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(the firearm was designed in the 1960s), the MP5 continues widespread service today (2013) although it has been long superseded along Heckler & Koch lines by a more modern offering – the HK UMP (Universale Maschinenpistole), a lightweight, the less expensive platform made fully modular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” to 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.
- Manufacturer: HK
- Model: MP5 Rifle
- Caliber: .22LR
- Weight: 7 lbs. (without magazine)
- Height: 11″
- Barrel Length: 16.1″
- Overall Length: 26.4″ – 32.3″
- Action Type: Blowback
- Finish: Black
- Grips: Standard
- Sights: Fixed Front Adjustable Rear
Magazine Capacity: 25
Once, many summers ago, I had the chance to shoot an actual, full-auto MP5 with 30-round mags. It was an extraordinary experience that I hope to repeat someday. That same afternoon I fired a full-auto Uzi, Sterling SMG, and a full-sized AK-47, and I never forgot how utterly controllable the MP5 was in comparison. How you just aimed, leaned into it a bit, and holes appeared right where I wanted.
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. Because of 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 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 integral suppressor with single/full auto support. The MP5SD3 was given a collapsing stock and retained the built-in suppressor.
|Designer||Tilo Möller, Manfred Guhring, Georg Seidl, Helmut Baureuter|
|Manufacturer||Heckler & Koch|
Collapsing / folding stock:
Receiver end cap:
|Action||Roller-delayed blowback, closed bolt|
|Rate of fire||
|Effective firing range||
|Feed system||15, 30, 40, or 50 round detachable box magazine and 100-round Beta C-Mag drum magazine|
|Sights||Iron sights. Rear: rotary drum; front: hooded post|
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.