TFBTV: The Beautifully Obscure Walther MPL SMG

The Walther MPL is a German made 9mm submachinegun, but why then is it so obscure? And most importantly, how does it shoot?

The Walther MP SMGs do not appear much in media, and it is rare to see one out in the wild. This makes one wonder; does the gun suffer from a deficiency or problem? As an observer looking at the gun from afar it would seem that this unique looking firearm would be more prolific, but why isn’t it?

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Alex C.

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


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  • FrenchKiss

    Seems very controllable in full auto. The UZI I had in the service was just awful. Couldn’t keep it on target.

    • Simcha M.

      IMI Uzi or FN Uzi?? What years? What kind of ammo??? The Uzi is inherently accurate, once you learn to overcome the clunk of the heavy bolt racing forward.

      • FrenchKiss

        IMI. Yom Kippur war. Pain in the ass to control.

        • Simcha M.

          Root, keebaltee.

  • Bal256

    Why is it obscure. Seems pretty obvious to me. Asking why the MPL is obscure is like asking why the Pedersen or the AR-18 is obscure. Post WWII Germany and allied countries do not have unlimited budgets to adopt multiple weapons that did the same thing. Especially when the MP-5 design was based off of the G-3 and probably would have saved them money on tooling and training. Nothing wrong with the gun as far as I know, it just happened to lose out against the MP-5.

    • But it lost to the MP2 in the Bundeswehr (largely) and not the MP5.

      • Micki

        Hmm, according to Wiki, the Bundeswehr adopted the MP2 Uzi in 1959 and the MPL wasn’t manufactured until 1963. I’m guessing there were multiple reasons why few countries adopted the MPL, but mainly because it was just too late for the party and wasn’t sufficiently “better” than any other open-bolt SMG. The Uzi came in early enough to supply most post-WW2 orders, while everyone else either used war-surplus or manufactured their own. By the time the MPL came along in 1963 the writing was on the wall for the SMG in military service anyway.

        Great video, BTW!

        • Tom

          I’m not sure how true this is, or even the whole story behind it maybe someone else knows more but I recall being told that the Germans (at least the army guys doing the testing) preferred the British Sterling to the Uzi but political considerations caused them to go with the Uzi – I am guessing maybe in an attempt to get FN to allow the Germans to manufacture the FN FAL (aka G2 rifle).

          The MPL did have some sales to South America, Brazil Columbia and Venezuela. Along with Mexico and was acquired in smaller numbers by others but like you said it was just to late to the party for serious consideration.

          • Micki

            Ah, that’s right – I read something similar in “The Sterling Years” by James Edmiston, who owned the company for some years. He claims that the Sterling did indeed win the bundeswehr trials, but German Defence Minister, Franz Josef Strauss, realised that the cost of adopting the Uzi could be offset against German war-reparations. Well remembered!

  • Matt

    I’ve been an MPK fan for years. There was a piece recently about it being very popular with a certain SF Det in Berlin in the sixties and early seventies.

  • joe

    Dude, it was all over GIJoe comics in the ’80s.

  • 3XLwolfshirt

    I’ve seen a couple of MPLs for sale, and they seem to be quite affordable (as far as full auto goes).

  • Wolfgar

    The Walther SMG is one of the most underrated SMG’s in the world. It has the constant recoil feel to it even with the open bolt function. The MP5 fires from a closed bolt which is hard to beat for accuracy but on full auto they are very close. Great review!

  • DMZ

    After a gun gets in a COD game (specifically the O.G. Black Ops) it’s not obscure anymore. IMHO.

  • Phil Hsueh

    You might want to clear this sentence up a bit, “…but why they is it so obscure?”.

  • Phil Hsueh

    If I remember correctly, the MPL, or rather a very largely scaled up version of the MPL, was used in the anime Patlabor as the weapon for one of the bad guy labors or mecha. Of course, at around 20 or so feet tall any gun being used by a labor is really a cannon shaped like a small arm; the standard issue weapon for the hero mecha (patlabors or patrol labors) was a 20mm(?) cannon styled like a modern revolver.

  • Mario AK

    I’ve never seen a folded stock doubling up as a foregrip, amazing.

    • scw

      I dont think the stock is intended to be used as fore grip.

      • Vitor Roma

        But it work pretty well as that, quite fun when a design has an cool feature by accident.

    • Matt

      Mini Uzi has the same idea.

    • iksnilol

      There is also a Czech SMG that has a stock that doubles as as foregrip when folded. Can’t remember the name now, it is common though.

      • Cz26. I did a review/video on one.

        • iksnilol

          That’s the one. I remember having seen the review and all. Looks like a nice SMG to me, short and available in two of the most practical pistol cartridges known to man (9×19 and 7.62×25).

          Though I gotta wonder with those selector-less guns: When shooting for accuracy I am taught to hold the trigger. Squeeze then hold the trigger to not cause movement when firing the shot. But some guns like the CZ and the AUG shoot full-auto then. What am I suppposed to do there?

          • the ammo addict

            Enjoy the ride! 😉

  • bob

    Awesome video! Just a small suggestion: look at putting a little bit of compression on your voice track. It will even out the levels and make it a bit louder as well. Thanks for the vid, great job.

    • Thank you Bob, I sincerely appreciate the feedback. We will utilize all comments about videography to try and improve the channel!

  • Please do not be afraid to lay out some criticism about our video/format folks. We really want to hear what you have to say to try and improve and make our channel something you guys enjoy!

    • patrickiv

      It was a good video. It would have been cool to see it disassembled but I know that’s not always possible.

    • Tom

      I liked it allot nice and concise without loads of vanity shots. But as Patrickiv said would of been great to see a breakdown.

    • dan citizen

      And that is why TFB is great. The tagline could easily be “Firearms not ego”

  • Au-Yeong Soong-Kong

    I’ve seen 1980s pictures of Delta Force using MP-Ls or MP-Ks in kill house training… that was before the MP5 and M4A-1 came along and stole the show.

    • Anonymoose

      They had XM177s and various other Colt Commando-style weapons from the mid-1960s to 1994 when they switched to the M4A1. Also, in those days it was pretty much either this, the early MP5s (probably before MP5A3s and up really came along), the MAC-10, or a friggin Grease Gun, if they wanted a pistol-caliber automatic weapon.

  • Bob Hunter

    Why would one need a forward assist on an open bolt gun? Just sayin. Great Video of a lesser seen gun!

    • I assumed in case the action were really bound or filled with debris you could work the bolt back-and-forth in some sort of emergency situation.

      • Bob Hunter

        Perhaps, Either way, Cool Video, I’ve been subscribed to your channel for awhile and always enjoy what you post!

  • Vitor Roma

    Quite cool how the back of the buttstock served as a handle when firing folded.

  • Waher

    It was in the No One Lives Forever video game series in the early 2000’s and featured in a ton of 60/70s spy movies.

  • NickS

    Thanks for the video, I learned something new today.

  • BigJohnny

    Been there. Owned one. Not bad for what is there. not fancy user friendly. Mags where hard to get. Over all I think it still gives an MP5 a run for the money. I think the MPL & MPK are underrated for a Walther PS had several MP5’s too.

  • Anonymoose

    It was used by Delta Force in Operation Eagle Claw, iirc.

  • Great job on the video, Alex.

  • claymore

    It’s obscure because of our firearms laws. There are a bunch of them that are dealer samples but transferable ones are few and far between. That said I had a few and they are a fine piece
    but I prefer the shorter MPK. They are one of the most controllable sub guns in either semi or full auto.

    If I remember correctly the mags from them are used in the 9mm Mac 10.

    • the ammo addict

      People whom I know and trust speak highly of the MPL, but I have no personal experience firing it. In handling, it seems very well made and balanced, but how hot does the forend get during extended firing? Will it burn your hand after say 3 mags?

      • No. The front end is well vented and the barrel is set far within the receiver to allow for a decent flow of air.

      • claymore

        I’m not sure why or how it works but NO at our shoots many people in a line would step up and fires it many mags in a row over maybe 1/2 hour and never found it to be too hot.

  • RickH

    How did you like the stock for length of pull? I have seen these fired before, and it seems like it’s just a bit long. An inch or so shorter would seem a bit better (then again, I’ve never fired one!).

    • I really like it, but I am tall and lanky with long arms.

      • Cheese_McQueen

        As a shorter man I really liked it. I prefer a short length of pull and had no issue with the MPL’s stock.

  • dan citizen

    The tone, pacing, and narration of the video were really pleasing. I liked it a lot, please make more.

    • Any requests as to what gun?

      • dan citizen

        Beretta model 12 smg
        M11 .380
        Skorpion
        Stechkin
        HK VP70

  • Joe Momma

    Dude, your trigger control is atrocious.

    • Hell, my shooting is atrocious. I have to compensate for my poor marksmanship by throwing more lead down range!

    • Y-man

      Joe Momma: that trigger is ruggedly shaped and deserves to be pinched, slapped, jerked, banged, molested, abused and terrorized! That is not a trigger to be softly “caressed”…

      LOL!

  • elliott9000

    Good video. keep em comin

  • treecarcass

    Nice video guy, would love to see a review on the the old swedish? jati. thanks.