The UMP is a blowback-operated, magazine-fed, shoulder-fired submachine gun firing from a closed bolt. As originally designed, the UMP is chambered for larger cartridges than the MP5. This was done in order to provide more stopping power against unarmored targets, at the cost of a somewhat shorter effective range compared to the 9 x 19 mm MP5. Using a larger cartridge results in more recoil, making the weapon more difficult to control when firing in fully-automatic mode. To counter this effect, the cyclic rate of fire was decreased to around 600 rounds per minute (or 10 per second), making it one of the slower submachine guns in the market. Such a slow rate of fire makes burst-fire settings impractical; yet, many users cite the practicality of the 2 or 3-round burst setting as a desirable feature in a submachine gun.
Despite these shortcomings, the UMP is considered to be a reliable and useful submachine gun. Additionally, the UMP9 (9 x 19 mm version of the UMP) is almost 0.45 kg (almost 1 lb) lighter than the 9 x 19 mm MP5. It is constructed of mostly polymers, to decrease weight and reduce the number of parts that are susceptible to damage from corrosion.
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