Police Warn Of Gun Capable Of Piercing Bulletproof Vests

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by E.L., Feb 25, 2006.

  1. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member


    Police Warn Of Gun Capable Of Piercing Bulletproof Vests

    POSTED: 10:47 am EST February 18, 2006
    UPDATED: 9:16 am EST February 19, 2006

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    BOSTON -- The Boston Police Department has issued a safety alert to officers warning of a new gun found on city streets whose bullets can pierce some police vests.

    The weapon, called a FN Five-Seven Handgun, fires bullets at such a high speed, they can punch through a bulletproof vest, according to the safety alert obtained by The Boston Globe.

    The gun's appearance on Boston streets was discovered last week, when two men were shot with it in separate incidents. It was unclear if the same gun was used in each episode.

    "These aren't recreational weapons," Police Commissioner Kathleen M. O'Toole said. "This is an example of a gun designed to kill people."

    The weapon was first sold in the U.S. in early 2004. It began appearing in cities nationwide later that year, and the federal Department of Homeland Security sent out a warning about the gun and ammunition.

    The gun is sold to the public, as well as military and law enforcement. The bullets sold to the public, however, do not have an armor-piercing tip and are designed to fragment upon impact, making them less powerful than those sold to the military and law enforcement. Those have a steel-hardened tip, making them able to penetrate thicker body armor.

    Company officials defend the gun and say that when used with the ammunition that is sold to the public, it is similar to other handguns on the market.

    Rick DeMilt, director of sales and marketing for FNH-USA, the U.S. subsidiary of FN Herstal, said the gun found by Boston police is sold for sporting purposes, such as hunting and competitive sports shooting. It is unclear which kind of ammunition was found by Boston police.
  2. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    FN's Five-seveN® Pistol
    The First of a New Generation
    In 1935, the FN-made Browning Hi Power was revolutionary. The market quickly adopted this high-capacity 9mm pistol accordingly, and it has since been fielded by over 100 countries.
    FN's newest contribution the handgun's evolution is named the Five-seveN®. This 20-round pistol fires a 5.7mm bullet that will defeat most body armor in military service around the world today. Essentially, the Five-seveN® represents a quantum leap forward in the handgun's suitablity for close engagements by delivering the type of performance that was previously confined to rifles or carbines. Elements of this performance include:

    High magazine capacity: The Five-seveN® comes standard with 20-round magazine.

    High stopping power: The Five-seveN® fires the 5.7x28mm SS190 Ball round which reliably penetrates Kevlar helmets and vests as well as CRISAT protection.

    High hit probability: The Five-seveN's® extremely low recoil impulse results in virtually no muzzle climb, thereby facilitating fast and controllable follow-up shots.

    Yet, the Five-seveN® is:

    Light and ergonomic: Weighing 30% less than most 9mm pistols, the smoothly-contoured Five-seveN® is comfortable to carry and quick to deploy.

    Fully safe: Due to its double-action firing mechanism, the Five-seveN® offers no inherent risk of accidental discharge during transportation. Furthermore, all of its safety devices are automatically reengaged following each firing cycle.

    The Five-seveN® fires the SS190 5.7x28mm ball round. This projectile will perforate any individual protection on today's battlefield including the PASGT kevlar helmet, 48 layers of kevlar body armor and the CRISAT target (titanium and kevlar). The SS190's conventional design allows it to be manufactured on existing production lines, and its lead-free composition eliminates range contamination.

    Five-seveN® Technical Specifications

    Caliber 5.7x28mm
    Operating principle Delayed blowback
    Trigger mechanism Double action only
    Magazine capacity 20 rounds
    Overall length 208mm (8.2 in)
    Barrel length 122.5mm (4.82 in)
    Weight, unloaded 618g (1.36 lb)
    Weight, loaded 744g (1.64 lb)

  3. Valkman

    Valkman Knifemaker Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I kinda want one, although they really aren't good for much. My neighbor has one and I would like to shoot it, but if I can ever work a trade I'll get one. Ammo is the problem as you can't reload for it yet.
  4. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    That's my issue with it.
  5. 155gunner

    155gunner Monkey+++ Founding Member

    The 5.7x28mm SS190 Ball is not for sale to us lowly civilians, only to LE or military. I think we are only allowed the HP, which will not penetrate kevlar. I would buy one if I could get the ball ammo.
  6. sniper-66

    sniper-66 Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    WOW! A gun designed to kill people! :eek:
  7. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Imagine that.
  8. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Wrong. It fires Rifle caliber bullets of which almost all will pierce a vest.
    Damn media fools
  9. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    They are all idiots. Even the reporter from the Tyler paper couldn't get his crap right. He said "commando rifle" and of course the dreaded "15 round revolver". Twice!
  10. sniper-66

    sniper-66 Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Isn't this one of the rounds that the P-90 will fire?
  11. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    I dunno Sniper. I only saw it in the 5n7 version. Pistol with a rifle round that was created initially for LEOs fighting Vested bad guys. They didn't buy it so FN started selling it to Us.
  12. BRONZ

    BRONZ Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    yes, funnying looking as it is...
  13. sniper-66

    sniper-66 Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Just watched Stargate Atlantis and sure enough, I just saw a magazine full of em. I wouldn't mind having a P90 in one!
  14. ghostrider

    ghostrider Resident Poltergeist Founding Member

    Yes, the P-90 uses the 5.7
  15. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Hey Bronz, welcome back!
  16. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

  17. magnus392

    magnus392 Field Marshall Mags Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I have heard dissappointing range reports from a few of the F&N boards. Here is the P-90


    Since its introduction on the world arms market in the late 20th century, FN Herstal's P90 PDW (Personal Defense Weapon) has had a number of enhancements made to it, none major but all significant. The look of the gun, which sets it apart from all other small arms, remains unchanged and complements the concept of the weapon. This compact but full-powered weapon was designed primarily for military personnel including communications specialists, drivers, medical workers and others who function in tight quarters that do not lend themselves to even abbreviated rifles. It's interesting to note that FN coined the term PDW, and that it has been picked up by several other world-class arms manufacturers who have adapted their existing weapons systems to present a gun in this category.

    The horizons of the P90 have been expanded considerably now, however, in that it is considered appropriate for anti-terrorist actions, rescue missions, VIP protection and other military special operations. In some of these instances it might be considered as a primary weapon when actions are anticipated to be within 200 meters. By design, the P90 is one of the most ergonomic guns in the world. The extensive use of composite materials contributes to the light weight of the weapon system, and the balance of the gun, whether used by a left- or right-handed shooter, is not compromised. There is no buttstock as such to be extended or attached before deployment, and the P90 can be quickly shouldered for action. The rounded corners and edges of the P90 cannot cut or abrade the shooter, or foul his other equipment or snag on vegetation, and there's ample easy access to the trigger even wearing arctic or NBC gloves.

    The mechanism of the P90 is quite simple, and without tools the gun breaks down for field stripping into three major assemblies, in addition to the magazine, in about five seconds. The P90 features a blow-back mechanism and fires from a closed breech (which is protected from extreme environments), thereby combining the reliability of the most simple operating system with the accuracy potentials of a full-size weapon. Other details indicate that the PDW needs little or no lubrication, the full-automatic cyclic rate is in the 900rpm range and the gun is capable of firing more than 20,000 rounds before needing any maintainance.

    The P90 feeds from a proprietary magazine system designed by FN. The box magazine itself is a see-through, highly resistant polycarbonate that contains 50 rounds of FN's 5.7x28mm ammunition, the only chambering available for the P90. The ammunition is loaded bullets-left into the magazine which is then mounted on the gun on top of the barrel so there is no protrusion as is found on all other weapons systems that do not completely house their magazines. The gun and magazine work together in having the cartridges rotate inside the magazine before being fed into the weapon. Although this sounds less than reassuring, the system has tested reliable over the years.

    The enhancements to the original P-90 system are, for the most part, sighting accommodations. The standard arrangement for the P90 is an integrated optical sight with no magnification. The gun can be fitted with a standard NATO sight base that accommodates a wide variety of day and night sights to answer any mission requirements. A laser target designator can be fully integrated into the receiver without affecting the shape, balance or ergonomics of the P90. There are two types of laser systems available for the P90. A red dot visible to the eye under normal and low-light conditions is recommended for conventional situations. When maximum discretion is desired, an IR system can be used, but this requires the user to have night vision equipment to see the dot. In concert with the maximum discretion concept, the P90 can be fitted with a variety of muzzle suppressors.

    Military organizations have struggled for generations with two frequently overlapping problems: (1) how to arm troops whose primary mission is something other than the use of small arms; and (2) how to arm troops who need compact firepower for conducting special operations. A remarkable array of pistols, submachine guns and carbines have been fielded over the years in an attempt to give people such as vehicle drivers, operators of crew-served weapons, support personnel and special operators a weapon with the optimum mix of compact size, hit probability, sustained firepower and terminal ballistics. Recent decades have also seen a similar quest in law enforcement to provide superior sidearms and auxiliary weapons for officers facing a changing tactical environment. The result is that sidearms, submachine guns and carbines developed for the aforementioned special military needs have become widely used tools within law enforcement. One of the most provocative attempts to solve the common requirements of both the military and law enforcement is the select-fire P90 Personal Defense Weapon designed and manufactured by Fabrique National Herstal SA of Belgium.

    One aspect of the changing tactical environment faced by both the military and law enforcement is that an armed opponent may be wearing body armor. In the late 1970s, the former Soviet Union was the first major power to develop a new class of pistol cartridge, the 5.45x18mm PMT, which was designed to penetrate standard body armor with ease, with the ancillary benefits of improving hit probability and minimizing recoil. Developed by Aleksandr Bochkin in 1979, the bottle-necked cartridge appears to be a scaled-down version of the 5.45x39mm rifle round adopted by the Soviets in 1974 for the AK-74 assault rifle. The Soviets developed a new pistol for the new 5.45x18mm round called the Pistolet Samozaryadniy Malogabaritniy, the "Miniature Semiautomatic Pistol" or PSM for short. Designed by Tikkon Lashnev, Anatoliy Simarin and Lev Kulikov, the PSM superficially resembles a Walther PP pistol and will penetrate up to 55 layers of kevlar at realistic engagement distances. With a steel core projectile weighing 2.4-2.6 grams (37-41 grains, which is less than half the weight of the 9x18mm Makarov round it replaced), a muzzle velocity of 315 mps (1,033 fps) and a powder charge of 0.15 gram (2.3 grains), the 5.45x18mm PMT cartridge also provides a relatively flat trajectory and modest recoil. These qualities improve hit probability when troops of average skill use the PSM as a defensive weapon.

    Some NATO planners subsequently became concerned about the issue of body armor on the baftlefield and decided that the 9x19mm cartridge was now obsolete, since it wouldn't penetrate the body armor they imagined would become standard equipment for infantry troops. These NATO planners informally approached the small-arms industry about the possibility of developing a new class of cartridge to replace the 9x19mm NATO round for personal defense. Only two companies were willing to invest the substantial R&D funds on such a speculative venture; Fabrique Nationale of Belgium and Giat of France began the development of new bottle-neck cartridges in the mid-1980s.



    The two companies took somewhat different approaches. Giat concentrated on developing a new cartridge resembling a .30 Luger round necked down to .22 caliber, which they called the 5.7x22mm. Fabrique Nationale not only developed a larger round, the 5.7x28mm, but FN also developed a series of innovative weapons around the new cartridge: a select-fire bullpup weapon with a 50-round horizontal magazine on top of the receiver and an extremely accurate, lightweight (19 ounce), high capacity (20 round) pistol called the Five seven. FN publicly announced they were developing a personal defense weapon in 1989 which was scheduled for production 1990. Ironically, however, the P90 was not named for the year of its initial production, but rather for FN's "Project 9.0" which spawned it.

    When Giat became the parent company of Fabrique Nationale, Giat abandoned the 5.7x22mm project in favor of FN's more advanced project for several reasons. (1) FN's 5.7x28mm cartridge met all of the NATO requirements. And (2) Giat didn't have a weapon designed for its cartridge but FN had already developed the P90 for its new cartridge. The first public demonstration of the pistol subsequently took place in 1995, and an improved variant went into production in May 1998. The external ballistics provided by FN's 5.7x28mm cartridge are vastly superior to the performance provided by the Russian 5.45x18mm PMT cartridge. As of 1999, the P90 had been adopted by more than a dozen countries in limited numbers.

    With an overall length of just 50.0 cm, the P90 is considerably shorter than the 9x19mm H&K MP5 submachine gun or the 5.56x45mm Colt M4 carbine. The P90 weighs 2.5 kg with an empty magazine and 3.0 kg with a fully loaded 50-round magazine, which is similar to the weight of an MP5 with a 30-round magazine. The P90 is just 21.0 cm high with a magazine fitted to the weapon.


    The P90 features an optical reflex sight (with no magnification), and a three-position rotary selector beneath the trigger with positions marked "S" for Safe, "1" for semiautomatic and "A" for Automatic. When set on A, the selector provides a double-action trigger similar to the Steyr AUG. Pull the trigger back a little for semiautomatic fire and pull the trigger fully to the rear for full-auto fire. A cyclic rate of 900 rpm enables the operator to obtain two- or three-shot bursts. Shot dispersion remains remarkably tight, thanks in part to the fact that the 5.7x28mm cartridge has about one-third of the recoil impulse produced by the 5.56x45mm round used in the M16 family of weapons. Apparent recoil and shot dispersion are also mitigated by twin operating (recoil) springs and guide rods which, like the trigger, are reminiscent of the Steyr AUG. Sal Fanelli of FN Manufacturing Inc. puts on a particularly impressive demonstration, where he shot a 50-round burst of tracers into the center of mass in a Milpark target at 50 meters. His tightest 50-round burst to date measured 24 cm.

    Three rounds are available for the P90. The standard ball round, called the SS190, features an overall length of 40.5 mm, a projectile weight of 2.02 grams and a muzzle velocity of 715 mps. The SS190 projectile features steel core in front of an aluminum core toward the base. The bullet penetrates about 26 cm of 10 percent ballistic gelatin, according to testing conducted at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Academy in September 1997. The SS190 round will also penetrate 48 layers of Kevlar, the typical "Flak jacket" (including CRISAT protection, which is a combination of titanium and Kevlar) worn by infantry to protect them from shrapnel produced by exploding devices, or a standard PASGT (U.S. Kevlar) helmet at 150 meters, which is the effective range of the P90 Personal Defense Weapon. The weapon will still defeat Level 3 body armor at 200 meters. The "maximum effective range" using the NATO definition (the maximum range where a weapon's projectile will still deliver 85 joules on target) is 400 meters. Thus, according to NATO standards, the P90 is theoretically able to deliver a lethal wound on a protected target at 200m and an unprotected target at 400m if the round hits a vital area. It is found through practise that one should not engage targets beyond 150m with the standard SS190 round.

    The subsonic SB193 round used for this testing features a lead core boattail bullet with a projectile weight of 3.58 grams and a muzzle velocity of 304 mps as measured by a P.A.C.T MKIV timer/chronograph with MKV skyscreens set 61cm apart and the start screen 2.44m from the muzzle. A new subsonic round featuring a 5.0 gram projectile moving at the same velocity as the older subsonic round but no further details were available at press time. A tracer round designated the L191 is also available. The SS190 round weighs about half as much as a 9x19mm or 5.56x45mm round, so carrying a given amount of extra ammunition would be less burdensome for personnel already concerned with impedimenta. Conversely, special operators could carry twice as much ammunition for the same weight.

    Despite the fact that the P90 Personal Defense Weapon fires a bottle-necked cartridge, which looks something like a downsized .22 Hornet, the weapon fires using an unusual method of operation that might be described as a cross between the short recoil and simple Bergmann-Bayard straight blowback principles. Upon firing, the 26.3 cm barrel and bolt recoil rearward for about 0.76 mm, enabling the pressure in the barrel to drop to a safe level. When the barrel stops its rearward travel, the bolt continues rearward in straight blowback fashion. FN Herstal SA seems to have developed a unique flavor of delayed blowback operation. Unlike the typical submachine gun, however, the P90 fires from the closed bolt to maximize semiautomatic accuracy. Recoil is brisk but very smooth, and cycling is reliable thanks in part to an anti-bounce weight in the bolt, which is operated by one of the main operating (recoil) springs. Polymers are extensively used throughout the P90 to reduce both the weight and the cost of the weapon. The human engineering of the weapon is outstanding and ambidextrous.

    A variety of features enhance the ambidextrous qualities of the P90. Both sides of the weapon feature a charging handle, auxiliary fixed sights and a magazine release. The manual selector below the trigger can be operated from either side of the trigger. The stock and grips are symmetrical. And the weapon ejects downward, so lefties don't need to worry about hot brass in the face.

    One of the most interesting features of the P90, which helps make the weapon so compact, is the polycarbonate 50-round magazine that locks in place between the charging handles and the optical sight. The magazine features a follower with rollers and a constant-force spring that make loading a 50-round magazine easy instead of the usual thumb-busting exercise in frustration. But the most noteworthy aspect of the magazine design is that loading one cartridge forces the rounds under it to eventually rotate 90 degrees to the right so they can slide into a double stack of cartridges in the magazine body.

    This rotation occurs in stepwise fashion. The first round in the magazine sits in the magazine's feed lips at the 0 degree position (where it will be aligned with the chamber when the magazine is fitted to the weapon). Inserting a second cartridge forces the cartridge under it to rotate to 82 or 83 degrees from the bore angle. Adding another cartridge to the magazine pushes the original round to the 87 degree position. Adding a fourth cartridge forces the original Cartridge to the 90 degree position in the main body of the magazine. Thus, the cartridges go through a four-step process to become fully aligned in a double stack within the magazine.

    The optical sight is made from a solid piece of glass so there's no risk of nitrogen leaking and subsequent fogging in the field. It has two complementary reticle patterns for differing lighting conditions.

    A day reticle, which is projected into the sight from the front, features a circular reticle which I particularly like since it provides very rapid target acquisition throughout the effective range of the weapon. The reticle has several markings which complement each other. A very large circular reticle provides fast target acquisition at panic-close range, while a much smaller circle is optimized for target acquisition at 100 meters but works very well at closer ranges. A tiny dot inside the smallest circle can be used for maximum finesse; this dot lies 94 mm above the center of the bore.

    A low-light reticle, which is illuminated by a replaceable tritium cell, is projected into the optical sight from the rear. It is normally invisible in bright daylight conditions unless the sight is shaded by the brim of a large hat. A horizontal reticle runs across the center of the field from one side to the other, and a vertical reticle runs from the bottom of the field to the small circle. These lines form three legs of a traditional crosshair reticle, which can be quite useful inside dark buildings or during low-light operations outside. In those relatively rare lighting conditions where both the day and night reticles are visible, the sight picture is still uncluttered enough to provide rapid target acquisition. This is a very well-engineered optical sight.

    The manual selector is positive and quiet, but not as instinctive or fast as the selector on an MP5 submachine gun or M16-type weapon. Other safety features include a safety sear that holds the hammer until the bolt (which FN calls the breech block assembly) has fully closed behind the chamber, and an inertial safety that locks the sear if the weapon is dropped (solving a problem that caused substantial casualties during World War II). Unlike most submachine guns, the P90 is a very safe weapon to handle in the rough and tumble real world. The P90 also has a very high resistance to cook-offs following prolonged full-auto fire. Most end-users fielding this weapon carry a maximum ammunition load of 400 rounds, and the P90 demonstrated no cook-off problems when 400 rounds were dumped as rapidly as possible downrange.

    A final curiosity is that the design and materials of the P90 also make the weapon very easy to clean, a process that only takes about four minutes. This appeals to military SpecOps personnel, who tend to have a special affection for weapons that require a minimum of maintenance and, therefore, don't cut into their "Miller Time."


    Trigger: Double Action

    Rate of fire: Semi-automatic, Three round burst, Fully automatic

    Clip: 50 round 5.7mm x 22mm round

    Length: 50 centimeters

    Width: 5.5 centimeters

    Height: 21.0 centimeters

    Barrel length: 26.3 centimeters

    Weight fully loaded: 3.0 kilograms

    Muzzle velocity: 800 meters per second

    Maximum range: 250+ meters

    Maximum effective range: 175+ meters

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