The Versatility of the 5.7mm Rifle: From Hunting to Home Defense

Matt Johnson
Matt JohnsonPublished: October 17, 2023
The Versatility of the 5.7mm Rifle: From Hunting to Home Defense

The 5.7mm rifle is an old dog that has recently gained popularity due to its versatility and usefulness in various scenarios. Although it has been around for some time, it has recently caught the attention of hunters and gun enthusiasts, proving that it is more than just a regular rifle.

The 5.7mm rifle has a unique reputation, and this is because it can be used for hunting, home defense, and other purposes.

Bullet Weight27-38 grains
Muzzle Velocity2,100-3,100 ft/s
Effective Range200 meters
Cartridge Length40.5mm
Base Diameter7.95mm
Rim Diameter7.8mm
Case Capacity1.58 cm³
Maximum Pressure (CIP)345 MPa
These are some of the general specifications of the 5.7mm. Of course every manufacturer is different.

Do you think the 5.7mm is a perfect candidate for your use? Let's find out.


One of the primary uses of the 5.7mm rifle is hunting. Due to its accuracy, shooting precision, and range, the rifle has become a go-to choice for many hunters. In addition to the above features, the rifle has low recoil, making it easy to use and control when firing. 

We're not talking deer or other big game. The 5.7mm rifle is perfect for hunting small animals, such as rabbits and squirrels, but can also handle larger oafs like coyotes and hogs with a well-placed shot — sometimes multiple well-placed shots. Though, you probably won't get much beyond those in terms of larger wild game.

The rifle can also switch between full metal jacket (FMJ) and hollow point ammunition, making it suitable for taking down different types of prey. The FMJ ammunition is ideal for small game where penetration is key, while the hollow points are better suited for larger animals where stopping power is necessary. There are even some more exotic rounds such as the Elite T6.

Types of 5.7mm Ammo

Home defense.

The 5.7mm rifle can also be used as a weapon for home defense. Typically, when people think about home defense situations, the first weapon that comes to mind is a handgun. However, a rifle like the 5.7mm can be just as useful, if not more so than a handgun. In a home defense scenario, a rifle provides more precision and accuracy than a handgun, decreasing the risk of collateral damage.

Of course, with a weight of around 27-28 grain, the stopping power won't be as great as a 9mm or .45 caliber handgun. However, the rifle's low recoil and light weight make it easy to handle in close quarters, making it an excellent choice for home defense. You can easily pop off several more rounds without losing your target.

Is it ideal for home defense? No, but it can be effective in limited situations.

Law enforcement.

Frankly, we've never heard of an instance where law enforcement has used a 5.7mm rifle, but it is possible. However, the United States Secret Service and Federal Air Marshal service members use FN P90s chambered in 5.7 mm. So, while not exactly a traditional law enforcement situation, there are instances where this cartridge has been used in some official capacity.

On top of those entities, NATO even considered switching over to the 5.7x28, but ultimately went a different direction. It wasn't for the fact that the round less inferior, as the tests demonstrated it was superior, but instead it was more of a policy decision.

With such a small cartridge, the 5.7mm rifle can be easily concealed and carried while providing superior accuracy and an abundance of firepower when needed. Think quantity, not quality.

Target shooting.

Finally, for target shooting enthusiasts, the 5.7mm rifle can be an excellent option. The rifle boasts high accuracy and penetration, making it quite enjoyable to shoot over long distances. It also has low recoil, which reduces shooter fatigue, allowing for more extended periods of enjoyable shooting.

For those who don't like the violent recoil and pop of larger rifles like a .308 or 30-06, the 5.7mm rifle is a great choice for a fun day at the range.

Get your own 5.7mm rifle.

The 5.7mm rifle is a versatile and reliable weapon that can meet various needs. 

Whether you are a hunter, law enforcement officer, target shooter, or require a reliable home defense option, the 5.7mm rifle can serve you well. 

Its accuracy, precision, range, and low recoil make it a favorite among those who have used it. We wanted to leave you with a few of our favorite firearms chambered in 5.7mm. Keep in mind, not all of these are rifles but good enough for us to talk about them.

  • FN PS90: As we mentioned earlier, this gun is an innovative bullpup-style weapon with a unique top-loading magazine. It's compact, reliable, and offers high-velocity performance. The design makes it very comfortable to handle, and the high-capacity magazine is a definite plus.
  • FN Five-seveN: This handgun is lightweight yet durable, making it a favorite among many shooters. It's known for its low recoil and high capacity, which is a great combination for both beginners and experienced shooters.
  • Ruger 57: An affordable choice that doesn't compromise on features, the Ruger 57 offers a great shooting experience. It's praised for its accuracy, light trigger pull, and overall value for money.
  • CMMG Banshee: This AR-style pistol is versatile and comes in various calibers. Its compact size and lightweight design make it easy to handle, and it's appreciated for its reliability and performance.
  • Diamondback DBX: A relatively new addition to the 5.7mm market, the DBX stands out with its lightweight and compact design. It's known for its excellent build quality and unique aesthetics.
  • PSA 5.7 Rock: This firearm has a reputation for reliability and affordability. It's noted for its comfortable grip and balance, making it a solid choice for various shooting situations.

There are plenty more on the market, but any of these will be an excellent choice for you to consider. So, if you're in the market for a reliable and versatile gun, don't overlook the 5.7mm rifle – it may surprise you with its capabilities.

Matt Johnson

Matt Johnson

Master Outdoorsman

Matt is a seasoned outdoorsman with expertise in fishing, hunting, and wildlife. With a Master's degree in Wildlife Science, he combines his passion for nature with conservation efforts, sharing his knowledge through his writing for Fish and Game Report.

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