In 1956, Heckler & Koch GmbH (HK) designed the G3, a 7.62×51mm NATO battle rifle. After the success of the G3, HK began to develop other variants. In the 1960s the 9mm MP5 was started, and soon it was adopted by the German Federal Police, Border Guard and Army Special Forces.
In the 1970s, the MP5K (K from the German word for “short”: Kurz), a shortened version of the 9mm MP5A2, was introduced. The K gun had a cap with a sling loop where the stock was attached on the full-sized version. The bolt and receiver were shortened, along with the barrel and cocking handle. To help control the gun, a vertical foregrip replaced the standard handguard. The K gun was intended for CQB by special operations and personal protection missions.
In 1980, the MP5 was made famous in the hands of the SAS during a 17-minute raid when they stormed the Iranian Embassy in London, they rescued all but one of the remaining hostages, and killed five of the six hostage-takers. Operation Nimrod was so successful that the MP5 became the go-to gun for special operation and SWAT teams worldwide.
The SP89 (Sport Pistole M1989) was introduced as a semi-automatic version of the MP5K. To comply with the National Firearms Act, the vertical foregrip was removed, along with the pushpin lower receiver. The SP89 was sold until the early 1990s, when its importation was restricted.
At the 2016 NRA Annual Meeting and Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky, HK announced that they would be producing the SP5K. This would be a semi-auto pistol based on the famous MP5K submachine gun.
- Chambering: 9mm
- Barrel: 4.53 inches
- OA Length: 13.9 inches
- Weight: 4.2 pounds
- Grips: Integral, plastic
- Sights: Ringed front post
- Action: Semi-auto
- Finish: Matte black
- Capacity: 30+1
- MSRP: $2,699
The SP5K arrived in a Pelican-style custom-fitted, lockable, carrying case. Inside the case was the SP5K, two 30-round magazines, a sight adjustment tool, a bungee cord sling, an instruction manual and a gun lock. This was much nicer packaging than the original carboard box with an expanded polystyrene insert that the SP89 was shipped in.
Upon inspection of the gun, I found the rock solid roller-delayed blowback operating system that is at the heart of all the descendants of the G3 rifle. This system offers accuracy and reliability that are still the envy of many guns today. The handguard has a new ergonomic design that provides much of the stability of the vertical foregrip on the MP5K without running afoul of the BATF. One accessory that was long overdue is the Picatinny rail scope mount, which comes attached to the upper receiver where the novel claw mount attaches. This new mount adds new versatility while maintaining a low profile for mounting optics. The entire gun is manufactured in Heckler & Koch’s Oberndorf factory in Germany, and it shows with the quality for which German manufacturers are famous. Most of the components are taken straight from the MP5K, including the cold-hammer forged barrel. The SP5K is backed by Heckler & Koch’s limited lifetime warranty.
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This gun is a diminutive personal defensive weapon or a bulky pistol depending on how you employ it. However, it is not awkward or clumsy, but rather well-refined; it works well when held with two hands. The redesigned foregrip provides a very positive lock on the front of the pistol. The pistol grip allows for comfortable control of the selector and trigger.
On the Range
I was particularly eager to get this gun to the range. You see; I have owned many HK guns over the years. I currently own an MP5 sear gun with a three-lug barrel and a matching can. I have made several attempts to buy an SP89; I once offered $3,200.00 and was turned down flatly. My obsession to finally get a turn on the pistol was almost to the point of greed. Not in the sense that I wanted one at someone else not having one but more like gun lust.
The first thing I wanted to try out was the new Picatinny rail scope mount. I selected the Meprolight- MEPRO RDS red dot sight. This optic is rugged and offers a huge display window. I attached the bungie sling to the swivel on the rear plate. With the sling around my neck, and then under my arm, the gun was held mid-chest and was easy to bring up to the eye. This was not quite the same as having a buttstock but it was way better than just using two hands.
In terms of accuracy, the gun over delivered in every case. I easily managed ½” groups at 25 yards, no matter what ammunition the gun was fed. I began to shoot some steel, and decided that a steel torso would be the bench mark. While shooting, the gun was held with the support hand on the forearm and the other on the pistol grip, utilizing the sling to add stability. I began at the 25-yard line and decided to walk back until I reached the limit of the gun. The only problem with this plan was that I ran out of range at 100 yards! I have no doubt that the red dot facilitated this performance, but the SP5K was quick on target, and felt more like a rifle than a pistol. My choice of ammunition was the white box Winchester 115 gr FMJ. I believe that almost any quality brand would perform similarly in the SP5K. The 30-round magazines ran flawlessly, without a single malfunction
I had others shoot the gun, and their experiences were quite similar. There were no malfunctions or accuracy complaints, and plenty of fun was had by each shooter. There was a reasonable learning curve required to hold the gun out and rely on the sling to stabilize it properly. Once that was out of the way, there were no issues. There was quickly that lightbulb moment I get this and it works for me then it was just a matter of keeping magazines going. One point that must be explained in the manual of arms is the bolt does not hold open after firing the last round.
Conclusion for Fun
This is clearly a new gun for the American market. I will admit that I have some bias here, based on my history with HK guns and my long-standing desire to own this model.
I do fear that the SP5K may fall short in a few areas. First, modularity is limited to only the new Picatinny rail scope mount. There is no provision to mount lights and lasers, or an (aftermarket) arm brace. These factors will make comparisons to other 9mm pistols in this class problematic for the SP5K. Second, when the gun left the market in the 1990s, others began to offer American-made clones. Their quality was poor in the beginning, but while prices have dropped some their quality has increased. Heck, you can even make your own from kits, if you are so inclined. Finally, with a retail price of $2,700.00, it is the most expensive offering in its class by a sizeable amount.
These shortcomings cannot be ignored, and will likely have an impact on this gun’s sales, but this is a boutique gun more than a mainstream offering. It will appeal to HK fans, and those (like me) who never got to own one the first time around. This is also a rock-solid, proven design that all others must aspire to emulate. This gun is still a bargain compared to an original SP89, and I think is a better option based on how it comes equipped. If you want the real thing, it is definitely for you.
For more information, visit http://hk-usa.com/hk-models/sp5k-2/.
To purchase an SP5K on GunsAmerica.com, click this link: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?Keyword=SP5K.