Three Letters Re: Advice on Buying an FN 5-7 Pistol?

Regarding the recent inquiry about the 5.7×28 weapons. Here at the Teutoborg forest we have amassed two of the pistols and two of the P90 rifles. There are serious issues about the rifles, pistols and the ammunition.
Ammunition. The Federal government, in their infinite wisdom, restricted the most effective ammunition. The [SS]190 armor piercing ammunition never made it (broadly) to the civilian marker. It is rumored to be able to defeat most military armor and helmets at distance. The stories vary from 300 yards to 600 yards. I find the 300 yard figure credible. There was also a tracer and a sub-sonic round produced, also, alas, restricted. The most potent velocity ammunition which was broadly distributed was the [SS]192 HP ammunition. Clocked on my chronograph at 2,100 [f.p.s.] in the rifle and 1,980 in the handgun. I immediately went out and filled three .50 [caliber size ammunition storage] cans with this stuff. Concomitant with my acquisition of 192 ammunition 195 and a lead free round started filling the shelves of my local gun emporium. This stuff is a polymer tipped ammunition, 35 grains, variously made in Belgium, Italy, and U.S.A. 1,650 or so for velocity. At the same time the 192 dried up. Hmmm. A call to FN USA revealed that the 192 was cancelled for “marketing reasons.” The less effective ammunition remains on the market. 192 penetrates both sides of a 2A vest. 196-96 penetrated 1 side of such vests.
If you get either rifle or pistol then take up reloading. Surf the Internet for 5.7×28 reloading data. There is a lot out there.
The pistol. Robust and mostly polymer, the pistol has many good features. Magazine capacity is 20 rounds, a 10 round extension is available after market. The weapon is lightweight. The safety is engages/disengaged by the index finger. It causes some adaptation by shooters new to the weapon. The fully adjustable sights are very high over the centerline of the bore. Possibly higher than any handgun in my experience. It is a devil to take down for maintenance. Tricky. It does suppress well and here at the forest we have a Gemtech can for one pistol
It is accurate and flat shooting with little recoil There is a rail for lights. We have lights on all our FN products.
The P-90 rifle.
Compact. I recall 27-28 inches. 16-1/2 inch barrel. Lightweight. It uses a 50 round magazine which snaps onto the top of the weapon. When ammunition is pressed into the magazine the previously-loaded round swivels perpendicular to the axis of the bore. The body of the magazine is smoke gray, thus one may ascertain remaining ammunition. There are two types of the P-90: one comes with a non-battery powered holographic sight (similar to a Trijicon) or a flat top requiring an Eotech or other sight to be mounted. Other rails are available after market. We have the factory sight on our P90s and each has a light. The safety is in the lower triggerguard and is ambidextrous. This weapon is a delight to shoot, easy to maintain and accurate. The perfect weapon in urban/close quarters situations. It is sold with a 30 round magazine. A brief experience with an Exacto saw by the intrepid owner makes it a 50 round.
The FN 2000 rifle.
Nearly equally compact as the P90, this weapon is in .223. One virtue is that it takes 30 round AR-15 magazines. Do not put in a 20 [round magazine] because if it locks in, it takes disassembly to free it. The safety is as on the P-90. Barrel length is around 17-1/2 inches. The flash hiders on the 2000 and the P-90 work well in low light/darkness. There is no factory sight that I am aware of. I mounted an Eotech 522 which is night vision compatible. One problem that we encountered is that we adjusted to the end of the sight’s travel at 100 yards and the weapon groups fine but is 4 inches high. Tennessee windage seems to resolve this. Disassembly is easy. All in all a compact weapon as is the P-90.
The greatest downside is price. List for the handgun is nearly $1,100 or more. The P-90 is nearly $1,950. The 2000 lists for $2,200. I considered all of these critical additions to the “collection”
I purchased a green stocked P-90 and later obtained a black stocked one for Mrs. Oscar. The day after I took home the black stocked one I hit a local gun show. Lo and behold there was a black stocked P-90. I like to play the rube at gun shows. It gets the gun show goons really into BS mode.
The yarn was astonishing when I asked about this interesting gun I paraphrase “Well y’know the black stocked ones are restricted/rare/only sold to dealers as a sample”, and so forth. He was merely asking $2,350. Rare, eh? I [had] paid $1,800.
By the by, the U.S. Secret Service carries short barreled P-90s in full auto for their protection units. The Mexican army issues to special units. The Chilean military used suppresses P-90s in their re-taking of an embassy years ago in their country.
Portability, capacity of ammunition, storability (squad cars, military vehicles, Buicks and pick up trucks) all virtues.
However, it is hard to defend the price. – Mr. Oscar

Dear Jim and Family,
Speaking from research I’ve read and memories of the Spec Ops deciding against the 5.7 as ineffective for US needs back in 2000, the 5.7 FN pistol is an interesting toy, but its mostly a toy.

The round attempts to get rifle velocities from a pistol, duplicating the results of the British 5.56 BOZ experiment. The main problem is its effectiveness is poor, the barrel is too short to get proper rifle velocities, and the projectile just doesn’t fragment like a proper 5.56 NATO would without getting full 2,500 fps velocity. If you want armor piercing, you’re much better off either using an AP round designed for a standard pistol, or manufacturing a special round yourself, which has its own expenses and dangers. Because high (rifle) velocities just aren’t reasonable in a concealed pistol, experiments with very small calibers have met with limited success. The problem is, punching a small hole in body armor does not necessarily lead to a “quick kill”, which matters a lot at 7 yards range, where most self defense shooting occurs. You must have enough velocity for explosive kinetic fragmentation of the projectile, which in the 5.56 is around 2,500 fps velocity. Once below that critical threshold it has a tendency to “zip through” with little damage, allowing the target to keep firing and suffer consequences later. At 100 meters this may be enough to save you, but at 7 yards, you probably just make him mad. Personally, I’d much rather have a 10mm than a 5.7.

Or you can stick to existing firearms and just choose your bullet carefully. That’s a lot less work. At present, Short Barreled Rifles are illegal in many states and the risks of possessing one without the proper license and paperwork could turn counterproductive. The 5.7 FN is legal, at least. Some states ban “armor piercing pistol ammunition”, some ban pistols that can shoot rifle ammunition, and the 100 year old 7.62 Tokarev CZ 52 pistol is capable of the same feat as the 5.7 FN, though it was discarded due to unreliable stopping power thanks to “blow through”. The same problem we’re having with 5.56’s in Iraq and Afghanistan.

When it comes to close range self defense, use your brain to avoid the confrontation in the first place, and aim for the head if you must defend yourself against an armored opponent. A 10mm or .40 S&W are a good compromise, and the .45 ACP is dandy, if you can take the recoil of 230 grain hardball. It makes me flinch so I stick to 9x19mm. To each their own, and work within your limits. Best,
– InyoKern


Mr. Rawles,
Regarding Toby in Oregon and the 5.7x28mm handgun. The SS190 (armor piercing) round is only available to Military and LE agencies. Unless he has a source for the AP ammo he can write off the benefits of this cartridge. The SS195LF (LF=lead free) SS196SR, SS197SR (SR= sporting round) are training and hunting rounds . SS195LF is a 28gr copper jacketed aluminum core, SS196SR is a 40gr V-max and SS197SR is a 40gr V-max at a higher muzzle velocity. SS196SR is now discontinued. SS195LF and SS197SR is around $750.00 per 2000 round case.

SB193 subsonic. Restricted
SS190 ball. Restricted
SS191 tracer. Restricted
SS192 ( formerly legal now restricted due to the Brady Bunch raising cain and FN caving in )
SS195 lead free training round. Not restricted
SS196 V-max Not restricted
SS197 V-max Not restricted
5.7×28 Blank Not restricted

I don’t know if this would apply to Buddy’s Board. The following quote is from BATFE web site:
(b) It shall be unlawful for any licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector to sell or deliver–
(5) any firearm or armor-piercing ammunition to any person unless the licensee notes in his records, required to be kept pursuant to section 923 of this chapter, the name, age, and place of residence of such person if the person is an individual, or the identity and principal and local places of business of such person if the person is a corporation or other business entity.
& sect; 923

All that being said, the ability to feed a pistol and a carbine from the same box is awful nice. The P90 carbine is very handy in a vehicle or around the homestead and with 50 round magazines you have a “Tacticool factor” of around 9.7. – Mark K.

JWR Replies: Regarding the Federal restriction on AP ammo, the key phrase is: “…any licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector …” I’m not an attorney, but my reading, any secondary sale and subsequent possession by private citizens would be unrestricted.

And regarding the Tacticool Scale, which here at the ranch is also known as the Airsoft Mall Ninja Scale. Don’t mistake looks for lethality. If looks could kill, there’d be dead bodies littering the streets.