Heckler & Koch MP7: A Weapon of Choice

by Eric Sof

Heckler & Koch MP7-A1 submachine gun at shooting range

The Heckler & Koch MP7 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 improve defense systems against the same and, of course, vice versa. This new concept of weapons focuses on enclosing the same instrument benefits from a concise space of enormous 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, particularly the CRISTA body armor, at a minimum distance of thirty meters.

Of course, Heckler & 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 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 for NATO have been met. Reduced size makes it ideal for cars and close-quarter combat (CQC). The polymer body with blood and steel reinforcements provides the right balance between weight and structural strength.

Heckler and Koch MP7-A1 submachine gun
Heckler and Koch MP7A1 submachine gun (Photo: Wiki Guns)


The key grip (typically handgun) is located on the charger, 20 or 40 shots. The selector is ambidextrous, conveniently operated with the thumb of the strong hand, and has three positions: Safe, Semi-Automatic, and Automatic. Calcium is collapsible, in closing, allows the use of the weapon as a standard 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 can obtain a rate of ten shots in less than 2 inches to fifty meters in semi-automatic mode, but if 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 may be a little too small.

YouTube video

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 usual rear sights folding, the pointing system best suited to the situation of use of the weapon system.

If 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 ‘significant difference that distinguishes it as PDW from the “old” machine pistols is given because the operation is the subtraction of gas with the opening delay allowed by the head of the rotatable plug. To provide you with an idea of the shape of the shutter mechanism, which is similar to those used by HK G36.


The chamber in 4.6x30mm 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; a round of 4.6x30mm is a collaboration between Heckler and Koch and the British Royal Ordnance Radway Green’s.

The starting point for the development was chosen 4.6x36mm CETME (caliber experimental set up in the sixties then put aside in favor of the 5.56×45mm). The Italian Fiocchi also produces the ammunition and is available in many productions to use balls piercing fully jacketed steel copper, tracers, and 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. 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.



The prototype was shown in 1999 and was designated as the ‘PDW’ (Personal Defense Weapon). It had a short Picatinny rail on the top and a smooth pistol grip surface.


In 2001 it was designated as the ‘MP7’ and went into production. Changes include a full-length Picatinny rail, a thick curved stock, and an anti-slide surface on the pistol grip like the HK USP. It also features folding iron sights mounted on the Picatinny rail, and the button to fold the foregrip was made larger for more straightforward operation.


In 2003 its designation was changed to MP7A1 and featured a redesigned pistol grip with a different surface. Curved shape, a smaller stock with a straight buttpad, side-mounted Picatinny rails as standard, and the folding iron sights were made more compact. Heckler & Koch made the weapon slightly longer, but the length did not change because the stock was shortened. The stock is also able to be locked into three positions. Recent MP7A1 models have a trigger safety similar to a Glock pistol; the middle section of the trigger must be pulled first before the outer part will move. This helps to stop accidental discharges if the trigger is bumped.


A variant without the folding front grip features a Picatinny rail to mount various grips in line with the user’s preference.


It is a semi-automatic only variant of the MP7 currently used by the Ministry of Defence Police in the United Kingdom.

The HK MP7 is a weapon of choice for many Western special operations forces units, including Seal Team 6 (DEVGRU), EKO Cobra, GIGN, and British Special Air Service.

Technical specifications

Country of origin:Germany
Manufacturer:Heckler & Koch GmbH, Oberndorf Am Neckar
Caliber:HK 4.6×30mm
Type (action):Gas-operated, short-stroke piston, rotating bolt
Weight:1.5 kg
Length:340/540 mm (soccer collapsible)
Barrel length:180 mm
Power:20-, 30- or 40-round detachable box magazine
Rate of fire:950 rounds per minute
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