H&K UMP: An H&K SMG Made for .40 and .45

H&K introduced the UMP (universal machine pistol) in an effort to attract sales from American law enforcement by offering a modern submachine gun in .45 ACP and .40 S&W calibers. The MP5 was and remains an extremely popular SMG, but it has never been made in .45 caliber, and that was seen as a popular option in the United States. The UMP was designed as a thoroughly modern gun with polymer upper and lower assemblies and a blocky, easy-to-machine bolt. It does retain the closed bolt operation of the MP5, providing much improved single-shot and first-shot accuracy compared to most SMGs. It was designed initially for .45 caliber, and then barrels, bolts, and magazines followed for .40 S&W (which was popular at the time) and 9mm Parabellum. The rate of fire in .45 is relatively slow (about 500 rpm), although it is faster in 9mm (more like 600 or 650 rpm). Sales have been primarily in the larger calibers in the US, but a number of security agencies in Europe have purchased UMPs in 9mm.


  1. Somewhere in past I have read that there is actually tungsten plug inside of bolt. If that was the case, we would hear tap, so maybe that was original version which was abandoned. Similar idea is applied at AR18 among others.

  2. About two decades ago I saw a UMP in the flesh while at Cape Kennedy’s Visitor’s Center in Florida. The security guard was carrying one while patrolling near the main visitor’s complex.

  3. Having shot both the MP5 and UMP, I must say the UMP is a dog of a SMG compared to the MP5. H&K was clearly attempting to get the price point down and capture some additional sales while also trying to increase their profit margin. They probably succeeded in those goals but the UMP is hardly in the same class of SMG with the MP5 in terms of quality.

    • Since the MP5 used a barrel extension, the receiver is essentially unstressed. Nothing other than the heritage of WWII delayed blowback guns dictates the bizarro receiver / bolt shape either.

      HK could easily have incorporated the roller-delayed bolt head and extension along with all these simplifications, preserving MP5 functionality and a large percentage of the savings WITHOUT reverting to 1918 “brick in a tube” derp tech.

      I don’t see them doing it, though. HK has not only mastered the cheapest methods of mass production (first stamping, then polymer), but also managed to maintain a “premium / elite” market position throughout. Why make something better when they can sell “a dog”, as you said, for the price of 2 decent ARs (that have more mechanical functions; more, and more complex parts; and surely cost more to make)? I guess the only upside is that they must be out of patent protection by now.

  4. the Border Patrol had some UMPs. They did not perform well for longevity and durability. I saw one slump. Stick with the MP5.

    • I checked one out every night for several years when I was with BP. Never had an issue & found it pretty accurate for a full auto. Only complaint was that it never fit in the vehicle rack. Most guys who checked out longarms would take a rifle.

  5. lf noticed, there is a circular welded area just over the firing pin tunnel. This should be inserted overweighted mass like a tungsten alloy tube to compansate the blowback speed and if noticed again, there is a longitudinal movable lever at right of removed firing pin. This should be the HK patented safety block leaving its mission when hammer dropped which used later in M16 clones. The bolt forward assist tacckle seems also deleted and the recess cut instead of it, proves its aim being to push an non housed bolt into its final location rather than “Silent close”… Attention should be focused on the forwardly increasing pitch of cut supporting this thought. lMHO.

  6. About 3 years ago after the Paris attacks the gendarmes here in France were even patrolling carboot sales. One sunday I saw 2 reservists in military kaki not blue wandering around with their UMPS under their arms
    At first I took them for reinacters with airsoft replicas and then I noticed the mags actually had shells in them
    The UMPS were obliously brand new

  7. 1) Hey, Franz, der dumpkopf Yankees want a cheap machine pistol in 45 caliber
    2) UMP debuts
    3) How do you like our new gun
    4) It’s great but we’d like it in 9mm
    5) You mean like the MP5
    6) You got it!

    • Here we go again! I have to ask why everyone is going after the fancy toys without checking design specs or intended usage recommendations. It is like the situation with idiots who suggested using the Lewis gun as an assault rifle just because they played Battlefield 1. For your information, nobody succeeded in turning a crew-served machine gun into a plausible one-man shoulder-fired assault rifle without ridiculous amounts of design changes!

  8. A gun that only a bean-counter could love. At the time they were introduced, the Border Patrol was getting them for about $300 each, while H&K was charging us almost $2000 per MP5. Brother, it’s a real case of “You get what you pay for.”

    • Here’s a good opinion on how it wasn’t a good idea to issue to the Border Patrol: SMASH THE THING INTO A HUGE ROCK FOR 2 MINUTES NONSTOP!

  9. [Unrelated to UMP, but to another H&K product]
    Some time ago according to https://hk-usa.com/heckler-koch-to-supply-new-us-army-squad-designated-marksman-rifle/
    Heckler & Koch Defense Inc. is gearing up to deliver between 5,000 and 6,000 complete rifle weapon systems to the US Amy, which plans to deploy them as M110A1 Squad Designated Marksman Rifles (SDMR). The new HK rifle is a variant of the 7.62 mm G28(…)
    How does it compare to M110 (without A1) i.e.:
    both in terms of price and performance?

    • It looks to me that the HK weapon in intended in “support” role as opposed to former (made by Knights armament) which is primarily a sniper weapon. The HK is more suitable for burst fire since it uses gas cylinder. In essence they are both AR10.

      • A better comparison would be with an M14 glass bedded to a plastic stock by the armorers at the AMU down at Benning. What does the fancy H&K do the 14 can’t

  10. IMHO
    My experience with UMP is rather sporadic.
    But the first thought was “what the hell is a pizza box? ..”
    The device, unlike MP5, is completely unsuitable for hidden wearing.
    An idiotic sight, a primitive folding blade would be enough, or nothing at all.
    They did not make the most successful version of a “pistol cartridge rifle” with the possibility of automatic shooting. At the same time, accuracy and controllability in auto mode is mediocre, and the price is like an adult rifle.
    I do not really like MP5, but it definitely surpasses this piece … it is not clear what.

  11. Good Day
    I own a small gun store and have recently acquired two HK UMP 45 in great condition.
    I have my SOT and am looking to sell these to an appropriate buyer. However, I’m having trouble determining a fair price for them.
    Can you assist with this?

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