The first thing I thought when I saw the P50 is that it looks like a "Star Wars" gun, maybe something a Stormtrooper would carry. This initial though made me a bit skeptical though - is it practical? Well after shooting it, my answer is, ‘who cares!’ Its super fun!
Everyone should at least try the P50 once in their lives. It’s reliable, lightweight, low recoiling, accurate and you can pull the trigger 50 times. What’s not to like?
There are legitimate uses for this gun, and we will get to that later, but it’s also a downright great plinker. It feels like shooting a souped up .22 LR but you know it’s got a punch down range. I could shoot this gun forever.
I imagined myself doing a little executive protection with this gun, as you can see in the video. It was just Halloween, so I’m embracing it. Hip shooting is great. It’s very controllable.
The first thing I want to talk about is the ammo. 5.7x28mm was originally designed by FN as a replacement for the 9mm. It didn’t end up winning the contract to replace the 9mm, but the round, eventually, got adopted by NATO. Aesthetic-wise, it looks like a .223 shrunken down. It’s a bottleneck cartridge that pushes a small bullet very fast.
My Federal American Eagle ammo had a 40-grain bullet going around 1700 feet per second. A comparable American Eagle 9mm round fires a 115-grain projectile at around 1180 fps.
Is it better than the 9mm? Not really. It’s just different. The advantages are that it has increased magazine capacity, lower recoil, better body armor penetration, longer range, and reliability.
The biggest con in my opinion is the price. Since it’s not as popular as the 9mm, it is just more expensive to buy.
The next unique feature of the Keltec is the magazine. It uses the FN P90 magazine. This mag stores the rounds in-line with the barrel and action, but horizontally at a 90-degree offset to the bore axis. This system, and the fact at the 5.7 round is dimensionally thinner than most other pistol rounds, allows the magazine to hold 50 rounds.
The capacity is amazing, and I really liked the translucent material, so you always knew how many rounds you had left. I can see carrying and performing mag changes might be a little more cumbersome than traditional magazines, but with 50 rounds, how many mag changes will you be doing?
The gun mechanism itself is very simple. It’s a straight blowback design similar to most rimfire or pistol caliber carbines. There is not much that can go wrong. The ‘guts’ of the gun all ride above the magazine making for a very compact package for such a long barrel. 9.5-inch barrel in a 15-inch overall length. It’s also light at only 3-pounds.
It has a decent 3.5-pound trigger, ambidextrous AR-style charging handle and safety selector, Picatinny rail on top, and a short section for accessories on the bottom, and a threaded barrel for muzzle devices.
Accuracy and Reliability
10/10 in these two categories. The P50 was 100% reliable for me through 200 rounds, feasting on a steady diet of Federal American Eagle. The accuracy was impressive to boot. I was able to get one-hole groups at 20 yards shooting it off a sandbag.
Although there are small iron sights integrated into the top-mounted Picatinny rail, I put a Holosun 403 red dot on a riser on the P50. I think this pistol begs for a dot.
Because the barrel comes threaded 1/2x28tpi, I attached my Dead Air Odessa-9 9mm suppressor. It worked flawlessly. One note, there are many 22LR cans that are 5.7 rated.
The gun comes with a sling and two QD clips and there are 2 QD points on the gun. I found the sling setup was great for carrying it around and also helped stabilize the gun. It’s possible to shoot this pistol like a traditional pistol with both hands on the grip, but I didn’t find that the most stable. I like using the sling as a support. The sling ‘pulled’ against my body as my arms pushed the pistol forward.
What would really make the P50 sing though would be a stock or brace. Both Keltec and the aftermarket offer brace and stock options, though we didn’t have time to get to it for this review. Remember to check with your local laws to see what is legal for your state.
Coming back to reality, what are the uses for this gun. I think it’s a competitor to the FN P90, which was primarily designed as a Personal Defense Weapon (PDW) for the military. Basically, a PDW is a gun given to military non-frontline troops or support personnel to give them something more powerful than a handgun to defend themselves if they come into harm’s way.
An example would be a pilot who is shot down. They don’t really need or have space for a battle rifle, but they would need something with a lot of firepower to get them home safely.
Another obvious roll would be on an executive protection team. These individuals need a compact firearm to blend into their environment, but a lot of capability if danger rears its head.
As a civilian, neither of these two uses really applies to me. But as a civilian I also think it would be a great home defense gun. It has a powerful round and a form factor that would make it easy for anyone in the household to shoot. Traditional pistols take some training to become proficient and rifles can be too heavy for smaller users to operate. This gun is a nice hybrid.
With a stabilizer or stock, pest control or small game hunting would not be out of the question considering the accuracy of the gun.
Finally, I think everyone should consider trying to P50 simply because it’s so fun to shoot. This is a fantastic range toy. Anyone can shoot it and have fun with it. Lightweight, low recoiling with lots of ammo at your fingertips.