Copies Done Right: The Best MP5 Clones in 2022

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The MP5 needs no introduction. Hearing McClane’s “yippee-ki-yay” is more than enough to paint a picture for any Die Hard fan. This submachine gun has dominated pop culture and law-enforcement agencies. And, of course, civvies like us want a taste of it.

The thing is, MP5s don’t come cheap. Still, we can get a hold of this roller-delayed perfection through the many copies it has spawned. These clones have mostly kept the charm of the famous SMG, while offering a much lower price tag.

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The MP5 Through Time

The Heckler & Koch MP5 is a thing of the good ‘ol 60s that has never ceased to become popular. Known before as the HK54, it was patterned after the company’s successful G3 rifle. This submachine gun is a classic that has a long history of service in more than 30 nations.

Best MP5 Clone HK MP5K
HK MP5K is the shorter version of the original MP5 (from Wikimedia Commons)

The MP5 cemented its spot in history during the 1980 Iranian embassy siege in London. The British SAS troops came to the rescue and ended the 6-day hostage crisis in operation Nimrod. The special forces used MP5s during the raid. Soon after, this subgun became a staple used by many special units around the world, in the United States included.

The roller-delay

The roller-delayed mechanism is perhaps MP5’s most defining feature. But how does it work? Here’s a visual walkthrough from MouseGunner:

Hollywood and Beyond

The MP5 has found its way through the glitter of Hollywood. From Matrix to Lethal Weapons, it has become a regular on action movies. And of course, no die-hard fans of Die Hard can resist it after the infamous Christmas flick. 

This popular SMG amassed a huge following through its many appearances on the big screen. And if you are popular, people copy you. The MP5 doesn’t help itself either with a price that puts it out of reach for many of us.


Best MP5 Clones

Best MP5 Clone HK SP5
The HK SP5 is the civilian version of the MP5

You can of course get the civilian version of the HK MP5, the SP5. There’s also the smaller SP5K. The thing is, these German-made guns are also just way out of the budget for most shooters.

Now let’s take a look at the best options we have for that satisfying HK slap. 

HK MP5 22LR

Best MP5 Clone HK MP5 22LR
HK MP5 .22LR rifle (from Palmetto State Armory)

If you want the MP5 in 22LR, then you just found your next range toy. H&K offers a new addition to the line, with both rifle and pistol options. 

It’s a good thing that HK listens to what its consumers have to say. More than just the movie look, this 22LR serves as a great training tool and shooting buddy. It uses the kind of ammo we wouldn’t mind buying thousands of, so more fun factor for us.

HK partnered with Umarex to produce the only authorized rimfire version. This is a 16.1-inch semi-auto that looks sleek in matte black goodness. It has an adjustable HK diopter sight. The capacity is 25+1 rounds and it weighs seven pounds. It has a mock suppressor on to complete the overall MP5 look. 

The pistol and rifle versions are the same except for the barrel and collapsible stock. The upper receiver is made of aluminum, as well as the sights. It has an ambidextrous safety and a paddle magazine release. This is a great speed plinker that eats just about any ammo.

The HK MP5 .22LR is reminiscent of the ATI GSG 522 since they are chambered for the same caliber. This newer one, however, is HK licensed. It comes with only one magazine and finding additional ones is a challenge these days. 

As many have pointed out, this is a 22LR made by an airsoft manufacturer. Walther/Umarex has had this version before and now it’s still flying off the shelf. That just says they’re doing a great job with their comeback. Also, it’s compatible with parts from the previous Walther-HK version. 

So if you want an HK from HK or at least one licensed by them, then this is the one to have.

Pros
  • Licensed by HK
  • Fun to shoot
  • Ambidextrous safety
  • Looks and feels like an MP5
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Low mag availability

Zenith MKE Z-5RS 

Best MP5 Clone Zenith MKE Z-5RS
The Zenith MKE Z-5RS with SB Tactical brace (from Palmetto State Armory)

The Zenith MKE Z-5RS is a Turkish-made semi-automatic pistol which is a licensed variant of the MP5. As such, it inherited many of the former’s notable features. There’s also the  MKE Z-5P if you want it in a smaller form. 

First off, the Z-5RS runs on the same operating system that the MP5 is known for. This 30-round pistol is also chambered in 9mm. It uses a drum rear with a post front sight. The barrel length is 8.9 inches and it weighs 5.4 pounds without any rear attachments on. With an SB brace, it becomes 6.1 pounds. 

The barrel is made of mil-spec chrome-moly vanadium steel to ensure durability. It has a 1:9.8″ twist rate and is threaded 1/2×28 for muzzle attachment. The workmanship is superb, making it look like the real deal. It accepts any optic with the Picatinny rail top, which is one addition I really like. The hard case that it comes with includes three magazines, take-down pins, a sling, and a cleaning kit. 

For the inclusions, see the Z-5RS with all the goodies below:

The Zenith MKE Z-5RS was produced by a state-controlled manufacturer in Turkey called MKE (Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation). They specialize in making military products, including those used by the country’s armed forces. 

These MP5 versions were built using HK licensed machinery so it’s nearly identical to the original. It’s more of an MP5 variant than a clone, really. And most especially, it gives you a true roller-delayed experience at a much lower price. 

so long partner
(from Giphy.com)

The only catch I could find is availability, which has nothing to do with the gun itself. While a few used Z-5RS are still available, we won’t be getting any new ones soon. In 2020, Zenith Firearms had cut ties with the Turkish manufacturer. Even so, it remains a highly sought-after “clone” because of quality and affordability.

Pros
  • Licensed MP5 version
  • Cycles like the HK MP5
  • Reliable and accurate
  • Detachable Picatinny rail top
  • Three 30-round magazines included
  • Enclosed in a quality hard case
Cons
  • Limited availability

Zenith’s New Product

I have an announcement gif
(from Giphy.com)

Zenith Firearms announced that they will be producing their own US-made MP5 clones. It is called the ZF-5. This is exciting news but some have their doubts about a company that has no manufacturing history. Preorders are priced at around $2,500, which is a lot if you ask me. 

Still, I have nothing but good experience with Zenith Firearms and I don’t think it’ll change soon. Plus, it’s American made so this is something to look out for.


Century Arms AP5

Century Arms AP5
Century Arms AP5 (from Rainier Arms)

Zenith Z-5RS is now Century Arms AP5. With some tweaks and a change of name, the new MKE MP5 clones are now imported by Century Arms. This new line is called the AP5 which stands for “Apparatus Pistol.”

There are three available models of these guns in different sizes. Apart from the full-size AP5, there’s a mid-size version called AP5-P. The smallest of the three is AP5-M which specializes in concealability.

Since it’s made with the same HK equipment, the AP5 uses interchangeable HK MP5 parts. One thing I wished they hadn’t retained is the long trigger pull of the original MP5. 

I really like the ergonomics of the textured handguard. It’s thin and comfortable at the same time. For the muzzle, it has a threaded barrel and a 3-lug quick attachment. In general, it is pretty much the same as the previous imports. 

The Century Arms AP5 cost around $2,700 when it first arrived. But hold up, as of writing, it’s now MSRP’d at $1,999.99 on their website. It comes with roughly the same inclusions. However, instead of three, they only include two magazines. Aside from that, it’s still the same MKE MP5 goodness.

Pros
  • Built with HK equipment
  • Comes with great inclusions
  • Reliable and durable
  • Ergonomic handguard
Cons
  • Long trigger pull

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Dakota Tactical D54-N

Best MP5 Clone Dakota Tactical D5-4N1 Pistol
Dakota Tactical D5-4N A1 pistol (from Dakota Tactical)

Okay, this might not be the cheapest MP5 clone out there, but the Dakota Tactical D54-N is arguably the best. They offer more than five variants, from pistol to SBR, to even a 10mm option. 

Dakota Tactical has a lot of good stuff to offer, one being the D54-N semi-automatic. It feeds on 9mm with a 30-round capacity. It runs like a sewing machine with the roller-delayed blowback system as its backbone. The HK Black Duracoat finish keeps it durable and aesthetically pleasing at the same time. They also did a good job with the impeccable weld of the gun as a whole. 

The barrel length is 8.85 inches with a 1:10 twist rate. The muzzle is threaded 1/2″ x 28 and it also has the HK 3-lug feature. With the sights, it comes with a rotary drum-hooded post combination. This particular model comes with a Picatinny rail so it’s easy to add any optics. Another bonus is that it includes three magazines out of the box. 

The video shows the Dakota Tactical D5-4N made more fun with mods.

One more thing, this semi-auto is registered sear ready. If that doesn’t complete the MP5-ness of this gun, then I don’t know what will. From fit to finish, this is the closest thing you can get; with the missing HK stamp being the only real difference.

Pros
  • Exceptional weld
  • Premium looking
  • Excellent finish
  • 3 magazines included
  • Auto sear ready
Cons
  • Premium price

PTR 9CT

Best MP5 Clones PTR 9CT
PTR 9CT (from PTR-US)

If affordability is the name of the game, then the PTR 9CT is your best bet. It is an American-made MP5 that pays homage to the original while adding modern touches where needed. 

The PTR 9CT brings in a budget roller delayed system with an MSRP of $1,899.00. That might not be “budget” enough in the world of handguns. Yet, for the $5k-ish MP5, it very much is. It has a welded Picatinny rail on top plus the M-LOK makes it really modern. 

This is a semi-auto clone that runs on the same roller-delayed system. It is registered full auto sear ready for future upgrades. The 8.86-inch barrel is threaded to 1/2 x 28. It also has the 3-lug attachment feature. It comes with a sling, a sight adjustment tool, and two transparent magazines. All of these are enclosed in a nice range case. 

See how it performs after 1,000 rounds.

Pros
  • The most affordable MP5 clone
  • Full auto sear ready
  • Reliable and accurate
  • Low recoil
  • Made in America
Cons
  • Magazine issues

Runner Ups

ATI GSG 522

The ATI GSG 522 is one of the earliest MP5 clones out there. It was manufactured by German Sport Guns and imported by American Tactical Industries.

It got the looks of the MP5 but at a more affordable price. HK was not exactly happy about this and sued ATI and GSG in 2009 because of how closely the series looks like the MP5.  

Other than looks, it’s mostly different. This good little plinker is chambered in 22LR which makes it a good practice gun.

It’s made of a lightweight polymer, weighing in at 6lbs, 9 ounces, unloaded. The controls are very much MP5-inspired, and it is just as fun to shoot. However, it’s one of those guns where we use the phrase “back in the day”.

In the end, (ATI) does not import it anymore so finding one is a bit of a needle-haystack scenario.


PSA-5

Palmetto State Armory PSA-5 taken at SHOT Show
Palmetto State Armory PSA-5 taken at SHOT Show (from Reddit)

(Nope… not yet released. More like a mythical entry on this list.)

Palmetto State Armory’s PSA-5 is a promising MP5 clone worth mentioning. Will it be available soon? No one really knows. It was first announced at SHOT Show 2018 and stirred the pot once again at the 2020 event (2021 SHOT Show was canceled).

It's been 84 years

An interview with PSA personnel revealed that one reason for the delay is that they want to hit a price point while ensuring quality at the same time. It makes me excited to have a more affordable MP5 option. After all, that’s what PSA is known for. 

Hitting two birds at the same time is a tough job but if perfected, the PSA-5 is going to sell like hotcakes. More players in the market mean better accessibility. Aside from more options, it can also drive the price down in the MP5 clone game. They did it with the PA10, so I keep my fingers crossed on this one. 

Conclusion

Different MP5 clones have come and gone throughout the years. So far, Dakota Tactical makes the top-notch guns of the bunch. In the best-budget department, I’d definitely go with PTR. Let’s see if that’s going to change as the most-awaited PSA version unveils soon. Now, who’s excited?

For more 9mm options, don’t forget to check our best 9mm pistols list. If you want to dive more into clones, then check out the best EOTech clones on the market.

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