The Heckler & Koch MP5 (from German: Maschinenpistole 5, “machine pistol model 5″) is a 9mm submachine gun of German design, developed in the 1960s by a team of engineers from the German small arms manufacturer Heckler & Koch GmbH (H&K) of Oberndorf am Neckar.

The MP5 is currently one of the most widely used submachine guns in the world, having been adopted by numerous military, law enforcement, intelligence and security organizations. In the 1990s, Heckler & Koch developed the Heckler & Koch UMP, the MP5’s successor, though both remain in production.

The first MP5 models used a double-column straight box magazine, but since 1977, slightly curved, steel magazines are used with a 15-round capacity (weighing 0.12 kg) or a 30-round capacity (0.17 kg empty).

The sighting arrangement on the MP5 takes advantage of the natural ability of the eye and brain to easily align concentric circles (circles all having a common center). The mechanically adjustable iron sights (closed type) consist of a rotating rear diopter drum and a front post installed in a hooded ring. The rear sight is adjustable for both windage and elevation with the use of a special tool; the drum provides four different apertures of varying width used for firing at 25, 50, 75 and 100 m. However, adjusting the rear drum does not change the elevation or bullet strike of the rounds since the MP5 uses pistol cartridges, which share a similar point of impact between 25 and 100 m when zeroed at 25 m.

The MP5 has a hammer firing mechanism. The trigger group is housed inside an interchangeable polymer trigger module (with an integrated pistol grip) and equipped with a 3-position fire mode selector that serves as the manual safety toggle. The “S” or Sicher position in white denotes weapon safe, “E” or Einzelfeuer in red represents single fire, and “F” or Feuerstoß (also marked in red) designates continuous fire. The SEF symbols appear on both sides of the plastic trigger group. The selector lever is actuated with the thumb of the shooting hand and is located only on the left side of the original SEF trigger group or on both sides of the ambidextrous trigger groups. The safety/selector is rotated into the various firing settings or safety position by depressing the tail end of the lever. Tactile clicks (stops) are present at each position to provide a positive stop and prevent inadvertent rotation. The “safe” setting disables the trigger by blocking the hammer release with a solid section of the safety axle located inside the trigger housing.

The non-reciprocating cocking handle is located above the handguard and protrudes from the cocking handle tube at approx. a 45° angle. This rigid control is attached to a tubular piece within the cocking lever housing called the cocking lever support, which in turn, makes contact with the forward extension of the bolt group. It is not however connected to the bolt carrier and therefore cannot be used as a forward assist to fully seat the bolt group. The cocking handle is held in a forward position by a spring detent located in the front end of the cocking lever support which engages in the cocking lever housing. The lever is locked back by pulling it fully to the rear and rotating it slightly clockwise where it can be hooked into an indent in the cocking lever tube.
In 1976 a shortened version of the MP5A2 was introduced; the MP5K (K from the German word Kurz = “short”) was designed for close quarters battle use by clandestine operations and special services. The MP5K does not have a shoulder stock (the receiver end was covered with a flat end cap, featuring a buffer on the inside and a sling loop on the outside), and the bolt and receiver were shortened at the rear. The resultant lighter bolt led to a higher rate of fire than the standard MP5. The barrel, cocking handle and its cover were shortened and a vertical foregrip was used to replace the standard handguard. The barrel ends at the base of the foresight, which prevents the use of any sort of muzzle device.

The MP5K is produced (by Heckler & Koch and under license in Iran and Turkey) in four different versions: the MP5K, MP5KA4, MP5KA1, MP5KA5, where the first two variants have adjustable, open-type iron sights (with a notched rotary drum), and the two remaining variants – fixed open sights, however the front sight post was changed and a notch was cut into the receiver top cover. The MP5K retained the capability to use optical sights through the use of an adapter.
A civilian semiautomatic derivative of the MP5K known as the SP89 was produced that had a foregrip with a muzzle guard in place of the vertical grip.
In 1991 a further variant of the MP5K was developed, designated the MP5K-PDW (PDW – Personal Defense Weapon) that retained the compact dimensions of the MP5K but restored the fire handling characteristics of the full-size MP5A2. The MP5K-PDW uses a side-folding synthetic shoulder stock (made by the U.S. company Choate Machine and Tool), a “Navy” trigger group, a front sight post with a built-in tritium insert and a slightly lengthened threaded, three-lug barrel (analogous to the MP5-N). The stock can be removed and replaced with a receiver endplate; a rotary drum with apertures from the MP5A2 can also be used.

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