I Carry: FN America Five-seveN 5.7 mm Pistol in an ANR Design Holster

by Braxton Taylor

Firearm: FN America Five-seveN (MSRP: $1,509)

With interest in the 5.7x28mm round and firearms chambered in it increasing seemingly every year, we thought we’d take another look at where it all started, the FN America Five-seveN pistol. Developed in the late 1990s to accompany FN’s space-gun P90 and semi-automatic PS90, the Five-seveN offered 20 round capacity at a time when 13 to 15 rounds was the norm. Scarcity of ammunition and price are arguably the biggest reason the Five-seveN never really took off, but in the past five years we’ve seen an explosion in firearms chambered in 5.7 mm, which has ignited interest in the origin-of-species from FN.

The modern Five-seveN is a tad on the larger side for a concealed-carry pistol. Overall length is 8.2 inches, with a 4.8-inch barrel. Height is 5.7 inches, width is 1.4 inches and weight without a magazine inserted is 21 ounces. The dimensions put the Five-seveN about equal with a Government model 1911; however, the weight is a completely different story—the Five-seveN is the same weight as a Glock G19. Which is more important for concealed carry? That’s pretty much up to the individual; many people can and do carry full-size 1911s concealed, so it’s certainly not outside the realm of possibility.

Newer to the Five-seveN line is the Mk3, which include an optics-ready version, the MRD. Unlike the FN 509 series that offers a multitude of optic fits using spacers and shims, the Five-seveN has two polymer plates that adapt the pistol’s cut for the RMR and DeltaPoint Pro footprint, while the Burris Fastfire is a direct-attach option. Since it’s cut for powered optics, suppressor-height sights are included, so most red-dot sights should allow a lower-third co-witness for those interested in redundant systems. The Five-seveN is hammer-fired, comes with a manual safety and has texturing designed to mimic that of the FN 509.

What, then, does the Five-seveN offer over a 9mm-chambered pistol, you might ask, and that’s a solid question. For a long time, 5.7x28mm ammunition was hard to find and more expensive than 9mm, and while it’s still not as common nor plentiful, that is changing. Muzzle energy wise, the difference between 9mm and 5.7x28mm is fairly small, less than 10-percent difference between the two. What the 5.7 lacks in bullet weight, it makes up in velocity. Capacity is certainly a factor in the 5.7’s favor; in the standard grip of the Five-seveN pistol, 20 rounds fit snugly; to get that much 9mm in a handgun requires either an overly large pistol or an extended magazine. Another thing to consider, especially given the events of the past five or so years, is that 9mm tends to be one of the first calibers to disappear off shelves in times of strife. That alone might be worth considering the 5.7x28mm cartridge.

Holster: ANR Design Standard Outside The Waistband holster (MSRP: $85)

To carry the Five-seveN, we’ve opted for an outside-the-waistband option from ANR Design. Its Standard Outside The Waistband Holster offers a simple, sandwich-style kydex holster with single-screw retention adjustment, polymer belt loops and ride-height adjustment. This holster is designed to stay tucked in close to the body to maximize concealment while allowing for a fast and efficient drawstroke.

Although this is considered a “standard” holster, ANR Design still offers quite a bit of customization. Standard Outside the Waistband Holsters can be ordered for pistols with certain weaponlights attached, color and pattern can be varied and the type of belt attachment can also be selected. Some choices do incur a slight upcharge, but if it gets you exactly what you want, it’s well worth it. You can even add a matching magazine carrier to the order. We’ve used several holsters from ANR Design and found them to be well made and durable.

Accessory: FN America 5.7 GUNR and DFNS ammunition 

GUNR ammo (practice) MSRP: $26.99/box of 50 rounds

DFNS ammo (defensive) MSRP: $39.99/box of 50 rounds

The last part of today’s kit is a new-for-2024 release from FN America. As I mentioned earlier, one of the limiting factors in the adoption of the Five-seveN pistol by the shooting community in general had to do with the availability of 5.7x28mm ammunition. In the first few years of the Five-seveN’s existence, ammunition was scarce and costly; in recent years, though, the rapid release of new firearms in this caliber have brought more options to the table, including two new options from FN.

The GUNR ammo, meant for practice, is a 40-grain full metal jacket offering meant to be comparable to FN’s existing SS197SR ammunition. Price is a quite reasonable $26.99 per box of 50 rounds, which is barely more than 9 mm practice ammunition these days. On the defensive size, the DFNS ammunition offers a 30-grain jacketed hollowpoint bullet that the company claims meets FBI standards in independent testing. This is also quite affordable, with a 50-round box retailing for $39.99. We tested both of these new rounds for reliability and experienced no malfunctions in our testing.

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