TPM Outfitters: An American-Built MP5SD Without Compromises

Credit: BCV

Credit: BCV

Over the past few weeks, TFB has reported several news stories related to the Heckler & Koch (H&K) MP5 platform. From H&K’s announcement of the SP5K (an MP5K semiautomatic pistol) to the U.S. market to Zenith/MKE developing an MP5SD model to add their product line-up, it is clear that even after more than 50 years of service, demand for the MP5 firearms is still strong.

Having trained, issued and carried the MP5 both in the U.S. and overseas for just short of a decade, it has always been on my list of “Grail Guns” that I would one day personally own. And with my newfound mantra of ‘suppress everything’, the obvious solution was the integrally-suppressed model – the MP5SD.

Patent_DE1553874_07-Oct-1971_Handfeuerwaffe_mit_Schalldaempfer_Heckler_und_Koch

A very early design of the MP5-SD ported barrel (right side) and suppressor assembly.

Why the SD model over the MP5K with a three-lug capable suppressor? Without getting too detailed (mostly because I’m not qualified to do so), the MP5SD is designed around a ported barrel that will keep nearly all factory ammunition subsonic. This negates the need for speciality subsonic ammunition which can be expensive, difficult to source and can have reliability issues. And I have yet to venture into the world of reloading.

A current version of the MP5SD ported barrel. – HKPro.net

In addition to the ported barrel, the suppressors that are designed specifically for the SD – and there are quite a few versions of them – have a lot of internal volume. That extra gas-cooling space helps make the MP5SD one of the quietest semi-automatic/automatic firearms ever invented.

Also, adding to the list of reasons why the H&K platform is an excellent suppressor host, all MP5 derivatives operate on a ‘roller-delayed’ blowback action. Whereas platforms like the AR15 use the expanding gases created by the explosion of powder and a gas-operated system, the delayed-roller mechanism uses the blowback force of the exploding cartridge to cycle the action. Small rollers fit inside pockets just out side the chamber, delaying the unlocking of the bolt movement rearward after the round is fired. That millisecond delay forces gases forward out the barrel and into the suppressor instead of back into the action and out the ejection port.

mp5boltgroup-6_1378_detail

Complete MP5 Bolt Carrier Group – HKParts.net

I am grossly oversimplifying the beauty and elegance of the MP5’s action, but if you are interested in additional details, there are many books written about H&K’s system to include Heckler & Koch’s MP5 Submachine Gun by Frank W. James.

US_Patent_3283435_8-Nov-1966_BREECH_CLOSURE_Theodor_Koch

The MP5 Roller-Delayed blowback action patent.

The MP5SD is not an all-around subgun like its parent – the standard MP5. Because of its ported barrel, the SD is designed to be cleaned with a special barrel brush after approximately 500 rounds. Failing to follow a proper regimen can lead to excessive buildup of lead and powder residue, freezing the suppressor to the threads – a costly (but avoidable) mistake. Still, the MP5SD is a special purpose weapon meant to accurately and quietly sling a lot of 9mm rounds towards its target.

HKparts.net

MP5SD barrel brush. Credit: HKparts.net

 

SONY DSC

A leaded MP5SD suppressor due to lack of maintenance. Credit: HKPro.com

So, you want an MP5SD but you don’t have $40K to drop on a transferable fully automatic original? Fret not, there are a handful of builders around the U.S. that make authentic semiautomatic, suppressed, short barreled rifle SDs at a fraction of the cost.

Without belaboring the story, after months of research, lengthy consultations with friends (both internet and real) and some serious soul-searching, my journey for the best semiautomatic American-made MP5SD ended with TPM Outfitters in Carrollton, Texas.

image

TPM Outfitters

About three years ago, our own Alex C. put together an awesome write-up and photoessay on TPM Outfitters, so I won’t even attempt to restate all of their history and capabilities here. But needless to say, these guys are arguably the best H&K builders in the business. They build MP5 derivatives that are indistinguishable from the real thing, save for engraving and that heavily-regulated ‘happy switch’ . Not only that, but they build all their own SD suppressors in-house that outperform the previous market leaders.

cans

“We were trained under one of the best HK builders – Murray Urbach – for many years and learned the many details that may seem small to the untrained eye but makes a huge difference on the overall appearance of the weapon,” said Matt Sidley of TPM.  “We make our Guns look as factory HK as possible without cutting corners.”

Obviously, this being mid-2016, there are a few alternatives to H&K available on the market when it comes to a pistol caliber carbines as a suppressor host. The first that comes to mind is the Sig Sauer MPX. But as good as the MPX is in many ways, it still operates on a short-stroke gas piston system, making it only an average suppressor host.

So my first question to Sidley was ‘why would anyone spend 2-3X the cost of an MPX on a TPM gun’? “This is a good question. Current guns on the market are much more advanced and cool, though the HK roller lock Style guns are still one of the best if not the best shooting platforms in 9mm – and they are 50 year old design,” said Sidley.

When it comes to the MP5 platform, there are H&K purists out there that demand German made guns. And the upcoming SP5K has the potential to ‘scratch that itch’ as they say. Still, the SP5K falls short in the true authenticity department and TPM is preparing to correct that problem.

image

TPM Outfitters

From TPM Outfitters Facebook page:

We have been asked a lot of questions on HK’s new SP5K out: We will be converting them to MP5K-N PDW specs, This is what we will be converting, New HK Combat Paddle flap mag release, Changing out the Barrel to an RCM MP5K-N 1/2×32 or 1/2x 28 threaded 3 lug, remarking with double HK logo Mp5K-N and refinishing in HK Black. Its going to be $1350 for this conversion.

image

TPM Outfitters

image

TPM Outfitters

image

TPM Outfitters

13344657_1069512813121361_2716858354263693703_n

TPM Outfitters

image

TPM Outfitters

image

TPM Outfitters

image

TPM Outfitters

image

TPM Outfitters

Where’s the review on the TPM MP5SD? After a Form 3 and a Form 4 waiting period, I expect a full writeup sometime in early in 2017. Sigh. That’s just not right. Until then, expect me to push out more MP5SD related posts. It’s therapeutic.

Besides, I’m already planning my next TPM – an MP5K-PDW.


Heckler & Koch MP5SD – Product Page and Technical Data


TPM Outfitters – http://www.tpmoutfitters.net/

Phone: (214) 801-1429

Fax: (972) 242-2035

Email:tpmoutfitters@gmail.com

1003 W. Main St. Carrollton, TX 75006-7235



Pete

LE – Science – OSINT.
On a mission to make all of my guns as quiet as possible.
Pete.M@staff.thefirearmblog.com


Advertisement

  • De Facto

    Well, thanks for posting that bit about the 500rd cleaning necessity, that takes the MP5SD off my bucket list. I’ll just SBR and Suppress a standard MP5 since I’m already into reloading.

    Someday that is.

    • Pete M

      We are talking 5 minutes tops.

      • De Facto

        Ha,I know, I just don’t do well with high maintenance items xD

        • Pete M

          I’m tracking. I count in dollars rather than rounds. Ammo budget reached, time to clean.

          • PK

            That works right up until you own gun that seems to be chambered in $20 bills!

          • Pete M

            Ha! Indeed.

      • Ron

        As somebody who owns eight MP5-SD’s, it takes a bit more than five minutes for us. The carbon builds up around each port in the barrel and all round the base near the threads. It’s important to keep it off the threads because that’s what will cause the suppressor to “freeze” to the receiver. We have a factory HK MP5-SD with a factory can stuck on that will not come off. We will have to eventually cut it off and destroy the factory can but we’ve done everything that can be done to remove it up to the point of the receiver bending, and no luck.

        • Pete M. – TFB Writer

          Great info. Thank you

        • Pete M. – TFB Writer

          Are you using any sort of anti-seize on the threads?

          • Ron

            Every time the cans come off, we use anti-seize on the threads inside the can.

          • Pete M. – TFB Writer

            Thanks Ron. You guys have the best data. What cleaning intervals are you guys using?

          • We remove them for cleaning every 5-6 days.

    • CommonSense23

      HK is very consevative with their cleaning schedules. Seen SDs routinely go couple thousand rounds without cleaning. Still doesn’t change the fact there is no practical reason to use a SD these days.

      • Pete M

        What’s the definition of practical? Shoot any factory ammo at subsonic velocities seems practical to me.

        • CommonSense23

          There is no point in running a dedicated sub gun these days when you can just run a .300BLK. They are fun guns don’t get me wrong.

          • Anon

            .300 Blackout kind of sucks, it’s known for ice-picking at subsonic velocities and it can’t even go through a level II vest, let alone a IIIA.

            I’ve also seen AR500’s level IIIA steel plate defeat a supersonic .300 Blackout, yet M855 defeated that same plate out of a AR pistol length barrel, and we all know how much that round sucks at going through steel armor (Zastava M85 to be specific, and I can link the video if you want me to), although to be fair, that was really overbuilt for being a IIIA plate, but it still says a lot about .300 Blackout.

            So basically, you gain absolutely nothing in the way of performance if you use .300 Blackout, versus a pistol round, other than the ability to use it with minimal part changing, and it’s harder to get good bullets for it if you’re actually thinking about serious use, which is most certainly a department sub guns in 9mm and .45 Auto don’t have problems with.

            With all of that being said, I’d rather keep the suppressor and the barrel separate, MP5SDs are cool and all, but I’d rather not limit my options (that is to say, be able to shoot supersonic rounds at supersonic velocity, subsonic rounds aren’t that difficult to obtain), and I’d rather not take the barrel apart for cleaning, but that’s just me, they’re still cool guns.

          • CommonSense23

            What sucks is having to carry a MP5SD and 10inch 5.56 at the same time to your ambush site cause you don’t have a .300BLK which is something I have done. Its why the .300BLK came into existence. With subs you get MP5SD level suppression and with mag change you are no longer stuck with pistol round performance.

          • Pete M

            Bingo.

          • Anon

            It still brings the worst of both worlds either way, which was the point that I was trying to make. It brings versatility yes, but it’s not a superior option to other rounds.

          • ARCNA442

            Mission drives gear. If you need absolute quite, you’re better with the MP5SD. If you are going to be engaging targets at 300 – 500 yards you’re better with the 5.56. If, for some reason, you need a bit of both, go with .300BLK.

            However, outside of Hollywood assassins, it seems to me that a suppressed 5.56 gives you all the silencing you really need while also having the best ballistics, amazing ammo options, and lighter weight.

          • CommonSense23

            And unfortunately we need a bit of both, but were stuck with only MP5s.
            And it is surprising what you can do with extremely quiet weapons.

          • 1911a145acp

            Nothing gained for 300 BLK compared to 9x19mm !? You are delusional. Suggest you compare the two side by side out to 400 yards.Comparing subsonic lead core 300 BLK to supersonic steel core 5.56mm is disingenuous.Heavier Barnes copper solids penetrate certain materials quite well, as do hand-loads with pulled M-61, 150 grn black tipped bullets. ( so I am told )

    • PK

      There’s a brush made for the SD variants that makes it a 30 second job.

      • De Facto

        That makes it a bit more tolerable. I just know I’m forgetful about round counting and cleaning, so the high penalty for forgetting is a bit of a turn off for me.

        • PK

          It’s so quick and easy that you just work it in with the regular after-shooting cleaning/wipedown, like any gun. It’s like running a patch or two down the bore, just one of the things you do after a day of shooting to keep guns 100%.

  • Sasquatch

    Excuse me let me go get my mop so I can clean this puddle of drool.

  • PK

    For serious collectors, and/or those with registered sears, these are the best of the best for anything that HK never offered to civilians.

  • HH

    the SD. What a great gun. I have a couple clone builds. Cleaning them properly does suck but that’s life. It’s great being able to use standard supersonic ammo in them and yet get subsonic quietness.

    My main complaint with the gun is that they are heavy. Front end heavy. Sounds silly but carry one and use it all day (a smg class, etc) and you’ll feel it. That said they are more quiet than MP5 + can.

    • PK

      Have you tried any of the lighter Ti models? I had the pleasure of playing with one (no sear, sadly) which was a SBR/can SD clone, and it felt lighter on the front end than a regular MP5. I was impressed, but I understand that they’re not the best for too much full-auto fire.

  • SP mclaughlin

    All these MP5 articles and I don’t have a roller-delayed blowback gun…yet.

  • T Rex

    Wow, $3100 to $3800 plus another $600 for the suppressor, no way to justify that kind of money other than someone who wants and has to have a MP5 so bad that they don’t care about spending 2 or 3 times the cost of a Sig MPX. In other words, someone with more money than good sense.

    • Pete M

      Apples and oranges.

      • T Rex

        More like Honeycrisp vs Red Delicious.

  • thedonn007

    My 9mm AR-15 with 4.5″ barrel keeps freedom munitions 115 grain 9 mm subsonic. What is the barrel length on the MP5K-PDW?

  • Joe

    Can the SD forearm be used with a 7″ barrel + removable can?
    I love the look of the SD, but given modern technology I’d prefer a “SD style” setup like that seen with railed suppressed ARs.

    • Pete M

      I bet that would be a simple project for the TPM guys.

  • LazyReader

    America rocks, Europe smells like ass.

  • PeterK

    I don’t always love TFB, but when you’re on, you’re on. Love this kind of info.

    • Pete M

      Que “The Most Interesting Man In The World”

      Awesome complement. Thank you.

  • Harry’s Holsters

    I want this!

  • David Eick

    Waiting on ATF form 3 approval on my TPM SD also. Should be any time now.