Since World War II, the German concern of Heckler und Koch has become one of Europe’s largest and most important small-arms manufacturers. Its success has been based soundly on the production of its G3 rifle, which was a standard NATO weapon and is still in use all over the world. In the 1960s the company used the G3 as a basis on which to produce the Heckler and Koch MP5 sub-machine gun.
The MP5 was designed to fire the standard 9-mm X 19 Parabellum cartridge. Although this is a relatively low-powered pistol round, the MP5 uses the same roller and inclined ramp locking mechanism as the G3, which fires a full-power rifle round. The complexity of the system is more than offset by its increased safety. Unlike other machine pistols, the MP5 fires from a closed bolt- the brench block is in the forward position when the trigger is pulled so there is no forward-moving mass to disturb the aim. This makes the MP5 much more accurate than other SMGs. The resemblance to the G3 is maintained by the use of many G3 components on the MP5.
Used by military and law enforcement units in more than 50 nations, the MP5 is firmly established as the world’s pre-eminent sub-machine gun. Over 120 variants of the MP5 are available to address the widest range of tactical requirements. The weapon’s unique modular design and a variety of optional buttstocks, forearms, sight mounts, and other accessories gives the MO5 extraordinary flexibility to meet almost any mission. The main versions of the MP5 include the MP5A with a fixed butt stock and the MP5A3 with a sliding metal strut stock. The MP5A4 and the MP5A5 are the same weapons with the addition of a three-round burst fire capability.
The MP5SD is as silenced weapon for use in special or anti-terrorist warfare. The removable sound suppressor is integrated into the design and conforms to the normal length and profile of an unsuppressed weapon. The MP5SD uses an integral aluminum or optional wet technology stainless steel sound suppressor. Unlike most silenced weapons, it does not require use of subsonic ammunition for effective sound reduction.
The MP5K was introduced for use by special units, where weapon concealment is often essential. It is a very short version of the basic MP5, only 325 mm long and recognizable by a small foregrip, under the almost non-existent muzzle. The MP5KA1 is a special version of this variant with no protrusions so than it can be carried under clothing or in a special holster.
The MP5N or ‘Navy’ model is made for US Navy SEALs. Fully ‘marinated’ for operations in seawater, it comes standard with an ambidextrous trigger group and threaded barrel.
In spite of its complexity, the MP5 has proved to be an excellent and reliable submachine-gun. Its first users were West German police agencies and border guards, and soon numbers were purchased by Swiss police and the Netherlands armed forces. Single fire variants are widely used by law-enforcement officers in crowded public areas such as airports.
However, it is since the MP5 was adopted by the British SAS that it has become the weapon of choice for Special Forces worldwide. The MP5 is inherently accurate because it fires from a closed bolt, and pinpoint accuracy is an essential requirement of any weapon used in a hostage rescue, where innocent lives are at risk.
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS OF HECKLER AND KOCH MP5A2
|Caliber:||9-mm (0,354-in) Parabellum|
|Length of barrel:||225 mm|
|Weight:||loaded 2.97 kg (6lb 8 oz)|
|Muzzle velocity:||400 m (1.312 ft)|
|Rate of fire, cyclic:||800 rpm cyclic|
|Magazine:||15- or 30 – round box|
Steyr TMP (Tactical Machine Pistol)
The Steyr Tactical Machine Pistol or abbreviated Steyr TMP belongs in the emerging group of “Personal Defense Weapons” – short, stockless, and closer to being an enlarged pistol than a down-sized submachine gun. Indeed, a variant model which does away with the front handgrip and only fires single shots is called the “Special Purpose Pistol” (SPP) and is classed as a pistol.
The Steyr TMP is a locked-breech weapon firing the 9 mm Parabellum cartridge. There are only 41 component parts, and the frame and top cover are made from a synthetic plastic which is sufficiently strong to be able to do without steel inserts to support the bolt. The breech is locked and unlocked by rotation of the barrel, a system which Steyr pioneered in the early years of the century but which they ceased to use after 1918.
A lug beneath the barrel engages in a groove in the frame. On firing, the barrel and breech block recoil still locked together, the lug sliding down the groove. The groove then spirals, and as the cam follows this track, so the barrel is revolved until the bolt lugs are unlocked from the chamber. The barrel is then held while the bolt runs back and then forward again to chamber a fresh round. Bolt and barrel then go forward, and the cam track again revolves the barrel to lock the breech.
Single shots or automatic fire are provided by a two-stage trigger, similar to that used on the Steyr AUG rifle. The first pressure on the trigger fires single shots; pulling through against the pressure of an auxiliary spring delivers automatic fire. There is a three-position cross-bolt safety catch which has a central position giving semi-automatic fire only, so providing additional control.
Although there is no butt-stock, and no provision for fitting one, the forward handgrip permits adequate control of the weapon, and short bursts can be fired with considerable accuracy after a little practice. Single shots can be fired with one hand quite easily; it is only slightly heavier than a Colt .45 automatic pistol and somewhat lighter than most larger caliber revolvers.
Initially made in 9 mm caliber, production in .40 Smith & Wesson caliber has now begun, and there are plans for a modular system of interchangeable parts which will allow the TMP to be converted to fire 9 mm Steyr, 10 mm Auto or .41 Action Express cartridges.
Technical specifications of Steyr TMP (Tactical Machine Pistol)
|Manufacturer:||Steyr-Mannlicher GmbH, Steyr, Austria|
|Type:||Recoil-operated, selective fire|
|Caliber:||9 mm Parabellum|
|Barrel:||5.12 in (130 mm)|
|Weight (empty):||2.86 lbs (1.3 kg)|
|Magazine capacity:||15 or 20 rounds|
|Cyclic rate of fire:||600 rounds per minute|
When the Soviets adopted the Kalashnikov 7.62 mm rifle, they abandoned their submachine guns, but in later years realized that they had been a little too hasty and needed a more compact weapon for occupants of vehicles.
Their first attempt was to shorten the AK47 rifle, but this proved to be almost uncontrollable at the automatic fire. At about this time they adopted 5.45 mm caliber for a new generation of Kalashnikov rifles and machine guns, and shortly afterward set about making a compact model in a new caliber. The result was the AKS-74U, which was first revealed to the West in 1982 when a specimen was captured in Afghanistan.
The AKS-74U retains the basic method of the operation of the familiar AK47 rifle, using a gas piston and a rotating bolt, but the shortening of the barrel introduced several complications. The 5.45 mm cartridge was designed to be fired in a long-barrelled rifle, and the gas system of the Kalashnikov taps its gas from a position about two-thirds of the way up the barrel. Since the AKS-74U barrel is so short, all the gas generated in the cartridge would not have time to expend its energy and there would be a prominent muzzle flame and considerable blast. Therefore, a bulbous muzzle attachment can be seen, which acts as an expansion chamber for the emerging gas and muffles the flash and blast. It also helps to balance the internal pressure so that it is possible to tap off the gas for the gas system closer to the breech than in other weapons.
A skeleton butt is fitted, which folds to the left side of the weapon, reducing the overall length to about 16.5 inches. The magazine is similar to that used with an AK47 rifle, but has strengthening ribs molded into its front edge and is made of a lamination of sheet steel and plastic material. The receiver top cover is hinged to the gas block and lifts to permit stripping the weapon; this differs from all other Kalashnikov designs, in which the top cover lifts off completely.
The AKS-74U is an ingenious design but in many eyes somewhat over-powerful for the self-defense role for which it is intended. However, it does mean that the design and operation are already familiar to any soldier who knows the AK series of rifles – which was every Soviet soldier – and, unlike submachine guns, it does not require its own particular type of ammunition, happily firing the standard rifle cartridges.
Technical specification of AKS-74U submachine gun
|Manufacturer:||State Rifle Factory, Izhevsk, Russia|
|Type:||Gas-operated, selective fire|
|Barrel:||7.87 in (200 mm)|
|Weight:||Ca. 6.5 lbs (3 kg)|
|Magazine capacity:||30 rounds|
|Cyclic rate of fire:||800 rounds/minute|
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