VA - "Cop-Killer" Gun: Horror or Hype?


May 6, 2005, 12:35 AM
Mike Mather Reporting
"Cop-Killer" Gun: Horror or Hype?
May 6, 2005, 12:19 AM Email to a Friend Printer Friendly Version

Three national police organizations and four Congressional lawmakers are warning officers about a new handgun that can fire high-velocity rounds that easily perforate bullet-resistant vests.

The gun is the "Five-seveN," made by FN Herstal of Belgium. It is a lightweight handgun that can carry 20 high-power rounds that, according to the company, can perforate any modern body armor and even ballistic helmets. The claims have lawmakers from New York and New Jersey clamoring to ban the weapon as top law organizations, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police warning officers about its deadly potential.

The gun is designed to shoot 5.7x28 mm ammunition, a caliber that looks a like a hybrid of a pistol and rifle round. The maker says the bullets can travel at 2,100 feet per second, much faster than an ordinary handgun round. The speed and small size of the bullet allow it to punch through body armor.

"No one is safe from a weapon like this," Bernard Thompson, Director of the National Organization of Black Law-Enforcement Professionals, or NOBLE, said in a news conference earlier this year. "Police body armor won't offer protection if a criminal has this pistol."

But Robert Marcus, a top firearms expert and owner of Bob's Gun and Tackle in Norfolk, says the rhetoric over the "Five-seveN" is simply hysteria. He says the armor-piercing ammunition can't be sold to civilians in the United States. The company offers instead slower bullets with softer, or hollow-point, tips.

"Believe me, firearms dealers, manufacturers and distributors, none of us want to see law-enforcement personnel put to any more risk," Marcus said.

The ammunition available in the U.S. is not classify as armor piercing, according the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. However, when the Brady Campaign to Prevent Handgun Violence test-fired the "Five-seveN with the substitute bullets, the rounds still penetrated a police vest, according to a video available on the group's web site.

The four Congressmen have offered the "Protect Law Enforcement Armor Act," or "PLEA Act," to ban the weapon. The bill states that even the slower, softer ammunition -- dubbed SS192 by the company -- will penetrate police armor, posing a "devastating threat to law enforcement." FN Herstal has stopped shipping that model ammunition to the U.S., but an Internet search showed it was easily available through gun shops and web sites.

So what can you do? Because there is a bill pending to ban the weapon, the next step will likely come from Congress. If you believe a ban is appropriate, or if you believe a ban is the wrong answer, contact your local representatives. Here are the Congressional representatives for Hampton Roads.

Jo Ann Davis, 1st District, 1123 Longworth House Office Building, Washington DC, 20515. Phone: (202) 225-4261, fax: (202) 225-4382.

Thelma Drake, 2nd Districe, 1208 Longworth House Office Building, Washington DC, 20515. Phone: (202) 225-4215, fax: (202) 225-4218.

Robert C. "Bobby" Scott, 3rd District, 1201 Longworth House Office Building, Washington DC, 20515. Phone: (202) 225-8351, fax: (202) 225-8355.

Randy Forbes, 4th District, 307 Cannon House Building, Washington DC, 20515. Phone: (202) 225-6365, fax: (202) 226-1170.

If you would like to email Mike Mather, click here (!

According to their video... I wonder the make/model/class/age/condition of the vest.

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May 6, 2005, 12:54 AM
Hi Andy!

IMO it is almost all hype. Sure it is a high velocity round as handguns go but - this is developing that aura of mysticism and alarmist hysteria like the .50 BMG - it has attributed to it way more than is justified.

Remember ''cop-killer bullets''?

I doubt the anti's will ever fail to find at least one ''horrid'' killer ''something'' .... they have to - it is their agenda. There are others here more knowledgeable on this platform and I hope they'll post.

Stay safe.

May 6, 2005, 01:09 AM
Hey, Chris... hope all's well with you and your.

The thing is - anti laws already in progress. Always a scare tactic to roll out the effort again.

I guess that eternal vigilence just has to be the key word of every day... no rest for the weary, huh?

I hope others'll chime in - and I hope that some contacts with polons are made to nip this in the bud. Still like to know the veracity of that video - is it pure - or slanted, I wonder.


May 6, 2005, 01:16 AM
All is pretty good Andy thx - may even get Spring weather again soon!!

I couldn't find a link to a vid on that web page - but leaving that aside - it seems pretty much same old, same old .......

Eternal vigilance - yep - we have to maintain that - and even then ''stuff'' slips under the radar - such that we catch it when it is all but ''fait accomplis''.


May 6, 2005, 01:26 AM
More gun grabber hysteria :rolleyes:

May 6, 2005, 01:51 AM
The tokarev pistol can do the same thing, it's been around since 1933, and you can get them pretty cheap.

But that's not the real reason. Once the precident is set that you can ban guns based on ammo, then they can leverage it to include all the other types too.

May 6, 2005, 02:36 AM
Mike Mather is a bit late to the boat. The Five-seveN hysteria began (and peaked) in January.

May 6, 2005, 05:03 PM
So many guns fire ammo that penetrate ballitsic vest,your common deer rifle can,if you need a pistol that can you can buy one of those AR15 pistols and have cheaper ammo the the 5_7

May 6, 2005, 05:12 PM
As we all know most any caliber bullet can be modified to penetrate armor.. if your going to go on a cop killing rampage why would you choose a handgun? Id prefer something with a little more oomph... like an M2.... and as someone else stated the tokarev will penetrate armor.. my future FIL carrys one... he swears by it.. :rolleyes: Ive tried explaining the downfalls of the platform and the round to him... but to each their own... ill stick with my .45..

May 6, 2005, 05:54 PM
Which would worry you more a 28gr bullet at 2100 fps, or 90gr at 1650 fps? Not that I'd want to be shot by either, but you know what I mean......

May 6, 2005, 07:08 PM
I believe that the Brady Campaign "tests" involved taking a Level IIA-rated soft body armor vest and draping it over a bale of hay.

Hardly a scientific test in the first place. Particularly so because IIA body armor barely stops 9mm FMJ rounds at 1,090fps. Even then, blunt trauma would be quite high.

I don't know where the 5.7 round falls into the body armor classification range, but I would imagine a Level III vest would stop the bullet.

I live in a fairly safe neighborhood, so the beat cops usually wear IIA or II vests. When the county SWAT team gets called out, they wear IV vests with ceramic plates. Not much gets through those. If you're a beat cop in Compton, Watts, or DC and you don't have a Level III vest when going about your patrols, that's because the department is f---ed up.

One must adapt to threats. If gangbangers are willing to spend gobs of money on a Five-seveN, then you must counter it with better armor and better training.

As a tank crewman in the army, I learned that in the everlasting battle between armor and warhead, the warhead almost always wins in the end. Heavier and heavier armor (whether on a tank or person) eventually reaches a point of diminshing returns. There are weapons that can penetrate tank armor. Rather than attempt to ban those weapons (which is impossible anyway), we adapt our training to counter it.

If police are not willing to get better armor and/or training, that means that someone's not doing their job right.

This isn't meant to reflect badly on police officers. They're doing a tough job that is underappreciated. A lot of the troubles that your average police officer (or soldier) has to deal with is because of BS happening at the upper echelons. Having "higher" not provide you with the appropriate equipment or training to do your job is a very frustrating thing.

Standing Wolf
May 6, 2005, 07:16 PM
I finally saw one of those guns last week end: w a a a a a a a a a a a y too ugly for me!

That saidâ„¢, it's obvious the leftist extremists are just up to the same old stupid trick: trying to reestablish the legal principle that some guns should be prohibited for commoners to own. Once they've reestablished the principle that even one gun can be prohibited, they'll merrily add all guns to the list a few at a time.

Leftists are moral and intellectual parasites.

May 6, 2005, 09:28 PM
an Im still waiting for some uzis and mp5s to wash down the street into my yard because the AW ban died an those evil things are flooding the streets everywhere..

the five seven isnt much different. attach the freightening description and suddenly everyone that hasnt a clue sympathizes...Id call it fear-monging but theyre beating a dead horse and they know it as long as people are educated on the truth of the topic.

those gifted anti-ammendmenteers at it again......

May 7, 2005, 07:01 AM
No different than the leftist hysteria when the 'Black Tallon' bullet came on the market about ten years ago.

Double Naught Spy
May 7, 2005, 09:30 AM
Actually, this is VERY different than the black talon hysteria. FiveseveNs will penetrate soft armor. The troublesome part is that it can do it from a pistol. As noted, however, is that it isn't the only pistol with this capability (without the need for modified ammo or bumped up pressures). More often than not, the police are going to believe that if going against a pistol and so long as they are not wearing Second Chance Zylon failure vests, the vest will stop the incoming slugs.

.. if your going to go on a cop killing rampage why would you choose a handgun? Id prefer something with a little more oomph... like an M2...

Who said anything about going on a rampage with the goal of killing cops? As with the robbers in the North Hollywood bank robbery, they were armed and armored very heavily just in case they had to go against the cops. They apparently had done it before, but not had to shoot it out with the cops. They were just very well prepared if things went south.

Not all bad guys will go to that much preparation, but carrying a pistol that can penetrate soft armor is a convenient way to say prepared without the need for carrying a rifle.

May 7, 2005, 10:10 AM
its about trying to ban the gun...and criminalizing people who own that particuliar gun legally or not because according to them,it was solely designed as a "cop killer" gun...just like the assault weapons ban was made out to be and the .50 caliber rifles (because of course,50 calibers can shoot down the moon or is exactly what it is.

if you take a look at all the things in the last 30 years or so that we shouldnt have because of their "lethality" and all the hype surrounding them,theres a pattern. criminalizing gun owners

I find it difficult to believe a criminal is going to specifically carry a expensive gun with the intention of ditching it after the deed in some dumpster.

May 7, 2005, 01:27 PM
Actually, this is VERY different than the black talon hysteria. FiveseveNs will penetrate soft armor.

I believe you forgot to say "...If you can find the already illegal SS190 ammunition."

Stop fueling the fire.

May 7, 2005, 03:40 PM
Ban guns? Probably. But the other side is - if there's a new threat to vest protection, the threat increase the demand (and opportunity) for more money to gain better vests.


Could be this is the result of trying to stay "even"... like maybe the latest uber-vest needed something to defeat it else too much advantage.

Whatever... still gun-grabbing.


May 7, 2005, 04:12 PM
Umm, If I was running a police department I'd be pushing the same legislation. I know I look good on TV, and I know people will believe what I say.

So instead of spending more money on better ballistic vests (which as less likely to be worn the more effective they get), I'd rather pay 0$ and ban handguns and ammunition that could penetrate soft armor. It's the logical solution, police would be slow in the head Not to try it.

Of course it depends if the populace is too stuid to see any problems with police involving themselves in the legislative process, which they are and they don't, so Everyone is a winner!

P.S. The 5-7 punching through a helmet is, as far as I know, unproven. They have a video of their P90 where they shoot CRISAT (titanium and kevlar) and brick walls. Then they show a helmet with a hole in it and say "5.7mm also punches through helmets". Lol the funny thing is if you look closely it's a PASGT helmet, and the hole is where they removed the screw that holds the left chin-strap on!

May 7, 2005, 05:47 PM
They gotta have a boogieman. The assault weapon boogieman was demonstrated to be toothless so something else had to be created.

Please note: The current rifle boogieman is a .50 cal Barrett. Here too the proposed solution to protect the chilren is caliber control. I also think it interesting to note how many times in "news" reports how the velocity of the round is mentioned. I'm willing to go out on a limb here and predict the next phase of gun control won't be focused on guns but on ammo, specifically caliber and velocity.

May 7, 2005, 06:29 PM
These people have never heard of the CZ-52, have they?

In Asia, there's an additional category of body armor encountered more frequently than the US -- IIIb Tokarev, the last step before you get to rifle vests.

And they can be had for $90. If 'hypervelocity handguns' are such a threat, criminals would probably go for the cheap one.

May 7, 2005, 06:42 PM
Try this...

Too many localities and states are being shepherded into more GC effort. Pretty soon they'll be pink (no guns) and green (all guns) states - which will become unmanageable so the federales will take over and control it all... then POOF!

Working on 73 years, I hate to leave this mess to the young'uns.


May 7, 2005, 07:04 PM
The really great thing about the gun control debate today is the anti's have given up for now on national level restrictions. They now focus at the state level which means they have fewer resources to cause trouble at any given location. It is fairly easy to predict where the success will be. Just take a look at state constitutions and mark the one's without a RKBA provision. IIRC those states are MA, NY, NJ, MD, IL, and CA.

You can count on the situation changing next democrat getting elected in DC, but for now the battle is a series of pitch battles at the state level.

May 7, 2005, 07:07 PM according to the antis, we shouldn't be allowed .50 because it's "too big and powerful."

Now they're saying we shouldn't have 5.7mm (.224 cal) because it's too "small and powerful."

Unlike Goldilocks, though, I seriously doubt that the antis would be able to find a type of ammo that's "just right."

May 7, 2005, 07:08 PM
You guys are all forgetting that there are two kinds of ammunition in this equasion. FN's comments apply to the restricted SS190 ammo. The only ammo we peons are allowed to buy is SS192, which has no more armor penetrating charictaristics (and actually very poor gelatin penetration) than any other handgun ammunition. 9mm, .45 ACP, .40S&W, .357 mag, .38 special, all can penetrate body armor without any special round. .357, .40S&W and .45 ACP can do it pretty easily.

Despite the antis having been able to ban certain kinds of ammo, they do not read into things. They don't seem to realize that the ammo they banned makes the Five-SeveN the same as any other handgun, so they want to ban the gun itself.

May 8, 2005, 04:04 AM
I thought .45 was one of the easiest to catch?

Anyway I think everyone here understands the difference in 5.7 bullets, but the same old stuff is repeated over and over by people in the news.

Also a couple months ago there was a proposed bill posted on THR here, and I think that NOBLE group was involved. It might be the same one discussed now.

Here is the bad part of that bill - it measures handguns and their bullets' ability to penetrate minimal body armor. MINIMAL. GOD DAMN almost anything penetrates minimal armor.

Oh yea, also in the bill not only will the penetrating cartridge be banned, also the handguns that can fire it. !!!!!


May 8, 2005, 04:38 AM
Despite the antis having been able to ban certain kinds of ammo, they do not read into things. They don't seem to realize that the ammo they banned makes the Five-SeveN the same as any other handgun, so they want to ban the gun itself.

Unfortunatly some of the anecdotal testing done by gun owners has found that even the "tame" ammunition has a tendancy to punch through some vests, much like the 7.62x25. That shouldnt make the weapon illegal but it does provide the antis plenty of room to make their rhetoric.

May 9, 2005, 02:04 PM
BATF(E) has a statement on the handgun.

In response to numerous questions that ATF has received regarding the capabilities of the 5.7 X 28mm cartridge, the following technical information is provided.

FTB classified SS196 ammunition as not armor piercing.

The FN 5.7 (Fabrique Nationale) pistol is a semiautomatic pistol in 5.7 X 28 mm caliber.

Type: Double Action Only or Single Action (in Tactical model).
Chambering: 5.7x28mm.
Length: 208 mm
Barrel length: 122.5 mm
Magazine: 20 rounds.

The FN 5.7 (Fabrique Nationale) pistol is a semiautomatic pistol in 5.7 X 28 mm caliber approved for importation as a sporting firearm.

The classification of all ammunition is governed strictly by the definitions presented in the GCA. Specifically, as defined in 18 U.S.C. Section 921(a)(17)(B), the term "armor piercing ammunition" means-a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely (excluding the presence of traces of other substances) from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium; or a full jacketed projectile larger than .22 caliber designed and intended for use in a handgun and whose jacket has a weight of more than 25 percent of the total weight of the projectile.
FTB has also examined a 5.7 X 28 mm projectile that FN Herstal has designated the "SS196." The SS196 is loaded with a Hornady 40 grain, jacketed lead bullet. FTB classified SS196 ammunition as not armor piercing ammunition under Federal firearms statutes.

According to FNH USA, FN Herstal tested the SS192 ammunition. SS192 ammunition did not penetrate the Level IIIA vests that were tested. FNH USA states that SS196, Hornady V-Max 40 gr. bullets fired from a 4-3/4 inch barrel did not penetrate the Level II vests that were used in testing.

FNH USA has informed FTB that SS192 is no longer imported for commercial sale to the United States and that commercial sales of 5.7 X 28mm ammunition are restricted to the SS196 (not armor piercing).

FN Herstal 5.7 X 28mm Ammunition

SS190 - Armor piercing (AP)
SS191 - AP Tracer
SS192 - Hollow Point (not AP)
SB193 - AP Subsonic
SS195 - "Green" - lead free hollow point projectile with copper jacket (not AP)
SS196 - Sporting round (Hornady 40 gr. V-max, hollow point lead), (not AP)
10700004 Blank (not classified as ammunition under Federal law)
10700005 Dummy

May 11, 2005, 08:30 PM
read my new thread at



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