This year has been so far a great experience for my shooting career. I was fortunate enough to spent the last 5 months trying to learn how to manipulate the Heckler and Koch MP5, courtesy of Tactical Firearms Academy. While in reality, I only get the chance to run it once a month during the Steel Challenge. It started really with TFA looking to put together a MP5 Squad and I lucked out with the chance to learn a completely new weapon platform. Not just new to me, but legendary.
I remember coming across the MP5 in all the Navy SEALs books I’ve read as a kid, including seeing them in that cheese ball Charlie Sheen Navy SEAL flick.
Let me say that this was the first full-auto weapon that I ever held and fired. My first time ever touching the MP5, the TFA instructor gave me a quick crash course into the basics of manipulating the weapon; like loading the gun, doing a press check, and how to clear some malfunctions.
But overall, it was like a wet-dream just holding this legendary machine in my grubby fat hands. While I’m not sure the exact model, I think the version that I was using was the MP5A2 version. It has the classic fixed stock and uses the SEF pattern (the initials of safe, semi-automatic, and full automatic in German) with full-auto.
I did ask my instructor exactly which model was I using, he mentioned that it might have been originally a MP5-F (French version that uses mostly +P Ammo) that’s been converted to the standard.
I really love the way this gun shoots. Being 9mm, the entire gun has like no recoil; except when you do a full mag dump, you will get some sort of a rise or a slight tug. But still, it’s manageable.
Now lets talk about the trigger! The trigger is really spongy and sensitive; at least to me it is. It’s like sitting in a race car; and any slight tap, the engine will rev fast and hard. And that’s what the MP5 trigger feels to me. I can tell that this gun really requires a lot of time behind the trigger to really get the feel of it to pull off single, double, triple shots while the set in full-auto. On the flip side, when I threw this gun into semi-auto, I had seem to have no problems hitting the steel dead on.
Maintenance on the MP5 seems to be really easy. I love how you can break down this entire gun without any tools, including taking out the trigger pack. For some reason, it just seems a lot easier than the typical AR-15. Heck, even the hand guard on the MP5 is easy! It uses just 1 pin!
The only thing I would need more familiarization on is the bolt. We were able to verify that the one I was using for the past few months was indeed the MP5-F. And you can see on closer inspection that there are slightly different cuts on the grooves. Still, it’s interesting to see how such a small cut makes a big difference. One thing to note as well with the MP5-F is that there springs are thicker and the bolt carrier doesn’t have the grooves or indentations like the others. On top of that, the push spring isn’t locked into the group – so this would be another quickly identifiable traits for the MP5-F.
Ok, so here are some thing that I just didn’t like, namely the fixed stock. Holy crap is this gun short! I remember the first time I used it, I was not comfortable with it at all. I remember the next day, my back was really aching and in pain; in which I can only assumed that the short length of the gun really forced me to have bad posture. Still, I think it’s more likely to be me in having just bad fundamentals.
Like I said, I am trying to learn this gun by watching others. Or in this case, watching my instructor. Luckily, he’s been able to give me a lot of tidbits here and there; which I really appreciate.
The next thing that really bothers me was the standard HK sights. I’ve been using Troy Battlesights on my carbine and that was really simple for me to get my sights aligned quickly. I actually have the HK style, so switching over the HK versions was really confusing. I was not use to looking through the small rear sight.
What really baffles me is that both the Troy’s and HK’s required me to do the same thing.
But I noticed that whenever I brought the gun up, my alignment was off. I only saw the front sight and ignored the rear, which placed a lot of shots high or way off. This also tells me that I was not getting a proper cheek weld placement.
To remedy this, I ended up getting an Airsoft version of the MP5 to practice getting my sight alignment. Let me just say that the Airsoft version does not compare to the real thing. But at least it’s better than nothing for me to practice on in between the monthly matches.
I love the fact that this gun runs 9mm easily, what I found a little annoying are the magazines. Sure, it’s a 30 round mag, but when I was running it, I had them placed at my waist. While I’m beginning to think that this was not the ideal position, it was the only position that I could put it in since I don’t have gears that will allow me to wear it differently.
Having it at my hips isn’t that bad as I’m saying. However, because of the long mag, I should place the mag pouch further to my rear, like I do with my AR magazines. But I didn’t.
I think what I would like to try is to having the mags on my thigh. I think that would be very optimal for me.
Now with that said, what I don’t like is the paddle mag release. I think it’s ok for the most part, but whenever I need to do an emergency reload, it just seems to take a lot longer to reload – because I have to wait for that “deadly” click to lock back the bolt and then do my reloads. This is what I would consider a true emergency! That’s why tactical reloads are your friends!
When in doubt… change it out! The bolt doesn’t lock back if you run empty, which to me is really something I just personally don’t like…
It’s interesting to note that on several other MP5 variants, there are push-button mag release. But I will say that the mag release button, in relations to your trigger finger is very far. Normally on the AR-15, you can reach the release with your index finger. The MP5, you will need two hands. It also something to note about the operator experience in which it seems like whenever I do a mag change, I totally ignore the button and immediately go to the paddle.
Then again, maybe the Germans do have giant hands or I’m just a puny little man with girly hands…
I really do love this MP5 and I can see why this weapon was/is a popular choice for a lot of military/law enforcement including some SF units.
However, owning one will still probably be a dream for me. But I will jump on the opportunity to get behind the trigger whenever TFA offers it up. Ironically, I did sign up for their upcoming MP5 Operator Course in August. So I’m definitely looking forward to really learning this platform on a formal basis.
REF: MP5 Armorer’s Book