Until recently, when the Ruger-57 started shipping in January of 2020, the FN Five-seveN was the undisputed pistol king of the 5.7 NATO caliber. Nothing else could even compare because, quite frankly, there wasn’t much to compare it to. Then Ruger came out with their new offering, and we’ve since seen 5.7x28mm firearms rolled out from both KelTec and Diamondback.
Luckily, I had a chance to test both the Ruger-57 and the FN Five-seveN in a side-by-side range test. There were certainly things I liked about each of them, and there were also a few surprises I found as well. That said, let’s dive into how these two firearms compare to each other.
Ergonomics and Specs
For starters, both of these guns fit my hands really well. It’s not surprising. The longer cartridge of the 5.7mm creates a grip that has ample room for support hand placement on both of these pistols. The Ruger-57 features a lightly textured grip, which works well enough. I never felt as if the gun was going to slip out of my hand. But in terms of grip texture, the Five-seveN wins hands down. That is if you like aggressive grip texture, which the Five-seveN certainly has.
When speaking of controls and ease of access, I’m going to have to give a nod to the FN once again. All the controls are very conveniently located and easily accessible with a single hand. The oversized mag release and intuitive safety are certainly appreciated.
While I had no trouble accessing the trigger or the safety on the Ruger-57, the mag release seemed to give me a few issues. For starters, the mag release is too far for my thumb to reach it without adjusting my grip, and the mag release button itself is quite small. Couple all of this with the fact that the mag release is also slightly recessed, and you have a control that is more difficult to use than I would prefer.
Slide serrations should be noted here as well. While the FN has a very nice and aggressive grip texture, they seemingly overlooked that on the slide serrations. We are getting to the point where we’re seeing more aggressive slide serrations from companies, and it would have been nice to have a little more to work with here. Ruger did a better job with more aggressive slide serrations, but it’s nothing to write home about. Granted, both should be enough to get the job done if you’re training with your gun.
The guns are also similar in height, capacity, and a few other areas. See how their specs stack up below.
Getting on Target
One of the biggest differences between these two guns are the stock sights. FN offers a set of adjustable raised sights, which I found a bit difficult to work with at times. On the other hand, Ruger offers an adjustable rear sight with a fiber-optic front post. I found I could pick up the Ruger sights on the range very quickly, and I was able to keep it on target even during rapid fire. Overall, the nod would have to go to Ruger for having far superior sights out of the box.
The Ruger also comes drilled and tapped for a dot sight, which makes sense given that it is a much more recent release. While there are third-party services that will get your FN optics ready, we haven’t tried them. Either way, I’ll give a nod to the Ruger again for this inclusion.
Overall, I shot the Ruger-57 a little better, something I partially attribute to the sights. However, sights alone weren’t the only reason I shot the Ruger better, I’ll attribute the other part to …
Let me start out by saying that I like both of these triggers very much, but it wasn’t a love story from the beginning with the FN. The Five-seveN trigger was one I had to take on a few dates, get to know a little better, and come to understand that we both enjoy a calzone over a slice of pie before I could say that I truly started to like it. The Ruger, on the other hand, didn’t blow me away with how great it was, but out of the box it seemed to agree with me a little more.
They both have some mush to power through at the top of the trigger squeeze. Neither is gritty or gross, but the mush is there. Hitting the wall is where the biggest difference lies. I talked about the effort needed to break through the wall in my standalone review of the Five-seveN. But it becomes very pronounced when it’s side by side with the Ruger-57. That effort to break the wall is then reciprocated on the reset as the trigger almost “jumps” you back to the reset. The reset is nicer on the FN because the tactile feel is better for me than the Ruger.
It took me a few trips to the range to understand the intricacies of the FN trigger. However, once I figured it out, I really started to like it. But I can understand how someone who rents the gun once at a range could say that they didn’t like it. I will say that I liked the actual feel of the FN trigger better, too. FN decided to go with a grooved steel trigger, which is very wide and provides plenty of space for the meat on the pad of any trigger finger.
I found the trigger pull on the FN to be heavier. Yet both guns shot nice and flat, especially during strings of rapid-fire. I would be happy to take either for a trip to the range any day of the week.
The reliability is another area of separation between these two platforms. While I only ran a couple of hundred rounds of Speer Gold Dot through each gun, the FN ran flawlessly. The Ruger-57 had a handful of malfunctions, namely failures to feed.
Is this a deal-breaker? That depends on your use case for the gun and the type of ammo you plan on shooting. Ironically enough, I saw in some of the comments on the Ruger-57 review that FN-branded ammo runs best in it. Nonetheless, if you were planning on having one of these as a defensive pistol, I would nudge you toward choosing the FN due to the malfunctions I experienced with the Ruger.
A Note on Disassembly
A quick note on how each of these guns break down. Ruger claims that they have a toolless takedown method, but I found a little help from a punch went a long way when removing the pin. On the flip side, the FN does have a truly innovative and toolless take-down method. I found that it was probably the easiest gun I’ve ever broken down.
Internally, there’s a major and noticeable difference as well. Where the Ruger has a traditional guide rod and recoil spring assembly, the FN did something that was quite a bit different. The barrel of the gun is actually shrouded by the recoil spring. I found this to be a very interesting move, and maybe it’s helping the FN perform better in terms of reliability. However, I don’t think I can say one had less recoil than the other.
Depending on your needs, either one of these guns would be great to take home. The FN has the history and the “battle-proven” tag to back it up if you are looking for a defensive handgun. On the other hand, the Ruger-57 is optics-ready and comes with better sights for the standard plinker or handgun hunter. One thing is for certain, you’ll be happy to own either one, or both.