Ammunition

PMR-30 vs FN5-7

The argument about the relative merits of these two pistols has gone on for years. Let’s take a look at the technical parameters and then compare the intangibles. The guns are roughly similar in size, with PMR-30 just a little shorter and slimmer. Both have manual thumb safety. FN5-7 magazines are easier to load. PMR-30 has less felt recoil and crisper trigger.

5.7×28 is obviously more energetic from a pistol than .22 WMR. Due to the high velocity, 27-grain frangible actually penetrates lower level vests, though its effect past the vest is minimal. Designed to break up on backstops, the leadless hollow point actually cannot penetrate a full soda can all the way. Most other 5.7 loads are also designed for fragmentation, if a bit less drastically. Six to seven inches of penetration isn’t unusual. SS190 and Elite Ammunition defensive loads are the exceptions. By contrast, pretty much all .22 WMR loads are either designed for penetration or act that way due to the lower velocity achieved from pistol. So the wound channels are more narrow but much deeper, from 14 inches with the low-powered Dynapoint to 20+ inches with Maxi-Mags and other 40-grain loads.

To this day, I know only one person who owns both of these pistols. Everyone else made a choice for one or the other…and most have strong feelings as to the reasons for the selection. Do you own one of these guns? If so, why did you pick it over the other?

FN5-7 PMR-30
Width 1.4inch 1.3inch
Weight, loaded 25.6oz (with 20 rounds) 19oz (with 30 rounds)
Price Street $1050 Street $300
Magazine capacity 20 30
Bullet weight 27-55gr 30-50gr
Muzzle velocity with 40gr bullet 1700fps 1350fps
Cartridge type Centerfire Rimfire
Ammunition cost 40 to 50 cents/round (reloadable) 14 to 28 cents/round (non-reloadable)
Action type Delayed blowback Hybrid delayed blowback/simple blowback
Magazine price $38 $26.50
Manual safety Thumb Thumb
Picatinny rail Yes Yes
Sights Three-dot, tritium optional Fiber-optic
Number of magazines included 3 2
Suppressable Yes No (Nielsen device required, no current 22wmr suppressors made with it)
Optic mount available No Yes, for micro red dots on the slide
Magazines interchange with carbine No Yes (RMR30, available by 2013)

About the Author:

Oleg Volk

Oleg Volk is a creative director working mainly in firearms advertising. A great fan of America and the right to bear arms, he uses his photography to support the right of every individual to self-determination and independence. To that end, he is also a big fan of firearms.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (35)

  1. I have been using the FN Five seven for about 5 years now at my job (contractor/mercenary what have you). I must have fired 10,000 rnds through it and I have only had 2 problems with it; once when I only had it for a couple of weeks and the other when it jammed on me from a lack of cleaning for a fortnight after firing about 800 rnds of low quality. It has good stopping power and the recoil isn’t bad either.

  2. a review cant even get the five sevens saftey right… its not a thumb saftey its a pointer finger saftey… if they cant get this right how many other things are wrong…

  3. I have a FN 5-7 and LOVE it. Then again, I fell in love with my PS90 so coupling it with a 5-7 on my hip was a natural. 30-rd form-fitting mags are great (unlike the stupid “sticks” hanging out of the bottom of other pistols as people try to add rounds.) While I usually carry a 3″ or 5″ Kimber .45, sometimes the light weight and extra ammo better matches where I’m going.

    BTW: I actually managed to obtain a Kel-Tec KSG… RETAIL ($699.99) about 2 months ago. Had it on order from “my guy” at the dealer for 6 months… starting 12 months after it was “announced”. Serial# 4xx. The gun is PERFECT. The distruction is can pour out at short-medium range is crazy. It is also crazy that Kel-Tec hasn’t outsourced manufacture to a bigger company and split the profits or something if they don’t want to ramp up their production lines. I ordered 2 more KSGs to stash around my bug-out locations and the word is that they are now back-ordered another full YEAR.

  4. Anyone still reading this far down? Scroll bar shrinkage? 🙂

    If anyone is wondering about the terminal ballistics for the 5.7×28 cartridge just remember the Ft. Hood incident here on US soil. Firearm used? Five-seveN. Multiple deaths, multiple casualties. If for any reason that incident isn’t enough evidence to show you that the cartridge is a lethal round, look to Mexico and further South. The Five-seveN is a firearm of choice in the cartels and you will find in news reports dozens of deaths and injuries caused by the 5.7×28 cartridge.

    A small projectile traveling at a high velocity will cause serious damage, especially if the design of that projectile induces it to yaw and/or fragment. Any projectile penetrating the human body at 2200/fps or more is going to cause massive trauma on the body.

  5. I personally own two pmr30s and one 5-7. when i first purchased each i loved the quality and perfection of the 5-7 and the bang and the speed of the pmr. The pmr does have a louder bang than the 5-7 which is great especially with the excessive flash to increase shock and awe factor. Now there are over 2000 rounds through the 5-7 without any issue what so ever (which includes the fact that the gun is NEVER dirty, is tight and crisp as day one). The PMRs are a different story with roughly 5000 rds between them. a- if you go to fast when shooting or for too long, the plastic buffer melts, usually getting pulled into the recoil spring and jamming the gun while slowly melting onto the barrel which is fun to clean off later. b- the forward sight were originally pressed in (gun 1) but were changed to a small allen screw (gun 2) in more recent designs. This screw continuously loosens and the entire sight has fallen off multiple times while shooting with no help[ coming from added thread lockers or sealants. c- the slide release is simply pushed in place and constantly falls off. d- The lower mag release remains an issue for me. The magazine does not always drop out on its own. Sometimes i have to use two hands to press the release and pull down on the front lip. e- with a non-adjustable rear sight you must always remember to aim a hair high at normal indoor range length. f- the grip is significantly deeper which isn’t horrible for my big hands but it does tend to be an awkward shape, you can add a slip on grip to make it wider but that usually makes it too deep for comfort.
    Yes i know when you compare ammo 5-7 is more but if you shop on line its only a $3.75 difference for 50 rd boxes. When i think about fun – sure go pmr, but if you want reliability, cleanliness, and all around perfection- drop the money and get the real toy- the FNH 5-7.
    And next time maybe the comparisons will be apples for apples with the lemons left at home.

  6. When is the PMR 30 going to be readly available!
    I am an active FFL and can’t get my hands on even one!
    I can get and have sold several FN5-7s.
    Other than the new chambering it seams to be a good firearm.
    The difference between 20 and 30 rounds is of little importance if you can’t get your hands on the gun that holds 30 rounds.

  7. Ummmmmm… No contest. Cost of ammo. .22WMR wins. Difficult to compare to the FN 5.7 or .22 TCM in performance because it was not deigned to compete with them. (Yes, we all know the .22WMR was created decades ago and the FN 5.7 and TCM are but babies in diapers in comparison.)

    Compare the TCM and the 5.7 and the 5.7 wins through volume of fire. The FN 5.7 is a very gainly looking cartridge while the TCM is a wicked/weird looking cartridge that limits itself in the msgazine by its excessive case diameter..

    The FN 5.7 could be a real nwinner in a more conventionally deigned weapon.

  8. Why did I pick one over the other? Simple.

    One (PMR) was designed around a varmint round that is most effective coming out the muzzle of a carbine and has a horrible reliability track record. The other (Five seveN) was specifically designed from the ground up as a PDW sidearm companion to the P90 using a round that was also specifically designed for that same purpose.

    Don’t believe me? I’ll let the bullets do the talking:

    .22WMR vs Level II vest – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSZEIvWdNQA
    Penetrates 7 layers

    5.7×28 vs Level II vest – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HW6aI1IRxvE
    Complete penetration of vest, and approx 6″ of clay

    And for kicks and giggles, 5.7×28 vs Level IIIa vest – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXlGuZjNa40
    Penetrates 16 layers

    All of these made with commercially available ammo, no handloads or “specialty” rounds like the SS190 round or Elite Ammunition’s offerings (who offer a slew of great self defense rounds for the 5.7 and other calibers) Those who say that 5.7 is just a “tarted up” .22 magnum with negligible differences in ballistics is higher than the front row at a Grateful Dead concert.

    So, remind me again why people are even considering these two rounds to be equal (regardless of what length barrel they come out of)?

    Also, comparing the FsN to the PMR-30 isn’t even a fair comparison. I’ve handled and fired both (and own an FsN) and can say the FsN easily outclasses the PMR in every aspect. The reason you pay nearly triple the MSRP for the FN is that the fit/finish, R&D and reliability that you get is leaps and bounds over the Kel-Tec. While I admire Kel-Tec for putting out affordable firearms, I wish they’d spend a few extra minutes on each one to make it feel like it’s not a toy. Parts gaps, rattles, excess polymer from the molding process, etc. I’ve seen model car kits with cleaner edges than many of Kel-Tec’s offerings. Reliability is the other key factor that isn’t touched on in this article. It’s no secret that the PMR is notoriously unreliable. Whether it’s a failure to feed, failure to eject, failure to fire, KB, or just plain failure, the PMR checks all those boxes. While the FsN is also not without it’s shortcomings, I can safely say that it’s earned its spot on my hip to do its intended job to protect me if the need ever arises.

    Worried about ammo? Don’t. $20 per 50rds is the standard rate online and multiple retailers stock it. Even all the local gun shops carry it (though at slightly inflated prices). I’ve never not been able to find a place that has it in stock (even during the first obama scare).

    I could go on about the rest of the inconsistencies in this article and the comments, but I don’t trust CTD’s website to be able to handle that. Especially when it took 5 minutes simply to load this page. Perhaps diverting some funds for better webhosting is in order?

  9. “the leadless hollow point actually cannot penetrate a full soda can all the way”

    This has got to be the most hilarious gun review I have ever read. Comparing a military pistol to a gimmicky, unreliable, .22 plinker, is high comedy. The sad thing is, CTD has a huge following and there will be plenty of people that will take this review at face value and miss out on owning a truly revolutionary firearm.

    The facts:

    In a pistol-to-pistol comparison, with 40-grain bullets, the 5.7x28mm EA loads achieve a muzzle velocity roughly 700 ft/s faster than the .22 Magnum.

    When 30-grain bullets are compared pistol-to-pistol, the 5.7x28mm EA loads achieve a muzzle velocity roughly 1000 ft/s faster than the .22 Magnum.

    In a pistol-to-pistol comparison, the 5.7x28mm EA loads produce about three times the muzzle energy of the .22 Magnum.

    http://www.gunblast.com/KelTec-PMR30-2.htm
    http://www.gunblast.com/FN-FiveseveN.htm

    The Five-seveN pistol still has more velocity/energy than the .22 Magnum even when the WMR is fired out of a 24in barrel. If we take into consideration bullet behavior, any comparison trying to be made between the two weapon systems starts to look silly. One behaves like an ice-pick, and the other a 5.56 NATO round.

    Out of the PS90, depending on the grain of .224 projectile used, we are talking about a velocity range of 3,000-3,400 fps, and energy range of 670-700 ft-lbs with either fragmenting, expanding, or tumbling rounds. Of course all will penetrate armor and some rolled steel.

    [IMG]http://i.imgur.com/HHps0.jpg[/IMG]

    [IMG]http://i.imgur.com/gcR1D.jpg[/IMG]

    Now back to the round (SS195) that the author says can’t penetrate a soda can…… Here is what respected ballistics testing lab Brassfetcher.com says about it:

    “As tested, both 5.7x28mm cartridges (SS195 and EA S4M) offer lethality that is on par with or slightly greater than a .45ACP 230gr jacketed hollowpoint. This is accomplished through an intelligent usage of the pitch/yaw cycle inherent to any spin-stabilized projectile – the nose of the 5.7mm bullets travel through the first 2” of ballistic gelatin in a nose-forward orientation, which minimizes drag. As such, the very impressive amount of kinetic energy lost by most expanding bullets in the first few inches of penetration have little or no effect on the human target and actually decreases the effectiveness of expanding ammunition in incapacitating a target.

    In summary, the FN SS-195 and the Elite Ammunition S4M offer performance quite similar to the tested .45ACP, with considerably lower recoil and ammunition weight, coupled with a significantly higher weapon magazine capacity. We feel that the Elite Ammunition S4M can be seen as a “+P” version of the very effective 27gr 5.7mm FMJ SS195 and we have no qualms about recommending this cartridge as a feasible replacement to the more conventional .45ACP handgun, for use against human attackers. -Brass Fetcher Ballistic Testing[/QUOTE]

  10. One thing is for sure, come election time, I can already guess what the SS197SR page will say on CTD’s webite “Ultra high penetration 40gr rounds, get them before their banned” and they will include a 200% markup !

  11. The 5.7 round can be reloaded. Just have to wash the brass rather than tumble it so you don’t destroy the polymer coating. It will take bullet weights up to 55gr.. Prefers 28-40gr.

    I’m hoping the AE load will go down in price, but I don’t think it will unless Federal starts producing their own brass. The AE 5.7 I’ve tested still uses FNH brass. THe bullet is a very thick jacket TMJ (not plated), and it goes through a level II vest with ease..

  12. I find it laughable at the 27gr comment on the 5.7.. Sorry it’s not frangible… It’s a 27-28gr (depending on what you want to round to) aluminum core JHP. Not pierce through the backside of a soda can? Come on.. the SS195LF will penetrate a level II vest, and still do good damage behind it.

    I don’t know why people think the 5.7 doesn’t penetrate. Get on youtube and look up some gel tests. Even SS197SR will penetrate 12″+ from the FiveSeveN.

    I’ve yet to see street prices of the PMR-30 at under $500. Some have and will get $750+ for one…

    .22TCM has yet to see any real world use. Granted yes you can swap it out with 9mm, it’s still a heavy double stack 1911.. No one has indicated what bullets the .22TCM can load, and if you’re limited to 40gr JSPs..

  13. Hey JohnG,

    Tell the 13 people that died in the fort hood shooting that the 5.7 is only going to put little holes in them, and that was the sporting round, but I assume you would offer the 29 people merely injured as a rebuttal. Comments about the effectiveness of a bullet or weapon platform’s at killing effectiveness always sound uninformed because they miss the key point, its not necessarily what you got shot with, but where.

    If you want to talk about the practicality of a bullet or weapon system for carry, accuracy, fun to shoot… great, those are discussions where arm chair math and logic do pretty well, but you lose credibility when you imply that only large caliber bullets can damage a human body, as if nobody was ever killed with a .22LR…

  14. I have a FN57 and enjoy it, but ammo prices are high and I’m shooting 9mm and 22LR these days.
    I’m hoping the new Federal FMJ rounds coming out now (will be in 2013 catalogue) will be cheaper, maybe down to 30-35 cents a round.

    My overall thoughts:

    Hits:
    Centerfire (a big plus)
    Recoil – low
    Flight Ballistics- flat and fast
    Hit Probably – high base on low recoil and ballistics
    Reliability – its an FNH, its centerfire, I’ve never had a failure
    Terminal Ballistics – great (in my opinion) for my home and personal defense. Once it hits soft flesh it tumbles, it does not over penetrate, but can be AP with right ammo.
    Weight – light nice for carry but needs getting used to when firing

    Neutral:
    Reloads – doable but difficult
    Trigger – ok, but could be better
    Sights – adjustable and red dot available (I have one on mine), but no rail

    Misses:
    Ammo – pricey and currently limited availability (hopefully getting better)
    Muzzle Blast – loud and bright (but that can be fun)

  15. Just ordered the 5.7, wanted a pmr-30, couldn’t find one at a reasonable price. Kel-Tec has great ideas, can’t deliver on the consumer end. Either fix that or get out of the business (well that’s really going to take care of itself).

  16. The FNH 5.7 is my wife’s 2012 birthday gun. She likes the power with lack of recoil.
    I like the reload ability with the understanding of it’s limitations.
    The brass is poly coated and can NOT be tumbled in rough media. But needs fluid washed and dried.

    Loads are limited but can be down loaded to make shooting even more fun.
    They ARE powder and load sensitive and not for the novice reloader.
    A wicked little round that she loves to shoot.
    Her grins make it all worth the trouble for me!

  17. Please compare the new Rock Island Armoy 22TCM 1911 with the 5.7 or .22WMR. From what I have seen with the 22TCM it will beat both of them and you have two pistols. Thxs

  18. Comparing 5.7mm to. 22WMR is pretty silly. The velocity difference is going to be greater than the comparison shows since all figures for. 22WMR come from rifles. So 5.7 can be considered as delivering equal velocity to a .22WMR rifle out of a handgun. And that’s just the FN factory ammo. Load some premium 5.7 ammo like Elite Ammunition’s loads and there is no comparison.

  19. Secret service carries the five seven. This was honestly the worst comparison I’ve ever seen. Didn’t mention the difference in ballistics. Or difference in available ammo. Most likely written by a rookie getting his info from Wikipedia instead of trigger time.

  20. It would be nice to try the PMR-30 and several other Kel-Tec guns like Su-16C/CA and KSG. Good luck finding one anywhere! Oleg you are pretty hooked into Kel-Tec scene, can you ask them WTF is going on with production? They have had issues I understand, but they are seriously pissing off their core customer and future customers with the complete lack of availability of the products – and a goggle search shows this has been the case for several years now.

    Common Kel-Tec up your game already and get some stock out for sale or fail in the market place, it’s that simple. You know how many sales you have lost that Oleg or Nutnfancy has sent your way due to lack of product availability.

    Sorry. I had to vent because I want some of their stuff but have only been able to get an SU-22C so far in the last 12 months. Really, compete or become irrelevant in the market.

    Drogum

  21. This wasn’t a choice between an FN5-7 and a PMR-30. My friend has the FN and I’ve shot it quite a bit. It is nice but nothing special. The big drawback is the ammo. There has been too much trouble reloading and the cost of the ammo new is a bit much. When Kel Tec came out with the PMR-30 I thought “cute but I won’t bother” after all I already had a nice .22 LR pistol so what would I want with the PMR-30. Then I read a few reviews and thought, “ok, it might be fun to have but it isn’t going to be high on my list”. The last thing that put if firmly on my list of guns to get was reading the specifications on Speer’s Gold Dot HP in .22 WMR. When I came across a PMR-30 at a gun show (after not having seen one for the past 3 that I had been looking) I snatched it up ($450). One thing I found out after I bought it (I missed it in the research I did) is that they simply don’t like CCI Maxi-Mag 40gn. They don’t stabilize them. Other 40gn rounds are fine but not the Maxi-Mags. One last thing about the PPR vs FN5-7, the PMR has a much better trigger than the FN.

  22. Does the pmr30 really exist?

    KelTec products are extremely scare in the PNW.

    When you see exhibitors at major gun shows advertising as wanted Keltec, something is wrong with their distribution
    chain (even considering the popularity of their products) if you cannot find them to buy in reasonable numbers.

  23. They’re both shooting teeny tiny little bullets. Velocity is great for pumping up the Muzzle Energy numbers, but the damage is going to minimal. The Army and everybody in SOF is going back to a .45. We didn’t take the HK G11 (shooting a 4mm round, even though it was going out there at over 3000fps) because the testing on critters wasn’t showing a lot of effectiveness. On the flip side, I suppose, there’s lots of shots with these and eventually somebody’s going to slow down if you put a lot of little holes in them.

  24. Five Seven mags may not be usable in a carbine, but there is the MPA57 by Masterpiece Arms, a Mac-10 kinda look-alike which utilizes the FNH magazines, which for an additional hundred or so bucks they will make into a carbine for you by adding a very long barrel and a not too great stock to the back of it. Obviously, the stock isn’t even necessary in the first place, so pain is a non-issue, but the gained stability is sweet.

  25. Wouldn’t it just be amazing if our military logistics types took the AP bullet design of the Five-seveN and put similar bullets in the .22 WMR loads… combining the best of both rounds.

    “Custom” loadings are a trivial thing when you’re buying in bulk… and “standard” ammo would still be available off-the-shelf for training

    Buying three pistols for the price of one FN 5.27 and perhaps cutting ammo costs by half wouldn’t be a bad thing at all…

    AND that off the shelf .22WMR bought in bulk could even be used with appropriate adapters in AR type weapons..

    The PMR30 is on my list of priorities…

  26. While I have considered both of these guns, I own neither. Instead, I went with the .22TCM, which is a shortened and necked down .223 and fires a 40 gr bullet at 2000 fps. Formally only available custom made by Fred Craig of NV, the .22TCM is now mass produced by RIA, and Armscor ammo readily available from CTD, thankyouverymuch. An added benefit of the double-stacked 1911-style .22TCM is that it comes with two barrels: the .22TCM and a 9mm. The 9mm is cheaper to shoot and, of course, far more readily available, but the .22TCM is a blast and actually produces a bit more recoil than the 9mm. It is made to be a superior defensive round than either the .22WRM or the 5.7.

  27. I’ll believe the rmr-30 will be available by nwxt year when I see it, I’m still waiting to see a ksg in my local gub stores..

  28. Daniels, good point! Jhat, I’ve heard the same but my friends reload 5.7 with no trouble. The coating was more to facilitate feeding in P90 magazines but I get an impression it’s a non-issue, at least in the semi-auto form.

  29. I’d heard that the 5.7 cartridges, while theoretically reloadable, are problematic in practice, due to some (unclear to me) combination of metal fatigue from the high pressure involved and coatings used in new manufacture to promote reliable ejection. Does anyone have more information on this topic?

  30. I’ve got both, and shoot both regularly.

    Also – if you consider the safety on the Five-seveN a “thumb” safety, you’ve got some REALLY long and odd-shaped thumbs.

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