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HK MP5 Sub Machine Gun Review

by Guns & Ammo TV   |  October 4th, 2013 8

For decades, the HK MP5 sub machine gun has been a staple with military and law enforcement around the world. The gun has proven itself in close quarters tactical situations, but more powerful centerfire calibers are starting to replace the legendary 9mm MP5. Find out more in the following segment of Guns & Ammo TV.

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  • Mazryonh

    Ah, the MP5. Just three days after Tom Clancy, the man who most popularized the weapon in fiction, dies, and now this vid claims the MP5 is as dead as Mr. Clancy is. Whether the timing of this video is coincidental or not, I believe a few aspects you covered are underinformed:

    -Ammunition: “9mm rounds can’t penetrate body armour”? The Russians have newer 9x19mm loads that can penetrate Level IIIA body armour (full-on Level III body armour will still stop both these and most 5.56mm rounds cold). They also have newer SMGs to handle it, such as the PP-19 Bizon that has a 53-round helical mag to hold this newer 9x19mm loading.

    -Compactness: SMGs, by virtue of being able to more easily load from the pistol grip than many intermediate or full-size rifle cartridges ever could, gain a better barrel-length-to-overall-length ratio than non-bullpup rifles likely can (loading from the pistol grip simplifies training because “hand finds hand”). Furthermore, SMGs can easily use fully-retractable stocks that are completely flush with the body of the gun (like some variants of the MP5 or the full-size Uzi) or folding stocks, unlike many AR-15 variants.

    -Efficiency: The shorter you make a firearm’s barrel, the more of the cartridge’s smokeless powder goes to waste as useless blast and flash (and while fired bullets and casings can sometimes be recycled, fired powder can never be). Flash can be disguised or hidden by low-flash powder or flash hiders, but these don’t actually resolve the problem. Suppressors can remove the majority of blast and flash but the really effective ones are quite long and can negate the compactness advantage (especially where SBRs are concerned). SMGs, by virtue of using less powder in their cartridges, suffer less from these problems.

    -Barrier penetration: Milsurp 5.56mm ammo can have problems reliably penetrating intermediate barriers like auto glass (and not every department can afford the newer rounds that mitigate this problem), while higher-mass pistol bullets usually have less trouble with.

    -Reliability: Aside from the usual stopping power criticism about 5.56mm SBRs not using specialty ammunition, you can read about how SBRs can become less reliable and put sound suppressors under increasing strain (after all, higher-pressure-than-normal gas is being blasted into them with every shot) as the barrels shorten in this article here:

    I’m of the opinion that for these reasons and others, SMGs aren’t quite out of the running yet for LE or close range use. One area they could improve in might be to try a different caliber. Have you checked out the reviews for the Glock 20 (chambered in 10mm Auto) here on this website? There are videos showing shooters hitting targets 250 yards away with fully-loaded 10mm ammunition (which was originally specced to be a 200-grain projectile travelling at 1200+ FPS), out of a stock Glock 20. Imagine what that could do out of a platform like the Beretta Mx4 Storm SMG.

  • G E Diego

    Great firearm. I have used it and would not leave home without it. I also rely my Uzi in severe environments.

    • i m kool

      u the man

  • MD Willington
  • BoDice

    I will agree with your statement that the H&K was the most over engineered weapon in history… But to say there is “no use for this weapon anymore since we have…” is ridiculous! Your statement is classic of the current mentality of “we got to have newer…bigger…newer is better! bigger is better”… of society today. The H&K 9mm will drive tacks! Also; if your worried about body armor, that’s what they make a body armor drills for!

  • John Fourkiller

    BoDice – You are so correct. Let’s all jump on the 5.56 is the cartridge to save all mentality! Bigger is better! Ridiculous segment. Don’t get me wrong, I love my M4, but this is nothing more than one mans opinion on a weapon system that he obviously dislikes. If you don’t like it, so be it. But to openly bash the weapon without giving us real, solid reasons why the system is so “bad” other than “we have the 5.56″, is stupid and amateur at best. The only thing that was said that had any constructive nature to it was on the safety. But listen to the attitude – the way he says “I have to admit it’s accurate”. Isn’t that the name of the game? Especially in CQB and hostage rescue? I’ve carried this weapon for years and years on tactical operations and it’s accuracy and reliability are the reasons I still carry it. I hate these kind of articles and segments. They have no value whatsoever other than to throw out some person’s one sided opinion.

  • Tony

    I believe that is Patrick Sweeney, who is a well-published author in the firearms space. But he gave no valid reasons why the MP5 is being ‘replaced’ other than it being a pistol round and not having stopping power. And btw, the safety on an AR/M4/M16 is no more ergonomic than that of the HK, so that argument does not make sense. Also, they did say several times that it is extremely accurate, which everyone agrees it is. Well, ponder this question: MP5, very accurate, in the hands of an operator, as is, vs something far more powerful but not as accurate. Which would you choose?

    I am not a SWAT guy, but I have not heard of a general trend of depart ments and armies replacing the MP5. If anything, many have adopted the UMP in .45, at least in the US.

  • Rustydog 42

    The critique of this weapon seems to be centered around the cartridge, rather than the weapon itself. With regular 9mm FMJ’s, it was, and still is, very effective. With today’s high tech hollow points, even more so. H&K did make MP5s in .40 S&W and 10mm for American law enforcement, but I don’t know if they still do.
    What would be great is if this weapon was offered in .357 SIG.
    That would almost be like carrying around a full/semi auto .357 Magnum! Devastating against hard and soft targets.

    Note: From World Gun website, the unloaded weight for the MP5 ranges from 2.54 Kg (5.6 lb) to 5.88 Kg (6.3 lb).
    Also, the U.S. Army has found that the venerable M-16/M-4 loses effectiveness when the barrel is shortened, especially in CQB situations. Sometimes it works well, sometimes it doesn’t. As a result, expect to see the gun upgraded, perhaps even replaced with a rifle caliber around 6.8 mm.

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