H&K UMP .45 Run and Gun (USC Conversion)

The H&K UMP series of submachineguns are a family of polymer blowback firearms designed as a more cost effective alternative to the MP5. While both remain in production however, the MP5 still outsells the much younger UMP and it is quite easy to understand why: it isn’t as good.
But how will it perform on our run and gun course? Surely it will be better than the tried and true Thompson from last week.

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Alex C.

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


  • JumpIf NotZero

    5 misses on a 30 round seemingly arbritrary course, and that makes it a “bad gun”. But… Two of your misses were standing still upright, no timer, no stress, at what looks like less than 50 yards, that’s not the gun’s fault… I’m not intentionally being mean but… Alex… Do you have any formal firearms training at all?

    I’ve already previously commented that your arbritrary “course” is… Well, lacks any sort of defined measure to… I wouldn’t say it looks like your out there having a laugh… But it’s not far off. I won’t nitpick your stance or recoil handling of anything like that. It’s clear you grew up around guns, maybe parents have an SOT, but… Well, never ins that.

    And… Lastly… Since you compared it to the EVO3… Why is it you seem to be able to reload guns like the UMP, but fell completely apart with the EVO3 video despite it having the same manual of arms? Seriously. You felt apart when trying to reload the Evo, I’ve never seen someone reload a gun like that so oddly, talked about how bad the controls are, then praise the HK and reload it fine.

    I think you are doing more in this series to affirm your own personal preferences than actually give a comparative analysis of a firearm’s practical performance. Maybe reflect on what you are trying to accomplish?

    (And I agree with you, the UMP is HK’s worst product, the MP5 is clearly a better gun, and despite its massive size, the UMP is light and feels great but absolutely sucks on auto)

    • Hey Jump,
      The course has always been uniform. With semi autos we take 5 shots to the first stage, 5 crouching, reload, 5 on the move/standing, 5 at next stage crouching, reload, five on the move, five on final stage standing for a total of 30 shots with two reloads. We do it at 70 yards.
      My conclusion that this is not such a great gun is based on having owned it and shot it quite a lot over the years (as well as shooting several post samples).
      And I actually have no formal training whatsoever. I did not grow up around firearms and my family doesn’t much care for them, but I have shot in matches and whatnot and am an avid sportsman. As a civilian shooter however I do not see the value in spending money on an expensive training course (maybe one day). To me this makes it a little interesting as I am no better (most likely worse) than most viewers when it comes to marksmanship. Viewers are watching a true amateur rather than a professional marksman or warrior.
      But mostly I blame the evo reload on my having done Run and Guns with all vintage stripper clip/en bloc clip rifles with ammunition stored on a pouch on my right side. The evo was the first modern gun we used and I kept mags on the right side (we have since switched mag fed rifles to the left side). We may revisit some of the old runs later on in the future.

      • Don Ward

        It’s clear you’re not a trained operator because you don’t look side-to-side and behind you in between each set of shots, while extending and retracting the weapon woodenly to and from its shooting position.

        • Wolfgar

          LOL, that is so true and very funny. I shoot competitively and watching Alex shooting in his courses reminded me to enjoy shooting with out all the stress and seriousness competition requires. Time to take out the old shooters in my collection and enjoy the day.

        • JumpIf NotZero

          Yea totally, only idiots would scan and assess as a habit to break from tunnel vision and shock.

          You are the guy I see at the gun store, every gun store.

          • Don Ward

            Get a load of the mall ninja. Oh wait, it’s JumpIfNotZero being salty again.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            I seriously doubt Alex was suffering from shock or “tunnel vision”. These are informal videos not online classes for Delta Force.
            Scanning around just looks dumb in these situations.
            *BAM BAM* “Hey look, theres my truck!”
            *BAM BAM “Check it out! Two squirrels humping!”

          • JumpIf NotZero

            just looks dumb

            Oh, so you don’t understand training, and how people perform under degraded capacity then?

            You’re on TFB all the time, so that makes sense.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            OK sweetie, you’re the koolest, most tacticalist girl at the dance.

            Since you’re constantly criticizing everyone here why dont you tell me where you received your Tier 1 Scuba Sniper training.

          • Don Ward

            Watch out boys! This man is using acronyms. He must really know his stuff!

            Seriously dude. Jump in a large body of water naked so you can allow osmosis to diffuse the 50 pounds of salt that you have inside of you out of your body. What was originally meant to be a fun, light-hearted joke has now turned into a flame war because of you.

      • JumpIf NotZero

        Fair enough.

        Although… Well, nevermind.


          • Dave

            Ja! STRENGVERBOTEN!!! überleben is alles, so everything must be überserious at all times! Next time a crash landed glider, leaping out of wreckage mit FG42 und flammenwerfer!! Schnell!!

          • JumpIf NotZero

            Ugh. Stop it.

          • iksnilol

            I agree with you but the Evo reload was pants on feet retarded.

        • I may partake one day, but when it comes to shelling out money on expensive training I am a little hesitant. Maybe in the future I will set aside some time and coin to get around to it.
          That said, I kind of like the amateur approach. I am just a regular joe with an interest in firearms and I like to do these R&G videos so that people can get a quick overview and opinion on various rifles without a simple stand and talk presentation. I also really enjoy doing them (especially with the old bolt guns).

          • JumpIf NotZero

            You’re making me want to fly out there and give you a quick dirty pro-bono… Texas right? Eh, sorry but for that coin I could fly to Costa Rica instead.

            My suggestion still stands, mostly because you’re representing gun owners in a public fashion.

          • I respectfully would decline. If I am going to spend time improving a skilset, it’s going to be one I care about and use daily:

            Firearms are a hobby. Racing is living 🙂

          • JeepsGunsTanks

            There’s an easier way to get a date champ, but you’re going to have to remove that stick from your ass.

    • The_Champ

      Yep, clearly Alex needs to incorporate more shot timers and combat rolls, and needs to stop offering his opinions of the particular firearm he is shooting. Could probably use $4500 worth of plate carrier, helmet, NVGs, etc as well. And here is a list of the firearms I’d like to see him shoot:

      Daniel Defense AR-15

      Colt AR-15

      Armalite AR-15

      Troy AR-15

      Sig AR-15

      Ares AR-15

      Ruger AR-15

      And for variety sake, a H&K 416

      • Where did you come from? I like you.

      • DIR911911 .


        • Swarf

          I say I say

        • DW

          8 different guns! if you include suppressor in each testing you get 16 different groups of results! THAT IS VARIETY RIGHT THERE! /sarc

      • n0truscotsman

        I want to see him with a Federov on a serious note.

  • Cal.Bar

    I’m with him on this one. I am a true HK “fan”. I love most of their products, but I have to say the USC/UMP was a real miss. While very light (almost toy-like) it looks as if it were designed by a first year cad/cam student. Giant square bolt in a big square receiver. Absolutely no recoil absorption efforts made on this one. (Unless you count a little rubber plug in the back of the receiver.) The gun is generally unpleasant to shoot! Even with only a .45 cal. pistol round, the recoil is sharp and vibrates down the length of the rifle right into the stock so that after each shot you have to re-acquire your shoulder/stock weld. (watch the video and see how much his arm vibrates as the shock of the recoil hits it). The lightness of the design works against it here.

    Further evidence it was a miss? Well they stopped making it, and very few LE or military agencies actually adopted it. They would have been better off upgrading the MP5 to a .45 cartridge and lightening the design at bit.

    • Your analysis of the UMP is spot on.

    • Anomanom

      I’ve never fired the UMP in full auto, but i have fired a USC45 and didn’t find it at all unpleasant. The recoil is a little thumpier (is that a word) than a MP5 in 9mm but it is a bigger round after all.

    • Darkpr0

      Agreed fully. Canadians have a much easier time laying hands on UMPs because we can SBR much more easily than Americans can. These were popular here for a while because of that, but after the cool factor wore off they fell out. I found that the entire bolt cycle was ridiculously slow and jarring, even compared to other pistol-calibre carbines like the Beretta Cx4 in 45 which made follow-up shots a problem. Given that the point of a PCC is controllability over power, lack of controllability is no bueno.

      Also, a personal complaint is that the action is so far forward that it does a miserable job of making good use of the overall length it takes up. Compare (again) to the Cx4, Sub-2000, or other guns with the mag in the pistol grip (and, thus, the action further back) and the alternatives give you a much shorter OAL, and a closer COG placement. The USC just wasn’t built to make me happy, I guess.

    • Tahoe

      I have very little experience with the UMP, but an LEO friend calls it the “Unfavorite Machine Pistol”. He’s obviously not a fan, though it was issued to the tac team for a while.

    • n0truscotsman

      I was super excited about the G36 and UMP45 way back in the day, no doubt being drawn to their ‘can’t buy it civilian side’, military mystique.

      However, when I actually got the opportunity to fire both, which included multiple target engagements, reloading, learning ergonomics, etc, i was sorely disappointed. To me, they didn’t have the character (or however you put it) of the MP5, HK33, or the HK91.

      The G36 was about as vanilla as a rifle could get, with mediocre sights, a terrible stock, and bulky design. The UMP was difficult to keep on target, producing undesirable amounts of recoil. I learned that I really didn’t like either, and they seemed to be a budget ‘successor’ with many compromises more than anything.

      The SL8 and USC? a big ‘meh’…Couldn’t ever justify buying either, or spending the money and effort to convert the SL8. I still have my 91 though and won’t part with it.

      I think the reason they never went with the 45 was because there was simply no reason for it. With the 9mm SD that was as quiet as a mouse pissing on cotton, the subsonic advantages of a cartridge that is more or less equal in terms of lethality couldn’t be justified. Thats conjecture on my part though, caveat emptor.

  • BattleshipGrey

    I happen to like it. Though it’s the only subgun I’ve had the pleasure to shoot. If I had the opportunity to shoot others, perhaps I’d change my mind on the UMP. I have to agree on the mags though. They’re way too overbuilt and bulky.

  • ostiariusalpha

    Both the UMP and G36 are products of the same 90’s design movement that came about with the end of the Cold War-sized defense budgets, where radical innovation was subordinated creating more economically weapons by applying already well-developed operating mechanisms with a minimum of machined metal components in favor of molded polymers. The G36 is a plastic AR-18 with an integrated carry handle that nobody asked for and magazines that don’t work with any other NATO weapon, yet managed to lack any justifiable improvements over the pre-existing mags. And then there’s the UMP, a plastic Thompson with less ammo capacity than an M1928A1, that tries to take all the fun out of shooting. They’re both failures of imagination and ambition, but at least the G36 was relatively light and shootable (as long as the right polymer was used in it’s receiver).

  • Bullphrog855

    This gun has unearned and undeserved coolness, fact that it’s cool even when it shouldn’t be makes it even cooler.

  • Southpaw89

    Now to compare them to a 45 Hi point carbine, just for a base line.

  • Uniform223

    you did the M1A1 Thompson and now the UMP 45… do you think you’re going to do the M3 Grease Gun run and gun also?

  • Lance

    Try a M-3 Grease Gun next and of course do a Trapdoor Springfield!!!

  • MrEllis

    I think everyone just wants a new Tommy Gun and no one will make one for us. H&K has a good thing going with tooling and lines for the MP5 and didn’t put heart and soul into this platform. Or maybe they have become fat and lazy with success and we need someone lean and hungry to spit out a new platform.

    Caveat, I don’t mind the aesthetics of the gun. I realize I’m in the minority. Thanks for another vid, these are fun.

  • LazyReader

    I was not a fan of the UMP, what does it do the MP5 doesn’t, a simple caliber conversion and you’ve got a .45 It was the Daniel Craig 007 movies that summed up the UMP’s appearance in the media.

  • GeorgeWilliamHerbert

    Did you happen to get a read on USP / UMP bolt weights?…

  • Freefly

    I’m a fan of pistol caliber carbines for the benefit of being allowed to shoot at most indoor ranges and also in steel plate matches. Its also convenient to buy one caliber of ammunition and shoot both a pistol and long gun. That’s my practical argument for them. The merits of the UMP/USC I find are: excellent stock (locks up tight and provides good cheek weld), last round bolt catch (easy for AR users to cross train), safety manipulation (ergonomic location, not overly stiff, but still secure enough to prevent accidental manipulation), and easy to point on target (no excess weight along the barrel requiring the shooter to forcefully drive the weapon up on target from the low ready position). My personal experiences of killing paper and shooting steel matches with the UMP/USC leave me with no complaints. But that’s not to say the weapon doesn’t have room for optimization. But realistically, my life is full of things that have plenty of room for improvement (I don’t drive Ferraris and bang supermodels). I’d get another USC if they went back into production.