MP5 vs Banshee | Which is Better for Civilians?

The MP5 and the CMMG Banshee are both sub-guns that use delayed blowback systems. But the reloading process for each is quite different. Which one is better for civilians? (If you had to just pick just one, of course – thankfully, you don’t. ‘Merica.)

To find out, our own Jeremy Stone took to the range and did a comparison in the video below.

The Banshee is made by CMMG in the USA, it comes in a couple of different variants. The one Jeremy uses in this video is the Sig variant, but the company also offers a Glock and a Colt-style variant (in case you were wondering.)

As for the MP5, Jeremy takes a couple of versions to the range: an actual H&K MP5 and a Century Arms AP5 (an MP5 clone). He ultimately chose the cloned version to compare with the CMMG Banshee because it is more likely to be available in the civilian market. And, though it does have full auto, that function isn’t included in the comparison between the two firearms because unless you go through the ATF paperwork, you’re not allowed to have one.

Yeah, we know…

So for the sake of simplicity, and because this is a discussion about civilian use, Jeremy focuses on reloads, recoil impulse, pricing, and availability.

Jeremy Stone holding 30-round Sig magazine
He brings out the 30-round Sig magazines for this, because of course. They’re in stock at the Warehouse so why wouldn’t he?

Which one would be better for civilians?


In the video, Jeremy is using an older Banshee model. A newer model is available, which is only slightly different from the one you see in the video. Pricing for the CMMG is around $1700.

The AP5 is a little more pricey than the Banshee, at about $2000. However, of the two, only one of these guns has decades of experience and was used by SAS operators to rescue hostages in London (Iranian Embassy Siege of 1980). So, it’s got that going for it, obviously, but it’s going to be a little more expensive.

MP5 used at Iranian Embassy Hostage siege in 1980
The MP-5 was seen on the world stage when wielded by the British Special Air Service in 1980 during the Iranian Embassy Hostage Siege.

Reloading the MP5 vs the Banshee

MP5 Reloading

The MP5 does not have a last-round bolt hold, so you would fire until you hear the dead man’s click, throw the bolt to the rear, drop the magazine out, put a new magazine in, and smack it down, ready to rock and roll.

Jeremy says, “I guess back in the 90s the Germans really liked slapping their guns. Because a lot of their guns have a slapstick (that’s what he calls it) at the front. You give it a good smack ”

Remember, he’s left-handed, so doing it all right-handed is a little awkward for him. He says it’s not actually necessary to smack the slapstick, but we should honor history and tradition as much as humanly possible.

You have a couple of different reloading options with the AP5. It is possible to drop the mag out and seat another mag if you’ve got extra ‘hulk’ strength behind it. It’s not actually that easy, but if you can do it, more power to ya. 

Since Jeremy is left-handed, if he locks the bolt back, takes the mag out, and puts a new mag in, all he’s going to do is throw his thumb ‘right here’ and he’s ready to roll.

Banshee Reloading

Compared to the MP5, the Banshee controls will be a little more familiar to most Americans, because they’re similar to the controls on the popular AR platform.

CMMG Banshee controls
The controls on the CMMG Banshee are similar to the popular AR-15 platform, and will feel more familiar to many shooters.

The reload process on the Banshee is actually quite simple. You run it until it’s dry. The bolt will lock to the rear, you throw the new mag in, throw the bolt home, and Boom. You’re ready to go. 

Jeremy Stone shooting the CMMG Banshee

And the winner is…

Jeremy says that if he could only pick one, he’d probably pick the Banshee. Number one, it’s made in America, simple as that. Number two: the controls are extremely familiar and the ambidextrous safety is going to be a big deal for him. There is no safety on the MP5 clone. He demonstrates how much strength it takes to flip the safety on the AP5, and if he uses his right hand, he can barely reach it. But with the Banshee, all day, every day, he can easily reach that control. It’s super easy. 

Same thing with the last round bolt hold. The Banshee has quicker, more efficient reloads. The biggest downside to CMMG, is that it’s not an MP5. It’s that simple.

Jeremy Stone shooting an MP5 clone, the Century Arms AP5
The MP5 is a beautiful, historic gun.

It would be great to own both, but Jeremy says if he was starting out, he would save a bit of money, roughly $300-ish, run the Banshee with its familiar controls, and get it with a magazine that can be run with a companion pistol. For example, if Jeremy has a Sig P320, he can use the same magazines, same rounds, toss it into his pistol for whatever reason he needs to, and he’s good to go.

Of course, there are also aftermarket parts you can put on the Banshee. You can swap the handguard, take the irons off, you can put a rail on the top, change the stock, whatever you want to do. But, right out of the box, the CMMG Banshee has a lot more modularity—just throw a red dot on there, and so, for that Jeremy gives it a couple more points.

As he said before, the only drawback to the CMMG is that it’s not an MP5. The MP5 is hard to beat. It’s a historic gun and you absolutely should own one. It’s the best recoiling 9mm subgun that Jeremy’s ever shot—even better than the CMMG, but not by a crazy amount. The CMMG isn’t going to rock you back or anything. They’re both comparable, but if he had to choose only one, it would be the CMMG Banshee.

You make your own decision. Let us know what you think in the comments section. 

Stephanie Kimmell is the firstborn daughter of Missouri's Pecan King, worthy scion of a Vietnam veteran sailor turned mad engineer-orchardist-inventor-genius. With a BA in technical writing, she freelances as a writer and editor. A Zymurgist greatly interested in the decoction of fermented barley and hops, she is in many ways a modern amalgam of Esther Hobart Morris, Rebecca Boone, and Nellie Bly. She hunts, fishes, butchers, and cooks most anything. When not editing or writing, she makes soaps and salves, spins wool, and occasionally makes cheese from cows she milked herself. Kimmell is a driven epistemophilic who loves live music and all sorts of beer.

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5 thoughts on “MP5 vs Banshee | Which is Better for Civilians?

  1. I’m really surprised that given the popularity of the HK MP5 platform, even after all these year, that HK hasn’t updated the MP5 to include a last round bolt hold feature. It would probably have a lot of HK purists complaining, but it would take the already excellent MP5 platform and update it to modern times.
    Maybe the solution would be to offer the classic version and the updated version both.

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