Surplus military weapons are one of the things I like to collect and shoot. For a variety of reasons, including regulations and cost, some guns are difficult for shooters to acquire. Fortunately, there are rimfire alternatives on the market for an increasing number of military-style weapons. These semi-automatic guns avoid some of the red tape associated with obtaining a select-fire weapon while staying friendly to the household budget. Recently, I had the chance to shoot a variety of rimfire replicas. The guns were all pistol versions of three military-style firearms: the HK416, UZI Pistol and HK MP5.
Walther HK416 Pistol
Based on the respected HK416 centerfire rifle by Heckler & Koch, the rimfire HK416 pistol is made under license by Walther. Having shot the exceptionally nice HK416 centerfire rifle, I was eager to try out its rimfire cousin.
I was extremely impressed the first time I handled this pistol. Everything about it says “quality.” The pistol has a nice heft to it, and the gun feels solid. Nothing in this pistol felt like a cheap knock-off. Most of the controls mimic those on the centerfire rifle. The selector switch, charging handle and magazine release all work as you would expect. Although the forward assist doesn’t appear to do anything, it still has spring resistance, allowing the shooter to go through the motions if he or she is using the pistol as a training tool. The paddle-style bolt release on the left side of the pistol is not a functioning control. If the bolt is locked to the rear, pulling back on the charging handle about 0.25 inches will release it and chamber a round.
I found the HK416 pistol to be extremely accurate with a variety of ammunition. Several loads turned in sub-1-inch groups at 25 yards using the iron sights and a rest. Adding glass might make all of the loads sub-1-inch performers. Shooting off-hand widened the groups but did nothing to diminish the sheer fun in shooting this pistol.
I experienced no malfunctions with the HK416. Rimfire firearms can be finicky, with certain kinds of ammunition working and others causing all sorts of problems. However, the HK416 pistol ran flawlessly with every kind of .22 ammo I fed it. There is an adjustment screw to alter the bolt speed for different kinds of ammo, but I did not need to make any adjustments to get 100-percent reliability from this gun.
Walther did an exceptional job with this pistol. Whether you are looking for a fun .22 LR to shoot or an inexpensive alternative to the centerfire HK416, you would be quite happy with this one in your collection. The HK416 .22 pistol is a real winner that is certain to please.
Walther Uzi Pistol
One of the iconic military and police weapons of the 20th century is the Uzi submachine gun. Developed after World War II, the Uzi has seen service with the Israeli Defense Forces, U.S. Secret Service and military units all around the world. Walther is now making a rimfire replica of the 9mm Uzi pistol. Like the HK416 replica, the Uzi pistol is a quality reproduction that bears a striking resemblance to the centerfire gun. The gun is solidly built, heavy and feels like the real thing.
Modeled after the Uzi pistol, which itself was based on the Micro Uzi submachine gun, the rimfire pistol has controls that will be very familiar to anyone who has shot the centerfire versions. The charging handle is on top of the receiver, a simple sliding safety is on the left side of the gun and the magazine release is integral to the grip near the magazine well. Like the original Uzi, this gun has a grip safety that must be depressed to fire the weapon. The sights are fully adjustable and a short Picatinny-style rail has been added under the barrel.
Due to its weight (almost 4 pounds), the gun has very little felt recoil. Some shooters might find the weight of the gun impairs their ability to shoot accurately when fully extended, but I did not. In fact, the gun was more accurate than I had anticipated. From a rest, most five-shot groups were under 1.5 inches at 25 yards. When shooting without the benefit of a rest, I found my groups were tighter than the off-hand groups with the HK416 pistol. The Uzi pistol wouldn’t be my first choice for squirrel hunting, but it can definitely add a lot of fun to any range trip.
Perhaps second only to the Uzi in public recognition of submachine guns is the HK MP5. German Sport Guns (GSG) makes a .22 LR pistol replica of the famous submachine gun, and American Tactical Imports (ATI) handles its importation into the United States.
The GSG 522P’s controls are similar to the MP5’s, though the guns are not precise replicas. As with the MP5, the charging handle is on the left side of the pistol and the shooter can slap the handle down to chamber a round. The safety is in the same position, and the gun uses the notch-type rear sight similar to the one found on the MP5K submachine gun variant.
There are a variety of cosmetic differences, however, between the GSG 522P and the MP5. Among them are the unusual texture on the pistol grip in the trigger housing and the sights. The front sight post is open, rather than completely encircled in a protective hood. For anyone with experience shooting an MP5, this will change the sight picture you are used to. Some parts companies offer kits for the 522P that allow a shooter to swap out parts and give the gun a more accurate MP5 appearance. These kits can include a new trigger housing and a front sight that accurately replicates the MP5’s front sight assembly.
This gun shoots very well, and I was extremely pleased with its performance. Accuracy was very good as was reliability. I experienced no malfunctions with the gun. Although the gun had a few cosmetic inconsistencies from the MP5, it was a great gun to get on the range. As with the other rimfire pistols in this group, it was just plain fun to shoot.