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5.56x45mm vs 5.7x28mm Comparison

When it comes to ammunition, understanding the intricacies of different calibers is pivotal. In this blog post, we dive deep into the world of 5.56 ammo and 5.7 ammo, aiming to offer you a detailed comparison grounded in history, ballistics, and real-world applications. So, buckle up as we explore these two powerful rounds, breaking down their similarities and differences to find out which stands tall as the superior caliber.


5.56 Ammo

The history of the 5.56x45mm NATO caliber dates back to the 1960s, finding its roots in the M16 rifle used by the U.S military. This round quickly garnered a reputation for its high velocity and accuracy, becoming a standard NATO cartridge that’s still used widely today in rifles and light machine guns globally.

5.7 Ammo

The 5.7x28mm ammo was developed in the late 1980s by FN Herstal, a renowned Belgian manufacturer. Initially designed for pistols and submachine guns, this round gained traction for its reduced recoil and ability to penetrate body armor, making it a modern choice for law enforcement and military applications.


To aid you in understanding the ballistics of both calibers, let’s line them up in a simple chart:

Aspect 5.56 Ammo 5.7 Ammo
Muzzle Velocity 2,750-3,000 fps 2,350-2,800 fps
Muzzle Energy 1,000-1,300 ft.lbs 300-400 ft.lbs
Bullet Weight 55-77 grains 27-40 grains
Effective Range 500-800 meters 200-250 meters

Differences and Similarities

At the heart of their differences lies the usage. While the 5.56 ammo packs a punch with greater muzzle energy, the 5.7 ammo stands tall with less recoil, promoting a smoother shooting experience.

When it comes to similarities, both rounds offer high-velocity shooting experiences and are utilized globally by law enforcement and military agencies.

Best Uses

5.56 Ammo
  • Hunting: Thanks to its high energy and velocity, it’s an excellent choice for hunting medium to large game.
  • Military and Law Enforcement: A go-to choice for military applications, offering a balanced performance in terms of range and stopping power.
5.7 Ammo
  • Personal and Home Defense: The low recoil and high-velocity traits make it suitable for personal and home defense, providing easy control and rapid successive shooting.
  • Sport Shooting: Many sport shooting enthusiasts appreciate the flat trajectory and reduced recoil of this round.

Which is the Superior Caliber?

Determining the “superior” caliber essentially boils down to individual preferences and intended use. The 5.56 ammo offers more power and a longer effective range, making it suitable for various applications, including hunting and military use. On the other hand, the 5.7 ammo shines in personal defense scenarios, with its lower recoil and high-velocity shooting capacity.


In the dynamic landscape of ammunition, both 5.56 and 5.7 hold their ground firmly, carving out distinct paths laden with history, effectiveness, and relevance in modern warfare and defense scenarios. Whether you prioritize power or control, this guide should steer you towards making an informed decision, aligning with your ballistic needs and preferences.

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