5.7 Craze: FN Five-seveN Full Review

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.

The FN Five-seveN is an iconic handgun. If you have ever played videogames, watched T.V or seen an action movie, you will likely be able to recognize this firearm. The question remains though: is it any good?

First Impressions

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 only metal that you are going to find on the FN Five-seveN is on the inside. Notice how the slide even has a polymer cover.

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 trigger on the FN 57 deserves a bit of recognition. It is crisp and light. This aspect alone would drive me to purchase this handgun over a competitor’s.

Noteworthy Features

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 safety is ambidextrous and located conveniently above the trigger, making it easy to operate with the trigger finger.

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.

The FN 57’s magazine loads exactly the same as an AR’s, making it the easiest pistol magazine to load.

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.

Specifications:

  • 5.7x28mm
  • 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
When you buy an FN Five-seveN, you receive it in a hardcase with three magazines and the usual lock and manual.

Final Thoughts

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 grip texture is extremely aggressive. Either you will love it, or hate it.

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.

Other Photos

The white dot sights quickly the eye and make shooting much easier.
The rear sight is fully adjustable.
The accessory rail allows you to attach almost any aftermarket device.
The low bore axis coupled with the light bullet weight on the 57 makes the recoil very manageable.

***Buy and Sell on GunsAmerica! All Local Sales are FREE!***

About the author: Riley Baxter is an avid and experienced hunter, shooter, outdoorsman, and he’s worked in the backcountry guiding for an outfitter. He also get’s a lot of enjoyment out of building or customizing his firearms and equipment. Check out Riley’s Instagram @Shooter300

{ 34 comments… add one }
  • Don from CT March 18, 2020, 10:05 am

    It would have been nice if Clay Martin had done this review, since he did the Ruger 57 less than a month ago.

    This info is old news. All that would be news for the FN 5.7 would be how it compares to the 50% less expensive Ruger. Which many people have described as the best Ruger semi-auto ever made.

    DFC

  • Bad Penguin March 17, 2020, 6:50 am

    I think the author gave a fair evaluation of the pistol and I wish other companies would offer pistons with the polymer shell as this would make a great feature for pistols that go out into the real world for use and marring the aesthetics of the weapon is not a problem. In other words it would be a working gun thats built to take the abuse of being in a tackle box or rough up a little while working on a fence in the middle of nowhere.

    The 5.7 pistol is, in my opinion, a good weapon to teach someone how to shoot and for fun plinking but when used in a pistol, the velocity of the 5.7 round is to slow for a bullet this small to be effective. Small projectiles depend on velocity to inflict tissue damage. I have +P .45 ammo that is faster than is round.

    The major who killed the soldiers at FT Hood was killing them with head shots. He had them all trapped and unable to escape or move so he could take careful aim. None of them were armed either.

    BTW, The 5.7 round is only armor piercing when used with armor piercing rounds which, are illegal for civilians to buy and own. If the 5.7 ammo was AP then the ATF would have banned it years ago. Don’t listen to the hype.

  • Guido March 16, 2020, 7:44 pm

    Hello, Riley
    Good review of the firearm.

    “Every action is countered by an opposite and equal reaction”.

    If you hold that concept to be true (and I do) then the notion of a very light handgun sending a projectile downrange with “a lot of energy” and “minimal recoil” is not logical.
    It may send a ridiculously light projectile downrange with respectable velocity, but that still doesn’t calculate to very much energy.
    The Tokarev TT-30 (at approx. $230 a copy) does a respectable job of sending a 30 cal. projectile downrange at 1300-1500 fps that weigh 80-90 grains, heavier if you handload. Probably won’t be bangin’ steel at 300 yards, though.
    Which brings up another thing, I don’t know because I’ve never tried, but I’ve read handloading the 5.7 is a bitch due to the really narrow case mouth restricting powder.

    • Newton’s Ghost May 1, 2020, 1:13 pm

      You fail at physics. It’s entirely possible for low weight, high velocity rounds to have high energy and low recoil. What do you think an AR15 does? How much recoil would a big laser have?

      If you had said momentum, I’d agree, but we’re not talking about momentum.

  • Will Drider March 16, 2020, 6:03 pm

    When the Gov castrated the availability of ammo the handgun was designed to shoot and the resulting capability loss: I don’t have a practical use fot it. That being the case, I woud consider the cheaper but IMHO better Ruger for a Range toy.

  • Mike Cornett March 16, 2020, 4:17 pm

    This is kind of the mentality of…If you build it, they will come.
    I don’t see why anyone would want one, other than just add it to a collection.
    I’m super happy with my 9mm and the variety of ammo available.
    Note: I like a heaver pistol. I’m much more steady on target. Canik-55 Stingray-C…40 oz loaded
    It’s a CZ 75 Clone. I don’t have to hunt for anything better. I got it.

  • Vlad Tepes March 16, 2020, 12:13 pm

    I am hoping the new Ruger is as accurate as the FN 5.7. If so I am seriously thinking about buying one. Since I am a handloader I can keep the cost of ammo down for practice using lead bullet hand loads. Please to a report on the new Ruger and compare it to the FN weapon.

    • Dennis March 16, 2020, 10:13 pm

      The factory cartridges have a clear coating on the brass cases, this allows for an ever so slight delayed blow-back. I’ve read elsewhere that they are limited to 3 reloads due to the delay blow-back coating, which must wear-out when used. The coating also make the process of reloading/sizing difficult.

  • Hank Hurlstone March 16, 2020, 11:19 am

    Since I don’t customarily carry a handgun without the magazine, the 21oz weight doesn’t signify much. ‘Pears to me that an “in depth look” at a pistol would include a loaded weight, particularly since the magazine holds 20 rounds. That said, the gun does appeal to me.

    • Charles Valenzuela March 16, 2020, 1:16 pm

      27 ounces / 766 grams loaded with 20 rounds of 27g SS198 (green tip HP) ammunition

    • Ken Morrison March 16, 2020, 4:52 pm

      For those of us who carried a sidearm for a living, having the weight of the weapon with a fully loaded magazine would have been a good add to the piece. Having been the chief firearms training officer for a large state LE agency, I was forunate enough to have the military/LE version supplied on loan when they first became avaiable about twenty years ago. It was a double action on the first pull and subsequent shots were single action. The civilian version was not configured that way. Our testing showed this weapon, with the right ammo, would penetrate BOTH sides of a ballistic vest at 100 yards. That info would have been helpful to some of the readers. Bottom line, loved the weapon.

      • Terry Breckenridge March 17, 2020, 10:50 pm

        Have owned one since they became available to the public. After some extensive range testing out to two hundred yards this round is very accurate and powerful enough to do the job as your daily cart weapon. I come from the school of placing my shots well instead of firing a lot of shots. The weapon offers no recoil and carries twenty rounds which with the proper ammo should do a good job before reloading. As stated before leo in some cases can access special ammo which under normal service in civilian areas is most likely unnecessary but could be carried in a spare mag. Just some thoughts…

    • chinchbug March 16, 2020, 10:34 pm

      Ammo’s very light– half of what 5.56 is.

  • Adam March 16, 2020, 10:58 am

    I’ve owned the gun for years. The recoil is almost nonexistent, super accurate, fun to shoot. My only complaint has been some indoor (pistol) ranges can’t accept it due to the bullet velocity. Ammo has come down over the years, used to be almost $1/rd. I hope more of them make it into circulation to continue this trend, even if it’s other manufacturers. I will say it’s worth the price, without hesitation. FN makes excellent firearms, and this one always turns heads at the range.

  • durabo March 16, 2020, 10:46 am

    Expensive cartridge and magazine disconnect. Not for me.

    • Bighat March 16, 2020, 12:12 pm

      The magazine disconnect takes about 5 seconds to disable. Really helps with the trigger pull. Ammo isn’t bad.

  • Michael Greene March 16, 2020, 10:18 am

    WOW! Almost unthinkable using a handgun at those distances and actually hitting the target. Could this be the new wave of varmint gun? First saw this gun in Rifleman Magazine, good review there. Your video was the BEST followup. Thanks for what you do. Keep the soles down and stay locked and loaded.

    • JCitizen March 16, 2020, 4:38 pm

      I’ve had good luck hunting varmints with the .17 WMR – so this should be even better – plus I could reload it!

      • Terry Breckenridge March 17, 2020, 10:52 pm

        I believe that a rifle is now available

  • Doug Goar March 16, 2020, 10:05 am

    I shot the FN 5.7 and didn’t care for the grip because it is biomechanically too long front to back to accommodate the overall length of the cartridge. The I shot and eventually bought an Armscor MAPP 22 TCM 9R which fit my hand better and has very similar ballistics. I’d like to see an in-depth review and comparison of these two weapons and their cartridges. By the way, the MAPP is basically a re-barelled and re-springed Tanfoglio Witness. Cost was about 40% for the weapon.

  • SeaHunt March 16, 2020, 9:53 am

    @Kevin- guess u will never be owning one!! I like folks like him who think just because “others” have a similar item that they “worry” they will be losing out? as a spec ops person who used this awesome weapon (and curr owner) since inception all I can say is you are missing out!! if y’all think that less expensive Ruger is going to do it for ya then get one, but the comparison is like driving a “premium” auto or a nice budget friendly one, it’s your choice…. and given FN “IS” a premium weapon, they AIN’T shakin’ in the boardroom over the others!!!

  • Mark Claiborne March 16, 2020, 9:00 am

    After handling and shooting my BIL’s FN 5.7 I went out and bought the Rock Island 1911 in 22TCM which came with an extra barrel to shoot inexpensive 9mm through it. I like my RIA much better. 1) the trigger is even nicer than the FN and is not a two stage but rather a crisp light 4lb pull. But I also like the larger case capacity of the 22TCM as it drives the same 40gr bullet mentioned above Almost 500 FPS Or a full 1/3rd faster. Add to this it does not run at the crazy high pressures of the FN round and as such is far easier to handload. With Lil Gun I can push a combined technology solid copper 32 gr bullet to 2500fps or I can go all the way up to a 45gr Hornet rifle bullet and still be over 2,000fps. These superior ballistics and better gun in which to house the round make the RIA double stack (17+1) 22TCM/9mm combo pistol a much better mousetrap to my way of thinking.

    • Jaoquin Pardee March 23, 2020, 11:22 am

      I agree 100%. Another advantage is that there is a very readily available “parent” case in the event of a brass shortage. Also, the coating on the 5.7 case can be a pain in the patute. An acquaintance as both the pistol and the carbine and he finally got the coating off the cases but now has to wax the cases so his reloads function reliably. Absolutely, positively NOT worth the hassle.

      I have chronographed my TCM and although it does not quite meet the manufacturer’s specs, I would dare say the there are few cartridges of any caliber that do. Using that premise, I would bet a dollar to a stale donut that the 5.7 does not either. So everyone throwing the fps numbers around, unless you have chronographed your particular load and firearm, I question the validity of your claims.

  • Larry Lundsberg March 16, 2020, 8:52 am

    Love to have it !, Too expensive

  • Mark March 16, 2020, 8:41 am

    Ruger just came out with a 5-7 at half the price, has had good reviews so far. Might have to pick one up.

    • Christopher A Baker March 16, 2020, 11:14 am

      I Love my Ruger and for $699 it’s a beautiful pistol. The grip zones are a big reason i love so much.

  • Connie March 16, 2020, 8:12 am

    Now, do a review of Ruger’s 5.7, and compare.

  • Hillary lost, get over it. March 16, 2020, 8:07 am

    Hi. I would love to have one. Nice review. How does that drone hold so steady on target like that? Did you have someone else controlling it? That’s a really neat way to do your videos. Impressed.

  • Frank S. March 16, 2020, 7:17 am

    The 5.7 seems to be a great pistol cartridge, delivering a good bit of power with minimal recoil. I’d like to see a comparison between it and the Rock Island Armory 22TCM. That is a similar cartridge, basically a shortened 5.56 round. Bullet is 39 or 40 grain JHP, with a muzzle velocity of 1875 fps (~1500 fps @ 100 yards) and muzzle energy of 312 ft/lbs. The 5.7 is a bit faster at 2350 fps, but has a lighter bullet (28 grain JHP) and just a little more muzzle energy (344 ft/lbs), but they are pretty comparable. That RIA is the only manufacturer of a gun that uses their 22TCM probably hurts it, and many don’t care for a foreign built gun (FN may be a foreign company, but has facilities in the US). Some probably question quality since RIA is in the Philippines, but I’ve seen more good than bad about their 1911 models.

    • MountainMan March 16, 2020, 2:59 pm

      The 22TCM is a higher powered cartridge so its going to do more damage. The primary issue with it is the RRA handgun. Its notoriously unreliable. I think once they iron out their issues the 22 TCM will catch on.

      • Jaoquin Pardee March 23, 2020, 11:29 am

        “Its notoriously unreliable”

        Really? I have shot hundreds and hundreds of rounds, both TCM and 9mm through mine with the only bobble being directly related to the ammo. (Oh, and shooting the TCM in the 9mm barrel doesn’t work out very well either)

        Exactly what is the reliability issue to which you refer?

  • Michael Giumenti March 16, 2020, 6:25 am

    I can take a Ruger 357 magnum and bang the gong at 200 yards all day so enough and 57 should definitely be able to do 300 yards enjoy everybody

  • Kevin March 16, 2020, 4:54 am

    When FN lowers it’s insane price tag to compete with Ruger’s 5.7, I’ll buy it.

  • Jason Ralston March 16, 2020, 3:41 am

    I own a FN 5.7 and love it! The gun was designed to defeat body armor. The FN SS90 rounds were the rounds the gun was specifically designed for. They are now called the FN SS190 rounds. All of the other 5.7x28mm rounds are inferior and will not perform to the same level as them. The only exception to that is the ammo from Elite Ammunition. The Elite Ammunition T6B and Devastator rounds are on par with and will even exceed the performance capabilities of the FN SS190 rounds. Therefore, that is what I keep in mine. The only people that don’t like the FN 5.7, are the people that don’t understand why it was built or how to get it to achieve its true performance capabilities. They hear it defeats 3A body armor and then test it with American Eagle rounds and have poor results. The ammo that the 5.7 was designed for has a muzzle velocity of 2,450 ft/s or more. The round in also designed to tumble when it hits soft tissue, so it doesn’t over penetrate. I have tested mine is numerous mediums and with the proper rounds, and the performance and capabilities of the gun are unreal. The gun is also very durable when exposed to the elements. Water, snow, sand, dirt or mud, it doesn’t matter. The gun was designed to have very right military specs and as a result, if the gun got dropped in the elements or the threat took the person to the ground with the 5.7, and it was severely covered in whatever, it would still fire and perform. My only dislike is the magazine disconnect safety. That is a horrible tactical design. But Jay at Elite Ammunition does fantastic work and knows how to delete the magazine disconnect safety. The previous 5.7 generation handguns did not have that feature so fortunately, it can by deleted. If anyone is interested in buying an FN 5.7, I highly encourage it! I will never get rid of mine!

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