mm works best with 75gr bullets; it really just depends on the application, which bullet weight and type is most appropriate. The 5.7mm cartridge “likes” 20-40gr bullets.

    • It works great with the 27gr SS198 and SS195, as well as hand loads using 30-50gr bullets.

      The 40gr SS197 just offers the lowest cost / highest performance ratio of the factory ammo; around $0.36 per round vs $0.50-$0.60 for the SS198/SS195. However those rounds are much better at penetration.

  • Bub

    My question related to the cycling of the pistol and not performance. I was really only interested in function. Can you tell me if your five seven works with all bull it weights? Thanks

    • Amplified Heat

      Yes, the ammo is designed for both pistol & carbine. EA’s hot rods are rough on both

  • ReadyorNot

    I was watching a NatGeo program last week about the black market gun trade and they were interviewing some rookie DEA or ATF agent (don’t recall). She was holding up a captured FiveseveN pistol and calling it a “cop killer” gun and I automatically rolled my eyes. It’s almost very likely she couldn’t tell you why it was a ‘cop killer’ gun nor would she know that the AP ammo is illegal to get a hold of for civilians at least.

  • Daniel M. Ramos

    A thought just struck me. Since the 5-7 pistol and the PS-90 both use the same cartridge and are both blowback type of actions, then could a 5-7 pistol do the job of a PS-90 if it were put into a carbine conversion kit specifically designed for it? It might be like a PS-90 with a box magazine with a 30 round capacity.

    • You gain a good bit of velocity by going to the PS90 (from 1700 to 2100 fps for 40gr, from 2050 to 2500 for 27gr) not to mention the nifty 50 rd mags.

      But you can purchase Master Piece Arms MPA pistols with 8″ barrels that take the same FsN 20rd mags. With an Arm Brace they are about as short as the P90.

      • Daniel M. Ramos

        Have you seen what weight is for the MPA pistols? Those things are a bit heavy in my opinion.

        • I own one in 5.7×28 actually. It’s 4.2lbs with an 8″ bull barrel, about the same weight as a HK MP7. It’s a PDW, not a pistol.

          • Daniel M. Ramos

            Thanks, so compared to a 5-7 in say a KPOS G2 it is quite hefty. I appreciate you listing the weight. I don’t see that the manufacturer even lists it on their web page.

          • The newest version with an aluminum lower receiver (mine’s steel) is likely a bit lighter, but it would be heavier than the KPOS.

            The advantage you get with the MPA may be worth the weight increase though. To begin with, you get an 8″ fixed match barrel, which boosts velocity by around 200fps, and is extremely accurate – like 3/4″ at 25 yards. MPA, although known for their modern MAC “pistols,” also makes 1000yd precision rifles in house – and the MAC’s barrels are made on the same tooling as their sub-moa rifles.

            You also of course get the advantage of keeping the FsN pistol as a pistol, rather than converting it into a PDW. Since they share the same mags, the FsN + 5.7 MAC is a pretty cool combination.

    • Mazryonh

      The Five-seveN pistol is already a fairly niche weapon firing a niche caliber. While what you describe is certainly buildable, there likely aren’t enough people with Five-seveN pistols who would be interested in that kind of conversion kit, unless it was much cheaper than a PS90. It would likely be longer than the PS90 as well if built to the 16-inch civilian-legal barrel length, though in exchange you’d probably be able to mount an adjustable AR-15 buttstock on it (which a PS90 can’t use).

      There is, however, an AR-15 upper called the AR57 that uses PS90 magazines and drops spent casings out through the attached AR-15 lower’s magwell. It doesn’t use 30-round Five-seveN magazines but can be attached to most AR-15 lowers. That’s probably what most 5.7x28mm fans would be using if they can’t afford PS90s.

      • Daniel M. Ramos

        I’ve read that the AR57 uppers aren’t very reliable. It is too bad. For the price they charge for that upper it should be bulletproof.

  • Joe Johnson

    Terrible suppressor host? Mine’s awesome with my Axiom on it. The mag disconnect is also stupid easy to disable, takes about 11 seconds.

  • Mazryonh

    I thought these videos usually had a transcript in their blog entries here. Is that no longer this blog’s policy for TFBTV videos?

  • Mike

    The big question is how effective is the ammo against a non vest wearing person?
    I have a FiveseveN pistol and carry the ss198 round.
    Savage advertised a bolt gun in 5.7 once

  • supergun

    A very nice gun for the wife. The gun shoots straight and the bullet goes through a lot of stuff. Deadly at a hundred yards. Amazing gun.