Everybody’s getting a gun for Xmas

I read this townhall article where guns (handguns in particular) are the most popular 2011 Christmas gift due to cartels I guess. The Beretta M9 was picked, because the military could afford the parts which obviously the Secret Service knows better than anyone. I think the secret service has the smartest officers.

My pick would be the FN Five-Seven, because it isn’t like I’m using 20 rounds of ammo. It’s easy to aim, its amongst the most reliable.

Operation: Delayed blowback autoloader
Caliber: 5.7x28mm
Barrel Length: 4.8 inches
Overall Length: 8.2 inches
Weight, empty 1.3 pounds
Safety: Ambidextrous, located above trigger
Sights: Fully adjustable rear, blade front
Stocks: Integral polymer frame
Magazine Capacity: 20 rounds
Finish: Matte black
Price: $1074

FN developed two systems to utilize the new 5.7x28mm cartridge: the P90 PDW and the Five-seveN service pistol. Both are modern designs manufactured from space-age corrosion-resistant materials. The P90 is a unique-looking compact submachinegun that feeds from a horizontally mounted 50-round magazine. The companion of the P90 is the Five-seveN. It is a full-size service pistol that operates via delayed blowback. I had a chance to shoot both the P90 and Five-seveN pistol on the company’s outdoor range, but I was looking to spend more time with the Five-seveN than was possible in a mere demonstration.

The model I received was FN’s Five-seveN USG. It came in a black plastic hard case with a cleaning kit, tools, lock, and two spare 20-round magazines. A full-size service pistol with a look all its own, the USG is built on a lightweight polymer frame. Quite out of the ordinary, though, is that the slide, which houses a 4.8-inch hard-chromed barrel, also has a polymer shell. Due to the amount of polymer utilized in its construction the USG, despite its size, is relatively light, just 1.3 pounds unloaded. My sample gun weighed 1.6 pounds loaded. Overall length is 8.2 inches, and it’s approximately 5.75 inches high.

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(From left to right) 5.56, 5.7x28mm SS190, 9×19, .224 BOZ, 7.62x25mm Sabot, 7.62x25mm, 5.45x18mm Soviet, 5.7x28mm SS190, 5.7x28mm SS195 LF.

the slide release is located just forward of where the safety is mounted on a 1911. This allows it to be easily depressed without having to stretch for it. Ambidextrous safety levers are mounted on both sides of the frame just above the trigger.

While this is an unusual place for a safety on a handgun, modern pistol handling doctrine calls for placing your trigger finger alongside the frame when not actually firing. This puts it right over the USG’s safety lever allowing it to be easily manipulated. To facilitate use with gloves the trigger guard is slightly oversized at the front. A takedown lever is located on the left-hand side of the pistol’s frame, allowing it to be easily stripped without tools. To show the state of the firearm, a loaded chamber indicator is mounted to the left rear of the ejection port.

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The frame of the pistol is nicely contoured and textured to provide a comfortable yet secure grip. To make the design more flexible and user friendly, the dustcover features a MIL-STD 1913 rail, which allows lights and lasers to be easily mounted. Feed is from synthetic magazines that hold a whopping 20 rounds. A magazine disconnect is incorporated into the design, but the good news is that it does not degrade the quality of the trigger. Somewhat surprisingly, the trigger on the USG is quite good, being both light and crisp with a very short reset.

. With a 20-round magazine I expected the USG’s frame to be fat and bulky. Pawing it over I was pleasantly surprised to find it quite comfortable. Magazines inserted easily, the slide retracted smoothly, and the small bottleneck rounds fed readily into the chamber. The safety took a bit to get used to, simply because I was unaccustomed to its location, but I have no negative comments about it. The ammunition I had on hand for testing was a large quantity of FN’s 28-grain JHP load. I set to work making empty brass.

I began testing by checking the Five-seveN’s accuracy from the bench at 25 yards. I fired four five-shot groups off of sandbags, and the average group size came in at two inches. Velocity of 10 rounds averaged 1951 fps, which is a good bit lower than FN’s claim. Impressed by its 25-yard accuracy, I placed a target at 50 yards and repeated my testing. At this distance the Five-seveN averaged four-inch groups and is probably capable of doing better. Recoil is very mild. The muzzle simply flips slightly and then settles back into place. It’s a very pleasant pistol to shoot.

While the Five-seveN USG pistol’s push-button magazine release is conventionally located, its slide release, ambidextrous safeties, and takedown lever are positioned differently than the norm.

From the bench I moved to running drills from a holster. For gear I selected a holster and magazine carriers from Blade-Tech, Dept. ST, 2506 104th St. Court S., Suite A, Lakewood, WA 98499; 253-581-4347; http://www.blade-tech.com. I’ve always had good luck with Blade-Tech gear, and it did not let me down this time. Starting at the two-yard line and working my way back to the 15-yard line, I ran various drills, including shooting strong-handed, weak-handed, and with both hands–stationary and on the move with plenty of forced reloads and failure drills.

Thanks to the excellent trigger, light recoil, mild muzzle flip, and bottomless magazine you can blister targets at a rapid rate. Lock into it and the slide simply pistons back and forth as empties fly out. When the magazine finally runs dry, punch the release and it’s kicked clear. Slap another one home, hit the slide release, and keep going. Practical accuracy is excellent, and man-sized targets are easy to hit, even at 100 yards.

I like it! It’s accurate, reliable, and easy to shoot well. Plus, it’s an awful lot of fun to shoot, especially with that deep 20-round magazine capacity. My wife Emily put her Nikon up for a bit and took a turn behind it. She liked it, too. For me, a firearm simply being fun to shoot, whether it’s an M1886 Lebel or FN’s USG, is reason enough to own it.

many vocal detractors in the U.S. doubt that this small cartridge and its ultralightweight 28- or 40-grain bullets provide adequate terminal performance. Highly respected experts, such as Dr. Gary K. Roberts, have stated current 5.7x28mm loads do not offer sufficient penetration or inflict a large enough permanent wound cavity based upon testing in ordnance gelatin. A 28-grain nonexpanding .224-inch-diameter bullet at 1950 fps is certainly no magnum. Despite this, FN stands firmly behind the 5.7x28mm and states it has worked well when employed by military/law enforcement personnel in actual shootings.

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