Ruger-57 Semi-Auto Pistol




Ruger-57 Semi-Auto Pistol-Looking for a pistol that’s just plain fun to shoot? The all new Ruger-57™ Semi-Auto Pistol, chambered in the fun-to-shoot 5.7x28mm centerfire round, is just what you’re looking for. Featuring an easy-reach trigger, 1911-style ambidextrous safety, and Secure Action™ fire control system, this handgun is ideal for new and seasoned shooters alike with minimal recoil and enhanced ergonomics. The billet steel slide and nitride-treated alloy steel barrel offer superior strength and wear resistance, ready to handle years of service. Plus, the slide is drilled and tapped for easy optics-mounting with an adapter plate (not included), making the Ruger-57 the ideal target, plinking, and even personal defense handgun that’s a blast to shoot.

Easy-reach trigger
1911-style ambidextrous safety
Reversible magazine release
Billet steel slide
Drilled and tapped for optics mounting (adapter not included)
Toolless takedown
Secure Action fire control
Ruger 57 Pistol Review

The new Ruger-57 looks to put a charge into the 5.7x28mm pistol market—and you know you want one.


You just can’t talk about the new Ruger-57 pistol without covering a little history, so let’s very briefly roll things back a couple decades. In 1990 FN developed the 5.7x28mm cartridge in conjunction with its select-fire P90 PDW, similar to what John Browning did with the .45 ACP and the 1911. With the P90, the FN engineers wanted to create a firearm for military and law enforcement that was easier to shoot than a traditional handgun and would penetrate soft body armor (dedicated armor-piercing ammo is not available commercially) but was substantially smaller and lighter than a traditional rifle.

Once the P90 was introduced, the engineers then started looking for alternate platforms for the interesting new cartridge. They ultimately realized that while it was long, the cartridge would still fit into the grip of a traditional handgun. Thus, in 1998, the FN Five-seveN pistol was born. buy Ruger-57 Semi-Auto Pistol

It’s taken more than 20 years for another major gun company to introduce a pistol chambered in this cartridge, but that day is finally here with the Ruger-57 (pronounced “five seven”).

The Ruger-57 looks a lot like a Security-9. It has an excellent trigger and a reversible magazine release. Tarr found the slide stop hard to use as a slide release.

Before we dive into the ballistics of the curious little 5.7x28mm cartridge, let’s look at the pistol itself. Externally, the Ruger-57 looks like a stretched Security-9, with a few unique features. This is a polymer-framed pistol, but it is not striker-fired. It is a single-action pistol with an internal hammer.

There is an ambidextrous 1911-style thumb safety that blocks the movement of the trigger: up for Safe, down for Fire. The safety can be engaged when the hammer is not cocked, and the long lever, while narrow, is easy to work with your thumb. There is also a safety lever on the trigger to prevent impact-related accidental discharges.

This pistol appears stretched because it sports a 4.94-inch barrel to get as much as possible out of the bottleneck high-velocity cartridge. Why 4.94 inches? Ruger says it’s because the slide has a recessed breech face, so the distance between the breech face in the slide and the tip of the barrel is actually 5.0 inches.

The 5.7x28mm cartridge (c.) flanked by a .223 Remington (l.) and a 9mm (r.). It is long for a pistol cartridge, but it’s narrow so the gun’s grip is still quite comfortable.

The slide is alloy steel with a black oxide finish. There is a lightening cut in the top of the slide, and aggressive cocking serrations front and back. The pistol has a relatively robust recoil spring. For its size, this pistol is surprisingly light. With an empty magazine in place, it weighs just 24.5 ounces.

The front sight is a tall steel post with a green fiber-optic insert. The rear sight is plain black and steel. It is fully adjustable for windage and elevation. Both sights are dovetailed into place.

As the FN Five-seveN is the only other traditional handgun on the market chambered in the 5.7x28mm cartridge, comparisons are unavoidable. One clear difference between these two pistols is the Ruger’s ability to mount a red dot. The Ruger’s slide forward of the rear sight is drilled and tapped for an optic adapter plate, available separately at Currently, the only plate available fits Burris and Vortex red dots. The magazine release is also reversible, whereas the FN pistol’s is not.

There’s a lightening cut in the top of the Ruger-57’s slide, aggressive forward serrations and a fiber-optic insert in the tall front sight.

This Ruger-57 is fed by 20-round magazines. The magazines have steel bodies and polymer base plates, and two are provided with the pistol. If you live in a state with magazine restrictions, Ruger sells a version of this pistol with 10-round magazines.

Because the 5.7x28mm cartridge is quite long, so is the grip of the pistol. However, the cartridge is also narrow, and the grip of this pistol is narrower than most double-stack 9mm handguns, so it doesn’t feel big in your hand. That said, most everyone will have to rotate the pistol in their hand to reach the magazine release. buy Ruger-57 Semi-Auto Pistol

The polymer frame has ample sections of moderately aggressive texturing, and you will not have to worry about it moving in your hand. At the front of the frame is a long, five-slot Picatinny-style rail for mounting lights or lasers.

Since this pistol’s introduction, the most common criticism I’ve heard is, “Great, Ruger’s introduced a pistol that no one was asking for.” My response to those complaints: What kind of firearm could you possibly want that Ruger isn’t already making?

Before developing this pistol, Ruger looked at the marketplace and tried to identify segments where it didn’t have a presence or where its products were under-represented. In examining the market, it realized there was only one handgun chambered for the 5.7x28mm cartridge, and it was far from inexpensive.

The slide forward of the rear sight is drilled and tapped for an optic adapter plate, which is available separately.

The first time I laid hands on, much less fired, an FN Five-seveN pistol, it was over a decade ago. I was surprised by two things: As light as the pistol was, felt recoil was less than that of a 9mm, and the pistol’s slide was polymer—well, steel wrapped with polymer, but still.

As “different” as the Ruger-57 looks, it still has a much more traditional handgun appearance than the FN, while having the same magazine capacity and being roughly half the cost. Suggested retail Ruger-57 price is $799. The current suggested retail for the FN Five-seveN is $1,435, and even though I suspect FN shortly will be quietly dropping the price of the Five-seveN, that’s still not even close.

Now to the caliber. The 5.7x28mm cartridge has a bottleneck design, which is uncommon when it comes to pistol cartridges. Think of it as a two-thirds-size .223 Remington and you’ll have a good idea of both its looks and its performance. For reference, overall length of a 9mm cartridge is 1.169 inches, a .45 ACP is 1.275 inches, and the 5.7x28mm has an overall length of 1.594 inches. A .223 Remington has an overall length of 2.26 inches.

Current 5.7x28mm loads offer bullets between 28 and 40 grains in weight, running between 1,650 and 2,000 fps out of a handgun-length barrel. Most 40-grain loads will do roughly 1,700 fps.

For this article I thought it would be appropriate to compare the 5.7x28mm cartridge to the two cartridges that are most similar in performance, the proprietary .22 TCM from Rock Island Armory and the .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire. With all of these cartridges, you are flinging a .22 caliber bullet downrange, and all of these cartridges have less recoil than what you normally find with traditional handgun cartridges. buy Ruger-57 Semi-Auto Pistol

The .22 TCM is meant for 1911-style guns, and it’s basically a very shortened .223 case loaded with truncated 39- or 40-grain bullets. Out of pistol-length barrels, 40-grain bullets will do more than 1,900 fps.

The .22 WMR is a long rimfire round originally designed for small game rifles, but numerous pistols have been chambered in this cartridge. Loads offer bullets between 30 and 50 grains. This cartridge performs better out of rifle-length barrels, but in handguns you can expect to send 30-grain bullets downrange approaching 1,600 fps.

In terms of power, the 5.7x28mm fits between the .22 TCM and .22 WMR. However, there are other considerations.

As I mentioned, the .22 TCM is a proprietary cartridge, and Armscor/Rock Island Armory is the only company making ammo for it, and there are currently only two loads offered. Ammo for the .22 WMR is made by a number of companies, can be found all over and is the least expensive of these three calibers.

Right now the number of makers of 5.7x28mm ammo is slim: Federal/Speer/American Eagle and Fiocchi (which also makes the FN-branded ammo). Together they offer about six loads, and none of it is inexpensive. However, with the introduction of this pistol, I wouldn’t be surprised to see new offerings and perhaps a new ammo company or two deciding to manufacture the 5.7x28mm—with a resulting drop in price. buy Ruger-57 Semi-Auto Pistol

I talked to a Hornady representative, and he said the company has thought about making 5.7x28mm ammo, but with only one expensive boutique pistol on the market chambered in the caliber, Hornady didn’t feel there would be enough sales to jump in. That has now changed, because if there is one thing Ruger is good at, it’s selling lots of guns.

Ruger’s tagline for the 57 is “Fun to shoot, cool to own.” The company is not pushing it toward one intended use or another; it is leaving that up to the consumer, which I think is a very smart move. It’s one of those pistols where you see it and say, “I don’t know what I’d do with it, but I want one.”

The clerks at my local gun store tell me that over the years they have had quite a few people come in wanting to get a pistol chambered in 5.7x28mm—because it’s cool and different and something that they can show off to their friends. However, the conversation usually ends when they find out that the ammo is hard to get and the pistol itself is priced well over $1,000.

Now they actually have an affordable alternative, and as I said, I’d be shocked if you don’t see at least one more major manufacturer begin producing ammo in this caliber.

Ballistically, it’s more than suitable for small game. Hornady’s V-Max bullets, available in several different 5.7x28mm loads, are designed to excel on small game. As a defensive pistol, you have merely to turn on your computer to hear the screeching of people proclaiming the 5.7x28mm cartridge is unsuitable for defensive use—never mind the fact that it was specifically designed for anti-personnel use. While the number of actual shootings involving this cartridge is low, it seems to have proven itself roughly as effective as a standard handgun round while providing less recoil, more magazine capacity, but more muzzle blast.

In ballistic gel block testing, these bullets, when fired out of handguns, vigorously fragment, and the bases penetrate 12 to 18 inches.

It’s not exactly sized for concealed carry, but then neither is a four-inch revolver, and people have been carrying those for a century. If I was carrying a pistol this size, I would prefer one chambered in 9mm, but if forced to choose between this pistol and a revolver, I would choose the Ruger-57 over the wheelgun every time, no matter the caliber of the revolver.

Why? The Ruger-57 points great and has a great trigger, low recoil and 20+1 capacity and promises 12 to 18 inches of penetration. The biggest downside to this caliber for defensive use is the inability of the small, light bullets to penetrate any sort of barrier like drywall and auto glass without breaking apart.

On my first trip to the range, I also brought along an AR pistol for testing. Without thinking, I started loading the Ruger’s magazine as if it was an AR mag, and that worked just fine. You don’t have to slide the cartridges in from the front; you can just push them down from the top.

Felt recoil, as I mentioned, is less than a 9mm but more than a .22. You will get more blast and, depending on the ammo, usually more flash than with a 9mm, but not the recoil.

It is fun to shoot and reminded me of a USPSA Open division pistol, the kind with a large compensator hanging off the end of the barrel. There’s a lot of noise and flash but not much muzzle rise or recoil. As fellow gun scribe Michael Bane says about this pistol, “You can run it like a stapler.” With the fully adjustable rear sight, it is no problem getting your rounds to hit exactly where you’re aiming. buy Ruger-57 Semi-Auto Pistol

One thing I discovered is it’s difficult to drop the slide on a loaded magazine using the slide stop. You’re better off just yanking the slide to the rear and letting it fly. Also, that 20-round magazine capacity is awesome. Start shooting, keep shooting, shoot some more, and eventually, probably before you get tired, the magazine will run out of ammo.

With great sights, a long sight radius and an excellent trigger, shooting this pistol accurately and at speed is easy, whether you’re hunting, plinking steel or training a new shooter. Currently, the only downsides are the availability of ammo and its cost. buy Ruger-57 Semi-Auto Pistol

The staff at my local gun store seems to have the following opinion on this pistol: They’re not sure what people are going to use them for, but they’re confident that they are going to sell a whole lot of them. I think they’re right.

Ruger 57 Pistol Specs

Type: Single-action semiauto

Caliber: 5.7x28mm

Capacity: 20

Barrel: 4.94 in. alloy

OAL/Height/Width: 8.65/5.6/1.2 in.

Weight: 24.5 oz.

Construction: Polymer frame, oxide-coated alloy steel slide

Sights: Fully adjustable rear, fiber-optic front

Trigger: 5.5 lb. pull (measured)

Safety: Trigger lever, manual thumb safety

Price: $799

Manufacturer: Ruger,

Gun Review: Ruger-57 5.7x28mm Pistol

For those who love to shoot, the Ruger-57 is a must. It features minimal recoil, and is a home run in the shootability category.


I heard the hype. Another company offering a new product chambering the 5.7x28mm. There hasn’t been a lot; the FN Five-­seveN, FN P90/PS90, and a few brands better known for making AR-­15s. FN’s pistol, introduced in 1998, is often what we think back to when the cartridge is mentioned, but here comes Ruger with a new handgun that no one asked for. buy Ruger-57 Semi-Auto Pistol

The patent for the Five-­seveN pistol was submitted in 1993, three years after the FN P90 submachine gun and 5.7mm cartridge were introduced. However, the Five-­seveN pistol was delayed internationally until 2000. Commercially, the U.S. market didn’t receive the semiautomatic PS90 and Five-­seveN until 2004, and by then a number of police agencies and special forces units in other parts of the world were already using variants of them.

Early loads of the 5.7mm round quickly put the cartridge and the partnership between FN and Federal, the exclusive distributor of FN’s private-­labeled ammunition, in the media’s crosshairs after the Brady Campaign noticed certain rounds could penetrate Level IIA Kevlar vests. Since, FN only offers 5.7 sporting rounds that won’t pierce armor to civilians such as the SS197R, a conventional jacketed lead-­core projectile with polymer tip. Two separate attempts by the Brady Campaign to ban the guns through Congress failed.

I can imagine that Ruger has a new-­product-launch calendar on the wall that they don’t tell anyone about. Shortly after FN’s patent on the Five-­seveN pistol expired, Ruger released its “57” pistol. To me, it looked average in pictures, but when it arrived at the local gun shop, I was surprised at how large the pistol is. I have large hands and it is a handful. It measures 8¾ inches front to rear and 5½ inches from top to bottom. Even for its size, the Ruger-­57 is relatively light. It weighs in at 1 pound, 13 ounces, when given a loaded 20-­round magazine.

Someone who has shot a pistol (including the FN Five-­seveN) obviously had input on the controls of the new Ruger-­57. I was glad to see that when handling the Ruger. Another exciting observation when I removed the 57 from its black box was that there were two 20-­round magazines inside. Pretty cool, but I had to think back and remember that the Five-­seveN also included an extra 20 rounder. Regardless, 20 rounds trumps 15, 17 rounds, or whatever, so if not having to reload as often is a consideration of yours in planning your self-­defense strategy or time at the range, the Ruger-­57 has that going for it. (Ruger’s mags are also made of steel and drop free on release.). buy Ruger-57 Semi-Auto Pistol

Control Freak

On the outside of the Ruger-­57, you will find the usual. Ruger’s safe-­minded Secure-­Action fire-­control system features a protected internal hammer resulting in a short-­stroke, double-­action trigger.

Internally, the Ruger-­57 was designed with a hammer-­fired action having a manual thumb safety that operates as a Model 1911’s. Flip up to engage the safety, and depress to fire. buy Ruger-57 Semi-Auto Pistol

Ambidextrous, extended thumb safety levers are on both sides of the Ruger-­57, and it operates as most thumb safeties on a Model 1911. (Up is safe, and down is fire.) As with most 1911s, the safety lever also interrupts the slide and prevents the shooter from pulling the slide to the rear with the safety engaged. I like this feature given that many of us have become used to shooting 1911-­type actions.

Speaking of 1911s, the original FN Five-seveN offered familiar handling thanks to sharing an 18-­degree grip angle with “Old Slabsides,” and the trait is carried over in the Ruger-­57. There isn’t a grip safety, thank goodness, but there is a trigger safety as you would see on many polymer-­framed guns these days. The slide-­release lever (or slide lock depending on what service school you went to), is also in the right place to allow the shooter to use with their thumb on the safety without interfering with the locking of the slide on the last round in the magazine.

Controls of the Ruger-­57 are intuitively located. The slide-­release lever is fenced in by the molded frame, while the takedown lever is low-­profile. Other controls are pronounced for easy reach.

I mentioned that the grip is rather large, measuring a touch over 2 inches front to rear, but the texture on all sides of the grip makes the pistol very controllable. This texture also makes the lower receiver pretty sexy, if you are into beauty.

The front of the triggerguard has a hook at the bottom edge, not really there to serve a purpose in my opinion, but some may like the aesthetics. There is also a full-­length rail on the bottom of the dustcover, which is a nice effect for those who would like to add any-size pistol light or laser on the market. buy Ruger-57 Semi-Auto Pistol

Don’t call it plastic! Ruger indicates the grip frame is molded using a proprietary “glass-filled nylon” for increased strength and rigidity. The grip is evenly covered by a rough-­textured surface. buy Ruger-57 Semi-Auto Pistol

When you first see the Ruger-­57, some might think it was based on a large 1911, but once the takedown lever is pushed out and flipped clockwise, the guts tell a different story. The black-­nitride-­coated barrel looks dainty, but it’s an alloy steel. When you factor in that it only has to surround a 5.7mm bullet, it is plenty beefy. The barrel doesn’t tilt, and the slide is lightened with an elongated window cut lengthwise behind the front sight. This may offend some of the internet’s tacticians, but I thought the lighter-­weight slide was functional and attractive. The slide also sports front and rear cocking serrations as well as bull-­nose scallops at the front edge of the slide. buy Ruger-57 Semi-Auto Pistol

Inside of the trigger mechanism, I found an extremely small hammer that slaps a lightweight firing pin. The sear is neutrally balanced while possessing significant engagement and strong spring tension. This pistol looks and feels much more like a striker gun, but the hammer inside does cock and lock. There’s a hammer catch to help prevent the hammer from contacting the firing pin unless the trigger is pulled. When you use the trigger, it doesn’t cock and fire as you might expect. It’s ready to go more like a single-­action pistol that’s already in the fire position, which helps to explain its decent trigger feel.

To take the pistol apart, start by locking the slide to the rear and depressing the button on the right side of the gun, opposite the takedown lever, until it clicks. Ruger recommends using the basepad of the magazine as a tool for this step. Having released the takedown lever on the left side of the gun, it can now be rotated 90 degrees, clockwise. Next, the slide can be released and eased forward until the rear of the slide is off and just forward of the rear rails. At this point, the slide can be lifted up and off of the frame, and the captured spring assembly and barrel can be removed. The process is safe, requiring no trigger pulls, and reassembly is accomplished by reversing the steps.

The rear sight is adjustable for windage and elevation, but it requires a thin-­bladed flat-­head screwdriver tip.

I expected that I’d be comparing this pistol to a rimfire auto, but there isn’t any relation. The first few rounds from the Ruger-­57 told a story of a speed demon that launches Hornady’s 40-­grain V-­Max rounds at an average of 1,725 feet-­per-­second (fps). This is no .22 LR. buy Ruger-57 Semi-Auto Pistol

As I gathered bullet speeds for this report, I started to shoot groups on bullseyes. The pistol wasn’t as accurate as I anticipated, but in the end the accuracy was sufficient with both loads on hand averaging very near 2 inches at 25 yards. The FN-­labeled 40-­grainers with blue-­tipped Hornady V-­Max projectiles edged the new Federal 40-­grain full metal jacket (FMJ) load in accuracy. The FN load simply added 100 fps with speeds averaging 1,725 fps. (I can’t wait for Speer’s Gold Dot.)

No tools are required to fieldstrip the Ruger-­57. With the slide removed, the hammer-­fire assembly can be maintained.

The sights on the Ruger-­57 are fully adjustable at the rear. The front sight is a green fiber optic. I really liked the sights, but the green fiber is rather large for a pistol if you intend to shoot it for accuracy. The rear is serrated, and the front is quick to see.

I may have a problem because this pistol speaks “hunting” to me. The Ruger-­57 would be medicine for armadillos, badgers and ground hogs. The FN load with the Hornady V-­Max bullet traveling at 1,725 fps would simply devastate them.

If you are considering this pistol for self-­defense, I’d say that it is a home run in the shootability category. With minimal recoil (less than most 9mm pistols) and great capacity, the Ruger-­57 could be a great choice for those reasons. Penetration against two-­legged threats may be an issue given the small 40-­grain bullets, but 20 rounds of 5.7mm could change the course of violence against you. buy Ruger-57 Semi-Auto Pistol

The Ruger-57 retails for $799, which may seem steep for a pistol to many, but keep in mind that before it hit the market, the FN Five-­seveN it rivals was near $1,400 at the counter. Today, the Five-­seveN has been given a price adjustment, but owning that version will still set you back $1,199. The Ruger-­57 is well worth $800 in my mind, and it’s backed by Ruger. I look forward to sticking a small red dot on one and seeing how well it would shoot with a finer, crisper aiming point.

Ruger just made another highly desirable firearm for those of us who love to shoot. A Ruger-57 is a must; I don’t know why, but I gotta have one. It’s fun, easy to shoot and offers performance of the 5.7mm. Stand back and watch this.

Ruger-57 Specs

Type: Delayed blowback, hammer fired, semiautomatic
Cartridge: 5.7x28mm
Capacity: 20+1 rds.
Barrel: 4.94 in., 1:9-in. twist
Overall Length: 8.65 in.
Weight: 1 lb., 8.5 oz.
Grip: Glass-filled nylon, textured
Finish: Black nitride (steel)
Trigger: 4 lbs., 5 oz.
Sights: Fiber optic (front); adjustable notch (rear)
Safety: Firing pin block; trigger lever; thumb lever
MSRP: $799
Manufacturer: Ruger, 336-949-5200,


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