Looking for the best 5.7 ammo for your new 5.7×28 handgun? Maybe you’re looking into buying one soon?
We got you.
It was initially intended to replace the 9mm cartridge after a NATO request back in 1989. Still, as we can see, it fell short of that goal since most rounds used in military sidearms are chambered in 9mm.
When you have a pistol round that mimics the 5.56 in terms of velocity and similarities in the distance (well, as much as you can get from a pistol).
You will understand that it’s still a fun round with much to offer.
So we asked around to find out who has the best ammo and the best bang for your buck.
5.7 rounds can be pricey compared to other rounds on the market. You don’t want to go blasting high-dollar ammo for target practice. We got you covered there too.
But I’ll stop talking your ear off now; let’s jump in and determine which ammo is right for you.
Best 5.7×28 Ammo & Recommendations
If you’re hard-pressed for time, here’s a short list:
- Best Overall: FN Polymer Tip (Blue Tip)
- Best Value (Range Use): Federal American Eagle 40 Grain
- Best for Suppressors (Sub-Sonic): FN SB193
- Best for Self-Defense: Speer Gold Dot
- Best AR in 5.7×28: SS195LF
Best Overall – FN Polymer Tip (Blue Tip)
|Bullet Weight (Grain)||40 Grain|
|Head Shape||V-Max by Hornady|
Pros & Cons
- Works for personal protection and target practice
- Made by FN themselves (the folks who designed the round)
- Polymer tip for enhanced ballistics
- It can be hard to find at times (in stores)
- Doesn’t work well on all 5.7 pistols/SBRs
Heads up, this article will be a bit FN-heavy (they did make the round, you know…)
FN Blue Tips are a versatile round with a Hornady V-Max round with polymer tips that expand on impact.
The V-Max round is designed for rapid expansion, while the polymer tip improves trajectory, accuracy, and speed.
It also works in reducing ricochet for steel target shooters out there. Remember A Christmas Story; you’ll shoot your eye out!
The ammo is expensive, much like most 5.7 cartridges running around. But you can catch deals on some days.
This ammo was also tested by a gentleman from our ranks at Gunmade recently, who reported back that the ammo performed exceptionally well.
But more about him in a minute.
Best Value (Range Use) – Federal American Eagle 40 Grain FMJ
Pros & Cons
- Well-known Federal Primers and Brass
- Perfect for target practice
- Works on almost all 5.7 platforms
- Some shooters reported bullets coming off the shell casing
- Some reports of failure to feed have been reported
With those cons, why would I be recommending this round?
It has to do with experience.
One of our own guys, the man, the myth, the Domke, has recently reviewed the FN Five-SeveN.
He had no issues and said this was the best bang for the buck. And I believe him.
Why? Because. It’s Ryan Domke.
Federal American Eagle has been long known for their specific ability to make some of the best rounds on the market. I, personally, have never had an issue with their ammo whatsoever.
With a name like American Eagle, you’ll feel more American than Hulk Hogan in the 90s as you blast your Belgium-made pistol at a paper target. It’s the good stuff. And the box that it comes in is pretty.
Best For Suppressors (Sub-Sonic) – FN SB193 (White Tip)
|Velocity||1,051 ft/s (Suppressed)|
Pros & Cons
- Manufactured by FN
- Splinter Cell quality suppression
- Works great with Osprey 45
- Does NOT work with most .22 suppressors
- Highly expensive (like many subsonic rounds)
- Finding it can be tricky
Another round from the manufacturer, of course. Why not?
If you fancy yourself a poor man’s Sam Fisher, I have just the solution for you.
It is rumored that when you use a suppressor on a 5.7, you have to dress up as the man himself before shooting. But that’s just a rumor. Or is it?
The SB193 (because it couldn’t have a simple name) is the code for the sub-sonic round from FN. You know, the Belgian dudes who make the Five-SeveN and P90? Yeah, them.
It has a cool white tip on the end to let the person on the other side of the round know he’s about to meet God.
The caveat to all of this goodness is that you will only get the maximum potential from this round if you’re using a PS90. So if that’s what you’re here for, good news!
You may encounter issues if you’re looking to run SB193 from a pistol. Especially with .22 suppressors. If you can get an Osprey, you should have better luck.
And this stuff can be super expensive and hard to find.
You will not find it at your local Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shop. A dude was selling a box of 50 for about $750; maybe you can catch him on a good day.
Since SB193 can be hard to find, look at Fiocchi Range Dynamics Subsonic.
I could not find a reliable link to buy SB193. But it is the best subsonic ammo in 5.7 (that I heard of).
Best For Self Defense – Speer Gold Dot Personal Protection
|Velocity||1800 Feet Per Second|
Pros & Cons
- Used by law enforcement professionals around the world
- Designed specifically for expansion
- Highly reliable
- Extremely expensive
- Not good for reloading
- Not the best penetration (might be a good thing)
Not the best for penetration? Then why would it be a great Self Defense round?
I’m glad you asked.
When searching for a home defense or personal defense round, penetration becomes an important factor for multiple reasons.
One, you don’t want over-penetration. All you want is to hit your intended target and nothing else. Anything more becomes a liability.
Two, rounds that stay in the target usually cause more tissue damage than rounds that go through the target. Which is great for wound cavities and keeping the target at bay.
But the Speer Gold Dot round has a few qualities on its own that make it great for personal defense.
The expansion and penetration are consistent. So you won’t have to worry about any issues in that area.
The jacket has been tweaked to perform at its max capability, so accuracy is consistent and flat.
With that said, after years of folks wondering if a 5.7 would be good for defensive scenarios, Speer puts the debate to bed and says, “yes, you can.”
Best For SBR in 5.7×28 – FN SS195LF
|Head Shape||Hollow Point|
Pros & Cons
- Made by FN
- Same wound channels as SS197LF (for less)
- Non-Toxic (Lead-Free)
- Not the best for self-defense
- Penetration is low
I can already hear it now.
“Brian, what about the Red Box SS197LF rounds? They shoot faster!”
Yes, but not enough to matter.
I mean, do you really want to spend almost twice as much for a round with no ballistic advantage over the SS195LF round?
Of course not. No one does. And I’m not here to make you drain your pockets, fine shooter.
Now when I speak of an SBR, I’m mostly talking about the P90, or civilian PS90, which is the most common firearm chambered in 5.7 behind the pistol variants.
Now the only issue I really found for this round is how little penetration one gets with this round. Especially coming from a longer barrel.
If you check the YouTube video I linked below, you can see that penetration is low. But that may be good for home defense. Hint hint.
How We Chose our Top Picks
As usual, I asked the fine shooters at my local gun store who frequently play around with pistols and SBRs chambered in 5.7×28.
I asked them which rounds would suit someone looking into purchasing a firearm or something chambered in 5.7×28 in any area of usage they could think of. From range use to self-defense.
It was there that I learned that 500 rounds of 5.7 cost more than my beat-up Toyota sitting outside. So I thought I’d mention that in this article as well. They told me to check online ammo as well, but it was still pricey.
I also asked the infamous Ryan Domke. A fellow writer with Gun Made who’s been shooting since my father disappeared for milk and cigarettes some 25 years ago.
5.7×28 Buyer’s Guide
Unpopular Opinion: It’s a Niche Round
I’m going to say something that’s probably gonna piss some folks off, but it’s better you hear it from me than going and biting off more than you can chew.
The 5.7 rounds, and the guns that shoot 5.7 (obviously), are not for everyday shooters.
The round is expensive, and by expensive, I mean about .66 cents a round. Bro, that’s .300 Blackout territory. And way more expensive than other types of ammo.
For those reasons, I don’t recommend the 5.7 for any first-time shooters or anyone who wants to shoot a bunch and not spend half their check on ammo. But here’s why.
It’s expensive. That much we already know. But there is a sort of domino effect that comes with this.
If ammo is expensive, you’ll be less likely to train with it.
And if you aren’t training with it, why own it? That’s a pretty expensive paperweight you have there, buddy.
Rounds can be hard to find, which explains the high price point. I personally like a round that is mass-produced and can easily be found by walking into my local gun store. But that’s just me.
If you think I’m tripping, let me know why in the comments. I’m intrigued to know why. And maybe I’ll learn something new.
If it sounds like I’m tearing into this round, someone at my job today ate my lasagna, so I’m a little hangry. But what kind of gun writer would I be if I led you astray, fine shooter?
I wish I was the first person to say this. It would make me a trendsetter of some sort. But I’m not.
Where To Find 5.7×28 Ammo
But, If You REALLY Want One…
Make sure you find a reliable source of ammo that won’t run dry when the PSA Rock craze hits. There’s nothing worse than buying a handgun or rifle and not being able to find ammo for it.
Or, like me, buying a rifle and not being able to afford ammo *wink wink*
And try and make sure they aren’t charging an arm and leg for the ammo as well. I’ve seen places try and sell a box of 50 rounds of 5.7×28 for 60 bucks. That’s a no-no. At least for my pockets, anyway.
Make sure you are willing to spend a check on a box of 500. The one word you’ll find over and over in this article is “expensive.” And that’s because it is. And I think we should all be training and have a stockpile of ammo on standby for the big boogaloo.
Make sure you have the funds to train with it. Or sell it. Free up the safe space for that beautiful FN509 that came out recently.
Best Uses For The 5.7×28
Well, if you have armor-wearing drug dealers coming for you, you can’t go wrong.
Armor-piercing rounds are banned. And that is literally what the 5.7×28 was meant for.
Well, let’s just say the 5.7 round is excellent for the range and having fun with a low-recoil round that can hold 20-23 rounds in a magazine. But I would not recommend it for hunting. If you want that, go buy 10mm.
It does make for a great range gun. It’s a bit too big to carry unless you’re in the secret service or someone with a long overcoat. Cold weather carry anyone?
I have to admit, shooting a pistol chambered in 5.7 is incredibly fun. The recoil is minimal, the magazines hold many rounds, and it shoots flat.
Smaller hand shooters may have some issues, but still. It is fun. If you’re looking for a fun range gun that can also double as a carry gun on colder days, I would look into a pistol chambered in 5.7.
Even though I just tore into the round above.
What is blue tip 5.7?
Blue tip 5.7 It’s a polymer tip that is designed to improve velocity and expansion.
Is 5.7 a NATO round?
Yes, 5.7 is a NATO round.
Will 5.7 penetrate body armor?
Soft armor, yes. Hard armor may need Armor Piercing rounds which are illegal (unless you have the right paperwork)
What do you think about the 5.7×28 cartridge? Does it have some space in your safe, or will you pass?
The 5.7×28 shows a lot of promise if ammo production kicks up and the price of ammo drops below the price of gold. But, you know. Maybe soon.
It is a fun little cartridge that offers low-recoil fun on the range, with plenty of ammo in the magazine to spare.
Still, there’s some work to do.
If you need help finding the best 5.7×28 guns, go check out our guide!
See you on the range, fine shooter.