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The Heckler & Koch MP5 (Maschinenpistole 5, lit. "submachine gun 5") is a highly-successful German submachine gun designed by Tilo Möller, Manfred Guhring, Georg Seidl, Helmut Baureuter, Rudolf Brandl, Herbert Doll, Paul Thevis, Helmut Danner and Erich Weisser in 1964 and manufactured by Heckler & Koch since 1966. Having been adopted by some 40 nations, the MP5 is one of most widely used submachine guns in the world. A successor weapon, the UMP was also developed, but has not shared the same level of success.


The MP5 was first conceived in 1964 as the MP54 (A.K.A. HK54). The prototype was first released in 1965. It was adopted by the Deutsche Polizei (German police) as the MP5, where many original examples still serve today. Since late 2017, the Brandenburg police have begun to replace it with the MP7A1, with several other federal states following since.[1]

Design details[]

The MP5 is a scaled down version of the G3 rifle, chambered in 9×19mm Parabellum. It retains the basic principles of the G3 action, and fires from a closed bolt.

All MP5 SMGs are fitted with fire control groups capable of several modes of fire. There are two main variants - three-positional, which has safe, semi-automatic and full auto positions, and four-positional, which has safe, semi-automatic, burst and full auto positions. Burst mode fires two or three rounds at a single trigger pull (2 or 3 - depends on the exact model).

The MP5 can be fitted with fixed (MP5A2; MP5SD2) or collapsible (MP5A3; MP5SD3) stocks.

The MP5 features a cold hammer forged, 9-inch free-floated barrel, with a 1:10 twist rate. It is pressed and pinned into the receiver.


The standard MP5 uses 9×19mm Parabellum ammunition, but there are specialized variants chambered in more powerful .40 S&W and 10mm Auto. These variants can be spotted by different, straight magazines. There are 30- and 15-round proprietary magazines for each type of ammunition. There are also variants of the MP5 that use an integrated suppressor, designated as "MP5SD". "SD" is an abbreviation of the German word "Schalldämpfer" (literally, "sound dampener" (suppressor)). It has an integral suppressor and a vented barrel, which allows normal ammunition to be fired at subsonic speeds due to less gas pushing the projectile out of the barrel. Standard variants of the MP5 can be outfitted with suppressors as well.

On offer were various models, mostly based on stock style and trigger group, "SEF" being semi automatic and full automatic, and "0-1-3-D" being semi, burst fire and full. Burst fire comes in either 2 or 3 round bursts, so any MP5 with a burst option can use the 2 round burst.

The MP5K only comes in 9x19mm, and is the compact variant of the MP5.



K=Kurz (Short in German), 1976. 4.6in barrel, no buttstock, 13 inches (325 millimeters) total. Cyclic rate of 900 rounds per minute, compatible with MP5 accessories.

Will fit inside briefcase designed for concealed carry, from which it can likewise fire due to trigger on the case's handle.

MP5 variants[]

The MP54 (MP5A1, HK54)

  • HK54: The original model Maschinenpistole 5, 1960s. No buttstock (endplate/receiver cap in place of buttstock), "Navy"/"SEF" trigger group. 5 denotes classification (Submachine gun) and 4 denotes caliber (9×19 Luger/Parabellum).
  • MP5A1: HK54 slightly modified with collapsing buttstock.
  • MP5A2: Fixed buttstock, "SEF" trigger group (Semi, Full Auto).
  • MP5SFA2: Fixed buttstock, single-fire (SF) trigger group. Can accept full-auto MP5 trigger packs.
  • MP5A3: Retractable buttstock,"SEF" trigger group.
  • MP5SFA3: Retractable buttstock, single-fire (SF) trigger group. Can accept full-auto MP5 trigger packs.
  • MP5A4: Fixed buttstock, 0-1-3-D trigger group (Semi, Burst, Full Auto). 

    An MP5N With Aftermarket Foregrip with aimpoint and suppressor

  • MP5A5: Retractable buttstock, 0-1-3-D trigger group.
  • MP5-N: Model developed specifically for the U.S. Navy. Ambidextrous "Navy" trigger group, 3-lug/threaded barrel for attaching a sound suppressor; retractable stock.
  • MP5F: Model developed specifically for the French military. Rubber-padded retractable stock, ambidextrous sling loops/bolts and internal modifications to handle high-pressure ammunition.
  • MP5 MLI: Mid Life Improvement variant of the MP5A3 introduced in 2013. Rubber padded retractable-stock from the MP5F, RAL8000 color scheme, and proprietary HKey forend for mounting picatinny rails.
  • MP5SD1: No buttstock (endplate/receiver cap in place of buttstock), "SEF" trigger group, integrated suppressor (Schalldämpfer).
  • MP5SD2: Fixed buttstock, "SEF" trigger group, integrated suppressor.
  • MP5SD3: Retractable buttstock, "SEF" trigger group, integrated suppressor.
  • MP5SD4: No buttstock (endplate/receiver cap in place of buttstock), 0-1-3-D trigger group, integrated suppressor.
  • MP5SD5: Fixed buttstock, 0-1-3-D trigger group, integrated suppressor.
  • MP5SD6: Retractable buttstock, 0-1-3-D trigger group, integrated suppressor.
  • MP5SD-N1: Retractable buttstock, "Navy" trigger group, KAC stainless steel suppressor.
  • MP5SD-N2: Fixed buttstock, "Navy" trigger group, KAC stainless steel suppressor.
  • MP5/10: Chambered in 10mm Auto, available in various stock/trigger group configurations. It was produced from 1992 to 2000. Comes with an extra 3 round burst.

    The MP5/10 as seen chambered in 10mm

  • MP5/40: Chambered in .40 S&W, available in various stock/trigger group configurations. It was produced from 1992 to 2000.
  • HK94: American import model of the MP5 with a 16 in barrel and special safe/semi-automatic trigger group, designed for civilian use. It was made from 1983 to 1989, in three different configurations. Often a stand in for real MP5s in movies, identified by lack of paddle style magazine release.
  • SP5: Semi-automatic only version for civilian use introduced in 2019.
  • SP5L: 421 mm (16.57 inch) barrel variant of the SP5, introduced in 2021.
  • POF5/PK1: Pakistan Licensed version of the MP5 made for export. Semi automatic and chambered in 9mm. This weapon is manufacture by Pakistan Ordinance Factory

    The HSG-5 as seen manufactured in Luxembourg

  • HSG5: Licensed copy of MP5 submachine gun. Semi-automatic. Manufactured by Luxembourgian firearms company LuxDefTec.
  • HSG5A2: Fixed buttstock model.
  • HSG5A3: Collapsible buttstock model.

MP5K variants[]

  • MP5KA1: Smooth upper surface, small iron sights; "SEF" trigger group.
  • MP5KA4: MP5K with 0-1-3-D trigger group.
  • MP5KA5: MP5KA1 with 0-1-3-D trigger group.
  • MP5K-N: MP5K with "Navy" trigger group and 3-lug/threaded barrel for mounting suppressors or muzzle devices.
    • MP5K-PDW: Personal Defense Weapon; an MP5K-N with added folding stock and 3-lug/threaded barrel for mounting of suppressors; "Navy" or 0-1-3-D trigger group. Introduced in 1991.
  • SP89: Sport Pistole M1989. Semi-automatic MP5K for civilian use. Modified foregrip into a traditional handguard. 1989-1994. Often used in place of real MP5K in movies.
  • SP5K: Improved version of the SP89; semi-automatic, introduced 2016.

Foreign Manufacturers[]


Manufactured by Norinco as the NR-08 (a clone of the MP5A4) and NR-08A (a clone of the MP5A5) and CS/LS3.


Manufactured under license by MAS as the MP5F.


Manufactured under license by EAS (Ellinika Amyntika Systimata: "Hellenic Defence Systems").


Manufactured under license by DIO as the Tondar (MP5A3) and Tondar Light (MP5K). Also manufactured as the MPT-9 by an unknown manufacturer.


Manufactured under license by SEDENA.


Manufactured under license by Pakistan Ordnance Factories as the MP5P and also POF-5.


Manufactured by Russian Arms Company as the RA-5.

Saudi Arabia[]

Manufactured under license by Al Kharj Arsenal, Military Industries Corporation.


Manufactured by Military Industry Corporation as the Tihraga (MP5A3), a clone of the Iranian Tondar.


Manufactured under license by Brügger & Thomet.


Manufactured by MKEK, also known as MKE. Their trigger groups are marked: E (Safe), T (Semi-Auto) and S (Full Auto) instead of SEF. MKE also manufactures some variants that are imported by the American company Zenith Firearms.

United Kingdom[]

Manufactured under license by Royal Small Arms Factory – Enfield.

United States of America[]

Manufactured by various companies including PTR Industries, Omega Guns, Special Weapons, Coharie Arms, Vector Arms and Brethren Arms.



  • The MP5 gained publicity after it was used by the SAS during the 1980 Iranian Embassy Siege in London. Its high-profile use by the SAS resulted in it being adopted by many other special forces units around the world.