February 12, 2021
By Lane Pearce
The 5.7x28mm cartridge is a high-velocity, low-recoil, bottle-necked round that was developed by Fabrique Nationale Herstal 30 years ago for the FN PS90 personal-defense carbine and the FN Five-seveN semiautomatic pistol. The new Ruger-57 pistol is, according to Ruger, “Fun to shoot! Cool to own!” so it can do double-duty as a plinker, trail gun, and defensive tool. I truly appreciate the pistol’s rakish lines, minimal recoil, and extra-high-capacity magazines.
Although the Ruger-57 looks bulky, it actually feels lighter than it appears it should, and it is rather nimble to operate. The most difficult operation is stuffing the magazines (it comes with two) full of the tiny centerfire rounds.
Until recently, only FN supplied the ammunition. For this report, I secured FN 40-grain V-Max ammo and Federal American Eagle 40-grain FMJ ammo. Fiocchi and Speer also catalog 5.7x28mm ammo, but I was unable to get any—my local dealer didn’t have any.
Since I was short on factory ammo for testing and evaluating Ruger’s new pistol, I included a handload from Western Powder’s recent manual. It consisted of 6.6 grains of Accurate No. 7 powder under Hornady’s 40-grain V-Max bullet and ignited by Federal’s 100 Small Pistol primer.
The Secure Action fire-control system ensures the Ruger-57 is both easy and safe to operate. Retracting the serrated slide requires a moderate not-too-strong tug. The Model 1911-style ambidextrous thumb safety and integrated blade trigger safety make firing the pistol almost idiot-proof. At a measured 5.5 pounds, my pistol’s trigger pull was smooth, broke cleanly, and reset positively. The magazine release is reversible, and the double-stack, steel magazine drops free when released. There is no magazine disconnect, so the pistol will fire without the magazine inserted if a round is in the chamber.
The polymer grip frame is a bit large for smaller hands, but the finely stippled grip surfaces provide a comfortable and secure hold. The frame has an integral Picatinny-style accessory rail for a weapon light or laser sight. And the 4.94-inch barrel has eight grooves with a twist rate of 1:9.
Takedown is accomplished without needing special tools. Just use the magazine base pad to press in the takedown button and proceed per the instructions. You don’t have to squeeze the trigger or perform any other pre-op before disassembly.
The rear sight has fine horizontal striations and is fully adjustable for windage and elevation. The bright green fiber-optic front-sight insert ensures immediate and positive acquisition of the target, even in reduced-light conditions.
The slide has a small view port for a quick visual check to see if the chamber is loaded. It’s also predrilled and tapped for an optional adapter plate to mount an aftermarket reflex sight. The instruction manual cautions reliable functioning may be impaired if such a sight weighs more than an ounce. For the same reason, the manual also suggests not firing ammo with bullets lighter than 40 grains.
The 5.7x28mm is a true .22-caliber centerfire round that launches tiny bullets really fast for a handgun. Although felt recoil is relatively modest, the muzzle blast and noise mandate using effective hearing protection.
After wringing out the Ruger-57 at my local shooting range with the factory ammo and the handload, I concluded it’s not suited for formal competition, it’s rather large for concealed carry, and the ammo is much more expensive for plinking compared to popping off rimfire ammo or even 9mm FMJ ammo. When I asked a Ruger rep what the thinking was behind offering this pistol, the response was, “It’s a niche market with little competition … we expect to sell a lot of them.”
Offering similar performance but priced several hundred dollars less than the FN 5.7x28mm pistol, I guess Ruger knows its business.
MANUFACTURER: Sturm, Ruger & Co.
TYPE: Delayed blowback single-action autoloader
MAGAZINE CAPACITY: 20 rounds
BARREL: 4.94 in.
OVERALL LENGTH: 8.65 in.
WIDTH: 1.20 in.
HEIGHT: 5.60 in.
WEIGHT, EMPTY: 24.5 oz.
GRIPS: Integral to polymer frame
FINISH: Black oxide alloy-steel slide, black nitride alloy-steel barrel, black nylon frame
SIGHTS: Fully adjustable rear, green fiber-optic front
TRIGGER: 5.5-lb. pull (as tested)
SAFETY: Ambidextrous manual thumb safety, integrated blade trigger safety
For more info on the Ruger-57 5.7x28mm pistol, visit: ruger.com