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Some of the coolest guns on the market are chambered in “odd-ball” calibers. But are those calibers really all that oddball, or are many of us stuck in our ways? The 5.7x28mm ammo has been around since 1990 and has become increasingly popular.
FN Herstal created the 5.7x28mm round in 1990 to meet NATO’s request to create a ballistically superior cartilage to the 9mm round with greater range, accuracy, and terminal performance. The round also featured the ability to penetrate body armor.
The 5.7×28 is a direct competitor to the 4.6x30mm cartridge made by H&K. They both made these rounds for PDW-style weapons, but the 5.7×28 has no parent cartridge and was seemingly created out of thin air by the fine folks at Fabrique Nationale Herstal.
Purpose of 5.7×28
The 5.7×28 was created like many rounds to beat the performance of an existing round, and the 5.7×28 cartridge came to life that way.
The 5.7×28 is primarily shot in bullpup rifles and a small group of handguns, namely the FN Five-Seven, Ruger 5.7, and the Palmetto State Armory Rock 57.
While the 5.7×28 cartridge was created to release the 9mm in some military applications, many claim incorrectly that the 5.7x28mm is nothing more than a .22WMR.
The 23-grain 5.7×28 round clocks in at 2,800 feet per second with 397-foot pounds of energy on target out of a 10.35″ barrel.
Guns that Shoot 5.7×28
The guns that shoot this round are just fun. I’m not sure if it is mostly psychological, but there is one gun that is no doubt iconic and fun to shoot: the PS90.
The FN P90 is one of the most iconic guns in the world and one of the first sub-guns on the market.
The P90 is featured in movies and used in military service worldwide. Its unique magazine holds rounds horizontally and the downward ejection port makes for a unique shooting experience.
A quick note on the difference between these two gun names the P90 is the short barrel machine gun version of the civilian legal FN PS90, which comes with a 16″ barrel and is semi-auto.
In my opinion, it is one of the best guns chambered in 5.7×28.
First released in 1998, it has undergone a few different design changes, the most recent being the Five-Seven MRD.
The Military, Law Enforcement, and civilians widely use the Five-Seven. It is a functional firearm that delivers great ballistics in an extremely small package.
The Ruger 5.7 is one of the newer releases to the 5.7×28 lineup. It’s oddly similar to the design of the FN Five-Seven.
The Ruger was released in 2019 and has since increased in popularity. Its price point is much lower than the FN Five-Seven and provides many of the same features as the FN.
PSA 5.7 Rock
The 5.7 Rock is Palmetto State Armory’s take on a 5.7×28 pistol. The pistol is one of the newest on this list and was released in mid-late 2022.
The Rock is an extremely smooth shooting 5.7 Pistol and has quickly become one of my favorites.
The feature set and price point make this gun easy to get into the 5.7x28mm market.
Shooting this gun suppressed is a lot of fun and I really like having the red dot sight on this gun. Putting shots on target is extremely easy with the low recoil and red dot sight.
CMMG’s Banshee is one of the few AR platformed guns that shoot the 5.7 round. It is almost identical to every other caliber banshee but features a different magazine that fits the round better.
I’ve shot the 4.6x30mm Banshee, which is a fun gun to shoot.
While I haven’t had the pleasure of getting my hands on the Banshee yet, it remains a great option for this cartridge, and given the similarity in the 4.6 and the 5.7, I can only imagine how smooth the 5.7 Banshee shoots.
The standard round hovers around the .90 /round mark as of this writing. You can often find it on sale for .70 /round from online ammo retailers such as Palmetto State Armory and Brownells.
Since Ruger and PSA dropped their version of the 5.7 pistols, the 5.7×28 round has become a little more popular. With that popularity, the availability has increased slightly.
The most common brand of ammo you can find for the 5.7×28 is the American Eagle.
Here are some of the most common questions and answers about the 5.7×28 round
What is the 5.7 round good for?
The round is an excellent all-around cartridge. It can be suitable for self-defense, varmint hunting, target shooting, and more.
Militaries and law enforcement agencies even use the round in several different applications.
Is the 5.7 round good for self-defense?
Yes, I think the 5.7 round is essentially overlooked for self-defense. The only issue with the round is the cost of the firearms as well as the cost of the ammunition.
Ballistically it is an excellent round for concealed carry and self-defense.
What caliber is 5.7 equal to?
The 5.7 was designed to release the 9mm round but is not equal to it. It is ballistically very different than the 9mm round and is even a completely different shape, size, and grain.
Is 5.7 x28 the same as 223?
No, the 5.7×28 round is entirely different than the .223 caliber round.