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Fabrique Nationale FN P90

Submachine Gun (SMG) / Personal Defense Weapon (PDW)

Belgium | 1990

"The Belgian Fabrique Nationale FN P90 submachine gun was designed with the auxiliary military unit in mind."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 08/10/2023 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The Fabrique Nationale FN P90 is a Belgian-originated "Personal Defense Weapon" with qualities akin to both a submachine gun (SMG) and an assault rifle. The gun was originally developed to arm indirect auxiliary combat units such as vehicle crews, messengers and clerk-type elements within the army with a potent, portable man-stopper. As with many other current, and emerging automatic weapons, the P90 is arranged as a "bullpup" assault weapon where the action and magazine feed are concentrated aft of the trigger unit. This allows a full-length barrel to be used with a more compact package. The result of this mating is a fixed, slightly oversized stock with integrated pistol grip and carrying handle. Due to its compact footprint, the P90 is an ideal weapon for second-line forces not requiring the commitment to a full-length assault rifle.

Design is attributed to Stephane Ferrard, begun in 1986, with serial production forthcoming in 1990 through the storied concern of Fabrique Nationale de Herstal of Belgium.

One of the interesting physical qualities of the P90 is its translucent, swiveling 50-round magazine made of polycarbonate. This is mounted over the receiver with the feed positioned over the stock. Individual cartridges are inserted into the magazine in a traditional fashion and automatically rotated to rest at a 90-degree angle to the receiver. Ejection of spent shell casings is through a port at the base of the pistol grip. The charging handle, found along the sides of the receiver ahead of the trigger group, can be managed with either hand due to its ambidextrous design. Safety / firing controls are contained near the base of the grip. The barrel is of forged steel and capped by a flash suppressor. Overall body construction of the P90 remains mostly high-tolerance alloy and polymers. The P90 supports use of a sound suppressor and this can be coupled with subsonic ammunition for reduced-noise operation - a particularly useful feature for clandestine operatives. The weapon also features select-firing through single-shot and full-automatic fire. The including rail system can adapt a variety of optics and aimers as needed.

Unlike other Western-originated submachine guns that center on the ubiquitous German 9mm Parabellum pistol cartridge, the P90 is engineered to fire the specialized, high-velocity 5.7x28mm cartridge (SS190 Ball). These cartridges certainly maintain a unique look when placed alongside 9mm and 5.56mm types.

The pistol grip, optical sight (low light and daylight use, non-magnifying) and trigger guard are all inherent components of the P90's design. Field-stripping breaks the system down into four major components. The oversized stock also aids the shooter with improved stability when firing from the shoulder with a two-hand hold. Recoil is very low, as is muzzle flash, with engagement ranges out to 656 feet.

The P90 has since appeared in various roles - military, security/police, civilian. Two major variants are the P90 Standard and the P90 Tactical. Subvariants, with subtle changes and additions, have also been introduced.

Content ©MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
The physical qualities of the Fabrique Nationale FN P90. Information presented is strictly for general reference and should not be misconstrued as useful for hardware restoration or operation.
500 mm
19.69 in
O/A Length
264 mm
10.39 in
Barrel Length
5.60 lb
2.54 kg
Straight Blowback; Closed-Bolt; Select-Fire
50-Round Detachable Box Magazine
Iron Sights; Included Optics; Optional Optics Support
Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Fabrique Nationale FN P90. Information presented is strictly for general reference and should not be misconstrued as useful for hardware restoration or operation.
656 ft
199.9 m | 218.7 yds
715 ft/sec
218 m/sec
Muzzle Velocity
Notable series variants as part of the Fabrique Nationale FN P90 Submachine Gun (SMG) / Personal Defense Weapon (PDW) family line.
P90 - Base Model Designation.
P90 TR - MIL-STD-1913 rail system interface.
P90 USG - Different optic system; aluminum sight.
P90 LV - Integrated Laser Sight.
P0 LIR - Integrated Infrared Sight.
PS90 - Civilian Market Model with semi-automatic fire.
PS90 TR ("Triple Rail") - Different receiver assembly; no back-up iron sights; Picatinny rail.
PS90 USG - Semi-Automatic Model; unmagnified sight.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Fabrique Nationale FN P90. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national small arms listing.

Contractor(s): Fabrique Nationale Herstal - Belgium
National flag of Argentina National flag of Austria National flag of Bangladesh National flag of Belgium National flag of Canada National flag of Chile National flag of Cyprus National flag of France National flag of Greece National flag of India National flag of Indonesia National flag of Ireland National flag of Italy National flag of Lebanon National flag of Malaysia National flag of Mexico National flag of Morocco National flag of the Netherlands National flag of Pakistan National flag of Peru National flag of the Philippines National flag of Poland National flag of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia National flag of Singapore National flag of Spain National flag of Thailand National flag of the United Kingdom National flag of the United States

[ Austria; Argentina; Bangladesh; Belgium; Canada; Chile; Cyprus; France; Greece; Indonesia; India; Ireland; Italy; Lebanon; Malaysia; Mexico; Morocco; Netherlands; Pakistan; Panama; Peru; Philippines; Poland; Saudi Arabia; Singapore; Spain; Thailand; United Kingdom; United States ]
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Image of the Fabrique Nationale FN P90
Image courtesy of FN Herstal marketing material.

Design Qualities
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Fabrique Nationale FN P90 Submachine Gun (SMG) / Personal Defense Weapon (PDW) appears in the following collections:
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