Could Ruger’s new pistol make the high-velocity 5.7 round more popular?

Ruger decided to cap off 2019, the company’s 70th year of operation, with a bang by unveiling its latest product, which is bound to make waves on the consumer market.

Dubbed the Ruger-57, the company simply describes it on its official site as “just plain cool," but this new pistol could very well find itself earning a considerably higher status than just being a cool piece or an occasional range gun.

As its name suggests, Ruger’s newest offering is chambered for the niche 5.7x28 mm cartridge, which has seen muted success among civilian gun owners due to the higher cost of ammunition in comparison to other more popular calibers, especially 9x19 mm.

Read More: What happened to FN’s wonder pistol — the Five-seveN?

Originally developed for Fabrique Nationale’s P90 personal defense weapon as part of a NATO initiative, 5.7mm was quickly ported over to another FN product, the Five-seveN pistol, which sought to replace 9 mm guns as the standard military sidearm of NATO member nations.

Photo Ruger
Photo Ruger

The 5.7mm round presented shooters with barely noticeable (and extremely manageable) recoil, as well as a high velocity round that could hit targets with enviable accuracy at longer ranges.

Though NATO ended the initiative without adopting the new cartridge or FN’s mini-beast of a pistol, the Belgian arms giant moved over to the civilian market, where its wonder-child futuristic pistol gained a cult following but not widespread acceptance unlike products from Glock, Sig Sauer, and Smith & Wesson.

For years, the Five-seveN was the only mainstream pistol on the market designed to field the 5.7mm round, and due to the lofty retail value of these guns, buyer interest was limited and the price of ammunition for this gun remained high for lack of demand.

Now, Ruger has hit the market with a single-action hammer-fired 5.7mm gun of its own.

Photo Ruger
Photo Ruger

Built around a high-performance Glass-Filled Nylon frame with a black oxide-coated alloy steel slide, Ruger’s pistol at first glance deceivingly looks like any other pistol on the market today.

However, it’s anything but your average gun.

Featuring a 4.94-inch barrel, the Ruger-57 feeds from a 20 round magazine similar to the Five-seveN. The gun makes use of an ambidextrous 1911-style frame-mounted safety, and end-users can reverse the magazine release to either side of the frame depending on preference.

The pistol’s slide comes pre-drilled and tapped so that shooters can mount optics (requiring a separate adapter plate from Ruger) including Trijicon’s popular RMR. As with the Five-seveN, the Ruger-57′s rear sight is adjustable for windage and elevation due to the ballistics of the 5.7 mm round.

Photo Ruger via screen grab
Photo Ruger via screen grab

Unlike the Five-seveN, the Ruger-57 uses steel magazines (the product ships with two). The gun also comes with an under-barrel rail to mount a light or a laser.

Also unlike the Five-seveN, the Ruger-57 boasts one key selling point that its immediate and only competitor cannot — affordability.

With an MSRP of $799.00, but retailing for as low as $600 via some dealers, the Ruger-57 is well under half the general retail value of the Five-seveN which usually clocks in at or above a whopping $1,300.

Though ammunition will likely remain expensive for a while longer, this is a 5.7mm pistol selling for Glock or Sig prices, presenting a huge challenge to the established manufacturer of 5.7mm guns, i.e. FN.

Could this be the gun that manages to force FN to drive down the price of the Five-seveN to make it more competitive, and make the 5.7mm round more popular among civilian shooters?