P90 – The Real Thing

In 1993, Fabrique Nationale de Herstal began producing their ‘Project’ the P90, where the P stands for project and the 90 refers to the decade of production. The name ‘project’ implies something unusual, perhaps even strange, which is exactly what the P90 is. Most guns are long, thin, have a rounded barrel, trigger that hangs down below, vertical handle and large stock; the P90is pretty much the opposite of all these things.

However, it’s unfair to put this gun down based on a comparison with regular assault rifles, machine guns, pistols and the like, as its classed as a PDW, or personal defense weapon. The design is compact and powerful, making this gun the best of its kind for drivers, support personal, large weapon operators, and anti-terror squads.

P90 GunAt first the weapon used a 5.7x28mm SS90 cartridge (with a light-weight, roundnose, jacketed missile and a polymer core), as well as tracer, coaching (reduced range), sub-caliber (increased speed and effective range of at least 250 m) and blank ammo. The 1st prototype firing this ammo was completed in October 1986, and over three thousand submachine guns were produced in this configuration till 1993 in a low-rate 1st production run. In the meantime, FN revised the ammo, with the plan of using it in a planned semi-automatic pistol of the same caliber the Five-seveN. The new cartridge, elected the SS190, has a more standard full metal, plated steel jacket, lead core and steel/aluminum penetrator. A number of other missiles were also developed for the new cartridge, including the L191 tracer round, a subsonic SB193 bullet for sound-suppressed P90 firearms and blank ammo.

A changed version of the P90 evolved to use the new ammo was introduced in 1993. The P90 is a selective fire straight blowback-operated weapon with a short recoiling barrel and fires from a closed bolt. The return mechanism contains 2 parallel spring guide rods that also guide the bolt carrier assembly. The weapon uses an internal hammer striking mechanism and a trigger mechanism with a three-position rotary dial fire control selector, found centrally underneath the trigger. The fire selector also gives a manual safety against random firing. The dial in the “S” position weapon safe, “1” semi-automatic fire, “A” completely automated fire. When set on “A”, the selector offers a two-stage trigger operation.

Pulling the trigger back a touch produces semi-automatic fire and pulling the trigger absolutely to the rear will produce entirely automated fire. The “safe” setting disables the trigger.

It employs a 50-round box mag, mounted parallel to the bore axis that locks in place between the charging handles and optical sight, flush with the receiver top cover. The mag is formed of a light, translucent polycarbonate and allows for visible ammo corroboration. The base of the mag is found close to the muzzle end, the feed lips above the barrel chamber in a circular bulge that contains the feed tray. Cartridges in the mag body are double stacked to the left side. The mag features a supporter with rollers and a spiral feed ramp which will revolve a cartridge ninety to the right aligning it in a double stack pattern in the mag.

The weapon’s hammer-forged steel barrel is fitted with a ported, diagonally cut flash suppressor that also acts as a recoil compensator. Early models failed to have the cut in the flash hider. The P90 is provided with an unmagnified HC-14-62 reflex sight from Ring Sights, which enables fast target purchase up to 150 meters (490 ft) and operation in low-level lighting conditions due to a tritium-illuminated targeting reticle. Newer units are fitted with the Ring Sights MC-10-80 sight designed particularly for the P90. It is using a forward-aimed fiber optic collector to illuminate the daytime reticle, which includes a huge circle of 180 Minute of arc ( MOA ), with a twenty MOA circle surrounding a dot in the middle. The night reticle consists of an open “T” that is essentially illuminated by a tritium module or moonlight and ambient light drawn in by an upward-facing collector. The sight is adjustable for both windage and elevation and can be employed with night vision hardware. Auxiliary fixed sights are supplied on both sides of the receiver’s cast aluminum optical sight housing. The P90 is absolutely two-handed; it can be controlled by right or left-handed shooters without making any alterations to the weapon. The charging handle, auxiliary fixed sights and mag release are symmetrically distributed on both sides of the firearm. The manual fire selector below the trigger can be operated from either side. Spent cartridge surroundings are ejected downward thru a chute found abaft of the pistol grip, keeping fired cases out of the shooter’s line of sight.

The P90 is designed in the bullpup configuration which decreases the firearm’s overall length while keeping a full length barrel. The pistol grip with thumbhole and outsized trigger guard act as the forward grip, a handstop is merged into the weapon’s stock to stop the operator from incidentally reaching out in front of the barrel during firing. The P90 is a modular firearm and contains 69 parts that disassemble into four main groups: the barrel with integrated sight assembly, receiver with return mechanism, stock body with trigger and firing mechanism and the mag.

The P90 makes intensive use of polymers and light-weight alloys to reduce both the weight and the price tag of the weapon. It could also be fitted with a laser targeting module integrated into the stock body, underneath the barrel and the SP90 suppressor, manufactured by Gemtech, which has a length of 184 mm (7.2 in) and weighs 550 g (nineteen oz).

Airsoft Replicas: this deadly weapon is not missing from the catalogs of the airsoft manufactures.  Check out the reviews on P90 airsoft gun from Tokyo Marui, Classic Army & Echo 1!

And here you can watch a video presentation of the P90.

3 Comments

  1. Daniel says:

    great post, thanks for sharing

  2. Hi there, I discovered your blog by means of Google while looking for a related matter, your website got here up, it appears good. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  3. Airsoft Shop says:

    Wow! awesome gun and it is totally different from the usual guns, it is completely unique in looks and usage. Great video.

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