I never thought in my day that I’d ever see another pistol chambered in 5.7x28mm. Starting its life early in the 90s as the caliber used in both the FN P90 and its close companion the FN Five-seveN, the caliber has since gone almost nowhere only being used in a handful of firearms over the years – mostly rifles. Ruger aims to change that today with the release of their new Ruger-57 pistol chambered in the high-speed miniature 5.7x28mm cartridge.
Ruger generously sent out an early production copy of the Ruger-57 for TFB to test and tear apart. I’ve run the pistol through its paces and today we will discuss the good, the bad and the uncomfortable points surrounding the new Ruger-57. But first, let’s get the specifications out of the way.
- Model: 16401
- Action: Single Action Hammer-Fired
- Capacity: 20+1
- Grip Frame: High-Performance Glass-Filled Nylon
- Barrel Length: 4.94″
- Overall Length: 8.65″
- Barrel Material: Alloy Steel
- Barrel Finish: Black Nitride
- Slide Material: Alloy Steel
- Slide Finish: Black Oxide
- Twist Rate: 1:9″ RH
- Weight: 24.5 oz
- Sights: Fiber Optic Front, Adjustable Rear Sights
- MSRP: $799.00
OPENING THE BOX – FIRST TOUCH
Ruger was not holding back any punches. Right off the bat, the Ruger-57 was shipped to me in a nice molded plastic Ruger case. The internals of the case were not padded but they were formed for each of the components in the box. Excellent presentation. The Ruger-57 shipped with a holster as well as an adapter plate for a Vortex red dot sight.
The high-performance glass-reinforced plastic felt sturdy and the grip texturing was perfect – especially compared to the FN Five-seveN’s. With the FN Five-seveN being its closest competitor, I’ll be referencing a lot of points about the Ruger-57 in the context of the FN Five-seveN. Another noticeable thing is that the gun also shipped with two magazines as standard – steel magazines.
I can’t tell you how happy the steel magazines made me. The polymer magazines of the FN offering always pushed me in the wrong direction. I don’t have a problem with polymer magazines, but for the Five-seveN they just seemed out of place and dropping them would be a constant concern.
Disappointingly, my first impressions upon dry firing the pistol were not that great, the trigger was somewhat springy before the break and this didn’t give me a reliable cue for when the pistol was about to fire. On top of that, the gap between the bottom of the trigger and the inside of the trigger guard was just big enough to allow some of my finger to get in between it and it pinched my finger every time I pulled the trigger unless I used a first knuckle grip on the trigger. Not a deal-breaker but it did force me to adjust to avoid a small pinch from each trigger pull.
SOME FEATURES I WASN’T ABLE TO MAKE USE OF
The Ruger-57’s first trip to the range was great. The pistol came with a Triple K Manufacturing holster specifically designed for the Ruger-57 but I opted not to use it. Leather holsters aren’t my favorite but the one sent to me seemed to be of quality construction and came branded with the Ruger logo. I’m sure it would make a fine OWB holster if you chose to carry this thing on the farm for some quick pest control.
I was unable to make use of the optics ready slide and included adapter as I couldn’t source a Vortex Venom or Viper in time for the review but this gave me ample time behind the very well crafted iron sights. The front sight is a nice large green fiber optic post that is easily seen even in bright daylight. The rear sights are adjustable for windage and elevation. Needless to say, keeping on target wasn’t a problem at all with just the iron sights.
Your mileage may vary with both, the holster certainly would be nice for those who want to carry it but most target shooters probably will find the box the pistol came with to be a more viable transportation solution especially given the various rules at some public ranges.
I would have really liked to put an optic on the Ruger-57 but time and cost prevented me from doing so. Pistols with optics are more popular than ever so I’m happy to see Ruger keeping up with the trends of the industry and providing customers with the option. There was also a full 5 slot Picatinny rail that would fit even the largest lights.
RUGER-57 RANGE PERFORMANCE
I tested the Ruger-57 with only one ammo type as it was the only one available to me at the time. I used FN SS197 40 grain Hornady V-max blue tip JHP. This round clocks in right around 1712 FPS from the new 57 pistols making it a respectable flat shooting pistol round. Throughout testing, I didn’t have a single malfunction. Ruger does make a point to inform customers that the use of handloads is NOT recommended. In addition to that, they also cannot guarantee the reliability of the pistol when optics heavier than 1 oz is used in combination with 27-grain ammunition such as SS198 green tip or FN SS195.
The trigger which started out a little grainy actually improved for me as I shot the pistol more and more. By the end of my testing, I had put nearly 400 rounds through the gun (at one point I had the barrel smoking) and I still hadn’t had a single malfunction.
Some problems I did have with the handling and ergonomics with the gun were minor but I’ll list them here. The slide release was stiff – really stiff. Instead, simply racking the slide seemed to work better with much less effort. I wasn’t a fan of how far away the magazine release is. Even with my relatively large hands, I couldn’t reach the mag release without adjusting my hands and I accomplish that on an M1911A1 easily.
While I’m not a fan of manual safeties, the ambidextrous safety on this gun is low profile and out of the way. I had no trouble avoiding it when I didn’t need it and activating it was similarly easy. The frame-mounted safety beats out the slide-mounted safety on the FN Five-seveN in my opinion. Even so, if Ruger were to offer the Ruger-57 without the manual safety I’d take it up in a heartbeat.
Another small feature I really wish they would add would be a threaded barrel. I know there are supposed to be lots of accessories on the Ruger Shop at launch so hopefully, a threaded barrel will be one of them.
Overall I thought the Ruger-57 was a fine pistol. It was lots of fun to shoot and beyond that, it was accurate and reliable to the point of near-perfection. I might even go as far as to say that the Ruger-57 is better than the FN Five-seveN. I like that more of the gun is using more durable materials and while I had some minor disagreements on some of the ergonomics and accessories overall I like the pistol a lot.
- Unique caliber, flat-shooting for a pistol
- Great packaging, ships in a case you can bring to the range
- Comes with 2 magazines
- Optics ready
- Priced competitively compared to its direct competition
- Strong construction and high-quality materials
- Steel magazines
- Great iron sights
- Ammunition is expensive
- The slide release is difficult to use
- Trigger pinches finger if pad of finger is used
- As of writing – no threaded barrel option
With that, I’m anxious to hear what the readers have to say about the new Ruger-57. Does this pistol have a place in the current handgun market or did Ruger miss the mark on this one? I personally always welcome more products and honestly would probably buy this gun with the addition of a threaded barrel, I think it’d make for a great suppressor host. Anyway, thanks for reading and be sure to leave us a comment below.