Snapshot|What If Series


Welcome to the What If series! You may be asking yourself, “What is the What If series?” This new series tackles all the random questions and ideas that I come up when discussing firearms. Now, I’m here to explore those ideas with you to see where the rabbit hole takes me. Join me on this adventure of exploration on how deep the rabbit hole goes. Welcome to the exploration that is…What if.

The first question I want to tackle on What If series is, “What if FN or Ruger made their 5.7 pistol in a compact form factor?” This is a question I have been pondering recently since the addition of 5.7 cartridge as NATO standardized round. I would be interested to see the 5.7 pistol in other form factors besides full size. Now, is finally the time to see some different form factors for the 5.7 pistols.

Now, let’s explore the idea of 5.7 pistol in a compact form factor.

NATO Standardizes FN’s 5.7x28mm Cartridge

Recently, NATO has standardized FN’s 5.7x28mm cartridge. Now, the cartridge joins NATO small arms portfolio. The new approved 5.7x28mm cartridge joins 9x19mm, 5.56x45mm, and 7.62x51mm as approved ammunition for NATO forces and allies. The inclusion of this round brings up new possibilities for 5.7 round itself. Which I will discuss later in this article for now let’s get a quick history of the 5.7x28mm cartridge.

Brief History 5.7x28mm Cartridge

The 5.7x28mm cartridge has been around since the 90’s with the invention and introduction of FN’s P90 and Five-Seven pistol (The 5.7 pistol came later down the road from FN). The P90 falls into the subcategory of PDW platform. PDW stands for Personal Defense Weapon. FN designed the P90 as a lightweight and compact weapon system designed to excel in close quarter urban environments. The 5.7 cartridge itself was designed from scratch by FN in conjunction with its FN P90. The cartridge itself a marriage between pistol and rifle ammunition to create small caliber, high velocity cartridge with incredible ballistic performance. Your standard 5.7x28mm cartridge is traveling at 2,800 ft/sec. That is terminal velocity that surpasses 5.56x45mm ballistic performance. So, as stated before a small caliber moving at a high velocity. That’s the brief history of the 5.7 round. Now, let’s look to what benefits standardization brings to the table.

3 Things That Standardization Of The 5.7 Cartridge Will Bring To Firearm Industry

Now, let’s get into what the standardization of this ammunition will provide to the firearm industry and community. This standardization of 5.7 ammunition will cause three things to happen.

First, the ammunition will become more readily available. The NATO standardization will encourage more manufacturers to produced 5.7 ammunition to meet the potential increase in demand. If the militaries and LE increases their demand for P90s and Five-Seven pistols you will see a natural correlation of demand in the civilian market. Which in turn will incentivize more companies to produce more ammunition driving down cost. Which will encourage more companies to invest in R&D to make weapon systems chambered in 5.7x28mm due to increase demand and popularity.

Second, with more ammunition manufacturers making 5.7 ammunition it will drive the price down. The main downfall of the 5.7 round has always been its price point. Which in turn made people fearful to invest in a weapon system chambered in 5.7 ammunition. It is a cartridge that is too expensive to train with which leads it to be a safe queen or just a “cool” firearm you own. Now, with this potential price drop in the future, it will make 5.7 pistols more inviting to train with as a primary pistol option for shooters.

Third, it will potentially encourage more companies to make pistols and rifles chambered in 5.7x28mm cartridge. I would love to see the industry tackle this cartridge and see what new form factors they would make for both rifle and pistols. I think firearm manufacturers have wanted to invest in this ammunition but the Financial incentive has been there. This leads to my question. What if FN or Ruger made a compact versions of their 5.7 pistols?

Exploring The Idea 5.7 Pistol In A Compact Form

First off, I understand no one is clamoring for a 5.7 pistol to be made in a compact factor. Yet, I think it’s an interesting idea so hear me out. Now, imagine having a 5.7 pistol in a G19 size form factor. Are you telling me you wouldn’t potentially rock one? I would. That would be dope ass hell…a 5.7 pistol in a G19 form factor sign me up.

Second, it would open up the market to what could be done with the 5.7 cartridge with pistols. We are currently only thinking of this cartridge in one form factor. That form factor is a full size pistol. Seeing it in a new form factor would be interesting…just on potential application alone. Then, if the pistol sells well it would encourage other firearm companies to invest in R&D to make their own 5.7 pistols. First, either FN or Ruger would have to be willing to take the leap and make a compact version of their existing pistols. Imagine with me again, a G19 sized 5.7 pistol with low recoil impulse and muzzle flip. That shoots a high velocity round. You telling me you would be all over that!? I know I would. I like the 5.7x28mm cartridge. I know it has it shortfalls but, I feel like it has more upside than down. I think this form factor would be interesting for a 5.7 pistol.

Third, with the standardization of the 5.7x28mm cartridge by NATO means more ammunition manufacturers would potentially start producing the ammo. (I know I made this point before but it’s an important one in this conversation.) That cause will have the effect of reducing the price of ammunition to the market. I believe this is the main issue holding back the 5.7 cartridge is that it a pricey round. Right now, it’s going at $2.40 a round, and that’s for the standard stuff. I know the prices were cheaper and going down before the great ammo shortage of 2020 and 2021.

So, let’s say we lived in an ideal world and their is no ammo shortage and the industry moving at full tilt. This news drops on NATO standardizing the 5.7x28mm cartridge. More ammunition manufacturers start producing the round. I believe you would see a price drop which would lead more companies into potentially investing into the the idea of their own 5.7 pistol. This potential price drop would in turn cause companies to make their own weapon systems in 5.7 and nurture innovation in that marketplace. Now, we have setup prefect conditions for potentially a compact version of the 5.7 pistol to exist. Would you be interested in a compact 5.7 pistol then?

What I Want From A Compact 5.7 Pistol

There are a few things I would want from a compact 5.7 pistol. First, I would want a striker-fire system for reliability purposes. Two, I would want a well designed frame with good ergonomics, solid factory trigger with a Picatinny rail for mounting pistol lights. Third, I would want a Optics ready slide, front and rear slide serrations, and a threaded and non-threaded barrel options. You give me those three things with a fair market price and I’m all in. Oh, also good factory iron sights would be a bonus also.

Now, the price would be the sticking point. Honestly, I don’t know a good price point. I feel like $699 would be a potentially good price point. Now, is someone going to be able to meet that price point with what I want. I doubt it but, a man can dare to dream.

At, the end of the day I would like to see more weapon systems come out for the 5.7 cartridge. That in both pistol and rifle. I would like to see what the industry would develop if they had the chance. I think FN and Ruger experimenting with a compact 5.7 pistol would be the step in the right direction. I know no one asked for one but, for a minute just think…what if?

Do you think I’m crazy or on to a good idea here? Let us know in the comments below.

Thanks For Reading

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  1. I think it’s a great idea. I’ve been thinking the same thing since I got my ruger-57. I work the night shift at a gas station, a compact 5.7 would be ideal for keeping it concealed at work.

  2. The only reason I haven’t bought a 5.7 is I am hoping that Smith & Wesson or some of the others will come out with a compact version. Then I will definitely buy one.

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