One of the first guns I ever shot was a Heckler & Koch MP5. I loved it; it was easy to shoot, it looked cool, and the ergonomics were great.
So when I looked at buying an MP5 for myself, the price tag was an instant shock. They were far out of my price range; however, upon researching the MP5, I found out there was another “version” of the MP5 that was significantly more within my budget: the GSG-522.
GSG stands for German Sports Guns, a company based out of Ense, Germany near Düsseldorf. GSG specializes in .22 LR chambered firearms. They make a .22 LR AK-47, 1911, MP5 knock-off, and several others. In other words, they’re for the gun lover who may have a tighter budget but doesn’t want to sacrifice quality.
Admittedly, this gun is clearly a knockoff. Because of that, probably the most attractive part of the entire gun is its price tag: I bought the GSG for $229.99 with an additional 22-round magazine for $24.99. The factory version came with a California-compliant 10-round magazine, so I added on the additional 22-round magazine (not .22 caliber: the magazine actually holds 22 rounds).
Of course, right now, as many of the guns that you could normally scoop up for less than $300 are, unfortunately, about double that -- when you can find them in stock at all -- the 522 is no exception. Looking at Gunbroker, some of the only 522s available online are in the $450 - $600 range.
Here are the specifications, per Sportman’s Warehouse:
BARREL LENGTH 16.3in
STOCK Black Polymer
SIGHTS Iron Sights & Drilled & Tapped For Optics Rail
ACTION Semi Automatic
CARTRIDGE 22 Long Rifle
OVERALL LENGTH 33.6in
The GSG-522 is a great addition to my gun collection. In firing about 1,000 rounds through it, I have only had one jam (this was probably more a user error than anything, anyway).
The cocking lever of the 522 is probably my favorite part of the entire gun. Instead of having to pull back a lever like a 10/22 or charging handle like an AR-15, the lever locks back and up, so to put a round in the chamber, you can slap the lever down. It’s called the HK Slap. See this video for a demonstration of it.
Unlike the MP5, the 522 has a faux suppressor, which is just designed to hide the longer barrel. Not that a .22 LR really requires suppressing in the first place. So, while it adds visual interest and helps the knock off look more like the actual gun, don't be caught off guard when the suppressor doesn't work.
The sights leave a bit to be desired. I didn’t have a huge problem with them, but there are definitely better options on the market that I would purchase before settling for these. From the inexperienced shooter’s perspective, the rear sight in particular is confusing to use. My wife, and both parents shot it, and each found that the rear sight just wasn’t user-friendly; especially compared with an AR-15’s or 10/22’s sights, the GSG’s are not as good.
Take-down of the gun is also more difficult than I’d prefer. It is fairly complicated and requires a screwdriver and Allen wrench to take apart, however, they provide the tools necessary, so it isn’t an added expense, just an added hassle. Cleaning is definitely something that needs to be done regularly -- the user error I mentioned earlier was related to not cleaning it as often as I should have. To avoid having frequent jams, keep this firearm cleaned often.
All in all, I’m happy with my purchase. It’s certainly not the best gun I own. It’s fun for plinking and looks cool, but when you compare it with something like the Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22, or even the Ruger 10/22, I would say that both of those have it beat. But for the price I got it at, I’d say it makes a nice addition to my gun collection.
Image from gunbroker.com