Heckler & Koch SP5, Finally a Semi-Auto MP5 for the U.S. Market

It’s as close as you can get to a genuine MP5 SMG, and it’s pretty darn close.

H&K SP5
Heckler & Koch had their new SP5 on hand at Industry Day at the Range for members of the media to shoot. Joseph Albanese

The H&K MP5 is an iconic firearm. When someone hears “submachine gun” whereas once the M3 Grease Gun came to mind, now the term conjures up the unique lines and compact package of the 9mm MP5 introduced by Heckler & Koch back in the 1960s, probably in the hands of a Navy SEAL.

Once, many summers ago, I had the chance to shoot an actual, full-auto MP5 with 30-round mags. It was an extraordinary experience that I hope to repeat someday. That same afternoon I fired a full-auto Uzi, Sterling SMG, and a full-sized AK-47, and I never forgot how utterly controllable the MP5 was in comparison. How you just aimed, leaned into it a bit, and holes appeared right where I wanted.

The new SP5 from H&K, other than the lack of a fun switch, is no different.

H&K SP5
H&K SP5Joseph Albanese

It was a tack driver at defensive distances and running a steel dueling tree with the MP5-style iron sights was almost too easy. With a red dot, it would be straight up narsty.

I had the chance to put about 30 rounds through the SP5 that was available for test shooting at Industry Day at the Range 2020. Because of importation rules and the fact that H&K is a German company have made getting a civilian version of the MP5 on the U.S.. gun market quite difficult.

There have been semi-auto clones of the MP5 available from various sources over the years, and franken-guns that were pieced together stateside from various parts, but this is the first authentic sporting version of the MP5 offered in the U.S.—from H&K.

The SP5 was developed by the gunmaker as a semi-auto, civilian sporting pistol that matches the look and feel of the MP5 SMG. The designation as a pistol makes it possible to be exported to the U.S.

H&K SP5
The new SP5 as it comes from H&K. You can keep it in a pistol configuration, or make it into an SBR.H&K

While it has been designed and built to meet the definition of a civilian pistol, it feels and works just like an MP5. It includes a Navy barrel with a threaded tri-lug adaptor (awesome), a paddle magazine release (semi-auto versions of the MP5 in the past have had a button-style mag release, and a fluted chamber.

Inside is a roller-delayed blowback operating system (just like the MP5), known for accuracy, reliability, and smooth cycling. The mechanism was first introduced on the H&K G3 rifle.

The SP5 is made in H&K’s Oberndorf factory in southwest Germany and retains the MP5’s precision machined components and attention to detail. It’s made in the same factory, on the same lines, and by the same workers that have collectively been producing MP5s for years.

As a pistol, the SP5 does not come with a stock. Instead, it’s fitted with an elastic “bungee” sling that snaps onto the sling swivel hardware on the rear of the receiver.

The H&K SP5.
The H&K SP5 is not another MP5 clone, but about as close as you can get to the real thing.H&K

Or, fi you wish, you can install a brace and keep it a pistol, or you can declare it an SBR, get a tax stamp, and install any MP5 stock of your choosing, which is what most buyers will likely do. One of the SP5s at range day was an SBR fitted with an old school fixed MP5 stock. It felt amazing.

As far as accessories go, anything that works with or fits on the MP5, even aftermarket parts, will work on the SP5, including barrels, rails, and handguards.

The SP5 is chambered in 9mm and is available with two 30-round mags or two 10-round mags. Additional 30-, 15-, and 10-round mags are also available.

MSRP: $2700; mags; $80 each.

Heckler & Koch SP5 Specs

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Overall Length: 17.8”
  • Height: 8.86”
  • Barrel Length: 8.86”
  • Weight (unloaded): 5.1 lbs.
  • Capacity: 30/15/10
  • Trigger Pull: 6.74-10.11 lbs.
  • Trigger Travel: .24”
  • MSRP: $2700