Reviews Slap Happy: Teufelshund Tactical Advanced MP5 Operator’s Course James Grant December 27, 2023 Join the Conversation You know that feeling when you pay a ton of money to go to a training course, and you either begin to feel like you know more than the instructor or that he’s just full of sh*t? The experience at the Teufelshund Tactical Advance MP5 Operator’s Course is the furthest thing from that. Hosted by retired U.S. Marine Corps officer James Williamson, this course will feel like a miniature boot camp for you unless you’re a Special Air Service door-kicker. It’ll initially humble the living hell out of you and leave you feeling, in the words of Sgt. Hartman, like “a minister of death, praying for war.” While it starts out very basic with aspects of natural point of aim and proper stance, you’ll soon be running box drills and shooting through car windows like it’s your day job. Williamson hosts the course in the middle of nowhere, North Carolina, and locks down an entire massive shooting facility. This allows you and your fellow students to hone your shooting skills free from prying eyes and distractions. Another significant advantage of this training area is that it allows shooters to shoot at night — a big portion of the training itself. But more on that in a bit. We started the day with some basic shooting instruction to make sure everyone was on the same page. Williamson had us confirm zero on short-range targets and determine our holdover. Seems like basic stuff, but it’s tough to learn if your gun isn’t correctly zeroed. James Williamson’s assistant, Ben Bergamini, demonstrates the importance of proper stance to the class — recoil mitigation is much easier when you work with the body’s mechanics and not against them. After that, we moved on to practice reloading the MP5. Seems straightforward enough, but the manual of arms with roller-delayed guns like the G3, HK93, and MP5 is very different from that of an AR-15/M4. And while everything involved in a reload is done so quickly that to the untrained eye it appears to be done as one action, Williamson breaks it down into four steps. 1. Back: Pull the charging handle to the rear of the cocking tube and up to lock the action open. 2. Off: Remove the spent magazine from the magwell. 3. On: Insert a fresh magazine into the magwell. 4. Forward: Slap the charging handle down, where it’ll be driven forward by the cocking tube spring and bring the bolt forward into battery. Why break down a simple reload into four steps? To ensure shooters don’t forget the proper order of operations under pressure. Think of it as a tap, rack, bang for reloading. And get used to hearing this. The entire class will chant this at you during every single reload for the rest of the course. You’ll hear Williamson’s voice in your sleep calmly reciting, “Back, off, on, forward.” And while it might seem elementary, it has a very real purpose behind it. Once things get dark and the drills become significantly more complex, the last thing a shooter wants to worry about is reloading their gun correctly. On the second day of training, we fired our MP5s from the inside of a van through the windshield. Understanding deflection and how to plan for it is an essential but difficult skill set to master. By the end of the first day, Williamson had us running box drills (maneuvering around four barrels positioned in a square or box shape while shooting at various targets), running malfunction-clearing drills, and practicing shooting by cadence. Let’s touch on that last one for a moment. Based on his experience in the Marine Corps, Williamson teaches students to shoot to a cadence instead of firing at will. Using your own internal metronome, the idea is that a shooter can properly acquire a sight picture and pull the trigger to place rounds on target accurately rather than simply mag-dumping. This sounds like wishful thinking when no plan survives initial contact with a hostile force, but, in reality, it actually helps keep shooters firing accurately. By this time, the sun was beginning to set. So Williamson took us into a nearby classroom and went over a few tactical flashlight techniques. The method he teaches is known as the firefly technique. This method of target illumination is where the shooter quickly taps their light on to scan potential threats in multiple locations. Once a threat is located, the shooter changes positions (get off the “X”), turns on the flashlight, and engages it. We spent roughly four additional hours in the dark training with this method and running drills in total darkness. DAY TWO After the first night’s training, everyone slept very well, and we kicked around the prep area, loading mags, and replacing batteries as needed the following morning. The majority of the second day was spent training in pairs and working in and around vehicles. This is because many situations where you’ll need the additional firepower provided by a shoulder-fired weapon like the MP5 will involve a vehicle. One technique immediately felt like one of those “Why didn’t I think of that before?” moments dealing with quickly evacuating a vehicle and firing from the driver side. When the driver needs to open their door to shoot targets quickly, Williamson recommends kicking the door open but keeping your foot on the door to hold it open. Anyone who’s ever angrily thrown a car door open only to have it bounce back and hit them can attest to the value of this concept. Williamson is happy to help shooters with proper pistol shooting techniques but won’t force you to learn his way. Good trainers understand that what works for the shooter is more critical than textbook techniques. Prior to this portion of training, Williamson had us all test the point of aim, point of impact shift of our personal carry guns when firing through automotive glass. Without exception, every round would shift several inches (sometimes feet!) when shot from inside a car through the windshield at a target only a few feet from the hood. Slower velocity cartridges like .45 ACP would shift up to a full yard at 10 feet from the car. Here’s a word of advice: test your gun with some glass if you can. But if that’s not available to you, the rule of thumb is to aim low — approximately at the belt buckle of your would-be assailant. Firing into the vehicle on the other side of the glass produced the opposite effect. The rounds all shifted downward. But because the distance from the glass to the target (the driver or passenger) is much shorter than from the driver to the hood, the shift was only a fraction of what we saw earlier. So much so that you can simply aim at the upper torso. We wrapped up the daytime shooting by sprinting to several targets roughly 50 yards apart in a 300-yard open field. If you want to know how important cardio is to shooting under stress, get yourself winded and try to shoot groups while walking at a target. It was a humbling experience that emphasized the importance of being in fighting shape. The final drills of the day centered on more vehicle shooting, but now with targets illuminated by the vehicle’s headlights. Another big portion of this is communicating with your shooting partner and utilizing cover when engaging targets during a rolling retreat. The entire course was excellent, leaving us a little sore at the end but much more confident in our abilities to run the MP5 under pressure. If you have an MP5 you use for your daily job or simply have one either in your bugout bag or beside your bed at night, the Teufelshund Tactical MP5 Advanced Operators course is highly recommended and well worth the entry fee and ammo spent. CRITICAL KIT Many prospective students ask what equipment to bring. Here are six key recommendations to get the most out of your experience and to use your MP5 to its fullest potential. Some of these accessories are platform-specific, so we cover both the full-sized MP5 and the MP5k PDW. Weapon-Mounted Light The most obvious addition to this list is surprisingly complex. Shooters typically want a purpose-built weaponlight, producing around 350 to 500 lumens. Take caution: more isn’t more. A pocket-sized lighthouse beam whose emitter blasts 2,000 lumens isn’t helpful when there’s anything around that can reflect that light back at you. This is especially true for use indoors. If the light leaves you just as blind and disoriented as your would-be attacker, it isn’t of much use. Additionally, you ideally want a momentary-only switch, if possible. The switch part might seem counter-intuitive because it’s easy to just turn on the light and leave it on while searching for potential threats, but your light works both ways. Yes, it illuminates enemies, but it also acts as a beacon pointing straight to you. By using a momentary switch, you can use the old SureFire firefly technique to quickly get a positive ID on a target before repositioning and engaging. MP5: SureFire 628 + Malkoff MDSFFE-1 For the reasons above, I chose the SureFire 628. It’s a replacement handguard for the MP5 with an integrated flashlight and remote switch. The two downsides to it (especially with older incandescent models) are the lack of illumination and that the flashlight extends far enough past the muzzle to impede the installation of a suppressor. The SureFire 628 integrated flashlight handguard might be a bit dated, but with proper upgrades from Malkoff, it’s every bit as viable today. Fortunately, Malkoff Defense manufactures replacement heads for SureFire (and other) flashlights that produce vastly more light. Their MDSFFE-1 is a replacement head for the factory 628 flashlight that’s not only brighter (350 lumens) but also half as long, allowing you to mount your favorite suppressor on the MP5. The only downside is that using this handguard means you can’t easily mount a vertical grip or a laser to the gun — though there are companies that make mounts that attach to the cocking tube. MP5K: B&T NAR Tri-Rail + Olight Odin Mini Unfortunately for the fans of the baby brother of the MP5, SureFire (or any company currently) doesn’t make a dedicated integral flashlight handguard for the MP5k. The great news is that several companies make excellent railed handguards perfect for mounting whatever you want. The B&T NAR Tri-Rail is an excellent choice. Made from thick (thicc?) durable Cerakoted aluminum, these handguards are nearly bombproof. They also feature rail segments at the six, nine, and three o’clock positions. The MP5K doesn’t have as much rail real estate as the full-sized model, but with some creative attachment placement, it still offers enough room for a light, laser, and vertical grip. I used this handguard with my old Olight Odin Mini since it comes with a bidirectional Picatinny mount. This setup allowed the taclight to mount up and beside the front sight tower out of the way of the handguard itself. Another worthwhile feature is the included magnetically attached pressure switch. While it comes with a Picatinny mount, an elastic band secures it nicely to a vertical grip. The LaRue Tactical FUGG grip is built from hollow anodized aluminum and does a great job of providing an excellent reference point without being too large to obstruct reloads. Quick Detach Sling Without a sling, a rifle or SMG becomes cumbersome quickly. For the MP5, I recommend a single-point sling with a QD mount attached to the rear of the receiver. This offers a good balance of keeping the gun close while giving you plenty of length to manipulate the gun. MP5/MP5K: Blackhawk Multi-Point Sling Snap Hook Blackhawk has been in the gun industry since the early days of the War on Terror. Their Multi-Point Sling Snap Hook works well with the MP5. If you want a totally unscientific testimonial, I’ve personally got the sling caught on a barrier at a three-gun match and accidentally suspended my entire body weight from it without breaking. As far as unique features, the Blackhawk can be adjusted on the fly with one hand in seconds, making it extremely useful and versatile. The use of snap hooks with this sling is especially important for MP5 operators, as they make attaching the sling to your SMG not only easy and quick but also extremely secure. Sure, there are more advanced or feature-laden slings on the market, but when things get serious, you want something simple and reliable. And that’s exactly what the Multi-Point Sling Snap Hook is. Collapsible Stock MP5: Factory HK Two-Position Collapsible Stock While there are multiple versions of this stock available from HK and various clones, the two-position is great for one very simple reason: once it’s unlocked, you only need to pull on it rearward to get the perfect position. While the original fixed MP5 stock is fantastic, if you’re moving and shooting or moving from or manipulating inside of closed spaces like a vehicle, you want your gun as small as possible. The original OEM MP5 collapsible stock offers a stable option that still greatly reduces the gun’s overall size. No other collapsible stock for the full-sized MP5 is as durable and robust as the factory option. Initially developed for the G3 battle rifle, the HK two-position collapsible stock can tolerate an absurd amount of abuse. Not only that, but it also has next to zero play in it, regardless of whether you mount it on a factory HK sub-gun or one of the various clones on the market today. The only downside to the stock is its price. All versions currently on the market demand more than $500. But this is one of those instances where you 100 percent get what you pay for. MP5K: B&T BT-200598 Collapsible Stock The original MP5K shipped without a stock of any type. This was unquestionably the most compact option available, making the MP5K easily concealable in a trench coat or even one of the ultrarare purpose-built briefcases. The downside of this ultra-compact package was that the gun was nearly impossible to shoot accurately at range. When the U.S. military adopted the gun, they requested a foldable, compact stock. Their solution was the iconic triangular Chote polymer stock, which, while very functional, is heavy and nearly doubles the width of the gun. B&T’s solution was their BT-200598, a multi-position collapsible stock that only adds about an inch to the gun’s overall length when fully collapsed. Another great feature of the stock is that it only locks in one direction, meaning if at any time you want more length to the stock, you need only to pull on it. The release is also in a fully ambidextrous location — the bottom of the center of the rear of the receiver. This is ideal since it allows you to adjust the stock with your shooting hand’s thumb without having to remove your hand from the pistol grip. The B&T stock also features a pair of sling loops above the release button. The BT-200598 is a great option; it not only works great but also really looks badass. The only downside to the stock is its price — around $500. But for anyone familiar with B&T, this is par for the course. Nothing they make is cheap, not in the qualitative sense or monetary sense of the word. Optics If speed is the name of the game, optics are your best friend. For night shooting, in particular, you want something that’s extremely easy to use, very robust, and has multiple brightness settings. MP5/MP5K: EOTech EXPS3 What?! That gigantic holographic sight that’s nearly two decades old? Yeah. They might not be the cheapest or lightest solution, but EOTech’s holographic weapon sights are ideal for not only fast target acquisition, but also for rapid range adjustment. That’s because the crosshair-style reticle has multiple reference points that you can use as makeshift subtensions for quickly obtaining longer or even shorter-range hits. EoTech’s holographic sights are bomb-proof and lightning-fast thanks to its huge reticle. For example, if an adult human fits in the large circle around the center dot, they’re approximately 100 yards away. If they fit in half of the circle, they’re 200 yards away. While this quick-ranging feature isn’t as useful for short-barreled 9mm SBRs/SMGs like the MP5, the massive size of the circle makes acquiring a sight picture lightning fast and virtually effortless. Magazines The lynchpin of any semi-automatic firearm is its magazine. If the magazine can’t reliably feed rounds to the gun, any firearm, regardless of cost or precision, becomes a cumbersome bolt-action. Thankfully, there are more good options for the MP5 than bad. Here are three favorites. HK OEM 30-Round Magazine If you want the gold standard, you have to pay the gold price. The second generation (meaning curved, not straight) HK magazines are irrefutably the most reliable option on the market. The only downside to them is the cost. New examples go for around $70. And you’ll probably want to own at least five, ideally 10 magazines for any serious-use gun in your collection. This means you might have to fork over $700 to get all the mags you’ll need. But surely there’s a cheaper option available … Turkish MKE Factory 30-Round Magazine If it weren’t for cartouches and markings, these mags would be virtually indistinguishable from factory HK mags. And for good reason: Turkey builds them on licensed HK machinery. Ostensibly, these mags are just as expensive as their German brothers, but they often go on sale for closer to $45 to $50. The B&T collapsible stock for the MP5K is undeniably the most compact option available. They’re still not cheap by AR-15 or AK magazine standards, but they still offer substantial savings for shooters looking to buy in bulk. Korean KCI Gen2 20- and 30-Round Magazines Want something even cheaper? Here, have some Korean mags. The Korean-built KCI magazines for the MP5 get a bad rap because of early first-generation models. These weren’t terribly reliable and occasionally would cause rounds to nose-dive into the magazine body. Thankfully, the engineers at KCI remedied these issues with their second-generation models. What’s unfortunate is that they look nearly identical to the original models. The best way to ensure you get the latest models is to buy new ones from reputable online sources and not gun shows. Whether you choose the full-sized MP5 or the MP5K, both guns are extremely accurate and relentlessly reliable. While it’s fun to find great deals at gun shows, the two generations are identical without the package, so it’s best not to take chances unless the price is absurdly low.) These mags retail for between $37 and $29, depending on how many you buy at once. Buy in bulk to save. Plus, One Crucial Upgrade: Ammunition This should go without saying, but don’t buy the cheapest gun show reloads you can find. Also, don’t buy sketchy steel-cased ammo if you can help it (unless you know 100 percent that your gun likes it). Most MP5s will run with anything you feed them, but as a general rule, NATO-spec 124-grain FMJ is what the MP5 likes best. It’ll also run with any 115-grain FMJ round made by a reputable ammo manufacturer like Hornady, Winchester, Federal, Gorilla, or Ammo Inc. Explore RECOILweb:Friday Night Gun Porn - Diamondback Firearms' new DB FS 9mmDouble Action Auto - The Long PullPreview - National World War II MuseumTelluric Group supplies Small Arms Collimators to Snipers NEXT STEP: Download Your Free Target Pack from RECOILFor years, RECOIL magazine has treated its readers to a full-size (sometimes full color!) shooting target tucked into each big issue. Now we've compiled over 50 of our most popular targets into this one digital PDF download. From handgun drills to AR-15 practice, these 50+ targets have you covered. Print off as many as you like (ammo not included). Get your pack of 50 Print-at-Home targets when you subscribe to the RECOIL email newsletter. 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