Wednesday, January 25, 2012


In 1990, FN introduced the FN P90 personal defense weapon and in 1998, the FN Five-seven, trademarked as the Five-seveN. I'm gonna call it the 57, just so I don't have to type so many characters for this post.

So the 57 pistol has been around for roughly 13 years. As far as I am aware, there is no other handgun (save for the proposed but as yet unseen in retail stores or even advance reviews, the humongous Excel MP-5.7) chambered in this caliber. As I've mentioned in a previous post about the 57, unfortunately, all questions regarding it's effectiveness and lethality as a weapon were answered with the heinous acts of terrorism at Fort Hood.

Still, I'd like to have a handgun shooting a rifle cartridge that's not a single shot (such as the Thompson Contenders) or a revolver (such as a Ruger Blackhawk chambered in .30 caliber). Specifically, a normal sized handgun (Not a cut down AK-47, AK-74 or AR-15) that is a mixture of polymer and steel and that is capable of shooting several hundred yards or through barricades at attackers.

And it got me to thinking, two companies that would be totally capable of doing justice to the 5.7 x 28mm round are Glock and Kel-Tec. Witness Kel-Tex's PMC-30, which has at or near the size handgrip needed to hold the 5.7 round. It would require some reworking of the size of the Glock handgrip, and I'm sure all of this R&D is expensive,  but in my circle of shooting friends, it would be much more likely any of us would purchase a pistol chambered for this round if it ran between $500 and $600.

Kel-Tec's PMC-30 is often mentioned as sort of a poor man''s or a junior 57 pistol. While the Kel-Tec and the 57 both share the ability to carry 30 rounds in a magazine, the 5.7 x 28mm round so dwarfs the .22 WMR in performance that  one need only view the evidence of the tumbling effect of the 5.7 x 28mm bullet upon target impact  to see just how powerful this particular round is. 

As an aside, my personal experience with the PMC-30 has been nothing short of excellent. One failure to feed on the second round of the first magazine fired has been the only issue, and that was many magazines ago.

Of course, for a round like the 5.7 x 28mm, you want some sights that do the gun justice, as the PMC-30 features,  and other updates to the design, but it seems to a novice like me that you're halfway there with your frame design for the elongated 22 WMR cartridge, Kel-Tec.

Kel-Tec is building some mighty interesting guns. A new hot rod bull pup hi-cap shotgun, a dandy 5.56 rifle that not only takes standard AR mags but also folds in half for transport and features an integral foregrip/bipod a'la the Steyr Scout rifle. I'd like to have one of each, please. I've seen and held the rifle at a LGS, but the shotgun has yet to appear on the scene. I'd like to give the rifle a shot, noting that it's chambered for an easy shooting 5.56 round.

Glock, on the other hand, has messed just a wee bit with the basic design from "Generation One" to the current Generation Four guns. The new Glocks haven't grabbed me yet, and I've tried the different grips and such. I'm still liking the Third Generation design and feel. Not to mention function, fit and even now, the form. 

Glock has built guns to shoot high pressure cartridges like the 10mm, and I am perfectly confident that the designers at Glock could build an excellent pistol in this caliber, using the same Glock firing mechanism that people either love or hate. Perhaps build a Glock in 5.7 x 28mm on a longslide frame, or even just a standard frame. One thing though...make a rail optional, or better yet, removeable by allen head bolts to the frame.

Other than the high price of $1100 in my neck of the woods for the FN 57, I'm interested in the pistol. I don't care much for the rail, which seems like it would make uncomfortable what has been called here in Texas for many years as the "Mexican Carry" method, which involves simply sticking the gun in your pants waist sans holster.

I know that this method of carry is not recommended, nor do I recommend it to you. But there have been moments and times in my life when it has been necessary to carry a handgun  in this manner for a short period of time. And for the same reasons I don't want rails on my 1911's, Browning Hi Power, revolvers or any other pistol.

You can get a 57 with either fixed or adjustable sights, and it would seem like someone interested in distance shooting might want the adjustable sights due to the incredible range the 57 is capable of, which with the proper ammunition is stated by FN to be about 200 yards maximum effective distance,  fired by a handheld shooter I asssume.
Which brings me to the point. I wonder why Glock or Kel-Tec or another gun maker with some vision has not entered into the fray by designing their own pistol in this caliber?  If anyone from their camps stumbles across this post, I'll say it again: Amongst my friends and fellow shooters who have discussed the 57, it's just the price keeping most of us away from the FN 57.

H&K was competing against FN with a caliber of their own, very similar in size but not performance to the 5.7 x 28mm, and both were vying to be the universal NATO replacement for the 9mm being used today. But I know H&K is capable of uniquely designing guns, and I know they could do this cartridge justice with a great handgun design.

As with other unanswered marketing questions regarding guns, such as why Glock has never made a subcompact single stack 9mm or a hi-cap 22 caliber factory pistol (not a conversion), it's a mystery to me why other gun makers have not decided to compete with the 57.

Even though Glock could sell as many single stack 9mm pistols as they could make for the first couple of years if the grip and slide were just a bit slimmer, they haven't seen fit to market a pistol of this nature.

Wiki says that Excel Firearms has 4 firearms in development in the 5.7 x 28mm caliber, and that Savage has two bolt action rifles in the works. So that's encouraging news that other gun makers have recognized the viability of this round after several decades. A quick look at the Excel new products page shows the MP 5.7, a bohemouth of a handgun that reminds more of a Desert Eagle or an AutoMag than the FN 57. Whereas the 57 comes in at just over 20 oz. unloaded, the Excel handgun weighs in at a whopping 54 oz, more than twice the weight.

Given that the 57 allegedly has 30% less recoil than the standard 9mm cartridge, such a heavyweight pistol might not be necessary as with stronger calibers like the .357 or .44 WMR varieties. Or at least it's been my experience that with the more stout calibers, more weight to the gun equals less felt recoil. Although I have yet to shoot the 5.7 x 28mm caliber, from all reports, it has recoil more like a .22 Hornet than anything else.

The videos I've seen of it being shot remind more of the Kel-Tec PMC-30 in .22 WMR than other centerfire handguns and their recoil.

I've rarely seen used 57's for sale, despite the fact they've been available to USA civilians since 2004. One review said they were selling about 23k of them per year, so you'd think you'd see some on the used side of the gun store every now and then. When I first got to handle one, it felt a bit odd, about like the first time I handled the Model 21 Glock in .45 ACP. It was, of course, different than any other handgun I'd felt, and I've owned and shot some of what are considered unusual firearms in my time.

After having shot the Kel-Tec PMC-30 now for some time, I can honestly say that the grip of the 57 doesn't seem that unusual now. Unfortunately, the price of the 57 has remained out of my practical reach, barring a trade in of some sort, and I'm not sure I have any firearms I'd like to trade.

I've only seen one used 57 that was reasonably priced , and it was last August and was priced at $800 in a pawn shop in a bad part of town. A quick bore light inspection and look inside showed a gun that had been shot quite a bit that appeared to have never been cleaned. The bore was pitted and looked as if someone had done some scraping with a screwdriver or similar object inside the barrel. In short, it wasn't in a condition I wanted to buy at any price.

For new 57's, Cabela's sells them for $1100, except this month they have $50 off that price. I've seen them priced in the high $900's in some of the more reasonable gun stores here in Texas, but basically it's a thousand dollar pistol.  I'm not seriously in the market enough for one to look on GB or any of the other gun auction sites, but I might be soon.

I like the idea of having a semi-automatic pistol that can shoot 31 rounds of rifle velocity ammo that is designed to tumble upon impact. I could even tolerate the high cost of ammo for these guns. I'd just like to be able to justify affording the gun.

Friday, January 6, 2012


Picture from

To those of you who know something about firearms, the above is a chopped down made into a pistol from a rifle gun.


I'll post some links later on in this post of some youtube videos of fellows firing some of these guns. Apparently, although the 7.62 x 54r cartridge is very close in power to the venerable 30.06 round, there is not as much recoil from this pistol because some of the powder does not burn up due to the brevity of the barrel.

Now at this point so early on in my musings, you're probably asking yourself "Why does El Fisho have interest in this 100 year old bolt action five shot Russian relic that is long past it's prime"?

First off, I'm not sure the weapon is past it's prime. I prefer the Mosin Nagant rifle variants that are carbine length. It's a heavy weapon and cutting the barrel from the normal-ish 28" to 16.5"/18" makes it a whole new ballgame in handling this weapon.  There are TONS of these guns for sale for prices that begin under $100. Ammo is ridiculously cheap. I've recently bought 440 rounds for less than $80.

Secondly, although there is no contest whatsoever between modern semi-automatic assault weapons used by police and the military and the Mosin Nagant, I'll note that revolutionary armies all over the world have resisted and won armed conflicts over the last century using surplus and knock-off Mosin Nagant rifles against forces using vastly superior arms.

Of course, the outcomes of those situations were dictated by differences in motivations of the fighting forces, sheer mass numbers of oppressed peoples and their will to fight for their version of freedom. I don't know, for example, if the Mosin Nagant rifle was used by rebel forces in Afghanistan in the 1980's, but I recall seeing long barreled bolt action rifle in pictures of the Afghan fighters. I know that as the conflict went on they captured AK's and RPG's to use, but apparently the Mosin Nagant or a gun like it was what got them those superior weapons in the end.

One blog post I read while researching about the Mosin Nagant rifle and it's many variants mentioned that a frugal purchaser catching these guns on sale or at wholesale could arm a squad of men (5) and have TONS of ammo for about $125-150 per man. For that price, you could have a very nice refurbished rifle and say, 440-880 rounds of ammo.

So even though there are many of these surplus rifles on the market and they are cheap as well, many question the wisdom, the judgement and indeed the sanity of those wanting to cut down a rifle into a pistol.

I can't tell you why, but I can tell you I think it's as neat as snuff, as the old East Texas saying goes. An old saw, I suppose, but I'm not partial to using that phrase. It's an old saying is what it is. In any event, I think I'm gonna have to pony up $200 and get the necessary BATF licenses/permits and have a gunsmith do the barrel/sight modification for me and I'll do the stock.

What could one possibly use a Mosin Nagant pistol for (not to be confused with the Nagant revolver, and interesting gun in itself as it is one of the few, if any others exist, of revolvers that can actually be suppressed like a semi-auto pistol) ?

The Nagant revolver is interesting in a Webley sort of way, in that it has that throwback design look to it. Me myself,  I prefer the look and function of the Model 1917 Smith and Wesson and Colt and those many evolutions of revolvers made by those companies in the intervening years.

I guess the $99.99 rifle that becomes a $299.99 rifle with Federal BATF fees/taxes/whatever plus the gunsmithing fees for barrel reduction and sight relocation/replacement. I'm thinking my guy would charge me at least $300 to cut and crown the barrel and to relocate the front sight and whatever other cut down work would be required. At least. So now we have a $599.99 Mosin Nagant pistol that can shoot five rounds of a pretty potent round at an insanely cheap price for centerfire shooting.

All of this is not without historical precedent either. Back in the old days, according to my forum and web reading, the 91/30 and it's variants were prevalent as well.

Obviously, the cut down pistol version conceals much better than the full sized or even carbine version of the 91/30. I don't know how much historical accuracy lies in the following statement I read on one forum or webpage, but it basically said that you use the Mosin Nagant 91/30 pistol to get a better pistol. Fair enough.

Various Russian revolutionaries called the pistol the Obrez.

Here's some youtube

If you look carefully, you can see the huge fireball coming out of the end of the gun. It's daylight in both videos, but if you've ever seen videos or actually shot even a full sized 28" barrel Mosin Nagant under dark or cloudy conditions, you know how much of an otherworldly superfireball comes out of the end of it. Imagine that huge fireball coming from the cutdown pistol! I suspect it would be a stout deterrent  to any attacker.

Witness here an example of one of these homemade Russian pistolas, The Obrez.

Picture from

Picture from
Here's another more modern day adaptation. Note the grip on this modified gun is more of a straight grip than a pistol grip on the one shown above and a longer barrel.

Picture from
The above picture appears in a thread on this forum that features one poster who has a nifty design that says:

"OBREZ When you need to put a fist sized hole in someone at less than 10 feet and set their clothes on fire at the same time, accept no substitute."

For me, I'd like a green daylight laser mounted up front on the bottom of the barrel to aid in good shooting from the hip.  Again, it's a potent round, and you can literally blow the hell out of something with it. I recently saw a waterlogged tree floating in a big ole' Texas River (The Mighty Brazos) literally get blown in half as it floated past  an elevated shooter with a $100 unmodified 91/30 with the 28" barrel.

I also wonder if the stock could structurally handle being cut down so that a Pachmayr or Hogue pistol grip off of a revolver could be fitted to it. My initial thought was to obtain a S&W N frame actual steel pistol grip from a parts gun, and weld it to the receiver of the 91/30, and then use a Pachmayr or Hogue grip on the transplanted frame and this still may be the best plan.

Another thought would be to replace the grip using an SKS or AK grip attached so that it was perpendicular to the receiver. Like a regular AK. Get the grip frame attachment portion off of an
AK or SKS and weld that sucker to the receiver of the 91/30, then any number of kinds of more vertical (as opposed to straight back or pistol grip) could be used.

The more I think about it, the more I think that no matter how ungainly or unconventional the more straight back horizontal grip of the standard 91/30 looks when cut down, it may work in this case as function over form. Since there is no rear stock using the shooter's shoulder for support, it does put the wrist and arm of the right handed shooter in a different position than either shooting from the hip or shooting from an elevated position using the iron sights.

And speaking of the sights. Well, I'd get some of those high dollar sights that Wild West Guns in Alaska uses on it's Alaska Co-Pilot rifle installed when the barrel work was being done. Get the receiver tapped for a rail and put a great rear sight on the gun. A nice-to-do at that time also would be to have the gunsmith attach an AK scopemount to the left side of the receiver. This would facilitate the quick attachment/detachment of a red dot scope. You'd want, or at least I'd want, the scope mount to be high enough so as not to block the view of the iron sights.

Of course, the other modification you'd want to consider is the replacement of the bolt handle. The straight bolt handle would not work with some optics, and the stock straight handle is replaced with a bent handle that works with a scope positioned in the traditional rearward location.

The original sights are not that bad, particularly the front sight, but the rear sight is not my favorite. There is a certain cool about an adjustable rear sight that goes to 1000 meters, and apparently there is documented examples of these high powered full barreled guns hitting the target at that distance. So even with a pistol version of this gun, you've got the strong possibility of having a  handgun that can shoot several hundred yards with a dang good degree of accuracy, not to mention sheer power.

So replacing the sights, and maybe even mounting a rail so that very cool rear sights could be used and interchanged. 

There was another web page I read about a fellow who didn't want to pay the Federal tax to cut his 91/30 into a pistol, so he opted to make his into one of the shorter, legal rifles. He left his barrel at 16.5 and cut it so that he was well over the minimum length in his state for a rifle. He put a bipod on it and the gunsmtth who cut the barrel to 16.5" said it was like a high powered Remington XP-100, while it's owner compared it to a Super Thompson Contender. I can't find that link right now but if I do I'll post it.

So it'd be a fun gun to have and to shoot, and to shoot cheaply. With great power. With a laser attached, you could hit a hog or a good sized snake with ease at some distance, and with lots of knockdown power.

And a good bit of flame.