2020 was a year that opened people’s eyes to many things, not all of them good. But certainly, one of the best was the consumer demand for more platforms chambered in the increasingly popular 5.7x28mm NATO. Ruger really set the trend by debuting their Ruger-57 at SHOT Show in 2020

For years, FN had been the “king of the castle” with the PS90 carbine and the Five-seveN pistol. But Ruger was offering an affordable alternative to the traditional FN pairing. Although excitement was high at SHOT Show, I don’t think anyone expected sales to blow the doors off like they have.

ruger 57 close up image
Ruger proved there was a large consumer demand for the 5.7x28mm round in 2020 with the release of the Ruger 57. (Photo: Seth Rodgers/Guns.com)

The Ruger-57 was one of the hottest-selling pistols of 2020, making the top 10 for pistols sold in 2020 at Guns.com. All year, I watched as the pistols would sell out as soon as we’d get them into the warehouse. When I got a call telling me there was one available with my name on it, I was pretty stoked. So let’s dive into how I enjoyed this new pistol from Ruger.

Unboxing & Review Combo

The recent introduction of the Ruger-57, along with platforms being offered from Diamondback, CMMG, and most recently Kel-Tec, has caused an unprecedented spike in ammo demand. Due to this being 2021, leaving us still in the center of Ammogeddon, this wasn’t a cheap review. 

For much of the early part of 2021, 5.7 NATO was well above $2 a round. This isn’t an in-depth review of the gun, but really more of an unboxing and initial thoughts on the pistol. That being said, I did put around 250 rounds through this handgun. We’ll get to the shooting in a minute. First, let’s talk about ergonomics. 

How Does the Gun Feel and Function

The gun is large, with a 20+1 capacity, it fills the hand nicely and leaves plenty of room for the support hand to get a good purchase on the firearm. The grip texture is nice and runs in-line with many other modern Ruger handguns. It’s minimal in size, but it still has a positive texture to it. The grip texture covers enough of the grip to get a good purchase, and it adheres well to the hand when firing. 

The gun features an external safety, which is similar to your classic 1911-style safety. It’s easy to use and actuate with minimal effort. The gun also features nice serrations both at the rear and front of the slide.

ruger 57 close up sight view
Slide serrations were aggressive enough to get the job done and appreciated on both the front and back of the slide. (Photo: Seth Rodgers/Guns.com)

Speaking of the slide, there is a lightening cut on the top of the slide that cuts down the total weight of the gun and should help in recoil control. The addition of the lightening cut is interesting for this pistol. The 5.7 NATO round isn’t a heavy-recoiling round, and the gun isn’t necessarily heavy for what it is. To me, the lightening cut is an invitation that could get more dirt and debris into the action of the gun. 

ruger 57 close up top view
A nice long sight radius on the gun made for easy shooting. (Photo: Seth Rodgers/Guns.com)

However, the lightning cut does look pretty cool. Maybe it was added more for aesthetics than the actual function of the pistol. All the controls work fine, but I would give a slight knock on the mag release. It feels recessed into the frame and isn’t overly large. These two factors make it a bit difficult to reach for and actuate the release. I felt I had to significantly change my grip in order to drop the mag, which drops free with no issues.


  • Overall length: 8.65 inches
  • Barrel length: 4.94 inches
  • Width: 1.2 inches
  • Height: 5.6 inches
  • Weight: 24.5 ounces
  • MSRP: $799

On the Range

On the range, the Ruger-57 performed alright. There were a handful a malfunctions that were a bit concerning. These malfunctions were failures to feed and most of them were cleared with a simple tap, rack, roll. I did have a couple malfunctions that required me to remove the mag in order to clear the issue. All of my test ammo that was cycled through the gun was Speer Gold Dot, so it was a reputable brand of ammo that I wouldn’t suspect would cause these issues, though I could be wrong. Different ammunition would be needed for further review on this gun to confirm. 

Other than the malfunctions, the gun ran fine and was a lot of fun to shoot. As mentioned above, the 5.7 NATO round is low recoiling, and I found the gun shot flat and stayed flat during strings of rapid fire. It was a joy to shoot during rapid fire, making me wish more than 20 rounds came in a mag.

ruger 57 with gun case and ammo box
While some would scoff at this grouping at 25 feet, the author considers it pretty good for himself. (Photo: Seth Rodgers/Guns.com)

The trigger is nice, but it’s probably not going to win any awards. Still, it’s certainly good enough to get the job done. It features a little squish on the uptake, but then has a nice clean break and a tactile and audible reset. The trigger also features an integrated safety as well. 

Up top, the gun features really nice sights. The front fiber-optic front sight is really bright and pops when it’s on target. The gun points well naturally, which contributes to the enjoyment in shooting it.

How This Guns Fits In

The gun certainly has a place, but if you’re rushing out to buy a defensive gun chambered in 5.7 NATO, I would caution against the Ruger-57 simply because of some of the malfunctions I encountered. Where I see this gun fitting in best is either as a really fun range gun or as a small-game hunting handgun. The ability to add an optic to the top is enticing for would-be handgun hunters, and the zippiness of the 5.7 NATO round should be more than enough to take down most small to medium sized varmints. 


Overall, I had a really great time taking the Ruger-57 to the range. I would love to take this gun to the range and put a mag or two through it every time I go. Ruger has proven there is a consumer demand in the 5.7 NATO chambering, and I suspect this will be a top seller for them for years to come. The flat-shooting, low-recoiling pistol comes in as an affordable alternative to the FN Five-seveN. 

revolver barrel loading graphic