Tokyo Marui FN Five-seveN GBB
A brief history of the real “steel” (or polymer, as the case may be):
Originally introduced in 2000, the FN Five-seveN (5-7) was designed to be a companion to the FN P-90 submachine gun. Using the same 5.7x28mm caliber round as used in the P-90, the 5-7 was intended to provide police and military with a sidearm capable of defeating lightly armored targets. (Though, real-world shooting data has shown the 5.7x28mm round to be less effective than hoped – or hyped).
Including the limited production IOM (Individual Officer’s Model) prototypes, there have been five models of 5-7 pistol over the years, with the most recent being the USG (United States Government) model which is currently available to both law enforcement and civilian purchasers. The USG model differs from earlier models with a few minor cosmetic changes and the implementation of a standard 1913 rail for mounting lights or lasers (replacing the FN-specific rail used on 5-7s before the introduction of regular production IOM models). It’s this model, the USG, that Tokyo Marui have based their replica on.
In the box:
The packaging of the 5-7 is actually a pretty significant shift from TM’s usual GBB offerings. Gone are the colorful box-top photo, or the pseudo-military stenciled green boxes common to most TM GBBs… Instead is a fairly plain black and grey box with blue details that’s more evocative of TM’s springer line, or some of the packaging from their older AEGs.
One interesting thing to note is that the box clearly states “Black Model” – hinting that other colors may be likely to follow shortly.
In the box is the 5-7 pistol, a single magazine, manual, cleaning/jam rod, a small bag of .20g BBs, and a couple of practice targets. All this is packed into simple, no-frills, black styrofoam. In all honesty, not a very impressive package – and compared to some of TM’s recent offerings (like the 1911A1 and MEU) it’s downright disappointing. Then again, with a price tag of about $20 USD less than those guns, I suppose I can forgive TM cutting a few corners on the box.
Externals and appearance:
With the exception of a few small details, the TM 5-7 is a nice replica that looks fairly close to the real thing. One pet peeve of mine is always seam lines, and this replica has numerous highly visible seams. However, so do some real 5-7s I’ve seen (due to the polymer exterior) - so while the seams irritate me, personally, they do not detract from the realism.
The finish is decent, but there’s something about it that’s just not quite 100% right. Can’t really put my finger on it, and it’s been a while since I last shot a real 5-7, but I seem to recall the finish of the real 5-7 (especially the slide) looking a bit more glossy. The frame looks pretty good, but it looks like they used a different plastic and/or finish for the slide.
Like the real 5-7, there is very little externally that is metal. As best as I can tell, the trigger, sights, and outer barrel are the only external parts made of metal – (though, to be fair, that’s actually more metal than is found externally on a real 5-7).
Another unusual change for TM is the lack of real trademarks. “Fabrique Nationale de Herstal” isn’t found anywhere on the pistol, and the familiar, ornate “FN” logo found on the grips has actually been changed to a very similar looking “TM”. With that said, the trademarks are tastefully done, and close enough to the real thing that only the most discerning observer will notice the distinction. (And, despite the altered trades, it still looks loads more realistic than the crappy blue trademarks used on the Marushin replica).
The metal outer barrel is two-tone with a blackened zinc alloy around the chamber area and a nickel-plated metal (most likely zinc or aluminum) barrel. Unfortunately, the muzzle of the outer barrel lacks any faux rifling. But the inner barrel is well recessed, and barely visible from the muzzle-end.
The weight of this replica is very light, with the majority of the weight being in the metal magazine. With that said, TM’s listed weight of 740g is still about 150g heavier the real pistol’s unloaded weight.
All external controls are faithful to the real pistol in both appearance and function. The ambi-safety moves easily but doesn’t seem like it will shift on or off without an intentional effort. The 1913 rail fits both replica and real-steel accessories within acceptable tolerances.
Internals and performance:
Mechanically this pistol is very similar the TM Glock line… Single-action semi-auto, with an internal hammer. There is some metal reinforcement in the slide to add both strength and additional weight.
(I don’t have a chrono handy, but the stock velocity will be below .98J [325 FPS w/.20g BBs] due to Japanese law).
Accuracy is decent, but not exceptional. This group was shot rapid fire from a distance of about 9-10m.
The guns seems to shoot a bit low even with the hop-up cranked all the way on. I’m hoping this is mostly the result the gun being new and needing a little break-in. If it doesn’t resolve itself soon, I may replace the hop-up and/or barrel to see if that helps.
I was slightly disappointed to notice some strong cool-down effects when rapid firing the pistol for long periods. However, (at 25* C) the pistol was able to dump a full magazine as fast as I could pull the trigger before the cool-down started to have any noticeable effect.
Another small disappointment was the recoil. While the recoil on the TM replica isn’t necessarily weak – per se – and the real 5-7 is a very lightly recoiling weapon (comparable to a .22mag), it would have been nice to see TM put their excellent Hard Kick system into this pistol giving it a realistic (or even greater than realistic) recoil. Sadly, they elected not to do so, leaving this pistol with an untapped potential.
The TM 5-7 has been long anticipated (being originally announced several years ago) and perhaps that has unfairly raised our expectations for the gun. Especially in light of several excellent TM GBB releases in the past couple years (especially in their 1911 lines). On the plus side, the 5-7 is a reasonable price and decent performer. Also, being TM, it’s bound to have far greater after-market support than some other companies.
But let’s face it, the 5-7 is a love it or hate it weapon. It’s definitely not for everyone.
So the bottom line is this… If you want a 5-7 GBB – whether it's because you fell in love with it in some video game, you need it to complete your BSG costume, or you’re just a FaN-boy – you have very few options. Being both cheaper and (in my opinion) nicer than the Marushin offerings, the TM 5-7 is the only real choice.