FNH Five-seveN Pistol Review by George Parsons
As a follow up to my review to the PS90 carbine, here is a review of FN’s Five-seveN tactical handgun. I’m often asked, does the Five-seveN pistol make a good carry gun? The answers to these questions are based on individual demands from their service pistol; such as size, caliber, weight, etc. I would categorize this handgun as a good full size duty weapon, and possibly well suited to home defense.
It took me a while to warm up to this pistol. In fact, I wasn’t very interested in it at all at first. My general critique was that the gun was strangely designed, had small controls, and was overpriced. Some of these attributes still hold true. However, as some of these drawbacks are to be considered against other pistols, if you own a PS-90 it just makes sense to have an accompanying weapon that shares the same ammunition in 5.7 x 28mm. While built to carried along with the carbine, this pistol is no afterthought.
As far as its merit as a carry gun is concerned, it has some very good benefits. It’s lightweight, accurate, ergonomic, and has a very high 20 shot magazine capacity with an optional 10 rd. extension. I favor the 30 round mags as backups for reloads while carrying with the 20 in the gun. In addition, I love the fact that when you buy a FNH Five-seveN Pistol, it comes with 3 magazines in the box; capacity dictated by the state in which you live.
This pistol is very lightweight at 20.8 ounces (empty); which is great to carry for extensive periods of time. Contrary to some, the entire gun is not made entirely from polymer. While the frame and magazine are polymer, many of the parts such as the slide are steel encased in polymer. Significant weight savings are the result. FN offers the Five-seveN in several frame colors: black, olive drab green, and dark earth. And while we’re on the subject of the frame, have you ever looked at the front end of the FN Five-seveN frame and noticed that they all tend to look like they’re bending down at the front? Every one is the same way.
Operator controls are the usual slide release, magazine release, safety selector, and take-down switch. They are easy to manipulate for those with even medium sized hands. The safety selector and magazine release are ambidextrous. Look inside the box and there will be a small plastic tool for removing the magazine release button and switching sides for lefty’s.
Las Vegas Metro Police Department recently got clearance to carry the FNH Five-seveN as a main duty weapon. That’s an interesting decision in my opinion, as I believe there is somewhat of a learning curve in regard to the location of the safety switch. If you happen to be trained on weapons that are typical with the safety levers located on the rear of the frame to be operated with either thumb, then surely it would take some getting used to with the very small control located above the trigger.
There are three sights available for the FN Five-seveN that include an adjustable rear, a three-dot ramped, and an available three-dot tritium. I prefer any pistol with night sights, so the three dot ramped version is my second choice depending on what’s available.
FN weapons boast the quality of cold hammer forged chrome lined barrels; and the FNH Five-seveN is no different. It’s such a skinny little barrel once the slide is pulled back, but it still looks like a quality part. All pistols come with a 4.8” barrel rifled with a 1:9 twist, exactly the same as the PS90 carbine.
I’m not sure how many people give thought to how the gun fires, but it is not a striker fired weapon as it may seem when you pull the trigger. In fact, it has a small internal hammer. This makes it a single action firearm without the capability of dropping the hammer with a decocker and having a double action first shot. That’s perfect in my opinion, as I’ve never appreciated the trigger pull of a double action first shot.
Typical of any modern combat handgun, it has a 5-slot picatinny accessory rail for the mounting of tactical lights or lasers. I’m not sure how many holsters are available for this weapon with a tactical light mounted…zero?
Overall shooting impressions are very good. I like the way the gun feels considering how large the magazine is due to the length of the 5.7 x 28 cartridge. Firing the SS197 “blue tip” with minimal recoil. It’s a funny thing to have a handgun with such a large capacity as you expect it to run out far sooner being used to standard capacity pistols.
Accuracy is one compliment I’ve heard time and again regarding the FNH Five-seveN. Due in part to the flat trajectory of the ammunition and the quality of the weapon itself, it is very accurate. That being said, I found it difficult to hit a clay pigeon at 100 meters with the three dot sights! It wasn’t the gun’s fault though. I was hitting all around it, body shots for sure; but with the small projectile and firing into a desert backdrop, I was unable to walk the shot onto the target… better luck next time my clay nemesis.
For me, the FN Five-seveN has enough features and benefits to warrant owning one. You just have to decide if the caliber and size of the weapon is ideal for what you want it to do. Would I carry this gun for everyday protection? Sure, if there was no other option available, and concealability wasn’t a factor . I find the Glock and Springfield XD line of pistols to be the core standard of combat handguns by which all others are judged. This isn’t to say that the FN, H&K, Sig Sauer, and 1911 handguns aren’t up to the task because at the end of the day it’s all about how much time you spend training with the particular handgun you intend to bet your life on.
Here are some specs you may find useful:
- Caliber: 5.7x28mm
- Operation: Single-Action Only (SAO)
- Twist Rate: 1 in 9 RH”
- Barrel Length: 4.75”
- Height: 5.7”
- Width: 1.4”
- Barrel Length: 4.80”
- Overall Length: 8.2”
- Weight: 20.8 oz. empty
- Magazine: 20- or 10-round magazines