Many airsoft replicas are replications of weapons used today by militarized forces, regardless how old the design may be. In this series of articles, we\'ll be having a gander at a few modern weapons.
In this article, we\'ll be taking a quick look at sub-machine guns being used today that hold a strong presence on the airsoft field.
First on the the list is the Fabrique Nationale Herstal P90. The P90 was designed in 1986 in response to NATO requests for a compact weapon that did not use the popular 9x19mm Parabellum ammunition. FN instead used their own round, the FN 5.7x28mm cartridge, and designed the cartridge, the P90, and the Five-seveN handgun at the same time. Entering production in 1990, where the P90 earns its nomenclature, this personal defense weapon soared in popularity thanks to it portrayal in media (namely video gaming) and its use by special forces groups and the US Secret Service. Many airosfters have a desire for some FN P90 goodness. With JG, Echo 1, Cybergun, Classic Army, and Tokyo Marui (just to name a few) making a replica of the P90, you\'re sure to see one at least once in your time airsofting.
Next, the H&K MP5, MP5 standing for Maschinenpistole 5. Known as the HK54 during production, this SMG was ready to roll in the year 1964, seeing adoption by German forces in 1966. Chambered in 9x19mm Parabellum, this weapon is manufactured under license in several nations including Greece (formerly at EBO Hellenic Arms Industry, currently at EAS Hellenic Defense Systems), Iran (Defense Industries Organization), Mexico (SEDENA), Pakistan (Pakistan Ordnance Factories), Saudi Arabia, Sudan (Military Industry Corporation), Turkey (MKEK), and the United Kingdom (initially at Royal Ordnance, later diverted to Heckler & Koch Great Britain). The MP5 boasts over 100 variants, including the MP5A3, using a retractable stock, MP5A4 and A2, using a fixed stock, MP5SD#, utilizing an integrated silencer, and the MP5k, (k for \'Kurz\', or short) being the shortest and smallest MP5 variant. Users include China, Australia, France, Germany, Mexico, Russia, the United Kingdom, and perhaps most famously, the United States, with the MP5 seeing use by the Navy SEALs. Many airsoft companies make many variants of the MP5, so the user must use their own discretion in purchasing one.
Continuing with the H&K line, the MP7 is next. The MP7 was made to the same NATO standards that the P90 was, and it was made to directly compete with it. Beginning development in 1989, the MP7 was designed to better penetrate body armor. Since it was made to this qualification, the MP7 essentially made the MP5 and USP series obsolete. Production started in 2001, along with a pistol that would compliment the MP7, the now-cancelled KH UCP. The MP7 was released eleven years after the P90 was made available, though despite the P90 already seeing major usage, the MP7 was still adopted by many agencies around the world, seeing use by mostly paratroopers and special forces. Arguably, the most famous users of this weapon would be the members of the US Navy SEALs. In airsoft, it\'s represented in battery-powered form by Tokyo Marui and WELL. In gas form, the KWA model stands unrivaled.
Another H&K entry, the UMP, or Universal Machine Pistol, is prominent in airsoft as well. The UMP was made by H&K in the 1990\'s and entered production in 1999. H&K designed the UMP to replace the aging MP5 platform. The UMP has a couple of variants, the UMP45, using a .45 ACP cartridge, the UMP40 using a .40 S&W cartridge, and the UMP9, using a 9x19 Parabellum cartridge. The UMP has also been adopted by various agencies, such as the US Customs and Border Protection, and the Thailand Royal Navy SEALs. In airsoft, the most popular UMP model is the G&G UMG, but some players use a UMP model offered by Double Eagle.
There are many more sub-machine gun replicas used in airsoft today, including, but not limited to the:
Uzi, an Israeli SMG known for reliability.
Skorpion, a Czech firearm well-received in the East.
Vector or Super V, a recent addition to the US tactical market.
and the PP-19 Bizon, a Russian SMG utilizing a helical magazine.
With all these shorter-range defensive replicas to choose from, how does one decide which is right for them? This part is up to you. With all these replicas being used against them, how does one protect themselves? This one is simple, ALWAYS wear eye protection when handling any airsoft replicas, and never treat one like it\'s a simple toy. Airsoft replicas can and will hurt people, so be courteous, be careful, and be safe with them all.
Please join me next time, when we dive into a backup role using smaller weapons. And, as always, stay frosty.