Heckler & Koch SP5, Finally a Semi-Auto MP5 for the U.S. Market
It’s as close as you can get to a genuine MP5 SMG, and it’s pretty darn close.
The MP5 submachine gun is easily the most famous of all HK gun designs. The sleek lines of the MP5 may be the most recognizable gun silhouette of all, regardless of the manufacturer.
The H&K MP5 is an iconic firearm. When someone hears “submachine gun” whereas once the M3 Grease Gun came to mind, now the term conjures up the unique lines and compact package of the 9mm MP5 introduced by Heckler & Koch back in the 1960s, probably in the hands of a Navy SEAL.
The most popular submachine gun
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(the firearm was designed in the 1960s), the MP5 continues widespread service today (2013) although it has been long superseded along Heckler & Koch lines by a more modern offering – the HK UMP (Universale Maschinenpistole), a lightweight, the less expensive platform made fully modular by incorporation of accessory rails about the design.
Probably the most popular series of submachine guns in the world, it functions according to the proven roller-delayed blowback principle. Tremendously reliable, with maximum safety for the user, easy to handle, modular, extremely accurate, and extraordinarily easy to control when firing – HK features that are particularly appreciated by security forces and military users worldwide.
The SP5 was developed by the gunmaker as a semi-auto, civilian sporting pistol that matches the look and feel of the MP5 SMG. The designation as a pistol makes it possible to be exported to the U.S.
There are now well over 100 variants of the MP5 available to cover a large number of different tactical requirements for a wide variety of users. whether on land, on the water, or in the air – The MP5 is universally applicable, making it usable in all areas and under all conditions.
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” which eventually became the “MP5A1” mark. Production commenced under the Heckler & Koch brand label in 1966 and, amazingly, continues even today (2013).
The 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.
The basic construction of the MP5 involved the 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 with 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.
Now you can get the authentic look, feel, and features of the legendary HK MP5 in a semi-automatic .22 LR rifle. HK has partnered with Umarex of Germany to bring you the only HK-authorized rimfire versions of the legendary MP5. So, whether you’re looking for an economic, but serious sub-caliber trainer, a suppressor host, or just want the coolest .22 LR fun gun on the range, look no further.
The Heckler & Koch MP5 (Maschinenpistole 5, lit. “submachine gun 5”) is a highly-successful German submachine gun designed by Tilo Möller, Manfred Guhring, Georg Seidl, Helmut Baureuter, Rudolf Brandl, Herbert Doll,
Paul Thevis, Helmut Danner and Erich Weisser in 1964 and manufactured by Heckler & Koch since 1966. Having been adopted by some 40 nations, the MP5 is one of the most widely used submachine guns in the world. A successor weapon, the UMP was also developed but has not shared the same level of success
The MP5 was first conceived in 1964 as the MP54 (A.K.A. HK54). The prototype was first released in 1965. It was adopted by the Deutsche Polizei (German police) as the MP5, where many original examples still serve today. Since late 2017, the Brandenburg police have begun to replace it with the MP7A1, with several other federal states following since.
The MP5 is a scaled-down version of the G3 rifle, chambered in 9×19mm Parabellum. It retains the basic principles of the G3 action, and fires from a closed bolt.
All MP5 SMGs are fitted with fire control groups capable of several modes of fire. There are two main variants – three-positional, which has safe, semi-automatic, and full-auto positions, and four-positional, which has safe, semi-automatic, burst, and full-auto positions. Burst mode fires two or three rounds at a single trigger pull (2 or 3 – depends on the exact model).
The MP5 can be fitted with fixed (MP5A2; MP5SD2) or collapsible (MP5A3; MP5SD3) stocks.
The MP5 features a cold hammer-forged, 9-inch free-floated barrel, with a 1:10 twist rate. It is pressed and pinned into the receiver.
The standard MP5 uses 9×19mm Parabellum ammunition, but there are specialized variants chambered in more powerful .40 S&W and 10mm Auto. These variants can be spotted by different, straight magazines. There are 30- and 15-round proprietary magazines for each type of ammunition. There are also variants of the MP5 that use an integrated suppressor, designated as
“MP5SD”. “SD” is an abbreviation of the German word “Schalldämpfer” (literally, “sound dampener” (suppressor)). It has an integral suppressor and a vented barrel, which allows normal ammunition to be fired at subsonic speeds due to less gas pushing the projectile out of the barrel. Standard variants of the MP5 can be outfitted with suppressors as well.
On offer were various models, mostly based on stock style and trigger group, “SEF” being semi-automatic and fully automatic, and “0-1-3-D” being semi, burst fire, and full. Burst fire comes in either 2 or 3 round bursts, so any MP5 with a burst option can use the 2 round burst.
The MP5K only comes in 9x19mm and is the compact variant of the MP5.
K=Kurz (Short in German), 1976. 4.6in barrel, no buttstock, 13 inches (325 millimeters) total. Cyclic rate of 900 rounds per minute, compatible with MP5 accessories.
Will fit inside briefcase designed for concealed carry, from which it can likewise fire due to trigger on the case’s handle.
- HK54: The original model Maschinenpistole 5, 1960s. No buttstock (endplate/receiver cap in place of buttstock), “Navy”/”SEF” trigger group. 5 denotes classification (Submachine gun) and 4 denotes caliber (9×19 Luger/Parabellum).
- MP5A1: HK54 slightly modified with collapsing buttstock.
- MP5A2: Fixed buttstock, “SEF” trigger group (Semi, Full Auto).
- MP5SFA2: Fixed buttstock, single-fire (SF) trigger group. Can accept full-auto MP5 trigger packs.
- MP5A3: Retractable buttstock, “SEF” trigger group.
- MP5SFA3: Retractable buttstock, single-fire (SF) trigger group. Can accept full-auto MP5 trigger packs.
- MP5A4: Fixed buttstock, 0-1-3-D trigger group (Semi, Burst, Full Auto).
- MP5A5: Retractable buttstock, 0-1-3-D trigger group.
- MP5-N: Model developed specifically for the U.S. Navy. Ambidextrous “Navy” trigger group, 3-lug/threaded barrel for attaching a sound suppressor; retractable stock.
- MP5F: Model developed specifically for the French military. Rubber-padded retractable stock, ambidextrous sling loops/bolts, and internal modifications to handle high-pressure ammunition.
- MP5 MLI: Mid Life Improvement variant of the MP5A3 introduced in 2013. Rubber padded retractable stock from the MP5F, RAL8000 color scheme, and proprietary HKey forend for mounting Picatinny rails.
- MP5SD1: No buttstock (endplate/receiver cap in place of buttstock), “SEF” trigger group, integrated suppressor (Schalldämpfer).
- MP5SD2: Fixed buttstock, “SEF” trigger group, integrated suppressor.
- MP5SD3: Retractable buttstock, “SEF” trigger group, integrated suppressor.
- MP5SD4: No buttstock (endplate/receiver cap in place of buttstock), 0-1-3-D trigger group, integrated suppressor.
- MP5SD5: Fixed buttstock, 0-1-3-D trigger group, integrated suppressor.
- MP5SD6: Retractable buttstock, 0-1-3-D trigger group, integrated suppressor.
- MP5SD-N1: Retractable buttstock, “Navy” trigger group, KAC stainless steel suppressor.
- MP5SD-N2: Fixed buttstock, “Navy” trigger group, KAC stainless steel suppressor.
- MP5/10: Chambered in 10mm Auto, available in various stock/trigger group configurations. It was produced from 1992 to 2000. Comes with an extra 3 round burst.
- MP5/40: Chambered in .40 S&W, available in various stock/trigger group configurations. It was produced from 1992 to 2000.
- HK94: American import model of the MP5 with a 16 in the barrel and special safe/semi-automatic trigger group, designed for civilian use. It was made from 1983 to 1989, in three different configurations. Often a stand-in for real MP5s in movies, identified by lack of paddle-style magazine release.
- SP5: Semi-automatic only version for civilian use introduced in 2019.
- SP5L: 421 mm (16.57 inch) barrel variant of the SP5, introduced in 2021.
- POF5/PK1: Pakistan Licensed version of the MP5 made for export. Semi-automatic and chambered in 9mm. This weapon is manufactured by Pakistan Ordnance Factory
- HSG5: Licensed copy of MP5 submachine gun. Semi-automatic. Manufactured by Luxembourgian firearms company LuxDefTec.
- HSG5A2: Fixed buttstock model.
- HSG5A3: Collapsible buttstock model.
- MP5KA1: Smooth upper surface, small iron sights; “SEF” trigger group.
- MP5KA4: MP5K with 0-1-3-D trigger group.
- MP5KA5: MP5KA1 with 0-1-3-D trigger group.
- MP5K-N: MP5K with “Navy” trigger group and 3-lug/threaded barrel for mounting suppressors or muzzle devices.
- MP5K-PDW: Personal Defense Weapon; an MP5K-N with added folding stock and 3-lug/threaded barrel for mounting of suppressors; “Navy” or 0-1-3-D trigger group. Introduced in 1991.
- SP89: Sport Pistole M1989. Semi-automatic MP5K for civilian use. Modified foregrip into a traditional handguard. 1989-1994. Often used in place of real MP5K in movies.
- SP5K: Improved version of the SP89; semi-automatic, introduced 2016.
Manufactured by Norinco as the NR-08 (a clone of the MP5A4) and NR-08A (a clone of the MP5A5) and CS/LS3.
Manufactured under license by MAS as the MP5F.
Manufactured under license by EAS (Ellinika Amyntika Systimata: “Hellenic Defence Systems”).
Manufactured under license by DIO as the Tondar (MP5A3) and Tondar Light (MP5K). Also manufactured as the MPT-9 by an unknown manufacturer.
Manufactured under license by SEDENA.
Manufactured under license by Pakistan Ordnance Factories as the MP5P and also POF-5.
Manufactured by Russian Arms Company as the RA-5.
Manufactured under license by Al Kharj Arsenal, Military Industries Corporation.
Manufactured by Military Industry Corporation as the Tihraga (MP5A3), a clone of the Iranian Tondar.
Manufactured under license by Brügger & Thomet.
Manufactured by MKEK, also known as MKE. Their trigger groups are marked: E (Safe), T (Semi-Auto), and S (Full Auto) instead of SEF. MKE also manufactures some variants that are imported by the American company Zenith Firearms.
Manufactured under license by Royal Small Arms Factory – Enfield.
United States of America
Manufactured by various companies including PTR Industries, Omega Guns, Special Weapons, Coharie Arms, Vector Arms and Brethren Arms.
- The MP5 gained publicity after it was used by the SAS during the 1980 Iranian Embassy Siege in London. Its high-profile use by the SAS resulted in it being adopted by many other special forces units around the world.
- Modern Warfare, Published by Mark Dartford, Marshall Cavendish (London) 1985
- Modern Firearms – Heckler und Koch MP5 (Germany)
It was a tack driver at defensive distances and running a steel dueling tree with the MP5-style iron sights was almost too easy. With a red dot, it would be straight-up nasty.
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
I had the chance to put about 30 rounds through
Inside is a roller-delayed blowback operating system (just like the MP5), known for accuracy, reliability, and smooth cycling. The mechanism was first introduced on the H&K G3 rifle.
The SP5 is made in H&K’s Oberndorf factory in southwest Germany and retains the MP5’s precision machined components and attention to detail. It’s made in the same factory, on the same lines, and by the same workers that have collectively been producing MP5s for years.
As a pistol, the SP5 does not come with a stock. Instead, it’s fitted with an elastic “bungee” sling that snaps onto the sling swivel hardware on the rear of the receiver.
the SP5 that was available for test shooting at Industry Day at the Range 2020. Importation rules and the fact that H&K is a German company has made getting a civilian version of the MP5 on the U.S.. gun market quite difficult.
While it has been designed and built to meet the definition of a civilian pistol, it feels and works just like an MP5. It includes a Navy barrel with a threaded tri-lug adaptor (awesome), a paddle magazine release (semi-auto versions of the MP5 in the past have had a button-style mag release, and a fluted chamber.
Or, fi you wish, you can install a brace and keep it a pistol, or you can declare it an SBR, get a tax stamp, and install any MP5 stock of your choosing, which is what most buyers will likely do. One of the SP5s at range day was an SBR fitted with an old-school fixed MP5 stock. It felt amazing.
As far as accessories go, anything that works with or fits on the MP5, even aftermarket parts, will work on the SP5, including barrels, rails, and handguards.
The SP5 is chambered in 9mm and is available with two 30-round mags or two 10-round mags. Additional 30-, 15-, and 10-round mags are also available.
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 the 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.
One of the most popular MP5 production models became the MP5K (K = Kurz for “Short”) which took an already compact firearm and made it more so through the use of a shorter barrel and forend and lacked a stock.
The fire selector allowed for single- and full-automatic fire only and the front end of the weapon was supported through a rubber-encased vertical grip handle mounted just ahead of the magazine well. All other MP5 functions remained the same.
The MP5K eventually produced its own sub-set of variants: The MP5KA1 was given a cleaner-upper receiver with a single-/full-auto-firing function and more compact iron sights.
The MP5KA4 featured a three-round burst fire capability while the MP5KA5 was the MP5KA1 though with three-round burst capability. The MP5K-N was a US Navy model with a Navy trigger group and threaded suppressor support.
|Heckler & Koch MP5|
|Place of origin||West Germany|
|Used by||See Users|
The MP5K-PDW (“Personal Defense Weapon”) was the MP5K-N with three-round burst support, forward vertical grip, and hinged folding stock. The MP5/10 was a specialized form chambered for the 10mm Auto cartridge while the MP5/40 fired the .40 S&W cartridge.
The MP5 was imported in civilian guise to the United States as the HK94 and another civilian offering became the SP89 intended for sport shooting and to conform to the 1989 Semi-Automatic Weapons Ban. European civilians had access to the T-94 ZSG (Zivile Sportgewehr) model.
One of the more identifiable MP5 production models was its silenced – or “SD” – form which, like the HKMP5K, produced its own sub-set of variants: the MP5SD1 was the initial model and lacked a stock though fitted with single-shot/full-auto fire capable and integral suppressor (as opposed to threaded).
The MP5SD2 sported a full fixed stock with an integral suppressor with single/full auto support. The MP5SD3 was given a collapsing stock and retained the built-in suppressor.
The MP5SD4 lacked the stock but retained the suppressor and included a three-round burst fire mode. The MP5SD5 was a fixed stock version with a suppressor and three-round burst capability.
The MP5SD6 sported a collapsing stock with suppressor ad three-round burst fire. The MP5SD-N1 was an American Navy modification with collapsing stock and stainless steel suppressor, the latter developed by Knight’s Armament Company. The MP5SD-N2 was similar though with a fixed full stock.
The HK MP5 eventually became the logical weapon of choice for most North American and European special forces groups and police. It proved extremely successful as a close-quarters man-stopper and was utilized by the notable likes of the United States Navy SEALs, the German GSG9, and British SAS.
The HK53 was more or less the HK MP5 though chambered for the American 5.56x45mm rifle cartridge – though marketed as a variant of the full-length HK33 Assault Rifle.