Midwest Industries MP5 Rail: M-LOK on a Subbie

The Heckler and Koch MP5 is arguably one of the most recognizable submachine guns in the world. Developed in the 1960s, it was quickly adopted by German Federal Police. Since its inception, the MP5 has been a thing of divine obsession for many as images of the weapon were broadcast worldwide during Operation Nimrod (SAS siege of the Iranian Embassy in London). Despite its age, the MP5 has undergone few upgrades to its timeless appearance. Unfortunately, timeless doesn’t always mean it’s the most modern or practical as the upgraded Midwest Industries MP5 rail has shown me.

Thatcher with British SAS
The Heckler and Koch MP5 is a legendary submachine gun in reality and film. In this photo, UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher poses with British SAS operatives responsible for the successful Iranian Embassy siege (Photo courtesy of British Ministry of Defense).

Over the years, I’ve developed a diverse collection of pistol caliber carbines (PCCs). Admittedly, it’s gotten a little out of hand with additions like the KRISS Vector and Uzi Model A, but the MP5 remains a necessary part of any extensive PCC collection. When I got my hands on the Midwest Industries MP5 rail, I was excited to put it on a short-barreled rifle MP5 I’ve had in my collection for some time.

My MP5 started as a decommissioned and chopped Heckler and Koch MP5A3N and was de-milled, welded, and reassembled. Of course, with some input from the nice folks at the ATF, it became a registered, but unfortunately semi-automatic only, SBR MP5. Nevertheless, it’s a fun PCC with a strong sense of nostalgia. I’m not saying I am an SAS operator, but it’s hard to not feel as cool as one every time I slapped the MP5’s charging handle.

Midwest Industries MP5 Rail

As time went on, my “homemade” MP5 performed well, but it missed the modern touch. Despite the initial addition of a geriatric Surefire weapon light, the rifle lacked certain features. First, the Surefire weapon light interfered with the ability to use a suppressor, whether added with direct thread or the distinctive tri-lug attachment mechanism. Second, there’s something about a secure vertical foregrip that adds a significant level of control to a carbine or SBR. While the MP5 is controllable in its “OG” configuration, it isn’t nearly as controllable when adorned with a vertical foregrip. Thus, I began the search for a quality, reputable rail to give a facelift to this legendary platform. After some research, the Midwest Industries MP5 rail took the lead. Simply put: I was not disappointed.

Progression of forends
The original MP5 forend (top) left little imagination for accessories or additions while the Surefire integral forend light (middle) restricted the option for a suppressor. The Midwest Industries rail offers the best of both worlds and allows the user to accessorize accordingly.

The Midwest Industries MP5 rail is exceptionally simple in both appearance and design. Midwest Industries is nothing new to the rail game. I acquired my first Midwest rail nearly 10 years ago and have acquired several since with reliable and consistent performance despite regular abuse directed towards them. Nevertheless, Midwest Industries has continued to improve the quality and design of its products over the years.


The Midwest Industries MP5 rail is exceptionally easy to install. Secured with a detent pin, the MP5 forend has changed little to none in 60 years. Midwest secures its rail with a single bolt through where the detent pin is normally located. The bolt secures an aluminum section that attaches to the rail with two additional screws. Before tightening the two screws down, the rail secures to the barrel trunnion and has some room for adjustment. The overall installation process was exceptionally fast with the rail installed in about three or four minutes.

Midwest Industries MP5 rail screws
The Midwest Industries MP5 rail mounts securely with three hex screws. The third screw (not seen) is opposite the smaller one pictured.


For anyone looking to upgrade their rifle, there are two points to consider: 1. Does it solve a problem? 2. Does it improve function and performance? There are many “upgrades” available nowadays that are the firearms equivalent of gas station knives. It looks cool but serves little purpose to actually improve the handling and/or performance of the firearm. In the case of the Midwest Industries MP5 rail, it improves performance and solves a problem.

For those of us who like things a bit more quiet, a suppressor is a great tool. Furthermore, a fighting light on your rifle is even better. BOTH makes for an excellent combination. Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, the classic Surefire MP5 forend impeded suppressor use. With the Midwest rail, that became a non-issue and, with the convenience of M-LOK slots, the addition of a light was easy.

Rail with light and suppressor
In a right-handed world, I found myself at home mounting the included rail section at the 2 o’clock position on the rail. This made the rifle exceptionally lefty-friendly but is just as accommodating to right-handed shooters. It also conveniently allowed for the addition of a suppressor.

The Midwest Industries MP5 rail included a Picatinny M-LOK section. Any of the seven rail planes will accept M-LOK accessories. Due to the location of the MP5’s legendary cocking handle, 360-degree coverage from a forend rail is problematic. Nevertheless, Midwest Industries utilized a “tri-rail” design but included seven planes on the forend capable of accepting M-LOK accessories. While I would have preferred a scout light, I found several orientations to mount the included Picatinny rail that sufficiently accepted a Surefire X300 Ultra weapon light. As a lefty, this was convenient. Righties, your results may vary due to the cocking handle’s location. For once, the lefties have something going for them. On behalf of the wrong-handed, thank you Heckler and Koch and Midwest Industries.

Midwest Industries MP5 rail with Magpul MVG
The MagPul MVG M-LOK vertical foregrip is mounted easily to the Midwest rail, just as any M-LOK attachment should.

The M-LOK system conveniently accepted a Magpul MVG forend I had on hand. With the addition of a Magpul SL stock, the rifle became exceptionally comfortable and controllable under rapid fire. I’ll have more on Magpul’s SL stock in another missive. That upgrade is more than worthy of its own discussion.

Midwest Industries MP5 Rail on the Range

After I got my tinkeritis out of the way and found a comfortable position for the vertical foregrip, it was time to head to the range. Now that the forend no longer impeded with using a suppressor, I outfitted the rifle with a trusty AAC Ti-Rant 45 suppressor with a tri-lug adaptor. While a tad gassier under heavy, sustained rapid fire; the gun was exceptionally fun to shoot. The vertical forend made an already notoriously controllable carbine almost laughable at transitioning between targets while stringing them with controlled pairs.

Shooting MP5 on range
While this hooded operator may not be British SAS (or maybe he is?), he found this setup exceptionally easier to manipulate with the addition of the vertical forend.

Over the course of several hundred rounds, there were no issues. The mounting design, when torqued to the specs provided by Midwest Industries, is secure and doesn’t wiggle or move. Furthermore, the mounting design didn’t affect point-of-aim to point-of-impact. The rail is undeniably secure during shooting. You can be confident this isn’t something you’re going to break with a little abuse. I plan to run it harder over the coming months, but initial impressions are this rail isn’t going anywhere except the range anytime soon.

Final Thoughts

The Midwest Industries MP5 rail is a simple, fast, and relatively affordable addition for those of us blessed enough to own an HK MP5/94 or one of its many clones. My initial impression of the rifle is very favorable. Furthermore, the versatility of the rail system and its friendliness towards the addition of a suppressor are huge wins in my book. Most of all, the price is extremely attractive. In a world of outrageously priced HK accessories, this MP5 rail is a palatable $136.99 from GunMag Warehouse. While it may not give off the British SAS vibes of yesteryear, it certainly is a solid investment to bring this classic well into the 21st century.

Tom Stilson began his firearms career in 2012 working a gun store counter. He progressed to conducting appraisals for fine and collectible firearms before working as the firearms compliance merchant for a major outdoor retailer. In 2015, he entered public service and began his law enforcement career. Tom has a range of experience working for big and small as well as urban and rural agencies. Among his qualifications, Tom is certified as a firearms instructor, field trainer, and in special weapons and tactics. If not on his backyard range, he spends his time with family or spreading his passion for firearms and law enforcement.

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