First off, it's clear you bring a valuable perspective to the forum. Thank you for taking the time to share that resource with us. Your training and experience on the MP5 are things I do not have. The first time I shot an MP5 was when HK flew me out to Georgia earlier this year, that was also the first time I got hands on with the SP5K. Because I do not have formal training on the platform, I have approached mastering its operation through a process of significant trial and error.
I am not an operator, I am a competitive shooter. My concerns with any platform I will be competing with focus almost exclusively on what will be the fastest and most reliable technique for a given action so that I can wring the highest level of performance out of the platform possible. I hear the gross motor skill argument often, generally from people advocating a slower and less efficient form of weapon manipulation such as always using an overhand rack to recharge the pistol rather than simply dropping the slide with the slide stop. With respect, if you can pull the trigger well enough to get accurate hits under stress, you can hit a mag release button under the same stress.
All of my magazines for the SP5K drop free reliably, which ruled out the necessity of ripping them out of the gun on the reload. Since I do not have to rip the mag from the gun, I now have the freedom to drive my support hand directly to the replacement mag and start bringing it up to the magwell as I drop the existing magazine with my firing hand. Yes, the magazine button is significantly forward of something like an AR. No, that doesn't really matter as far as speed goes. Speed is more a matter of efficiency and eliminating wasted motion, and for me using the mag release button accomplishes that goal.
I value your training and experience and don't really expect to change your mind on this. I simply offer the counterpoint that with some practice, my reloads with the SP5K are as fast and reliable as my reloads with an AR15 under match pressure.
Thanks for the thoughtful reply.
HK flew you to GA? Nice! How did that come to be? Sounds fantastic.
It's not so much about changing yours (or anyone's mind) so much as offering my point of view based on my experience, training and exposure to others in various settings. It was HK ITD of all places that had the following on the walls - even in the latrine - "A way, Not the way." Love that.
I've shot competitively on and off in a variety of disciplines since I was a young child shooting small bore. I've never competed at the levels that I'm sure that you do. I have seen some top practical shooting competitors in action - an amazing thing to watch.
I think that the reason that HK and every other school, conference, etc that I've attended teaches the use of the paddle may be inherent in the difference between straight competition and tactical operations. I've been impressed that while the speed and accuracy of top competitors is incredible some important tactics fall away in favor of speed. People tend to do under stress what they're trained to do thus these tactical errors are more likely to creep into a gunfight. For example, crowding cover, placing the muzzle in front of the cover, reloads not behind cover, etc. Not that one does not see the same stuff in combat but the tactical schools do stress proper use of cover, light discipline, etc.
Not all MP5 mags drop free, esp in crappy weather/conditions and sometimes in any conditions. I was at a week long school which mostly took place in driving rain with an MP5 last fall. It was muddy and nasty and most of the mags didn't drop free. Further, when doing the standard immediate action drill with an MP5 (moving parts back, mag out, mag in with a push/pull movement, moving parts forward) the motions are more easily done with the support hand releasing the paddle and controlling the mag. Its very easy to release the mag with the paddle and to control the mag with the support hand in one fluid motion. As you know, for tac reloads one wants to retain the mag as well, also more easily done with the support hand releasing the paddle and controlling the mag. Even when faced with an emergency reload I'd rather be positively sure the mag is gone rather than getting jammed up if it didn't drop. All the more so in low light, with a lot of kit on, MOPP stuff, etc.
I think that every major school teaches the paddle release. I'm at TacOps East next week. John Meyer of Team One Network is usually there. He was the head of HK ITD for years. I think that Gene Zink attends sometimes as well. He is a former Delta Operator who was the head of ITD for a time and is a amazing MP5 shooter, likely one of the best to ever shoot that system. If I see them or any of the other former Senior ITD instructors I'll run this by them to see if they've encountered any training anywhere that favors the button over the paddle.
I'm with you on the slide release. I've been yelled at countless times to "Stop using the slide stop!, It's a slide stop, not a slide release!..." The argument that I usually hear is not the fine vs gross motor one but the spring compression argument.
In short, while in your hands the button may be faster I think that the paddle is most reliable. If the mag does not drop I think that it takes more time to deal with this then when using the button. I think that the paddle also offers more efficient control of the mag during IADs, tac reloads, is easier with gloves and if incapacitated, etc. as well. As you note, the button on an MP5 is not as easily used as that on an AR due to reach. The use of the paddle offers a nice consistency of operation for all manner of reloads and IADs.
To each their own, like you just offering my perspective. Thanks again for your excellent note.