“Yippie Ki-Yay mother-f**ker!” is what you are going to say when you get your hands on the Century Arms AP5, part of the Nakatomi Plaza Collection; basic edition. Okay, you got me, there is no official Nakatomi Plaza Collection. Well, maybe on wish dot com, but we aren’t going there.

The new AP5, or Apparatus Pistol 5, from Century Arms is a faithful reproduction of the gun most of us grew up seeing featured in our favorite action movies. John McClain was not the only action hero to wield an HK MP5 on the big screen, but he is definitely one of the most famous. Like Schwarzenegger was to the M203 and Chuck Norris to the MAC 10, Bruce Willis was to the MP5.

Century Arms AP5

The AP5 with accessories from SB Tactical and Brownells.

Century Arms AP5 9x19mm.


Announced in 2020, the AP5 9x19mm pistol is one of Century Arms most exciting offerings of late. The firearm is built in Turkey on genuine Heckler & Koch machinery and is nearly identical to the famous submachine gun. Through the decades, the MP5 underwent numerous cosmetic changes, but the model that the AP5 most closely mimics is the current SP5 pistol from the German gunmaker.

When my friend at Century first told me about the AP5 product launch, my first question was, “What magazines does it use?” The answer was, “All standard MP5 mags.” Thank the Lord. One of the mistakes that American gunmakers have made in the past is to come out with a new gun that has proprietary magazines. In our modern era, that is a killer for a new gun design. Proprietary mags always equate to high cost and an immediate shortage. Not that MP5 magazines are falling off of the trees. More on magazines later.

As for specifics, the AP5 has an overall length of 17.9 inches and a 8.9 inch barrel with 1:9.8 twist rifling. Barrel steel is cold hammer forged chrome molybdenum vanadium. Try saying that three times fast.

Empty weight is 5.5 pounds. The action is semi-automatic; roller-lock, delayed blowback. The AP5 arrives with a flash-suppressor muzzle device. Underneath the muzzle device you will find a three-lug attachment and 1/2×28 muzzle threading. The 1/2×28 thread is perfect as most American made silencers use that thread pitch. The sights are the traditional HK adjustable drum rear and protected front sight post.

3 lug connector

The AP5 comes with a flash-hider that uses a 3-Lug connector. The muzzle is 1/2×28 RH threaded..

Stock to Sexy: The AP5 Gets the Nakatomi Plaza Treatment.

Not that the standard configuration AP5 needed my help, the gun runs just fine out of the box. However, in my desire to “Markel” it up, I saw some room for improvement. One of the accessories that comes with the AP5 is a detachable M1913 Picatinny rail mount made of aluminum. After my first range session using just the iron sights, I installed the rail mount and installed a Holosun Micro Red Dot sight with a see-through riser that I bought from Brownells.

The see-through riser allows the shooter to lower their gaze to use the iron sights in the event that something catastrophic happens to the optic. The riser is an AR/M4 same plain height and that lets the shooter fire the gun in more of a “head up” position.

In addition to the two 30-round magazines that come standard with the AP5, I purchased a couple of 30-round and one 40-round magazine from Elite Tactical Systems. These mags are translucent with no extra holes drilled in them. I also visited HKParts.net and purchased a genuine HK 20-round magazine.

Stock and Aftermarket Magazines

The AP5 was fed with stock magazines and aftermarket from ETS.

Brace It Baby.

As the AP5 is classified as a “pistol” it was the perfect candidate for a stabilizing brace from SB Tactical. We have been reporting on SB Tactical braces for years now and we have never been disappointed with their products.

The brace I chose to install was the HKPDW model. This brace is exceptionally high quality and it replaces the AP5 back cover. Installation is simple. Remove the famous HK push pin, take off the stock back cover, install the SB Tactical back cover, replace the pin, slide in the brace, and you are ready to go. The HKPDW brace has 3 positions; closed, half, and fully extended. Hold the gun however you like, you are an American.

Century Arms AP5 EDC CLP

She likes it wet. Don’t skip on the lube.

Range Time with the Century Arms AP5.

Before hitting the range, I put a very liberal amount of EDC CLP on the bolt and bolt carrier. Roller-lock guns like to be run wet. I’ve been using the red colored EDC CLP for a couple of years now. It is good stuff.

For my first couple of range sessions, I ran the gun using the Red Army Standard, 115g. FMJ 9mm ammunition. Zero issues were encountered, save the fact the ammo seems to run out too fast. Next, I ran the Black Hill Honey Badger 9mm ammo, the Federal 147 grain Hydra Shok, and Fiocchi 124 grain FMJ. The AP5 readily consumed all the 9x19mm ammunition I fed it. Accuracy was top notch from close up (5 yards) out to 50 yards.

Slightly Darker Black.

All of the parts on the AP5 were black or a black/gray parkerized color. I decided that I needed to apply one more custom touch to the gun. From the Duracoat catalog I chose the Slightly Darker Black and Urban Mirage White colors. I also ordered a Skull template pattern.

After completely disassembling the gun, I prepped it by using the Duracoat Tru-Strip to remove any and all residual oil or lube. Then I used their No Sand treatment to prep all of the pieces and parts. All of this can be done in your garage or workshop, just be sure you have good ventilation and a painter’s respirator.

The first coat was the Urban Mirage White. I put it where I wanted the skull template to be placed. No commercial or industrial oven is needed for Duracoat. You can let it air dry. After allowing the white to cure, I coated all of the pieces with Slightly Darker Black. Then I let all of the parts dry for a full 24 hours before reassembling the gun. Duracoat recommends that users allow the new finish to fully cure and harden for two weeks before applying hard use to the gun.

Century Arms AP5 Thumbnail

Refinished with Duracoat in “Slightly Darker Black.”

Parting Thoughts.

The AP5 guns are not cheap or discount guns. The MSRP is around $2500. Before you gasp and cough, I suggest you go online and shop for an HK SP5. If you can find a new SP5, their price tag hovers around $4500. People who are serious about the AP5 are not really bargain shoppers anyway. Do I need to remind you about the current state of the firearms industry?

Whether you grew up watching Die Hard, Predator, Blackhawk Down, or a myriad of other movies, the AP5 design is famous. The roller-lock action is a classic and, of course, the “HK slap” is one of the most iconic moves an action hero can perform on film.

The bottom line is this, the AP5 allows you to own a classic design firearm that is simply a blast to shoot. The fact that you can easily add different forends/rails, lights/lasers, suppressors, and optics is merely the icing on a very tasty cake.

Watch Paul’s Video Review

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Paul G. Markel has worn many hats during his lifetime. He has been a U.S. Marine, Police Officer, Professional Bodyguard, and Small Arms and Tactics Instructor. Mr. Markel has been writing professionally for law enforcement and firearms periodicals for nearly twenty years with hundreds and hundreds of articles in print. Paul is a regular guest on nationally syndicated radio talk shows and subject matter expert in firearms training and use of force. Mr. Markel has been teaching safe and effective firearms handling to students young and old for decades and has worked actively with the 4-H Shooting Sports program. Paul holds numerous instructor certifications in multiple disciplines and a Bachelor’s degree in conflict resolution; nonetheless, he is and will remain a dedicated Student of the Gun.

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