Want to shoot 20 (and up to 30) rounds of rifle ammunition out of a pistol you can carry as a dedicated backup/sidearm? Feel like that’s not enough? How about adding that those 30 rounds can all penetrate a vest made to stop heavy fire?
Still not convinced? What about if I said this gun was made by one of the finest manufacturers in the world of Military and Law enforcement as well as civilian firearms? And what if I added that it was low recoil, the same size as your favorite hi cap Self Defense pistol and had the backing by some of the most elite forces on the planet?
If I haven’t sold you on this concept yet, you should find another article to read because this is not going to do it for you.
FN’s rifle in a handgun: the FiveSeven
I’m talking of course about the FN FiveSeven. Not the P90, not the SAW, the FiveSeven, a pistol with armor piercing cartridges. Not just armor piercing, but the FiveSeven can shoot a projectile capable of penetrating the U.N. Testing standard: CRISAT ballistic armor. CRISAT (D29) U.N. specs are 1.6 mm of Titanium matrix plate over 20 sheets of Kevlar ballistic material at over 200 meters.
The FiveSeven is unlike anything else out there, though, and that’s perhaps why it enjoys such a loyal following. Sure, it can defeat body Armor, hold a ton of rounds (20 in stock configuration and 30 with an extended magazine) and looks good, while keeping recoil low, weighing less than most firearms (partially to compensate for heavy ammunition loads) and has ambidextrous safeties, but the fact that nothing even comes close to topping it in several categories is the coup the FiveSeven pulls off.
It looks like it comes from the future and wanting to pick a fight; it’s a “different” looking beast of a single action recoil operated handgun. It’s got stuff people might not understand how to use for a few minutes after getting one into the hand, but it WAS built for special operators, tactical teams without equal and to defeat bad guys at the operational level. The thing is this: FN had the cartridge already built, having spent significant time and money perfecting the (now UN standard) 5.7 x 28 cartridge for the specific purpose of armored personnel threat elimination. They weren’t about to move away from the heavy investment and the incredible ballistics of the round. I’m not covering the 5.7 x 28’s ballistics int his article, because this week another article on the FN P90 will do that. So FN decided it was time for a sidearm capable of CQB, when the p90 wasn’t the rifle of choice, or for where the carry of such a weapon wasn’t possible, or, get this novel concept: where they wanted to use the same cartridge in both their PDW and their sidearm. Enter the FiveSeven.
Does one sentence do the FN FiveSeven justice?
The FiveSeven is interesting because of the round it fires in a sentence: High velocity, low recoil, lack of over penetration, but the ability to penetrate body armor. Wow! What’s not to like about that? The U.S. Secret Service likes the concept. So does at least half of Europe’s elite crews. While we’re on the subject: the armor piercing ammunition is supposedly not available to civilians, but I have personally witnessed tests showing civilian ammunition penetrating vests at 75 yards with the FiveSeven.
The benefits of a polymer jacket for the Steel parts? Low Glare, Low Wear and Low Corrosion.
The FiveSeven has a safety on both sides of the pistol just above the trigger guard, and it is easy to manipulate with finger or thumb without shifting unless you have tiny hands, in which case, it is still easy manipulated by the trigger finger. It shoots like a striker fired pistol, the trigger has the telltale feel of a striker fired pistol (about a 5 pound pull by the way) but it is a hammer fired traditional single action with an internal hammer (this of course requires a rack of the slide if there is a malfunction, there would be no capability to second strike the primer). The FiveSeven can be carried in Condition One (cocked and Locked with a round in the chamber), it has a loaded chamber indicator and a passive safety for hammer drop and for magazine engagement.
The FN FiveSeven is a bit longer in the grip frame than most standard full size pistols, but it makes it up in handling, as the natural pointing of the pistol and the slim features tend to negate the slightly longer grip. It’s a bit slick and is designed to be about as snag-free as a pistol can be, so the slide manipulation is aided by casted-in finger shelves on the back end of the slide, which protrude slightly to aid manual slide movement. The low profile C-More sights are decent for low light or day shooting, and despite mostly looking like an artsy add-on to the already futuristic looking FiveSeven, they do function well.
The FN FiveSeven has Sophistication, but simplicity too
The disassembly is a piece of cake and doesn’t require a rocket scientist. Once you get into the FiveSeven you realize it uses a three rail system instead of a removable guide rod for recoil. The recoil spring of the FiveSeven is like other high tech fixed barrel systems, wrapping around the barrel itself held captive. The rounds it shoots are available in the 27 and 40 grain loads from a couple of manufacturers, but they won’t be the only ones making it if the interest in the FiveSeven continues like it has been. The magazines hold 20 and come with the weapon in a 3 pack. There is also an aftermarket add on extension for the magazines which adds about 1.4 inches of length in return for 10 more rounds, which is quite a bit of firepower. The FiveSeven isn’t going to be the most accurate pistol you ever fired, but the accuracy is more than acceptable for a duty gun, with 1.5” to 2.5” groups considered normal at 30 yards or so. I shot 1 10 shot group at around an inch and a quarter at 35 yards, but that seemed to be an anomaly as most groups were 2.25” at 35 yards with 5 shots. I shot about 120 rounds through the FiveSeven when I shot it, and it was enough to sell me on it, but I’ll have to stock up on reloading equipment and spent brass before I’d ever buy one. The gun is too fun to shoot, too versatile and too expensive to shoot the quantity I would want to at each range outing. Ammunition is somewhat limited and that could be complicated by the current ammunition “shortage” we are experiencing.
The FiveSeven is also not a cheap gun to begin with You’re paying nearly a grand (that’s $1,000 on a good day at the cheapest vendor) for a gun that has an accessory rail and shoots a rifle cartridge, but fits in a holster. The ammunition is about .60 cents a shot as well, with components harder to come by these days than most of the mainstream stuff.
CRISAT Defeating Fiveseven
What you get in return for your money and the awkward stares from onlookers is a pistol capable of taking out a heavily armed assailant. Don’t get any ideas; we know that the common criminals in your area can’t afford the CRISAT (type) vests that elite police units and the military uses. If you are a doomsday theorist, Government police state fearing citizen this gun might satisfy your curiosity, but don’t think it doesn’t come without a price.
By the way, in case you didn’t know, we don’t condone killing law enforcement or military personnel. Just making sure you didn’t misinterpret that last part there.
FiveSeven: When you Absolutely HAVE to Penetrate a Vest
To clarify: If you have to absolutely penetrate a vest, the FiveSeven gives you the best opportunity to do so with a pistol, so you decide what that means to you.