In 1989, NATO published a set of requirements that requested a new type of firearm with rounds capable of penetrating body armor. Called the Personal Defense weapon, or PDW, it was meant to replace weapons, such as pistols and submachine guns, whose caliber was found wanting against ballistic protection. Several companies went on to design PDWs, with the most successful, if not the most visible version, coming from German arms company Heckler & Koch.
Designated the MP7, it was first displayed in 1999, with H&K officially beginning production of the weapon in 2000. The MP7 is a compact firearm that uses polymers extensively in its construction, and a short 7.1-inch barrel that helps keep the weight at 4.1 pounds. For ease of carry, a sliding stock provides a length of 25.1 inches extended and 16.3 inches closed. Iron sights for back up compliment mounting rails for sights, lights and lasers, etc., atop the length of the receiver and both sides of the forearm. A front grip that folds under the forearm is also standard.
Internally, its operation is based on the short-stroke piston design of the G36 assault rifle, another H&K offering, and helps ensure that the round, which is unique to this weapon, functions reliably. And it is this round which may be the most intriguing part of the MP7.