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Heckler & Koch’s roller-delayed weapons are among the most desirable firearms ever imported into the U.S. These genuine HKs—“legacy arms” in company lingo—came to our shores in quantity during the 1980s but are now somewhat scarce after an importation ban in the early 1990s. The SP89 pistol is among the rarest because it had a short production run from 1989 to 1994 before the Clinton administration banned its import by name. In its heyday, the SP89 was the closest one could get to owning a “civilian- legal” MP5K machine pistol, a gun that seems to hold a considerable cachet over other variants of the MP5. Now, decades later, HK is importing a modernized version of the SP89 under a new name with obvious hints to its origins: the SP5K.

The SP5K should not be confused with semi-automatic imitations of the HK MP5K made by other companies, though comparisons between the two pistols are inevitable. In my experience, the much higher priced HK SP5K remains the quality leader with a noticeably better fit and finish, barrel and trigger group compared to imported MP5K copies not made by Heckler & Koch. The SP5K also has an ambidextrous safety and an updated one-piece grip frame with pictographic markings, and it comes with a very durable waterproof case with a custom-fit interior, a rear sight adjustment tool and a sling.


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