The MP5: Fifty Years of Awesome!

The H&K booth at SHOT had a remarkable display of the MP5 series of SMGs, from genesis to current day.


Here we see the result of “Project 64”, the very project that create the MP5. This is gun number 31, still a gun in prototype phase. It is very easy to spot the differences between this one and a current model!


Next came the K model with it’s odd front grip:


Then here is a rare full length barreled MP5. This idea didn’t pan out:


And I don’t know about you folks, but I really like cutaways!


On the flip side we have a UMP prototype (or what became the UMP):


The Legendary MP5/10. The 10mm MP5s are legendarily powerful, but when the 10mmm fad of the 90s went away, so did this gun:



And last, but certainly not least we have the latest MP5 equipped with all the bells and whistles:


Click to expand and read the placard about updates to the MP5.


For me it is hard to believe that the MP5 has been around or 50 years, an remains the gold standard when it comes to sub guns!

Alex C.

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


  • ColaBox

    The title of this should be: The MP5: Celebrating Fifty Years of Telling You That Our Over Priced Wunder Gun is Awesome and Succeeding Because We have A Really Convincing Marketing Department!
    Admittedly though…that new MP5 actually looks pretty damn nice. Man I wish I could go to SHOT.

    • Overpriced? Oh lord if only I could post HK Defense’s price sheet without getting in big, big trouble.

      • John

        Well, a while back I remember talking to LEOs who ordered MP5s, it was iirc just under $1500 for a new one and about half that for a used one. Dunno how much they’d go for nowadays but I wouldn’t think it’d change too much.

    • HKGuns

      No, the title should read that teenage trolls shouldn’t post negative comments about things they don’t understand.

      • ColaBox

        Typical HK fan, insult their wunder guns and immediately get attacked as a teenager and a troll. Because apparently having a different opinion on something is bad. But from what iv seen of HK people, they lack the ability to have an actual discussion without tossing insults.
        Hell at least the new model looks pretty good. Polymer? Kinda reminds me of the Honey Badger with that stock. (RIP HB)
        As for things I don’t understand, you mean an expensive 9mm with a over hyped reputation based soley on video games and one SAS mission in the 60’s with a bad trigger and closed bolt?
        It seems to me HK that you just want to start a flame war.

      • NikonMikon

        Dude the mp5 is outdated as hell. Get over yourself.

    • AKSapper

      THe “new ” MP5 is not polymer aside from the lower housing, The lower has been polymer for years.(UMP is a different animal) Over hyped you say ? I think if it was over hyped I don’t think most every civilized military or SWAT force on planet earth would have used it for ..Oh decades…You comments show that your experience with MP5’s is limited to Todd Bailey SW guns …Envy drips from your post

      • ColaBox

        I don’t know who Todd Baily is but from what Google tells me he’s a body builder or something. As for envy, envy of what? An MP5? There’s nothing remotely attractive about that gun to make me want it. That’s like saying every Charger owner who doesn’t like a Mustang is just envious of those who have it. No, they just don’t like Mustangs. As for over hyped, it clearly is, due to nearly every comment I see or hear about it being something along the lines of “I want an MP5 because I saw it in that one *enter block buster movie or video game* its so cool!”

        • AKSapper

          Toad Bailey is the guy who made all the Coharie ,& Special Weapons based H&K clones ..I’m sorry I took your troll bait ..Enjoy the basement

      • NikonMikon

        Except many agencies are MOVING AWAY from the MP5 because it is outdated bro. It is a pistol caliber after all…

        • AKSapper

          I wont debate that they are moving away to AR based but to discredit 50 years of service life is short sighted

  • David

    10mm fad? *looks at EDC Glock 29* it’s ok baby, the bad man was joking

    • Ha, while awesome, the 10mm has certainly faded in popularity.

      • Michael

        I have a 2 Glocks in 10mm, expensive to shoot but ammo was available during the recent crazy times. I carry mine in bear country.
        I see more companies offering 10mm guns, but are they selling, bit like 357sig. Rock Island arms now offers 10mms

    • scw

      Even in the 90s, 10mm is really not that popular.

  • Roland_1911

    FBI still uses the MP10.
    Yes they are phasing them out for carbines…but they are still in use with the field office SWAT teams

  • nester7929

    If only HK would release one to the civilian market again.

    • Eric S

      Back in August there was say of HK submitting paperwork that would allow them to export some of their toys. So in anticipation, I’m saving my pennies in hopes of a .40 sub gun.

  • Lance

    WHAT no MP-5SD5 or MP-5SD6????? What a crappy display then how can you NOT forget the awesome SD series!!!

    • noguncontrol


  • Paladin

    That MP5-10, so much want.

  • st4

    Psh, MP5. Thanks to Snake Eyes, Chuck Norris, and the Secret Service, the Uzi is the original ninja SMG to me! 😛

    Who am I kidding, I loved the MP5 when it was in Die Hard and hell, even when Charlie Sheen used one in Navy SEALS. And who can forget Rainbow Six, the Hk commercial in game form.

    • MZupcak

      Funny you mention Rainbow Six, it was a great book before it was mediocre game. Incidentally, John Clark’s team uses the 10mm versions of the MP5.

      • Mazryonh

        Did the late Tom Clancy object to the increasingly arcade-like direction the games associated with his name brand got as time wore on? I’m sure he didn’t like how they started adding less-realistic elements like regenerating health.

        • MZupcak

          You must remember that when someone like Tom Clancy sells the rights to a story, they no longer control that story (for the most part). The story is compromised. Very similar to how JK Rowling compromised and rushed the last 3 Harry Potter books for the sake of Warner Brothers using the same child actors in the movies.

          • Mazryonh

            Sure, Tom Clancy never appealed to as many readers as JK Rowling did, but he didn’t write himself out of the welfare book either. Still, isn’t this all the more reason for a bankable IP creator to demand that s/he maintain strict creative control over his/her IP once bigger opportunities arrive?

            One amateur game reviewer described the “arcade creep” best when s/he wrote the following about Splinter Cell: Double Agent:

            “Why is it that Sam can take any number of bullets in moderation, but his enemies can’t?”

          • Cynic

            write out of welfare my bottom Rowling left her job to write the book and had £10,000 in grants from the arts council.

            As for the mp5, it’s a simple stamped roller lock breech gun that isn’t anything technically special. HK do have an amazing pr team which does help. there are many other guns that were just as good as the mp5 it isn’t some holy grail masterpiece of engineering it is a simple design that works reasonably well.

          • Mazryonh

            Okay, I should have said “significantly upgraded her socioeconomic status.” Many writers will never gain her level of mainstream fame, acclaim, and wealth from writing. Likewise, neither will many firearms designers gain such from their work.

          • Cynic

            Most of her money is from the Merch to be honest she may be a cliche dropping relatively technically lazy writer but she is dam good at business and image stuff. She is probably the best comparison to HK. The image and funds mainly come from a relatively small interlinked product and regardless of what else they bring to the table that is what they are famous for and they capitalize heavily on that.

  • noguncontrol

    yep, its right up there with the uzi and sterling.

  • snmp

    in photo that’s not an UMP2 protype but an Heckler & Koch SMG I build for United States Navy under the JSSAP (Joint Services Small Arms Program).

  • mandaloin

    That UMP prototype is actually called the SMG II.

  • big JOhn

    MP5 are like anything else as far as beauty. Its all in the eyes of the beholder. The important thing is they function and it’s very difficult to get then to stop working on purpose. I am an HK fan and buy every model that I can afford. If I can’t afford it then I just save, save , and then save somemore until I can afford it I have never had one malfunction or stop working in any conditon. They might not be pretty in some eyes but they work.

  • Blake

    Thanks, this was awesome.

  • Mazryonh

    You should have included a section detailing how the MP5 became so ubiquitous throughout its history. It’s clear that it’s more than just due to H&K’s marketing department through the years, since SMGs are WWI technology. Is it because it was the first widely-distributed closed-bolt SMG, which made it more accurate in semi-automatic/burst-fire modes than the open-bolt Uzi was? I’m sure Colt would have loved some of that market share with its 9mm select-fire AR-15 variants, for instance.

    I’m still surprised the MP5/10 didn’t escalate the 10mm fad, frankly. Recoil is easier to control with a long gun’s 4 points of contact than with a handgun’s ergonomics, and the greater effective range and stopping power (SMGs in .45 ACP give you better stopping power over 9x19mm ones, but not improved range) could have made it an ideal bridge between SMGs and compact assault-rifle-caliber carbines (the latter which, when shortened to SMG lengths, put a lot of their cartridges’ powder to waste as useless blast and flash).

  • 101nomad

    That selector switch reminds me of the photo of a Marine’s rifle, he had painted on “no bang”,….. “bang”,……… “bang,bang,bang”……….”bang,bang,bang,bang,bang……..”