Gun Control Group Warns of New ?Cop-Killer? Handgun

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:22 PM EDT

(Editor's note: Adds clarification on the Five-seveN's ammunition)

( - A gun-control group is taking aim at what it calls a new "cop killer gun" -- the Five-seveN pistol designed by the FN Herstal company of Belgium.

At a press conference Thursday morning, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence United with the Million Mom March said it would "sound an alarm to law enforcement professionals around the county about a new handgun available to the general public that is capable of firing bullets through soft police body armor."

The gun control group said it will be joined at the press conference by the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, a labor union, and other national law enforcement groups.

The press conference was taking place at the First District headquarters of the District of Columbia Police Department.

According to the Brady Campaign, the Five-seveN handgun is lightweight and easily concealable.

The FN Herstal website bills the gun as "stopping power for close combat."

It says the Five-seveN will "defeat the enemy in all close combat situations in urban areas, jungle conditions, night missions and any self defense action. Enemy personnel, even wearing body armor, can be effectively engaged up to 200 meters."

The website specifically says the gun's cartridge will penetrate Kevlar helmets and vests as well as CRISAT (Kevlar-and-titanium) protection.

The gun retails for more than $850, according to a quick check of various gun websites.

The Modern Fireams website says the Five-seveN is available for government or law enforcement; but the Brady Campaign says it recently purchased a Five-seveN at a Virginia gun dealer, then test-fired it. However, it is unclear whether someone with a law enforcement background bought the gun on behalf of the Brady Campaign.

"The bullets successfully penetrated a police Kevlar vest," the Brady Campaign said in its press release. "A video of the test will be shown and available to news media," the press release added.

The Brady Campaign did not mention that the 5.7 x 28 mm cartridge fired by the Five-seveN is a rifle-sized cartridge and that virtually all rifle ammunition will penetrate the most common types of body armor worn by police.

According to the Cal's Sporting Armory website, "the ammunition has been designed to bridge the gap between the 9mm ammunition and the 5.56 x 45mm." Nine millimeter is the caliber of handgun ammunition used by many U.S. law enforcement agencies. The 5.56 x 45mm is the rifle ammunition used by the U.S. military.