Thursday, August 11, 2011

I'm Back! Also A Treatise on the MP5

Ahoy! I've been back from my second tour of Trashcanistan, this time as a team leader, and later as a squad leader. This latest tour was no fun at all, and I while I may discuss it later, right now I'm stoked about my "I'm still alive" present that I bought myself once I got home: The H&K MP5A5-22LR.

One of my best friends ended up being in my squad and during the boring and not terrifying segments of our deployment, we devised a 22LR action shooting league that we will try to launch as soon as we shoot a few matches amongst ourselves and work the bugs out of the scoring system. I've always wanted an MP5, and a .22LR MP5 makes for one awesome range toy.

I started by online-stalking some GSG-5 rifles, and eventually calling around to some big box sporting goods stores and my favorite, Sportsman's Warehouse (who offers a military discount) had no GSGs but did have two H&Ks. The next day I drove up and bought the MP5A5 Navy version. The other one was an MP5SD6 Navy version. Though both had a collapsable stock, I chose the A5 because it was slightly less bulky than the SD6. $500 later, I had the Navy and two bricks of American Eagle .22LR High Velocity in the trunk of my Subaru WRX.

The best sights that 1970 has to offer.

I have since put about 2000 rounds through the (Walther) H&K MP5A5, and I came up with the following. First, the sights are authentic drum and hooded post H&K sights which are totally unacceptable if you are looking for a target rifle. I sighted in the irons while prone over a shooting bag and I never made any noteworthy groups at 25 or 50 yards, though they were all perfectly acceptable. Then I purchased a Leapers UTG picatinny rail for it, and after machining it because it is built totally wrong for an MP5, I mounted my Vortex Strikefire red dot. Suddenly the groups shrank DRASTICALLY. The attached photo is my initial 25 yard zero target. Once I made my adjustments, I put four rounds into a ragged hole in the bull's eye and of course sent one flyer less than half an inch from the group. This thing is a shooter! I shot a number of walnuts off a post at my friend's house when we were playing with it. Usually on the first shot, and never more than three shots were sent before a walnut exploded like the Death Star after a visit from Luke Skywalker. Shots were generally 40-55 yards kneeling or offhand. Again, this gun is a shooter! It is heavy though. It weighs a shade less than seven pounds, which is about what a real MP5A5 weighs.

The can is fake. The performance is not.

Now for the interesting stuff. This gun WILL NOT accept GSG-5 magazines. You MUST purchase factory Walther magazines through Umarex USA. Again, GSG-5 mags DO NOT WORK IN THE H&K 22. However, the Umarex/Walther/HK mags are excellent. In 2000 rounds, I have experienced one failure, which was the 15th round ever fired, and it was a failure to feed, so I would guess the brand new magazine was not fully seated. Since then I have gone through two 600 round sessions with a mix of Federal bulk 22 and Winchester bulk 22, both copper washed 30-something grain HPs, and a number of shorter sessions with no failures. This gun can be filthy and disgusting and will still happily spit out brass sharply to the 3 o'clock at about four feet. The trigger is a two-stage affair with an effortless first stage and a roughly 5lb second stage with a sharp break. It shoulders and points well. Also, the bolt locks to the rear on the last round, and it locks against a real BHO device instead of just hanging up on the magazine follower, which is a rarity in .22LR clones. The safety is a short throw with a positive "snap" into position.

My best at 25 yards over a backpack as a rest.

If I were looking for a hunting .22, I would go with a bolt action Savage MkII. If you want a cheap range toy or tacticool toy, look no further. It looks the part, has genuine H&K markings, realistic control surfaces, and a collapsing stock for easy storage and transport.


This is 2011. The MP5 is dead. As a tactical, operational platform, the AR-15 has the submachinegun handily beaten. Any 12.5" barrel AR in 5.56mm will outperform any MP5 variant with muzzle energy, effective range, ease of use, available accessories (real accessories like IR aiming lasers, etc. Not whatever Tapco junk you can bolt on), and in virtually every other measurable dimension. Also, most ARs are FAR, FAR cheaper than a real MP5A5, so police in poor areas (like where I was a cop) can very easily get equipped. An MP5 is better than a 9mm pistol, but not better than an AR-15 SBR. The AR is just too versatile. By bolting on a different upper, you can change from a 12" room broom to an 18" designated marksman variant that is indeed deadly to 500 yards. The MP5 simply falls flat after 150 yards. Optimistically 200 yards.

That said, I've always wanted an MP5 since I read Tom Clancy's "Rainbow Six". I found a 9mm civilian MP5 once, and it was $5400, so I jumped at the chance to have an MP5 for $489. If you prefer the AR platform and want to shoot .22LR, the M&P15-22 is the bee's knees.

That's All Folks!

I'm glad to be back, and will continue to update regularly as I ease back into civilian life. Keep 'em in the 10-ring!

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