How Does the PSA 5.7 Rock Pistol Stack Up
As a firearms professional, I’ve had the privilege of testing an array of firearms, each with unique features and capabilities. I had previously owned an FN Five-seveN, which retails at almost four times the cost of the PSA 5.7 Rock. I was very curious about how well the PSA 5.7 Rock would compare. Today, I’m excited to share my hands-on experience with the Palmetto State Armory 5.7 Rock—a 5.7x28mm pistol making waves in the shooting community. Join me as I take you through this Palmetto State Armory 5.7 Rock review, exploring the 5.7 Rock’s specifications, features, pros, cons, and functions.
Table of contents
- How Does the PSA 5.7 Rock Pistol Stack Up
- Brief About Palmetto State Armory
- The 5.7x28mm Round: A Compact Powerhouse
- Palmetto State Armory (PSA) 5.7 Rock
- A Closer Look at the Rock 5.7
- In the Field, Shooting The Rock 5.7
- Pros and Cons of the PSA 5.7 Rock
- Accessories for the PSA 5.7 Rock
- Palmetto State Armory 5.7 Rock Review Conclusion
- FAQs: Palmetto State Armory 5.7 Rock Review
Brief About Palmetto State Armory
Palmetto State Armory (PSA) is a prominent name in the firearms industry, known for its commitment to providing quality, affordable firearms, ammunition, and accessories to shooting enthusiasts, hunters, and professionals. Founded with a passion for firearms and a dedication to affordability,
The 5.7x28mm Round: A Compact Powerhouse
The 5.7x28mm round stands as a compact powerhouse in the ammunition world. Its reputation is founded on a remarkable blend of characteristics that make it a standout caliber. Notably, the 5.7x28mm possesses an impressive velocity, imparting flat trajectories and reduced bullet drop, a feature that enhances accuracy, especially at longer ranges. What truly sets it apart is its ability to deliver this velocity while maintaining minimal recoil. Shooters find its manageable kick a boon, allowing for rapid and accurate follow-up shots, especially prized in compact firearms. Furthermore, the caliber’s versatility shines through the availability of various ammunition types, from armor-piercing rounds to hollow points, making it adaptable to a wide range of shooting needs and scenarios.
The Anatomy of the 5.7x28mm Round
The 5.7x28mm cartridge is a small-caliber, high-velocity cartridge primarily used in handguns and submachine guns. It was developed by FN Herstal, a Belgian firearms manufacturer, and is known for its relatively high velocity and armor-piercing capabilities.
Anatomy of a typical 5.7x28mm round:
- Bullet: The bullet is the projectile that is fired from the cartridge. In the case of the 5.7x28mm round, the bullet is typically a small, pointed, and lightweight design, often with a steel core. This design allows for high velocity and penetration capabilities.
- Casing: The casing, or the cartridge case or shell, is typically brass or steel. It houses all the other components of the cartridge and contains the primer, propellant (gunpowder), and bullet. The 5.7x28mm cartridge has a bottleneck design, with a neck that holds the bullet and a wider body that contains the propellant.
- Primer: The primer is a small, sensitive explosive located at the base of the cartridge. When struck by the firing pin, it ignites and produces a spark that ignites the gunpowder, initiating the firing process.
- Propellant (Gunpowder): The propellant is a chemical substance that burns rapidly when ignited. It generates a high-pressure gas that propels the bullet down the barrel and out of the firearm when ignited by the primer.
- Base: The base of the cartridge is the bottom, flat part of the casing. It contains the primer and is the part that seats against the firearm’s breech when loaded into the chamber.
- Rim: The 5.7x28mm cartridge is rimless, which means it lacks the prominent rim found in some other cartridges. Rimless designs are often favored in semi-automatic and automatic firearms because they feed more reliably from magazines.
- Neck: The neck of the cartridge is the narrowed section at the front of the casing, just before the bullet. It holds the bullet securely in place.
- Caliber: The “5.7x28mm” designation refers to the cartridge’s dimensions. The first number (5.7) represents the bullet diameter in millimeters, and the second number (28) represents the length of the cartridge case in millimeters.
Palmetto State Armory (PSA) 5.7 Rock
Before we start the review, it is worth noting that the PSA Rock 5.7 I am reviewing was but in parts. The pistol receiver first and then the slide and threaded barrel. This pistol has many options, so specifications could vary depending on your purchase. The PSA 5.7 Rock is a full-sized polymer-framed pistol made from high-quality 416 stainless steel and advanced polymers and chambered in 5.7x28mm with a smooth single-action striker-fired trigger. It’s supplied with a 23-round magazine. The carbon steel fluted barrel and 416 stainless steel slide have a QPQ finish for a smooth finish. This pistol is designed to work with Glock-compatible sights.
Now, let’s explore the specific features that set the Palmetto State Armory 5.7 Rock apart, making it an ideal choice for discerning firearm enthusiasts.
- Ergonomic Grip Shape
- Aggressive Grip Texturing
- Striker Fired
- Striker Block Safety and Trigger Safety
- Steel Sights
- 416 Stainless Steel Slide; QPQ Coating
- Fluted Carbon Steel Barrel; QPQ Coating
- 23rd Steel 5.7x28mm Magazine
- Model: PSA Full Size 5.7 Rock
- Caliber: 5.7x28mm
- Capacity: 23+1
- Weight with Empty Mag: 25 oz
- Barrel Material: Carbon Steel With QPQ Finish; Fluted
- Barrel Length: 4.7″
- Twist Rate: 1/9″
- Slide Material: 416 Stainless Steel with QPQ Finish
- Action: Delayed Blowback Striker-fired
- Front Sight: Ameriglo Lower 1/3 Co-Witness Sight, Black Serrated (Not a Night Sight)
Rear Sight: Ameriglo Lower 1/3 Co-Witness Sight, Black (Not a Night Sight)
- Mag Catch: Reversible
- Safety: Trigger & Striker
- Accessory Rail: Picatinny
- Magazine: 23rd Steel 5.7x28mm Magazine (Ships With 2)
- Designed to work with Glock™ compatible sights
- MSRP: Starting at $399
A Closer Look at the Rock 5.7
Barrel & Slide
The length of the PSA 5.7 Rock Pistol’s threaded barrel is 5.2 inches, and the standard barrel is 4.7. This design makes it easier to achieve a high velocity, which is crucial for accuracy over long distances. The threaded barrel is made of carbon steel fluted Stainless PVD.
The twist rate of the PSA 5.7 Rock Pistol’s barrel is 1:9, which is a slightly slower twist than most 5.7 caliber pistols. However, this slower twist rate can help stabilize the 5.7x28mm cartridge and reduce recoil. Additionally, the barrel has a threaded muzzle that allows for attaching suppressors and other muzzle devices.
The PSA 5.7 Rock RK1 Slide features an optics cut in front of the rear sight, offering the co-witness sight picture. The milled windows on the left and right sides of the slide create an enhanced look and feel to the design of the PSA 5.7 Rock while reducing your pistol’s overall weight.
This 5.7 Rock optics-ready slide is cut for direct mount Shield footprint optics, excluding Leupold Delta Point Pro. Included are two adapter plates, one for RMR optics and one for Docter cut optics.
When evaluating a pistol, the frame is a critical component that can make or break the user experience. The PSA 5.7 Rock Pistol’s frame feels solid and well-balanced. The ergonomic frame maintains a stable and comfortable grip even during extended firing sessions.
The magazine and slide releases are conveniently placed and easy to reach, allowing smooth and effortless operation during shooting sessions.
Moreover, the frame features a 6 o’clock rail, allowing you to mount accessories such as lasers, flashlights, and other tactical gear. The rail provides added versatility to the PSA 5.7 Rock Pistol, making it a suitable option for various applications, including self-defense, target shooting, or home defense.
The PSA 5.7 Rock Pistol has a comfortable and secure grip, contributing to its recoil management and overall user control. The polymer grip’s design incorporates a beavertail back strap, providing a high grip for better recoil management.
Its stippled texture ensures a firm hold, even in humid conditions, minimizing slippage. The grip texture is on both sides of the grip and the front and back straps.
The PSA 5.7 Rock Pistol has a black alloy 23 5.7x28mm round magazine. This magazine is designed to feed the 5.7x28mm cartridge and has been highly reliable, with minimal feeding. At the time of this blog post, no lower-count magazines were for states that limit magazine capacity. Also, PSA mentions on its website, “the 20-round Ruger 5.7 magazine is not a fit”.
The magazine is easy to load and unload but did not work with my Uplula speed loader.
The PSA 5.7 Rock Pistol has both a Trigger and striker safety.
The trigger safety, similar to Glock pistols, is a small lever in the middle of the trigger itself. In its resting state, this lever protrudes slightly, preventing the trigger from moving rearward and thus inhibiting the firearm from discharging. For the pistol to fire, the trigger safety must be deliberately depressed, allowing the trigger to move freely.
This mechanism ensures the firearm will not accidentally discharge if it’s dropped or bumped. By requiring direct, intentional pressure on the trigger safety, Glock provides an additional layer of protection against unintended discharges, enhancing the overall safety of the firearm in various scenarios.
The striker safety acts as a barrier against accidental discharges. It prevents the striker, which is the component that ignites the primer of a cartridge, from moving forward unless the trigger is deliberately pulled. Without this safety mechanism, there’s a risk that if the pistol were dropped or subjected to a significant jolt, the striker might inadvertently travel forward and cause an unintentional discharge.
For those of you who have read some of my other handgun reviews, you know how I feel about “all black iron sights.” I’m not a fan. The 5.7 Rock comes with different configurations of sights, but the barrel and slide I bought on sale came with all-black sights. That being said, the slide is designed to work with Glock™ compatible sights, which opens almost endless possibilities. I’ll cover the route I went and why below.
I was somewhat skeptical about the trigger on this pistol based on the great price these pistols can be picked up for. I was pleasantly surprised; the trigger has a bit of travel but nothing crazy. It has a nice clean break, a fast reset, and a trigger pull. I will likely leave it as is.
In the Field, Shooting The Rock 5.7
I’ve had an opportunity to take the Rock 5.7 to the range twice now. The first outing was a bit of a struggle. The handgun had consistent jams and misfeeds. I did a fieldstrip, cleaned and lubed the gun before my first outing; nonetheless, the performance was lackluster. I stuck with things long enough to get just north of 100 rounds through it and saw mild improvement as I went on.
That night after the range, I cleaned the gun and re-lubed it, this time with a slightly heavier application. I spent some time dry-firing it with a snap cap and worked the action some. It performed much better the following day, and I incorporated changing ammo. Ammunition change didn’t seem to make a notable difference. Again, I put just over 100 rounds through it, and it did seem to show continued improvement chambering the next round.
How it Shoots
I think the feeding issues will work out with a bit of breaking in, and I will update this post as it does. Independent of the feed issues, this gun is a blast to shoot. The loaded weight is just under 2 pounds, and the firearm wears it well. Next to no recoil, balance and accuracy were great. The trigger is heavier than I typically like but is comfortable, and I understand that cycling the handgun will also improve the trigger over time.
I feel like the next outing will be another improvement, and I will report back after I take it out.
Pros and Cons of the PSA 5.7 Rock
Pros of the PSA 5.7 Rock
- Ammunition Availability: One of the notable advantages of the PSA 5.7 Rock is its compatibility with the 5.7x28mm cartridge, which offers relatively low recoil and impressive muzzle velocity. The availability of this ammunition has improved in recent years, making it a more accessible option for shooters.
- Pistol Affordability: The PSA 5.7 Rock tends to be more budget-friendly than other firearms chambered in 5.7x28mm. This affordability makes it an attractive choice for those looking to own a pistol in this caliber without breaking the bank.
- Ergonomics: The pistol’s ergonomics are comfortable, with a well-designed grip and easy access controls.
- Accessory Rail: The integrated accessory rail on the frame allows users to attach lights, lasers, or other accessories to enhance versatility and customization.
Cons of the PSA 5.7 Rock
- Aftermarket Support: Compared to more established firearm models, there may be limited aftermarket support for accessories and upgrades specific to the PSA 5.7 Rock.
- Sights: Although I’m not a fan of the out-of-the-box sights on this handgun, its compatibility with Glock sights offers redemption. It opens up many possibilities, and the upgrade is one most shooters can do on their own.
- Ammunition Price: Although of no fault of the pistol or PSA, the reality is that 5.7x28mm is pricey—plan on shopping around and finding deals.
Accessories for the PSA 5.7 Rock
Regarding accessorizing your PSA 5.7 Rock pistol, several options are available to enhance its functionality, customization, and overall shooting experience. Now, before I list my choices and let you know my route, I should qualify my choices by saying, “I bought the 5.7 rock slide and receiver separately on sale and got an awesome price“. In the spirit of purchasing the complete handgun for just over $400, I made it the best pistol I could, as cheap as possible. So when I selected parts, there may have been better alternatives that cost considerably more, but if I felt I could get comparable quality cheaper, I opted to go that route.
Here are some accessories to consider:
PSA 5.7 Rock Optics
Adding a red dot or holographic sight can significantly improve your aiming and target acquisition. I didn’t opt to add a Red Dot to the Rock 5.7, but I did a little digging and understand the list below is compatible with Red Dots for the PSA Rock 5.7. The optics-ready slide I purchased is cut for direct mount Shield footprint optics, excluding Leupold Delta Point Pro. Included are two adapter plates, one for RMR optics and one for Docter cut optics.
- Holosun K Series optics
- Holosun 507C ACSS
- 507K- appears to be the most popular
- Riton Optics X3 Tactix MPRD 3 MOA Micro Red Dot Sight 3TMPRD
- Riton Optics 3 Tactix MPRD 2 3.0 MOA Red Dot Sight
- Swampfox Justice
- Trijicon SRO
- Trijicon RMR
- Vortex Viper
Decent Video on the Holsuns
PSA 5.7 Rock Sights
As I stated earlier, the sights on the PSA Rock 5.7 are all black. I can live with the rear sight being all black, but I prefer a night sight for the front. I found some viable options in talking to people and doing some research.
- Ameriglo XL Height GL-611
- Glock 17/19 and comparable aftermarket sights
- PSA Dagger TRUGLO Tritium Pro Suppressor Height Night Sights
- Trijicon GL201-C-600649 Suppressor height night sights
The Ameriglo front sight is the one I went with, and I left the back all black. With a Glock Tool, they are easy to put in and work great. So far, no issues.
PSA 5.7 Rock Suppressor or Muzzle Device
If you want to reduce recoil and muzzle rise while shooting, consider attaching a suppressor or a muzzle brake designed for the 5.7x28mm caliber. However, I have no first-hand experience with shooting suppressors on the 5.7, although I plan to purchase it. In my preliminary research, here are some choices I have heard may be viable solutions:
- Banish 223
- Dead Air Mask 22 HD
- Griffin Armament Resistance 9.
- Silencerco Hybrid 46
I plan to do much more homework on this and advise anyone opting for a suppressor to do the same. For safety as well as function. Again, I have no first-hand knowledge of those suppressor’s performance or compatibility. I have just been told they are likely options. When I do, I will update this post section.
PSA 5.7 Rock Extended Magazines
With the stock magazine holding 23 rounds, I didn’t feel the need to source extensions, but I understand there are aftermarket extended magazine options.
PSA 5.7 Rock Laser Aiming Devices
I hadn’t heard of a laser-aiming solution for the PSA 5.7 Rock at the time of this blog. If you know one, please let me know, and I will continue to update this post.
PSA 5.7 Rock Weapon Lights
Light options for the Rock 5.7 are bountiful, but you should also consider holsters when purchasing your light. Because the holster I purchased had a list of lights it would accommodate, I chose from that, listed below:
- Surefire XC1
- Surefire XC2
- Surefire x300u-A
- Surefire x300u-B
- Surefire x300u-V
- Streamlight TLR1
- Streamlight VIR
- Streamlight TLR3
- Streamlight TLR4
- Streamlight TLR7a
- Streamlight TLR7Sub
- OLIGHT PL-Mini 2 Valkyrie 600 Lumens
- Olight PL-Pro Valkyrie
- Holosun P.ID
- Sig Sauer Foxtrot 1x
I purchased both OLights for less than 1 of most of the other lights on this list; I tried them both and opted for the Olight PL-Mini 2 Valkyrie. The Olight PL-Pro Valkyrie is a good fit and stronger light, but I didn’t particularly like how the switch sat a little bit away from the trigger guard. The mini’s switch snugged right in and offered adequate light.
PSA 5.7 Rock Holsters
The only holster I could find that fit the configuration of my 5.7 when completed was by Close Quarters Kydex, which worked out just fine; it’s a great holster. Since I bought mine, they have added additional options and are worth looking at. As a reminder, the finished product of my PSA 5.7 Rock has suppressor height sights and a flashlight, and I also wanted to add a Red Dot. This Holster accommodates it all. It’s very comfortable, and retention is solid! The holsters come in many options and many colors.
PSA 5.7 Rock Grips
Upgrading your pistol grips can enhance comfort and control. For the 5.7 Rock, your choices are a bit limited, but if you are looking for a different look or a more aggressive texture, two great options are:
- Handleit Grips
- Talon Grips
I used the handleit grips on an M&P 9 LE trade-in makeover, which is a solid choice. The fact that they come precut and offer grips in the 5.7 Rock helps with the time you will save installing them. Because I had yet to try them, I tried the Talon Custom grips, which are essentially a sheet of their material, not precut, so they can be used on any gun. It added time to make a grip
stencil and then cut them out, but they worked excellent.
Remember to check the compatibility of any accessories you plan to purchase with your PSA 5.7 Rock, as some may require specific adaptations or modifications. Additionally, ensure that any changes you make comply with local firearms laws and regulations.
Palmetto State Armory 5.7 Rock Review Conclusion
In conclusion, the Palmetto State Armory 5.7 Rock offers a very palatable price for a 5.7x28mm. Keeping everything real in my experience and in further research comes with some performance bumps. After three trips to the range, things are starting to iron themselves out, but I still have intermittent “feed issues.” I will update this blog as I continue to break in the “Rock 5.7” and anticipate that this will be a great gun once past a good breaking process.
In all fairness, I have bought higher-priced guns that take trial and error to find ammunition that cycles consistently and has required a break-in period. Some things that may help the process;
- A good clean and lube before firing
- On the first trip to the range, bring multiple brands of ammo.
- Pick up a snap cap and plan on dry-firing your gun to work things in
- Buy ammo with your gun; the sooner you start shooting it, the quicker you can get it worked in
- Thoroughly clean and lube it after each shooting session
- Don’t add after-market parts to the pistol’s internals until functioning. good consistently
I am doing all these things now and can see definitive improvement with each shooting session, so I will update this blog as things progress.
All in all, I remain optimistic about the PSA 5.7, once I’m past the feeding issues.
FAQs: Palmetto State Armory 5.7 Rock Review
While the 5.7x28mm ammunition may not be as widespread as some other calibers, it is readily available from various manufacturers. It’s advisable to check with local firearm and ammunition dealers or online retailers for availability in your area.
The 5.7 Rock is known for its low recoil, one of its significant advantages. Shooters often find it more manageable than larger caliber handguns, making it an excellent choice for those who prefer reduced recoil for quick follow-up shots and enhanced accuracy.
Yes, the 5.7 Rock’s accessory rail allows for the attachment of various aftermarket accessories, including lights, lasers, and grips, providing ample customization options to tailor the firearm to your specific needs and preferences.
The 5.7x28mm round is primarily associated with firearms like the FN Five-seveN pistol and the FN P90 submachine gun. However, other manufacturers like Ruger have also produced firearms chambered for this caliber.