Every gun nerd knows about SOPMOD. SOPMOD refers to Special Operations Peculiar MODification kit.
The purpose behind SOPMOD is to provide rifles with the flexibility and versatility to adapt basic issue weapons to meet mission-specific requirements.
It started off a lot less high-speed.
Retired Navy SEAL Mark “Coch” Cochiolo talks about his career in SOPMOD, with a great 11-minute show and tell below going from the old days of pipe-clamping Maglights on MP5s, and drilling eye-bolts through handguards to where we are at today.
The Showcase is hosted by the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers, the Professional Outdoor Media Association, and the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association. Held on the ranges of the massive CMP Marksmanship Park in Talladega, this year’s event was the second of its kind, following up on last year’s inaugural show.
Texas-based TPM Outfitters has sold over 300 of these great little 9mm beauties. The TPM P5SD is a short barreled rifle with an integral suppressor that is 99 percent HK MP5SD with the exception being that the four-position switch only goes to safe and pew, not pew-pew-pew, or pewpewpewpew. These guns as they run are $3850 plus two NFA tax stamps (one for SBR, other for suppressor).
Some shots of the build process, which is all done in-house.
Transferable select-fire sears, if you can find them, are $29,500 up to $33,000 for the registered sears or packs, so you can get the full pew, you just have to pay for it.
The term “gun buyback” is kind of a misnomer as it implies that the people purchasing said unwanted firearms “off the streets” owned them in the first place. Nonetheless, they sometimes turn up interesting items for which those involved pay a song. In recent years this has included a revolver stolen from Teddy Roosevelt and a vintage museum-quality StG44, both of which were saved from the torch.
Well, speaking of odd catches at buybacks, the Marin County District Attorney’s Office hosted one earlier this month which was covered by the local paper and I picked up at Guns.com. Why would I pick up such a normally pedestrian news story?
Because they garnered a cherry HK MP5 with a side-folding factory marked stock and four-positon ambi Navy fire control pack lower, as well as a host of mags and a couple of suppressors for $200. At the very least it is a SP89 conversion Sterling VA marked H&K with nice laser on the front.
As California frowns on suppressor ownership altogether for civilians and you have to get special permission from DOJ besides your regular NFA hoops for full-autos, the MP5 combo likely came in from out of state, was illegal (say it ain’t possible), a prop house gun, or is a Post-86 dealer sample or LE gun. In any of these cases, there are likely some questions.
Besides your classic HK-made MP5s, Virginia-based Zenith makes a pretty true to form roller-locked MP5K shorty clone (MKE Z-5K) which can be really fun if you have a post-86 dealer sample select-fire version.
The only problem when zipping around at a very spicy 600+rpms when cyclic is keeping on target. Keep in mind we are talking a magdump in just 2-3 seconds.
Above you see Lea, a nurse by trade, who is working on being a fairly decent gunslinger, try out the vertical foregrip hold as well as a magwell hold to see which works best.
“I prefer the magwell hold as opposed to the VFG, I think my arms are shorter and lets me ‘tuck in’ more and get all tight while shooting,” she notes. “That said, the gun definitely heats up so you need gloves if you are going to utilize that grip.”
Machine Gun Mike breaks out a select-fire, suppressed HK MP5SD built by Urbach Precision and shows you why it’s so muffly.
It’s got all the goodies, being a suppressed SBR with both three-round burst and full-auto selector switch and on-board en-quieter that is capable of putting the hush on even super-sonic hardball. Yup, the MP5SD was developed by Heckler & Koch in 1976 for military commandos and was designed to allow standard NATO ball, already in service for subguns and handguns, to be used in the integrally suppressed little SD, but still be quiet enough to where mechanical action noise is all you hear.
Plus, the way the can is made, it is very effective at eliminating muzzle flash, making it a good choice not only for operators at night working by PNVs, but also in use by clandestine lab teams taking down meth labs with potentially lethal fumes– which is why you stumble on a lot of these that have been loaned by the feds to podunk local SWAT teams.
Perhaps the most unsung use of a MP5SD was in the Gambia.
You don’t have to look in this diplomatic pouch
The Gambia is the smallest independent country in mainland Africa. It gets its name from the River Gambia that cuts it in half. Independent since 1965 it is almost completely surrounded by its much larger neighbor Senegal which it was friendly with. In 1981 its population was slightly under a million and it did not even feel the need to have an army. The country’s president Sir Dawda Jawara was invited to attend the Royal Wedding of Prince Charles due to the Gambia’s status as a member of the British Commonwealth.
On July 31, 1981, 400 Marxist radicals under the name of The Movement for Justice in Africa that had been armed and trained in Libya took advantage of his absence to seize control of the country. In the capital city of Banjul they sized Jawara’s family, the radio station, police armory and airport. President Jawara declared he would return to his country and asked for British help. He was given a British Army force of two men. These two men were not your average soldiers, they were SAS men.
Margaret Thatcher and three SAS personnel after the six-day Iranian Embassy siege in London, May 1980. She was a big fan of the SAS, who in turn were a big fan of the MP5.
The 22nd Special Air Service Regiment, (better known as the SAS) has been Britain’s premier commando force since the end of world war two. The detachment was made up of then-Major Ian Crooke and a picked sergeant. Crooke had years of experience in Borneo, Ulster, the recapture of the Iranian Embassy in London and other hot spots by the time of the Gambian affair and had risen to third in command of the SAS. He and a sergeant that remains unnamed to this day donned civilian clothes and left for Senegal, Gambia’s neighbor.
They brought grenades, a pair of Heckler and Koch MP5SD submachine guns and a matching set of Browning Hi Power pistols, all of which fired the same 9mm cartridge in a diplomatic pouch. They arrived the next day and walked over the border and into the lawless Gambian capital dressed in polo shirts and blue jeans. They were met by Mr. Clive Lee, a former commando who had retired in Gambia who had been in touch to see if he could be of assistance. The three men ventured together through the capital to assess the situation.
They found that the airport had been retaken already by elite French-trained paratroopers from Senegal, who President Jawara had also contacted for assistance. The three commandos made contact with the Senegalese forces and outlined a plan to retake the city and defeat the rebels. The SAS team went first – disguised as doctors -to the local hospital where President Jawara’s family was being held and disarmed the rebels there without incident. The commandos then led the assault on the radio station and the government’s police armory with support of the Senegalese the next day.
A film crew from the BBC captured the out of place and out of uniform British commandos several times running all over town from engagement to engagement. By August 3rd, the attempted coup was over and the quiet and professional SAS men flew back to Britain just as President Jawara returned to the Gambia from there.
In the aftermath of this stunning event Major Crooke was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. He retired as a Colonel and now lives in South Africa. It was estimated that anywhere from 600-1000 Gambian casualties were suffered in the three days of rebellion and anarchy. In December 1981 seven ringleaders were sentenced to death after trail for their role in the coup. President Jawara was re-elected five times in democratic elections and remained the leader of his country until he was removed in 1994…..by a military coup.
So last Thursday a “confused” man entered the Kinopolis in the Rhein-Neckar-Zentrum shopping center located in the town of Viernheim around armed with an unidentified weapon from which he fired at least four shots in the air. This initiated a response from Hessian state police Spezialeinsatzkommando (SEK) members from nearby Frankfurt who ended the hostage situation (four workers and 14 visitors held against their will) with judicious use of chemicals (CS) and surgical use of small arms.
At the end of the incident, the gunman was expired but all the movie-goers were fine with the exception of a whiff of CS.
Post-shooting analysis show the 19-year old German at the root of the incident to be a disturbed young man armed with blank firing alarm guns and fake grenades, which is sad and seems leaning towards suicide by cop.
Not to be confused with the smaller and more counter-terror focused federal GSG9, SEKs are more akin to special response/SWAT teams and by looking at the imagery coming from the incident, there are a few uniquely German take-aways.
Beards are definitely in with German LE– something that is frowned upon in the States. Also, check out the Heckler and Koch MP5A5. Very nice. Further, Mechanix and Motorola aren’t just for Yanks…
Turnout gear is tactical need based– grab it and go– as noted by this officer’s drop leg rig, which is obviously optimized for the use of hard-plate armor if you note the drop leg holsters. As for the extra handguns (note all the HKs), it looks like the Blackhawk SREPA was there before he threw the balaclava and other gear on and he just hasn’t taken it off yet. Still the balaclava and shorts combo is suspect…
Finally, it looks like SEK is perfectly fine rolling in short pants and sneaks in the interest of saving time. The team came from Frankfurt which is about an hour away so they likely just grabbed and ran. Again we have an MP5, what looks to be a very chopped HK33, and HK pistols along with dropleg rigs and beards. Also note the abbreviated expandable baton on the officer to the left, worn cross draw at about the 11 o’clock on an officer that is obviously right-hand dominant.
The good news is, the SP5K is still made at the HK Oberndorf factory in Germany and comes with a STANAG 4694 Profile mounting rail.
Bad news is it’s $2,699 MSRP and if you add the optional folding buttstock you are still looking at the stamp. Still, the closest competition, the Zenith MKE Z-5 series, runs close to that and no matter how nice they are, still don’t say HK on them…
When Napoleon rolled deep into Russia in 1812, he suffered pretty bad at the hands of Russo-Ukrainian partisans and cossacks fighting in his rear. Fast forward to 1918 and both the occupying Imperial German troops as well as the new Red Army and the old White Guards had problems with pesky bands of black flag waving Makhnovshchina locals who would sneak around at night and leave slit throats in their wake. Then came 1941 and the Axis had a hard time with local resistance that numbered some 500,000 spread across over 5,000 partisan bands by the end of the War.