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Heckler & Koch HK MP5 Submachine Gun / Machine Pistol (1966)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 7/23/2014

The German Heckler & Koch HK MP5 Submachine Gun has proven exceedingly popular for its compact and reliable approach to close-quarters combat.

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One of the most popular submachine guns ever produced, the Heckler & Koch HK MP5 ("Maschinenpistole 5") became a common sight throughout the latter Cold War years. The type was adopted by many special forces groups as well as security elements for its sound design and utmost reliability in close-quarters actions, proving a major market success for the German concern. While having shown its age since (the firearm was designed in the 1960s), the MP5 continues widespread service today (2013) although it has been long superseded along Heckler & Koch lines by a more modern offering - the HK UMP (Universale Maschinenpistole), a lightweight, less expensive platform made fully modular by incorporation of accessory rails about the design.

Design work on the original MP5 product began in 1964 and spanned into 1966 while being officially attributed to the collective minds of Tilo Moller, Manfred Guhring, Georg Seidl and Helmut Baureter. The original working model was then known as the "HK54" to which this eventually became the "MP5A1" mark. Production commenced under the Heckler & Koch brand label in 1966 and, amazingly, continues even today (2013). Success of the series could be attributed to HK's use of its existing and proven automatic rifle components which became widely successful in previous company offerings at the military level. Basic construction of the MP5 involved use of steel and plastics for a lightweight end-product which was also compact - key qualities for any submachine gun. Basic models were available with simple single-shot and full-automatic fire modes while a three-round burst function was eventually introduced into the family line. Military variants then appeared with integrated suppressors fitted over the barren for reduced sound operation (to produce the "SD" - "Silenced" - line) and this version went on to be used with tremendous success, alone producing six major sub-variants under the SD designation. Various optics and accessories could be mounted along the receiver or forend of standard MP5s as needed, considerably broadening the tactical reach of the operator in-the-field. Basic iron sights were standard forward and aft.

While primarily chambered for the 9x19mm Parabellum pistol cartridge, HK eventually released MP5 models chambered for the 10mm Auto and .40 S&W. The standard 9mm form was fed from a 15-, 30- or 40-round detachable box magazine though other variants could make use of the 100-round Beta C-Mag ammunition drum. The action consisted of a roller-delayed blowback system utilizing a close bolt arrangement - the same as featured on several full-length HK automatic rifles - proving itself both accurate and reliable. Rate-of-fire, loaded/empty weights and effective ranges all varied depending on the chambering and production model in question.

The first definitive MP5 form became the MP5A2 with its fixed solid shoulder stock featuring single-shot and full-automatic fire modes through a clearly-marked selector switch along the side of the receiver. The MP5SFA2 was similar though with only a single-shot, semi-automatic firing capability. The MP5A3 brought about use of a collapsing shoulder stock with support for single-shot or full-automatic fire. The MP5SFA3 became a carbine version of the MP5A3 complete with collapsible stock and single-shot, semi-automatic fire. The MP5A4 utilized a fixed stock with a 3-round burst firing function while the MP5A5 was given a collapsing stock with burst fire mode. The MP5N was a specialized US Navy variant with Navy trigger group (showing fire selection through bullet symbols instead of the usual "SEF" text), collapsing stock and threaded sound suppressor support. The French Army received specialized MP5s as the "MP5F", featuring a collapsing stock and revised internals for their special ammunition requirements.


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Specifications for the
Heckler & Koch HK MP5
Submachine Gun / Machine Pistol


Country of Origin: Germany
Manufacturer: Heckler & Koch GmbH - Germany
Initial Year of Service: 1966


Overall Length: 680mm (26.77in)
Barrel Length: 225.00mm (8.86in)
Weight (Empty): 5.73lbs (2.60kg)


Caliber: 9x19mm Parabellum; 10mm Auto; .40 S&W
Action: Roller-Locked Delayed Blowback
Feed: 15-, 30- or 40-Round Detachable Box; C-Mag 100-round support
Muzzle Velocity: 1,300ft/sec (396m/sec)
Rate-of-Fire: 800 rounds per minute
Range: 660ft (201m; 220yds)
Sights: Iron Front and Rear; Optional Optics


Variants:
HK54 - Original Company Designation (becoming the MP5A1.


MP5A1 - Initial Production Model

MP5A2 - Fixed plastic stock; single/full auto fire modes.

MP5A3 - Telescoping metal stock; single/full auto fire modes.

MP5SFA2 - Fixed stock; single-fire only

MP5A3 - Collapsing stock; ; single/full auto fire modes.

MP5SFA3 - Carbine form of MP5A3; collapsing stock single-shot fire only.

MP5A4 - Fixed stock; 3-round burst fire

MP5A5 - Collapsing stock; 3-round burst fire

MP5N - US Navy model with Navy trigger group; threaded sound suppressor support; collapsing stock.

MP5F - French Army model; collapsing stock; internal revisions.

MP5K "Kurz" - Shortened, compact MP5; sans stock; forward hand grip; shortened barrel and forend; single/full auto fire modes.

MP5KA1 - Cleaner upper receiver; compact iron sights; single/full auto fire modes.

MP5KA4 - MP5K with 3-round burst fire

MP5KA5 - MP5KA1 with 3-round burst fire

MP5K-N - US Navy variant with threaded suppressor support; Navy trigger group.

MP5K-PDW ("Personal Defense Weapon") - MP5K-N with folding stock; threaded suppressor support; Navy trigger group; 3-round burst fire.

MP5SD1 - Silenced variant; integral suppressor assembly; sans stock; single-shot/full-auto fire modes.

MP5SD2 - Silenced variant; integral suppressor assembly; fixed stock; single-shot/full-auto fire modes.

MP5SD3 - Silenced variant; integral suppressor assembly; collapsing stock; single-shot/full-auto fire modes.

MP5SD4 - Silenced variant; integral suppressor assembly; sans stock; 3-round burst fire.

MP5SD5 - Silenced variant; integral suppressor assembly; fixed stock; 3-round burst fire.

MP5SD6 - Silenced variant; integral suppressor assembly; collapsing stock; 3-round burst fire.

MP5SD-N1 - Silenced variant; integral suppressor assembly; US Navy model with Navy trigger group; suppressor manufactured by Knight's Armament Company.

MP5SD-N2 - Silenced variant; integral suppressor assembly; US Navy model with Navy trigger group; fixed stock; suppressor by Knight's Armament Company.

MP5/10 - Chambered for 10mm Auto cartridge

MP5/40 - Chambered for .40 S&W cartridge

HK94 - American civilian model; semi-automatic single-shot fire only.

SP89 - Sporting civilian model based on the MP5K

T-94 ZSG - European sporting civilian model of MP5

MP-10 - Variant manufactured by Special Weapons

SP-10 - Civilian-minded variant of MP-10


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