Weapons Of The Special Forces   1 comment



An example of the right tool to get the special ops job done is the Mk23 (Mark 23) .45-cal. ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) from Heckler & Koch. During the late 1980s, as the rest of the military was embracing its new 9mm M9 handguns, special operations representatives identified the need for an “Offensive Handgun Weapons System—Special Operations Peculiar.” 

Heckler & Koch MK23 This offensive handgun weapons system is designed to provide .45-cal. power during close-quarter battle. 

The new weapons system, which was optimized for close-quarter battle (now called close-quarter combat) operations, included a .45-cal. semiautomatic pistol with a 12-round magazine, sound suppressor and laser-aiming module. Requirements called for ammunition compatibility with the M1911 .45-cal. ball cartridge as well as “enhanced ammunition.” Included in the latter category was the .45-cal. ACP “+P” (Plus-P) cartridge, described in the spec as a 185-grain full metal jacket truncated cone, semiwadcutter-type ammunition of higher pressure and velocity than a standard commercial .45-cal. ACP. 

Deliveries of the resulting Mk23 system began in 1996, with the majority of the special operations systems (approximately 2500) fielded to Navy SEALs. 

In addition to the .45-cal. Mk23, various special operations elements carry a wide range of handguns from 9mm down to .22-cal. 

Fabrique Nationale P90 FN Herstal’s 5.7 x 28mm P90 is one of the new generation of “personal defense weapons” that could have special operations applications. 


Another weapon category for selected special operations scenarios is the submachine gun/machine pistol, with one of the most popular models being the 9mm Heckler & Koch MP5 machine pistol. 

Heckler & Koch MP5 The MP5 is available in over 120 different variations optimized for different tactical applications. 

At one time the MP5 was offered in both .40-cal. and 10mm designs, but those options have been discontinued, with only the 9mm MP5 currently manufactured. 

With over 120 variants available, the MP5 meets the broadest range of tactical requirements. Examples of its flexibility in special operations can be seen in the MP5K-PDW (Personal Defense Weapon) variant, with features like a folding buttstock, vertical foregrip, and threaded barrel for accessory attachments. In addition to these tactical features, various MP5 trigger group options range from the single-fire semiautomatic variant to the fully automatic “Navy trigger group” favored by many U.S. special operators. 

Heckler & Koch UMP The UMP is drawing special operations interest due to its multicaliber flexibility. 

Although the 9mm MP5 remains a popular base system, Heckler & Koch representatives point to their new UMP (Universal Machine Pistol) Submachine Guns as the next likely addition to special operations armories. 

While typical MP5 series 9 x 19mm (9mm Parabellum) options include the Winchester 115-grain Silvertip (muzzle velocity 1225 feet per second) and 147-grain Subsonic (muzzle velocity 1010 fps), H&K offers the same popular weapon design in both .40-cal. Smith & Wesson and .45-cal. ACP. Options for .40-cal. ammunition include the Winchester 155-grain Silvertip (muzzle velocity 1205 fps) and Winchester 180-grain JHP (muzzle velocity 990 fps), while .45-cal. ACP options include the Winchester 185-grain Silvertip and Proload 185-grain JHP (both with a muzzle velocity of 1000 fps). 

Heckler & Koch MP7A1 Developed by H&K, the 4.6 x 30mm MP7 series is another “personal defense weapon” with potential special operations applications. 

According to Bruce Davidson, Military Programs Manager at Heckler & Koch Defense, the flexible UMP design is drawing considerable interest from special operations elements. 

Noting that there are a few UMP models currently in field testing, Davidson says, “I think the biggest reason that UMP is drawing a lot of interest right now is because it does come in [9mm, .40 and .45 cal.]. So the units that are out there using different-caliber pistols have the ability to select the caliber of sub-machine gun that they want to use to match their pistol ammo.” 

Heckler & Koch MP5N The MP5N is popular with Navy special operations forces. 


Posted October 9, 2013 by kitokinimi in Uncategorized

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  1. Pingback: Guns in Popular Culture: The Last Stand |

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