23 December 2018

Guns from the Future: The FN P90


Any leap forward in design, fashion, and/or technology can be greeted as the harbinger of the future or a laughing stock by the masses. While this can be applied to personal electronics, clothing, and architecture; it can also be applied to firearms. During the 1980’s, the western nations invested heavily in advancing weapons technology to overcome the numerical superior of the Warsaw Pact. This was the time of cutting edge weapon system like the Apache attack helicopter, the M1 Abrams, the Steyr AUG, night vision, laser sights, and the H&K G11. It was also during this time that there was a rise of international terrorism and the development of counter terrorism special operations units that operated in the shadows. The tool of these operators was the SMG, namely, the H&K MP5 9mm. However, the spread of bodyarmor caused the future of the 9mm sub gun to be questioned by military planners and soon there was work on new high velocity cartridges. It  was the historic Fabrique Nationale Herstal firearms company that soon took the challenge of a new HV cartridge and developed one of the most iconic futuristic weapons of all time: the FN P90 PDW. In this new serial, we will be exploring and explaining real-world weapons system that are deemed “futuristic” and used by sci-fi creators. I thought that due to the P90's frequent usage as a future firearm, that this little Belgium weapon earned the right to be the first weapon in this new series.

Just the Facts Ma'am


Weight: 5.7lbs (really?)

Length: 19.9inches

Barrel Length: 10.4inches (16inches in the PS90)

Width: 2.2inches

Height: 8.3inches

Cartridge(s): 5.7x28mm

Action: straight blowback, closed bolt bullpup layout

RPM: 900

Velocity: 2,350 FPS

Effective Range: 200m (660ft)

Max. Range: 1800m (5900ft)

Magazine: 50 rounds

What is the P90…PDW or SMG?
During the First World War, the nature of trench warfare and advancement of weapons technology caused the developed of rapid fire compact firearms that used the lower-recoil and smaller pistol cartridges, like the 9x19mm, to assault trenches. This was the German MP-18, and it was the vanguard of the submachine gun classification of firearms. This classification, the SMG, exploded during the 2nd World War with icons like the M1 Thompson, Sten gun, and the MP40. During this time, another important weapon was developed as a “light” gun that was might for defense rather than offensive operation…in theory. This became the M1 Carbine firing the lighter .30 round. This was assigned to specialized soldiers and officers that would be using the weapon for personal defense…and this has caused some to call the M1 Carbine the first PDW.
Throughout the rest of the 20th century, the SMG would be an important weapon of defense and counter terrorism operations with weapons like the MP5 and the UZI. Some of these SMG had models that were even more cut down and compact, like the mini-UZI and the MP5K that allowed them to be similar to the PDW. In addition, H&K began to development MP5 SMGs in more powerful calibers like the 10mm and .40 S&W. During this period of time, there was a concern that pistol rounds where no longer going to cut it in close quarters operations with the spread of body armor. This is when the develop of the next generation of SMG was forged: the Personal Defense Weapon.
The stated difference between the classic sub-gun and the new PDW is mainly the ammunition. SMG specifically fire known pistol rounds like the .45ACP, 9mm, and 9x18mm; while the PDW fire specially developed high-velocity ammunition that was designed in mind for defeating body armor. The basic function, operational environment, and design are very similar between the PDW and SMG. Some sites and online “experts” have debated that the P90 is a submachine gun or that all SMGs are PDWs. I acknowledge that the lines between PDW and SMG blurred when FN Hestal released the FiveseveN 5.7mm pistol, adding fuel to the flame(war).  At the end of the day, I think separating the terms of SMG from PDW is best and there could be a time when the term SMG could be applied back to PDW. For the purpose of this article, the FN P90 is an Personal Defense Weapon.     

What Makes the FN P90 Futuristic?

The Ammunition
Under the plastic-fantastic covering and futuristic design, the FN P90 is a compact bullpup weapon using straight blowback and a closed bolt. Pretty conventional weapons technology. What truly makes the P90 revolutionary is the bullet it fires: the 5.7x28mm. While required by the NATO outline for this replacement to the SMG, pioneering new cartridge types is always a tricky business…especially when it is tied to a new weapon system as well. After all, for every M16 there is an EM-2. While some of these new cartridges go on to become bedrock ammunition of modern firearms like the 7.62x39, 9mm, and 5.56x45; others do not and fall into obscurity like the British .280, G-11 4.73x33, and the 3rd Reich 7.92x33mm.
One of the elements that set the submachine gun class apart of its PDW cousins is its use of common handgun cartridges. Weapons like the FN P90 and the MP7 fire a new breed of ammunition that was to overcome the shortcomings of the standard pistol ammunition against modern body armor. The P90 was the first to develop the new breed of high-velocity compact rounds for the new PDW classification, and this makes it a head of its time…in a word: futuristic. The original SS90 5.7mm round was developed and patented by Jean-Paul Denis and Marc Neuforge in the USA in 1989, but it was replaced by the SS190 round in 1993. When compared to the round it was replacing, the 9mm, the SS190 as a velocity of 2,350 FPS with 534J of energy with the 9mm being around 1,335 FPS and 455J of energy. This makes the 5.7mm a stingy little round that zips through the air with deadly effectiveness. While NATO tests have proven the round’s effectiveness, the traction on incorporated the HV round into any other official weapon platform other than FN’s own FiveSeven pistol has been slow.

The Overall Design
One of the major reasons for the incorporation of the FN P90 into so many sci-fi works as a gun of the future is due to its avant garde design. Given its unique appearance, it is a no-brainer to be seen as a gun of the future, especially since nothing else looks like it in the world of firearms. However, the design is not odd-for-odd’s-sake like a French car’s interior, but is quite useful and ingenious. The P90 is one of the few fully ambidextrous weapons (great for me since I am a lefty shooter!) and is designed to be a smooth body weapon to avoid the PDW from being hung up on tactical gear. This weapon does not look like anything else on the firearms market given its double loop pretzel-like grip, boxy frame, and horizontal fifty round magazine of fun.
After spending some time with the P90 in the real-world, you realize that it is a point-and-fire weapon that requires less time to get setup to fire, prefect for close protection units. There is no stock to pull out, and falls into the hand easily. Another feature that often is missed is the ejection port for the spent brass. It falls straight down from the bottom of the weapon, making it prefect for right or left handed shooters, adding to its ambidextrous nature of the P90. There are some weapons that allow for the switching the ejection ports, they are few. The P90 is this way right out of the box.

The Magazine
After World War II, the funky placement of magazines was more or less paired down from the craziness of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and most magazine-fed firearms settled on being supplied from a magazine in front of the trigger directly under the action, behind the trigger (bullpup), or from the grip handle. Then there is the P90. To fulfill the requirements of making the P90 has compact as a man’s arm (19.7 inches) for its use in vehicles and other compact spaces, the FN design team came with the solution of a bullpup layout with a horizon magazine that had to spin the new unique cartridge into place. Another benefit of the horizontal placement of the magazine is that the entire gun is streamlined with no magazine hanging down. With the high capability of the standard magazine allows for the P90 to be pick-up-and-use weapon without need for tons of magazines stuffed into tac-gear for non-combat role users.

The History and the Historical Context of the FN P90
The submachine gun was developed at the tail end of the First World War and would achieve full operational deployment during the Second World War with weapons like the Sten, the MP40, the PPSH-41, and the Thompson M1A1. These compact, rapid-fire weapons were issued to Special Operations units, NCOs, and vehicle operators throughout the war. In the post-war era, the SMG would become part of every nation’s standard military firearms policy with dozens being produced like the Uzi, the Walther MP, and the MAC-10. However, two elements of history would define the role of the “sub gun” and allow for the development of the Personal Defense Weapon: the H&K MP5 and the rise in international terrorism.
During the 1970’s, international terrorism incidents flared up, causing the development of counter-terrorism units and specialized tactics. In the hands of the majority of these CT units was the peerless German-made 9mm SMG: the MP5. From the late-1970's until the 1990’s, this sub-gun would be the tool of the trade/weapon of choice for Special Operations units, specialized police units, and movie stars. However, the 9mm round was thought to be an endangered species due to the spread of body armor, causing the development of new anti-ballistic armor rounds or retooling weapons like the MP5 to fire larger cartridges like the .45ACP, the 10mm, and the .40 S&W. While this never really happened in the CT realm of modern warfare, it was true that an increasing number of military organizations were issuing body armor, numbering the days of the 9mm round. This idea still continues to this very day and many times the 9x19mm cartridge has been declared dead.
It was during the climate of the increased defense spending, the continuing Cold War, and advancements in technology that caused the iconic Belgium firearms marker Fabrique Nationale to begin development of next-generation compact lightweight rapid-fire weapon in 1986. The early prototypes, around 1986, were a strange concept that was called in some articles a “point-and-click” gun that did not use the conventional stock or layout at all.
What is interesting is that in the few pictures of the late-80’s P90 prototypes, there is a mocked-up cartridge that looks very close to the 5.7x28mm round. It was 1988 before FN formal announced their next generation SMG/PDW project to the world and had been in development for two years by that point. Originally called the “Project 1990”, FN envisioned their cutting edge submachine gun to be advanced in terms of design, operational ease, and in the type of ammunition fired.
However, there is a mystery due to the very limited information about the early development days of the P90: why was FN was working on a next generation submachine gun-like weapon several years before NATO called for a “personal defense weapon” that could defeat modern and future body armor? Did they adjust the Project 90 PDW to meet the NATO requirements laid down in D/296 in 1989? Was it just luck? Did FN just follow the trend of SMGs being popular and came up with something next-gen? We may never know…When NATO released their goals for a new type of compact weapon that could provide “personal protection in last-resort situations” in 1989; FN was first to respond with their Project 90 weapon. In 1990, FN unleashed the P90 onto the firearms market and it is believed that the Belgian Special Forces Group was the first to buy the P90.   

The Operational Record of the FN P90
One of the burning questions associated with this little Belgium PDW is its actual combat usage and its operational record. While is certain that the P90 has been used in close combat situations the world over by a variety of Law Enforcement and military organizations…there is little in the way of hard evidence or data that is available to us civilians. There are some sources that say that Belgian Special Forces carried the FN P90 during Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and during the war in the sand box, the P90 was used for the first time in combat. However, I cannot prove any part of this story. From the little information online, the Belgium ground commitment of the coalition during the Gulf War was officially 400 engineers. It could be a possibility that these engineers were armed with the P90 as a means of self-defense, but, once again, I could not prove it.
The often cited first combat use of this revolutionary PDW happened on April 22nd, 1997 in Peru. In December 1996, the leftist terrorist group, MRTA, storm the Japanese embassy and took hundreds of hostages. Over the course of four months, all but 70 were kept in the hands of MRTA terrorists and Peruvian President Fujimori decided to launch a classic commando hostage rescue raid to free the hostages and the Commando team was under orders to leave no MRTA member alive. April 22nd, 1997, 142 Peruvian Army Commandos staged a daring raid. By the time that Operation Chavín de Huántar was complete, it became one of the most successful hostage rescue at that time with only one hostage died, two Commandos killed-in-action, and 14 MRTA terrorists dead. One of the crazy parts of the operation is that it was filmed; allow us to see the majority of weapons used by the Commandos. Like many Latin American military organizations, there is was a variety of weapons used including: Galils, AKs, UZIs with suppressors, mini-UZIs, with the majority using MP5s with suppressors and flashlights.
However, I was able to confirm via a zoomed-in photograph that there was indeed an FN P90 fitted with a suppressor in the hands of one Commando on a rooftop position. I do believe there are more possibly in the hands of some Commandos carrying an stretcher…but the footage is unclear. So, the first verified combat use of the FN P90 is indeed the Japanese embassy hostage rescue of 1997. The next major event in the little gun’s operational history is when the Houston Police Department ordered five P90s and thousands of 5.7mm rounds for evaluation for use by the city’s SWAT team for their point-man position in 1999. Shortly after, the Houston SWAT team became one of the first US users of the P90 PDW. After this, many other United States Law Enforcement agencies began to adopt the P90 for use by their special tactics units and even for normal patrol officers.
The US Secret Service, tasked with protecting high level government officials uses both the P90 and the FiveseveN handgun. Internationally, the P90 is seen in the hands of Special Operations units and special police units as well. Two of the most surprising users of this futuristic weapon is the Mexico drug Cartels and factions in the Libyan Civil War. In the book Cartel: the Coming Invasion of Mexico’s Drug Wars by Sylvia Longmire, on page 205 she explains that the American ATF analyzed the most common weapons used by the Cartels that the ATF could capture. Among the wide range of weapons were the FN P90 and the FiveseveN pistol, which the author states that the Cartels are “fond” of these advanced Belgium made weapons.
However, one of the largest fans of the advanced weaponry FN was turned out was none other than  former leader and piece-of -shit Muammar Gaddafi. The old regime that ruled over Libya seemed fond of FN weapons themselves and issued them to close protection units. Despite this fondness, Gaddafi was captured with a golden Browning Hi-Power 9mm. When revolution and chaos came to Libya. there was a flood of FN weapons in post-Gaddafi regime Libya. A number of F2000 assault rifles and P90s seen in the hands of various fighters during and after the 2011 Civil War  must come from the armories of the old government. With these on the streets, some were sold and god knows where they went to. It is likely that the greatest use of the P90 in combat known to the general public could be during this time in Libya.

The FN P90 in Popular Culture
There some firearms that become well known to the general public like the AK-47, the M-16, the Thompson submachine gun, and the S&W Magnum .44…then there are guns like the P90. In my recent experience with asking people about the P90, they generally know that it is a futuristic looking gun, but little on why it is unique or its unique ammunition. For many, their first experience with FN’s PDW likely came with its appearance in Counter-Strike or Stargate SG-1…but, the history of the FN P90 in popular culture goes back further than most know. It is highly likely that FN had their new weapon featured in periodicals like Jane’s, International Combat Arms Journal, Guns & Ammo along with trade show appearances and various other press releases. Only the FN produced VHS promotion tape has survived to be uploaded to YouTube. Outside of the military, police, and firearms circles; the P90 was not well known by the general public until some 10 years after its 1990 release. But that does not mean that the P90 was not seen in media. The first appearance of FN’s new firearm was in the back pages of Marvel’s Punisher War Journal #8, published in September of 1989! While is not equal to the exposure that the P90 received with being included in Counter-Strike or Stargate SG-1, but it was a popular comic book for the time and it was how learned of the P90’s existence.
It was first seen in anime with the 1991 OVA called Burn Up in the hands of the main character of Maki. It was also inspiration for some of the fictional Seburo firearms of Masamune Shirow’s Appleseed and Ghost in the Shell manga works. However, the most famous Seburo firearm is the M5 handgun used by Section 9 that chambered the unique Soviet 5.45x18mm that was used in the PSM handgun and is not related to the P90. It would turn out that 1997 would be a big year for the little PDW. While forgotten today, the terrible buddy action film Double Team released in April of 1997 is the first live-action film to feature the FN P90 along with the re-assembly of a field-stripped P90 by none other than Dennis Rodman.
Shortly after the release Double Team, the FN P90 would make a blink-and-miss-it in the second Piece Brosnan Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies appearance in Agent Lin’s safehouse. Another Bond product, the legendary Goldeneye for the N64 by Rare did indeed feature the P90, despite not being in the film, as the RC-P90. Possibly taking its name from the Reality Co-Processor found inside the N64 and features an 80-round magazine. This, for many, was their first real exposure to the FN P90…even if they didn’t know it. This weapon, possibly due to its appearance in one of the most celebrated video games of all time, has been highly ranked on many lists of fictional video game firearms. It would appear in Rare’s other classic N64 title, Perfect Dark as the RC-P45.
It would be in the 3rd Piece Brosnan Bond film, 1999’s The World is not Enough that the FN P90 would archive a starring role in the hands of Bond and the villain. It was shortly after this that the P90 would be one of the original firearms in one of most successful military shooters of all time: Counter-Strike. Given the popularity among the general public and other creators, more P90s entered into the world of video games like Rainbow Six and Far Cry. Another work that served to import the FN P90 to the world was when the popular sci-fi show Stargate SG-1 replaced their MP5s with this PDW in 2000 with the 8th episode of the 4th season. After this, the FN P90 would be the weapon-of-choice for the Stargate Universe until SGU. To this day, science fiction works still use the P90 as a weapon from the future continuously.

Why is the FN 90 not more Popular?
Could be fooled into thinking that FN’s PDW is a popular weapon system for VBSS, CQC, and Close Protection duties…but, it seems like the P90 is not as popular as it is made out to be. I’ll bet that there are more airsoft copies of the FN P90s are sold than the actual real-steel weapon in either military/LE or the civilian models. While I have no hard evidence of this claim, there is a lack of P90s seen in the hands of warfigthers in the recent conflicts beside Libya. So why is this? Why is the revolutionary P90 not more popular among its targeted users?
For those not as familiar with the gun laws and gun culture in the USA, I will be framing the discussion of the civilian legal P90: the PS90. Yes, the FN PS90 is completely legal in the United States and I’ve seen for sale in major gun stores here in the DFW metroplex and even for rent at places like ShootSmart in Fort Worth. It is also a popular subject of countless YouTube gun review videos, given how popular it is in video game circles. However, that has not translated to sales. When it comes to the civilian market PS90 “rifle”, it is not a high seller and I do not personally known anyone that owns the PS90. I know a few that own the FN FiveseveN and I’ve even fired it a few times. First off, the ammo used to be expensive due to it only produced by FN Herstal and this scared off some buyers. Second, it is an odd platform, to some, and the very futuristic design in addition to unconventional loading process has turned off others.
Third, the popularity of assault carbines and commando carbines, like the Colt M4A1, have cut into the sales of weapons like the P90 and modernized submachine guns. To many of the organizations that would use the P90, the tactical flexibility, lower cost, and single cartridge of using an modular assault carbine/commando carbine was a superior platform to a standalone PDW with an exotic cartridge.
Adding to this, it is extreme popularity of weapons like the M4A1, that is warranted to some degree, but we have to remember that AR15 carbines are super trendy and that adds something to the allure to the buying the M4A1 carbine for your warfighters. There are those that believe in a conspiracy theory that Germany voted against NATO adoptation of the P90 as their PDW/SMG for their own domestically produced MP7 PDW.


The Weapons Related to the FN P90

The FN Five-seveN 5.7mm Pistol
One of the requirements laid down by NATO D/296 outlines was for there to be a shoulder-fired weapon and a pistol both chambering the next-gen HV cartridge.  While the PDW P90 was released in 1990, it took years after for FN Herstal to start development on the 5.7x28mm firing pistol. It would be 1995 before the pistol was officially announced and it was 1996 before the prototype was seen by the public. In 1998, the Greek National Guard placed the first order for 250 Five-seveN pistols for their special unit. Today the Five-seveN has been adopted by military and police units around the world with its HV round, low recoil, and 20 round magazine being key selling points. In some nations, the Five-seveN pistol is able to be owned by civilians and I was impressed by the weapon when I fired it. It has been seen in video game, TV, and films; including the standard Colonial handgun of BSG

The FN F2000 Assault Rifle
Given the much celebrated design of the FN P90, it made sense for FN to explore the possibility of using elements of the P90 for a next-gen 5.56mm assault rifle. In 2000, FN would release the F2000 assault bullpup rifle. Since its release, the F2000 and its variants have adopted by about a dozen nations. It is also marketed to the civilian firearms market as the FN FS2000. While not the success that FN hoped for, I’ve had a soft spot for the FN F2000 assault rifle since Modern Warfare 2, but once I held the weapon, I began to love it. Time will tell if the F2000 will gain any more ground in the world of military small arms.

The GIAT ADR PDW
The French arms company GIAT, makers of the FAMAS, where looking to develop their own PDW at some point in the late 1980’s, possibly taking a page from FN’s Project 90. What came out of this program by GIAT was the ADR (or “close defense weapon” in French). Appearing like two boxy pistols melted together that had two triggers at one point, one for full-auto and semi-auto. That two trigger system was later dropped, but the basic design was maintained along with the ability for an extra magazine to be stored in the other pistol grip. During the design and prototype stages, GIAT experimented with various calibers, including a necked down 5.56mm round: the 5.56x20mm. They also experimented with a 5.7mm round, 5.7x22mm and 5.7x25mm. The ADR never made it beyond prototype stage with the 5.56x20mm round…the French Army decided to buy the FN P90. Wise Decision.   

The PLA QCW-05 PDW
In an effort to modernize the People’s Liberation Army small arms, the aging submachine guns were phased out in favor of the China South Industries Group proposed QCW PDW/SMG: the bullpup QCW-05 (Gun, Assault, Suppressed 05). This weapon was a response to the rise in PDW over conventional SMG and the Chinese developed their own internal  PDW cartridge: 5.8x21mm. Packed into a fifty round magazine, the QCW-05 is close in some of the features of the P90, including a pistol that fired the same 5.8mm round: the QSZ-06. According to ballistic tests, the 5.8x21mm round is less powerful than the 4.6mm or the 5.7mm. Interestingly, the QCW-05 marketed for export came is bought chambering the standard SMG cartridge, the 9x19mm round…which could make the export model an SMG while the native Chinese model an PDW. While PLA weapons are rarely seen in the west, the QCW-05 was included in Call of Duty Black Ops: II as the Chicom CQB SMG. I personally loved this weapon once the full-auto feature was unlcked and became my go-to SMG for Black Ops II with dual-wield Executors as my backup.

The AR-57
So, what would happen if the AR15 had a drunken night of passion with an P90? The AR57! Here is a AR15 with a standard P90 50 round magazine mounted on top of the barrel, so that it feeds into the standard action site of the AR15. The spent 5.7mm rounds are ejected out of the old mag well. Given that the AR15 platform the favor of the decade in small arms lately and everyone seems to be fucking with them to make some new and exciting to bring to marker, the AR51 is an odd one. Made by AR57 LLC of Kent, Washington, it is sold as either an upper or a complete weapon.

The CMMG Mk57 Banshee 5.7x28mm AR15 “Pistol”
One recent firearms trend that I just do not get is the assault pistol. Is this where a short-barreled rifle (SBR) does not have stock and is sold as a “pistol” that still chambers the standard assault rifle cartridge. “Arm braces” are sold as a thin cover for a stock allowing people to own a SBR without the tax stamp paperwork and fee. In the mix of the assault pistols on the market is the CMMG MK 57 “Banshee” that is a SBR AR15 that chambers the P90 round and feeds directly from the various FN Five-seveN 20 round pistol magazines. When properly equipped, it is a wicked little package that combines the superior ergonomics of the AR15 platform and the power of the 5.7x28mm cartridge. This could be an interesting CQC weapon platforms that works much better the old Colt 9mm SMG.

Monolith Arms P-12 Shotgun
Applying the design concept of the P90 to a pump-action 12 gauge shotgun is a match in video game heaven and Monolith Arms attempted to bring that dream to reality with the P-12. The company was to release the P-12 in 2007, but it was pushed to 2008 and the teaser video showed the non-firing prototype in a low-budget video. Before any more progress could be made, Magpul bought Monolith Arms and the P-12 was axed. This would have an exciting weapon to see brought to reality and tested on a range. Some believe that it would have directly competed with the Kel-Tech KSG. 

The John L. Hill H15 SMG
Often, there is a forgotten vanguard that paved the path, and for the FN P90 that was the H15 submachinge gun built by John L. Hill. Developed in the 1960s in his home-based workshop to be more of an automatic pistol that chambered the .380 and 9mm rounds (remember when the .380 was the hot round?) in a unique top-mounted magazine…very much like the P90.
One of the interesting features of the H15 was the pre-loaded magazines that would have come from the factory to enrich the sealed-against-the-environment feature and the spent rounds ejected from the bottom of the weapon. Sound familiar? It seems that John Hill actually give a H15 prototype to FN to evaluate the design from 1963-1965. When it was shipped back to America, it was destroyed by US Customs, and FN passed on the design, but not for long it seems. Due to the popularity of the Israeli UZI and the development of the H&K MP5, there was little oxygen for the H15 and it died on the vine. About 100 prototypes were contrasted for testing and stoke interest (with some with longer barrels and shoulder stocks), less than a dozen survive to this day. In 2006, Marshall Arms of Trenton, NJ attempted to modernize the old H15 SMG design into a more modern PDW. 

The H&K MP7
Prior to the NATO calling for a next-generation SMG that could defeat modern body armor in 1989 with D/296, FN was working on their Project 90 firearm, which put them years ahead of any other firearms manufacture to answer to the call of NATO, including Hecker & Koch. At the time, H&K sold the top selling and most respected SMG in the world and the very existence of the MP5 was threatened by the new NATO developmental request. In addition, H&K was still deeply involved with their cutting edge G11 caseless assault rifle for the West German Army. Included in the development of the G11 were several variants, including a G11 pistol personal defense weapon that never beyond the drawing board.
It would be years after the cancellation of the G11 project that H&K could finally turn its resources to developing a counter to the FN P90…the MP7. In some ways, the P90 and the MP7 are the yin and yang to one another. While FN P90 is very unique in design that looks like nothing else on the firearms market, the MP7 is a seemingly a very traditional machine pistol like design that instead of chambering a 9mm round, it uses H&K’s answer to the 5.7mm: the 4.6x30mm.  According to official information provided by H&K , the project that lead to the MP7 started in 1990 with idea for using several calibers: 5.56mm, 4.8mm, and 4.6mm (likely due to the G11).
It was 1993-1994 that H&K worked on settle the caliber debate and in 1995, the first 4.6x30mm rounds were test fired. For the next few years, the prototype weapons were tested and improved, until the final weapon was released in 2002. While the FN P90 has never been officially used by an US military unit, the H&K MP7 is in use with SEAL Team 6 and others. Also unlike the P90, H&K cancelled the development of a pistol that chambered the 4.6x30mm. Time will tell which one of these next-generation PDWs will take the place of the MP5.   

Why is the FN 90 not more Popular?
You could be fooled into thinking that FN’s PDW is a popular weapon system for VBSS, CQC, and Close Protection duties for elite Special Forces units…but, it seems like the P90 is not as popular as it is made out to be. I’ll bet that more airsoft copies of the FN P90s are sold than the actual real-steel weapon in either military/LE or the civilian models. While I have no hard evidence of this claim, there is a lack of P90s seen in the hands of warfigthers in the recent conflicts beside Libya. So why is this? Why is the revolutionary P90 not more popular among its targeted users?
For those not as familiar with the gun laws and gun culture in the USA, I will be framing the discussion of the civilian legal P90, the PS90, with that in mind. Yes, the FN PS90 is completely legal in the United States and I’ve seen it for sale in major gun stores here in the DFW metroplex and even for rent at places like ShootSmart in Fort Worth. It is also a popular subject of YouTube gun review videos, given how popular it is in video game circles. However, that has not translated to sales. When it comes to the civilian market PS90 “rifle”, it is not a high seller and I do not personally known anyone that owns the PS90. I know a few that own the FN FiveseveN and I’ve even fired it a few times.
First off, the ammo used to be expensive due to be only produced by FN Herstal and this scared off some buyers. Second, it is an odd platform, to some, and the very futuristic design in addition to unconventional loading process has turned off others. Third, the popularity of assault carbines and commando carbines, like the Colt M4A1, have cut into the sales of weapons like the P90 and modernized submachine guns. Many of the organizations that would use the P90, the tactical flexibility, lower cost, and single cartridge of using an modular assault carbine/commando carbine was a superior platform to a standalone PDW with an exotic cartridge. Adding to this, it is extreme popularity of weapons like the M4A1, that is warranted to some degree, but we have to remember that AR15 carbines are super trendy and that adds something to the allure to the buying the M4A1 carbine for your warfighters. There are those that believe in a conspiracy that Germany voted against NATO adaptation of the P90 as their PDW/SMG for their own domestically produced MP7 PDW.

What is the Future for the FN P90?
Over the operational lifespan of a weapon system, it is improved either official or nonofficial to address concerns or extend its life. Some weapons, like the M1911, the M-16, G3, and the AK-47are modified and continue to serve the needs of their operators for decades. Is that the future of FN’s plastics space gun? Will FN modify and adjust the current P90 into a version 2.0? While some modifications have been made on the weapon since its inception in 1990, I wonder if the design precludes it from being improved. It is so radical and designed/engineered in such a way that there is not anywhere to go?
After the monumental amount of research I undertook and my new understanding of this little gun, I think the FN P90 is at its apex in terms of performance and purpose. If that is the truth, what is the future of this futuristic personal defense weapon? I think the weapon will remain, more or less, where it is at until the organizations that are using it, deems it ready for a replacement. With the spread of commando length assault carbines and modular firearms, the P90 could hang around in the armories of these organizations for years, due to unwillingness to commit to spending the money on a SMG/PDW weapon with they are not used that much.
That happened to the older generation of sub-guns. Some organizations transitioned to carbines, leaving their MP5s to gather dust, not bothering to replace their sub-guns with another similar weapon system and could happen to the P90. I wish it wasn’t though. The P90 is an excellent weapon that is a revolution that you can hold in your hands and it is an amazing weapon for the ever-increasing urbanization of our planet. If I needed a close quarters weapon, the P90 would be my weapon of choice.     

How I learned about the FN P90: Marvel’s Punisher War Journal#8
During the high-crime dangerous days of the 1970’s New York City, Marvel writer Gerry Conway came up with a character that would end the violence on the street with violence erupting from his fists and firearms. He was very different than characters like Spiderman, and that was the indention by Conway. It was the legendary Stan Lee that switched the character’s name from “assassin” to “punisher”. In 1974, Frank “Punisher” Castle was featured in The Amazing Spiderman #129 (February 1974). While the Punisher would make appearances in other books and even have his own series; Marvel decided to capitalize on his unlikely popular via a special and unique mainstream comic series in the form of “The Punisher’s War Journal”. The first series ran from 1988-1995 and featured Frank and his buddy Microchip battling criminals, super villains, and mutants in a much more military manner with real-world weapons and tactics. The first 20 issues were the best of the entire series and would be a series I collected and loved. Tucked in the back of the War Journal was a page devoted to the extensive armory of Frank Castle and the man’s thoughts on these weapons. Called “Punisher’s Arsenal”, it was handled by the excellent technical artist Eliot R. Brown and it featured many iconic and up-and-coming weapons.
In issue#08 (September 1989), the Punisher’s Arsenal would feature the yet-to-be-released P90. While much of the limited information is correct, Brown calls the weapon the “PN90”. Given the popularity of this gritty violent comic by a mainstream publisher, it is likely that Issue #19 was the introduction for many Americans to this new space age gun that fired an oddball caliber. When the P90 became popping up in video games and sci-fi, I recognized the P90 PDW from the Punisher’s Arsenal page. I wonder how many others were introduced to the FN P90 via Marvel Comics? For the record, I never saw the Punisher use the FN P90 in the comic, only in the 2005 video game.

The Relationship between Sci-Fi and the P90
There is little doubt of the radical nature of the P90’s design has made it a standard futuristic weapon of sci-fi works across all media forums. Despite the weapon being developed from 1986-1990, it was rarely seen until nearly a decade after its release on the worldwide firearms market, then it seemingly exploded into popular culture via video games like Counter-Strike, Perfectly Dark, and Golden Eye. For many that was their exposure to the FN P90, but other creators that keep tabs on the cutting edge development in the realm of firearms included the P90, namely Masamune Shirow. 
This forms the interesting relationship between this next generation PDW and science fiction and the various paths of its inclusion into the genre. There are four ways the P90 enters into sci-fi from my research. First, there is the FN P90 that becomes a “muse” for the creator. They do not directly place the real-steel weapon into their work, but use the concept of the PDW, elements of its technology/design, and the HV cartridge to forge something new. This can be seen in the Seburo weapons from Appleseed and Ghost in the Shell, the CARB weapons from Avatar, and the UNSC M7 submachine gun HALO. 
In another relationship pathway for the P90 and science fiction is to directly place the weapon into the sci-fi as the real-steel FN P90 (the P90 playing as itself), as we saw in the Stargate universe, which actually mentions the weapon by name repeatedly. Third, is for the basic design of the P90 and/or cartridge to be incorporated into another weapon that is even more futuristic…something like the DNA of parents shaping the appearance of their child. This can been in the infamous “PDW-57” and the Peacekeeper from Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Lastly, is for the P90 to be placed into a sci-fi setting with some cosmetic surgery or none at all to act as a gun from the future. This is very common to pass the Belgian made PDW as a cool sci-fi looking weapon, as seen in the hands of the Colonial Marines in the first seasons of the rebooted Battlestar Galactica, the cops in I,Robot, or the police in Almost Human. Despite the FN P90 being nearly 30 years old, it will continue as a favorite of creators as the go-to futuristic weapon.

Examples:

The FN P90 of the Stargate Program and the Atlantis Expedition
There can be no discussion on the appearance and inclusion of the P90 PDW in science fiction without mentioning Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis. For the first three seasons and part of season 4, the SG teams used the H&K MP5 sub-gun.This was in part to the inclusion of the  MP5 in the original 1994 film, its real-world role, and its popularity in popular media. It made sense that an elite team would be equipped with the weapon-of-choice for many real-world Special Operations units as interpreted by the general public.
That the time of SG-1’s premier on TV, the H&K MP5 was that gun as a tricked out M4/416 carbine is today. Then the familiar MP5 sub-gun was replaced suddenly in the 8th episode of the 4th season: “The First Ones”. In the 2000 episode, the SG-1 and SG-2 teams are mobilized to mount a rescue operation on P3X-888 for Dr. Jackson and members of SG-11 that were taken by hostile natives. During the spin-up for the rescue op, Jack O’Neill arms the teams with the FN P90 due to its greater penetrating over the MP5’s pistol round for the more massive enemy.
For the most part, this little weapon became the standard loadout for the SG teams and the later Atlantis Expedition. When the shit really hit the fan, SG teams would access assault rifles. LMGs, and carbines. During the short-lived Stargate Universe TV show, the P90 was not featured. For the reminder of SG-1 and Atlantis, the P90 was the primary weapon and this weapon soon became one of the symbols of the show. This also colored the P90 in a certain light…as “that gun from Stargate” to some. But why was the FN P90 incorporated into the show and into the Stargate Command? 
For the real world reason behind the inclusion of these rather unique firearms we do have actual verified reasons for the production to replace the MP5s with the more expensive P90s. In August 11th, 2000, the episode “the First Ones (4x8)” aired and showed the P90 being deployed with SG teams for the first time. This would 10 years after the P90 was released. This was not a common weapon outside of video games at the time and it is likely that given the continued success of SG-1, the expensive of showing a much more futuristic and bold weapon that fired expensive blank ammunition was justified by the production. 
Putting the FN P90 into the hands of the main SG-1 characters was a way to set Stargate: SG-1 apart from other shows and their weapons and that is likely what Felcan Enterprises, the armorers of the show, wanted. Of course, the FN P90 is a bold, futuristic weapon that demands attention. The stunt coordinator for much of SG-1 was Dan Shea and he stated that the bottom ejection of the spent brass was one reason for the P90 being selected along with the true ambidextrous nature allowed for the right and left handed actors to be comfortable with the new weapon. 
There have been rumors that H&K paid for the placement of their 9mm SMG into the hands of the SG teams and when that money was withdrawn, the production staff went looking for a replacement was new and fresh…and the P90 was certainly that.  However, it was not all rainbows and Unicorn kisses. Given the cost of the P90 and its blank 5.7mm ammo, the production staff used familiar tricks to lessen the cost by putting Tokyo Marui Airsoft copies into the hands of some the actors…which the company stamp on the Airsoft weapons can be seen. Then in the 7th season, the production of SG-1 cited the ammunition demands of the Iraq War for the shortage of 5.7x28mm blank ammo for putting an oversexed Micro-16 in the hands of Sam Carter…the so-called “Carter Special”.
While this is mentioned in the DVD commentary, I wonder why this didn’t affect Stargate Atlantis use of the P90? Some online “experts” have claimed that the SG production was just keeping up real world changes in Special Operations weaponry. However, the P90 was not in-service with any branch of the US military and was mostly seen in the hands of international units. In the terms of an in-universe explanation, we actually get an answer presented in the script for “The First Ones”. Dialog in the show clearly spells out that the 5.7x28mm HV ammunition had better penetration power over the 9x19mm round of the MP5.
It was believed by SG Command that the FN PDW was an upgrade to defeat tougher enemies like the Unas and armored Jaffa warriors despite the Free Jaffa charge of the Terran weapons being “primitive” compared to the directed energy staff weapons of the Free Jaffa/Goa'uld. Given the primary purpose of the P90 as spelled out by FN Herstal was to be a weapon not designed primarily for offensive operations, but defending one’s person with a compact rapid-fire weapon that had greater punch than a pistol (the classic personal defense weapon). 
Since the primary mission of the SG teams was to recon, explore, conduct scientific missions, and diplomacy. Some of the SG teams were devoted to more offensive operations, but within the context of the SG Command operations, the idea of using a PDW for the bulk of the non-military missions conducted by the SG teams made sense. In the show, the vast majority of FN P90s mounted the standard optic with a flashlight mounted on the left side rail and an tubular aiming laser on the right rail. 
Some P90s mount alien technology on the triple rail system. When SG Command decided to arm the Free Jaffa movement, the P90 was delivered to replace their staff DE weapons. Even in the Pegasus galaxy, some human factions like the Genii, had stolen P90s from the Atlantis Expedition. I’ve always wondered, if the storyline in the Stargate was real can you imagine FN Herstal surprise when US government placed an order for thousands of P90s and millions of rounds of 5.7mm? Makes you wonder… 

Llenn's  Pink P90 "P-chan" from Sword Art Online: Alternative Gun Gale Online
In the near future of 2025, the "NerveGear" VR technology allows players enter into advanced MMORPGs like Sword Art Online. After an incident wth the NerveGear and SAO, the future of VR games looked dim. Then safer games were developed and a tall university girl Karen Kohiruimaki decides to dive and play Gun Gale Online to met people and avoid the real world where her height is a major issue. Using the name "Llenn", she finally gets an avatar that is a short, cute little girl and she plays for three months, leveling up and buying her pink outfit. In the second episode, Llenn befriends Pito and they travel to a gun store and it is there Llenn meets the FN P90. On the walk back, Llenn would name her new weapon "P-chan" and color it the PDW a dusty pink. Given Llenn's skill with smaller weapons, the P90 was a prefect fit. For much of the Squad Jams, Llenn and her various partners in Team LM (1st), Team LF (2nd), and Team LPFM (3rd) would hunt down and kill other players in virtual world. Llenn's skill with P-chan earned her the nickname of "the Pink Devil"causing her to be feared and a target during the show. Over the course of the 12 episodes, Llenn and P-chan attempt to win Squad Jam with many enemies falling under the rain of 5.7mm.
Over the course of the Squad Jam tournaments, Llenn would have three P90s. However, at the end of Squad Jam 2, her second P-Chan gave up its life to protect her master Llenn from Pito. Given the popularity of the manga and the show, the little pink P90 P-chan (which is a term of endearment in Japanese culture) has become a star as much as the bunny-eared Llenn. So much so, that the popularity causing giant airsoft arms marker Tokyp Marui to release a special P90 Llenn version that was sold in summer of 2018 for about $300. It quickly sold out. In the real world, Karen Kohiruimaki was so taken with her beloved Belgian made PDW, that she owned an airsoft AEG copy that hung in her apartment. 

The RC-P120, RCP-90, and RC-P45 from the Prefect Dark universe
For many of my generation, their introduction to the P90 PDW may have come due to its incorporation into the N64's 1997 megahit Goldeneye as the RC-P90. That inclusion by developer Rare allowed the P90 to be imported into another project: Prefect Dark. The RC-P45 is a clone of the Goldeneye RC-P90 and is a powerful little weapon in the 2000 FPS game that is a "classic weapon". The name likely comes from cutting "P90" in half and like all of the "classic weapons" it is an unlockable import from Goldeneye and was the only P90-like weapon in the original game. Then there is the experimental SMG called the RCP-90 that allows for remastered 2010 Prefect Dark to have their own P90-like weapon. When Rare made the sequel, Prefect Dark Zero in 2005, it was a major shift away from Nintendo to the Xbox 360, but the P90 reminded as the RC-P120. That PDW weapon was much closer to the real-steel P90 and even featured a translucent magazine that allowed to watch the rounds feed, but only 40 of them. Pity.

The Sweeper P90 from Equilibrium 

This 2002 film was praised for being a Matrix-killer, but I've never been a big fan of it despite some very cool and creative elements. In the film, the "Sweepers" are equipped with the P90 as a clear sign that is this the future. However, the story of how the FN P90 got into the film is much interesting. It seems that the bulk of the P90s seen in the film are actually rubber stunt or training copies and can be clearly picked out due to their black, not transparent as one the real-steel magazines. This was due to FN not shipping real P90s and this caused the Sweepers to use the P90s as their primary weapon during firing scenes. The German government was kind enough to lend the production German weapons, causing the Sweepers to use those weapons when blank-fire weapons were needed. 

The Peacekeeper from Black Ops II
When the "Revolution" expansion pack was released for Black Ops: II, it came packaged with something brand new for the franchise: DLC weapon. This fictional original design weapon was a hybrid between the PDW and the assault rifle that makes it a long range compact weapon that deals out moderate damage. While most connect its styling to the AAC .300 blackout Honeybager that would be featured later in COD: Ghosts, the Peacekeeper is branded with the caliber that it chambers right on the side: the 5.7x28mm. This connects the Peackeeper to the FN P90 PDW.
A few years ago, I wrote an entire article on the Peacekeeper and I was confused at the time on just why this odd duck weapon fired the FN 5.7x28mm round and why it was labelled boldly with the words: "SEA, AIR, LAND", "PEACEKEEPER 1227","ALEXANDRE, INC.", and a serial number of ''J317-M81215-6112". There is no reason ever given and since it is a long-range SMG/PDW class weapon, the 5.7x28mm round would not be for a long-range weapon due to the effective range of the 5.7mm round being 200 meters.
Within the first week of the release of the Revolution DLC, fucking everyone was using this little badass weapon...then it dropped off. Towards the end of the life of Black Ops II, it was used by others that loved the weapon, while others had moved on. I was one of those that loved the Peacekeeper and it was the gun I used over and over in Black Ops II...even having two builds around the Peacekeeper, which I've never had before. Still, I think this weapon is an odd duck and it should not be using the 5.7x28mm cartridge. The Peacekeeper would come back for Black Ops: III with an assault rifle available through the black market as the "Peacekeeper MK2 AR/SMG"...but it is not the same.

The Primary Weapon of Britannia Forces from Code Geass
In the 2006 anime series Code Geass, one of the three superpowers in the alternate timeline, the Holy Britannia Empire uses a form of the P90. Seen in the hands of the Royal Britannia Army soldiers is a slight alternated FN P90. This makes some sense in the in-universe due to the infantry of the Holy Britannia Army is trained for close quarters combat mostly and a weapon like the P90 is a solid choice. In the still images of the infantry holding the weapon, it appears to be a hybrid of the P90, the GIAT FAMAS along with the Helghast StA-52 assault rifle from Killzone.

The SWAT P90TR from I, Robot (2004)
The first science fiction author I became a fan of and read his core works was Isaac Asimov. I naturally was excited when the long-rumored I, Robot film was finally coming to reality...then I saw the first trailer and my heart sank. The Will Smith 2004 film is a betrayal of the concepts that Asimov laid down in the 1950's and I am insulted that this carries the name of that classic book. I guess I, Robot got the Starship Troopers treatment. Anyways, the Chicago Police Department of 2035 seems to use FN P90TR fitted with an Aimpoint sight and sound suppressor during one of the key scenes in the film. This is yet another example of a film using the futuristic look of the P90.

The Space Marine MG-88 "Enforcer" Machine Gun from DOOM 3
DOOM is one of those video games that recycles the basic plot over and over again because it works so well and a sequel is somewhat difficult. In the 3rd DOOM game, the basic plot of the original 1993 uber-classic is recycled, expanded and enhanced with modern 2005 technology.  At 3.5 million units sold, DOOM 3 became one of the bestselling games in id software’s history and was a hit for the original Xbox (this is how I played it). Given the graphical and player dynamic upgrade, the familiar weapons of the original two DOOM games needed upgrades. In the original games, the DOOMGUY Space Marine, does use any kind of what we would assume was a standard issue assault rifle…unless they are like the Marshalfrom Outland and use a pump shotgun as their standard weapon of choice!
On a side note, there was to be a semi-automatic rifle as the starting weapon for the DOOMGUY in the original DOOM rather than the pistol(?).  This original concept assault rifle was based on the H&K CAWS prototype auto shotgun and was cut around the 0.4 or 0.5 version of the Alpha build of the original game. In game, this assault rifle would have had characteristics of the M1 Garand battle rifle and been wielded by the zombie-marine enemy types. You can still see the original assault rifle in the hands of the zombie-marines. The original idea for the starting weapon was included in Brutal DOOM.
This situation was rectified for the 2005 reboot of the DOOM core story with the United Nations Space Marine Corps standard issue weapons: the MG-88 “Enforcer”.
Based on design elements of the FN P90, in terms of the looped grip, possibly the ammo, and top-rail loading site, this weapon  was quickly outclassed in the game by other weapons. The damage for the MG-88 was 9 points with the pistol dealing 14 points and the Chaingun dishing out 20 points. Unlike classic DOOM bullet-firing weapons, DOOM 3’s KEW do not feed from the pool of bullets. It is likely that the MG-88 used a similar bullet to the P90 due to the low damage profile, but this unconfirmed. I honestly want to believe that the Weevil from Black Ops III may have been inspirited by the MG-88. When DOOM was given the bad-movie-based-on-a-video-game treatment in 2005, a re-colored FN P90 was featured in the teaser posters for the poster that made it seem like the P90 fired shotgun shells. Oddly, the P90 was not featured in the final film.

The P90 of the FROGS/Haven Troopers from MGS 4: Guns of the Patriots 
CLASS-I Power armored female super soldiers armed with P90s?! Yes, please! That is what we got in the fourth Metal Gear Solid video game from 2008 with the leaping commando women of the elite FROG unit. Using their advanced powered armor, they leap and spun into urban combat situations while spraying down Old Snake with 5.7mm rounds from their P90s and FiveseveN pistols.The reason given behind their use of the Belgium made PDW was the CQC focus of the FROG Commando missions and referencing back to the use of P90s in MGS 2: Sons of Liberty. 

The Weevil from Black Ops III and the FHR-40 from Infinite Warfare
I decided to combine the FN P90 like weapons seen in two most recent (and last?) future Call of Duty games: Black Ops: III and Infinite Warfare. In the third installment of the Black Ops series, there was the oddball addition of a P90-like weapon that was combined with a toy gun and the Mk .23! Most of its design comes from the Nerf N-Strike Firefly REV-8, with a few core elements from the P90, but the much of the barrel assembly is oddly from the H&K Mk. 23 .45 pistol, the Knights Armament suppressor and LEM module.
I've read and watched that the COD community does not think highly of the Weevil and some have called it the worst SMG in COD history. Then we move on to the more conventional looking FHR-40 from Infinite Warfare. For "research" I popped in Infinite Warfare and I found the FHR-40 waiting and lacking in power when compared to the superior Karma-45 SMG.

The Airsoft Custom "Predator" P90s from Almost Human (2013)
In winter 2013, FOX would premier a police drama that takes place in 2048 and stars Karl Urban as a cop assigned a robotic partner. The future is a dangerous place and pairing up humans and robots is thought to be a path to ending the nosebleed high crime rate. While a good series that showed promise, FOX lived up to its reputation of cancelling sci-fi series when Almost Human was cancelled after 13 episodes. In the hands of the robotic and human LAPD officers is an interesting FN P90. The Belgium made PDW is dressed up with a new front end complete with more rail systems, sound suppressor, extra magazine holder on the side, and box like object fitted on the recevier top cover then topped off with the words "POLICE" tattooed on the sides. From sources online, these customized P90s were altered blank-firing P90s from Underworld:Awakening with some claiming that the inspiration for the design coming from Evike Airsoft's custom "Terminator" FN P90 AEG.

The Andra FD-99 from F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin
One of my friends at the hospital is a massive fan of the F.E.A.Rgames and let me borrow them a few years ago. During my play through of the game, I noted and noticed that this up-scaled FN P90 was being used by the ATC soldiers and the Dark Signal section of the US Army's DELTA Force. Firing the same 5.7mm cartridge as the P90, the Andra FD-99 is classified as a "submachine gun", but the weapon is much larger than the P90 and is closer in size to the FN F2000 bullpup assault rifle. Another odd thing about the FD-99 is the way it loads that HV round. The FD-99 uses the same magazine as the P90 along with the same location, but when loading, the entire upper forward section pops open and it seems a bit much, especially when your optics are mounted on the rail. I rather like the design and thought it was on of the better modified P90 designs.

The Colonial Marines P90 from Battlestar Galactica
It took years for the production crew to figure out the small arms associated with Colonials that this lasted from the mini-series to about season 2, especially the standard service rifle. In the mini-series there was an oddball Seburo-looking PDW seen in the hands of some of the security personnel. When the series was picked up, the unimaginative Colonial Marines seen onboard the Galactica and the Pegasus were armed with FN P90s fitted with red dot sights, flashlights, and a sound suppressor. While a sound suppressor is a good option for interior combat, it was likely done to hide the identity of the model being used by the production: the civilian PS90. By the time of the second season, the P90 was out and the Beretta Cx4 9mm carbine. Why? Stargate SG-1 had made the P90 theirs and it looked like BSG was copying them and so, BSG made the Beretta Cx4 theirs and ditched the P90. Towards the end of the series, we could see Colonial forces wielding the chief rival of the P90, the H&K MP7 without explanation or modifications. Due to all of this, there are few pictures of the P90 during its short lifespan on BSG.

The PDW-57 from Black Ops II

While the FN P90 has been a featured gun in the Call of Duty franchise since Modern Warfare, it was time to build on the concept for the near future setting of Black Ops II. This weapon is very similar to the P90, it both design, magazine placement, and cartridge chambered and it honestly just a cosmetically adjustment to the familiar FN P90, like other P90-like weapons in Infinite Warfare and Black Ops III. This is an example of someone using the futuristic nature of the FN P90 and then adding more futuristic style element.  While popular among some, and praised by Drif0r, I honestly hate the PDW-57 and never developed a good strategy with it, but it is a cool shell design for the FN P90.

P90 TR used by  Panaem "Peacekeeper" Stormtroopers from The Hunger Games Universe
One of the common variants of the FN P90 is the triple rail or "TR" that has three Picatinny rail mounting sites for all manner of tactical devices. In some cases, the PDW is left a naked flattop as seen in the hands of Panaem Peacekeeper Stormtroopers from three of the four Hunger Games films. Seen alongside the FN FS2000, the production of the Hunger Games likely used the FN P90 for its built-in futuristic look. To match the complete white armor look, the FN P90TR is painted to match.

The CZN M22 from Ghost in the Shell (1995)
In the 1995 anime film classic, an oddball hybrid of a weapon that is linked to the P90 was featured in the hands of several Section 9 members including Major Kusanagi: the CZN M22. Firing the same round as the P90, this Serbian made weapon retained much of the familiar shape of the its smaller PDW cousin with replacing the horizontal magazine placement with a more tradition vertical magazine and a more traditional ejection site along with being a larger size (similar to the real-world FN F2000). When the Major fast ropes down to the final confrontation with the Puppetmaster, she carries the M22 with an metal case filled with accessories for the M22 including an grenade launcher, sound suppressor, and a bayonet...for stabbing a spider tank to death I guess.
The M22 is an odd weapon that was directly influenced by the FN P90 and as some fans have spectated, the French FAMAS. Some of the weapons seen in the original Ghost in the Shell manga were also influenced by the P90, but the odd thing is that this futuristic fictional weapon was not made by a European or Japanese firm, but by the Serbian firearms Zastava Arms company (founded in 1853). This is an weird choice and it among many made by the film's weapon designer Mitsuo Iso. He also had the Major using not the Seburo pistol seen in the manga, but an then new 1995 CZ 100 9mm/.40 handgun.
When the M22 is seen in technical drawings, the weapon is much more impressive than when seen in the film and shows how the real-world FN P90 could be up-sized into a more carbine like weapon that does not resemble the FS2000. While not seen directly in other GitS works, the CZN M22 bears some some similarities to the Seburo C26A and the Seburo C30. Since the release of the 1995, the M22 has been a fan favorite, causing it to be replicated into airsoft weaponry, in art, cosplay prop weaponry and even inserted into other video games.

The Bellerophon P90 from the Andromeda Episode: “The Lone and Level Sands” 

I was a fan of Gene Rhoddneberry’s Andromeda for the first two seasons…then I lost interest and it was Yoel that turned up an example of the P90 from the 3rd season of Andromeda episode “the Lone and Level Sands”.  In this episode, the good crew of the Andromeda Ascendant runs across a relic of Earth’s past prior to their admission to the Systems Commonwealth: the Bellerophon. Due to the method of interstellar travel, the 22nd century Bellerophon was a ship out of time. When it launched in 2127, the small arms stocked onboard were old-style KE weapons, namely the FN P90. There is little information on the actually FN P90 prop used on the episode and could be airsoft copies or blank firing props. When watching the episode, the flashes appear to be post-SFX work, causing me to think these could be airsoft copies. 

Henrietta’s P90 from Gunslinger Girls

In this manga and anime series that features tons of real-world weapons, the Italian government has developed powerful cybernetic enhancements and used it to enhance young girls who have experienced traumatic situations and brainwashing to make them prefect operatives. One of the girls, Henrietta uses a FN P90 has her primary weapon-of-choice that she carries around in a violin case. There are some badass scenes with Henrietta using her P90 in CQC.




The M7 PDW from HALO and the CARB Rifles from AVATAR and the EL-10 CAS from F.E.A.R 3
The design P90 and its unique ammunition have been an inspiration for many a sci-fi creator and this can be clearly seen in several weapons from science fiction. In the 2004 sequel to HALO, the UNSC forces wielded a new weapon: the Misriah Armory M7 SMG. The HV M443 caseless FMJ 5x23mm that fed the little weapon was contained in a vertically stacked clear magazine that mounted to the side of the weapon at a 90 degree angle. In the 3rd F.E.A.R, the badass EL-10 CAS shotgun borrowed the P90 magazine location and the flipping of the shells into the correct position. In the 2009 megahit Avatar, the RDA forces used a weapon partly inspirited by the FN P90’s HV ammunition and design, the 6.2x35mm CARB modular assault rifle system. 

The QA Security Force Red FN P90TR from HBO Westworld
The long held promise of the concept of Westworld has been fulfilled by the HBO TV show and it seems that the FN P90 cannot escape the pull towards another futuristic setting. The standard issue weapon for the  QA (quality assurance) security forces of the Delos Corporation Westworld Park  and some of the characters.These triple rail variant of the PDW are colored a bold red on the botto portions of the weapon, giving even a more sci-fi look...similar to the P90TRs from the Hunger Games universe. It makes me wonder if the two are connected in someway.

Next Time on FWS...
It is time to crash and burn dear readers! It is finally time to discuss of the most disappointing movies of my teenage years...yep, it is Robot Jox time! Join FWS next time when we will strapping into our mech and fighting for Alaska and talking this 1990 B movie.





Some FN P90 Videos:

The Carnik Con P90 Video...the BEST!

Excellent FN P90 Firing Video

Xbox Ahoy P90 Video!

The Vintage FN Promotion Video!

20 comments:

  1. Superb research efforts here.
    Thoroughly enjoyed this.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think you repeated a paragraph or two in there.

    Now then comments.
    P90 is without a doubt far more popular in pop culture than reality. It has been used by some SF units but it's not as wide spread as TV or video games.
    Why did this happen?
    First it's just cheaper to buy a SBR carbine. If you are a force thats issued G36 rifles a G36C may not be as compact as a P90 but it has common parts and ammo. Same for a Army with M4 and Mk18.
    Farther more the SBR Carbine doesn't just share parts it has better balistics.
    The point of the P90 And MP7 were centered around there ammo which was designed to defeat (with AP) a level IIIA vest at 200 meters which NATO when the P90 was invented considered a major threat. Today, however Level IV plates and vests are more common.
    And they will easily stand-up to P90 ammo most P90 ammo won't defeat modern level IIIA vests.
    The ballistics against an unarmored target are lackluster for both P90 And MP7A1. They were optimized to just pierce a 1980s era vest and not much more well being as small and unimpeading as possible. The main aim of the program was to issue to clerks, mechanics, medics, cooks and people who needed to defend themselves but weren't supposed to be assaulting positions.
    As such the 5.7x28mm is under whelming at a muzzle velocity of 715m/s . The standard NATO 5.56x45mm from the Mk18 Sbr gives 788m/s but a full M4 takes it up to 900m/s so if AP is a worry P90 isn't what it once was.
    I mean if you are just facing off against Jaffa and Gaould in Plate and mail armor yeah P90 will work but then again so would most military firearms. They tried steel plate armor in world war 1 and 2 And it was only useful against fragmentation. The MP5s they had in SG1 and the movie were more than enough to take on simple plate armor.
    But more advanced armor like Modern level IV is a tougher cookie demanding more powerful ammo with a harder core.

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  4. GREAT ONE! ALSO PLEASE READ MY STILL IN PRODUCTION TOM CLANCY'S AND STAR WARS CROSSOVER FANFICTION?
    https://www.wattpad.com/story/126613878-the-ghost-outsiders-of-mandalore-a-tom-clancy%27s

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  6. So have u made or will u make a post of Guns from the Future: Adaptive Combat Rifle(From Magpul to Bushmaster[civilian]/ Remington[military & law enforcement])?

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  7. Unfortunately, it appears that FN Herstal ended production of the F2000 some time this year according to the Wikipedia page. This is further supported by how the F2000 has vanished from FN Herstal's website. Shame. It was such a cool rifle, and I loved using it in Battlefield 2: Special Forces. RIP tactical tuna.

    Now don't quote me on this, but I read somewhere that the reason why the characters switched from the MP5 to the P90 in Stargate was because all the MP5's spent hot brass flying everywhere kept irritating the actors, particularly whenever it got under their clothes. In comes the P90 with its handy-dandy downward ejection and boom, less complaints.

    Obligatory MGS4 FROG waifu:

    https://danbooru.donmai.us/posts/1198860

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  8. Thanks for covering them, wish we see what happened to the ACRs!

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    1. The Magpul/Bushmaster one or the ones from the ACR program? Either would be interesting i guess, but what i would like to see covered is flechettes and other saboted munitions.

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    2. We will be covering the us army acr program soon

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  10. I think if I was going to buy a carbine to SBR it would be the ps90

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    1. This also makes me want to watch some SG-1 again.

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  11. I owned a FS2000 for several years, and was honestly not that impressed. It was accurate enough, but between the lack of bolt hold open and only using non-STANAG magazines (not to mention the extremely tight mag well due to the sealing gasket) it was kind of unpleasant to shoot. Oddly enough, I ended up making a small profit selling it to a prop shop looking for futuristic looking weapons.

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  12. Very cool! I never knew anyone that owned the FS2000 and it always nice to read people that actually fired this oddball weapon. FWS will be discussing the F2000 and the FS2000 in a Guns from the Future article. Would love to know more about your experiences.

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  13. https://goaltwo.blogspot.com/2012/01/battle-of-football-evermore.html

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  14. Thank you for the excellent article.

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