With the exception of its 16.2-inch barrel, the new HK94 is pretty much
an MP5 look-alike. As with all the civilian versions of HK weaponry,
the flapper-type magazine catch release has been replaced by a
push-button located on the right side of the magazine well. This
modification has been incorporated to prevent installation of the
full-auto military trigger-housing group. The MP5's trigger-housing
is a two-piece synthetic molding. Only the HK94's pistol grip is plastic.
The trigger guard and mechanism housing are made of stamped sheet
metal. The trigger mechanism itself lacks an auto sear. The selector
lever has only two positions, "0" and "1." The HK94 bolt carrier has
been miIled to prevent engagement of the auto sear. Unauthorized
conversion of the HK94 to selective-fire operation would be difficult,
time-consuming and potentially dangerous. It will also void the
The exterior finish used on the HK system is baked enamel. The exact
hue will vary from weapon to weapon. The HK94 tested was matte
black, while the MP5 was a lighter charcoal gray. MP5/HK94 magazines
come in two capacities, 15- and 30-round. They are of the modern
two-position-feed type. They are well-made and the (floor plate is
held securely in, place by two side tabs (although it is a bit more
tedious to disassemble than more conventional designs). Early
magazines were equipped with plastic followers but more recent
followers are steel. The original magazine was a straight box.
Feed problems with some lots of ammunition encouraged a change
in 1977 to a curved magazine. MP5 magazines are difficult to load
by hand. However, an efficient magazine loader-unloader is available.
Also offered is a clamp which holds two magazines. But it interferes
somewhat with the left arm when firing the weapon.
H&K introduced a .22LR conversion kit for the MP5 in 1970. It consists
of a sub-caliber barrel insert, bolt assembly and special 20-round
magazine. After insertion, the .22LR barrel is retained by a flexible
detent. The bolt assembly does not have locking rollers. The special
magazine has the external configuration of the standard MP5 9mm
magazine. With this unit installed, the MP5 will operate by pure
blowback in both the semiauto and full-auto modes with a cyclic rate
of 650 rpm. I doubt this kit will ever be marketed in the United States,
as it would provide criminals with an easier avenue for illicit full-auto
A combat carrying sling is available and it can only be described as
awesome in its complexity. Attempting to use and install this German
cat's-cradle is quite beyond my pea-brain. A bent sheet-metal
eyelet clip (riveted to the left side of the so-called target forearm
on the HK rifles and to the left side of the magazine well on the MP5
and HK94) is supposed to be involved in its use. But the how is never
explained. The MP5 manual devotes four pages of illustrations and
one page of instruction to this maddening device. It's not enough.
An entire booklet devoted to this one topic would be required. Or
better yet, you can simply lay this Teutonic straitjacket aside forever,
as I have done.
Any optical equipment that can be attached to the standard HK
clampmount can be used on the MP5 and HK94. This includes
night-vision units of the infrared or starlight varieties and an aiming
projector which emits an intense narrow beam of light along the line
of fire, powered by a 55-watt halogen lamp. This latter device can
be used to both locate and temporarily blind targets.
Three conventional telescopic sights are available: the Zeiss 1.5- to
6-power variable, the Schmidt & Bender 4x25 and the Hensoldt 4x24.
The Zeiss scope is too bulky for use on a submachine gun. We were
provided with the excellent Hensoldt 4-power scope for our test.
The reticle pattern is that used by the German military since world
War I. It consists of a single, thick, pointed post at the bottom of
the field of view with horizontal side bars and stadia lines. Although
never popular in this country, this format excels in subdued light
and offers faster target acquisition than standard crosshairs. It's a
formidable combination when mated to the closed-bolt-firing
MP5 and HK94.
Everyone agrees that firing from the closed-bolt position offers
inherently higher hit potential tkan that obtainable from submachine
guns which fire from the open bolt. When the heavy bolts utilized
by most pure blowback SMGs fly forward and then stop violently
against the chamber, accuracy is bound to be adversely affected.
The problem associated with closed-bolt operation has always been
that of "cook-off." When barrel temperatures greater than 250
degrees Centigrade are maintained for more than a minute, premature
ignition of the cartridge becomes possible. There has always been
a great deal of speculation about the MP5 in this area.
More than 3,600 rounds have now been fired through the two test
weapons - an MP5 supplied by John Gannaway, president of Arizona
Police Equipment, Inc., and an HK94 furnished by Heckler & Koch. I
tried my damnedest to get the MP5 to cook-off, firing as many as
seven magazines in rapid succession and then setting the weapon
in the broiling desert sun with a loaded round in the chamber. I
could not induce cook-off in the MP5 under any remotely realistic
set of circumstances. However, the receiver's chamber area got
righteously hot in the attempt. If you are accustomed to holding
the palm of the support hand back against the magazine well and
under the chamber area, a first-degree burn will be your reward.
As the blowback action is retarded by the two locking rollers, a much
lighter bolt assembly is possible. The MP5, with retractable buttstock
and without magazine weighs only 5.6 pounds. The tradeoff here is
a higher cyclic rate, which approaches 750 rpm - close to the level
at which full-auto hit potential falls off sharply from excessive muzzle
climb. In the semiautomatic mode, the MP5 and HK94 are hard to beat.
In full auto, I must go with the heavier guns and lower cyclic rates.
The MP5 and HK94 are not ammunition-sensitive. A wide variety of
ammunition was fired during the test and evaluation: Winchester
Silvertips, Remington jacketed hollow points, Czech, FN and Yugoslav
surplus and reloads consisting of 124-grain cast bullets and the Hornady
jacketed/truncated-cone projectiles backed by 5.0 grains of Unique.
After 2,000 rounds had been fired through the MP5, without any
cleaning, eight rounds of the Yugoslav ammunition (notorious for their
hard printers) received light firing pin hits and failed to ignite. The
barrel extension locking recesses were found clogged with debris.
This is a Herculean performance by any standard and the MP5 and
HK94 will pass anyone's test for reliability. Extraction is not nearly
as violent as that of the Heckler & Koch rifles.
Surprisingly, the sturdy H&K retractable stock proved to be as stable
a firing platform as the rigid stock. Its use on the HK91 (7.62mm NATO)
rifle is not as pleasant an experience.
Lightweight, innovative, sturdy, reliable, well-balanced and supplied
with useful accessories, the MP5 and HK94 warrant serious consideration
by their potential users. The MP5 submachine gun is available to military
and law enforcement agencies only...