The 5.7x28mm has a small and dedicated following, but a lot of people are missing out on the advantages of this cool and surprisingly effective little handgun round for various reasons. The introduction of the excellent Ruger-57 might help you decide that now is the time to take the plunge!
The Ruger-57 is a 1911-sized, 5.7x28mm, self-defense-capable pistol built on an ergonomic high-performance glass-filled nylon grip frame with molded-in texturing. Its grip is smaller than that of the FN Five-seveN, making it more user-friendly for those with smaller hands. The smaller grip was accomplished by using all-steel construction for the 20-round magazines rather than bulkier polymer.
The 57 uses Ruger’s Secure Action internal hammer operating mechanism. Shooting safety is ensured by not only the automatic trigger lever safety but also the addition of ambidextrous extended 1911-style manual safety levers. One can carry the Ruger-57 safely without the manual safety engaged if so desired or add an extra layer of security by engaging it. Issue one solved!
Ruger-57 Specifications and Features
Weight: 24.5 ounces
Barrel Length: 4.94 inches
Overall Length: 8.65 inches
Overall Height: 5.65 inches
Barrel Material/Finish: Alloy steel/black nitride
Frame: Glass-filled nylon with molded-in Picatinny-style rail
Slide Material/Finish/Features: Alloy steel/black oxide/front and rear cocking serrations
Magazine Release: Reversible
Sights: Fiber-optic front/Plain black, fully adjustable rear
Magazine Capacity: 20-round standard/10-round state-compliant/two magazines included
At the Range
Firing the Ruger-57 is a lot of fun. There is a serious impression of power being delivered downrange — certainly enough for self-defense — and without distracting recoil. The 5.7×28 is not a .22 LR or a .22 Magnum. The bullet performance is entirely different than what can be achieved with either rimfire round. The 5.7×28 loads using 27- or 28-grain bullets reach speeds of more than 2,000 feet per second from a handgun, and these lightweight bullets tend to produce significant yaw.
My initial test of the Ruger-57 was quick and designed to get an overall feel for the new gun. I used FN’s SS197SR 40-grain Hornady V-Max Sporting Round (which performs like the Winchester 9mm 127-grain +P Ranger in ballistic medium) and the 27-grain SS195LF (lead-free) hollow-point for initial testing. Both rounds functioned flawlessly through the Ruger-57.
Loading the 57 magazines is like loading AR magazines. The bottlenecked rounds push straight down from the top, and I had no problem loading them to capacity. Because of the bottlenecked profile, the rounds chamber and feed smoothly and reliably. Both loads shot a bit low for me at distances ranging from 21 to 50 feet but grouped well. I raised the rear sight three clicks to remedy that. The trigger pull is very crisp with a short take-up, which helped me fire groups in the 3- to 5-inch range at the varying distances from which I shot. I’d prefer a Tritium front sight with a vivid outline, such as the F8 sight from XS Sights or a Tritium fiber-optic combination, rather than the plain fiber optics with which the 57 comes equipped. Hopefully, there will be more sight options in the future. A separately purchased accessory-mounting plate is available for the mounting of various optics.
Summing Up the Ruger-57
I really like the Ruger-57 and am grateful the company decided to build it! I feel that the Ruger-57 is potentially a great church security or school resource officer handgun due to its high capacity, low recoil, low profile and flat shooting capability at long range. These same qualities also make the Ruger-57 an outstanding option for home/property defense, varmint/predator hunting, or emergencies. The Ruger-57 would also excel in a vehicle while you’re traveling or on vacation for jurisdictions that permit 20-round magazines. (Pre-check legality for your final destination and pass-through jurisdictions before you travel.)
The Ruger-57 has an MSRP of $799, putting a 5.7 pistol within reach of the average shooting public. DeSantis has a new DS thermo plastic paddle holster with adjustable cant for the 57 that accommodates an optic. MSRP is $48.95, and it is available through ShopRuger.com or the DeSantis website, with additional leather holster options available as well. More demand for the 5.7x28mm round will drive the cost down and increase ammo distribution. Watch for in-depth ballistic testing of several different 5.7x28mm rounds in an upcoming post. You will be impressed with its performance.
About Scott W. Wagner
Scott W. Wagner is a criminal justice professor and police academy commander from Columbus, Ohio. He has been a police officer since 1980, working as an undercover liquor investigator, undercover narcotics investigator, patrol officer, SWAT team member, sniper and assistant team leader. Scott is currently a patrol sergeant with the Village of Baltimore, Ohio, Police Department. He has been a police firearms instructor since 1986 and is certified to instruct revolver, semi-automatic pistol, shotgun, semi- and fully automatic patrol rifle, and submachine gun.