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Ruger-57 Pistol - What You Need To Know

For those that like high-velocity pistol cartridges, the Ruger-57 is something you need to check out.

Ruger-57 Pistol - What You Need To Know

Big news out of Ruger with the release of their 5.7x28mm Ruger-57 pistol. What’s the big deal? For Ruger, the largest commercial firearms manufacturer in the US, to suddenly embrace FN’s 5.7x28mm cartridge is a bit of a surprise. The 5.7x28mm has always been a bit of a niche cartridge, due to its NATO/Personal Defense Weapon developmental history. The Ruger-57 on the other hand is a mainstream and more economical offering intended to reach a much wider audience. With a MSRP of $799 the Ruger-57 will be within reach of many more shooters. Whenever Ruger does something big with a caliber new to them, they typically team up with an ammunition manufacturer or two, ensuring there is sufficient support of the cartridge for consumers. I would expect they have done the same here, meaning I will not be surprised to see new 5.7x28mm loads released in the near future.

Before we dive into Ruger’s new model though let’s take a brief look at the cartridge it chambers. It is after all the small bottleneck high velocity round which excites shooters. The roots of the 5.7x28mm date back to the Cold War and the looming shadow of possible war with the Soviet Union. In the 1980s there was concern NATO’s 9x19mm service pistols and submachine guns would be rendered obsolete by the proliferation of Soviet body armor. FNH recognized this threat and began working on a solution. NATO acknowledged the issue (in Doc D296) in 1990 when they officially began looking to replace the 9x19mm cartridge and weapon systems. FNH’s solution would be a cartridge intended to replace the 9x19mm ball ammunition then in use. It was intended to be employed in both a compact PDW and a handgun for defensive use by support troops. To meet NATO's needs FNH developed two entirely new weapons, the Five-seveN pistol and P90 PDW. Both chambered a new proprietary 5.7x28mm cartridge.

The 5.7x28mm is a small bottlenecked round, featuring a .224 diameter projectile loaded into a 28mm long case. The standard military SS190 AP load features a 31-grain .224-inch diameter armor piercing FMJ-BT projectile. Velocity from a P90s 10.4 inch barrel is a respectable 2,346 fps. Despite the high velocity felt recoil is approximately 30% less than a 9x19mm NATO load. This is due to the SS190's lightweight projectile. In addition FNH also developed a number of 5.7x28mm specialty loads. Among these were the L191 Tracer, Sb193 Subsonic and SS192 JHP. While FNH’s 5.7x28mm cartridge and firearm designs were well suited for their intended task, they were not adopted by NATO. Instead they ended up on the US commercial market. The 5.7x28mm cartridge has had limited commercial success, but it has never really taken off.


Ruger’s new Ruger-57 might change that. This large polymer frame pistol features a 4.94 inch barrel with a 1-9 inch twist. Feed is from a 20-round steel magazine. I know shooters will really like having that many rounds on tap. For ban states, a 10-round magazine is also available. Ruger designed the polymer frame to fit the human hand and, despite the long cartridge OAL, the trigger reach is similar to most full-size 9mm pistols. Ambidextrous manual safety levers are standard and the magazine release is reversible. A fiber optic front sight is standard and the rear is fully adjustable. Prefer a red dot? Ruger designed this model to accept a bolt on plate to allow easy mounting of micro red dot sights. Ruger’s Secure Action features their proven internal hammer system with a short trigger pull and positive reset. At the front of the frame is a Picatinny-style rail for mounting a white light or other accessories.

The slide is machined from through-hardened billet steel and features cuts to reduce weight. It also has enhanced front and rear cocking serrations. The barrel has a black nitride treatment for a long service life and easy cleaning. Overall length is 8.65 inches and it weighs in at 24.5 ounces, so it’s no pocket pistol. Fully loaded it weighs 28.4 ounces. Like the FNH’s Five-Seven, the Ruger-57 does not fire from a locked breach. Instead operation is via delayed-blowback. In Ruger’s system the barrel recoils straight back with the slide for about .25-inch. Barrel movement is then arrested and the slide continues its cycle, extracting and ejecting the fired case before loading a new cartridge during its forward travel. This system requires the use of a lightweight slide and a fairly stiff recoil spring, so retracting the slide takes some force.


Overall the new Ruger-57 looks very appealing. Recoil is noticeably less, some 30% less, than a 9x19mm Parabellum. So follow-up shots are very fast and it is a very pleasant pistol to fire. The 5.7x28mm is flat-shooting and you can expect to see velocities in the mid-1700 fps range with 40-grain loads. FNH’s Five-SeveN pistol is very fun to shoot, and Ruger’s new model should behave the same. Fun is perhaps the best way to think about this new offering. Is it for everyone? I don’t think so. Ammunition offerings are a bit limited, although this is likely to change. For those that like high velocity pistol cartridges though, the Ruger-57 will be something you will want to check out. For more information visit

Ruger-57 Pistol Specs

  • Operation: Delayed BlowBack
  • Caliber: 5.7X28mm
  • Capacity: 20+1
  • Barrel Length: 4.94"
  • Overall Length: 8.65"
  • Barrel Finish: Black Nitride
  • Front Sight: Fiber Optic
  • Rear Sight: Adjustable
  • Slide Finish: Black Oxide
  • Weight: 24.5 oz.
  • Slide Width: 1.20"
  • Height: 5.60"
  • MSRP: $799.00

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