Walther MPL Field Strip

The Walther MPL is a gun that just doesn’t seem to get much recognition despite it being a very well made firearm. It was cost effective relative to competitors, and it is both ergonomic and easy to keep on target. Maintenance is also easy, and in this field strip we show you how to break an MPL into its component groups for cleaning.

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Transcript …

– [Voiceover] Hey guys, it’s Alex C. with TFBTV and for today’s field strip we’re going to do a Walther MPL.

Now there are two versions of this gun, there’s an MPL and an MPK, the K having a shorter barrel, shorter forend, but that’s pretty much the only difference, actually.

I’ve always thought these guns looked really cool.

They have that weird kind of retro, futuristic look.

Maybe a dieselpunk look.

But yeah, they’re very cool looking guns.

They actually handle quite well, too.

They feel very good in the hand, very natural.

They’ve got a paddle magazine release, features that a more modern submachine gun would have.

Unfortunately, they were kind of a commercial failure.

There were very limited sales of the MPLs and MPKs.

They’re not a very prolific submachine gun around the world.

Some weird nuances, they go from safe to full auto and then to single shot, which is strange.

They also have a strange sighting system.

They’ve got a gutter sight on top with a peep sight below.

And then a front sight to match.

It’s got a weird gutter sight on top and then a post.

Also, they’ve got a very nice wire folding stock.

Wire folding stocks are never that great, but this is one of the better ones I’ve come across in my days.

They’ve also got a kind of strange safety mechanism where you can lock the bolt part way open and it will not fire.

And then of course these are open bolts so you draw the bolt all the way to the rear to get ready to fire.

So to start the disassembly process, push this pin through the receiver.

It’s a little tricky, one of the trickier push pins that you’ll mess with because you kind of have to press the inner little spring bit forward, it’s not a natural push pin like an HK product.

Then you can separate your upper and lower receiver groups.

Now grab your upper receiver and you’re going to pull the bolt to the rear and then pull it all the way back.

And you can see it’s not technically a telescoping bolt, but it’s kind of got the same principle.

It’s got a lot of mass located above the bolt face and forward.

The recoil spring and guide rod pop right out.

And there’s just a simple clip retention system.

Now you can remove the barrel just like you would an Uzi by pressing the little tab and then unscrewing the barrel nut.

Very easy to remove the barrel for cleaning.

And this is a feature that’s lost on modern submachine guns, I wish that more guns featured this, but that’s all that it takes to field strip a Walther MPL.

They’re very simple, not quite as simple as an Uzi, but very simple nonetheless.

If you watch our Uzi field strip video, you’ll see some similarities.

They’re of course both open bolt guns, but that makes you wonder, why did the Uzi succeed and this fail? This came out in ’63, next year development began on Project 64 which brought us the best submachine gun ever made, that’s the Heckler & Koch MP5 and unfortunately it killed the MPL sales numbers.

Anyways, at this point, I’d like to thank you guys for watching and of course Ventura Munitions for providing the ammunition that we use to make our shooting videos possible.

If you guys support them, check out their website, link in the description, it’d mean a lot to us as they give us a lot of ammo that allows us to do our shooting videos, as I said.

Hope to see you next time, guys.


Alex C.

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


  • kyphe

    Vid is set to private Alex

  • Kelly Jackson

    I always though this was a cool gun way back when it first graced the cover of Jagged Alliance on the PC back in the 90s

    • Major Fret

      Damn, the terrible things I’d do for a proper reboot of Jagged Alliance…

    • USMC03Vet

      That box cover is very accurate. Notice him holding the magazine because he shot the weapon and metal rails without handguards equate to burnt hands?

      Kudos, marketing for understand something that even firearms designers don’t understand still.

      • Giolli Joker

        I don’t think the shooter is “he”…

        • Major Fret

          That is correct.

        • maodeedee

          Now, now, we mustn’t be judgmental, In this modern age, it’s up to the individual to chose the gender Identity that they feel most comfortable with.

        • USMC03Vet

          lol wow you’re right?
          Those are some man arms though.

          • Giolli Joker

            She reminds me of Linda Hamilton in T2…

      • iksnilol

        Handguards are overrated, dead weight IMO.

        Just use the magazine or magwell 😛

  • Dave

    How do those sights work? Is it a derivative of the previously reviewed Thompson M1A1? I mean, I get the aperture and the front post protected by the hood part, but what about the “gutter sights?” Are those for low light?

    Interesting that the barrel is screwed to the receiver so close to the muzzle. Off-hand, the only other open-bolt, blow back 9mm SMG that comes to mind with that feature is the Australian F1.

    Is the Luigi Franchi 57 a similar smg?

    • mechamaster

      Maybe the guttersight is for close range ‘instinct-aim-and shoot’

      Well, the barrel screw-near muzzle is common feature in 50 / 60-era SMG ( Uzi, MAC10/11, Beretta BM12, M3 Grease-gun, etc )
      -The benefits is it is easy to take out the barrel, but it’s affecting the barrel harmonic-vibration and can’t be designed as ‘free-floating-barrel’ unlike modern trunnion screw. But for submachinegun, the accuracy is not the main priority.

      Luigi Franchi 57 isn’t same with MPL, but it’s more like ‘similar pattern design’.
      -Luigi Franchi 57 is Beretta M12 derivative / redesign / improved ver ( not sure what is the right answer for this ).

    • claymore

      Yes the top group of sights are quick reaction close in target sights. These MPL and MK are a sweet shooting pieces. Had one of each and was sorry to have to sell them. Little know fact is the Ingram/sionic/all the other early versions of Mac 10 9mm the mag is a copy of the MPL/MPK mag

  • Wolfgar

    Of all the SMG’s I have fired the Walther MPL is my second favorite behind the HK MP5. It was surprisingly controllable and accurate. I never owned one but it is another, “wish I had done things different” earlier in my life. Thanl’s for posting.

  • mechamaster

    Somehow the MPL is not as complicated like MP5 roller-lock system. And it’s like modern telescopic-bolt ver of MP40 with Beretta BM12 children.

    It would be interesting to see the modern reproduction or improved MPL.

    I imagine the redesign of firing selector / safety switch like AR, the iron sight HK style, the modern buttstock provision, and optional picatiny rail, and multi caliber PDW toolless kit conversion into 6,5CBJ or .22TCM 9R.

    -Of course this is just pure wild imagination-

    • Giolli Joker

      Although my first pick for a modern/improved version of an older SMG would be the Jatimatic…

      • mechamaster

        Modernized Jatimatic… Maybe it will become main rival for KRISS Vector system.

        • Giolli Joker

          Just much simpler, less gimmicky, more compact…

  • maodeedee

    I’ve never seen one of these before and I really like the looks of it. It looks like a simple basic stripped down minimalistic design with nothing there that doesn’t need to be there. I’d love to see Walther create a non-select fire version of this.

    I was really disappointed when Taurus came out with their “Sub-gun” and didn’t offer the option of hi-caps for those of us who live in free states where free men are not debarred the use of arms, rather than slave states. Same thing the High Points. They are ugly as sin but they’re cheap and they work, but without hi-cap mags they just aren’t the real thing.

    I’d also like to see someone make a semi-auto version for the 45 ACP “grease gun”. It was designed to be cheap to manufacture so why can’t somebody make one and sell it for a decent price and offer it in other calibers as well? A 9mm version of one of those would be amazing but so would the original 45.

    Oh well, I guess I’ll just get a Mech-tech upper for my 10mm Glock and get a couple of Arredondo +5 mag extensions. It won’t look all that cool but I guess beauty is as beauty does.