The MP5 sub machine gun is one of those guns that even non gun enthusiasts can easily recognize. It was a cutting edge serious piece of military hardware when it was released in the mid 1960’s. Even though over 40 years has passed and it’s been largely replaced by reliable short barreled rifles like the AR15 based MK18 rifle by Daniel Defense, it still holds a special place in the gun community.

The MP5 has been a service rifle for more than 80 countries, including dozens of the worlds premier Special Operations Forces. That’s not including the endless numbers that have been issued to Police and other law enforcement agencies. British Special Air Service, U.S. Navy Seals, German GSG 9, US Army SFOD-D, France’s GIGN anti terror teams and even the Vatican’s Swiss Guards have used the MP5 to guard the Catholic Popes. Anyway you slice it that’s an impressive list of users.

I happen to own an MP5 clone, it’s a legally owned and papered short barrel rifle. The only downside to mine is it’s a semi auto. The purists and haters out there will say I should have gotten a fully automatic MP5  but I don’t have an extra $25,000. I did however have a little less than that and decided to have this D54 variant built by Dakota Tactical of Canton, Michigan. Yes you read that right, a U.S. Made MP5. Here’s a little video of one of the best features of any MP5.

The MP5 was the gun that as a child made me want to get into shooting and owning firearms. I had very little idea of what it was, but I just knew that someday I would own one. Little did I know it would take over 25 years to get around to it. My dream was almost sunk due to ridiculous Clinton Era assault weapons bans and Heckler & Koch’s withdrawal from the rifle market at the time. That’s where Dakota Tactical comes in and my dream was revived.


Not a “Real” H&K 

I hear that comment all the time and it tells me the person speaking is ignorant of gun history or design. We don’t refer to all non Armalite AR15 style rifles as “Armalite Clones” do we ? We also don’t refer to polymer guns as “Glock clones”. I’ve placed my Dakota Tactical rifle next to H&K stamped MP5’s and its built every bit as well. The firearms industry is one industry where imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, unless their is a lawsuit attached.

My MP5 is my favorite gun I own, no question at all in my mind. I own a lot of guns, including all the usual guns you would expect like AK47 variants, AR15’s, PPs43 sub machine guns, more pistols than I can remember. To put it mildly I’ve owned a lot of guns and still if I had to choose only one this is it.

Quirks and Issues

If you ever decide to own an MP5 variant there are a few idiosyncrasies you should know first. Remember this gun was designed over 40 year ago and firearms technology and though processes have evolved. If you can live with these quirks then you can own a gun that is always fun to shoot and will always draw a crowd at the range.

  • The MP5 lacks a last round hold open on all models except the few made in .40 S&W.
  • Magazines are expensive
  • Trigger is long
  • Weighs 6.0 lbs
  • Diopter style rear sight
  • People will ask questions and want to shoot it
  • Accessories are expensive
Heart of the MP5, The rotating bolt head. Rollers clearly seen
Heart of the MP5, The rotating bolt head. Rollers clearly seen

The world of the MP5 is not for everyone, and not all MP5’s are created equal. I will cover that topic and more in the near future when we hopefully interview Dakota Tactical’s owner and get into the world of Heckler & Koch clones along with the new and expanding product lines Dakota Tactical has been working on. I won’t spoil it, you’ll just have to check back for that article.

I can’t say it enough, this gun is flat out fun to shoot. Even being a semi automatic variant, I’ve yet to have anyone turn down a chance to shoot it when they ask about it at the range. It’s well built thanks to the superior craftsmanship of Joe Stoppiello and his crew at Dakota Tactical. I have no idea how many rounds I’ve fed this sub machine gun in the last three years but I can tell you I hardly ever go to the range without it.

The accuracy of my particular MP5 clone is every bit as good as a Heckler & Koch produced rifle. It’s not designed to shoot hundreds of yards and have stunning groupings. It’s designed to shoot bad guys that are at much closer ranges than a traditional full sized rifle. Discreet operations like personal protective details and undercover work is where the MP5 shines.

3 lug set up for silencer use
3 lug set up for silencer use

As I mentioned in the beginning of the article I waited a long time for this gun, 25 years then another 331 Days while the ATF processed my BATFE Form 1. That’s a long time to wait even for a patient man. Would I do it all over again ? spend more than $2500 on a pistol and make it into a rifle ? Hell Yes I would. Every gun enthusiast has a wish list of guns they hope to own one day and when you get a chance to grab one off that list you better never hesitate.