In the 1970s and 1980s, the South Korean military made a concerted effort to reduce its foreign dependency on systems and products and encouraged local industrial growth. This has resulted in a myriad of products of indigenous origination covering combat tanks, armored vehicles, aircraft, helicopters and small arms. In the latter, a complete family of "K-weapons" has been devised and this lineup includes the "K5" semi-automatic pistol as the standard sidearm of South Korean warfighters.
The K5 is a no-frills military sidearm utilizing well-established traits proven in other global pistols. Design work by Daewoo Precision Industries spanned from 1984 until 1988 and manufacture (under the S&T Motiv brand label) began in 1989. The original prototype was designated "XK5" and this led to the standardized serial production "K5" model. From this was released the "DP51" civilian market model (in semi-compact and compact forms). The follow-up commercial-minded DH40 is chambered for ..40 S&W and the DH45 follows with its .45 ACP chambering. The DP51 has been modernized in the LH9C and LH9 Mk II models.
The sidearm is chambered for the ubiquitous 9x19mm Parabellum pistol cartridge and a semi-automatic action manages the flow of rounds from the spring-loaded magazine (inserted into the base of the pistol grip) to the firing chamber. Externally, the weapon is traditionally arranged with a long-running slide (ribbed at the rear sides), over-frame sighting devices and an underslung trigger unit. Safety and magazine controls are presented along the side of the receiver. Feeding is typically by way of a 13- or 15-round detachable box magazine. Other counts are supported as well depending on the model at play.
Overall weight is around 26 ounces and length measures 178mm (the barrel is 104mm long). Effective firing range is 55 yards.
The K5 is also issued to Bangladeshi SWADS and Singaporean KOPASSUS special forces elements. Both Guatemala and Indonesia began using the K5 in 2011.