FN Five-SeveN 5.7 x 28 Range Report
Well, I finally got out to the range to do a little shooting. I didn't have as much time as I'd have liked though, for a couple of reasons.
The CWSA range is located just off of the end of the Navy's runway where they practice their carrier landings with the EA6-B's. They are fun to watch, but I had other things to do and a short time schedule.
Whenever the Navy is in the pattern you can't be shooting, since they fly their short final just beyond the berm at the end of the pistol range. It was a matter of take three of four shots, then put the guns down and wait for the Navy for five minutes or so, then shoot some more, then wait some more. I always thought we should be able to charge the Navy extra for providing them with some realistic live fire training, but they didn't sem to see it that way.
Anyhow, I brought along the FN and some "Seein' Stars" targets. LouG met me at the range with his Ruger .22 and his S&W 586 with a red dot sight on it.
I loaded up a magazine for the FN and hung some targets, a "sighter" and a couple of e-Postal match targets. I only had one box of fifty rounds, so a lot of shooting was out of the question. Lou and I both shot some sight-in rounds, and adjusted the rear sight a bit to get it zero'ed.
The gun fits your hand well, and seems to come up onto target well. Recoil, in spite of what some say, IS more than a .22. The extreme light weight of the FN affects the perceived recoil a bit, but I'd say it's similar to a .22 magnum, maybe a little less. Very mild, no matter how you look at it!
The front sight is tall and rather wide, and the notch in the adjustable rear sight, at least for me, was too wide for the width of the front sight. There was just too much space on either side of the front sight when viewed in the rear sight notch. Maybe my arms are just too short?
After shooting up most of the ammo I came to the conclusion that between the sights and my lousy eyesight, I have no idea how accurate it actually is. It needs something like a red dot on it to be able to really find out what it can do. I suspect it's rather accurate, but I wasn't able to prove it, either way.
There is an accessory rail under the barrel, but it may or may not be solid enough to firmly hold a red dot sight mount bracket and have it maintain zero after a lot of shooting.
Taking the slide off to have a look inside is sort of a fiddly operation. Because of it's small size, the slide release button is hard to hold rearward so you can get the slide off. If your hands are cold it's even harder, and if you are wearing gloves, it can't be done. Once the slide is off, everything inside is easily accessible.
My evaluation? 5.7 x 28 is kind of an in "between" round. Lots of velocity, so it should shoot really flat, but not a whole lot of stopping power when it arrives. Ammunition is far too expensive to buy one of these FN's just as a plinker. There's lots of 9mm's that would do the job and be a lot cheaper to feed. In some ways the 5.7 x 28 round is more interesting than is the FN itself. The 5.7 might be interesting in something like a Thompson Contender for target work.
I see some similarities between the FN Five-seveN and the AMT Auto-Mag II in .22 Magnum. Ammo is too expensive to be a cheap and fun plinker, but too small to be a real "Stopper" as a defense weapon.
It's fun to shoot, but somehow it just didn't get me all pumped up over it. It fed flawlessly, even as a brand new gun, which speaks well for it, but I don't think I'd buy one for myself. I probably wouldn't shoot it much.
If they put a .22 long rifle barrel on it, and managed to get 25 or 30 rounds into the magazine, and got the price down a bit to be competitive with other .22 semi-autos, that might be another story.
Now that WOULD be a FUN plinker!