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FiveseveN for the military

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by Metal Angel, Jul 16, 2012.

  1. Metal Angel

    Metal Angel

    Oct 20, 2010
    I was just thinking about it today, seems like there is a thread every couple months about what handgun/caliber the military should use as their sidearm. Seems like everyone argues for 9mm, .40smith, or .45acp... Why not 5.7mm? I know it's a tiny bullet, but it pierces armor- something the military could actually make use of. And it's not like any handgun caliber is much of a man stopper anyway, especially when hollow points are not an option. The lower recoil would be helpful to the smaller soldiers and "non-gun people" soldiers, and capacity is exceptional.

    And my main motive- I want FiveseveNs and 5.7x28 to get cheaper :supergrin:
  2. ParisArms


    Aug 14, 2011
    It was actually made for the military. The contest was a replacement caliber that could be fired from both a handgun and rifle with a minimum of 20 round capacity. The 5.7 beat HK's proposal but HK protested and the whole thing was scraped.

  3. eyelikeglasses

    eyelikeglasses Hooah, Hooah.

    Apr 10, 2009
    The Sunshine State
    I hear some of those high speed kinda guys have used them with great results out to 100 meters or so.
  4. Decguns


    Dec 29, 2003
    Back in 1989-90, I was in on the NATO testing of the 5.7MM & the P90. The idea being the P90 was superior to the 9MM for gate guards and such. The round could penetrate body armor and deliver a hail of projectiles quite quickly. Recoil was light. The performance of the AP ammo on body armor and helmets was impressive. But no one was interested. The controls on the P90 were not intuitive. Years later, when we played with the 5-7 pistol, we were left scratching our heads as to the weird placement of the controls.

    FN was trying to solve problem whith the 5.7 which no longer existed. Armies had left the submachinegun behind in favor of the assault rifle. If a gate guard required more punch than his M9, then he had an M16. Logistics really doomed the 5.7 for military service. The 9MM is the defacto World standard military cartridge. Everyone uses it. Keeping the 9MM proved a smart move when we invaded Iraq, and ammo was in short supply. We were able to purchase 9MM NATO locally from Israel and later the UAE.

    As much as arm chair generals beat their chests about a new military cartridge, the fact is the 9MM is here to stay. It's easy to shoot, easy to train, cheap and available everywhere.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2012
  5. AK_Stick

    AK_Stick AAAMAD

    Jan 20, 2004
    Alaska, again (for now)
    5.7 doesn't really penetrate any real armor. The only stuff it goes through is soft, pistol only body armor.

    That said, there's also AP ammo for 9mm and 40, 45 etc that performs similarly to 5.7. So if you're really concerned about body armor, why not stick with a normal caliber, and get the AP when/if you need it.

    Lastly, just about everyone who's actually used a 5.7 first hand, seems to not be very impressed with the performance.
  6. crazymoose

    crazymoose Nonentity

    Feb 9, 2005
    Very true. The Russians have been doing some interesting work on 9x19 pistol and hot AP ammo combos. The Gsh-18 in particular I find mechanically very interesting:
  7. Foxtrotx1


    Jan 29, 2010
    Scottsdale AZ
  8. ive shot the 5.7...nothing speciel....but i do believe your idea is flawed if by some chance in heck the 5.7 round and firearms were adopted by our armed forces id bet the prices would skyrocket
  9. Metal Angel

    Metal Angel

    Oct 20, 2010
    I disagree. The Berretta 92 is probably the best value combat handgun you can get. What other quality metal frame gun will run you less than 600 bones? The answer to that question is the CZ-75. What do these two firearms have in common besides high value quality? They are both widely used military firearms. How about the cartridge they are chambered in? Is it pretty expensive because the military hogs it all? Nope. It also happens to be the highest value cartridge you can get because of copious production due to military use.

    Like you, I doubt the Five seveN will ever have the words "standard issue" in front of it, but if it did, it would come way down in price, and so would it's respective chambering.
  10. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson

    Jul 10, 2001
    Amen or +11 or whatever the Internet World does for agreement these days.

    I poo-poohed the idea to start with, but first saw one demonstrated and was prepared to be open minded.
    Then I found the safety and lost all interest.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2012
  11. Sturmgewehre


    May 8, 2007
    I don't believe the 5.7 is a better solution as compared to the 9mm, .40 or .45 ACP. If our military used the P90, perhaps it would make a little more sense. From a Special Operations standpoint, I can see some interest in the caliber... but for general issue to troops, the 9mm is still the way to go, IMHO. All of our allies use it. Heck, even our enemies use it. It's already supported by countless manufacturers both in terms of ammo production and in weapons production.

    The 5.7 and the 4.6x30 have a small foothold in the military/LEO communities with several countries using the P90 and fewer using the MP7... but for some reason it hasn't really boomed like I thought it might back in the early 2000's when NATO was looking for a PDW system. I don't know if it's the caliber as much as the concept of a PDW not gaining much momentum.
  12. Shipwreck-The-Sequel

    Shipwreck-The-Sequel Beretta 92 Nut!

    May 11, 2010
    Hockey City, Texas
    The P90 was really a middleground between a handgun and battle rifle. I'd rather have a P90 (if I was in the military) over a handgun for sure.
  13. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

    Oct 23, 2000
    California & New Mexico, US
    If I were to carry a carbine, then it'd be in 5.56mm. Same bulk, bigger and more powerful caliber. I can't believe I just said that about a 5.56mm round - powerful caliber.
  14. TumblingFTW


    Aug 19, 2011
    You can thank H&K and their self interests for why the 5.7x28mm platform wasn't adopted by NATO. Everybody else wanted it. And for good reason.

    Completely correct!

    Actually, H&K doomed the 5.7 for military service. NATO is concerned arm chair generals?

    There is actually a very real use for a compact, high capacity, high rate of fire, armor penetrating, sub-machine gun, in close quarters combat. Lots of special forces around the world are using either the 5.7 or 4.6 and are very happy with it.

    5.7 penetrates the highest levels of soft armor (CRISAT or Level IIIa) out to 200m. It will also penetrate some hard armor with aftermarket ammunition.

    Realistically speaking, there is no armor piercing armor ammo for 9, .40, and .45. And the ammo that has been tested has been shown to cause inferior tissue damage to the 5.7

    And in regards to "everyone who's actually used a 5.7 first hand seems to not be very impressed", please provide documentation of those reports. Worldwide, the 5.7 platform continues to surge and recently in the U.S. sales of 5.7 have exploded.

    This was taken directly from FNH's website:

    Q: I’m having a hard time finding 5.7x28mm ammunition. Is there a shortage?

    A: The SS195LF and the SS197SR are two types of 5.7x28mm ammunition distributed commercially in the U.S. They are both fully compatible with the FN Five-seveN® pistol and the FN PS90 carbine. During the past few months, the U.S. market has experienced intermittent shortages of both rounds due to an unexpected and overwhelming increase in sales of the Five-seveN and the PS90, as well as a nationwide shortage of ammunition in general. Production levels were recently increased and a new supply is expected to be available shortly. Please visit or follow us on Facebook to receive future updates. In the meantime, we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and appreciate your patience while we work to resolve this issue

    Not that old tired link again.... *sigh*

    His full title is Dr. Gary K. Roberts, DDS (note that he is a dentist, not a trauma surgeon). I am not aware of any credible independent source online that clearly acknowledges DocGKR as an authority on the subject of wound ballistics, let alone gunshot wounds in actual human bodies.

    He spends a lot of time posting on the internet, and he definitely has a cult-like following on a few internet forums. He has certainly done extensive testing with bullets in ballistic gelatin, and some LE/military organizations have consulted him over the years, but that hardly puts him head-and-shoulders above the other individuals that are typically mentioned in these sorts of discussions. For example, a 28-year veteran of Houston, PD SWAT that I will mention later, who has actually shot people with guns (including the P90), and served three terms as president of the TTPOA (Texas Tactical Police Officers Association).

    Furthermore, the individual in question (DocGKR) has not even tested any 5.7x28mm load introduced in the last 15-20 years. What he thinks about an ammo type not offered to civilians (SS190) or an ammo type discontinued 20 years ago (SS90) is utterly irrelevant to a discussion on current 5.7x28mm loads.

    Not to mention, two days after the Fort Hood shooting occurred, this same individual was already touting the early media reports that said the killer was stopped by a female police officer who had been shot with 5.7x28mm rounds.

    Of course, we now know that the early news reports were inaccurate and that is not what actually happened; despite her bravery, the female police officer in question was incapacitated (and nearly died) from a hit to the leg, and the killer was actually stopped by a second (male) police officer while she was lying on the ground severely wounded.

    All of this despite the fact that DocGKR had never even tested either of the ammunition types used by the Fort Hood shooter (SS192, SS197SR); not to mention the misinformation campaign (with regards to this caliber) that he has been pushing for years on forums all over the internet.

    More recently, he tried to discount one of EA's 5.7x28mm loads (which he has never even tested) by simply scrutinizing a blurry photo of it that he found on the internet. The man is clearly not impartial; he made up his mind on this caliber about 15 years ago when he shot gelatin with the SS90 prototype cartridge.

    Anyway, you likely haven't read any of those (ancient) papers cited at the end of his article. Half of them discuss a 23-grain plastic-core prototype cartridge (SS90) that was discontinued 20 years ago. The two or three other papers on that list (discussing SS190) are irrelevant from the get-go, in light of the massive amount of verifiable information available on the caliber's performance in actual human bodies (as opposed to a simulant).

    Papers aside, nothing else in that article was substantiated in any way. Even the picture in the post is extremely outdated (the projectile pictured is the SS90 prototype). Also, the statement that the 5.7x28mm performs "at best" like a .22 LR or .22 WMR is provably wrong and idiotic and further supports the popular opinion amongst 5.7x28mm owners, that Dr. Roberts is either heavily biased, or wholly ignorant on the subject, or a mixture of both.

    As far as Pat Rogers and Kyle Lamb and their comments on the efficacy of the 5.7x28mm platform; those two individuals have zero experience with the 5.7x28mm (either in testing or in shootings), so their opinions have been formed by what they have read and heard about the caliber; nothing more, nothing less.

    Let's look at some actual verifiable accounts from people that have been in shootings with the P90 and see what they have to say: ... spx?ID=309

    I concede that the P90 is not all things to all people. However, for what I do, as a SWAT officer in a major city, it’s a great weapon.


    The 5.7mm ball produces a wound cavity about the size and shape of the best 9mm 115 grain JHP +P+, except the peak occurs at a deeper penetration. In the one shooting we had with the P90, the bullet performed well. In fact, the bullet performed exactly as it was designed. The autopsy provided detailed information about the wound cavity and travel of the bullets.


    If you operate in an environment like the one I operate in, you can’t go wrong with a P90 slung at the low-ready.

    -- Sandy Wall of HPD (see below) ... -wall.html

    Sandy Wall retired from Houston Police Department after 28-years. He served for 22 years on SWAT, and was a three-term president with the Texas Tactical Police Officer Association (TTPOA). He is currently the Training Director for Safariland Training Group. Sandy is the founder of the Less Lethal Solutions, Inc. and the inventor of "The Wall Banger." ... firepower/

    S.W.A.T. team commander Capt. Mohamed Lostan of the Passaic County Sheriff’s Dept. in NJ is a particularly enthusiastic supporter of the handgun and cartridge. “While our department issues .40-cal. pistols, our S.W.A.T. team is allowed to carry any handgun they want to use as long as they purchase it themselves and qualify with it, In fact, I was the first one on the team to carry the Five-seveN, although now several others do as well,” he continued. Lostan definitely knows his way around firearms. In addition to his 23 years with the sheriff’s department and current position he also served in the U.S. Army in the 3rd Division Recon Unit and the 82nd Airborne Division.

    “I was so impressed by the 5.7×28mm cartridge used in the P90 that I asked permission for S.W.A.T. team members to be able to carry Five-seveN pistols if we purchased them on our own.”

    Two more examples: (Summary: Duluth, GA police with FN Five-seveN pistols shot and killed a man holed up in his garage shooting at them with a .357 Magnum revolver) (Summary: Sioux Falls, SD police officer with a P90 shot a man in the arm through a bedroom door and he dropped his weapon and surrendered)

    The best known case involving U.S. police would still be the aforementioned shooting in Houston, TX, which is supported by the article from Sandy Wall, who noted that the SS190 bullet performed well (as confirmed by autopsy) and compared its performance to a 9x19mm 115-grain JHP +P+.

    When drawn from the holster, the trigger finger (which should be pointing straight out) aligns perfectly with the safety. Manipulating the safety on the Five-seveN requires no adjustment of the grip, which can't be said for the majority of handguns out there (save for the Glocks of course).

    For someone used to activating another safety system (1911) it will take a bit of practice to get used to, but when muscle memory is retrained, you will find your ability to draw, take the weapon off safe, and acquire your target is just as fast or faster than any other pistol platform on the market.

    This guy gets it.

    On the battlefield, you need a full size rifle. I would prefer a .308 over a 5.56. In close quarters combat, you need something as compact as possible, as accurate as possible, as quiet as possible, and as little muzzle flash as possible. Armor piercing, high capacity, and high rate of fire are all bonuses. The 5.7 platform fits these criteria perfectly.

    Those that would modify the 5.56 platform to a short barrel version find they are left with blinding muzzle flash, ear-splitting noise, aim affecting recoil, and muzzle energy figures very close to a PS90. That's right, with EA ammunition loaded in a PS90, there is only a few hundred ft-lbs of energy separating the PS90 from a short-barreled 5.56.. MINUS the noise and muzzle flash, and recoil.
  15. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

    Oct 23, 2000
    California & New Mexico, US
    For close quarter combat, I prefer a hand grenade through the window or door. Or shoot through the walls with my FAL.

    The P90 sure looks cool with the Stargate troopers though.
  16. Foxtrotx1


    Jan 29, 2010
    Scottsdale AZ
    Good lord that's a lot of kool-aid!

    EA, you mean this company?
  17. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson

    Jul 10, 2001
    I get the idea. In fact I went through it with the P7 squeezecocker, probably the handiest of any gun outside the Glock and other Convulsive Response designs. But it was all P7 or all Other Gun. I could not put in any time with a DA or SAO and maintain any proficiency with the P7. I was not willing to dedicate my life to the P7 so I sold it and am content with my 1911, PM&P, Sig-Sauer, and revolver.

    There is a red hot Five-seveN afficianado hereabouts. He even whined until we let him shoot it in IDPA. But he has no facility with the draw and unsafe, he is slow into action with it. Are there better shooters with one? No doubt, but I am not encouraged by what I see here.
  18. Metal Angel

    Metal Angel

    Oct 20, 2010
    Wow, thanks for such an extensive informative post Tumbling!

    I just read a little on the Fort Hood report. The lady officer who tried to stop the shooter had her femur SHATTERED by the 5.7mm. To those who compare the 5.7 to a .22mag... I highly doubt a .22mag could shatter such a ridgid bone. I wonder if a 9mm could even do that.

    A 5.56 and 5.7 are almost identical in size, and by the time you shorten an AR15 (or whatever) to the length of a P90, you lose all the velocity advantage of the 5.56. In fact, going off of BBTIs website, the short barrel 5.56 comes down to about 22-2300 fps, which is exactly what the 5.7 is. And, now you have a huge deafening fireball coming out the end of a bucking rifle.

    No experience either way here, I don't fight for a living, but it sure seems like the P90 would be a better option in that scenario.
  19. Metal Angel

    Metal Angel

    Oct 20, 2010
    Honestly I don't care one way or another about the firearm itself... It's cool and I'd like to have one but I would be just as happy to have a Glock chambered in 5.7x28.