5.7x28mm | GunMagopedia

Of all the handgun cartridges available, some certainly enjoy greater popularity than others. Of course, we’re all familiar with 9x19mm Parabellum, 10mm AUTO, and 45 ACP, but it’s important to remember there’s more to gun life than the popular mainstream cartridges. That’s where the 5.7x28mm comes in.

5.7x28mm is a popular alternative to 9x19mm Parabellum. (Photo credit: Botach)

The Company Behind the Cartridge

The 5.7x28mm was designed by FN Herstal. FN was founded in 1889 as Fabrique Nationale Herstal, which is French for “National Factory Herstal.” It’s located in Herstal, Belgium, and was actually co-founded by some arms makers of the region. Today it’s owned by the Herstal Group, which is, interestingly, owned by the government of Wallonia.

Wondering what Wallonia is? That’s understandable. The government of Wallonia is more accurately known as the Walloon government. There are half a dozen major governments in Belgium, and this is one.

Something of note is that the Herstal Group also owns Browning Arms Company and Winchester Repeating Arms, the latter of which is the firearms branch of what was once simply Winchester. FN Herstal also has an FN America location in McLean, Virginia.

If you’re curious about how much manufacturing goes on at the plant in Virginia, here’s the answer straight from FN America:


FN’s machining capabilities allow it to take on virtually any project requiring precise machining processes.

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FN makes barrels for all FN firearms built in the U.S.A., including for the U.S. military and federal, state, and local law enforcement.

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Heat Treatment

FN offers a wide variety of heat treatment options that exceed industry standards.

Surface Finish

All surface finishing activities at FN are robotically controlled, ensuring a pristine finish and superior quality.

Research and Development

All U.S. research and development activities for FN products are conducted at FN, from concept to prototype, design verification to validation testing and production launch.”

5.7x28mm Background

The precise history of 5.7x28mm has some holes in it, but we know it came about because NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) was looking for a replacement for the 9x19mm Parabellum. The NATO requirements for a new cartridge included superior accuracy, range, and overall terminal performance over the 9x19mm Parabellum. FN Herstal responded by creating the SS90, which was the first version of today’s 5.7x28mm.

The SS90 had an approximate muzzle velocity of 2800 feet per second using a 23 grain plastic projectile. According to the manufacturer, that cartridge was capable of penetrating a NATO CRISAT vest from 219 yards away. Even so, it ended up being replaced by an improved version within a few short years.

In 1993, FN Herstal replaced the SS90 with the SS190, which is the 5.7x28mm we use today. The projectile on the updated cartridge is 0.11 inches shorter than that of the original SS90, and that tiny difference makes it fit and cycle better in guns chambered in this cartridge.

According to FN Herstal, one of the benefits of the 5.7x28mm is the fact that they created it to not risk over penetration to the extent other pistol cartridges—like 9x19mm Parabellum—can be prone to do. In addition, a miss with the 5.7x28mm is less likely to damage an innocent person because its velocity drops much more quickly as well.

According to numerous sources, at least some United States Secret Service agents use 5.7x28mm. (Photo credit: We Are The Mighty)

Why Did the U.S. Military Want 5.7x28mm?

It wasn’t the United States Military; it was NATO that was interested in potentially replacing 9x19mm Parabellum. The 5.7x28mm has been used by more than 40 different nations’ law enforcement and military forces. It’s also been used by the United States Secret Service. So although it hasn’t exactly replaced 9x19mm Parabellum, it’s done quite well for itself.

How is 5.7x28mm Different Than 9x19mm Parabellum?

The 5.7x28mm is significantly different than the 9x19mm Parabellum. Even though the former was designed as a potential replacement for the latter, comparing them isn’t entirely fair to either cartridge. The 5.7x28mm is a lighter, narrow cartridge. Although it’s used by many people in law enforcement and various military branches in multiple countries, it just hasn’t caught on like 9x19mm Parabellum.

9x19mm Parabellum is more widely available and affordably priced. However, as ammunition shortages have spread over the last few years, it’s become the norm that you’re more likely to find 5.7x28mm in stock. Of course, you have to have a gun chambered in it, but that’s not impossible to make happen.

Basically, the 5.7x28mm delivers fantastic velocity from a pistol, but it’s with a very lightweight bullet. The 9x19mm Parabellum is capable but not as fast, although it does use much heavier bullets.

The 5.7x28mm was designed for closer range combat. (Photo credit: Bulk Ammo)

How Accurate is 5.7x28mm?

FN Herstal designed this to be a relatively accurate cartridge for combat use, and it is. Depending on the gun and ammunition combination, 5.7x28mm can be quite accurate. As with any load, you just have to be familiar with what it can and cannot do and work within that range.

How Far Can You Shoot with 5.7x28mm?

This is a cartridge that was created for close-quarters and shorter-range use. Its velocity drops precipitously, being around 400 yards, and, in fact, it does its best under 200 yards. Firing through a PDW rather than a pistol will increase range somewhat.

Can You Hunt with 5.7x28mm?

As a smaller caliber pistol cartridge, 5.7x28mm is not ideal for hunting use. With precise placement and at a close enough range, it might be effective on smaller games, but there are a lot of cartridges on the market that are more capable.

That said, there are some hunters who enjoy using it through a PDW. Some hunters have compared it to using a 22 WMR, which is not inaccurate. It’s going to perform its best within its capable ranges on varmints and predators like coyotes and badgers. In order to go after a larger game, hunters need a larger cartridge because an ethical, one-shot kill should always be the goal.

Personal Defense with 5.7x28mm

Many gun owners who prefer 5.7x28mm use it specifically for self-defense purposes. It’s sometimes referred to as an alternative to 9x19mm Parabellum, but the two cartridges are quite different.

What makes the 5.7x28mm appealing for personal defense use for many people is that FN Herstal designed it for combat use. According to the manufacturer, it has far less risk of over-penetration than a 9x19mm Parabellum, and it also loses speed quickly enough to reduce risk to innocent bystanders significantly. As a result, it is absolutely a capable defensive round.

The 5.7x28mm is not yet an official SAAMI cartridge, but it still sees wide use in the United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5.7x28mm Specifications

Name: FN 5.7x28mm  
Designer FN Herstal
Designed In 1986-1990 (SS90)

1992-1993 (SS190)

Produced 1990-1993 (SS90)

1993-Present (SS190)

Country of Origin Belgium
Wars Used In Afghanistan War

Iraq War

Mexican Drug War

2011 Libyan Civil War

Parent Case None
Case Type Rebated Rim, Bottleneck
Cartridge Type Centerfire Handgun and PDW (Personal Defense Weapon)
Bullet Diameter 0.224 inches (5.70mm)
Land Diameter 0.218 inches (5.53mm)
Neck Diameter 0.251 inches (6.38mm)
Shoulder Diameter 0.313 inches (7.95mm)
Base Diameter 0.313 inches (7.95mm)
Rim Diameter 0.307 inches (7.80mm)
Rim Thickness 0.045 inches (1.14mm)
Case Length 1.138 inches (28.90mm)
Overall Length 1.594 inches (40.50mm)
Case Capacity 13.9 gr H20 (0.90cm³)
Primer Type Boxer Small Rifle
Recommended Maximum Pressure 50,000 psi (on average, not a SAAMI cartridge)
Maximum CIP Pressure 50,037 psi


Available 5.7x28mm Ammunition

Although the 5.7x28mm cartridge is seen by many as a boutique round, it’s become increasingly popular in recent years. Of course, it’s also not a SAAMI cartridge yet, but that hasn’t stopped some American manufacturers from getting into the 5.7x28mm game. These are some of the currently available loads for this cartridge:

Federal American Eagle 5.7x28mm 40 grain Full Metal Jacket (FMJ). (Photo credit: Federal Premium Ammunition)
  • Federal American Eagle 5.7x28mm 40 grain Full Metal Jacket (FMJ)
    • Features:
      • Carefully chosen, clean-burning powder
      • New, reloadable brass
      • Federal’s own primers and brass
      • Non-corrosive
      • Designed for target practice and training
      • From Federal:
        • “Hit your target and train harder with the proven line of American Eagle handgun ammunition. It provides performance similar to self-defense and competition loads for a familiar feel and realistic practice.”
Distance (yards) Velocity (feet per second) Energy (foot-pounds) Trajectory (inches)
Muzzle 1655 feet per second 243 foot-pounds Unavailable
25 yards 1514 feet per second 204 foot-pounds 0
50 yards 1387 feet per second 171 foot-pounds -0.0 inches
75 yards 1275 feet per second 144 foot-pounds -1.2 inches
100 yards 1179 feet per second 124 foot-pounds -3.8 inches
4.8 inch test barrel      

*Height of bullet trajectory in inches above or below the line of sight if zeroed at 25 yards. Sights 0.9 inches above the bore line.

Speer Gold Dot 5.7x28mm 40 grain Hollow Point (HP). (Photo credit: Speer)
  • Speer Gold Dot 5.7x28mm 40 grain Hollow Point (HP)
    • Features:
      • According to the manufacturer, this is the first 5.7x28mm round explicitly designed for self-defense use
      • Delivers significant, consistent penetration and expansion through commonly faced barriers
      • Designed with a carefully uniform jacket to maximize accuracy
      • Speer’s Gold Dot technology functions to all but eliminate core-jacket separation
      • New brass
      • From Speer: “Insist on more from your 5.7x28mm. Speer has broken new ground for the cartridge with the first 5.7x28mm round specifically designed for self-defense. Like all Gold Dot ammunition, the bullet is built using Speer’s exclusive Uni-Cor method. The jacket is bonded to the core one atom at a time, virtually eliminating core-jacket separation and creating an accurate, tough, and consistent projectile through all common barriers. High-quality brass, reliable primers, and specially formulated propellant produce optimal feeding and ballistics in 5.7x28mm firearms.”
Distance (yards) Velocity (feet per second) Energy (foot-pounds) Trajectory (inches)
Muzzle 1800 feet per second 288 foot-pounds Unavailable
25 yards 1651 feet per second 242 foot-pounds 0
50 yards 1510 feet per second 203 foot-pounds 0.1 inches
75 yards 1383 feet per second 170 foot-pounds -0.7 inches
100 yards 1271 feet per second 144 foot-pounds -2.7 inches

* Height of bullet trajectory in inches above or below the line of sight if zeroed at 25 yards. Sights 0.9 inches above the bore line.

Vanguard Outfitters 5.7x28mm 34 grain Black Dragon. (Photo credit: Vanguard Outfitters)
  • Vanguard Outfitters 5.7x28mm 34 grain Black Dragon
    • Solid copper bullets
    • Specifically designed for defensive use
    • 34 grain
    • New brass
    • From Vanguard Outfitters: “In this cartridge, the bullet is a 34 gr custom-made solid copper alloy lathed projectile. It has patented drive-bands. It is composed of a proprietary copper alloy tempered to ensure hard-hitting penetration but also promote momentum transfer to soft tissues, organs, and bones. This round tends to crush bones and disrupt organs. This round does not just sail through tissue leaving a small hole. It is specifically engineered and designed for the 5.7×28 to achieve the highest accuracy with the bore/groove/twist specifications for this caliber. Independent testing conducted by Viper Weapons of Texas for government agencies shows our 5.7×28 rounds to be among the highest performing rounds available on the market. You have no doubt seen the videos on Youtube, so you know what the Blackfang will go through.”
Firearms Used Distance Velocity (feet per second)
FN FiveseveN Pistol Muzzle 2200 feet per second
FN PS90 Muzzle 2800 feet per second
FN Herstal has a complete line of 5.7x28mm loads. (Photo credit: FN Herstal)
  • FN Herstal 5.7x28mm Ammunition Line
    • Features:
      • Designed for a flat trajectory
      • Does not over-penetrate according to the manufacturer’s ballistic gel testing (not go through a 40cm gel block)
      • Loses energy beyond 200m
      • NATO standardized caliber
      • FN claims 5.7x28mm is a more effective self-defense cartridge than 9x19mm Parabellum.
      • From FN Herstal: “Fully compatible with a wide variety of FN firearms, including the Five-seveN pistols, FN PS90 carbines, and FN P90 submachine guns, the 5.7x28mm cartridge has been specially tailored to excel in several specialized roles. The SS195 LF and SS198 LF rounds use an innovative, lightweight, brass-jacketed, aluminum-core hollow point bullet. The SS197SR, distributed in the U.S. by Federal Cartridge Company, is ideally suited for sports and training applications.”
      • “FN also offers 5.7x28mm restricted ammunition (duty, tracer, subsonic) for law enforcement and military sales only. The SS190 duty round has been designed to minimize the risk of over-penetration. The L191 tracer and SB193 subsonic rounds, as well as blank rounds for training and simulations, are also available from FN America. All restricted ammunition is only released and shipped from a U.S. Customs-Controlled Bonded Warehouse (CBW) upon BATFE and U.S. Customs approval.”
      • FN’s 5.7x28mm ammunition line includes the following:
        • SS195LF Lead-Free
          • “This round features an innovative and lightweight brass jacketed, aluminum core hollow point bullet.”
        • 7x28mm Blank Rounds
          • “The blank round incorporates a synthetic projectile with a reduced propellant charge for training purposes.”
        • 7x28mm Dummy Rounds
          • “This inert round is available by special order only.”
        • SS190 Duty Round
          • The duty round incorporates a limited risk aluminum core projectile.”
        • L191 Tracer Round
          • “The tracer round incorporates a tracer element in the projectile to allow improved spotting of the bullet path in low light situations.”
        • SB193 Subsonic Round
          • “The subsonic round is loaded to subsonic muzzle velocity for use with a sound suppressed FN P90 firearms.”
        • SS198LF Lead-Free Round
          • “LE restricted aluminum core hollow point duty round with green tip. The lead-free primer and projectile have the added benefit of making it comply with an agency or indoor ranges that might prohibit lead use.”
        • SS197SR Sporting Round
          • “This sporting round incorporates a conventional jacketed lead core projectile with polymer tip. Exclusively distributed by Federal Cartridge Company in the U.S.”
  SS190 Ball L191 Tracer SB193 Subsonic SS192 Soft FR199 Frangible Blank
Projectile weight ± 2 g

± 31.2 gr

±2 g

±31.2 gr

± 3.9 g

± 60.2 gr

± 1.8 g

± 27.8 gr

± 2.3 g

± 35.5 gr


-CRISAT Target

PTI Hard Target

>100 m

Minimum 6 plates

>100 m

Minimum 6 plates

No No No N/A
Muzzle velocity with FN P90 ± 715 meters per second ± 715 meters per second ± 300 meters per second ± 725 meters per second ± 625 meters per second N/A
Muzzle velocity with FN Five-seveN Mk2 ± 615 meters per second ± 615 meters per second ± 300 meters per second ± 640 meters per second ± 515 meters per second N/A
FN AZURON properties:

Propellant without DPD

Green primer

Lead free projectile

Yes to all Yes








No to all Yes to all Yes to all No









Handguns Made in 5.7x28mm

There are a number of handguns on the market available chambered in 5.7x28mm. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list but instead highlights some of the gun makers producing these firearms.

Ruger’s 5.7x28mm chambered handgun. (Photo credit: Ruger)
  • Ruger
  • FN Herstal
  • CMMG
  • Diamondback
  • KelTec
  • AR57 (AR pistol)
  • Excel
  • Masterpiece Arms
A ProMag 5.7x28mm magazine. (Photo credit: ProMag)

Components Made for 5.7x28mm

There aren’t a lot of aftermarket options available for 5.7x28mm, but there are some. These manufacturers are among those producing them.

  • ProMag
  • A-Zoom
  • Ruger
  • CMMG
  • Lyman
  • Jarvis
  • FN Herstal
Hornady is one of the manufacturers producing dies for 5.7x28mm. (Photo credit: Hornady)

Reloading Equipment for 5.7x28mm

Yes, you can reload 5.7x28mm, and there are multiple companies producing quality dies and parts for it, including:

  • Hornady
  • RCBS
  • Lee
  • Redding
Galco makes a number of holsters for various pistols chambered in 5.7x28mm (Photo credit: Galco)

Holster for Guns Chambered in 5.7x28mm

You do have some holster options for the 5.7x28mm. Of course, it’s model-dependent, as with any gun. These are some of the manufacturers making holsters for firearms chambered in this cartridge:

  • Galco
  • Craft Holsters
  • We the People
  • Alien Gear Holsters
  • DeSantis Holsters
  • Urban Carry Holsters
  • Blackhawk!
  • Clinger Holsters
  • Vedder Holsters
  • Bladetech
  • JM4 Tactical
  • Odin Holsters
  • CrossBreed Holsters
  • Safariland
  • 1791 Gun Holsters

Firearms Models Chambered in 5.7x28mm.

There are actually numerous firearms chambered in 5.7x28mm produced by a variety of manufacturers. These are simply some of the more popular designs on the market at the time of this writing.

The FN Five-seveN is, of course, chambered in 5.7x28mm. (Photo credit: FN Herstal)
  • FN Five-seveN Tactical Mk2
    • Features:
      • Lightweight
      • Reduced felt recoil
      • Rapid target acquisition
      • Light trigger pull weight
      • Short trigger reset
      • According to FN Herstal, reliable, consistent performance
      • 20-round standard magazine
      • From FN Herstal:
        • “Together with the FN P90 submachine gun, the FN Five-seveN Tactical Mk 2 handgun and associated cartridge constitute the iconic FN 5.7 weapon system. The FN Five-seveN Tactical Mk 2 pistol is extremely light with a high-capacity magazine. In addition, a number of accessories fully tested and certified by FN Herstal are proposed with the FN Five-seveN Tactical Mk 2, as well as a full range of cartridges.”
Manufacturer FN Herstal
Model Five-seveN Tactical Mk 2
Caliber 5.7x28mm
Mechanism Single Action
Operation System Delayed blowback
Length 8.2 inches (208mm)
Barrel Length 4.8 inches (122mm)
Magazine Capacity 20 rounds (Standard)

Empty Magazine

Loaded Magazine


± 1.46 pounds (± 662 g)

± 1.74 pounds (± 790 g)

Iron Sights White dot sights
Manual Safety Yes
Trigger Pull Weight (Factory) 2-3.5 daN
FN P90 Submachine Gun. (Photo credit: FN Herstal)
  • FN P90 Submachine Gun
    • Features:
      • Extremely compact
      • Fully ambidextrous
      • Semi-automatic only or select fire with appropriate paperwork
      • Easy to maintain
      • Surprisingly low felt recoil
      • 50 round magazine, standard
      • From FN Herstal:
        • “The FN P90 submachine gun is a compact, lightweight weapon with a magazine capacity of 50 cartridges in 5.7x28mm NATO caliber making it the ideal Personal Defence Weapon.”
        • “The FN P90 Standard is:
          • fitted with an integrated optical sight without magnification
          • the user can therefore shoot with both eyes open
          • performance is fully retained in night/low light conditions thanks to a tritium capsule
          • available with an integrated visible (LV) or infrared (LIR) laser.”
        • “The FN P90 Tactical is:
          • fitted with an upper Picatinny type rail for optical sights
          • available with an integrated visible (LV) or infrared (LIR) laser.”
Manufacturer FN Herstal FN Herstal
Model FN P90 Standard FN P90 Tactical
Caliber 5.7x28mm 5.7x28mm
Firing Mode Semi-automatic or select-fire Semo automatic or select fire
Operating System Blowback, firing from closed breech Blowback, firing from closed breech
Total Length 19.9 inches (505mm) 19.9 inches (505mm)
Barrel Length 10.4 inches (264.15mm) 10.4 inches (264.15mm)
Magazine Capacity 50 rounds 50 rounds

Empty Magazine

Loaded Magazine


± 6.17 pounds (± 2.8 kg)

± 6.83 pounds (± 3.1 kg)



± 6.4 pounds (± 2.92 kg)

± 7.1 pounds (± 3.2 kg)


Cycling Rate of Fire 850-1100 rounds per minute 850-1100 rounds per minute
Maximum Effective Range 220 yards (200m) 220 yards (200m)
Ruger 5.7. (Photo credit: Ruger)
  • Ruger 5.7
    • Features:
      • Steel slide helps offset recoil
      • Low felt-recoil overall
      • Designed for personal defense
      • 20 round capacity, standard
      • From FN Herstal:
        • “Impressive ergonomics include an easy trigger reach, 1911-style ambidextrous manual safety, robust slide release, and reversible magazine release latch.
        • Through hardened, billet steel slide with lightening cuts is drilled and tapped for easy mounting of optics with separately available optic adapter plate, available at ShopRuger.com.
        • Windage and elevation adjustable, serrated rear sight and rapid acquisition fiber optic front sight for fast, accurate shooting.
        • The alloy steel barrel features a black nitride treatment for wear resistance.
        • Steel magazine provides double-stack capacity without unnecessary bulk.
        • A Textured, ergonomic frame provides a secure and comfortable grip.
        • Utilizes Ruger’s safe, reliable, and proven Secure Action fire-control system that combines a protected internal hammer with a bladed-safety trigger. The trigger has a short, smooth pull, clean break, and positive reset.
        • Safe, easy takedown with no tools or trigger pull required.
        • The inspection port allows for visual confirmation of a loaded or empty chamber.
        • Picatinny-style accessory rail for easy mounting of lights and lasers.
        • Safety features include 1911-style ambidextrous manual safety; an integrated trigger safety; lightweight firing pin; neutrally balanced sear with significant engagement and strong spring tension; and hammer catch to help prevent the hammer from contacting the firing pin unless the trigger is pulled.”
Manufacturer Ruger
Model 5.7
Caliber 5.7x28mm
Capacity 20 +1 (standard)
Grip Frame High performance, glass-filled nylon
Barrel Length 4.94 inches
Overall Length 8.65 inches
Barrel Material Alloy Steel
Barrel Finish Nitride
Front Sight Fiber Optic
Rear Sight Adjustable
Slide Material Alloy Steel
Slide Finish Black Oxide
Weight (Empty) 24.5 ounces
Slide Width 1.20 inches
Height 5.60 inches
Grooves 8
Twist Rate 1 in 8 Right Hand
Available in California No
Available in Massachusetts No
4.6x30mm manufactured by Sellier and Bellot. (Photo credit: Sellier Bellot)

What is 4.6x30mm?

The 4.6x30mm was developed by Heckler and Koch in 1999 and has been inactive use since 2001. The renowned gun maker created it as an answer of sorts—or competition—to FN Herstal’s 5.7x28mm. Heckler and Koch had hoped their 4.6x30mm might manage to outdo the 5.7x28mm in the NATO trials, but in the end, NATO chose the latter. That doesn’t mean there’s no use for the 4.6x30mm, though.

For comparison’s sake, take a look at the Heckler and Koch 4.6x30mm:

Name: 4.6x30mm  
Designer Heckler and Koch
Designed In 1999
Produced 2001-Present
Country of Origin Germany
Wars Used In Afghanistan War
Parent Case None
Case Type Rimless, Bottleneck
Cartridge Type Centerfire, Pistol
Bullet Diameter 0.183 inches (4.65mm)
Land Diameter 0.178 inches (4.52mm)
Neck Diameter 0.209 inches (5.31mm)
Shoulder Diameter 0.305 inches (7.75mm)
Base Diameter 0.316 inches (8.02mm)
Rim Diameter 0.315 inches (8.00mm)
Rim Thickness 0.043 inches (1.10mm)
Case Length 1.201 inches (30.50mm)
Overall Length 1.516 inches (38.50mm)
Case Capacity 13.4 gr H20 (0.87 ml)
Primer Type Boxer Small Rifle
Recommended Maximum Pressure 58,015 psi
Maximum CIP Pressure 58,015 psi
Heckler and Koch MP7A1. (Photo credit: Heckler and Koch)

The Heckler and Koch MP7 is an existing Personal Defense Weapon (PDW) designed specifically for 4.6x30mm. It isn’t the only Heckler and Koch firearm that’s been created for this cartridge, but it’s one still in active production. Interested in the details? Check it out:

  • From Heckler and Koch:
    • “The MP7 represents a new generation of enhanced-performance submachine guns that bridge the gap between assault rifles and conventional submachine guns. Developed as a genuine personal defense weapon, it far exceeds the NATO requirements profile.
    • The MP7 is extremely compact, lightweight can be used in very confined spaces, and is practically recoil-free. Moreover, it can be carried continuously, making it the ideal personal weapon for today’s soldiers. Those who carry it will be suitably armed for the broadest range of operations.
    • Comparing the calibers, the penetration and terminal effects of the 4.6 mm x 30 cartridge are several times those of the standardized 9 mm x 19 cartridges. By way of illustration: The new high-performance caliber penetrates the NATO CRISAT TARGET (1.6 mm titanium and 20 layers of kevlar) even at 200 m. One fundamental requirement: At the same time, the risk of overpenetration is reduced to a minimum.”


Manufacturer Heckler and Koch
Model MP7
Country of Origin Germany
Firearm Type Personal Defense Weapon (PDW)

Submachine Gun

Machine Pistol

Designed 1989
Production 2001-Present
Countries Used By More than 20
Wars Used In Afghanistan War

Iraq War

Operation Inherent Resolve

Operation Neptune Spear

Mass 4.2 pounds (1.90 kg) with a 20-round capacity empty magazine (PDW)

4.63 pounds (2.10 kg) with an empty magazine (MP7A1)

Caliber 4.6x30mm
Length 25.1 inches (638mm) with stock extended

16.3 inches (415mm) with stock collapsed

Barrel Length 7.1 inches (180mm)
Width 2.0 inches (51mm)
Height 6.7 inches (169.5mm)
Action Gas Operated, Short Stroke Piston, Rotating Bolt
Rate of Fire 950 rounds per minute
Muzzle Velocity 2411 feet per second (Fiocchi CPS Black Tip ammunition)
Effective Firing Range 660 feet per second (200m)
Feed System Detachable magazine
Sights Tritium flip-up night sights and handgun and adjustable rifle sights
5.7x28mm, picture left, is often compared to 9x19mm Parabellum, picture right. (Photo credit: Ammo For Sale)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the 5.7x28mm good for?

The 5.7x28mm was designed by FN Herstal for the NATO trials for a new pistol cartridge. It was created for the FN P90 and the FN Five-seveN. But, generally speaking, it was created for defensive purposes, and that’s what it’s been used to do.

What is the 5.7×28 mm case capacity?

13.9 gr H20 (0.90cm³)

How does 5.7x28mm compare to 4.6x30mm?

In a way, comparing 5.7x28mm to 4.6x30mm is a bit like apples and oranges. Both cartridges were designed to complete in the NATO trials, but in the end, NATO decided 5.7x28mm was better suited to their needs in the military. However, Heckler and Koch states that ballistically, their cartridge is better than 9x19mm Parabellum—which was part of the purpose of the trials—and that it’s extremely effective. It might come down to a matter of personal preference and availability, as it so often does in these cases.

Is 5.7x28mm better than 4.6x30mm?

NATO felt the 5.7x28mm was better suited to its needs for a service pistol round than the 4.6x30mm. Your mileage may vary.

What is 4.6x30mm?

Heckler and Koch designed the 4.6x30mm to compete with 5.7x28mm in the NATO trials when NATO was looking for a potential replacement for the 9x19mm Parabellum. In the end, the 5.7x28mm won, but the 4.6x30mm is still around, just in lesser quantities.

Is 5.7x28mm a Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute (SAAMI) cartridge?

No, it has not yet been officially adopted by SAAMI.

What caliber is 5.7x28mm?

5.7x28mm has a 0.224-inch bullet diameter (which is the same bullet diameter as 223 Remington).

Is 5.7x28mm a pistol or a rifle cartridge?

FN Herstal created the 5.7x28mm to be a pistol cartridge.

What is the 5.7×28 mm parent cartridge?

The 5.7x28mm does not technically have a parent cartridge. It was designed from square one by FN Herstal.

What is the maximum case length of the 5.7x28mm?

1.135 inches.

What is the trim length of the 5.7x28mm?

1.130 inches.

Is 5.7x28mm bigger than 9x19mm Parabellum?

Going by specifications alone, the 5.7x28mm has an overall length of 1.594 inches next to the 9x19mm Parabellum’s overall length of 1.169 inches. In addition, the 5.7x28mm has a 0.224-inch bullet diameter, while the 9x19mm Parabellum’s bullet diameter is 0.355 inches. 5.7x28mm is a slightly longer cartridge containing a smaller, lighter bullet. They’re different cartridges despite the frequency with which the two are compared.

What guns shoot 5.7x28mm?

FN makes a few firearms specifically for the 5.7x28mm, including the FNP90 and FN Five-seveN. Other companies, such as Ruger, also manufacture guns chambered in this cartridge.

Are there any 5.7x28mm rifles?

Yes, there are. For example, the Savage Model 25 Walking Varminter was chambered in 5.7x28mm once produced. The gunmaker may not make it any longer, but at least used models are available.

How powerful is 5.7x28mm?

That depends on the gun and the specific load being used. In the ballistics tables above, you can find details regarding the velocity and energy of a variety of 5.7x28mm loads.

Should I get a 5.7x28mm?

As with all guns and cartridges, it comes down to personal preference. If you’re looking for a reliable self-defense firearm, the 5.x7x28mm is undoubtedly a viable option. One pro of using it over more common and popular defensive rounds is that it seems to be a bit easier to get your hands on during an ammunition shortage.

Who invented 5.7x28mm?

FN Herstal.

Does the United States military use 5.7x28mm?

The current standard issue for pistols for the United States Military is 9x19mm Parabellum. However, many other nations do use 5.7x28mm.

Does the secret service use 5.7x28mm?

According to numerous sources, the United States Secret Service uses 5.7x28mm (or at least some of its agents do).

Do any ammunition companies other than FN Herstal make ammunition for 5.7x28mm?

Yes, even though 5.7x28mm is not yet an official SAAMI cartridge, Federal Premium and Speer manufacturer ammunition for it.

Kat Ainsworth Stevens is a long-time outdoor writer, official OGC (Original Gun Cognoscenti), and author of Handgun Hunting: a Comprehensive Guide to Choosing and Using the Right Firearms for Big and Small Game. Der Teufel Katze has written for a number of industry publications (print and online) and edited some of the others, so chances are you've seen or read her work before, somewhere. A woman of eclectic background and habits, Kat has been carrying concealed for over two decades, used to be a farrier, and worked for a long time in emergency veterinary medicine. She prefers big bores, enjoys K9 Search & Rescue, and has a Master's Degree in Pitiless Snarkastic Delivery.


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