The FN P90 was a carbine that was developed for NATO as a fully-automatic personal-defense weapon (PDW) for couriers and drivers.
Intended to be more effective than a pistol, the little piece is pretty efficient. It is easy to handle and at close range and with the original loading it would zip through most body armor.
An alternative platform, the Five-seveN pistol, was later introduced. There is a vast difference between a pistol firing one round at a time and a carbine with a cheek weld firing fully-automatic.
Just the same, the pistol enjoyed some popularity. It is expensive and not designed well for fast deployment, but is also accurate and reliable.
The pistol is, in most ways, an elongated Security 9. The Security 9 is a reliable and useful, as well as affordable, pistol.
Features of the Ruger 57
The Ruger 57 pistol features good grip treatment, allowing a good balance of adhesion and abrasion.
The safety is easy enough to manipulate and the pistol features a safety lever set in the trigger face. The frame is polymer and the slide is steel.
Adjustable sights cap off the slide. The action is single-action and the pistol features a hammer rather than a striker, a rarity in new introductions.
The barrel, like the slide, is black-oxide finished. The barrel is 4.94-inches long. The breech face is recessed to accommodate the bottle-neck cartridge.
The recoil spring is stronger than expected. Additionally, the pistol is light on the hip at only 25 ounces. Like many modern pistols, the handgun seems built around the magazine.
The magazine holds 20 cartridges. Do not attempt to load this magazine in the usual manner of loading pistols, by thumbing a cartridge in beneath the feed lips.
Press the 5.7x28mm cartridges into place straight down as you would an AR-15 round into a GI magazine.
The rear sight is fully-adjustable, a good feature on a handgun that is viable, as far as accuracy goes, at long handgun ranges. The front sight is a tall post.
A green fiber-optic sight insert makes for good visibility. The pistol came out of the box sighted for 25 yards with the six o’clock hold.
The Ruger features a removable plate that makes mounting a red-dot sight easy. The plate must be ordered from Ruger’s website.
The pistol handles more quickly coming onto target than the FN. The FN’s safety, in front of the grip, isn’t easy to manipulate quickly.
But enough of those comparisons, let’s let the Ruger stand on its own merits. The top of the slide features a long cut in GLOCK longslide style that seems to be in place to lighten the slide.
Forward cocking serrations are easily used. The grip is long, but narrow, due to the size of the cartridge, but manageable by most hand sizes.
Some adjusting of the hand is needed to manipulate the slide lock and magazine release. The pistol would not be as manageable in a heavier caliber, but drew no complaints in firing.
There is also a large section for mounting combat lights.
Uses for 5.7x28mm
The question that may be asked is “what will you do with the pistol?” I am past the point where every pistol must have a clearly-defined purpose. This is a great fun gun.
It is also useful for those that need a defensive handgun, but cannot tolerate recoil. It is a reasonably powerful handgun that doesn’t have the drawbacks of unreliable rimfire ammunition.
The V-Max bullet breaks up in 18 inches of water with most of the fragments in the second six inches. That is interesting performance, but not what I would like for personal defense.
We anticipate the new Speer Gold Dot load will take the 5.7x28mm to a different level. The bottleneck 5.7x28mm cartridge is 1.594-inches long.
That is not that long a cartridge, but is long compared to the 1.250-inches of the .45 ACP. The .223 Remington is 2.25-inches with the 40-grain V-Max.
So, the 5.7x28mm is a long cartridge for a handgun. Recoil is modest, no more than a .22 Magnum revolver.
With 20 rounds of ammunition and a good, if not great, trigger and good accuracy, the 5.7 pistol will deliver at 100 yards about the same energy as a .22 Magnum rifle.
It is a great pest and varmint gun, although questionable for coyote past 50 yards. For defensive use, it is a great pistol for those who cannot handle greater recoil.
Firing the Ruger 57
I fired mostly the Federal American Eagle loading. I simply ate up the x-ring on man-sized targets at seven, 10 and 15 yards.
You are able to make small groups quickly. I do not believe that groups save lives, but just the same, the pistol is easy to use well. Moving quickly between targets isn’t difficult at all.
This is a clean-burning and accurate loading. I experienced several failures to feed on the last cartridge. I don’t think I did not load the magazine properly and this was consistent with each magazine.
Perhaps it needs a break-in. The pistol was a good performer on the combat range, and I was able to make hits on small dirt clods and range bric-a-brac well past 50 yards.
Firing at targets at known and unknown ranges builds skill. The 5.7x28mm is a flat shooter. Settling into testing for accuracy, I fired a number of five-shot groups at 25 yards.
The best single five-shot group was 2.2 inches, the worst 3.2 inches. It isn’t a custom Hi-Power or 1911-type accurate, but it is accurate enough for most chores.
While the pistol is billed as a fun gun and it certainly is that, the Ruger 57 has some utility for several chores.
Many years ago, the .22 Jet didn’t cut it as a revolver cartridge due to setback problems in the chambers. The Ruger 5.7 neatly solves that dilemma with plenty of style.
It is less expensive than the FN pistol and at least comparable, if not better, in all aspects. In a niche market, Ruger has nailed the market down.
Packing the Ruger 57
I ordered a Galco Concealable Belt Holster for the Ruger 57. This holster is ideal for larger handguns.
It features a high ride and the FBI tilt. Remarkably, it allowed a trained shooter to carry the pistol in comfort and attain a fast draw speed.
The presentation from leather approached sharp, and it was better after some practice.
A covering garment is required, but if you wish to conceal the Ruger 57 it may be done.
Ruger 57 Specs:
|4.94 Inches, Alloy
|Polymer Frame, Oxide-Coated Alloy Steel Slide
|Fully-Adjustable Rear, Fiber-Optic Front
|Six Pound Pull
|Trigger Lever, Manual Thumb Safety
|$700 or So
Have you tried firing the Ruger 57? What do you think of the 5.7x28mm cartridge? Let us know in the comments below!