Heckler & Koch MP7-A1: A Weapon of Choice

Heckler & Koch MP7-A1 submachine gun at shooting range
Heckler & Koch MP7-A1 (Photo: Wiki Guns)

The Heckler & Koch MP7-A1 submachine gun has become a weapon of choice for many professionals. The natural evolution of machine guns is represented by PDW (Personal Defense Weapon). This progress is part of the natural process that leads to the improvement of a weapon system and to improves defense systems against the same (… and, of course, vice versa).

This new concept of weapons is focussing to enclose the same instrument benefits from very short space of huge data size, typical of the SMG caliber with much better performance and more similar to that of assault rifles.

Key points

The key points that a weapon must have to come to the right in this category are described in the PDW Requirement Document D-29 (prepared by NATO), in particular:

  1. The empty weight must not exceed the pound for handguns and three pounds for long
  2. commands safe / fire selector must be ambidextrous
  3. the gauge chosen must be capable of piercing ballistic protection, in particular, the CRISTA body armor at a minimum distance of thirty meters.

Of course, the Hecker & Koch could not present his model for this category and thus was born the project that enabled the company to Oberndorf in 2000 to announce the arrival of MP7-A1 and gun P-46 (direct competitors of the P90 and FiveSeven products from the Belgian FN).

Looking at the Heckler & Koch MP7 is evident that requests NATO has been met. Reduced size makes it ideal for use in cars and close quarter combat. The polymer body with blood and steel reinforcements provide the right balance between weight and structural strength.

Heckler and Koch MP7-A1 submachine gun
Heckler and Koch MP7-A1 submachine gun (Photo: Wiki Guns)


The key grip (typically handgun) is located on the charger which can be 20 or 40 shots. The selector is ambidextrous and conveniently operated with the thumb of the strong hand, has three positions: Safe, Semi-Automatic, Automatic. Calcium is collapsible, in closing allows the use of the weapon as a normal gun (HK in this regard has also designed a special holster for the port as a sidearm), instead of in the open position allows a shot much more focused and precise.

Aim point that ensures the manufacturer to be able to obtain a rate of ten shots in less than 2 inches to fifty meters in semiautomatic mode but, in the event that it becomes necessary to use in Full-Auto, you can use the ‘ Reclining front handle which is just past the trigger guard for optimum control on the weapon. The cocking handle is located on the back just above the butt of the weapon and is, in my opinion, the size maybe a little too small.

The inevitable presence of a ‘modern weapon of a slide integral Picatinny rail that takes the upper part of the weapon in all its length. On it has then the opportunity to mount, in addition to the normal rear sights folding, the pointing system which is best suited to the situation of use of the weapon system.

In the case where a rail is not enough can be mounted without problems other two small ancillary slides on the two sides of the weapon than just over the front handle using the threaded holes. Finally, a ‘very important difference that distinguishes it as PDW from the “old” machine pistols is given by the fact that the operation is the subtraction of gas with the opening delay allowed by the head of the rotatable plug. To give you an idea of the shape of the shutter mechanism and are similar to those of ‘HK G36.

The Caliber: 4.6 x 30 mm

The chamber in 4.6 x 30mm is chosen to be the MP7-A1 that the P-46 as its direct competitor Belgian, 5.7 x28mm is used in P90 and FiveSeven. Not surprisingly, the HK is competing just with the FN to ensure that its caliber in the future is adopted as a standard NATO for this kind of development, round of 4.6 mm is a collaboration between Heckler and Koch and the British Royal Ordnance Radway Green’s.

The starting point for the development was chosen 4.6 x36 CETME (caliber experimental set up in the sixties then put aside in favor of the 5.56×45). The ammunition is also produced by the Italian Fiocchi and is available in many productions with the possibility of using balls piercing fully jacketed steel copper, tracers, normal FMJ.

The U.S. Navy’s Naval Special Warfare Development Group, more commonly known as SEAL Team 6, is one of the most famous units that employ the Heckler & Koch MP7 in the special operations community.
The U.S. Navy’s Naval Special Warfare Development Group, more commonly known as SEAL Team 6, is one of the most famous units that employ the Heckler & Koch MP7 in the special operations community. (Photo: XY)

The ball weight varies between 25 and 40 grains and the speed in the mouth is around 700 m / s with energies in the order of 450 Joules, but with a recoil halved compared to the classic 9×19 Parabellum. As caliber has been shown to have a high penetration capacity, managing to pass without problems the bulletproof vest CRISAT (composed of 20 layers of Kevlar and a titanium foil of about 2mm) from more than 200m away.

Today, the HK MP7-A1 is a weapon of choice for many Western special operations forces unit including Seal Team 6 (DEVGRU), EKO Cobra, GIGN, British Special Air Service

Technical specifications: Heckler & Koch MP7-A1

Caliber: 4.6 x 30 mm
Weight: 1.5 kg
Length: 340/540 mm (soccer collapsible)
Barrel length: 180 mm
Power: Packs of 20 or 40 rounds
Rate of fire: 950 rounds per minute
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