No, they don’t come in full-auto like the original submachine gun, but a cop who’s carried one on duty says new models from a pair of manufacturers are a good option if the real deal is outside your price range.
Story and Photos by Nick Perna
Some guns just scream “cool.” High on that list is the Heckler & Koch MP5. It is a Hollywood favorite, as seen in classics like Die Hard and Rambo II. It has a long, storied history with SWAT teams, special ops teams and counterterrorist units. The MP5’s finest hour may have been in 1980, when it was wielded by British Special Air Service Commandos during the highly successful Iranian Embassy hostage rescue mission. It has been the go-to subgun for over five decades.
The MP5 is an oldie but a goodie. The basic design dates back to the mid-1960s. It uses the highly reliable roller-delayed blowback mechanism that ensures rounds are fired and cases ejected with typical German efficiency. It comes in many variants, such as the diminutive MP5K, which has been modified to fire from a briefcase. There is also the MP5SD with an integral suppressor, used by United States Naval Special Warfare Operators. Generally found in 9mm, there have also been limited runs in 10mm and .40 S&W. Magpul has recently come out with updated furniture, including M-Lok-capable foregrips, ambidextrous selector levers and polymer trigger housings. This ensures that this classic will continue to see use with operators and sport shooters.
LINE-OF-DUTY OBSERVATIONS I have had the distinct pleasure of carrying an MP5 as a SWAT officer and as a member of a specialized enforcement unit, and it is one of my favorite work weapons. The iron sights are, hands down, the best I’ve ever used. A simple hooded front post coupled with a large-aperture rear peep-type sight allows for quick engagements. There are different size apertures for engaging threats at different distances. This is the only long gun I would suggest keeping and using the iron sights over installing a red dot sight.
The model I carried had a collapsible stock. This works well when operating it from a motor vehicle. Most long guns are difficult to operate and deploy from vehicles, especially by the person driving the vehicle. I’ve tried this operationally with M4s and the weapon is usually too long. Not so with the MP5. With the stock collapsed, it basically sits in the driver’s lap. All one has to do is extend the stock when exiting the vehicle and you are good to go. So, now that I got you all excited about shooting one, here’s the bad news: They are very expensive and difficult to come by. The civilian version of the MP5, the SP5, is hard to find and goes for around $3,500. There are aftermarket models from other manufacturers that are about as expensive. Here’s the good news: There are excellent versions of the MP5 in .22 Long Rifle made by HK, as well as Walther, licensed through HK.
WALTHER MODELS Walther currently makes two .22 LR rifles modeled after the popular MP5 series. Walther went to great lengths to ensure that the weapon looks, feels and handles like the bigger-bulleted counterpart. The controls are like the original: an ambidextrous selector switch (sorry folks, no full-auto). Like the original, the Walther has two magazine releases, a button behind the mag well and a paddle in front of it. It has the classic iron sights, too. Internally, they don’t resemble the real deal. Since they are .22 LR, they only require a simple blowback-style action to operate. The Walther HK MP5 A5 22LR resembles an early-model gun. It has a mock suppressor on it; this is there to cover the barrel, which has to be long enough to legally qualify as a rifle. I own one of these and have put it through its paces. It runs just like the real deal, right down to the charging handle you slap to load. I tricked mine out with an aftermarket foregrip with an integral light and magazine couplers. The website hkparts.net carries a wide variety of add-ons to mount on your gun. As for the Walther HK MP5 SD 22LR, it is a faithful copy of the Navy SEAL gun, also with a faux suppressor. You’ll have to supply your own wetsuit, goggles and fins, though. Each gun comes with a 10-round magazine, and 25-rounders are available for folks who live in places where they are allowed. There’s also a 50-round drum magazine.
HK MODELS Coming out this month, HK will be introducing their own line of .22 subguns. One is a pistol version, an MP5 minus a stock. This negates the need for a mock suppressor. They are also coming out with a SD-style plinker. It will retail for under $500, which is a good deal. The Walther guns go for about the same price. So, if the real thing is outside your price range, consider these options from Walther and HK.