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The GSG-522PK pistol from German Sport Guns: this great-looking rimfire got off to a fast start after a cover appearance in SGN; now there's a pistol version with some interesting upgrades.

Few new guns get the warm reception enjoyed by the GSG-5. Introduced near the beginning of 2008, the German .22 Long Rifle carbine was the talk of the SHOT Show and was already developing an aftermarket even before it was regularly available. Patterned after HK's famed MP5 submachine gun, the GSG-5 came in the more civilian-friendly semiautomatic guise, and was chambered in .22 Long Rifle in place of the subgun's 9mm chambering.

In addition to letting shooters get their hands on a reasonably-priced version of the almost-unobtainable MP5, the GSG-5 also hit the market with a full panoply of accessories, such as collapsible buttstocks, rail forends and red dot sights. To this, German Sport Guns, the creator of the GSG-5, has added the PK variant.

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Modeled after the MP5K machine pistol version of the MP5, the GSG-5PK is the natural sequel to the full-sized GSG-5. My test model came in a logo-marked plastic hard case, along with an instruction manual, trigger lock, 10-round magazine, and several tools, including a chamber brush, screwdriver, and wrench for the thread protector that replaces the flash hider when the pistol is cased (the flash hider has to be removed for the pistol to fit in the hard case).

While the PK is capable of firing without the flash hider in place, the manual strongly recommends you not do this, and so do I: the muzzle of the PK is almost flush with the end of the pistol's foregrip, which means it's possible for your thumb or a stray finger to slide forward of the muzzle while firing, with disastrous consequences. The added 3 inches or so of flash hider, however, help keep any wandering digits out of the danger zone. An added advantage of the PK's threaded muzzle is that it can accept accessories other than the flash hider--but more on that later.

Other than the lack of a buttstock and its short, 4.6-inch barrel, the PK is virtually identical to the original GSG-5, and maintains all of the other HK-style features that make it so popular; in fact, this particular PK is marked as a GSG-5, with the "PK" designation obviously engraved on later.

Sights are the traditional HK-style, with a ring-and-post front sight, and a drum-style rear sight that lets you select from four different sighting options. Consisting of a ring that's canted forward, the rear sight has three different-sized apertures and one open-topped V; rotate the ring so that the one you wish to use is in the rearmost position, and you're in business. Other sighting options consist of an optional Tasco red dot with a claw-type mount, and that's what I found I preferred to use on the PK.

The magazine--either the 10-rounder that comes with the gun, or the larger 22-round version--is inserted from the bottom, and held in place with the combination pushbutton/ lever magazine release. As on its larger cousin, I found I preferred the bottom-mounted lever on the PK, for two reasons.

First, the pushbutton required me to move my hand from a firing position. Second, since neither one would freely drop an empty mag with the bolt locked back (unlike many .22's, the PK does lock the bolt open on the last round), it makes more sense to work the lever with your left thumb while grasping the magazine body so you can pull it free. No matter; that's the way I use an MP5, too.

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With the magazine seated in place, a round is chambered in the PK by pulling back the non-reciprocating charging handle located forward and on the left side, and letting it fall.

For those concerned with the C.D.I. factor of loading the GSG-5PK, it's worth noting that its short cocking tube seems to respond much more favorably than the GSG-5 to the classic MP5 palm-slap loading technique: in short, you lock the bolt to the rear, insert a mag, and use your left palm to slap the cocking knob out of its slot so the bolt falls and chambers a round. Optics, of course, can get in the way.

The other controls are the ambidextrous safety and the trigger. Clearly marked on both sides with both colored dots and a bold "S" and "F" (and sorry, folks, that's "safe" and "fire," not "semi" and "full"), the safety lever has a throw of over 90[degrees], and sits close to vertical in the "safe" position.

Nevertheless, it's not difficult to rotate back and forth to the fire position, and it clicks positively into place. While the trigger was light, it had a long, smooth roll to it, with no significant stacking at the end.

One frustrating feature of the original GSG-5 was that, due to the fake suppressor arrangement, it was very difficult to fit with a real sound suppressor. While the barrel could be cut back to the front sight assembly, and a new barrel nut installed that would accept a silencer, shortening the barrel that much turns the GSG-5 into a short-barreled rifle (SBR) that must be Federally registered as a Title II weapon, the same as silencers and machine guns. Registration also includes law enforcement approval, as well as a $200 tax stamp.

Since the GSG-5PK is a pistol, however, there's no minimum barrel length, and no barrel shortening required. To install a suppressor, simply replace the barrel nut/thread protector with a suppressor adaptor such as those available from Gemtech, and screw on the "can." While a PK adaptor wasn't yet commercially available when I began this project, the Boise, Idaho, based suppressor maker kindly produced one for purposes of this test.

Internally threaded to match the PK's barrel threads, the adaptor is externally-threaded at 1/2 x 28, the most common thread pattern for .22 Long Rifle suppressors. Installation was simplicity itself: unscrew the thread protector and screw in the adaptor. The GSG-5PK worked beautifully with my Gemtech Outback suppressor installed; the can made the pistol quiet, and its function wasn't adversely affected.

The only complaint I have is that while production adaptors are designed to be installed and removed with a large hex wrench, my one-off adaptor didn't come with this provision, and getting it off required a padded vise. Doubtless productions versions will be wrench-friendly. Frankly, I was grateful to have one at all, even if removal and installation was a little tricky.

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While we're on the topic of both Title II items and things that are tricky, it's important to note that many of the items that are available for the GSG-5 will also fit the PK variant, but installing them on the pistol is a violation of Federal law. For example, although I haven't tried it (and won't), the PK appears to be capable of accepting either of the GSG-5 buttstock assemblies.

Putting a buttstock on any firearm with a barrel under 16-inch in length, however, makes it a short-barreled rifle, and we're back to registration requirements. Failing to follow those requirements is a big-boy felony, which comes with prison time and, among other things, loss of the ability to vote and own a gun. If you want an SBR, it's easy enough to make one from the PK, but you've got to jump through the hoops first.

Another part to beware of is the vertical foregrip for the PK. While the bulbous "K-grip" is one of the most distinctive parts of the MP5K, putting a foregrip on a handgun is also a violation of Federal law, again making it a restricted item. Remember, just because a part fits doesn't mean it's a good idea to put it on.

These two parts--the buttstock and the foregrip--are the ones to be most wary of, but if you've got questions about a certain modification, contact a Class III dealer, or, better yet, an attorney who specializes in that field of law.

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As an example of the caution that you must use with items that could be restricted, the barrel shroud of German Sport Guns' GSG-5SD model (basically a replica of the integrally-suppressed MP5-SD) has been declared by the ATF to be a functional suppressor, and therefore must be registered. If you've got one, there is currently a recall underway, and German Sport Guns will happily replace it with a compliant part; just send in the barrel shroud and the serial number of your rifle.

With all the warnings out of the way, let's talk about shooting the PK. I put more than 1,000 rounds through it, both suppressed and in factory trim, and while it disliked Remington .22 ammo, it did much better with CCI Blazer. It functioned equally well with the supplied 10-round magazine and the 22-rounders, and didn't seem to have the fairly consistent 4th-to-last-round feeding problem that once plagued my GSG-5 carbine.

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As you would expect with any pistol based off a rifle platform, accuracy was excellent. I spent a lot of quality time shooting a steel spinner target with the PK, and it was a blast; frankly, it was pretty hard to miss. On paper, with the red dot, I was able to shoot groups as small as 1 1/2" at 25 yards.

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While it was easier to control shooting two handed--with one hand on the pistol grip and another on the forend, much like shooting a rifle while holding the stock away from your shoulder--I also shot the PK from a modified Weaver stance with good results. Shot like a regular pistol, the red dot certainly came into its own, since it was easier to use than iron sights when holding the pistol at arm's length. For what it's worth, though, the added weight of the PK--better than five pounds, compared to about two for most pistols--makes it good for conditioning your arms and shoulders for pistol shooting.

Not only is the PK a truly great plinker, it's also become an instant collector's piece. It seems that German Sport Guns did such a good job of making an HK look-alike that HK took umbrage, alleged that the GSG-5 series copied their trade dress--a legal term meaning that HK's designs are so distinctive they should be protected from copying much the same way as a trademark is.

After entering into an agreement with HK, the new GSG guns will remain mechanically unchanged, but will no longer be the MP5 dead-ringers they once were: the distinctive ring front sight is gone, the top now has a rail on it, and the trigger guard profile has been changed to differentiate it from the HK, along with some other minor cosmetic changes.

These alterations have been incorporated across the board in the entire GSG-5 family, and the model name have been changed to the GSG-522. While the newer PK can be expected to enjoy the same riotous popularity of the original one, I'd expect the relatively short production of the original one to make it more valuable as a collector's item.

Keep your eyes peeled for new variants of the GSG-5, as well as other non-HK models coming from German Sport Guns, such as a wood-stocked AK in .22, and a dedicated .22 Long Rifle M1911.

CONTACT

AMERICAN TACTICAL IMPORTS, INC.

www.americantactical.us

100 Airpark Drive * Rochester, NY 14624

(800) 290-0065 * (585) 328-4168 (fax)

GEMTECH

www.gem-tech.com

P.O. Box 140618 * Boise, ID 83714-0618

(208) 939-7222 * (208) 939-7804 (fax)
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Title Annotation:The TOUGHEST-LOOKING .22
Author:Clough, Jeremy D.
Publication:Shotgun News
Article Type:Product/service evaluation
Date:Sep 20, 2010
Words:1917
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