REVIEW: Zenith MKE Z-5RS: An MP5 for the Masses

One of the world’s most iconic firearms, here’s your chance to own an “MP5” but without taking out a second mortgage. READ MORE

anti terrorist mp5

Robert Sadowski

If there is one weapon that is on nearly every tactical shooter’s bucket list, it is the MP5. For most, spending quality trigger time with a MP5 was out of the question — until now. Zenith makes the MP5 delayed roller lock experience attainable.

Don’t call the Zenith MKE Z-5RS a wannabe MP5. The Zenith is a licensed version of the iconic Heckler & Koch MP5. A literal clone. Zenith Firearm in Afton, Virginia imports a number of H&K-licensed models from MKE (Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation) of Turkey.

The Z-5RS is a semi-automatic version of the H&K MP5A1 and uses a delayed roller lock action similar to the H&K G3 and PTR-91 7.62mm NATO rifles. This mechanism is decidedly simple. Using a bolt head with rollers and a bolt carrier, expanding gases from a fired round produce rearward pressure on the bolt head. Some of this rearward pressure is transferred to the rollers on the bolt head which cam against the tapered bolt carrier extension. This results in the bolt carrier moving rearward faster and delaying the movement of the bolt head.



The advantage of a delayed roller lock action is the simplicity of the design and ease of manufacture. Compared to true gas or recoil operated mechanisms, the delayed roller lock action is easier to build and utterly reliable. And popular! According to H&K some 100 MP5 variants have been built. Full auto versions are probably the most widely used submachine in use today.

Military and law enforcement in some 40 countries still use the weapon.

shooting mp5

The Z-5RS comes in a hard case with 3 30-round magazines, a 3-point sling, extra takedown pins (they are easy to lose), and cleaning kit. Like the MP5, it is constructed with a welded, stamped sheet-steel receiver. The fit and finish of the Z-5RS is well executed, with an all-business matte black finish.

The barrel measures 8.9 inches, and the muzzle is threaded 1/2-28. The sights are characteristic H&K with a rear sight consisting of a drum that adjusts for windage and elevation. The front sight is a protected post.

Working the cocking handle, I found the action slick and smooth. The cocking handle is non-reciprocating and located above the handguard and protrudes from the cocking handle tube at approximately a 45-degree angle on the left side of the gun. The fire control group is housed in a polymer lower receiver. The safety selector is large paddle easily operated for a right-handed shooter. Pull a few pins, and the Z-5RS breaks down into 6 components including the magazine.

With a weight of 5.5 pounds and an overall length of 17.9 inches, the Zenith requires a firm hold. When firing a pistol such as this, I prefer to use a one-point sling to brace the pistol. With the sling, I can push the pistol forward toward the target and use the sling as a brace to steady the weapon.

I ran three brands of ammo with three different bullet weights: SIG V-Crown 115-grain JHPs, Aguila 124-grain FMJs, and Atlanta Arms 147-grain FMJs. The Zenith chewed through everything I fed it. Working the gun sideways and upside down did not interfere with function.

At 10 yards, I was able to produce 5-shot groups averaging about 1 inch. Moving to 25 yards, I averaged less than 2 inches. Zenith also has one of those evil arm braces as an optional accessory. Think of the Z-5RS in the same way you would use an AR pistol for home defense, except a lot less muzzle blast and recoil.

If you have always had an itch for an MP5, the civilian-legal Zenith Z-5RS is affordable choice. So now you can check that off your bucket list!

There are different model variations available, and MSRP hovers around $2000 all of them. See them all HERE.

mp5 photo

2 thoughts on “REVIEW: Zenith MKE Z-5RS: An MP5 for the Masses”

  1. Affordable if you can ever find one. I know of dealers that have had 2 dozen of the Zenith MP5 clones on order for over 2 years now … with no actually expected delivery date.

    1. I ordered mine in early April, got it in my hands day before yesterday (22 May). Mine was claimed of course and a second one was being drooled over as I was doing my paperwork. They could have ordered a third one but the price point is a little hight to have sitting on the shelf for my area. Tax Stamp is being mailed at lunch today to make it a nice little SBR

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