The weapon allegedly used by Nidal Malik Hasan in the Fort Hood shooting has been in the headlines before. But the story begins long before it hit the headlines. In fact, the story of the Five-seveN starts in 1990.
At that time, Fabrique Nationale, the Belgian company that produced the FAL and FNC assault rifles and the GP35 Hi-Power pistol, developed a new personal-defense weapon firing a new cartridge, the 5.7x28mm.
This weapon, the P90, would actually be famous not for participation in a real-world war, but instead for its use by Richard Dean Anderson, Amanda Tapping, Michael Shanks, Joe Flanagan, and other stars in the TV series Stargate SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis. But eventually, the decision was made to also debut a pistol to go with the submachine gun. Arguably, the P90 has killed more Jaffa and Wraith than it ever killed people.
ENTER THE FIVE-SEVEN
The pistol that emerged would be 8.4 inches by 5.7 inches – featuring a 4.8-inch barrel, and weighing less than 28 ounces with a loaded 20-round magazine. The Five-seveN made its debut in 1999, and soon became of interest.
The 5.7x28mm cartridge was the heart of the system. Starting with the SS190, a number of cartridges were designed. Multiple varieties of rounds were developed, some of which could punch through soft body armor. The varieties that could not were available for civilian purchase. The first was the SS192, a 40-grain hollowpoint that was discontinued in favor of the SS196SR, which used a Hornaday VMax hollowpoint, which was superseded by the SS197SR, which used a blue-tipped V-Max. The other is the SS195, a lead-free round.
BRADY BS STRIKES!
However, the Five-seveN was not available to the general public until 2003. When it became available, potential owners were not the only ones to take note. In 2004, the Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence, finding itself likely to lose an effort to pass a permanent ban on so-called “assault weapons” (really, semi-automatic firearms that looked like real assault rifles), sought a new boogey-gun.
The Five-seveN fit the bill. The handgun fired a round that could penetrate body armor – and its magazine held 20 of the things. However, the anti-gunners had forgotten their history.
THE ARMOR-PIERCING DEBATE
The gun banners had tried this stunt before, in the wake of a panic over the KTW – or Teflon-coated bullet. They tossed in a lot of nonsense – including the claim that it could penetrate body armor. In this case, the ammo had surfaced a while ago, but an NBC report would change things.
After the 1982 report, the anti-gunners played up the cop-killer angle for all its worth. Their proposal would have banned many hunting rifle cartridges, including standbys like the .30-06 and .30-30. Ultimately, the NRA would develop legislation that protected cops from ammo that would go through their vests if fired from a handgun, but didn’t ban hunting rounds. However, the debate drove a wedge between the NRA and a number of police groups.
2005 ATTEMPT AND BEYOND?
In 2005, after the semi-auto ban sunsetted, the Brady Campaign tried to ban the Five-seveN. This attempt was thoroughly defeated, largely due to pro-gun leadership controlling Congress. In 2005, the ATF declared that the SS192 and SS196 were not armor-piercing rounds, ending the debate for now.
Will its use in the Fort Hood shooting lead to a new push for gun control, targeting this pistol? That remains to be seen. The anti-gunners are eager to push for new controls with sympathetic leadership both houses of Congress. At the same time, in the back of many minds is the electoral shellacking Democrats received in 1994 after they pushed gun control too hard.
To make sure the Brady BS Bunch cannot succeed in banning this gun, JOIN THE NRA, SUPPORT NRA-PVF, AND ALSO SUPPORT PRO-GUN CANDIDATES FOR OFFICE! The future ability to own the Five-seveN is in YOUR hands.
Caliber ..................................5.7x28mm (NATO Recommended)
Operating principle................Delayed blowback
Overall length........................208mm - 8.2”
Weight (empty magazine) ....645 g - 1.42 lb
Barrel length ........................112.5mm - 4.41”
Trigger mechanism................Single Action Only
Firing mode ..........................Single shot
Magazine capacity ................20 rounds
Maximum effective range ......50m