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FN P90 Submachine Gun

FN P90 Submachine Gun

The FN P90 boasts a history spanning over three decades. This innovative firearm, perhaps ahead of its time, owes its potential resurgence partly to NATO politics. In the linked video below, Jeremy Stone offers a concise overview of the P90, shedding light on its features and discussing the reasons behind its potential return to prominence.

FN P90 Sub Machine Gun: A Purpose-Built Weapon

Jeremy explains that the P90 was purposefully crafted as a Personal Defense Weapon (PDW). In the late 1980s, NATO recognized the need for a new PDW tailored for rear-echelon troops to replace the costly H&K MP5. This new weapon had to be lightweight and maneuverable while featuring a cartridge capable of penetrating body armor. FN's response to NATO's requirement was the P90, accompanied by the innovative 5.7×28 high-velocity cartridge. Notably, the 5.7 projectile exhibited superior terminal ballistics compared to the 9mm Parabellum, boasting roughly twice the velocity despite being only a quarter of the mass of the 9mm. NATO's specifications dictated that the round should be capable of penetrating 1.6mm of titanium armor and 20 layers of Kevlar. The 5.7×28 cartridge showcased its superiority over the 9mm in the H&K MP7, prompting NATO to consider adopting the FN P90. However, Germany exercised its veto power, strongly favoring the MP7. Despite this setback, the P90 has persevered, and with NATO's recent official adoption of the 5.7×28 cartridge, it may find renewed relevance. Even if its role is limited to law enforcement and civilian use, the P90 could remain in the firearms landscape.
FN P90 Submachine Gun

FN P90 Submachine Gun

FN P90 Sub Machine Gun Design and Specs

The P90's bullpup design is distinctive, eliciting varied opinions among enthusiasts. However, it is undeniably a well-considered and user-friendly design. Notably, the P90 is fully ambidextrous, and its bottom ejection port ensures safety for both right and left-handed users, eliminating concerns about spent casings hitting the face. Its unique loading mechanism, with the magazine on top, sets it apart from conventional firearms. Despite this difference, Jeremy emphasizes its ease of use, suggesting that with some practice, one could reload it effortlessly, even in low-light conditions or with closed eyes.


  • Caliber: 5.7x28mm
  • Operation: Closed Bolt Blowback
  • Mag Capacity: 50 Rounds
  • Weight: 5.8 pounds
  • Barrel Length: 10.39 inches
  • Overall Length: 19.88 inches
  • Twist Rate: 1:9 inches Right Hand

Jeremy’s Verdict About The FN P90 Sub Machine Gun

Jeremy's fondness for the P90 is no surprise, given its proven design from a reputable manufacturer. Moreover, his example boasts select-fire capability, adding to its allure. However, acquiring the select-fire version entails navigating through the bureaucratic procedures enforced by the ATF. Despite the hurdles, it's time for those eager to obtain one to get started and jump through the necessary hoops. Fortunately, there exists a civilian variant known as the P90S, which operates in a semiautomatic mode and features a 16-inch barrel. It is available in 30- or 10-round magazines, maintaining its appeal despite these limitations. Although the 5.7 ammunition has historically deterred some individuals due to its cost and limited availability, Jeremy observes a downward trend in its price. This trend is expected to continue with NATO's expanded use of the cartridge and its adoption by other firearm platforms. Jeremy suggests that the P90S could be an excellent option for home defense or even in a societal breakdown (SHTF) scenario, particularly in urban environments where its compactness offers a significant advantage. However, it's essential to be aware of local gun control laws, as urban residents may encounter legal restrictions when acquiring such firearms. Not everyone may have a specific need for a Personal Defense Weapon (PDW). Still, the FN P90 seamlessly fulfills the Pistol Caliber Carbine (PCC) role, provided you're willing to invest. However, quality PCCs often come with a price tag, so it's a consideration worth pondering if you're interested. I highly recommend watching the video. Jeremy demonstrates proficient shooting skills while highlighting the P90's strengths, such as minimal recoil and enjoyable shooting experience. After all, who wouldn't be thrilled by a "lightweight ambidextrous space blaster" with impressive armor penetration capabilities and virtually no recoil? It's difficult to imagine going wrong with such a firearm. The FN P90 submachine gun originated in the late 1980s through development efforts by the Belgian manufacturer Fabrique Nationale (FN) of Herstal. Designed with a distinctive focus, it was tailored as a personal defense weapon primarily for non-frontline troops, including vehicle drivers, tank crews, and artillery personnel. Introducing a novel ammunition type, it entered service in the early 1990s, heralding a new era in weaponry. Initially embraced by Belgian special forces in 1991, the FN P90 swiftly deployed during the same year's Persian Gulf War. It remains in active service with Belgium and nearly 50 other nations worldwide. However, production quantities are relatively limited, with only around 20,000 units manufactured, leading to constrained availability for most users. Characterized by innovative design elements, the FN P90 SMG operates on blowback principles, featuring selective fire capabilities and a bullpup layout, firing from a closed bolt position. Its defining feature lies in utilizing a newly-developed 5.7x28mm ammunition, renowned for its low-impulse, high-velocity attributes and sharp-nosed bullets. This ammunition boasts enhanced penetration capabilities compared to standard 9x19mm Parabellum rounds, proving effective against body armor at distances exceeding 100 meters. Its resemblance to a scaled-down NATO 5.56x45mm round underscores its versatility, with the ability to penetrate a standard US Army helmet at a range of 150 meters. Despite its potential, the FN P90 faced diverging paths in its adoption. In the early 2000s, NATO conducted comparative tests pitting the Belgian 5.7x28mm round against the German 4.6x30mm round utilized by the HK MP7 submachine gun. While findings favored the Belgian round, some NATO members, notably Germany, opted against adopting it as the standard NATO round for submachine guns, retaining the 9x19mm Parabellum round. Consequently, select NATO countries independently embraced firearms chambered for 5.7x28mm or 4.6x30mm ammunition. Interestingly, the FN P90's application often defies its intended role, with many operators utilizing it for offensive purposes contrary to its defensive design. Renowned for its compactness and minimal weight, constructed predominantly from impact-resistant polymer, the submachine gun offers ease of use and maintenance. Praised for its close-range accuracy, low recoil, and one-handed controllability, it features fully ambidextrous controls, including charging handles and a safety switch below the trigger. An exceptional feature of the FN P90 is its unconventional magazine, boasting a 50-round capacity and crafted from semi-translucent polymer. Arranged in two rows, cartridges are stored horizontally above the barrel, optimizing compactness. Each cartridge undergoes a 90-degree rotation before entering the feed lips, while spent cases are ejected downward through the ejection port behind the pistol grip. The weapon is complemented by an integral non-magnifying red dot sight and backup iron sights, with provisions for attaching laser aiming modules and tactical accessories. The P90's ammunition, the 5.7x28mm round, is pivotal to its design philosophy, offering unique characteristics tailored for specific operational needs. Developed by FN Herstal to meet NATO requirements, this small-caliber, high-velocity cartridge prioritizes armor-piercing capabilities while mitigating collateral damage risks associated with conventional pistol rounds. Its relatively lightweight and high cartridge capacity enable efficient ammunition carriage with an exceptionally flat trajectory and reduced recoil, enhancing overall controllability. In terms of users, while the P90 did not fulfill its intended role as a widespread military firearm, it garnered significant interest from special forces and law enforcement agencies globally. Notably, over 200 law enforcement agencies in the United States adopted the P90, with instances of its successful deployment in operations such as the Peruvian hostage crisis resolution in 1997. Despite competition from newer firearm models like the H&K MP7, the FN P90 remains a viable choice for various tactical scenarios, reflecting its enduring relevance in modern warfare.
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