SKILLS: 5 Tips To Avoid Printing With Your Concealed Carry

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Tips from the pros help prevent “standing out” in a crowd. READ MORE

printing

SOURCE: Team Springfield

The word “printing” has a whole different meaning for those with a concealed carry permit… Of course, it refers to “giving away” the fact you’re carrying because of an obvious gun outline or shape glaring away. This is one of the major mistakes you want to avoid and can land you in some pretty sticky situations if you fail to follow certain practices. Instead of taking a “let’s see what happens” approach, it’s best to spend time practicing specific forms and techniques.

WHAT CONSTITUTES A CONCEALED CARRY FIREARM?
There is somewhat of a debate among firearm owners and those with concealed carry permits. What constitutes a concealed carry firearm? For example, does it have to be a small, pocket-sized firearm? Or, can it be a larger model that is still hidden from view? While concealed firearms are generally considered to be “small,” the reality is that it just has to be hidden from sight. Regardless of whether you have a small or large firearm, hiding it from plain sight requires that you avoid printing.

TIPS FOR AVOIDING PRINTING
As said, “printing” refers to the visible outline of a firearm underneath an individual’s clothing. Regardless of the size of your firearm, printing is a very real possibility. To avoid this, it’s important to consider the following solutions:

ONE: Wear the right clothing. The number one cause of printing is a poor choice of clothing. While it’s fairly easy to conceal during the winter, it is more difficult during the hot summer months. Consider buying loose shirts and tucking in when possible.

TWO: Choose the right holster. Everyone’s body type differs, so it’s difficult to claim that one holster is better than another. For best results, try out multiple types — including over the shoulder, waist, and ankle holsters — to see what works best for you.

THREE: Pay attention to movement. The way you move is just as important as what you wear. When concealing in your waistband, try bending with your knees instead of your waist. When wearing an ankle holster, avoid situations in which you are required to stretch or reach.

FOUR: Ask for advice. Before leaving the house, ask a friend, spouse, or family member whether they can spot the outline of your firearm. If they know what they are looking for and can’t immediately find it, this usually indicates that it is concealed well.

FIVE: Consider size. While there are ways to conceal large firearms, some select a smaller size. No matter what size of firearm you decide is the best fit for you, be sure to use the correct holster and clothing to conceal it.

no printing
Better!

RELOADERS CORNER: What Happened To Moly-Coated Bullets?

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All the rage in 1998 and all but dead 2018: here’s a look at some reasons why. KEEP READING

moly coated bullets

Glen Zediker

In a way, I guess nothing really happened to molybdenum-disulfide-coated bullets (“moly-coated”). They’re still for sale, as are means to make up your own. What I mean is why didn’t they attain the sustained popularity they started with about 20 years ago, back when many forecasted they would virtually replace bare bullets? Here’s my take, from my experience, on “what happened.”

I don’t know any shooter who tried them and wasn’t excited about results. I sho was!

Performance-wise, moly has a lot of benefits. A lot. The first and most: take two bullets, one coated and one bare, put the same load behind them, then shoot and chronograph. The coated bullet goes slower. How is that a help? The reason it goes slower is because moly drops chamber pressure (into and through the bore easier). And! That velocity loss (at least 50 fps, usually more) is not, proportionately, nearly as much as the accompanying drop in pressure (usually ballpark 4000+ psi). (These figures vary with the cartridge, but all show similar universal influence.) So. The moly-load can be increased beyond previous “maximum” velocity: the idea is to take the coated load up to normal chamber pressure. It works! It’s common to need at the least 1+ grain more propellant to level the coated load with the original bare-bullet load.

Other advantages: Most see improved velocity consistency, evidently resulting from the coating alone. The coated bullets seem to have no limit to the number of rounds that can be fired with no change in accuracy or impact location. Of course there is a limit, but I knew many going beyond 500 rounds between cleanings. And when I say “many,” I’m talking about serious competitive shooters. Another benefit is increased barrel life (less rapid throat erosion), and this is, I think, due to a faster-accelerating bullet getting into and through the throat more quickly (less intense flame). Moly bullets also release sooner from the case neck (additional “tension” is recommended).

I “switched.” (The motivation to write this came from a weekend shop-cleaning where I restacked a huge many boxes of coated bullets, and wondered if I’d ever shoot them…)

I got more bullet speed and zero loss of zero: big benefits to an NRA High Power Service Rifle shooter. 88 rounds per day, and 80gr bullets through a 20-inch barrel trying their best to get to 600 yards in close proximity of one another.

moly barrel cleaning
Here was my solution to cleaning up after moly: Kroil penetrating oil and abrasive-type bore paste. This combination got it gone, and zero didn’t leave in the process.

What is bad, then, about moly-coated bullets? Moly itself! It coats the bore with a layer of residue. This layer traps moisture and will, not can, corrode the steel underneath it.  More: molybdenum disulfide outgases (outgas is the release of an occluded gas vapor that was part of the compound; a state change, pretty much) at lower than firing temperatures. That creates a chemical that, when mixed with water (including post-firing condensation), becomes, pretty much, sulfuric acid. That meant that the whole “zillion rounds between cleanings” didn’t really work. I know many who “lost” barrels, expensive barrels.

If the barrel is cleaned (correctly) after each use, no problems. But then another advantage is lost because starting with a clean barrel it takes quite a few rounds to return to zero. The layer has to be recreated.

The residue is x-difficult to remove. It doesn’t respond to routine means for bore maintenance, mostly meaning brush-and-solvent. The only way I found to get it gone was using micro-penetrating oil in conjunction with an abrasive paste-type cleaner, such as USP Bore Paste or JB Bore Compound.

bn coated bullets
Boron Nitride (BN) is an alternative that functions, in my experience, the same but with fewer drawbacks. One is that it’s “clear,” not as messy. Bullet on the rigStill, though, I think that shooting coated bullets is an “all or nothing” proposition. Good groups are not likely to come “mixing” bare and coated bullets through the same barrel.

I no longer use coated bullets. There are other coatings that have fewer disadvantages, like boron-nitride (doesn’t outgas), and some of the proprietary baked-on coatings a few major makers (like Barnes and Winchester) use don’t exhibit the post-firing issues “conventional” moly-coating creates (which usually was moly powder, followed by wax, which added to the tenacity of the residue).

However, another issue is that accuracy tends to suffer running bare bullets though a residue-coated bore (which results after only a few coated rounds, that are coated with anything). All that means, in short, is that running coated bullets is something that really has to be bought into. It’s a commitment, as I see it, and, as with many such things, pushing the limits on performance requires more attention to detail, more effort. It’s a matter of value.

lyman moly kit
Here’s an easy way to get bullets coated: Lyman’s Super Moly Kit. Just add a tumbler. The two bowls contain the media, moly, and bullets and then go into a vibratory-type tumbler. The 6 ounces worth of moly powder will coat thousands of bullets. It works well.

Weigh the pros and cons. I honestly cannot, and will not, tell anyone not to use them. Coating can provide a serious performance increase. I don’t use moly-coat anymore, but that’s because my shooting needs are not so “serious” as they once were. I, yes, have gotten a tad amount lazy. I want to go to the range and enjoy my rifles and not lose sleep over the possibility of creeping corrosion if I didn’t clean up. I also want to be able to shoot different loads, including factory ammo, and maintain accuracy.

Last words: IF you choose moly, take steps to protect the barrel bore against the potential for damage. At the least, run some petroleum-based oil through the bore after shooting if you can’t clean it soon.

Tell about your experiences with moly.

See what Midsouth offers HERE

This article is adapted from Glen’s books, Handloading For Competition and Top-Grade Ammo, available at Midsouth HERE. For more information about other books by Glen, visit ZedikerPublishing.com

REVIEW: The Palmetto State Armory PSAK-47

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And Now for Something Completely Different… A DYI AK! READ MORE

ak

Will Dabbs MD

Down here in the Deep South where I live failure to build an AR-style rifle with your children before they finish high school can be mistaken for child abuse. Gene Stoner’s inspired contrivance is the most versatile firearm ever conceived. There are estimated to be between five and ten million of the guns in circulation in America. Nobody really knows how many for sure. It is this remarkable fact that keeps the Forces of Darkness from fomenting totalitarian designs on our great land, just like the Founding Fathers envisioned.

One of the most remarkable attributes of the AR15 is its modularity and, subsequently, the ease with which the guns may be bodged together at home. However, sometimes it is kind of cool to be just a wee bit different from the guys standing on either side of you at the range. Now, thanks to Palmetto State Armory, you can craft your own AK in your dining room with no more hassle than might be the case with an AR. They call their DIY smoke pole the PSAK-47.

psa ak
The stamped receiver AK rifle is the most produced military weapon in history. Now thanks to Palmetto State Armory you can build up one of these robust rifles at home easier than you might a comparable AR. Stock options run the gamut from classic hardwood to Information Age polymer.

Pertinent Particulars
The gun is 100% made in the USA and would more realistically be described as an AKM. The receiver is pressed steel, and PSA does the heavy lifting for you by mounting up the trunnion, barrel, and riveted bits. The receiver is the serialized component that transfers through your FFL. All that remains is to install the guts and bolt on the furniture. As this is Palmetto State Armory they naturally offer scads of options at very reasonable prices.

ak parts kit
Here’s what you get. The barrel, trunnions, and ancillary components are already pressed and riveted. Palmetto State Armory does all of the heavy lifting for you.

Installing the entrails of an AKM is easier than finishing out an AR lower. Fitting the sundry springs normally takes three-and-a-half hands with milspec internals, but the kit comes with a proprietary retaining plate that makes that chore lots easier. If you get stumped there is always the miracle of YouTube.

ak psa parts
The hammer and trigger retaining plate makes assembly of the internal parts so much easier than is the case with the GI version. Just snap the plate in place and secure it with the safety shaft.

Furniture options range from 1960’s-era retro chic to Information Age Magpul awesome. Just like your AR, a single chassis can serve as host for a wide variety of options. Each has its own personality. Truth be known it is not philosophically dissimilar to Barbie for gun nerds.

ak stock options
Various furniture options give the rifle very different personalities.

Trigger Time
The PSAK-47 runs just like any one of the other 100 million Kalashnikov rifles in service around the globe. The ranch-gate safety sucks, but that hasn’t stopped the rifle from becoming the most successful Infantry weapon in the history of mankind. Magazines have to be rocked in place, but the subsequent mechanical advantage makes it easy to seat a fully-loaded mag with the bolt closed. Try doing that quickly with your favorite Stoner rifle. The sights were state of the art back in 1947, but they still drop your bullets where you want them. The PSAK-47 comes with a Combloc-standard scope rail on the left aspect of the receiver if you’d like to add something sparkly and electrical.

ak scope mount
The PSAK-47 comes standard with a Combloc scope-mounting rail on the left side.

The big .30-caliber 7.62x39mm rounds can be a handful in the absence of proper technique. However, that’s all relative. Truth be known even a child can run it, and, in your less-respectable war zones, many have.

Availability
Palmetto State Armory consistently has the best prices on gun build kits in the industry. As a result they move quite a lot of iron. An unfortunate byproduct of this fact is the dreaded “Temporarily Out of Stock” appellation to be found at the bottom of several of the entries on their website. Many’s the gun-nerd dream has been shattered by that fateful phrase. Regardless, be patient as their stock does indeed rotate. At present they offer a variety of completed guns even though the build kits might be sparse. Their prices are always great, even for the turnkey AK’s, and their quality is unimpeachable. The USSR wished they could have fielded AK’s that were this awesome back during the Cold War.

palmetto ak cover
The tab at the back of the recoil spring assembly retains the stamped steel action cover. The PSA workmanship is impeccable.

Blondes or brunettes, Mustangs or Camaros, steel pistols or plastic:  it is in our many manifest differences that true diversity begets strength. If AR rifles set your heart aflutter then, by all means, craft the race-gun of your dreams on your diningroom table, go forth, and be well. However, if you find yourself in the mood for a little Combloc chaos then the PSAK-47 offers Kalashnikov brawn along with the delectable capacity for individualization. Any three-thumbed ape can build one, and the subsequent sense of ownership is mighty satisfying.

ak accuracy results
The completed rifle shoots just fine for a combat gun. Younger eyeballs or an optical sight would likely yield better results.

Performance
I tested three loads through my PSAK-47. Group size is best 4 of 5 shots measured center to center fired at 100 meters over open sights from a simple rest using 51-year-old eyeballs. Velocity is the average of 3 shots fired across a Caldwell Ballistic Chronograph oriented 10 feet from the muzzle.

Results: Red Army Standard 123gr FMJ, 2.25 inch group, 2316 fps; Wolf Performance Ammo 123gr FMJ, 2.25 inches, 2399 fps; Russian Steel Case 123-gr HP, 4.25 inches, 2385 fps.

LEARN MORE

 

INDUSTRY NEWS: MTM® CASE-GARD™ Celebrates 50 Years

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Just about everybody has at least one of these! Amazing just how long they’ve been around… READ MORE

MTM Case-Gard

SOURCE: MTM Case-Gard

From MTM: “Since 1968, MTM has led the outdoor sports industry in developing innovative, problem-solving products for shooting and hunting enthusiasts. The company’s specialized storage containers, organization accessories, gun cleaning products, range boxes, and reloading and gunsmithing support items have become staples among professional and recreational hunters and shooters looking for purpose-driven solutions to common problems. Today, MTM celebrates 50 years of servicing the shooting and hunting communities. As a family-owned business, MTM credits its long-term success to engineering products based on real-world needs that are identified by company employees and principals, as well as ongoing feedback and requests from its customers.”

Al Minneman, MTM Case-Gard Vice President of Marketing: “As lifelong shooters and hunters, we develop the kind of products that we would want to use, and we enjoy designing products that our customers say they want. Whether that is a modification to an existing product or a ‘ground-up’ engineering effort for a new item, everything at MTM revolves around providing solutions to common problems we all have encountered.”

As part of its mission to support the shooting sports and our hunting heritage, MTM supports the Boy Scouts of America shooting program in an effort to give back and grow the industry while promoting shooting education and hunting conservation. The company is also a tireless proponent of our 2nd Amendment rights.

To learn more about the wide range of shooting and hunting accessories offered by MTM Case-Gard click HERE.

Check the selection at Midsouth HERE

INDUSTRY NEWS: New Ruger Custom Shop

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Big news for Ruger fans! Now you can get an upgraded gun from Ruger. READ MORE

sr1911

SOURCE: Ruger

Ruger Custom Shop products offer a high level of refinement and attention to detail.  Custom Shop products have been designed by Ruger’s expert team of engineers with input from professionals in the field: competitive shooters, renowned hunters, and award-winning writers. This new line of firearms represents the finest example of quality and innovation in Ruger products built to the highest of standards. The Custom Shop will feature exclusive collectible, competition, hunting, and personal defense firearms.

“Our customers have been craving high-end performance variations of our popular models for a long time. We are thrilled to respond to the call and bring the Ruger Custom Shop to fruition. We are confident that these new products represent the very best in craftsmanship and performance.”
– Chris Killoy, Ruger President & CEO

The first two announced are the SR1911 and 10/22 Competition Rifle.

Designed in conjunction with professional shooting team captain and world champion competitive shooter, Doug Koenig, the SR1911 is a full-sized 9mm pistol built for competitive shooting in IDPA, IPSC, USPSA, Bianchi Cup, Pro Am Shooting, and Steel Challenge disciplines.

Features include a precision-machined Koenig Shooting Sports low-mass hammer and competition sear, combined with a custom flat-faced trigger shoe, precision-machined disconnector and hand-tuned sear spring, which all provide a match-grade break. The package also includes a hand-fitted slide and frame.

10-22

The 10/22® Competition Rifle features a custom receiver. It’s hard-coat anodized, CNC-machined, heat-treated, and stress-relieved 6061-T6511 aluminum, and includes an integral, optics-ready, 30 MOA picatinny rail. This new receiver is paired with a 4140, heat-treated and nitrided match CNC-machined bolt. The receiver also incorporates a second bedding lug to improve action stability, plus a rear cleaning port to provide access to the barrel from the rear of the receiver for easier cleaning. This new rifle also has a second barrel locator to provide a free-floating barrel.

The receiver is secured in a painted and textured laminated stock with a fully adjustable cheek rest.

Go check them out!

INDUSTRY NEWS: Taurus USA Closes Year with Rebate Offer

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Taurus USA is offering a $35 rebate on the purchase of a new Taurus Spectrum® .380 Auto pistol. READ MORE

taurus spectrum

SOURCE: Taurus USA

From now through December 31, 2018, retail purchasers of a qualifying Taurus Spectrum® are eligible to receive a $35 Taurus Visa® Prepaid Card. Participating consumers need only submit a completed rebate form along with the original product UPC(s), a copy of a dated cash register receipt, and/or a dated itemized sales invoice. All rebate submissions must be postmarked by January 31, 2019.

According to Taurus: “The new Taurus Spectrum® 380 Auto represents a significant leap forward in micro semi-auto handgun design and performance. The ergonomic soft-touch overmold panels incorporated into the grip and slide not only provide maximum firearm retention and positive operation under stressful conditions, the broad palette of color options allow buyers to add a custom flare to their handgun. The soft-touch proprietary polymers also aid in recoil management.”

The Spectrum utilizes a striker-fired, true double-action-only trigger system, which means there is no pre-cock or pre-load. Additional carry safety and security comes from an integrated striker block.

LEARN MORE HERE

NRA Applauds Senate Confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court

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Good news for gun owners! READ IT ALL

kavanaugh

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

The National Rifle Association is very pleased with the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to serve as an associate justice on the United States Supreme Court.

“On behalf of our nearly six million members, the NRA congratulates Brett Kavanaugh on his confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director, National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA). “Kavanaugh is an eminently qualified jurist who will interpret the Constitution as the framers intended. He respects our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.”

In the 2016 elections, voters made clear that the Supreme Court was an issue of critical importance. President Donald Trump has once again delivered on his promise of appointing constitutionally sound justices to our nation’s highest court.

“The NRA would like to thank President Trump for fulfilling his campaign promise to nominate pro-Second Amendment justices to the Supreme Court. The selections of Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh demonstrate President Trump’s unwavering support for our fundamental right to self-defense,” Cox continued.

The U.S. Senate confirmed Kavanaugh by a 50 to 48 vote. The NRA applauds all senators who voted in favor of Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation and would especially like to thank Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) for their leadership in this effort.

RELOADERS CORNER: Cartridge Cases, the Outside, Part 2: Case Cleaning

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Clean means “not dirty.” More details coming next. READ IT ALL

clean cases

Glen Zediker

Clean brass loads easier, keeps dies cleaner (and may help them last longer), and might even help your barrel last longer. Brass collected up off the ground almost always has some manner of grit clinging to it and, depending on range locale, that will cause more or less concern. If it’s sand, for instance, this debris can do serious damage to a die (and barrel). Plus, I’ve never had a semi-automatic that didn’t soot up the case neck and shoulder. And, since we’re needing to lubricate the whole case prior to sizing, there’s no place for gunk. As said last time, case lube should not be a case cleaner!

There is also always going to be firing residue, if not on the case, it will be inside the case, and in there will also be primer residue, which is very abrasive.

Brass doesn’t have to be polished to be cleaned, which is to say that it doesn’t have to be shiny to be clean. Get down to the bare metal and that’s “clean.”

The question is How?

Not counting all the methods and means I’ve heard tell of, which number well over a dozen, the two common are either dry media or liquid media. Dry media is most commonly corncob or walnut, and run through a rotary- or (more popularly) vibratory-style appliance. There’s another I’ve been impressed with and that is the use of steel media, and more in a bit.

corncob media
Good old corn cob works just fine, but make sure you get all the residues off the cases.

Liquid means can revolve around detergent-type solutions and agitation, or the “sonic” cleaners.

General: Advantages to dry media are, well, that it’s dry! Not (as) much mess. Disadvantages exist, however. The main one is getting all the residual dust and particulate out of the cases. I caution against using any additional abrasive additives to the dry media because what doesn’t get cleaned away will, not can, accompany a bullet down a barrel. Advantages to wet media are that it can do a thorough job of cleaning, no doubt. It also doesn’t leave any residue. But! It’s wet! And that means the cases need dried thoroughly prior to reuse. There are specialty appliances that can do it, but a cookie sheet in an oven set on “low” does the trick too.

hornady case cleaner
Hornady Sonic Case Cleaner

Back to the steel: That’s why I like this method. Dry, no residue. It in no way hurts the cases, and works pretty quickly.

steel case cleaner
A newer dry media is steel. It works well and leaves nothing behind. This magnet is how you separate media from cases. This one is from Frankford Arsenal

No media lasts forever. Corncob, especially, should be routinely discarded and the appliance cleaned out to avoid any resident grit mingling with the media particles. Much as in the same way gold panning works, heavier junk can settle to the bottom of the bowl. Tumbling media, by the way, doesn’t really wear out: it just gets crudded up.

Take steps post-cleaning to ensure that residues are gone, and also that primer pockets are free of particles. Some use compressed air to blow out the case inside, and others go as far as to rinse and dry.

Speaking of primer pockets! I very strongly suggest decapping prior to cleaning. That way the pocket will, indeed, be cleaned. This doesn’t take much time and requires only an inexpensive station as shown nearby.

decaping die
I strongly recommend decapping primers prior to cleaning. A setup like this doesn’t cost much, and the operation is pretty painless.

Additional steps? There are some long-used steps taken especially by precision shooters, such as brushing the inside of case necks, and also using a polishing cloth to thoroughly clean the case neck, case shoulder area, and separate attention paid to the pimer pocket. But. These steps originated with Benchrest competitors and the reason is because I never met one yet who uses the short of cleaning apparatus “we” use. Never a tumbler! Their cases never hit the ground either. Nothing more than a thorough run through the volume-cleaning media of your choice should be needed, and the primer pocket cleaner should likewise be unnecessary if you take the advice of cleaning deprimed cases.

Honestly, it’s better, and I say best, if the case cleaning media leaves no residues. That’s where dry steel media and the liquid cleaners come in.

Back to the basics: Clean is clean. “Nothing but brass” is “clean.” Polished and gleaming cases are not necessarily better, and matter not a whit to performance.

One last: my favorite case cleaning “story” ever. Middleton Tompkins, many-time Highpower Rifle national champion, showed me his case cleaning method on a visit. Mid (and his wife, dominant Long Range Rifle winner, Nancy) go well beyond “high volume” in their needs for clean cases. To that end, Mid purchased a small commercial cement mixer into which he dumped pounds of BBs and a solution of Joy dishwashing soap and water (later rinsed and drained and dried). Now, that’s a high-volume case cleaner!

Check out Midsouth products HERE

And decapping DIES!

This article is adapted from Glen’s books, Handloading For Competition and Top-Grade Ammo, available at Midsouth HERE. For more information about other books by Glen, visit ZedikerPublishing.com

 

NEW: Western Powders Handloading Guide

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Western Powders has released its new Handloading Guide, Edition 7.0. Plus a Hazmat Special from Midsouth Shooters This Weekend Only! READ MORE

western powders loading guide

This $2.99 print resource contains the latest load data for Western’s propellants.

You’ll find load data for over 100 rifle cartridges. The cartridge listings are up to date — including the popular new mid-sized competition cartridges, such as the 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5×47 Lapua, and also .224 Valkyrie, along with many popular wildcat varmint cartridges, such as the 20 Vartarg, 20 Tactical, and 20 BR.

This resource also features helpful articles on handloading methods and rifle maintenance and cleaning.

Click HERE to take a look!

Midsouth Shooters is also offering a FREE HAZMAT promotion this weekend only! Get $140 of any Western Powder, like Accurate, Norma, or Ramshot (including Blackhorn 209) and you get FREE HAZMAT!

Check it out HERE!

REVIEW/RETROSPECT: HK MP5 Submachine Gun

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Dr. Dabbs shares some trigger time on the 1980s Apex Predator! READ MORE!

mp5 british flag

by Will Dabbs MD

At 19:23 hours on May 5, 1980, around thirty-five British Special Air Service operators initiated a simultaneous breach of the Iranian Embassy at Princes Gate in London. Inside, six terrorists had held twenty hostages for nearly a week. They had previously released five of their prisoners. Earlier that day the terrorists had murdered Abbas Lavasani, the Iranian embassy’s chief press officer. This event ultimately unleashed the SAS.

The SAS killed five of the six terrorists. The sixth spent twenty-seven years in a British prison. The terrorists murdered one hostage during the assault. The entire operation took place on live international television. The black fatigues worn by the SAS assaulters along with the German MP5 submachine guns they carried created an iconic image that has shaped counter-terrorist operations up until the present day.

nimrod raid
Operation Nimrod raid photos I found online.

nimrod raid

The Origins of a Legend
The Heckler and Koch MP5 submachine gun began as an evolution of the roller-locked G3 rifle in 1964 and entered service with German security forces in 1966. The recoil-driven, roller-locked design was adapted from the revolutionary German MG42 belt fed machinegun that faced the Allies through much of the Second World War.

The MP5 fired from a locked breech, and was both mechanically elegant and unusually complex. Detective John McClane used one to put paid to a bunch of German ne’er-do-wells in the action movie classic Die Hard. US Navy SEALs and Army Special Forces used the guns for real. HK sold untold thousands of copies to American Law Enforcement agencies. In the process the MP5 developed an almost supernatural reputation. With the benefit of hindsight, however, was this reputation fully justified?

Practical Magic
The MP5 sports an undeniably smooth action. However, the gun is markedly more complicated than buzz guns like the Uzi or MPL. Complicated typically means more stuff to break.

I’m not God’s Gift to Small Arms by any stretch, but I have squeezed my share of triggers. I drank the Kool-Aide and stretched the budget to make an MP5 mine. My gun began life as an exquisite Zenith Z-5RS pistol.

mp5
The Zenith Z-5RS comes as a pistol. However, add a bit of onerous federal paperwork to register the gun as a short-barreled rifle, and a factory sliding stock drops right in place. The resulting weapon is the genuine spitting image of the factory MP5 submachine gun.

The Zenith roller-locked guns are produced in Turkey on HK-licensed machinery. The result is the closest thing to a factory HK MP5 SMG to be had on the American market. The welds, workmanship, and finish on my copy rival the German originals. Additionally, unlike the original semiauto HK94, the Zenith Z-5 includes a flapper magazine release, a three-lug barrel, and a two-pin fire control group. Nothing else on the market comes so close to the original HK military specs.

The trigger is long and mushy, but you really want a long mushy trigger on a close quarters utility gun. The MP5 is still an exceptionally capable weapon at reasonable ranges. Recoil is non-existent, and the closed bolt, locked breech design is innately accurate. The rotating drum diopter sight is the sort of contrivance you either love or hate. Personally, I would prefer a simple peep.
Switching the happy switch over to the Truly Joyful position produces full auto fire at around 800 rounds per minute. Despite the MP5’s many incontrovertible attributes, this is a bit spunky for my tastes. The end result is superb shot density dropping multiple bullets on target in a short period. However, the gun still demands attention to technique for truly precise control. I personally find that I can group a bit tighter with the UZI, Swedish K, or Walther MPL despite the relative crudeness of these designs.

mp5 fire control group
The unique aspect of the Zenith Z-5RS is the fact that the fire control group mounts with a pair of standard HK pushpins just like the originals. There is still the shelf inside to preclude attachment of a full auto trigger group but the extra pin makes the gun look and act exactly like the originals.

Swapping out magazines on the MP5 involves locking the bolt manually to the rear, swapping out mags, and slapping the charging handle down to get the gun running again. While this maneuver earns you a few cool points, it is cumbersome in practice. The UZI is a bit faster. Additionally, while my Zenith gun has been unflinchingly reliable through years of regular use, I have had a few failures on other MP5s in the past. The roller retaining plates on early guns in particular seem a weak spot. I have personally broken two.

mp5 sights
The MP5 front sight is fully hooded. The workmanship on my Zenith gun is simply superb throughout.

Ruminations
The HK MP5 is a fine close-quarters tool. In the hands of a disciplined, seasoned shooter it will drop its bursts into a salad plate at appropriate ranges. However, I would assert that at least some of the MP5s near-supernatural reputation is perhaps a bit over-hyped. As said, the MP5 is slow to reload and runs a bit fast. The modest weight and compact dimensions are admittedly nice, and the gun looks just cool as can be. Despite all that, I still shoot just a little bit better with an UZI.

carrying mp5
The MP5 carries easily, runs fast, and looks cool. However, I shoot a bit better with some simpler SMGs.
mp5 accuracy
At 20 meters over open sights the Zenith Z-5 is deadly accurate. This scope alignment target from Thompson Target flashes when struck to demonstrate hits clearly. The Z-5 delivered precision fire at CQB ranges with all ammo tested. Velocities ranged from 1034 (Winchester 147gr) to 1254 (SIG 124gr).

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