Pray and Spray With the ‘Special Case’ Briefcase Gun
Heckler & Koch found a clever way to conceal an MP5
Gun-maker Heckler & Koch’s Spezialkoffer — “Special Case” — is a clandestine weapon for personal-protection details. Offering the firepower of an MP5K in a concealed package, the Special Case first appeared in the late 1970s and is still available today.
While the MP5K is already a compact weapon and can be carried concealed under a coat or tucked under the arm, the Special Case in theory allows the weapon to be carried in an instantly accessible way. Aim the briefcase and pull the handle-mounted trigger.
One H&K leaflet stated that the case retains “approximately the same rapid readiness to fire” as an unconcealed submachine gun. The case has the added advantage of being usable with just one hand.
To build the briefcase, Heckler & Koch turned to Hofbauer GbmH, a German manufacturer that specializes in extrusion blow-molded protective cases for tools and equipment. The case is black plastic on an aluminum body with a stainless-steel locking clasps and a strip of silver trim tape around the lower half.
Inside the right rim of the lower half of the case is the maker’s marking: Hofbauer Boss Flanegg.
Matthew Moss photo
To fit the gun Heckler & Koch modified a STANAG claw mount with a new release lever that was normally used to mount optics on G3s and MP5s. The claw mount system holds the weapon in place and a firing mechanism connects a trigger in the briefcase’s handle to the weapon’s trigger inside.
The weapon itself is an MP5K, developed in the mid-1970s reportedly on demand from the security detail of a South American head of state.
The muzzle of the MP5K’s 4.5-inch barrel fits into a tube or shroud in the left side of the case. Below the weapon is a clip to hold a standard MP5 cleaning kit. Inside the lid of the case there is a clip to hold a spare magazine.
The MP5K-PDW, introduced in the early 1990s, doesn’t fit in the case as the muzzle and folding stock prevent it from fitting.
Matthew Moss photo
The trigger in the case’s handle works through a series of linkages that connect it with the MP5K’s trigger. Pulling the external trigger upward pulls an linkage forward, which in turn acts on a pivoted arm that pulls the weapon’s trigger.
The case has a built in safety on the left side of its handle. When pulled to the rear with the thumb, it moves a blocking bar backward and allows the trigger, inside the handle, to travel upward to fire the weapon.
Spent cases deflect down into the body of the case and can only be removed once the case is open. There is no ejection system built into the case.
There’s another version of the Special Case that uses a leather satchel-style briefcase. This is the Spezialtasche or “Special Bag.” Instead of the molded plastic case, the MP5K fits inside a leather case with a “reach-inside opening,” which allows the user to put their hand inside the case, hold the pistol grip and operate the weapon’s controls.
The gun is still held in the same kind of cradle claw mount, but the leather case doesn’t have the integrated trigger in its handle.
A Heckler & Koch ad
As you would expect, aiming a briefcase is no easy feat. The Special Case was meant for engaging targets at very close ranges or for gaining initial fire superiority — suppressing a target long enough to either deploy the MP5K properly from the case or extricate the principal being protected.
One of the major issues with the case is the naturally limited access to the weapon, which makes changing fire mode, clearing stoppages and reloading impossible without opening the case.
A substantial number of Special Cases were sold, especially to Middle East countries. During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, troops from the U.S. Army’s 7th Infantry Regiment discovered a regime cache of 24 H&K briefcases, new in their wrappings.
Heckler & Koch continues to offer the case. Two models are currently listed on the firm’s website — the original briefcase, now referred to as Schießkoffer or “Shooting Case,” and a quick-deploy Zerfallkoffer case.