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HK53 Series

The HK53
Rifle Power in a Submachine Gun Package
Caliber 5.56mm x 45 NATO

Rifle power in a submachine gun package, the HK53.  It is truly neither rifle, nor submachine gun, but a strange mixture of both.  A submachine gun is defined as a select fire weapon, fired from the shoulder using a pistol cartridge.  However, with only an 8.3 inch barrel, the HK53 hardly qualifies as a rifle.  The HK53 fills the void where pistol cartridge submachine guns like the MP5 or MP5/10 and MP5/40 may not be suitable against armored suspects.

Many parts of the HK53 are interchangeable with the MP5, they are so similar in size.  The example above shows us the newer style  concave buttplate that until recently was only reserved for the MP5 series.  It is now available for the 33 and 53 series.  The forks are slightly longer on this model than for the MP5 series.  The four prong flash hider seen here is now standard.  It does much more to suppress the flash from this short barreled weapon than did the more standard flash hider seen on the 33 and G3.

There is also a frangible ammunition adapter offered as an option that provides the necessary back pressure to cycle the HK53 reliably with very light .223 caliber frangible ammunition that is now available for entry situations where deep penetration is more undesirable.  This may prove somewhat unnecessary, since the national trend of adopting .223 caliber firearms for tactical entry is proving that there is generally less ancillary penetration of  conventional .223 caliber projectiles than even pistol caliber submachine guns.

Caliber Cyclic Rate Mag Capacity Modes of Fire Width (in/mm) Height (in/mm) Weight (lb/kg) bbl. length (in/mm) Overall
Length (in/mm)
5.56 x 45 700 20/25/30/40 S/2/3/F 2.05 8.26 5.96 8.31 29.72
5.56 x 45 700 20/25/30/40 S/2/3/F 52 210 3.00 211 755


The HK53A3 with older style convex A3 buttstock and 25 round steel magazine.  The versatile Hensoldt 4X scope is seen here with the HK NATO STANAG mount.  (STANAG--NATO STANdardization AGreement)

HK53a3.jpg (26582 bytes)


HK53app.jpg (26675 bytes)
HK53A3 with old Hensoldt Aiming Point Projector, a bulky C cell sighting system that is totally obsolete now.  Several examples are available in the U.S., usually commanding high prices for collectors.


HK53 firing port weapon for use on tanks and armored personnel carriers.  It is called the HK53 MICV.  Very rare variant!


hk53schatz.jpg (43929 bytes)
HK Law Enforcement brochure photo from mid-1990s (predating the current full color catalogs) that shows the frangible ammunition adapter on the HK53A3.  It allows very lightweight frangible bullets to be fired from the HK53 with sufficient recoil impulse to cycle the gun in all modes of fire.  It is one of only a few photos of the adapter in HK sales literature.


Heckler & Koch promotional photo with HK53A3, 30 round steel magazine, three round burst trigger group.  This is undoubtedly an HK employee, name unknown, wearing standard issue German camouflage.


hk53swatcov.jpg (35443 bytes)
Cover of recent issue of SWAT magazine featuring HK53.  Pose is completely incorrect  technique.   Bladed stance, center of gravity not forward, feet at 45 degree angle.  This is more like a traditional rifle shooting stance.