FN Five-seven

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Photo of the Five-seven USG pistol with an empty 20-round magazine

The FN Five-seven, trademarked as the Five-seveN, is a semi-automatic pistol designed and manufactured by FN Herstal in Belgium.[1] The pistol is named for its 5.7-mm (.224 in) bullet diameter, and the trademark capitalization style is intended to emphasize the manufacturer's initials—FN.[2]

Developed as a companion pistol to the FN P90 personal defense weapon, the Five-seven shares many of its design features: it is a lightweight polymer-based weapon with a large magazine capacity, ambidextrous controls, low recoil, and the ability to penetrate body armor when using certain cartridge types.[3]


Fiction[edit]

  • Joey loved firearms. He adored the feel, the smell, the added weight a gun lent to his hand. His current preoccupation was the new Five seveN pistol, a twenty-round Fabrique Nationale offering that chambered the miniscule 5.7-millimeter round. He was busily polishing its Glock-ish contours when Merendino called.
  • "I'm Hawkins," he said.
    He was a burly man, in his mid to late twenties, with the curly reddish-blond hair and the broad, open face of a Welsh farm boy. His fatigues had no insignia, but his right hand twitched as he suppressed the urge to salute.
    John noticed that, too. He waited until we were out of earshot, carrying our cases of delicate electronic equipment to the van, then murmured: "Who dares, wins."
    I nodded, recognizing the SAS motto, agreeing with John's assessment, wondering who owed Mac a favor.
    "I'll lay odds he's carrying a new five-seven in that underarm holster," John continued. "I suppose it would be cheeky to ask to see it."
    FN Herstal's 5-7, touted as one of the most powerful handguns in the world, was capable of penetrating forty-eight layers of laminated Kevlar armor at a range of two hundred meters. The handgun was lightweight, with virtually no recoil. An effective weapon when confronting terrorists wearing body armor.
    An effective weapon when confronting a cop wearing body armor.
    The thought came out of nowhere, brought with it a chill that had nothing to do with the outside temperature. The 5-7, so new to government organizations in the UK, was already sold illegally on the streets of the United States. Too easy to imagine the face of a particular police officer who could be threatened by that gun.
  • [...] The image superimposed on Ricci's field of view by his visor display showed a pair of guards in hooded parkas, goggles, and wool scarves taking relaxed strides along their patrol of the building's north side. Their shoulder-slung FN P90 assault weapons fired the same ammunition as his FN Five-seveN pistol: small rounds, big punch. [...]
  • [...] Anyone who might think of attacking them would also probably recognize that they were armed. She smiled slightly; all three of them actually had valid concealed-carry permits for the Belgian FiveseveN specials under their jackets.
    Although not for the P90 machine pistols in the attaché cases, and some of the stuff in the vehicle would be right out of it. Semtex, timers, detonators, cans of gasoline and thermite bombs, for example. Even if the invoice reads "Cleaning supplies" back at HQ.
  • "To hell with that, Jim," she said. "I'm the Bad Girl of the Rolfes, remember? I'll ride in with you, and we can have the chopper pick the birds up, bring them back here, load the rest and be back at the Gate before sunset."
    He hesitated for a moment, then nodded. "All right," he said. "Never could stand to be left out of the boys' games, eh?"
    She shrugged. "I'm not Little Miss Cindy Lou Magnoliablossom," she said dryly, patting the FN FiveseveN automatic holstered high on her right hip.
  • [...] The two guards, now blocking my exit, are firing their weapons indiscriminately, hoping to land a lucky shot. I have no choice but to act offensively. I duck behind a table, draw my Five-seveN and release the safety. It's the Fabrique Nationale Herstal tactical model with a single-action trigger and a twenty-round magazine that holds 5.7x28mm ss190 ammunition. The rounds offer good penetration against modern body armor while keeping the weapon's weight, dimensions, and recoil at reasonable levels. The damage the rounds do to unarmored bodies is something to behold. It's a weapon I don't like to use in full-scale firefights, though. It has a fairly limited range, so I mostly use it in situations where I know I'll have the advantage. Like this one.
  • The Draeger could be dangerous at depths much below thirty feet, so Juan planned to stay close to the surface. In a slim waterproof pouch strapped under his right arm he had a minicomputer, a flashlight, and a Fabrique Nationale Five-seveN double-action automatic. The pistol fired the new 5.7mm ammunition. The advantage of the small, needlelike cartridges was that the matte-black weapon's grip held twenty rounds with one in the chamber. Also, the bullets were designed to blow through most ballistic vests while at the same time not overpenetrate a target.
  • [...] He immediately crossed to the other side of the road placing as little weight as possible on his left leg. His hand reached for his fanny pack. Inside was a FN Five Seven pistol. The weapon carried twenty 5.7 x 28mm armor-piercing rounds. Rapp unzipped the fanny pack and kept his left hand near the opening. Every move was second nature, done almost completely without thought. [...]
  • Douglas had been sitting quietly on a thick branch with his legs bent and his back propped up against the massive trunk of the old tree. He was not carrying his M40 high-powered sniper rifle. Today's mission was to observe, not to kill. But he had decided to pack his FN Five-seveN, just in case. He would feel naked without a firearm, and he loved that gun. It held twenty rounds and, with a weight of not quite eight hundred grams, was extremely light, comfortable to carry, and easily concealed.
  • Two guards armed with Fabrique Nationale Herstal P-90 submachine guns stood at the entrance beyond the helipad, their presence negating any possibility of unauthorized access. Bolan hadn't expected to waltz through the laboratory's front door, but he wanted to view it nevertheless. He took the opportunity to examine his opponents' hardware.
    In addition to their submachine guns, the sentries wore shoulder holsters carrying FN Five-seveNs. Weighing a mere 1.6 pounds, the Belgium-made pistol used the same 5.7 mm ammunition as the P-90, fed from a clip holding 20 rounds. Although the lightweight handguns lacked the punch that a 9 mm Glock or a Smith & Wesson .45 might deliver, its bullets were available in a version with steel-hardened tips that penetrated Kevlar, making them the ideal choice when anticipating an assault by law-enforcement personnel.
  • "So it's here or never, eh?"
    " 'Fraid so."
    Cabrillo braked the big truck far enough from the makeshift roadblock so the car could pass him once the cops were satisfied. In a concealed pocket to the right of his seat he could feel the butt of his preferred handgun, the Fabrique Nationale (FN) Five-seveN. The military-grade SS190 rounds had unbelievable penetrating power, and, because of their small size, twenty could be loaded into a comfortable grip magazine. He left it for the moment.
  • Linda's angle was all wrong to hit the gunman, so as the window lowered she thrust her upper body out of the truck, bracing herself by gripping the big side mirror with her left hand. She then fired. She was cycling the trigger so fast the distinctive whip-crack of the Five-seveN sounded like a string of firecrackers.
  • Olson and Kahler stood there while I went through my head process. Olson knows me well enough to let me go and Kahler demonstrated a level of experience that showed he'd been through this with investigators before. Sometimes you've just gotta let the processing happen.
    "Okay—I've been thinking that this must have been done with a little .22 handgun. If that were the case, you should have found the bullet in the remains, or under the body. You didn't, so it must have been something a little bigger than a .22—maybe a 5.7. That might get a through-and-through at close range."
    The FNH—Five-seveN—was a relatively new gun that had developed a devoted following. Reportedly being used now by the U.S. Secret Service, it is a super lightweight handgun that shoots a 5.7mm round that looks a lot like a rifle round with its stepped neck cartridge. But its popularity with law enforcement is largely due to the fact that the bullet is a tumbler and not a penetrator. That means that it won't go through people and hit other things you don't want to hit—that, and the 20-round magazine. [...]
  • Wang pulled a pistol out from under his jacket. "You know what this is?
    Boland eyed the large, uniformly gray, space-gun-looking Belgian weapon. "FN Five-seveN."
    "No, it's a mata policias."
    "Cop killer."
    Wang nodded. "Every Mexican criminal wants one of these. [...]"
  • Bolan's AKMS assault rifle came equipped with a stubby GP-25 40 mm under-the-barrel grenade launcher, and he carried a variety of munitions to feed it. His 75-round drum magazine gave him extended firepower for the Kalashnikov, backed up for closer work by a Belgian FN Five-seveN semiauto pistol, chambered for the high-powered 5.7 mm cartridge tailored for long range and superior penetration, with a 20-round box magazine and no external safety. [...]
  • Bolan set his AKMS rifle on the stony ground and drew his FN Five-seveN pistol. One of his cargo pockets gave up a six-inch suppressor, threaded to fit the weapon's muzzle. Once he had it snug in place, Bolan duck-walked around Gorshani, toward the right side of the boulder that concealed them from the lookout.
    It took a minute, but he found the vantage point that he was looking for. Water and wind had worn the boulder smooth, and some calamity in bygone aeons had chiseled a round corner off the stone, tumbling its pieces down to form a series of natural steps. Bolan mounted that rude staircase, testing each step before committing his weight, and soon reached a point where he could observe the guard without being seen.
    Thirty feet was close to point-blank range for the Five-seveN's high-powered 5.7 mm cartridge.
    All Bolan had to do was aim and fire.
    He aimed.
    He fired.
  • The backyard guards were easy. Bolan found them smoking on a patio behind Bahaar Jadoon's house, underneath a yellow light designed to ward off flying insects. Trusting in the light to spoil their night vision, he cut the chain-link fence instead of scaling it—less noise—and tied the flap open with twists of wire to make it simpler for Gorshani, bringing up the rear.
    When he was thirty feet from contact, still outside the pool of yellow light that bathed the patio, he drew the black Five-seveN pistol. Even with its fully loaded magazine, the gun weighed barely a pound and a half, thanks in equal part to its plastic grip and the fact that its twenty 5.7 mm rounds weighed only half as much as standard 9 mm Parabellum cartridges.
    Recoil was likewise reduced from the typical niner, despite the 5.7 mm's powder load, which enabled the bullets to penetrate Kevlar. Also, like the military M-16 projectiles, they were designed for maximum internal damage without a hollow point round's expansion or the explosive fragmentation of a frangible bullet.
  • [...] At the entrance to the alleyway Ozols glanced over his shoulder, an amateurish move, too obvious to trip up a shadow, too quick to register one if he did. In Victor's experience people often paid more attention to what could be behind them, instead of what lay ahead. Ozols didn't see the man standing in the shadows just a few yards away. The man who was there to kill him.
    Victor waited until Ozols had passed out of the light before squeezing the trigger with smooth, even pressure.
    Suppressed gunshots interrupted the early morning stillness. Ozols was hit in the sternum, twice in rapid succession. The bullets were low powered, subsonic 5.7 mm, but larger rounds could have been no more fatal. Copper-encased lead tore through skin, bone, and heart before lodging side by side between vertebrae. Ozols collapsed backward, hitting the ground with a dull thud, arms outstretched, head rolling to one side.
    Victor melted out of the darkness and took a measured step forward. He angled the FN Five-seveN and put a bullet through Ozols's temple. He was already dead, but in Victor's opinion there was no such thing as overkill.
    The expended cartridge clinked on the paving stones and came to rest in a puddle shimmering with sodium-orange light. A quiet whistling from the twin bullet holes in Ozols's chest was the only other sound. Air was escaping from the still-inflated lungs—the last breath he never had a chance to release.
  • [...] He had the pathologist's report in hand. He glanced over the details to where it described the bullet wounds. There were two more to the chest. He gestured.
    "Show me."
    The mortician looked around nervously before carefully gripping the white stain-proof sheet. He folded it backward from the body's neck to reveal the torso.
    Alvarez examined the two neat holes in the sternum. "They look small caliber to me. Twenty-twos?"
    "No," the mortician answered. "All three wounds. Two to the chest, one to the head. 5.7 mm rounds."
    "Interesting." Alvarez leaned forward for a closer look. "What kind of range are we looking at?"
    "No powder burns so it wasn't point blank, other than that I can't tell you. Listen, I'm just an assistant here. I'm not a ballistics expert. I... I don't know very much."
    No shit, Alvarez thought. He considered for a moment. That the rounds were 5.7 mm meant an FN Five-seveN, one of the world's slickest and most expensive handguns. He pictured the scene in his head. Double-tap to the heart, then, as the victim was prone, head to one side, the killer put one extra through the frontal lobe. Not taking any chances. Alvarez was no stranger to professional killings, and this execution was about as professional as they came. He blinked the image away.
  • "Check this out," his partner said. "It's an FN Five-seven. Don't see these every day."
    "Good thing, too," Ric said. The gun was nicknamed the "cop killer" because of its ability to penetrate Kevlar.
    Black passed the pistol to Ric. He admired the olive drab finish, the tightly checkered grip, the tactical light beneath the barrel. Ric had never seen one of these up close, but he knew a lot of SWAT guys who liked them.
    "Nice," Ric said, although everyone in the room knew that was a gross understatement. He handed back the weapon.
  • Ansara was sprinting up the tunnel, increasing the gap, but Moore was beginning to slow as he heard the thundering boots of men coming down the staircase behind them. He stopped, spun around, and dropped onto his belly as, lit by the flickering light from the tunnel entrance, a figure rushed forward, arm extended. For just a heartbeat Moore glimpsed his assailant's face: the cartel truck's driver.
    Propped up on his elbows now, Moore fired once into the figure's chest, the round booting him sideways into the panels before he fell onto his back.
    From behind him came two more men, the rest of the weapons-transfer crew, their Belgian-made cop-killer pistols flashing, the shots booming through the tunnel as one 5.7x28-millimeter round struck the pipe near Moore's elbow.
  • Lieutenant Ben Harp: We just got another shooting.
    Detective Neil McKay: Where?
    Harp: Out by Frankfort; weird thing is, it looks like it ties into O'Bannon.
    McKay: Oh yeah? How so?
    Harp: Ballistics matched the slugs we took out of O'Bannon and his bodyguards. [Glancing down at his papers] We've ID'd them as something called a 5.7-millimeter.
    McKay: [Hesitating] Really?
    Harp: You know something?
    McKay: The Five-seven's only been on the market a few years. It's nasty shit: super accurate, screamin' hot velocity, the kind of stuff you find on the battlefield, not in your backyard.
    Harp: [Shaking head] That's just great.

Controversy[edit]

  • The Five-seveN has been loved and hated in the years since its introduction. It is one of the most controversial handguns of our time, and was so even before the Fort Hood atrocity.[4]
  • Nobody uses something like this to hunt. Nobody uses something like this for self defense. There's no reason it should be on our streets.[5]
  • It's just plain common sense that this weapon poses a great threat.[5]

Miscellaneous[edit]

  • There was some brilliant use of polymer applied, and the result is a physically large pistol which, with magazine removed, weighs only 20.5 ounces on my scale. That’s less than the weight of a snub-nose Colt Detective Special, but depending on the magazine, the Five-seveN carries ten, twenty, or even thirty rounds of 5.7mm, compared to six rounds of .38 Special in the snubbie.[4]
    • Massad Ayoob
  • Suffice it to say that from the pure "gun" side of it, the Five-seveN is a fascinating design that deserves a place in modern gun collections, and which has written a fascinating and complex chapter in the evolution of modern handguns.[4]
    • Massad Ayoob
  • It has been acquired by myriad special police groups, but in the military it is used by Belgian pilots, Cyprus special forces, Mexico, Nepal and Spain. This is quite a feat as it has always been a difficult task to launch a new calibre on the military market, especially for handguns.[7]
    • Paolo Valpolini (Armada International)

References[edit]

  1. FNH USA Five-seveN Autoloading Pistol Owner's Manual. FNH USA (2009). Retrieved on October 18, 2009.
  2. Wood, J.B.. FNH USA Five-seveN Pistol 5.7×28mm. Tactical Life. Retrieved on October 18, 2009.
  3. Bahde, Dave (November 2009). FNH Five-seveN ODG 5.7×28mm. Combat Handguns. Retrieved on November 28, 2009.
  4. a b c Massad Ayoob (April 16, 2010). Defensive Handguns - The FN Five-seveN. On Target magazine. Retrieved on January 28, 2010.
  5. a b Police groups warn officers nationwide about new cop killer gun, urge appropriate congressional action. Brady Campaign (January 27, 2005). Archived from the original on June 14, 2006. Retrieved on June 9, 2011.
  6. Congress must act on cop killer gun. Brady Campaign (March 3, 2005). Archived from the original on June 14, 2006. Retrieved on June 9, 2011.
  7. Valpolini, Paolo (June 2009). There are Two Types of Men in this World.... Armada International. Archived from the original on June 2009. Retrieved on February 13, 2010.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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