HK MP-54, or HK 54 - a prototype submachine gun (1965). Earlier MP-5A1 adopted by German police and Border Guard looked the same. Note that the sights and the muzzle are different from the latter models.
HK MP-5A2 with fixed stock and plastic S-E-F trigger group.
HK MP-5A3 with retractable buttstock. Earlier model with checkered handguard and a stamped steel S-E-F (in fact, S-1-A) trigger group.
HK MP-5SD3. A silenced version with integral silencer and retractable stock of A3 version. Early type stamped steel trigger group.
HK MP-5N. Modern version developed for US Navy. Features plastic trigger group of latest design, with ambidextrous selector lever and "icon" markings. Barrel is threaded to accept US-made detachable silencers, in addition to HK standard three-lug mounts. Retractable buttstock of A3 configuration.
Visual difference between trigger units:
left -earliest type stamped steel with plastic grip (converted from semi-auto only civilian gun HK 94, with American markings on selector);
middle - early type all-plastic with S-E-F markings;
right - most modern all-plastic design of "A4" variation, with additional 3-rounds burst facility and icon markings.
HK MP-5 field-stripped. Note that both types of stocks are shown - fixed A2 type and retractable A3 type.
technical data (current models):
|Caliber||9x19mm Parabellum (also .40S&W and 10mm Auto)|
|Weight, empty||2.54 kg||2.88 kg|
|Length||680 mm||490 / 660 mm|
|Barrel length||225 mm|
|Rate of fire||800 rounds per minute|
|Magazines||15 and 30 rounds|
The success of the MP-5 is outstanding. It is based on the high quality and reliability of the gun, great single-shot accuracy (thanks to its closed bolt action), great flexibility and, of cause, good marketing. It seems that no other modern SMG at this time can rival the MP-5 in popularity (UZI is not manufactured anymore).
The MP-5, basically, is no more than the scaled-down version of the Heckler-Koch G3 battle rifle. It shares the same basic design with stamped steel receiver and the same roller-delayed blowback action, derived from the post-war CETME rifles. The trigger units are hinged to the receiver and are now available with various fire mode options, including 2 (Safe, Semi-auto), 3 (Safe, Semi, Full Auto) or 4 (Safe, Semi, Limited burst of 2 or 3 rounds, Full auto) position levers, ambidextrous or not, and marked with letters, digits or icons. The MP-5 is always fired from closed bolt for improved accuracy, but this limits the amount of sustained fire due to the barrel overheating and resulting cook-off problems. To avoid this, MP-5 cocking handle could be locked in the rear position in the special slot, leaving the bolt in the open position, with no cartridge in the chamber. To commence the fire one must simply release the cocking handle from its notch and then pull the trigger. Modern MP-5 submachine guns are equipped with three-lug quick detachable silencer mounts on the barrel. Sights are similar to other HK models, and consists of the front hooded post sight and the adjustable for windage and elevation drum-type diopter rear sight. Special quick-detachable clamp mounts allows for installation of night, optical and red-dot sights if required. Standard magazine capacity is 30 rounds, but shorter 15 rounds magazines are available. Special versions were developed and manufactured in limited numbers during 1980s-90s for the US Law Enforcement market, chambered for more powerful 10mm Auto (10x25mm) and .40S&W (10x22mm) ammunition. These guns can be easily distinguished from more common 9mm models by straight box 30 rounds magazines, made from plastic.
While all of MP-5 can be fitted with silencers, there also a dedicated silenced version of MP-5, called MP5SD2 or SD3 (depending on the stock type). This version is equipped with non detachable integral silencer, and the vented barrel, to reduce the bullet muzzle velocity down below the speed of sound. The MP-5SD is intended to fire standard 9mm ammunition, not the special subsonic one.
Semi-automatic only versions of the MP-5 were once made for civilian market under the designation of HK-94, some with longer, 16 inch (406 mm) barrels, to conform with US laws. There also is an US company, called Special Weapons LLC, that is manufacturing semi-automatic, civilian MP-5 clones in various pistol calibers, including the .45ACP.