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FN P90

Submachine gun

FN P90

The FN P90 submachine gun was so successful, that it was exported to nearly 50 countries worldwide

 
 
Country of origin Belgium
Entered service 1991
Caliber 5.7 x 28 mm
Weight (unloaded) 2.54 kg
Length 500 mm
Length (with folded stock) -
Barrel length 263 mm
Muzzle velocity 850 m/s
Cyclic rate of fire 900 rpm
Practical rate of fire 50 - 150 rpm
Magazine capacity 50 rounds
Sighting range 150 m
Range of effective fire 150 - 200 m

 

   The P90 submachine gun was developed in the late 1980s by the Belgian Fabrique Nationale (FN) of Herstal. It was chambered for a completely new ammunition and was intended as a personal defense weapon for non-frontline troops, vehicle drivers, tank and artillery crews. The FN P90 was introduced in the early 1990s. At the time of its introduction it was considered as a new generation weapon. It was the first personal defense weapon and took intermediate position between SMGs and assault rifles. In 1991 this weapon was adopted by Belgian special forces. During the same year the FN P90 saw action during the Persian Gulf War. Currently this weapon is in service with Belgium and nearly 50 export operators form all around the world. However only around 20 000 of these submachine guns were produced. It means that most users have only limited quantities of these weapons.

   The FN P90 SMG is a clean sheet design with a number of unusual features. It is a blowback operated, selective fire weapon with bullpup layout, which fires from closed bolt. This PDW is chambered for a newly-developed 5.7x28 mm low-impulse and high-velocity ammunition with sharp nose bullets. This round has enhanced penetration comparing with standard 9x19 mm Parabellum round and is effective against body armor at ranges of 100 m and beyond. It resembles a scaled-down standard NATO 5.56x45 mm round. This weapon penetrates a standard US Army helmet at a range of 150 m.

   The FN P90 could become even more successful. In the early 2000s tests were conducted by NATO countries to compare the Belgian 5.7x28 mm round against a competing German 4.6x30 mm round (used by the HK MP7 submachine gun). Tests concluded that the Belgian round was superior. However some NATO countries, notably Germany, rejected recommendation to adopt the Belgian 5.7x28 mm ammunition as the standard NATO round for submachine guns in place of the 9x19 mm Parabellum round. As a result some of the NATO countries independently adopted weapons chambered for 5.7x28 mm ammunition, or either 4.6x30 mm ammunition.

   It is worth mentioning, that many operators use this weapon for the role, directly opposite to its original role. The FN P90 personal defense weapon is often used for offensive roles. Sometimes it is used as a primary weapon of assault teams.

   The FN P90 has minimal size and weight. Its furniture is made from impact-resistant polymer. This submachine gun is easy to use and maintain. It is claimed that this weapon is accurate at close ranges. It has low recoil and can be easily controlled with one hand.

   The FN P90 is fully ambidextrous. It has charging handles on both sides of the receiver. Spent cases are ejected downwards. A safety switch is located below the trigger.

   The FN P90 has an unusual magazine, which holds 50 rounds. This high-capacity magazine is made from semi-translucent polymer and holds rounds in two rows. Cartridges are stored in horizontal position. Magazine is located above the barrel. This feature allowed to make weapon as compact as possible. Each cartridge is rotated for 90 degrees, prior to placing it into feed lips. Spent cases are ejected straight down through the ejection port, located behind the pistol grip.

   This submachine gun comes with integral non-magnifying red dot type sight. Backup iron sights are provided. The P90 can contain an integral laser aiming module in its forward handgrip. It sends either visible or infra red laser beam.

   The FN P90 SMG is compatible with silencer, which is used in conjunction with special subsonic ammunition.

   Later the Fabrique Nationale introduced the Five-seveN pistol, chambered for the same 5.7x28 mm ammunition.

 

Variants

 

   FN P90 TR fitted with triple Picatinny-type accessory rails. This model comes with no standard sighting equipment, however it is compatible with various sights, flashlights and other accessories;

   FN PS90 a civilian semi-automatic carbine, fitted with a longer barrel.

 

Video of the FN P90 submachine gun



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