Ruger 57 Pistol ~ Unexpected Fun in the Weird 5.7x28mm Caliber

Ruger-57 Pistol
Ruger-57 Pistol

USA – -( One of the newest handguns that in retrospect actually shipped a year ago is the Ruger 57. Not a sporting rifle or a single-action revolver; the Ruger 57 is a polymer-framed semi-auto pistol chambered in 5.7x28mm.

That’s right, that small PDW (Personal Defense Weapon) round from FN that lies between the 22 Magnum and 5.56 NATO on the power scale. Being a fan of this round in the FN P90, It never made much sense for me to buy a pistol in the same caliber. Although 2020 sucks for a lot of reasons, it’s definitely not the Chisolm Trail in the 19th Century and I’m not dependent on a pack mule for an ammo resupply. Yet, it could turn out that way, so let’s take a look at the 5.7 X 28mm round first.

Ruger-57 Pistol in 5.7x28mm

5.7x28mm FN Ammunition

This round made its debut in 1990 for the FN P90, a small lightweight PDW developed for law enforcement and military personnel. The goal was to create a weapon that was easier to shoot than a handgun, without the recoil of a rifle, and have the ability to penetrate light armor.

Of course, the armor-piercing rounds are not available commercially.

FN P90 Personal Defense Weapon, Tactical
FN P90 Personal Defense Weapon, Tactical

The FN P90 was successful and saw service with the US Secret Service for its size, capacity, and its great use inside a vehicle. The round had such light recoil that FN eventually chambered a pistol in this caliber which was adopted by law enforcement agencies and became a highly successful niche gun on the civilian market.

FN 5.7 Pistol
FN 5.7 Pistol

However, it was pricey and availability was often a factor.

Other rifles, such as the AR platform was made in 5.7x28mm, but outside of an AR pistol, there were no handguns chambered in this round other than FN’s FiveSeveN until Ruger came out with their pistol.

Ruger’s Ruger-57 Pistol Design

The Ruger 57 externally resembles the company’s Security 9. It has a polymer frame, but instead of going with a striker-fired mechanism, the 57 relies on an internal hammer.


Ruger-57 Pistol
Ruger-57 Pistol

There is an ambidextrous external safety similar in nature to that of a 1911. The trigger has a safety on the face and the sights are a fiber optic front with a serrated and adjustable rear.

One area where the Ruger definitely excels over the FN pistol is in the grip frame. It is longer from front to rear due to the length of the round, but Ruger has contoured this to allow for a superior grasp of the pistol. I had to change my grip slightly to allow my thumb to reach the magazine release.

The trigger has a clean and crisp break at 6 pounds. There is no mush or creep due to the internal hammer. The barrel on the factory pistol is not threaded and is extremely thin. The slide has a provision for mounting a red dot type optic but that was a little beyond the scope of this review.

An accessory rail is standard to allow the mounting of lights, lasers, and other accessories.

The magazines hold 20 rounds and are a bit more reminiscent of a Desert Eagle magazine than that of a typical semi-auto pistol due to the length of the 5.7 cartridge.

Ruger-57 Pistol At the range

We had a good supply of FN branded 5.7x28mm on hand and used that for testing. This is the most commonly available ammunition out there apart from the American Eagle brand, which we find to run a bit on the dirty side.

This may be the only downside to the Ruger 57, ammunition availability and cost. For $20 to $30 a box, we don’t find it completely out of reach, but pandemic pricing can rear its ugly head here.

Originally, our shots were right and low, but consistent. We adjusted the rear sight and brought them on target with solid groups in the 2 to 3-inch range. Our average was probably 2.5″ and with the right ammunition, this would make for an excellent small game pistol or a good defensive handgun against feral dogs or two-legged predators.

Final Thoughts

Ruger-57 Pistol
Ruger-57 Pistol

The skinny barrel gave us some pause on our first look, but for whatever reason, that seems to be the order of the day with these types of pistols. A threaded barrel would have made for a really fun plinker if coupled with a silencer.

I found the Ruger 57 to be a fun and accurate handgun. It would make short work of jackrabbits, prairie-dogs, and even coyotes if you could get within range. This is an attractive alternative to the FN pistol at a lower price.

As radical as it may be for Ruger-57 Pistol, it hearkens back to the founder’s promise of building guns that people want to shoot.

  • Type: Single-action semiauto
  • Caliber: 5.7x28mm
  • Capacity: 20
  • Barrel: 4.94″
  • OAL: 8.65″
  • Weight: 24.5 oz.
  • Construction: Polymer frame, oxide-coated alloy steel slide
  • Sights: Fully adjustable rear, fiber-optic front
  • Trigger: 6 lb. pull
  • Safety: Trigger lever, manual thumb safety
  • Price: $799
  • Website:

About Mike Searson:

Mike Searson’s career as a shooter began as a Marine Rifleman at age 17. He has worked in the firearms industry his entire adult life as a Gunsmith, Ballistician, Consultant, Salesman, Author and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1989.

Mike has written over 2000 articles for a number of magazines, websites, and newsletters including Blade, RECOIL, OFF-GRID, Tactical Officer, SWAT, Tactical World, Gun Digest, and the US Concealed Carry Association as well as AmmoLand Shooting Sports News.

Mike Searson


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