Concealed Carry

Review: Ruger 57

Ruger 57 Handgun

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.

Ruger decided that a pistol made to sell for less than the FN pistol and with good ergonomics might sell well in this limited, niche market.

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.

Feildstripped Ruger 57
The Ruger 57 strips down easily.

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 American Eagle loading breaks almost 1700 fps and the FN load with the Hornady V-Max bullet breaks just over 1700 fps.

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.

5.7x28mm and 9mm Luger cartridges
5.7x28mm (left) compared to 9mm Luger (right).

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.

Ruger 57 with Jam
The pistol had the nagging complaint of misfeeding the last round in the magazine.

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.

Holster for Ruger 57
Galco’s Concealable Belt Holster is the best solution to carrying the Ruger 57.

Ruger 57 Specs:

Type Single-Action, Semi-Automatic
Caliber 5.7x28mm
Capacity 20 Rounds
Barrel 4.94 Inches, Alloy
Overall Length/Height/Width 8.65/5.6/1.2 Inches
Weight 24.5 Ounces
Construction Polymer Frame, Oxide-Coated Alloy Steel Slide
Sights Fully-Adjustable Rear, Fiber-Optic Front
Trigger Six Pound Pull
Safety Trigger Lever, Manual Thumb Safety
Price $700 or So
Manufacturer Ruger

Have you tried firing the Ruger 57? What do you think of the 5.7x28mm cartridge? Let us know in the comments below!

About the Author:

Wilburn Roberts

When Wilburn Roberts was a young peace officer, he adopted his present pen name at the suggestion of his chief, as some of the brass was leery of what he might write. This was also adopted out of respect for families of both victims and criminals. The pen name is the same and the man remains an outspoken proponent of using enough gun for the job.

He has been on the hit list of a well-known hate group, traveled in a dozen countries and written on many subjects, including investigating hate crimes and adopting the patrol carbine. He graduated second in his class with a degree in Police Science. It took him 20 years to work himself from Lieutenant to Sergeant and he calls it as he sees it.
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 (9)

  1. For those looking to get one of these at a decent price, you may have to wait a while. All prices have gone way up this year because of the pandemic and the violence in the cities not to mention the election. When I purchase mine in January 2020, I pre-ordered it for $579.99. If you’re willing to wait, the price will come down eventually.

  2. I have one. A very fun and accurate pistol. Problem right now is ammo, or lack of it. Luckily, I have enough for now.

  3. I recently got my RUGER 57, a Kydex OWB holster and an extra magazine bringing my total to 3 mags. I got this pistol a sa “companion” to my PS90.

    It is difficult to find any Cordura mag pouches with a closed top so I had The Vest Guy make me two double mag pouches to my specs, just as he did for two double mag pouches for my PS90. TVG’s quality is excellent.

    I will most often carry my RUGER 57 in my pack while doing training hikes here in Nevada. With the long range of this pistol/cartridge combo I can return fire over longer distances should the need ever arise wile hiking.

  4. I would buy the Ruger 5.7 to go with my 5.7×28 AR15 upper if the price was realistic.The $700-800 price range is ridiculous. The pistol should be under $500 and Ruger would sell a ton of them. The price of the pistol plus the price of ammo puts the package way out of the normal price of a fun pistol to shoot.
    I have too many other choices to spend this much on a toy gun. The only coyotes I shoot at now, are on paper, so a very expensive hole puncher. I know the price will only go up but maybe Ruger will throw in extra magazines and holster to sweeten up the deal. I’ll wait and until then I’ll keep shooting my other guns. Thank you, great article though.

  5. I have read that the Ruger 57 cannot be carried with a round in the chamber because it lacks a firing pin block. That diminishes its usefulness as a defensive carry firearm. If Ruger would remedy that and chamber it in 7.62×25 it would more useful as a defensive carry firearm.

  6. Often thought that an updated M-1 Carbine would be a nice PDW. The .22 Spitfire (necked down .30 Carbine round) didn’t work out because being introduced in the 1950’s. Bet that a M-1 Carbine “Pistol” in the 5.7 x 28 chambering, or the original .22 Spitfire version, would be a hit in 2020. I would think the main issue to change out a M-1 Carbine to 5.7 x 28 would be sizing the gas port correctly. As the 5,7 x 28 OAL is about 0.095″ shorter than the .30 Carbine round, the Carbine magazines may also require a redesign of the mag follower

  7. Sometime ago, when the 5.7mm cartridge came out, it seemed like every Boarder Patrol Agent snatched up every possible round they could find. Living on the Arizona – California – Mexico boarder required these agents to be able to make some pretty long shots. They had difficulty bringing their 5.56 mm rifles into the fight quickly enough while dismounting their vehicles. It seemed that this little cartridge could do the trick and ride on their belt like a standard 9mm. It had the added benefit of much more ammo in about the same configuration as their 9 mm’s. So as soon as a 5.7 pistol hit the store, it was gone into the B.P. The agents loved the cartridge, but not the price of the pistol. This Ruger should become the “Bell of the Ball” with those agents. And what is good for them must be great for us. I hope to have one of these myself soon. That is before they become illegal to own (if the wrong political party were to gain power that is). It’s competition was huge and you had to have a holster hand made for it. But now everything has changed for the better. A little competition is a good thing!

  8. I am in agreement that this guns usefulness is mostly as a fun gun. It is not particularly well suited for personal defense. The issue I have about being a fun gun is that fun guns (like .22’s) should be affordable to shoot. The cost of ammo for this caliber, in my opinion, even makes it marginal as a fun gun. You simply can not go out an burn up ammo in it like you can plinking with your .22.

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