The Heckler and Koch Machine-Pistol 5 is a select-fire submachine gun chambered in 9mm. HK is a German arms manufacturer founded in 1949 and is headquartered in Oberndorf am Neckar, Germany. The ubiquitous MP5 was first developed in the mid-1960s, and has since enjoyed pervasive use among armed forces, security, and law enforcement units worldwide.
HISTORY IN THE USA
The MP5 rocketed to fame in 1980 when, on live TV, the British SAS stormed the Iranian Embassy in London during operation Nimrod. The proficient use of the submachine gun resulted in the hostages being rescued and five terrorists were dispatched. This led to a quick adoption by special units in both the military and in law enforcement in the United States. Two events, the 1989 Panama invasion and the 1990 North Hollywood shootout, caused the submachine gun to fall out of favor. The 9 mm cartridge had been found wanting and was abandoned largely for the M4 platform in 223.
The good folks at HK adopted the Burger King model of this platform: “have it your way.” I have read that there are as many as 54 variants on this basic platform. I simply think of the gun with a few basic choices that can be assembled as needed.
The MP5SD gun has an integrated suppressor. A vented barrel allows supersonic ammunition to be fired at subsonic speeds.
The MP5K is a pistol version that was considered somewhat of a personal defense weapon. This platform also has the distinction of being available with a briefcase that it can be fired from via a trigger in its handle. The briefcase will also retain all of the spent brass.
The MP5SFA2 is a semi-auto version developed for the FBI.
Several versions of this gun result from the furniture that can be attached to it. There is a fixed stock, a metal retractable stock, a side-folding stock and receiver end cap instead of a buttstock.
H&K was in the civilian market with versions of the MP5 beginning in 1983 and ceasing in 1994. They had two models with multiple variants that they offered in the United States.
The HK 94 represented the standard sized MP5 chambered in 9 mm with several modifications to comply with the 1968 Gun Control Act. Most obviously was the increase in barrel length to 16 inches. Less obvious and perhaps more important, the lower receiver which housed the fire control unit was no longer held on by a pin that would allow it to swivel down. Now it was a clip-on lower that was designed not to accommodate the full auto parts.
The SP 89 was a 9 mm pistol that closely resembled the MP5K. Again the lower receiver was modified to make conversion to full auto difficult.
Importation of both of these models eventually became impossible as a result of various changes to gun control laws.
Barrel: 4.5 inches
Size: 23.7 inches extended, 14.5 inches compact
Weight: 5.5 lbs empty
Capacity: 30 round magazine
Easy to control, but with a slightly high rate of fire (~900 rounds per minute).
Modern firearms manufacturing definitely seems to have left the MP5 family behind, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a blast to shoot