Get Your Slap On: The 5 Best MP5 Clones 

Gun News
Get Your Slap On: The 5 Best MP5 Clones 

Everyone wants an MP5, but nobody wants to pay HK prices. Here, we go over the top 5 MP5 clones that won’t break the bank.

Real MP5s from Heckler & Koch are full-auto, and very few of us are lucky enough to be able to afford a genuine transferable example. While much less expensive, even the semi-auto versions made by H&K are unfortunately out of most shooters’ price range. If on a budget, you may not be able to get the H&K logo on your receiver, but thankfully there are MP5 clones available now that will scratch the same itch for a fraction of the price.

The Undying MP5

The H&K MP5 is an iconic SMG, partially because it was more or less the SMG for most of the Western world in military and police service during the Cold War era. Oh, there were some Berettas and Walthers and Uzis out there too, and Colt made a 9mm AR, but the MP5 is the one people remember. The design is so well-loved, in fact, that of all those SMGs listed the MP5 is the only one that really continues to see widespread service. Not just with poorer nations either, but with plenty of first-world police and military units as well. 

SAS-Iranian-Embassy-raid-MP5
SAS members sieging the Iranian Embassy with MP5s in 1980.

The MP5 is the SMG version of H&K’s roller-delayed blowback operating system, first used by the company in its G3/HK91 series of rifles before eventually being scaled down to 9mm in the mid-1960s.  

Despite how adored the MP5 is by armed professionals around the world, it’s not as iconic as it is because of its service use. Hollywood is to thank for that. Die Hard, Predator, The Rock, the list of great action movies that prominently feature the MP5 is practically endless, and these days you’ll find one in just about every shooter video game too. It’s one of those guns that’s so famous that even non-firearms enthusiasts will often be able to recognize it, and they might even know its name.  

Predator-1987-MP5-IMFDB
Carl Weathers dual-wielding MP5s (technically modified HK94s, but close enough) in Predator (1987). Photo: IMFDB.

Point being, many of us have been watching action heroes use the MP5 for our entire lives. Like the S&W Model 29 in the Dirty Harry films, the Beretta 92 in Die Hard and Lethal Weapon, the Walther PPK in the James Bond series, the MP5 will be forever desirable simply due to its place in pop culture.

The Right Reason

Given the continued popularity of the MP5 among police units around the world, it’s still a viable weapon. Of course, they’re using genuine full-auto models, and that changes things.

For us civilians stuck with semi-autos, an MP5 could still be a viable choice for certain practical applications, but the reality is that there are better 9mm pistol-caliber carbines available now. So, if you’re in the market for an MP5 clone, you should recognize that you’re only getting it for the cool factor and because of how fun of a range toy they are. If you’re looking for a PCC for home defense or competition, you should probably consider a different platform entirely.

The HK slap will put a smile on your face the first few times, but the thrill is gone pretty quickly after a few reps of the reloading sequence. You can get any number of AR-9 or other PCCs that cost less, are more practical, and have stupidly available magazines and accessories. Keep in mind that the MP5 was designed in an era when flashlights were mounted with hose clamps and optics were attached with claw mounts. Sure, there are aftermarket accessory options available now for modernizing an MP5, but it will be more expensive, more difficult and less ergonomic than if you tried to do the same with something more modern.

Ruger Charger Target
This photo shows a fully accessorized Ruger PC Charger, the pistol version of the PC Carbine.

For example, a Ruger PC Carbine costs less than $800, accepts Glock magazines and is ready to mount a light and optic out of the box. That’s not something you can say about most MP5 clones.

So, just because Navy SEALs might have had MP5s at one point doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for a PCC today. Make sure you’re getting into one for the right reason, and that reason is because they’re cool.  

Why An MP5 Clone?

H&K decided to reward us peasants with a civilian-legal, semi-auto version of the MP5 a few years back, the SP5 pistol.

However, the awesomeness doesn’t come cheap, as they typically carry a price tag of $3,000 or more. HK throws in two magazines, whether you get the 30- or 10-round units, and they want you to pay $80 for any others that you might want to pick up.  

Heckler Koch SP5 2
The H&K SP5.

And that’s just for starters.   

Want a Picatinny rail to add a red dot? Upcharge. Want to add a fixed, folding or telescoping buttstock? That will not only be another upcharge, but you’ll also have to pay Uncle Sam $200 for the privilege with an SBR stamp. 

To set up an SP5 so it has the same basic features as a Ruger PC Carbine, it can easily cost you $4,000 before you’ve even bought your first box of ammo.  

For a gun that was first manufactured in the 1960s and has a stamped metal receiver, that’s absolutely bonkers. So, why not get a clone that does all the same stuff, takes the same parts and costs less? That’s the beauty of MP5 clones, you get the same cool factor for a fraction of the price. 

How We Made Our Picks

Frankly, the market isn’t exactly awash with MP5 clones, but there are more than these five models out there especially when you include variants from the same manufacturer. We took a look at what’s available, tallied up their pros, cons and prices and determined that these were the best options for most American shooters based on their features and affordability.

The Clones 

HK MP5 .22 LR Pistol 

HK-22lr-MP5

Specs

Caliber: .22 LR
Format: Pistol
Barrel Length: 8.5 Inches
Overall Length: 18.2 Inches
Weight: 5.9 Pounds
MSRP: $599
Website: hk-usa.com

PROS:

  • Licensed by HK
  • Threaded barrel & tri-lug adaptor for suppressors
  • .22 LR is cheap to shoot

CONS:

  • Doesn’t come with provisions to mount optics or accessories
  • .22 LR is not the original chambering

Most people want an MP5 for fun, and H&K lets you have it for a shockingly reasonable amount considering that we’re poor and they hate us. The HK MP5 .22 LR Pistol is authentic(ish), affordable, and probably the best one to buy in the grand scheme of things if you’re fine with the .22 LR chambering.   

This .22 MP5 is a factory-authorized clone made by Umarex. It uses HK furniture, and, just like the real thing, requires an SBR stamp to add a stock. It has the original sights, the original unrailed receiver, charging handle, the works.  

The average price is about $500, less than half of what the 9mm clones typically go for. It’s made by one of the best airsoft/rimfire manufacturers licensed by HK, and you can shoot the heck out of it for pennies.  

PTR 9CT-CL

PTR-9CT-CL-MP5-Clone

Specs

Caliber: 9mm Luger
Format: Pistol
Barrel Length: 9 Inches
Overall Length: 17.6 Inches
Weight: 5 Pounds
MSRP: $1,889
Website: ptr-us.com

PROS:

  • Original 9mm chambering
  • Most reliable 9mm MP5 clone out of the box
  • Threaded barrel & tri-lug adaptor for suppressors
  • Classic looks
  • Comes with 2 mags and a sling

CONS:

  • While more affordable than an SP5, still very expensive
  • Some furniture fitment issues
  • Doesn’t come with provisions to mount optics or accessories

PTR famously uses HK tooling that they purchased overseas and imported to the USA, so it’s HK’s machines and dies that they make their guns with. Their HK91 and MP5 clones have long been regarded as more or less the best you can buy besides the genuine article.  

Parts compatibility has been a bit of a known issue, mostly with furniture. Small parts like triggers, springs and so on are almost all clone-correct, but things like the grip module, stocks, and handguards are hit and miss.  

MSRP starts at $1,889, which is not cheap, but if you want a 9mm MP5 clone as a working gun, this is your go-to.  

Zenith ZF-5 

Zenith-ZF-5-MP5-clone

Specs

Caliber: 9mm Luger
Format: Pistol
Barrel Length: 8.9 Inches
Overall Length: 17.9 Inches
Weight: 5.5 Pounds
MSRP: $1,499.99
Website: zenithfirearms.com

PROS:

  • Threaded barrel & tri-lug adaptor for suppressors
  • Classic looks

CONS:

  • Some fixable reliability issues may be present out of the box
  • Doesn’t come with provisions to mount optics or accessories

The Zenith ZF-5 is made using HK tooling just like PTR. Zenith originally started by importing a Turkish-made MP5 clone manufactured by MKE, but they later acquired the tooling to commence their own production. Just like PTR, their guns are now made wholly in the USA.  

Also just like the PTR, there can be occasional fitment issues with furniture, but the internals are clone-correct and HK parts can be added. There is a slight history of feeding issues (there’s enough documentation from owners out there), but the remedies are known as well.   

The ZF-5 is available in multiple configurations and colors starting at $1,499 for basic models. Look for blemished models as well, which have cosmetic defects but cost less.   

Century Arms AP5 

Century-Arms-AP5-MP5-clone

Specs

Caliber: 9mm Luger
Format: Pistol
Barrel Length: 8.9 Inches
Overall Length: 17.9 Inches
Weight: 5.5 Pounds
MSRP: $1,359.95
Website: centuryarms.com

PROS:

  • Most affordable 9mm MP5 clone
  • Ships with optics mount
  • Threaded barrel & tri-lug adaptor for suppressors
  • Ships with 2 mags and a sling

CONS:

  • Doesn’t come with classic MP5 furniture
  • Some fixable reliability issues may be present out of the box

Century Arms started importing the MKE AP5 after Zenith stopped. MKE was a government supplier who got their tooling from HK, so the receiver and parts are as clone-correct as it gets.  

Like other clones, be prepared for fitment issues with furniture but know that HK internal parts will almost certainly work. Some bugs may need to be worked out, most commonly feeding/extraction issues, but by now there’s enough information on how to get them into working order.  

MSRP is $1,359.95 for the standard model, but they can be found for closer to $1,000 with some hunting.  

American Tactical Imports GSG-16 

GSG-16-MP5-clone

Specs

Caliber: .22 LR
Format: Rifle
Barrel Length: 16.25 Inches
Overall Length: 28.5 Inches (collapsed)
Weight: ~5.5 Pounds
MSRP: $429.95
Website: americantactical.us (importer)

PROS:

  • Most affordable option
  • .22 LR is cheap to shoot
  • Legally a rifle so it includes a collapsible stock
  • Swappable charging handle
  • Plenty of rail space for optics and accessories

CONS:

  • Looks the least like a classic MP5
  • .22 LR is not the original chambering
  • Lower capacity than HK’s .22 MP5 (22 vs. 25 rounds)
  • Faux suppressor barrel prevents attaching real suppressors or other muzzle devices

The GSG-16 from American Tactical Imports is much like the HK MP5 22, but even more practical.  

The GSG-16 is an MP5-inspired rifle in .22 LR, with a faux suppressor shroud on the barrel. Since the barrel length is 16 inches, no SBR stamp is needed for the included stock. The charging handle can be swapped to the right side, unlike the real thing, and the receiver is fully railed, so you can mount an optic with no issues. The handguard also has rails at 3,6 and 9 o’clock for other accessories.  

MSRP is $429.95 and they can be found for closer to $350 with some hunting. Impressively practical, affordable, and therefore a heck of a lot of cheap fun.  

Model Caliber Barrel Length Overall Length Weight MSRP
HK MP5 .22 LR Pistol  .22 LR 8.5 In. 18.2 In. 5.9 lbs. $599
PTR 9CT-CL 9mm Luger 9 In. 17.6 In. 5 lbs. $1,889
Zenith ZF-5  9mm Luger 8.9 In. 17.9 In. 5.5 lbs. $1,499.99
Century Arms AP5  9mm Luger 8.9 In. 17.9 In. 5.5 lbs. $1,359.95
American Tactical Imports GSG-16  .22 LR 16.25 In. 28.5 In. ~5.5 lbs. $429.95

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