Some people feel the same way about firearms that my grandma feels about lawn gnomes, but that’s not me. I’m not a gun guy. And yet, if you ask me if I have a favorite gun, the answer is yes: the P90.
Now, I’ve never even seen the FN P90 in person, and I don’t really care if I ever do, but I love using the compact SMG in video games — and I’m not alone. The popular YouTube channel Ahoy has just posted its retrospective of the P90 and its history in games. You can watch the video by clicking play above.
Ahoy’s P90 video begins with the weapon’s real-world history lesson. It turns out that submachine guns like the popular MP5 were facing possible extinction due to the wide availability of Kevlar body armor. To effectively fight against a target wearing that kind of protection, groups like NATO were switching to longer rifles. This led Belgium arms manufacturer FN Herstal to design the bizarre-looking P90. It revitalized the SMG category with a 50-round clip and a new type of 5.7x28mm ammunition that can penetrate armor due to traveling at higher speeds than traditional bullets of a similar mass.
But while the weapon found a niche with actual police and military forces, it broke into popular culture partially due to its strange look. It was the firearm of choice for the SyFy channel’s Stargate SG-1 television program.
In video games, the P90 is now a must-have in any simulation of war or law enforcement. It was featured early on in GoldenEye 007 and 007: The World is Not Enough. These days, you’ll find the FN SMG in Call of Duty, Rainbow Six, and more. It is especially popular in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, for example, where its huge clip and quick rate of fire make it ideal for defending certain points on the game’s maps.
I’ll let Ahoy host Stuart Brown have the last word.
“[The P90] is an easy weapon to like,” Brown says in his video. “One consistent trait across all its depictions is the colossal 50-round magazine; a pocket LMG. It’s not without a corresponding downside. It’s per-shot damage is never the greatest — particularly at longer ranges. And sometimes the reloads or the handling aspects in games can be slow. However, with the typically high rate of fire you’d expect from an SMG, the P90s capability to dispense rounds quickly is remarkable, which makes it quite a forgiving weapon to use.”
And with that, I think I’ll load up some Counter-Strike right now to mess around with the P90 myself.