The Complete Guide To MP5 Clones
How You Found Your New Favorite Gun
First and foremost the MP5, without a giggle switch, somehow seems to get respect that a 9mm AR doesn't. I don't know why that is but I'm pretty sure every action movie from the 1980s has something to do with it. My interest in them stems from John McClane in Die Hard but once I actually started learning about the MP5 my interest grew into a love affair of the roller delayed blow back system and all weapons using it. Frankly the roller lock system is too complicated to explain here and well outside the scope of this article. It rocks. You'll love it.I'm also not here to teach you about the history of the MP5. That's what Wikipedia
is for. We are just going to discuss the platform and what's available on the market without getting into naming brands. There are super high end custom makers out there, there are production guns on shelves waiting for you to buy them, and there are options in between those extremes so the myth I'm hoping to dispel here is “I will never be able to afford an MP5”. I thought the same thing when I first started looking into them and the truth is they're actually extremely affordable. If you're a stamp collector in the NFA world you really owe it to yourself to own an MP5. Let's help put one in your collection.
The single most important decision to make on your journey is
“Which MP5 do I buy”
The MP5 comes in many different flavors including 9mm, 40S&W, 10mm, and even 45ACP variants, however, the only readily available guns are in 9mm. The other calibers are very very difficult to come by so we won't be discussing them here other than to say that they exist. There are four variants of the platform, three “official” configurations that can be had from Heckler and Koch directly, and one mutated bastard child of the American clone industry. Don't mistake my name calling for dislike though, trust me you're going to love the little mutant just as much as the others.Obviously the most commonly known variant is the standard full size, either sporting the A2 fixed stock, or A3 retractable one. We've seen these in movies and on television for the last 30 years. Everybody knows this gun, and it's an absolute joy to shoot.
Sporting an 8.9” barrel with an overall length of only 27” with the fixed stock and 21.7” / 27.6” for the retracting stock this little gem is a compact carbine that any shooter can enjoy. The barrel features a 3 lug QD system for flash suppressor and silencer mounting but, if you don't have a 3 lug capable can, threaded barrels are an option available on the market. Keep in mind that depending on conditions and the loads you're shooting 147 grain subsonic rounds will probably go supersonic in a barrel of this length.
Next in line is the other “big” one; the integrally suppressed MP5SD. This differs from the full size by the use of a 5.7” ported barrel and a free float hand guard that the silencer slides into and screws onto the barrel at the back end of the barrel rather than threading on at the crown like a normal can. The most critical thing to understand about the SD is the that the ported barrel bleeds full power supersonic munitions down to subsonic speeds eliminating the need to run 147 grain subsonic ammunition through the weapon to take full advantage of the silencer. Overall length is 31.1” fixed and 26.4” / 31.7” retractable.
This is a two edged sword though because it removes the main damaging component of a light weight 9mm projectile from the equation......speed. The joke in the MP5 crowd is that the SD is the worlds most expensive 380ACP which bring me to my next point. The MP5SD is the most expensive variant on the market because of the additional cost of the silencer used. The weapon also can not be safely fired without the can because the ports in the barrel would damage the gun without the can to contain the gases. The can is not optional and also makes this a two stamp gun.
And then there's the baby brother of the MP5 family, and my first MP5, the K. With a scant 4.5” of runway this barrel will keep all factory 147 grain subs subsonic, it features a VFG standard because there's not much real estate out front for your hands, and the back end of the receiver is chopped down shorter than the big boys making the retractable stocks incompatible...side folding stocks are where it's at with this little guy.
Featuring the same 3 lug QD system as its big brother (threaded barrel options are available as well) the semi auto clone can be had in three different configurations. The first has no buttstock or foregrip with an OAL of 12.8” and is considered a handgun. Second is the original K configuration which adds the VFG, and finally the MP5K-PDW adds the folding buttstock with an overall length of 23.7” extended / 14.5” folded.
And finally we come to the bastard child of American ingenuity.....the Reverse Stretch. With the front end of the MP5K and all associated features but retaining the dimensions of the full size receiver allowing the use of A2 and A3 stocks instead of folding stocks. How the Germans never came up with this themselves I will never know, but it's dead sexy. Other than the custom guys there's only one game in town for these bad boys and that's DJ Getz Firearms in Pennsylvania. I know I said I wasn't going to talk about brand names but on this one.......no other option.
If I didn't cover something, or you want to discuss who to buy from, where to buy from, and things of that nature feel free to ask me but I hope that this has been helpful.