VECTOR/COHARIE ARMS 10MM FIREARMS
|CA-89-10 Full-Size Pistol
||Essentially the same model as the carbine, but with an
endcap rather than the fixed stock. Because it's a pistol no barrel extension is required.
|CA-89K-10 Short Pistol
||Shorter version of the full-size pistol more along the
lines of the Heckler & Koch SP89.
|CA-PDW-10 Personal Defense Weapon
||This is the same as the CA-89K-10, but with a folding
stock. Because the stock makes it a shoulder fired weapon a barrel extension is required to give it a legal 16" barrel.
||Standard carbine format clone of the HK MP5-10. Barrel
extension is needed to meet the 16" barrel length requirement.
Additional Notes: Though the Bren Ten is the undisputed
"father" of all 10mms, one of the "holy grails" of 10mm firearms has been the Heckler & Koch MP5-10. Since these were never
manufactured for the civilian market procuring one has been a very difficult, and extremely expensive project. Vector and
Coharie Arms has finally put these guns (in .40 S&W and .357 Sig as well) within the reach of the common gun buyer. Unfortunately
low sales has resulted in the 10mm chambering to be dropped from production.
It's been a long time coming, but finally there's a
reasonably priced clone of the famous (to 10mm fans) Heckler & Koch MP5-10.
The original MP5-10 was built at the
request of the F.B.I. when they wanted a 10mm Auto subgun to compliment their then-new Smith & Wesson 1076s. Though the
Feds still use the MP5-10, HK no longer produces the gun, or it's .40 S&W chambered sibling.
For a couple years
now there have been a couple companies that have offered MP5-10s made by combining an HK-94 and a demilled MP5-10. These guns
were prohibitively expensive however, requiring not only the MP5-10 parts, but the sacrificing of a fully functional HK-94.
Prices for these guns ranged from $6,500 to $10,000! Add to this the spendy 30-round plastic mags (which I've seen go for
as much as $200 each) and this was just too much for the average gun owner to swing.
A few years ago Vector Arms (famous
for their Uzi firearms) teamed up with Special Weapons to produce a clone of the Heckler & Koch HK-93 in .223 Remington.
This was aparently successful enough for Vector to add an MP5 clone to their inventory. The receiver, barrels and other major
parts are made by Special Weapons and assembled by Coharie Arms.
The standard MP5 (or HK-94 in 16" civilian guise)
is chambered in 9mm Parabellum. These new clones though, were built on the MP5-10/40 design. Additionally, there is also a
.357 Sig version. The gun is available in four variations. There's the standard FS carbine which includes a fixed stock and
fake, permanently attached surpressor to give it a legal 16" barrel length. Next there's the PDW version which uses a shorter
receiver, folding stock, and fake surpressor barrel extension. Then there are two pistol versions, one using the shorter PDW
receiver and the other the standard receiver.
DETAILS / OBSERVATIONS / SHOOTING CHARACTERISTICS
The only 10mm Auto Hecker & Koch built was the MP5-10. With HK's interchangeable trigger packs this gun could be had in semi-only,
2-round burst, or full select-fire modes.
Vector has gone beyond the basic HK MP5-10 by also offering three additional models in this caliber. These include two pistols
and a Personal Defense Weapon. The two long guns (the carbine and PDW) can also be ordered directly from Vector in Short
Barreled Rifle (SBR) configuration.
CA-89-10 Full-Size Pistol - This pistol variation basically uses the full-size carbine receiver
and barrel, but replaces the standard fixed stock with an endcap. Barrel length is 8.85".
CA-89K-10 Short Pistol - Years ago Heckler & Koch offered a civilian legal SP89 9mm pistol.
This gun was basically a chopped HK94 sporting a 4.5" barrel and endcap in place of a stock. The CA-89K-10 is Vector's 10mm
version of this gun.
CA-PDW-10 Personal Defense Weapon - Take the CA-89K-10 and replace the endcap with a folding
stock and you have the PDW. To make it legal though, a permanently attached fake surpressor is added to bring the barrel
length up to 16".
CA-5-10 Carbine - The standard carbine version sports a fixed stock, 8.85" barrel, and permanently
attached fake surpressor for an overall length of 34.59".
The overall appearance of the gun is quite good. It isn't quite up to the quality of a genuine HK, but it looks real good
considering the price tag.
There are two areas that could definately stand some improvement though. First off, the stamping of the caliber, serial number
and manufacturer were all rather rough. It's readable, but not nearly as clean as on any of the HKs I've owned. The second
area that needs attention is the front lip of the magwell where the two halves of the receiver are welded together. For some
reason the two sides of the magwell don't match up and so one side protrudes a bit farther than the other. It doesn't affect
the gun's operation, but even though it's rather minor it just doesn't look right. I've heard from other owners that this
is a standard problem.
The American made furniture (forearm, grip housing, and stock) all look pretty good, but when you pick up the gun you can
tell from the feel that they aren't as heavy and robust. Again, I doubt this will adversely affect the gun's performance,
but it's another example of how it's just not in the same class as an original HK.
The CA-5-10 carbine is an absolute joy to shoot! Recoil is just right (light, but still enough to let you know it's there).
Accuracy also seems to be pretty good with all loads grouping to the same general point of aim.
The one drawback is that out of the box it only shoots four to five rounds at a time before the gun jams! When you spend
$1,500 for a brand new gun you expect to get something that at the very least works most of the time. In the gun's defense,
however, it is a new offering and there are always bugs to work out in a new gun. Vector has an excellent reputation for
standing by their product, and so far they have lived up to this.
Check in the "ADDITIONAL INFORMATION" section below for more in-depth range reports.
The Quest for a HK MP5-10
One 10mm I've always wanted is a Heckler & Koch MP5-10. The problem was that this particular gun was never made for the civilian
market, and on top of that the gun is now out of production and no longer available even for military/police agencies.
There's always a way though, and so I kept hoping. Eventually some of the better known HK gunsmiths started building civilian-legal
MP5-10s by combining demilled HK MP5-10s (and MP5-40s) and combining them with HK94s. You are basically paying for two guns
to make one, plus all the gunsmithing costs, and so these top-end HK 10mms were going for upwards of $10,000! That's way
out of my pricerange and so I kept waiting. Not too much later another company by the name of Ohio Rapid Fire started turning
out MP5-10s. These combined the same demilled police guns with Special Weapons SW5 receivers. This brought the cost down
to $6,000, but I still just couldn't swing it.
Finally, in 2005, rumors started circulating that Vector Arms would be bringing out an MP5 clone in 10mm, .40 S&W, and .357
Sig. Vector already had a business relationship with Special Weapons, selling HK93 clones, and so it wasn't too much of a
leap to bring out an MP5-10/40/357 clone.
It took a while for me to get my Vector/Coharie Arms 10mm HK clone. When word about the gun first surfaced early in 2005 I
was more than a bit hesitant. I've heard a lot of good things about Vector though, so in March I emailed them and had my name
put on "the list." The months came and went with the gun continuously "a few more weeks" away. This is often how it goes with
new guns though, so I wasn't too surprised.
In late fall I finally got the word that they were ready and called to pay my money. I was told that there were over 200 others
in line before me, which I didn't feel was right since I was one of the first ones to contact them, so I emailed their General
Manager who was able to straighten things out for me. The next day I was on the phone with my credit card. The staff was very
friendly and helpful and I soon got a call from my dealer that my gun had come in. When I went to pick it up my dealer said
he was surprised that I got it in .40 S&W rather than 10mm. "WHAT?" Needless to say I wasn't happy. They had sent me
the wrong gun. I contacted Vector and they admitted their mistake and arrangements were made for a replacement. Work and the
Thanksgiving holiday delayed my picking up the new gun, but in early December I finally had my 10mm HK clone!
One of the original problems with Heckler & Koch’s 10mm MP5s was that due to the dramatic range of loads available (FBI-Lite
to full-power), it was impossible to build a gun that would reliably feed and fire low-power ammo, and yet keep the full-power
loads from beating it up.
At first HK used two different bolt carriers to deal with this issue. A heavy carrier was used for the hot loads, and a lighter
carrier for FBI loads. This was then changed to using different locking pieces.
Special Weapons manufactures six different locking pieces for the Coharie Arms MP5 clones. These include the following:
100 Degree LP - Same angle as the 9mm MP5, but cut to fit .40 caliber bolt head.
90 Degree LP - Same as MP5-10 “low” and comes in every gun.
80 Degree LP - Same as MP5-40. HK changed to the 90 degree locking piece in all 10/40 guns.
70 Degree LP - Intermediate range locking piece.
60 Degree LP - Same as MP5-10 “hi.”
50 Degree LP - Probably the best choice for hot loadings, such as those from Double Tap, TAC, etc.
As with just about all new products, there were some “bugs” that popped up with the Coharie MP5 clones.
Range Report #1: 12-09-05
Double Tap 180gn Gold Dot HPs
I headed to the range on a cold, clear Friday afternoon in December. I packed an assortment of ammo including the following:
Federal 190gn JHPs
Winchester 175gn Silvertip HPs
Hornady 180gn XTPs
Hornady 155gn XTPs
Norma 170gn JHPs
I had only two 30-round magazines. One came with the gun and was produced by Special Weapons, and the other was an original
HK MP5-10/40 magazine that I picked up off of Gunbroker.com a while back. To try and limit the impact of different magazines
on my testing I opted to stick with the original HK mag which seemed better made. That way if there were problems it was
a good bet that it was the gun and not the magazine.
Click on the pics to see the full size images.
I started out loading the mag with only ten rounds. The first mag was loaded with Double Taps, and after emptying the mag
the bolt locked back. I inserted another mag and had a jam on the fourth round, and so flipped the selector on to "safe,"
removed the magazine and locked the bolt back to clear the chamber. As I reinserted the magazine I noticed that the bolt release
tab had broken clean off the gun. This was quite a let down as I hadn't even put fifteen rounds through the gun! The gun was
still functional though, and so I went forward with my testing.
Regardless of load (with the exception of the Double Tap 180gn Gold Dots) the gun would have a failure to eject and subsequent
double feed (FTE/DF) about every fourth or fifth round. This only happened with the first ten rounds of Double Tap after which
time the gun ran flawlessly with this load. This FTE/DF malfunction persisted with all other loads however.
Click on the pics to see the full size images.
As you can see from the picture below, the brass involved in the malfunctions is pretty well mangled. Apparently upon firing
the bolt would move back, pulling the spent cartridge from the chamber, but the ejector was not throwing the case clear of
the ejection port. When the bolt started its forward movement it would strip a fresh round from the magazine, but the half-ejected
empty would be slammed into the forward edge of the ejection port ruining the case. To clear the jam the bolt had to be locked
back, the deformed case pulled out, and then the loaded magazine had to be removed to shake out the live round that had been
stripped from the mag, but failed to chamber.
What made this malfunction so strange is that the gun would reliably feed and fire the first few rounds of any string, and
then jam consistently on the fourth or fifth round. You would think that whatever was causing this problem would happen with
every round, with maybe the occasional successful shot. This was just plain weird!