Mike Morton has a blast shooting BBs from the tiny Umarex Heckler & Koch MP5K-PDW – a full-size replica of a small-size submachine gun
Most shooters will be aware of the standard MP5 submachine gun, or to give it the proper german name, the Maschinenpistole 5. This gun, chambered in 9x19mm Parabellum, entered service in 1966 and is now in use all around the world.
It gained widespread public exposure in the UK in 1980 when televised images showed it being carried by members of the SAS during the Iranian Embassy siege.
The MP5 is a very well-known gun. Less well-known is the MP5K-PDW – which is where Umarex comes in. The MP5K is a short-barrelled version of the regular model, getting rid of the handguard and adding a vertical foregrip instead, The K is for kurtz, or ‘short’.
Manufacturer: Umarex (www.umarex.com)
Gun supplied by: John Rothery Wholesale (www.bisley-uk.com)
Model: Heckler & Koch MP5K-PDW
Ammo type: BBs
Capacity: 40 rounds
Safety: Manual, ambidextrous
Weight: 1.25kg (2.76lb)
Barrel length: 167mm
Powerplant: 12g CO2 capsule
Shots per capsule: Approximately 80
Features: Folding stock
Options: Picatinny rail
Umarex has chosen to replicate the PDW (Personal Defence Weapon) version of the MP5K, which features a folding stock.
This little gun weighs just 1.25kg (2.76lb) and is a mere 59cm in length – and that’s with the stock extended. With the stock folded – and it can even be removed – the PDW measures a minuscule 39cm, adding new meaning to the term ‘machine pistol’.
But size isn’t everything, and a blowback BB-firer like this will stand or fall on the strength of how it handles, functions and fires. Luckily it does all of these things rather well.
The original Heckler & Koch MP5K-PDW is made of a mixture of metal and polymer parts. The Umarex version follows suit, but some of the metal components of the original have been reproduced in plastic.
The rear sight unit is one such part, although Umarex has done a fairly good job of hiding this by adding fake weld seams to make it look like it’s made of metal.
In other respects, the Umarex MP5K-PDW looks very much like the Heckler & Koch powder-burner, although what should be a threaded muzzle has been replaced by a non-functioning flash hider, again made out of plastic.
The gun feels pretty solid, and the magazine slots into the well securely. While this tiny gun can be shot with the stock folded – or even taken off altogether thanks to a swappable stock plate – most shooters will probably want to operate it with the stock extended.
It just folds out under spring tension and snaps in place inside a slotted gate. The gun uses a single 12g CO2 canister, and the butt stock must be removed to access the CO2 loading bay.
The butt stock is held in place by two split pins. All you need do is press them from right to left and the butt stock will come away. The gas bulb must be inserted nose-first, after which the butt stock can be replaced and the stock folded, giving you access to the cylinder retention screw.
This needs to be turned clockwise until it pierces the CO2 capsule and you hear the gas being released. Never over-tighten a CO2 gun, as you may end up damaging the seals.
The single-stack stick magazine can take up to 40 BBs. Slide down the follower until you hear it click in place in the locked position. There’s a small black rocker-style lever at the top of the mag, which you need to hold
down while you load in each of the BBs.
This feature is very useful as it holds the BBs securely; if you tip the magazine upside-down by accident, they won’t fall out and spill all over the place. When the mag is full you can release the follower by pressing in the retention pin at the bottom of the magazine.
With the gun gassed up and the mag loaded with BBs, it’s now just a case of clicking the magazine into the well, putting the ambidextrous selector on fire – and away you go!
I adopted the kneeling position for all my testing with this gun, shooting it with the stock extended. Because of the PDW’s dinky proportions, it can be a bit tricky to get a decent sight picture.
The front sight is nice and clear, but, for me at least, the rear notch sight was blurry. I was expecting this to spoil my accuracy with the gun, but I was pleased to be proved wrong.
Another niggle I had was with the feel and weight of the trigger. This is slightly mushy and heavy, but then it’s not meant to be a match-grade unit, and when I actually began firing the PDW, thankfully all my misgivings evaporated away.
Shooting at a modest 6m – even the 9mm original is only meant for very close engagements – the PDW was very accurate for a gun of this type. I’m right-handed and left-eye dominant, but aimed at the centre of all my targets nevertheless, which may be why my groups all ended up slightly left of centre.
I repeatedly quick-fired an entire magazine’s worth of BBs at the bull – with all 40 shots very much on target every time. It briefly crossed my mind to take more measured, deliberate shots, but that was soon forgotten about whenever a fresh magazine was inserted!
Hitting a rabbit’s-head spinner was easy at this distance, and I was able to reliably hit a pigeon’s-head spinner too. Back at 10m, group size opened up a little, but all shots produced a group still measuring only 5.5cm (2.2in) centre-to-centre, again with me shooting kneeling and in rapid-fire mode.
Elevation was bang on at both 6m and 10m, and it would be no problem to shoot the PDW at greater distances, especially if you’re shooting larger targets.
I like to shoot conservatively when it comes to CO2 guns, and found 80 shots per capsule to be my maximum with the PDW, although I could probably have squeezed out a few more.
You can get a rough idea of how much ammo you have left by checking to see how many BBs are left in the stack, which is visible through a cut-out in the back of the magazine.
You can also remove the magazine to inspect it, although the next available BB will have already been released from the mag ready to be fired and will therefore fall out, so be careful to catch it.
One excellent safety feature is the fact that the trigger won’t operate when you’ve fired your last round. The natural home of the Heckler & Koch MP5K-PDW is on the plinking range where you can exploit its high-cap mag and blowback action to the full. Then ‘PDW’ will describe the state of your grin: pretty darn wide!
The Airgun Shooter verdict
Look & feel: 8
Build quality: 7
Gassping up: 8
Overall score: 79