The Brits and the Backpack MP5K

A few weeks ago, Gunday Brunch did an entire discussion on the need for backpack firearms. It all stemmed from the release of the S&W FPC. It’s episode 91, How To Find Out On A Plane. Give it a listen if you haven’t. I bring all this up because the guys were discussing breakdown and takedown guns that fit into bags and why someone would ever need such a thing. Imagine my shock when a few weeks later, I was reading a book called She Who Dared and discovered a real-life operational use of a wee gun, an MP5K, in a wee bag.

She Who Dared tells the story of Jackie George, a pseudonym of a real person who served in the 14th Intelligence Company of the British military. There are a lot of female-centric books called She Who Dared, so ensure you grab the right one. That one that’s a romance novel doesn’t use package and bag the same I do. Sadly the book appears to be out of print, so you might need to search high and low to find a copy.

The 14th Intelligence Company seems somewhat of a boring name. It’s what you expect from an intel company. 14th Int. was not your average analyst pouring over bank reports or your signal guy listening to foreign radio broadcasts. Members of the 14th Int were on the ground operational intelligence forces. She Who Dared catalogs their efforts in Northern Ireland during the so-called Troubles.

She Who Dared – And The Backpack MP5

In She Who Dared, Jackie talks about her operations on the ground, how she and the other members of the 14th Int worked day to day. They often worked in plain clothes, dressed as civilians to gather intelligence. They followed IRA and protestant operatives, and the book makes it clear that if something went wrong, they were often all alone. Jackie served two tours during the Troubles and lost two fellow 14th Int members who were beaten to death.

Being unarmed wasn’t an option and most concealed Browning Hi-Powers. On occasion, they also carried the famed MP5k submachine guns. These men and women were not offensive, direct-action operators. If they had to use their weapons, then their operation was a failure. A handgun is better than nothing, but any form of long gun is better than no long gun. The compact long gun of choice was the MP5 and MP5K.

Jackie detailed her training with the weapon and how they were trained to fight in and around cars. The role of the MP5K seemed to be to lay down suppressive fire while inside the car until they can escape. Up to four operators would carry MP5K SMGs in the cars and would offer some serious firepower so they could escape. That doesn’t mean the MP5K always stayed in the car.

Outside the Car

In She Who Dared, Jackie talks about a specific operation that was mostly on foot. She wore a tracksuit with a handgun, and radio pressed tightly against her body. They had to be discreet, and even the MP5K is a fairly large weapon to conceal. She carried what she describes as a haversack on her back containing the MP5K.

This operation had her and her team following an off-duty soldier who had received credible threats on his life. Jackie and her partner Becky were well-armed. They were likely overlooked by the IRA due to their gender, but they most certainly carried some serious firepower in a discrete manner.

Luckily, no one acted on the threats, and Jackie never used her MP5 in a fight. After two tours, she left the Army and sought a bit quieter life. One that didn’t involve a submachine gun in a backpack.

Travis Pike
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.