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5.7x28mm vs. .223 Remington: Putting Two Fast Flyers Head To Head preview image
Aug 03 2023
8 min read

5.7x28mm vs. .223 Remington: Putting Two Fast Flyers Head To Head


Two fast-flying rounds go head to head in this battle between the 5.7x28mm vs. .223 Remington.

We’re going to dive deeper than Elon Musk did when he bought Twitter. We’ll discuss some history between the two and review each cartridge’s differences, uses, and pros and cons to find some truth.

Before we start, here’s a fun fact: They have the same diameter as a .22 round.

That’s already one similarity between them!

Let’s get into it.

5.7x28 vs 223 remington cartridge
5.7×28 vs. .223 Remington (Courtesy of Quora)

Overview of .223 Remington

.223 Remington

The Backstory Of .223 Remington

The .223 Remington cartridge is one we are all familiar with. It laid the foundation for what would be the second most popular round in the history of battle rifles.

Let’s go back to 1957 when .223 Remington was invented.

General Willard Wyman of the United States Army called upon Eugene Stoner to scale down the AR-10 that was introduced in 1955 to accept a high-velocity, small caliber round similar to the .22.

They considered the .220 Swift but later found it had a low barrel life expectancy. And .222 was too weak at 500 yards to be effective in combat.

So Eugene Stoner went to Sierra, Remington, and Winchester to help develop the cartridge. They wound up taking the .222 Remington and increasing the case capacity.

They named it the .222 Remington Special but didn’t want to confuse anyone, so they then named it the .223 Remington.

223 cartridge
.223 Remington. (Courtesy of Detroit Ammo Co.)

Only a short time later, In 1961, Armalite sold the AR-15 and AR-10 designs to Colt, who produced 8,500 rifles to be tested by the US Air Force. Then, in 1963, General Lemay of the USAF ordered 80,000 rifles for use in combat operations.

The .223 Remington became 5.56x45mm Ball M193.

Not to be confused with the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridges that FN Herstal later developed. Same thing, but a slightly different case diameter with a steel core penetrator.

It’ll make sense in a minute.

Here’s an entire article comparing .223 Remington, 5.56x45mm, plus how .223 Wylde brings it all together.

Overview of 5.7x28mm

FN SS195LF 5.7X28MM

History Of The 5.7x28mm

In 1989, two gentlemen from FN Herstal, Jean-Paul Denis and Marc Neuforge, brainstormed a high-velocity personal defense round that could punch through light body armor.

NATO had recently requested a round to replace the 9×19 Parabellum round that was standard at the time. The requested round needed greater accuracy, range, and terminal ballistics over the 9mm.

In 1990, Denis and Neuforge patented SS90, the designation for the 5.7 cartridges in its youth. And they decided to improve on the round until 1993, when they discovered that a shorter and heavier bullet performed better.

So SS90 went out the door, and SS190 came in. It came with a modified version of the FN P90 that accepted magazines in SS190. However, the 9mm was not replaced by 5.7x28mm.

Almost ten years later, NATO put up a bid for a new standard round that would work in personal defense platforms. FN Herstal, along with Heckler and Koch, entered its rounds – the 5.7x28mm from FN and the 4.6x30mm from H&K.

The 5.7x28mm proved superior, but the standardization didn’t occur until 2021.

It goes to show you how slowly NATO moves.

Specification Chart for .223 Remington and 5.7x28mm

Specifications.223 Remington5.7x28mm
Parent Case.222 RemingtonUnique
Maximum Pressure55,000 PSI (SAAMI)50,038 PSI (Not SAAMI)
Bullet Diameter 0.224 inches0.224 mm
Neck Diameter0.253 inches0.251 inches
Base Diameter0.376 inches0.313 inches
Case Length 1.76 inches1.13 inches
Overall Length 2.26 inches1.594 inches
Case Capacity 28.8 grains13.9 grains
Manufacturer RemingtonFN Herstal
Variants.223 Ackley, .222 SpecialSS190 Duty, L191 Tracer, SS192 Hollowpoint, SS193 Subsonic, T194 Training, SS195LF, SS196SR, SS197SR, SS198LF, American Eagle TMJ

The Difference Between 5.7x28mm And .223 Remington

While these rounds share similarities, they also serve in two different fields. It makes sense they were designed with two different purposes in mind.

.223 Remington

.223 Remington was made to be effective in combat. Simple. It was the blueprint for the 5.56x45mm that would become the longest-standing U.S. military cartridge ever. Not to be confused with 5.56x45mm NATO.

Up until 1982, the .223 Remington saw its fair share of combat. It wasn’t very powerful, though, which is why it was eventually replaced (and is being replaced again).

Some shooters use it as a hunting round, but it isn’t that effective in that area, either. Shot placement is difficult when shooting medium-sized game with .223 Remington. While it is possible, I would personally opt for a bigger round.

With all of the advancements made in ammunition over the years, I would dare say that we are reaching the end of .223 Remington/5.56x45mm Ball M193.


As I said before, FN Herstal designed the 5.7x28mm to replace the 9mm round. NATO wanted a new cartridge to retire the 9mm from use in personal defense weapons. It had to reach further, accurately, and do better against body armor.

It does well in personal defense weapons and has succeeded in penetrating light body armor.  The compact size of the round also allows for more rounds in the magazine.

For example, the P90 (5.7x28mm) has a magazine capacity of 50 rounds, compared to the MP5 (9mm), which has a magazine capacity of 30 rounds.

So why didn’t the 5.7x28mm catch on and get rolled into military service?

Well, for starters, the military didn’t exactly need a PDW. NATO just had some extra time on its hands and decided to spend some money.

As time passed and NATO’s interest was pulled in another direction, the need for a PDW became moot and tossed to the back burner.

The military kept the 9mm, and 5.7x28mm didn’t succeed in replacing it in any platform. It was only recently that the 5.7x28mm got standardized by NATO.

Oddly enough, none of the new firearms adopted by the U.S. Military are chambered in 5.7x28mm, so I’m not sure what that means.

Aside from the cost, there are a few reasons why 5.7x28mm falls short on the job.

9mm has 364 Lb/Ft of energy at the muzzle, whereas 5.7x28mm has 288 Lb/Ft of energy. Not only that but 5.7x28mm dumps energy faster than 9mm. In pistol and sub-machine gun ranges, the more muzzle velocity, the better.

And since both rounds were meant for short engagements, 9mm is better for the occasion.

I do enjoy the lower recoil of the 5.7x28mm round. I had the opportunity to shoot the FN Five-SeveN MK2 in 2016, and my thoughts were filled with, “Well, if the shot placement is right.”

And that’s easier to accomplish with 5.7x28mm over 9mm.

Side Note: I speak of the 9mm since it functions in the same area that the 5.7x28mm was designed for…Personal Defense Weapons.

And to draw a parallel to how much of an impact 5.7x28mm and .223 Remington had on the market when they were developed.

.223 Remington wins that race by a mile.

9mm, 5.7x28, and .223 Remington
9mm, 5.7×28, and .223 Remington (Courtesy of Quora)

5.7x28mm Pros & Cons

  • High velocity
  • Accurate
  • Lighter than 9mm
  • Higher capacity in magazines over 9mm
  • Light recoil
  • Does better out of shorter barrels
  • The price per round is significantly higher than 9mm
  • Relatively new to the market (low availability)

.223 Remington Pros & Cons

  • High velocity
  • Accurate
  • Low recoil
  • Versatile 
  • It can be shot out of 5.56×45 rifles (but not vice versa)
  • Lower cost per round vs. 5.7×28
  • Low stopping power than some comparable rounds
  • Overpenetration is a concern
  • It is still pretty expensive due to the popularity


Is 5.7x28mm Good For Self-Defense

5.7x28mm was made for self-defense. The light recoil, matched with the high capacity that you find in firearms chambered in it, makes up for the lack of stopping power vs. the 9mm.

Is 5.7x28mm Stronger Than 9mm?

No. 9mm has more stopping power than 5.7x28mm, but the 5.7x28mm can do the job if the target is further. Which, in a self-defense situation, doesn’t really matter.

How Far Can 5.7x28mm Shoot?

The maximum effective range of the 5.7x28mm round is 200 yards.


Putting the 5.7x28mm and the .223 Remington against each other almost isn’t fair, but it’s evident how much of an impact each round has had since being developed.

However, .223 Remington paved the way for one of the most popular rounds in the world, whereas 5.7x28mm seems more like a niche round at this point. 5.7x28mm failed to replace the 9×19 pistol cartridge, which was the purpose of its development. I’m not saying it isn’t a good round, but I think it missed its mark.

All in all, .223 Remington seems to be the winner.

Take it easy.

What do you think? Which round would you choose?

Written by Brian Zerbian
Brian Zerbian photo Brian is a USMC Veteran and avid gun enthusiast from New Jersey who loves to spend his time shooting, writing, listening to classic rock, and learning new things. His goal is to help new gun owners and people who are getting into guns get all the best knowledge in the simplest ways. With no technical jargon and seasoned with fun.


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