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Meet the FN Five-SeveN 5.7x28mm: We Went to Range To Test This Gun Out

The FN Five-SeveN debuted in 1998, eight years after the 5.7x28mm round was introduced via the P90. As for the manufacturer, FN Herstal, they were founded back in July 1889, and are famous for weapons such as the legendary P-35 Browning Hi-Power 9mm pistol and the FAL 7.62x51mm battle rifle.

FN Five-seveN. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
FN Five-seveN

One good 5.7x28mm gun review deserves another. Likewise, one good Fabrique Nationale (FN) Herstal firearm review deserves another.

Yes, this gun writer has already written a couple reviews of two of FN’s products in the 5.7x28mm caliber, namely the P90 submachine gun (not to be confused with the Ruger P90 .45 ACP traditional double-action semiauto pistol) and the Five-SeveN single-action semiauto pistol. However, Yours Truly hasn’t yet had a chance to fire the former, and it’s been so goshdarn long – roughly 15 years – since I’d fired the latter. What’s more, since I wasn’t getting paid to write about guns back then, I didn’t do a thorough professional evaluation of the firearm. 

Quick Review: FN Five-SeveN History and Specifications

The FN Five-SeveN debuted in 1998, eight years after the 5.7x28mm round was introduced via the P90. As for the manufacturer, FN Herstal, they were founded back in July 1889, and are famous for weapons such as the legendary P-35 Browning Hi-Power 9mm pistol and the FAL 7.62x51mm battle rifle. The company is headquartered in Herstal, Wallonia, Belgium, with the U.S. subsidiary, FN America, LLC, located in McLean, Virginia.

Specifications include a barrel length of 4.8 inches, an overall length of 8.2 inches, a height of 5.7 inches (how apropos there, eh?), a width of 1.4 inches, an empty weight of 13 pounds, and a fully loaded weight of 1.6 lbs. The standard magazine capacity is 20 + 1 rounds. 

As the manufacturer’s official info page states: “The original FN Five-seveN, often imitated but hardly duplicated, has two decades of trusted service with allied armies, global law enforcement and civilians. Extending its groundbreaking design is a new, all flat dark earth frame and slide. With improved range and accuracy over common pistol cartridges, the NATO standardized 5.7x28mm developed by FN Herstal is fired from the chrome-lined cold hammer-forged barrel. Pinpoint accuracy and minimal felt recoil is standard issue. Equipped with an internal hammer, the smooth trigger with a predictable break further enhances accuracy.”

Personal Shooting Impressions

This latest opportunity to evaluate and get reacquainted with the bigger-bore version of the P320 comes courtesy of my old high school buddy “Misfit,” whose pseudonym you may recognize from several of my other gun articles, such as the one on the Glock 18 machine pistol. Misfit owns a Five-SeveN with a Flat Dark Earth (FDE) finish and is very fond of it. This past weekend, when I was visiting sunny southern California with my lovely girlfriend Lisa – whose name y’all may also recognize from several of my previous gun write-ups – we linked up with Misfit to go to the Smokin Barrel Gun Store and Shooting Range in Simi Valley, California. For those of you not familiar with Simi Valley, it’s a conservative and pro-gun enclave within a state that is infamously anti-Second Amendment

Accordingly, I went to work with 40 rounds of FNH USA SS195LF 27-grain Lead Free Hollow Point and Smokin’ Barrel’s slightly scaled-down in-house version of ICE-QT paper target. The course of fire was divvied into 25 rounds of head shots at 7 yards, and 15 rounds of center-torso shots at 25 yards, delivered from the Classic Weaver Stance

Ergonomics were surprisingly good for a pistol with a 20-round magazine, especially considering the length of the shell casing (28mm vs. the 19mm length of the 9mm Parabellum cartridge and the 23mm length of the .45 ACP) … but then again, maybe not so surprising when you remember the diameter of the actual bullet itself (0.224 inches) is a mere hundredth of an inch more than that of the .22 Long Rifle (.223 inches). Trigger pull quality was top-notch, as was the ease of both the manual slide rack and tripping the slide release lever. In my previous writeup on the Five-SeveN, I’d stated that “the muzzle report and flash had the look and feel of shooting an AR-15 or M16, yet the felt recoil was barely above that of a .22 LR pistol.” Well, in this case, even the muzzle blast and flash didn’t seem ostentatious; maybe that was partially due to the ammo I was using (I don’t remember the specific brand or specs from the 2008 session), maybe the lower noise factor was due to the quality of the earmuffs I was using.

What about accuracy? At 7 yards, the rounds grouped nicely in the right eyebrow and eye socket of the paper bad guy, though not as tightly as my best shooting .45s and 9mms. It was at the 25-yard line that the FN pistol really shined, with all ten rounds staying in the 5-zone, including four rounds taking the tiebreaking 5x-ring, two went into the lower torso, and the remaining four in the upper chest.

Reliability was 100 percent. After I got done with my last string of fire, Misfit remarked to me, “Fun, isn’t it?” Yep, no argument from me! Now to finagle a way to scratch an FN P90 SMG test-fire session off my Bucket List …

The Lady Friend’s Shooting Impressions

This was Lisa’s first time shooting a 5.7x28mm, and she enjoyed it very much: “Very easy to shoot. It hardly felt like I was firing anything at all, thanks to the low recoil. Not a super fan of the grips but still manageable. Only thing I didn’t like was loading the magazine, you definitely need to save your thumbs.”  

Want Your Own?

According to True Gun Value, “A FN FIVE SEVEN pistol is currently worth an average price of $967.56 new and $769.31 used. The 12-month average price is $942.00 new and $767.87 used.” That sounds way too good to be true vis-à-vis the official MSRP of $1,409.00. GrabAGun.Com (definitely not to be confused with the political variety of gun grabbers) has a current asking price of $1,149.00. 

Christian D. Orr has 33 years of shooting experience, starting at the tender age of 14. His marksmanship accomplishments include: the Air Force Small Arms Ribbon w/one device (for M16A2 rifle and M9 pistol); Pistol Expert Ratings from U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP); multiple medals and trophies via the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF) and the Nevada Police & Fires Games (NPAF). Chris has been an NRA Certified Basic Pistol Instructor since 2011.  

Written By

Christian D. Orr is a former Air Force officer, Federal law enforcement officer, and private military contractor (with assignments worked in Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Kosovo, Japan, Germany, and the Pentagon).