Back in the day, H&K’s roller lock based MP5 was the end-all be-all of coolness. The soft-recoiling yet hard-hitting 9mm submachine gun was universally beloved by all the guys on the tip of the spear, and the gun’s popularity is reflected in the number of on-screen cameos it enjoyed throughout the last quarter of the 20th century. But despite being the apex predator of its day no one bothered to try and improve the gun. H&K moved on to other designs and the MP5 was left to languish over time. The boys at Brethren Armament think that’s a crying shame, and have dedicated themselves to bringing the MP5 out of the stone age . . .
Brethren’s now making MP5s from scratch. And when I say scratch, I mean scratch. They do their own manufacturing from the receiver stampings right down to the trigger group. While this might look like an MP5 on the outside, it’s 100% American made.
Because they own the manufacturing process they can do a whole lot more than small external improvements. They’ve recently gone through some ownership changes, and the new boss has dedicated his life to, and I quote, “fixing the MP5.” Starting with an integrated Picatinny rail on the top of the gun, a keymod handguard instead of plastic, and an extended magazine release paddle, the changes they’ve made so far are mere peanuts compared to what’s coming down the line.
One of the most ambitious projects they’re working on is fixing the trigger pack. The current design is enough to make any armorer weep tears of pain any time it needs to be disassembled, and for shooters the mechanics leave a lot to be desired in terms of the look and feel. The grip is fixed and unchangeable, the safety selector is awkward, and the pack is too big for anyone but a samsquanch to hit the magazine release button. But Brethren’s got a design coming down the line that fixes all of this — one that will accept a standard AR-15 trigger pack, safety selector and grip, and moves the whole assembly forward to make the magazine release button position actually make sense.
That’s all in the works. But for those who can’t wait, they’ve already got a line of American made guns ready to ship. What started as a custom gun shop is now turning out a line of ready-made MP5s in stock and ready to ship. Billed as a “proper in-spec” MP5, these guns are manufactured to the original specs of the firearm and are some of the best-put-together examples I’ve seen. A Pakistani Ordnance Factory MP5 might be cheap and made from original German tooling, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the refined look of Brethren Armament’s wares.
Their tinkering doesn’t stop with the MP5, either. They’ve also redesigned the HK43 to take standard AR-15 magazines, something that design sorely needed. The example above is chambered in 5.56 NATO, but they also have guns available in .300 AAC Blackout with more varieties to come.
Needless to say we’ve asked for some test samples to put through their paces. Stay tuned.