TFB FIELD STRIP: Select fire MP5 and Licensed Copies

    There are very few weapons as legendary as MP5. Developed in the mid-60s by German small arms manufacturer Heckler & Koch, it became one of the most well-known submachineguns in history and weapon of choice for many special units all around the world.

    It truly became a mass culture icon after operation “Nimrod” in 1980, when SAS commandos armed with MP5s conducted hostage rescue operation in the Iranian embassy. In the 80s, MP5 became a symbol of the new era, when the main threats were terrorism and organized crime. Consequently, counterterrorism and SWAT units were the new superheroes.

    In the 80s and 90s, different versions of MP5 appeared in movies and on TV every other day and most gun enthusiasts, who grew up at that time wanted to have one at some point in their life. Now, MP5s are slowly getting replaced by short barrel rifles and other, newer SMGs, but there is still a lot of them in armories all around the world.

    Name a More Iconic Duo. I'll wait.

    Name a More Iconic Duo. I’ll wait.

    When I see an MP5 in the dark corner of the armory somewhere overseas – forgotten, dusty and neglected, I close my eyes and sometimes, I can hear that SMG whispering with a thick German accent: “I’m old, not obsolete”.

    MP5s are still manufactured in Germany, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, Greece, Sudan and probably several other countries I forgot about. I visited two factories that currently produce this little gun and they were quite busy, so this weapon system is very far from extinction.

    So, if you want to be prepared when you encounter one in the wild or just want to know how to field strip the gun of your childhood dreams, or maybe you’re lucky to have a transferrable submachinegun or FFL with SOT – there you go, here is a select fire MP5 field strip.

    BEFORE YOU FIELD STRIP ANY WEAPON, REMEMBER the four rules of gun safety:

    1. All guns are always loaded.
    2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
    3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
    4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

    Step 1. Perform a safety check. To do that, you need to remove the magazine, lock the cocking lever to the rear and inspect the chamber.

    Next thing you have to do, according to the HK armorers manual, is to “release the bolt by vigorously slapping the cocking lever out of the indent”. If your slap was vigorous enough, the cocking lever will return into a forward position.

    It is much safer to take down this weapon with a bolt forward, otherwise, when you remove the stock, recoil spring and guide rod assembly will fly out and might vigorously hit you, ruining the whole experience. Ask me how I know…

    Step 2. Pull out the locking pin holding the buttstock on the receiver and pull the buttstock off. Then reinstall the pin into the stock. Many HK weapons, such as G3 or G36 have special slots for pins storage during disassembly, but not MP5.

    Some user manuals will tell you to put them back into the receiver, but in that case, you will have to remove the rear pin again before you detach lower receiver.

    The pins can only be installed one way, so you need to find the side where pins protrude slightly more. Here is how that side should look.

    Usually, you don’t need any tools to push the pin, your fingers and some determination will do. As you already figured out, pins are not captive. Once the pin is out, pull off the stock.

    Step 3. Pull the bolt group out of the receiver. It should be pretty easy if your receiver is in spec.

    Step 4. Remove the center locking pin and remove the lower receiver with a trigger group. Then reinstall the pin into the lower or upper receiver.

    Step 5. Push out the front locking pin and remove the handguard. Then reinstall the pin in the handguard.

    Step 7. Take the bolt group, and looking at the front of the bolt head, rotate the head clockwise until it disengages from the carrier.

    Step 8. Separate the bolt head, locking piece, firing pin and spring, and the bolt head carrier.

    No need to remove the recoil spring and guide rod from the bolt carrier – it wears out nylon washers that are difficult to replace.

    Step 9. Remove the safety/selector and pull the trigger group out of the trigger housing. To do that, you will need to put the safety lever into a vertical position and carefully push it out.

    Once it is completely out, just grab the trigger mechanism and pull it up. Should be pretty easy, even without tools.


    If you want to know more about this weapon system, you can download MP5 Armorers manual here.

    P.S. Sorry for the quality of the pictures, unfortunately, places that store select fire MP5s typically have terrible lighting.

    Vladimir Onokoy is a Russian defense industry specialist and firearms instructor. Over the years he worked in 15 different countries as a security contractor, armorer, firearms industry sales representative, product manager, and consultant.

    His articles were published in the Recoil magazine, Small Arms Review, Small Arms Defence Journal, and Silah Report, he also created several video series such as “Gun myths”, “Kalashnikov: around the world”, “Larry Vickers in Russia” and “Kalashnikov: evolution” that are available on YouTube.
    ► Email: machaksilver at gmail dot com.
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