The P90 was developed between 1986 and 1990 by FN in Herstal, Belgium in conjunction with the new 5.7x28mm cartridge. FN's goal was to replace the pistol-caliber submachine guns which were in use at the time by military and law enforcement personnel, as it had become evident that such weapons were ineffective against body armor. Initially the weapon was designed to use a 5.7x28mm cartridge called the SS90. The SS90 propelled a 23 grain plastic-core projectile from the P90 at a speed of roughly 2800 ft/s. The first prototype firing this ammunition was completed in October 1986, and over 3,000 submachine guns were produced in this configuration until 1993 in a low-rate trial production mode. The weapon saw its first use in service shortly after its introduction, in the 1991 Gulf War. Following the P90's introduction, FN revised the 5.7x28mm ammunition. The new cartridge, designated the SS190, used a projectile 2.7mm shorter in length than that of the SS90. This allowed it to be used more conveniently in the FN Five-seven pistol also being developed at that time. This projectile also had a heavier weight and more conventional construction containing an aluminium core and steel penetrator. Several special types were also developed for the new cartridge, such as the L191 tracer round and a subsonic SB193 bullet for the sound-suppressed P90. A modified version of the P90 with a magazine adapted to use the new ammunition was introduced in 1993. Further development has led to the creation of the P90 TR variant, which has a MIL-STD-1913 top rail system. This variant was introduced in 1999 and continues to be offered alongside the standard P90. More recently, the P90 has been offered commercially in various configurations, as the FN PS90. This is a semi-automatic sporting version with a lengthened 407 mm (16.0 in) barrel.
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