As many of you know, the FN Five-seveN is not a new handgun… in fact, it’s been around for over 20 years! However, it has struggled to find itself in the collection of your typical gun-owner likely because of the availability and cost of factory ammunition as well as the gun’s premium price tag. Now that 5.7x28mm is re-surging in popularity, I want to take an in-depth look at this unique handgun and see if it is a firearm that we should want to own.
I want to take a brief second here to mention that I am not a fanboy of the 5.7×28 cartridge. I think it is cool, and I think it has its unique applications, but I do not think that a firearm is automatically great just because it is chambered in this cartridge. That said, we’ll dive right in!
When I first received the FN Five-seveN (FN 57 from here out), I immediately took notice of how lightweight it is. Coming in at only 21 ounces without the mag, it’s the kind of deceiving that pulls a remark out of anyone that picks one up for the first time. Coupling this fact with my knowledge of the FN 57 being used by military and police across the world, the latter makes a lot more sense. This is a powerful package that carries 20 rounds of 5.7×28 and puts minimal strain on the hip of the person that has to carry it.
Another thing that I saw was the relative lack of external metallic parts. The frame is polymer, the trigger is polymer, the controls are all polymer and the slide even has a polymer shell. Unlike some, I like to see this in modern firearms. The less metal that a firearm has, the less maintenance that firearm requires to protect from corrosion, the less weight, and the less cold it is against the skin when shooting or carrying it in cold conditions.
The final thing that caught my attention before going out and testing the FN 57 on the range was the trigger pull… It is extremely good. There is a magazine disconnect which won’t allow the trigger to operate unless a mag is inserted. With the magazine inserted and a chamber that was verified as clear, I dry-fired the gun a few times to feel the trigger pull. There is approximately 1/4″ of takeup followed by a hard stop and a crisp break. Coming from a rifle shooter, it gave me deja-vu of a high-quality 2-stage rifle trigger. This single impression started me down the road of being a fan. Later, I measured the trigger-pull to be 6 pounds, which actually surprised me because I guessed it to be much less.
The FN 57 has front and rear slide-serrations as well as “wings” at the very rear of the gun that make the slide easy to grip. The stippling on the grip is extremely aggressive to the point that it leaves impressions in my hand from gripping it firmly. There is also a single finger groove below the trigger guard that locks your ring finger into position up high on the grip. While maintaining my normal grip on the gun, I was able to operate all of the controls. For me, the mag release was in such a location that I was able to hit it with my middle finger of my dominant hand. The ambidextrous safety is located above the trigger and operates on an approximate 30-degree throw. The slide catch is located above the thumb of your right hand (if right-handed) and sticks out enough to be positively engaged.
The sights on the FN 57 are very tall, almost like suppressor-height sights. Both front and back sights feature a white dot for quick and accurate sight picture and the rear sight is fully adjustable for both windage and elevation, giving you the ability to zero the gun in for a particular bullet weight.
Finally, the magazine. This is likely the easiest pistol magazine that I have ever loaded by hand because of the staggered double-stack design (much the same as you see in AR magazines) that allows loading from the top. Simply push a bullet straight down into the magazine until it clicks into place and follow it with another round until the mag is full. The FN 57 comes with 3 magazines when you buy it and you have the choice of either 10 round or 20 round magazines.
At The Range
After getting used to shooting the FN 57, the first thing I did was a 25-yard accuracy test. For this, I used two different ammunitions: FNH USA SS197SR 40 grain Sporting Cartridge and Federal American Eagle 40 grain FMJ. The results from my test are below with group measurements in the picture. These were examples of the multiple groups I shot, which reflected the average group for each ammunition.
I also wanted to know exactly how fast the 4.8″ barrel could get these 40-grain projectiles moving, so I ran them over a chronograph. With the American Eagle Ammunition, I saw an average velocity of 1583 FPS with an extreme spread of 34 feet per second. With the FNH Ammunition, I measured an average velocity of 1703 and an extreme spread of only 17 FPS across 10 shots! This data more than surprised me and the quality and consistency of this ammunition definitely showed at the target.
Once I knew that both myself and this handgun were capable of shooting extremely accurately with the right ammo, I just had to test its limits. I set a steel 18″ target out and backed off to 100 yards and then pushed back even further to 300 yards and was blown away by the capabilities of the FN 57. Check out the video below to see how it went!
Even though I was trying to maintain my skeptical perspective, I came to love the FN Five-SeveN after taking it out to the range. I can say with confidence that most people would come to the same conclusion as I did at this point. The unique design of the 5.7x28mm cartridge provides a lot of energy thanks to its high velocity, yet it produces very little recoil to the shooter. This makes the gun very controllable, easy, and fun to shoot.
- Single-action internal hammer-fired
- 10 or 20 round mag capacity
- 21-ounce weight (without mag)
- 4.8″ barrel
- 8.2″ overall length
- 1:9″ right-hand twist barrel
- 5.7″ height
- 1.4″ width
- 4.4 – 7.87-pound trigger pull
- 7″ sight radius
- Adjustable 3-dot sights
- Front and rear cocking serrations
- Cold hammer-forged stainless steel barrel with chrome-lined chamber and bore
- 1913 Picatinny accessory rail
- Ambidextrous safety lever
- Reversible magazine release
- $1,435.00 MSRP
I started off being a cautious skeptic of the FN Five-seveN just because I felt the caliber has been over-hyped lately, but by the time I got a bit of hands-on experience with it, I quickly became a fan. The FN 57 is a pretty large handgun, but it is still very light and comfortable to operate. It is amazing to me that you can basically scale down a rifle round and put it in a pistol while maintaining a reasonable grip size, but here it has been executed perfectly.
The trigger on the FN 57 really made the gun a pleasure to shoot and allowed me to squeeze every bit of accuracy out of the platform thanks to the crisp break. I am sure that the long 7″ sight radius helped as well coupled with the availability of high-quality ammunition. Speaking of ammunition, I found it in Idaho stocked in a Sportsmans Warehouse for about $20 per 50 rounds and I am willing to bet that this price will drop with the continued interest in 5.7×28 within the market.
Overall, I enjoyed the FN Five-seveN and I think that anyone who is able to add one to their collection would also.
Click HERE to buy one on GunsAmerica.