The KelTec P50 pistol is one of the most unusual and strange pistols which were designed during recent times. While it actually can have several uses, such as personal or home defense, small game hunting, or plinking, there are probably many better and less expensive choices for each application than this one. However, this gun is unique enough to warrant at least some market attention, at least on its home soil, the USA.
While most weapons are usually designed around the specific cartridge, the Keltec P50 is designed around the very specific cartridge and magazine combination. Those are 5.7x28mm round of Belgian origin, and an appropriate high capacity magazine which was designed around this cartridge for the once-famous FN P90 PDW / submachine gun. Keltec designers took the very unusual P90 magazine, which contains as many as 50 rounds, and built their handgun around it. As a result, their “P50 handgun” is about 50-70% longer and two times heavier than competing pistols that fire the same 5.7mm round, such as FN Five-seven or Ruger-57, and offers a 150% increase in magazine capacity. It also features one of the most unusual magazine change procedures, which are somehow reminiscent of the break-open shotgun. It is yet to be seen how this gun will perform on the overheated and overcrowded American civilian market, as its initial sales are scheduled for the 1st quarter of 2021.
The KelTec P50 pistol uses simple blowback action, with the bolt/breechblock riding inside the “upper receiver”, which is made of light alloy. Most of the bolt weight is located above the barrel and to the front of its breech. Dual return springs with guide rods are located below the barrel. The entire upper receiver assembly is hinged at the front to the “lower receiver”, or pistol frame, which is made from a polymer. In ready to fire position, upper and lower receivers are rigidly connected by the latch at the rear of the frame, which can be released via thumb lever, located above and behind the pistol grip. The magazine is located between the upper and lower receiver, below the barrel, with its feed ramp facing upward. To replace the magazine, the user has to press the release latch with his/her thumb and pull the rear of the upper receiver up. This allows the empty magazine to be pulled up from the grip frame and to the rear, out of the weapon. Once this is done, a fresh magazine can be inserted into the opening, and the upper receiver closed down. Bolt is manually cycled via a T-shaped AR15-style charging handle, located at the rear of the upper receiver. The trigger is of single action type, with an internal hammer and ambidextrous safety levers. Empty cases are ejected up and to the right via the ejection port, located in the upper receiver, just behind its integral Picatinny rail that runs toward the muzzle end of the gun.
The KelTec P50 handgun features rudimentary iron sights which are built into the top rail, but it appears to be best used with some sort of Red Dot sight. It features an additional Picatinny rail at the front of the lower receiver, plus a couple of QD sling mounts.
Special thanks to Oleg Volk for photos
|Full text name||KelTec P50 pistol (USA)|
|Caliber cartridge||5.7x28 FN|
|Overall length, mm||380|
|Barrel length, mm||244|
|Weight empty, kg||1.43|
|Magazine capacity, rounds||50|