Five seven pistol 5.7x28 NATO CRISAT Russian hit squad

Concerns about the Five seven pistol with 5.7x28mm SS190 NATO ammunition and the evolution of CRISAT concealed body armor among Russian hit squads. Advanced armor piercing ammunition and sub compact pistols.


The murder of the defecting Russian helicopter pilot by a Russian hit squad and other murders in the European countries indicate that Russian spies and hit squads are active in Western Europe. Far from the Ukrainian battlefield, Putin's secret war has begun between European security services and Russian spies, hit squads and saboteurs. A secret war with special ammunition and concealed bulletproof vests.

Russia uses also soft body armor based on aramid fibers for there civilian protection. These concealed vest are equal to the American NIJ-3A level with the objective to stop the 7.62x25mm Tokarev FMJ lead core bullets.

Bullet proof vest with titanium plate after the Flemish CRISAT tests.

However, military body armor has an other composition and is reinforced with small overlapping titanium plates. The Russian flak and bulletproof vests of the model 6B3 haze evolved from 1.6mm thick titanium protective plates to the 6B3TM-01 vest with 6.5mm thick titanium plates and with a backing of 20 layers aramid fibers. These reinforced flexible bulletproof vests similar to the 6B3 composition can also be used as concealed body armor to be worn by spies and other secret agents.

At the request of NATOs CRISAT program (Collaborative Research Into Small Arms Technology) the Belgian company FN-Herstal developed the caliber 5.7x28mm with the accompanying P90 submachine gun and Five Seven Pistol to pierce through a test composition of 20 layers aramid fibers and an 1.6mm thick titanium plate, similar protection level to the basic 6B3 Russian flak vest.

The FNs military cartridge 5.7x28mm SS190 was specially developed to meet the technical requirements of the NATO SWAT teams. These technical requirements are the same as those used at most European police units where over-penetration must be avoided as much as possible. The intention is that the European SWAT teams must be able to neutralize an attacker out the crowd without the bullet shooting through the attacker and injuring a bystander behind the target. This is now also the case with most European police ammunitions such as the German 9x19mm QD-PEP and Action 4 police cartridges.

Different European ammunition suppliers do also have some kind of full caliber steel core or brass armor piercing bullets in their inventory mainly in the calibers 9x19mm and .357 Magnum to penetrate soft body armor. There is even a German protection level SK2 with a ballistic plate to stop .357 Magnum bullets with a hard brass sharp point.

When the Russians spies and hit squads will switch their level 3A concealed body armor to an CRISAT type of concealed body armor, most armor piercing bullets in the 9x19mm and .357Magnum will be ineffective. These big full-caliber armor piercing bullets need so much energy that they are not able to pierce their full caliber 9mm bullet through the 1.6mm titanium plate and the 20 layers aramid behind. As result only the small caliber bullets have enough energy concentrated at a small surface to pierce through the CRISAT body armor.

Among the intense competition between different small caliber PDWs (Personal Defence Weapons) only the 5.7x28mm did survive and haze and increasing popularity. Of course the 5.7x28mm ammunition haze advantages and disadvantage.

Fact is that considering the current state of developments and production, the Five Seven pistol with the 5.7x28mm SS190 munition and the supporting P90 submachine gun is the only system on the market that is enough industrial supported by several manufactures to fulfill a military roll.   

The technical properties of the 5.7x28mm caliber with the Five Seven pistol offer the only solution for security officers to penetrate the bulletproof vests of Russian spies. There is of course a justified criticism to the poor performance of the SS190 cartridge, but do not forget that it was developed to avoid overpenetration and thus prevent collateral damage.

Not that the FBI test protocol in calibrated ballistic gelatin is the holy grail of the stopping power measurements for small arms ammunition, but tests results prove that the SS190 cartridge after piercing a Russian CRISAT vest has only around 6 inches 160mm penetration left.

With such a limited penetration performance, one can only neutralize vital organs such as the brain, the nervous system in the neck and heart because they are located quite shallow in the human body. Hits in the rest of the chest cavity and the abdomen can never damage the spine to neutralize the opponent wearing a CRISAT body armor.

Now one should focus to the SS190 cartridge with its 31 grain AP bullet only. There are numerous other bullets for the 5.7x28mm cartridge that achieve significantly deeper penetration and higher stopping power.

SS190 / 5.7x28mm 2PF VBR-Belgium

The concept of brass 5.7 bullets provided with a fragmentation grove to increase the stopping power of the 5.7x28mm caliber was already mentioned in an Belgium patent at name of Rik Van Bruaene many years ago. 

Wound cavity of the full 5.7-2PF bullet with controled fragmentation

Wound cavity of the 5.7-2PF fragmented tail section

Wound cavity of the 5.7-2PF fragmented point section

The controled fragmentation increases the content of the permanent wound cavity  and doubles the change to hit a vital organ deep in the human body.

Also the Vanguard Outfitters Black Dragon Fang and the T6B from Elite Ammunition with a 40 grain sharp bullet in the caliber 5.7x28mm prove to have a significantly better penetration and stopping power. By the way, these solid brass bullets in the 5.7x28mm caliber are based on the development results of the Flemish CRISAT research program.

VBR-Belgium model 1 /  Vanguard Outfitters cartridge

Be aware that an exposed fragmentation grove weakens the point and a simple fall can break the bullet and separate the point from the cartridge. This was replaced to the rear for the 2PF bullet at VBR-Belgium.

Yes, these 40 grain bullets have overpenetration but even the SS190 bullets have some overpenetration while hitting pulpy organs as the lungs and the liver. Test results in bare gelatine are not the same as in a human target!

The concept of over-penetration seems to be ridiculous to the general shooter, but to the police officer who haze to shoot a person standing in the middle of a crowd then it is important that the overpenetration is limited to the minimum. Therefor the SS190 is a good solution, however in a general shootout conducted by police officers the overpenetration is considered as less important then the stopping power and the likelihood of immediate incapacitation. If a spy should be able to empty his pistol after been hit by an SS190 bullet that will also not be very positive to the collateral damage.

One other problem appears with the big dimensions of the Five-seven pistol. Small caliber PDW bullets need a relative long barrel to achieve there high velocity. The Five-seven pistol is a standard size military pistol that was not designed for a concealed carry. Even if they should design a Five-seven compact pistol the poor performance of the 5.7x28mm SS190 cartridges will be even worse.

The new Five-Seven MK3 MRD is a more slick pistol that is smoother to draw out an concealed holster. Still, it is big for concealed carry.

Among contra espionage and counter terrorism the concealment of the pistol is important. There are several kinds of compact and micro-compact pistols on the market: the FN REFLEX, the Glock 26, the SIG P365 and a lot of others all in the 9x19mm NATO caliber. They are reliable and easy to conceal. The remarks regarding the 9x19mm caliber who did fail to penetrate CRISAT body armor is not quite an accurate remark.

Fact is the Flemish CRISAT project 5.7x9x19mm was tested at the shooting lab of FN Herstal where the drill performance after the penetration of CRISAT body armor was impressive. The problem was this deep penetration was to avoid concerning the NATO demands at that time.

The penetration depth of the 5.7 mm steel penetrator was around the 14inch after piercing a CRISAT body armor. The penetration depth in bare gelatin was 13inch with a 9mm bullet diameter. The project was rejected by the Belgian Army as been in conflict with the Geneva Convention but usable for police or counter terrorism.

Fact is not all the possibilities of the 9x19mm caliber have been investigated to the maximum of its capabilities ...

In Europe there is currently no demand for CRISAT flexible bulletproof vests and such problems are solved with hard ballistic plates of different protection levels such as the German SK2 and the American NIJ-3+ and NIJ-4.

Concealed plate carriers can be worn under the clothing.

More info

Bulletproof vests against Russian assassination squads