Gun Review: TPM Outfitters MP5-N Build

Recenly our friends at TPM Outfitters really did us a favor by showing up at out KRISS Vector demonstration with an H&K UMP to use for comparison. I mentioned that they surprised me by bringing an MP5-N I commissioned them to build for me and I was absolutely thrilled to shoot it, and now I figure it is time to do a full review, especially considering that 2014 is the 50th anniversary of the MP5!

I showed up at TPM with a box of MP5 parts I had collected over the years that I eventually planned on building into a complete gun. I had everything I needed, and had bought a part here and there every time I found a good deal. I probably had $1,000 or so dollars in components, so I did not want to risk ruining anything by trying to bend and weld up my own receiver. After I saw the detail that TPM puts into every gun they build, I knew that they would do me right if I had them finish everything out. They told me they would do it all for $900, a price I was more than happy with considering Vector clones cost $2,200 new!

At the KRISS shoot I had the opportunity to run it for the first time and boy was I hooked. Since the gun was built for me as a pistol, it transferred normally on a 4473, but with the addition of a registered auto sear you are allowed to legally add a stock the fun is multiplied by ten fold:


I also got to run it with a Knight’s Armament suppressor, which I would like to buy in the near future. While not as quiet as an MP5/SD it was still very cool:


When the day came for me to come pick up the gun, Ken called me and mentioned that he was at the grand opening of a local premier shooting range that was setting up as a big time H&K dealer, so much so that members of the H&K corporate staff and the H&K shooting team were there. Ken said that he took my MP5 pistol there to show the guys too, and they even they were impressed by it!

As soon as I took possession of the pistol I threw it in my safe and planned a nice big range day, with the MP5 being the main focus (at the KRISS demo we were obviously more fixated on the Vectors).

On 12/17/13 my friend Chris and I headed to my shooting range with the MP5 in tow, auto sear installed.



For those wondering, the red tape on the mags are to keep my mags separate from other people’s. I can’t tell you how many times I have had a mag make it into someone else’s range bag, and a few pennies worth of electrical tape is a quick and easy fix!

This gun is equipped with an “S-E-F” trigger pack. These represent German words.

S translated to Sicher, or ‘Safe’. E translates to Einzelfeuer, meaning “single shot” but literally “single fire”. F translated to Feuerstoß meaning “burst fire” but is the German way to say fully automatic. A running joke among German soldiers is that the “F” setting for fully automatic actually means “Frieden”, or “peace” in English (who said the Germans don’t have a good sense of humor?). American shooters have of course developed their own translations for the S-E-F packs according to HK Pro:

S= Safe
E= Economical

And boy was I in for some fun that day.

Chris and I started slow, doing a burst here and burst there:



I also got a quick accuracy test at 25 yards from a standing position with 115 grain S&B ammo. Here is the



And the worst:


I am sure I could have done better using a rest of some kind, but as a sub-gun would almost always be used while standing or on the move, I like to try and get accuracy tests that way with them.

But of course we then moved onto gratuitous mag dumps and all sorts of fun:

Chris and I shot 700 or so rounds with the MP5 with zero malfunctions, but were left with some sore thumbs from loading mags!

Anyways, onto my bullet points:

The Good:

  • Affordable for an MP5
  • Accurate
  • Incredibly reliable
  • Full auto ready
  • Unmatched build quality
  • Updates received during the build process

The Bad:

  • This post will probably generate a flame war in the comments, haha
  • To really shine, you need to plop down the cash to SBR one of these or throw in a sear

The Ugly:

  • I got nothing!

So that’s that. TPM did right by me and this gun will now be my “all purpose weapon”. Matt opened my eyes into hunting with an MP5, so it will be used for hogs, target practice, sub-gun matches, other competitions, defense, and a tool for farming lead!

Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


  • Yojimbo556

    I had a Vector clone…oh why did i sell it? Now im just gonna go cry myself to sleep….sigh

    Still love my pistol caliber carbines and SBRs.

  • thedonn007

    Nice write up. How much does a registered auto sear for a MP5 cost these days?

    • Jeff S

      I would love to know the price too… Forgive my ignorance here: Are you constructing a “new” weapon here? Or is the registered sear the firearm in this case??

      • The pistol they built me (stockless MP5 with an endcap) was just a normal title I pistol. When I put my sear in, it legally is now a machinegun and I can add a stock without worrying about SBRing the gun. MGs are also exempt from 922r.

        • Jeff S

          Interesting… So how much does the auto sear run these days??

          • I paid $16,000 for mine. HK sears are versatile in that they can be used in all the legacy guns: the MP5, MP5k, 93/33, G3/91, and even the beltfeds like the 21 and 23!

          • Rob

            16k?! For a couple peices of machined metal?! Holy moly!

          • Yep that’s the price of admission these days. To think I remember when you could get an MP5 for $5000:-(

          • Jeff S

            Thanks Reagan… 🙁

          • kalashnikev

            A sear with a decent host will run you $25K-$30K now.

          • Alex paid $16,000 for this one.

    • I paid $16,000 for mine. HK sears are versatile in that they can be used in all the legacy guns: the MP5, MP5k, 93/33, G3/91, and even the beltfeds like the 21 and 23!

      • FourString

        Whoa. For both notes. Just, whoa.

  • Geralt

    Do they do SD variants as well? I’ve always wanted to have one…

    • Oh yes, their specialty is actually building and converting HK94 type rifles into SDs. They do a bang up job too!

  • Y-man

    That last mag dump says it all! See the smile at the end? That is SATISFACTION! Good review, impressive that the H & K guys found it superb.
    I would gladly load magazine after magazine for a piece of engineering like that!

    Was it difficult changing stocks at the range?

  • gunslinger

    i’d love to get my hands on one, and the k variant.
    had my chance when i lived in SC, but never made the time.

  • J.T.

    The red tape on the mags reminds me of Die Hard 2.

    • anonymous

      That, and Ultimate Force. SAS Red Troop had red tape on their magazines. Blue Troop used blue tape to identify theirs.

      If you liked The Unit, check it out on Netflix or Hulu — at least for the first two seasons. I stopped watching after Season 3 Episode 1.

      Ultimate Force was a British Television show that ran from
      2002-2006. It centered around ‘Red Troop’, a crack SAS (Special Air
      Service) unit that was given the task of defending Britain from
      Terrorist threats in the Post 9/11 World. One of the creators was former
      SAS soldier Chris Ryan [the only member of Bravo Two Zero who escaped to Syria], and as such, has many elements of the real world SAS within the show.”

  • joeblo90

    im slowly buying parts for one… i can wait to get the cash to finish it and then plop down the cazsh for an sbr

  • IXLR8

    TPM does a fantastic job on their builds. I have a TPM P5 (MP-5), and I am in the same boat waiting for a form 1. Someday maybe auto sears will become common, until then it is an awesome pistol carbine. The suppressors cycle fine with it. Compared to an MKE MP-5 it is a Porsche. You are a lucky owner of a fine firearm.

  • JPTX

    Neat stuff. But machineguns are pointless now. Prices put most normal folks out of reach.

    • If something brings a smile to your face, it ain’t pointless! But SBRs are available and cool.

      • JPTX

        Yeah I know. Thats why I have a dozen of them =D

  • Tyson chandler

    When I win the lottery, I will gladly put down the 20 to 30K needed for an auto sear. This is an awesome gun, thanks for the review!

  • st4

    The MP5 is one of the few autos I’ve managed to play with. If I recall right, it was an SEF model with the telescoping stock; an LE trade-in for some AR’s that are all the rage now. Anyhow, they are certainly loads of fun!

  • AKSapper

    I have a Dakota Tactical D54 SBR that I love . It took me 297 days to wait on a form 1, That being said owning a non Todd Bailey associated properly built MP5 clone is a thing of beauty and I love the haters saying ” it isnt a real mp5″ that’s jealousy …Great review and great gun …enjoy . I find stick mags are cheap and work well with FMJ .

  • Sam F

    I dont mean to be a stickler, but if its got an SEF group – its not a Navy build. It may have a Navy barrel, but…

  • Mazryonh

    Alex C., could you tell me why the angled handguard on this model is called the “Tropical” version? I fail to see what’s so “Tropical” about it.

    • No idea.

      • Mazryonh

        All I can think of is that the “Tropical” handguard resembles the rounded triangular handguards most commonly-seen on Vietnam-War-issue M16s, so that must have reminded most consumers then of that kind of “jungle” handguard.

        Is the angled handguard more comfortable for you to use than a straight one, such as one with a dedicated weaponlight?

        • I would say yes, I like the taper. I also have an old-school slimline that looks classic and neat, but is not as comfy. Say, you ever find yourself in Texas and you can give it a try!

          • Mazryonh

            I have to wonder if the “tacticool guys” would insist on “modernizing” the MP5 Surefire foreend by giving the Surefire flashlight head a “strike bezel” for punching purposes and/or giving it a toothed flash hider for the same reason.

            The Surefire foreend has a lower edge that is parallel to the barrel, but is still “fat” like the “Tropical” foreend is, from what I can tell according to the photos. Of course, you can get a RIS version of the MP5 handguard that gives you a lot more options now.

            If I ever got to Texas, I might give you a look. Did you ever get to try the MP5/10 to see how the recoil felt?