The NATO STANAG 4509 standardization process is designed to allow soldiers in the armies of the North Atlantic defense alliance member nations to interchange weapon systems and ammunition types in this caliber from different manufacturers with guaranteed functional safety and reliability. The 5.7x28 now also belongs to this elite NATO caliber family, which previously consisted of the 9x19, 5.56x45, 7.62x51 and 12.7x99 cartridges. FN developed the 5.7x28 much like Heckler & Koch developed the 4.6x30 in the late 1980s as ballistic protection equipment became more prevalent around the world. Along with the cartridge, the extremely compact FN P90 "Personal Defense Weapon" (PDW) submachine gun was introduced, as well as the FiveSeveN service pistol. The fast burning 5.7x28 accelerates a 31-grain (2 gram) bullet to 715 m/s, equivalent to 513 joules.
Typical features of the 5.7x28 mm cartridge:
- penetrates Class IIIA ballistic protective vests at over 200 meters;
- reduces the risk of ricochet when firing at hard targets, even at short ranges;
- no risk of bullet overpenetration – energy is immediately dissipated when penetrating soft targets;
- effective wound channel – after 2"/5 cm of penetration, the SS 190 full metal jacket bullet makes a controlled 180 degree tumble without deforming or fragmenting;
- low threat range – due to its light weight, the bullet loses a lot of energy, while a 9x19 is still lethal at 800 meters;
- effective combat range up to 200 meters, flat trajectory;
- 30% reduced recoil compared to the 9x19.
A resounding success – FN Herstal as an official supplier
With the standardization of the 5.7x28, FN underscores its leading position as an international supplier to the military/LE and developer of modern, effective calibers. After all, the Belgians can be proud of their history here, because the two standard calibers 5.56x45 mm (NATO standard since 1981) and 7.62x51 mm (NATO standard since 1957), which are used worldwide, also originate from this company. The 5.7x28 mm could also play a role in large military projects of the future, such as the "Land Combat Group Dismounted Soldier System" – keyword here is "Future Soldier". For the sake of completeness, it should be mentioned in passing that companies such as Sturm, Ruger & Co. with the Ruger 57 or KelTec with the P50, have recently introduced pistols in this caliber to the US market, although AR-15 interchangeable systems in 5.7x28 have also been available for some time.