Shooting the H&K MP7

Thanks to H&K and Trijicon, I have a chance to do some shooting with an MP7A1 PWD today. The MP7 is unusual for a gun of its size and configuration in having a fully locked operating system; essentially a G36 scaled down to 4.6x30mm. This allows the gun to be lighter, as the action is not dependent on bolt mass to delay the breech from opening.

I was expecting the MP7 to be extremely soft shooting, and was rather surprised to find it with more pronounced recoil than I expected.


  1. “more pronounced recoil than I expected”
    This lead to question about virtues of 4.6×30 mm cartridge in comparison to 5,7×28 mm as well 9×19 Parabellum? These two “small-calibers” should naturally provide lesser felt recoil, but what about barrel life?

    “unusual for a gun of its size and configuration in having a fully locked operating system”
    For similar-sized gas-operated sub-machine gun see also Veresk

  2. Still not seeing the point to weapons in this class, TBH.

    Firstly, they’re not small enough to serve as a true backup; too unwieldy to manage in circumstances where a pistol is supreme, and much more difficult to carry. If you’re going to have to manage one of these, why not a full scale carbine?

    Secondly, the entire paradigm is toast in today’s environment. The reality is that the linear battlefield where you have such things as “safe rear areas” that you can afford to half-ass on arming and training some of your troops is gone; it was dead back during the 1940s, it’s just that we’ve kept the rotting corpse of that fantasy above ground instead of giving it a decent burial.

    Whether you’re talking counterinsurgency or modern non-lineal battle, the necessity is there for every soldier on the battlefield to be trained and equipped to the standard classically associated with “front-line combat troops”. When the enemy bypasses your front lines and attacks the rear, if you’re going to win, then he has to be engaged and destroyed by what you have on the scene. If that means rear-area “support troops”, then that’s who needs to do it. You cannot “blow and go” when the enemy raises their head to attack you, wherever it is; you must engage, and at least keep them engaged until the “real combat troops” can get there. There can be no more such idiotic dichotomy between “combat” and “non-combat” troops–If they are truly “non-combat”, let those functions be taken over by civilian contractors. If you’re in uniform, you need to fight whenever and wherever the fight happens, and to hell with what sort of job you’re doing. The job is secondary; the fight is primary.

    Unfortunately, we are locked into this fantasy, and will continue to issue half-ass weapons to half-ass soldiers we don’t bother to train properly, and then act all ass-hurt when reality hands us a Jessica Lynch and the 507th Maintenance Company situation.

    • I think the appeal is that REMFs do not want to carry a full sized rifle around, which hinders their main functions of operating a radio, cooking, shuffling papers, driving a lorry etc. They are supposed to be better than a pistol or SMG.

      In reality so far FN P90 and H&K MP7 have only been adopted in smaller numbers and mostly been used by special sqirrels, when they need a small compact weapon that can do more than a pistol. Basically filling the spot of a SMG.

    • I remember seeing a poster in a neighbouring company during my time in the Bundeswehr back in 2002 – it depicted all the vehicles and assets of an engineer batallion, kind of like a painted diorama. What stood out to me where the 20 mm machine cannons on field mounts. The problem? It was an old poster from the early 90s and the batallion did not have those 20 mm cannons anymore.
      Shortly thereafter, there was talk about replacing all the (rather recently arrived) G36s with MP7s and I had some fun pointing people to that poster to have a look at what “self-defense” had looked like for half-REMF engineers 10 years earlier…
      The MP7s never materialized for cost and production speed reasons, which was fine with me. Even the full size G36 was plenty transportable with the folding stock.

  3. Supersonic crack isn’t the same thing as the discharge noise of any firearm, but I assumed the crack wouldn’t help anyone in the task of “locating the person shooting in my direction, preferably without getting shot in the first place.” On the front lines, the only guys with dedicated PDW’s (assuming they aren’t Special Forces Operatives) are people who aren’t expected to get in and get dirty unless they are part of the field artillery crew (in which case, whichever infantryman gets too close to the opposing team’s field artillery battery will find his “body-integrity warranty” revoked once he gets a shrapnel sandwich to the face).

    As for arming secondary troops nowadays, I have yet to see any country willing to send paratroops behind enemy lines without first contending with the opposing team’s air force. Paratrooper operations need the element of surprise and/or air-superiority. Lack of the latter will generally result in high paratrooper casualties, as was the case in the Battle of Crete. Slow and unarmed paratrooper transports (along with paratroops who have yet to reach the ground) are easy targets for flak cannons and surface-to-air missiles, to say nothing about interceptor fighters with missiles and guns of their own!

    Did I miss anything?

    • It’s not just paratroopers you have to contend with, in the rear areas. The Soviet concept of war included copious amounts of deep penetration and “fifth column” activities. Arm and prepare your troops with the mentality that they’ll never see “real combat”, and they’ll behave accordingly when confronted with the enemy.

      The doctrine and mindset is fundamentally flawed, when it comes to this issue. If you’re going to spend the money to put people into uniform in the first place, they’d better all be capable of “doing the necessary” when the time comes. Frankly, if it were up to me, I’d actually try to make my support troops more lethal and experienced than the front-line combat troops are, simply because of their vital role. The enemy ought to prefer to tackle the combat troops before they try taking on the support guys in the rear.

      You look at me as though I were nuts, but I’m really not; were I running things, there’d be precisely none of this bullshit where you enlist to be a pogue in the rear–The ONLY path into those jobs should lay through the combat arms. You want the Army to train you to be a mechanic or network tech? Fine; we’ll do that, and we’ll do that to a higher standard than we are now, but first, sweetie, you’re gonna serve a tour out at the tippy-tip of the spear as a combat soldier. Once you’ve proven you can do that, and have picked up the skills and mindset, then we’ll think about training you to do something else. Soldier and rifleman first, technician second. Anything we could farm out to civilian contractors should be farmed out–If we’re gonna have to have the combat arms guys protect the rear echelon support assets, there’s no damn point to having any of them in uniform in the first damn place.

      If it were up to me, I’d want all my support guys trained up to the standard I observed with 3ACR at the NTC in 1999. Those bastards were crusty; the maintenance warrant that ran that show was scary-good at operations and tactics; his mechanics and others in his purview were not your typical rear-area pogues; the light infantry company playing OPFOR that rotation made the mistake of entering their perimeter, and then proceeded to have their collective asses handed to them by the “pogues”. That light infantry outfit never again so much as attempted to probe the perimeter, and with good reason. I think that out of the thirty or so guys on that first attack, one or two might have made it back out of the perimeter without having first been run to exhaustion and then given a solid hiding by the “helpless” mechanics. It was almost funny… I’d never before thought of a telehandler as a tactical vehicle, but when it came to running down light infantry on the ground in really broken terrain? Amazing tool–They had guys up in a basket as spotters and shooters, leaving the light infantry nowhere to hide. They’d think they were hidden invisibly in the brush or wadi, and here comes the telehandler boom with three guys manning M249s up in it. Worked a treat.

      The rear area does not have to be a safe haven for the enemy; it should be a friggin’ death trap.

      • “The rear area does not have to be a safe haven for the enemy; it should be a friggin’ death trap.”
        As Helmuth von Moltke observed:
        No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy.
        Which in this case meaning that if you plan rear zone in some place, enemy will most probably not be compliant with this.

      • “Once you’ve proven you can do that, and have picked up the skills and mindset, then we’ll think about training you to do something else. Soldier and rifleman first, technician second.”


      • Well, you don’t want lazy bums guarding the armories, the supply depots, the motor pools, or your command center! “You guards are the last line of defense. I want you ready to kill the first thing that refuses to stop at that white line right there, even if it’s just a mouse. Just because you’re not in the trenches doesn’t mean the enemy won’t pop up here! If I catch you guys napping, snacking, reading smut, gambling, booze-drinking, phone-chatting, or date-making on the job, I’m sending you back to the front lines IN YOUR UNDERWEAR! IS THAT UNDERSTOOD!?!?!?”

        Speaking of death traps for idiots who think support guys are easy prey, I know for a fact that one Vietnamese MiG-17 was shot down by a pair of A-1 Skyraider attack planes who had been deployed to support a rescue chopper. The MiG made the mistake of jousting the attackers in a head-on pass when said attackers were firing back (in sheer desperation, of course). The A-1s’ auto-cannons lit up that MiG like a Christmas tree, and the latter plummeted into the ground with blood all over the cockpit canopy and flames all over the fuselage.

        Yes, I’m probably wrong on both counts.

        • Doesn’t matter if we’re Sparta, or not: Facts are facts, and no matter how much we want to deny it, there are no rear areas. Not even here in the continental US.

          My guess is that a really major attack on US interests is going to include attacks on US personnel in their off-duty housing down at Nellis AFB, where all the drones are flown out of. That’s just an example–There are no safe areas, anywhere. So, the choice is, be ready to fight anywhere, or be prepared to lose anywhere.

          Honestly, in Iraq? Most of the time the enemy flatly refused to engage the combat arms guys–Too risky. They only engaged the support troops, and what wound up happening was that they’d engage, we’d run, and the combat arms guys would go flailing around the desert the next day or so, running into dry hole after dry hole. The enemy raises his hand to engage you, that’s a golden opportunity, and you have to take it. Otherwise, you’re just running a finishing school for insurgents…

          Handwriting has been on the wall since ’42; it’s about damn time we started reading it.

          • That much is obvious. Maybe this is why the “support troops” should have been guys who were rotated back from the front-lines. That way, you have rough-and-tough guys guarding the supply trucks and not sleeping nitwits fresh-out-of-liberal-arts-school. By rotating who does what role on a periodic basis, you make sure your enemy can’t get anywhere with the old “find the supply-truck guards and stab them in their beds” strategy.

          • Rotation, maybe… I’m more of a mind that you need to utterly do away with the mentality that there are multiple classes of combatants, and how you do it? That’s not the issue: What is the issue is that you cease with the idea that some soldiers are for fighting, and some are not.

            The problem as I see it is that when you make the delineation, you wind up with the situation we had in Iraq while I was there. The Corps support bubbas would be rolling through our area of responsibility, and would get hit on a near-nightly basis. Yet, they’d almost never stop and fight, nor would they even bother to report the contact–We’d get word when someone spotted the firing going on, or someone would report an IED strike and need a MEDEVAC. More often than not, the first we’d hear about the usual run of contact report would be when someone back up in Baghdad got off their asses and collated the convoy reports to send to us. Really shitty communications went on, and it was a constant battle to get the Corps-level assets to feed us the information we needed.

            Meanwhile, the actual combat troops would be out on traffic control points, or running down intel reports that were generated by God-alone-knows-what. Usually generating dry hole after dry hole–Occasionally, there’d be some suicidally stupid sort that would decide to attack a TCP, or something, but that was it.

            Looking at it, after about six months, I realized that the only damn contacts we were getting were those attacks on the logistics assets, so what I suggested was that we’d be wise to emulate the Rhodesians and start running some “Q-Ship” missions that looked like convoys but were loaded for bear. That got shot down because the loggies didn’t want to “goad the enemy into attacking them”, and because the geniuses with the JAG said that concealing combat troops among the logistics convoys would be a violation of the Law of War!!! Absolutely maddening.

            There’s two things I took away from that last tour in Iraq: One, we don’t know what the hell we’re doing, and two, that the smartest thing we could do would be to take the majority of the JAG officers out back of the TOC and put bullets into their heads. I’m pretty sure that most of them think their job is to advocate for the enemy, TBH.

          • My guess is any fictional attack on “US” is gonna be along 1861-1865 lines.
            Second to that is another war with “asiatics” (after Japs and Nam).
            There is absolutely no chance US is ever gonna be involved in war with/in Europe, like ww1 or ww2.

          • About rotation,
            It have been done in WW1 : front troops were doing support stuff during the night, then sleep whenever hierarchy remember men must sleep.

          • “concealing combat troops among the logistics convoys would be a violation of the Law of War!!! Absolutely maddening.”
            It seems that this vulnerability was detected and removed, at least according to as it says that
            Because of those lessons learned on battlefields almost 40 years ago, the military was able to quickly adapt Vietnam-era doctrine and int-grate new techniques to combat the Iraqi insurgency. The result is that logistics convoys are no longer an easy target and that, if they are engaged, convoy escort platforms (as they are now known) can inflict heavy damage on an enemy force.
            Though considering that as early as 1990s during operations in Somalia it was observed that
            Convoys are move vulnerable to attack than ground maneuver forces and they, along with all other seemingly routine operations, should be planned and executed as a combat operations.
            some questions appear why such vulnerability was not addressed earlier.

          • All of our forces need to adopt the U.S. Marine Corps model; Every Marine is a rifleman first and foremost, before anything else. Yes, even Marine Corps Aviation pilots, whether flying Cobras, Super Hornets, or KC-130s. And everybody has to requalify every year, no exceptions.

            As for what to give them, the Corps found that attaching an M4 carbine to the bang seat wasn’t that hard. In fact, this is about the only reasonable military role for the M4 carbine, i.e. a PDW along the lines of the old folding-stock M1A1 .30 carbine of WW2.

            Assuming you have a 5.56 x 45mm NATO weapon that’s light and compact, and you issue one to everybody, the need or even rationale’ for things like the MP7, P-90, or even the overrated FiveSeven pistol becomes difficult to justify.

            (NB: the Keltec PMR-30 in .22 WMR does everything the FiveSeven can, holds 30 rounds to the FN’s 20, and you can buy about three-and-a-half PMR-30s for the cost of one FiveSeven. Not to mention that the ammunition’s a lot cheaper.)



          • “Assuming you have a 5.56 x 45mm NATO weapon that’s light and compact, and you issue one to everybody, the need or even rationale’ for things like the MP7, P-90 (…) becomes difficult to justify.”
            Still, even compared with short and light 5,56 x 45 automatic weapons, MP7 with empty mass 1,5 kg is lighter. It fits between automatic pistols and carbines in area of mass and reach. Thus I do not dismiss MP7 usefulness totally, however nothing it is limited to situation where automatic pistol is not enough and carbine is too much (bulk/weight).

            “Keltec PMR-30 in .22 WMR does everything the FiveSeven can, holds 30 rounds to the FN’s 20, and you can buy about three-and-a-half PMR-30s for the cost of one FiveSeven. Not to mention that the ammunition’s a lot cheaper.”
            But what about penetration? How does AP version of .22 WMR compares to 5,7×28?

          • Daweo, there’s “treat convoys as combat operations” and then there’s what I’m talking about… Which is that subtle distinction between focusing on the mission, and that of focusing on the opportunity to engage the enemy.

            Enemy engaging you is a gift; if you don’t take it, you’re going to spend much, much more of your time spinning your wheels trying to find them. As well, when conducting counterinsurgencies, when you go looking for him, the onus is now on you with the population. You take the blame, ‘cos you’re seen as being “the guy” who’s starting things. If, on the other hand, every time the enemy starts something with a logistics convoy, then that means there are going to be “hunt them down and kill them” repercussions stemming from that. The enemy is the one who brought down the heat; not you. After a bit, the locals see that the only outcome of them looking the other way when the insurgents come through setting an ambush is the near-total destruction of the ambush force and the surrounding structures…? Yeah; they’re gonna start dissuading the ambushers from ambushing.

            In a counterinsurgency, the key thing is to take every opportunity to engage with and destroy the enemy. Ignore those opportunities, and all you’re doing is running a finishing school for insurgents, and encouraging them. If, instead of blowing through every ambush, you stop and destroy the ambush force, they’ll run out of willing participants. Be thorough enough about it, and the locals will start blaming the insurgents for what is happening to their communities, and once that process starts, then the whole thing starts to unravel for the insurgents.

            We did not seriously undertake dealing with the insurgency in Iraq. There were too many times where the commanders focused on the “hunt for the terrorists”, and ignored the actual attacks on our troops and operations. Every single attack on a convoy should have been run to ground and resulted in the destruction of the enemy forces, but that’s not what we did. The majority of the time, we just ignored the weapons fire and IED attacks, and unless the enemy managed to actually stop a convoy and tried to destroy it, our forces didn’t fully engage with them.

            Every man a rifleman, every engagement a fight to the death. You do not let the enemy escape; you must destroy them the minute they raise their hand against you. If you allow them to, then all you’re going to get is more hands raised against you.

            This doesn’t mean I’m advocating atrocity or disproportionate retribution, either–I’m simply saying that you cannot allow the enemy to attack you and get away with it. You take fire from somewhere, you do more than just return fire: You take the fight to the enemy, fix them in place, and kill them. Every time, because if you let one of them survive, then that’s a dragon’s tooth that will go on to raise more combatants to fight. If there are no survivors to tell the tale of how they valiantly fought the infidel, then there won’t be anyone hearing about the glories of Jihad. Reduce the enemy to a thin red film on the terrain, and you will not have to worry about him encouraging others. Those others will, instead, take the lesson that the path of violence is one that ends in one place, and one place only: The grave.

          • D;

            Ballistically, there’s not much difference between the .22 WMR and the 5.7 x 28mm centerfire when fired from a 10-cm or shorter pistol barrel . The 5.7 x 28mm only shows superior velocity in the longer barrel of the FN P-90.

            I suspect that in a rifle-length barrel, it and the .22 WMR would again finish up about even.

            As for AP capabiliy, AP rounds are made in 5.7 for military and police use. Nobody makes AP for .22 WMR. If they did, I suspect that again, the results at the receiving end would be about the same.



    • “[mention of Unternehmen Merkur](…)Slow and unarmed paratrooper transports (along with paratroops who have yet to reach the ground) are easy targets for flak cannons and surface-to-air missiles, to say nothing about interceptor fighters with missiles and guns of their own”
      With introduction of helicopter able to deliver soldiers where they earlier were parachuted, need for parachute operations dwindled. While transport helicopters [“choppers” in U.S. parlance] still are vulnerable to AA guns and ground-to-air missiles, there is no need of jumping training and no time of defenseless hanging under parachute.

  4. I reckon it makes a fairly handy aircrew weapon. I’ve seen photos of both French and Norwegian helicopter crews wearing MP7s across the chest, which looks awkward but easier than keeping a carbine slung inside a helicopter. You could probably wear it on the thigh like that goofy rig for the AKS-74U that the Soviets had for helicopter crew.

  5. Back in the mid two thousands, I got interested in the PDW idea.

    I thought that I understood it… as a gun that it was easy to always have with you, and that could still put holes in body armour and helmets.

    The colt scamp in its .22 cartridge and the original Bushmaster “arm gun” in .221 fireball were probably the unsuccessful second generation of PDWs

    Mauser C96, Artillery Luger, TT33 etc were probably the first and most successful generation.

    7.63x25mm still has impressive performance against body armour and helmets, in post war (to make a world safe for Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Ceacesscu etc) eastern Blocan loadings, it gave similar performance to .30 carbine. 9x19mm out of a SMG isn’t far behind it.

    How to increase penetration of body armour without compromising soft shooting, small size and light weight?

    To be continued

    • “How to increase penetration of body armour without compromising soft shooting, small size and light weight?”
      Ok, query not concerning price, so answer is: use depleted uranium cores.

      • For small arms rounds below 12.7mm, tungsten is just as effective and considerably cheaper. You really only need DU for dealing with vehicle armor, plus the pyrophoric reaction, i.e. the DU igniting and behaving like an API round after penetrating the armor. The purpose of same being to ignite ammunition, fuel, etc. inside the armor, which is overkill if you’re just shooting at an enemy soldier on foot, or even in an automobile.

        NB; Generally, shooting at a car bomb, truck bomb, or suicide vest bomber with DU rounds is a Very Bad Idea. In fact, on the latter, only head shots are practical, and ordinary ball ammunition will get the job done there. Just hope he doesn’t have a deadman switch on his IED.



  6. Was that the charging handle that moved rearwards during firing? it nearly made contact with the safety glasses of the shooter. Why did it only move rearwards occasionally.

  7. The MP7 seems to have become popular with the British police. It is even used by the Atomic Energy Agency police, so it seems it is fit for guarding nuclear facilities.

    The H&K MP5 was the default carbine for British police for many years, but these days they seem to have changed to the G36 and the MP7, which they no doubt plan to deploy in the case of any future religion of peace incidents which are surely only a matter of time.

    • Actually, since HK took over production and servicing of the SA 80 rifles and L86 LSW for the armed forces, the police probably got the HKs at a discount. And they probably won’t fire them enough to have to cope with the G36’s tendency to melt parts of its structure in full-auto fire.

      As for them using force to deal with the Islamists;

      I’d laugh, but it isn’t really funny. Especially if you
      are a native Briton and a non-Muslim.



      • Eon:

        Thank you for your kind words and good wishes.

        The British police do not use full auto weapons as a rule, and that is why I called their MP5s carbines rather than SMGs, so I do not think their G36s will melt. The Atomic Energy police are different, they used to have Sterling SMGs, and later SA80s, so full auto capability must be deemed appropriate for the protection of nuclear installations.

        As for H&K, they don’t do cheap, so I very much doubt any British police forces got a discount!

  8. Yes, true, knowing how the government corruption in spending goes, often (or its even a rule?) domestic product is way more expensive than the imported one !

  9. ^^^ I’d better add, the day that pic was taken, my mother was in the area that that arsehole was showing off to the cameras.

    The roadblock was looking for a circa 280 pound body builder, but dear PC Gloucester old spot, is peering through his scope (eff all situational awareness) and fingering the trigger, while aiming at the head of an innocent old lady, in a car that would have been down on its springs if the person who they were looking for had been hiding in it.

    Thank heavens it probably wasn’t selective fire!

    He’d cause more than enough damage with just one shot if a bumble bee buzzed past his snout or a horse fly bit his fat spotty arse.

    • Keith:

      That is pretty shoddy gun handling, maybe worthy of a complaint? Given that the suspect could only be in the boot of the car, why cover the lady driving the car with your finger on the trigger? It makes no sense, he should be aiming at the boot, which is the only place the suspect could be hiding.

      Now that we British serfs are forbidden modern firearms, police training doctrine can no longer be developed by reference to civilian shooters. It is a sort of closed cycle, with no outside input. That’s the way they wanted it, of course.

  10. I swear, the Seals must have had a bidding contest among the high-end gun makers to see whose gear was going to get taken along for the Bin Laden raid & be able to use it for publicity, lol. Everything they had appears to have been HK or Knights or OSS.

    For being hearing safe, the camera mic was sure cutting out a lot. From such a short barrel, super-sonic rounds are probably still not the best thing to expose your ear drums to. Also, is it just me, or does that ammo look WAY smokier than 5.7×28? Maybe it’s just the lighting really making it show up strongly.

    The little gun does look jumpy, but I wonder how much of that is due to the terrible ‘stock’ if you can call it that. I’m not sure why gun makers & customers keep tilting at this twin-flat-rail-telescoping windmill, thinking that it can somehow be made to work well, but there’s just no way to make it do a stock’s job (cheek mount, shoulder mount, and be rigid) when it’s made of two flimsy leaf springs. The P90 may be a half-pound heavier…but I can watch my bullets’s shockwaves as the round impacts the target at 150 yards.

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