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5.7 Vs 5.56: Understanding the Key Differences

When it comes to firearms, choosing the right ammunition is crucial. Two popular ammunition types that are often compared are the 5.7 and the 5.56. Both are widely used and have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the differences between 5.7 and 5.56 ammunitions to help you make an informed decision.

1. Caliber and Size

The first and most obvious difference between the 5.7 and the 5.56 is their caliber and size. The 5.7 ammunition has a caliber of 5.7mm, while the 5.56 has a caliber of 5.56mm. In terms of size, the 5.7 cartridge is smaller in comparison to the 5.56 cartridge.

2. Usage

Another key difference lies in their usage. The 5.7 ammunition is commonly used in handguns and submachine guns, such as the FN Five-seveN and the FN P90. On the other hand, the 5.56 ammunition is primarily used in rifles, including the popular AR-15 platform.

5.7 Vs 5.56: Unleashing the Ballistic Battle


3. Velocity and Power

When it comes to velocity and power, the 5.56 ammunition has the upper hand. With a higher muzzle velocity and greater energy, the 5.56 round is known for its impressive ballistic performance. This makes it a preferred choice for long-range shooting and hunting.

4. Cost and Availability

Cost and availability are important factors to consider when choosing ammunition. In general, 5.56 ammunition is more readily available and cost-effective compared to 5.7 ammunition. This is largely due to the widespread use of the 5.56 in military and civilian applications.

5. Recoil and Handling

For those who prioritize reduced recoil and easy handling, the 5.7 ammunition is a favorable option. Its lighter recoil makes it more manageable, especially in compact firearms. On the other hand, the 5.56 ammunition, while offering superior ballistic performance, also comes with a higher amount of recoil.


Both the 5.7 and the 5.56 ammunitions have their own strengths and weaknesses. The choice between the two ultimately depends on your specific requirements and intended use. Whether you prioritize ballistic performance, recoil management, or cost-efficiency, understanding the differences between these two popular ammunitions is crucial in making an informed decision.