The Buzz

5 Submachine Guns That Can Do Some Serious Damage

The gold standard for decades in submachine guns, the Heckler and Koch MP-5 is still found worldwide in a variety of police and military units. The MP-5 is actually a scaled-down H&K G3 battle rifle, chambered for nine-millimeter Parabellum. The MP-5 follows the G-3’s general shape and conventional configuration, right down to the adjustable sights.

The MP-5 is typically equipped with a thirty-round magazine, and is just twenty-seven inches long with a 8.9-inch barrel. Notable variations include the shorter-barreled MP-5k and the integrally suppressed MP-5SD. The MP-5 achieved notoriety in 1980 when the UK’s Special Air Service used it to free hostages at the Iranian embassy in London. The MP-5 quickly became the weapon of choice for hostage rescue and special forces unit worldwide.


For decades, Soviet and Russian Army units relied on the AKSU-74. Based on the AK-74 assault rifle, the weapon featured a shorter barrel and folding stock and first surfaced during the Soviet Union’s war in Afghanistan. In the 2000s, Russian forces introduced a replacement for the AKSU-74, the PP-19-01 Vityaz submachine gun.

Like the AKSU-74 and even the MP-5, the Vityaz is a scaled-down version of a battle or assault rifle, chambered for pistol-caliber ammunition. The weapon has a folding stock with adjustable cheek piece, an overall length of twenty-seven inches with stock extended, and weighs 6.2 pounds empty. The Vityaz has a rate of fire of eight hundred rounds per minute, with a maximum range of two hundred meters. Like other weapons worldwide, the manufacturer, Rosoboronexport, offers the weapon with a full-length American-designed Picatinny rail for easy installation of optics, lights, lasers and other aiming devices.

Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national-security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and the Daily Beast. In 2009, he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter: @KyleMizokami.

Image: Wikimedia Commons