Tokyo Marui – MP5-SD5 Review
The MP5, designed by Heckler and Koch, was first conceived in 1966, originally designated as the HK54 by the company (HK being Hecker and Koch, 5 meaning ‘submachine gun and the 4 indicating chambered for 9mm). The original design concept was for a compact, accurate and reliable sub-machine gun that used standard pistol ammunition, and so the MP5 was born. Firing from a closed bolt, it not only makes the weapon extremely accurate but robust and not prone to breakdown or failure. It has been adopted by Military and security services across the world for more than 30 years, but the ever growing presence of body armour has left the MP5 with an uncertain future, as the 9mm round does not have the stopping or penetration power to defeat Kevlar vests. The MP5 is being phased out amongst security forces with the introduction of the MP7, the G36c and the UMP, all of which are chambered for much more powerful ammunition, or rounds which have better penetration qualities.
Now we move onto our Airsoft model, the Tokyo Marui version of the MP5-SD5, a solid stocked and silenced version of the MP5, which also exists in the real steel format. The MP5 series have been round for a little while, and were one of Marui’s earlier models to produce in Airsoft form. We have since seen the TM MP5 evolve to the second generation which includes a more powerful motor (1st generation included a EG560, we’re now on EG700) as well as some improvements on the hop-up system, although the plastic parts used have not changed.
As the MP5 series has been around for a little while, it is also one of the most economical AEG’s to purchase, with prices as low as £160, compared to some of Marui’s newer offerings such as the M14 which retails at £270! The popularity of the MP5 series also means there are a huge number of accessories and upgrade parts available to the end user, and the version 2 gearbox used is also easy to work on and maintain.
So lets have a look at some of the stats:
Tokyo Marui MP5-SD5
Gearbox: Version 2
Magazine Capacity: 50 (Lo-Cap) 200 (Hi-Cap)
Battery Type: Large (above 1400mah recommend)
I’ve had my MP5-SD5 for about two years now, and it’s not the first in the series I’ve owned. I’ve also had an MP5K, MP5-A5 and MP5-A4 models in the years that I’ve been playing Airsoft, which is testament to the excellent design and build quality. This particular model I gave to my Fiancée, and she finds it’s compact size particularly easy to use in a skirmish. At only 777mm long with the silencer installed, the gun is very easy to control and keep on target, also assisted by its light weight in comparison to other models. The construction quality is of the same high quality as with most of Tokyo Marui’s models, and the plastics used are the same high impact ABS we are used to seeing. Being one of Marui’s earlier releases, the MP5 has fewer metal parts than newer models, these being the rear and fore sights, cocking handle, trigger, magazine release, selector lever and the mounting locations for a 3-point tactical sling. There are after-market parts available, such as the classic army metal body kit, and a replacement metal silencer which add more weight and strength to the construction, but in my opinion, if it’s not broken don’t fix it!
The markings on this gun, of which there are few of read, ‘Kal 9mm x 19’ and the Tokyo Marui trade markings, there are no H&K trade marks on this gun, making export to places such as the US easier. As mentioned previously the plastic is good quality with realistic looking ‘weld’ markings on the bottom of the rear sight and across the lower receiver. The trigger group markings on this model are for the SEF version, detailing fully-automatic fire, whereas the real steel model depicts the graphics for safe, semi-auto and 3-round burst. The cocking handle on this model serves no purpose, it is merely to add to the ‘fiddle’ factor, however on the classic army version of the SD5, it retracts the magazine ejection port cover to allow access for hop-up adjustment. On our Marui model, the hop-up adjustment lever is found protruding the left hand side of the frame, just above the end of the hand guard. Moving this lever towards the front of the gun, reduces the amount of hop, and to the back, increases.
Other functional aspects of this model are the adjustable rear sight, which is adjustable for windage and elevation. This uses a turret ‘peep-hole’ system which some people find slightly difficult use, even more so when wearing a full face mask, as you can’t get your face far enough down to the stock to aim correctly. Still sniper rifle this isn’t, so it’s easy to follow your BB’s on target, and its compact size makes the weapon fairly instinctive to point and shoot. Scope mounts are available for this model which clamp onto the top allowing the use of a red-dot scope, which a lot of people find useful. Another selling point of this rifle, and its main feature, is the silencer. Does it really silencer the gun though? Well, being made entirely of plastic with no sound deadening foam you’d think not… but surprisingly it does. It reduces the noise from a ‘clack’ to more of a thud, which is very noticeable if it is removed. It is however a weak point in the design of this gun. The silencer is quickly removed by giving it quarter turn, and it simply pulls off, but due to the fact it is made of plastic and is only retained by the moderately thin walled slots which the lugs lock into, this is prone to breaking. I’m not saying it’s going to fall off at the first opportunity, but if your not careful with the gun, accidentally bang the front on a wall or tree it can and will break. How do I know this? It’s happened to me and ended up costing a lot of money to put it right… What went wrong then?
Well, the gun took quite a knock on a door frame, which not only damaged the silencer, but it also loosened the fore sight assembly, which unfortunately for me, has the front sling point attached to it. The screws finally gave way throughout the day whilst the gun was slung, and the gun took a nose dive towards the ground. The exposed barrel hit the ground, causing it to fly backwards, straight through the hop-up unit which in turn stopped the magazine from ejecting… A complete disaster which needed a complete new front end purchased second hand from a forum, along with a new hop-up unit to get the gun back up and running again.
Another point to watch out for on this model is the retaining pins on the handguard, which have a habit of falling out. They simply push into place, but can work themselves loose, however a strip of black electrical tape around the handguard is all that is needed to keep them secure.
The gun accepts a large 8.4v battery, but no additional room for the installation of a 9.6v, with access to the battery bay by sliding off the rubberised stock cap. As this gun is sold with a solid stock, there is no wiring going to the front of the gun to allow the installation of a mini battery, if the user wishes to swap the solid stock for a sliding one. Although the wiring harness is available to purchase separately should you wish to convert the model, I feel it would be better to stick with the solid stock configuration. The Marui MP5 series are easy to work on, and the utilise the highly popular version 2 gearbox, of which there are plenty of spare parts for. Being an earlier release, there is no easy access for removing the gearbox (like an M4, G36, MC51 etc…), you need to split the lower receiver in half to gain access to the internals. With this said, it is still a very easy gun to work on.
The MP5 series in general are particularly easy to use. Straight forward functions, everything is easily accessible such as the selector switch, which is not only in a sensible place, but on both sides making this gun truly ambidextrous. As is the magazine catch, located on the bottom of the gun, meaning magazine changes are quick and easy.
The hi-cap magazines are often considered as slightly on the small size in terms of capacity. They are however easy to fit in most tactical vests, as opposed to say the P90 magazine, which is considerably huge in comparison. 200 rounds should be plenty enough for most uses, and I take just three out with me when using this gun.
As for accuracy, the gun is very consistent, and shot for shot there is only a couple of fps difference between subsequent rounds. The review model chronoed at 271-275 with 0.2g Excel ammunition, which for a stock gun with a barrel length such as this, is perfectly adequate. With regards to range, this model has very similar performance characteristics to the P90, the MC51, G36 and M733 which all have very similar barrel lengths. Excellent for CQB and Urban environments, possibly lacking in the range needed for woodland, whereas something like an SR-16, M14 or AUG would be right at home.
Conclusion? The MP5-SD5 makes an excellent alternative to something like an M4 if you don’t wish to go down the Armalite route, plus the availability of aftermarket parts make this gun highly maintainable and upgradeable. Lightweight and compact it is equally at home for those of you with smaller frames as it is with the ‘larger’ Airsofter. Its popularity on the Airsoft battlefield says it all…