The gun briefcase is such a cliché at this point that it has its own TVTropes page.
The idea of somebody concealing a gun inside a briefcase so that they can smuggle it into a secure location and produce it – or even more melodramatically, simply fire it while it’s still inside the briefcase – is one that has appeared across countless movies and TV shows across the world. Part of its charm, of course, is that it’s as cool as it’s ludicrous.
Except it’s not actually all that ludicrous. In fact, as TV Tropes points out above, the gun briefcase is actually a real thing. And it’s something that has been used by special forces around the world.
Of course, your next questions are likely going to be a combination of “What?” “Seriously?” and “Where can I get one?”
Fear not, dear reader. Below you can find a breakdown of the most popular gun briefcases from around the world – where were they used? Can you buy them? And if so, where?
Let’s take a look, then, at the best gun briefcases from around the world.
Heckler & Koch Spezialkoffer
Heckler & Koch is a gun manufacturer that needs precious little introduction. Their gun briefcase, conversely, does need at least a little introduction. Not only is the Spezialkoffer a briefcase, but it’s also – get this – a gun.
Well, not exactly. The case concealed a gun and also had an inbuilt trigger of its own in order to facilitate firing the gun, but it wasn’t a fully-functioning gun in itself – for that, you’d need to place a gun inside.
The gun in question was an MP5K submachine gun (and only an MP5K submachine gun). It fitted snugly inside the case and was held in place with a claw mount while a firing mechanism connected quickly and easily to the trigger concealed in the briefcase handle.
The arms giant did not manufacture the briefcase themselves; lacking the technical expertise to manufacture a receptacle designed for the storage of documents, they turned to Hofbauer GmbH, a German manufacturer of blow-molded cases that specialized in tool storage cases. Hofbauer acquitted themselves admirably, producing a case that was stylish, affordable, and perfectly fit an MP5K submachine gun.
The aforementioned firing mechanism built into the inner side of the briefcase was a particularly inspired stroke, turning the briefcase into the world’s only genuine gun briefcase.
With your finger on the trigger of the Spezialkoffer, bodyguards (or assassins) would be ready to immediately discharge the weapon at a moment’s notice.
Was The Spezialkoffer Accurate?
Heckler & Koch promised that the Spezialkoffer (which translates simply to ‘special case’) would have the same “firing readiness” as if you had the submachine gun in hand yourself.
And while it’s hard to imagine that you’d be able to fire an MP5K quite as efficiently as if you had it properly braced and aimed, that’s rather missing the point of this briefcase gun.
The weapon was never intended to be particularly accurate – after all, it’s a gun in a briefcase.
Where it was of particular use was in gaining the upper hand via the element of surprise. At the time of its manufacture, people hadn’t seen quite as many James Bond films, and so assassins (or victims thereof) were not always prepared for someone to start filling the air with 9x19mm Parabellum rounds from a suitcase.
One downside of the Spezialkoffer (if there can be such a thing as a downside to a briefcase that shoots bullets) is that the spent cartridges had no ejection mechanism from the briefcase itself, meaning that you had to open it and tip out all the casings after each and every firefight – a tedious exercise in post-massacre maintenance.
The case did, however, sport a place to include an MP5K cleaning kit, making at least one aspect of the gun’s maintenance a little more bearable.
Heckler & Koch Spezialtasche
The Spezialtasche was something of a companion piece to the Spezialkoffer, but not literally because then you’d be carrying two things at the same time and look more suspicious.
The Spezialtasche (‘special bag’) was made of leather rather than the molded plastic of the Spezialkoffer.
What this lacked in shock absorption capability, it made up for in style and comfort; it also featured a breakaway ‘reach-inside opening’ which allowed the user to put their hand inside the case from behind and be quickly and efficiently spraying bullets before their target could utter a word.
Was The Spezialtasche Accurate?
The Spezialtasche did not, unfortunately, feature an integrated trigger built into the handle, so it was not possible to hip-fire the MP5K in the same manner as the Spezialkoffer.
However, it was much easier to access the gun itself, which was handy in the case of jams or reloads. Though at that point, removing the gun entirely from the bag likely would have made more sense.
The Spezialtasche was ultimately less popular than the plastic-molded power case that was the Spezialkoffer; it was far more unwieldy than the briefcase variant, and getting to the weapon and readying it required so much time and effort you’d have been better simply keeping the gun in a normal bag and producing it.
In a firefight, time and accuracy matter – and the Spezialtasche delivered on neither front.
Sadly, The Gun Briefcase is No More
If you’re in the U.S. like us, you’re probably wondering if you can buy a Heckler & Koch gun briefcase and whether or not they have express shipping.
Unfortunately, the Spezialkoffer and –tasche is no longer listed on Heckler & Koch’s website, which would indicate that it’s been discontinued.
Even more unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be a single other manufacturer of gun briefcases on the market, despite the fact that they’re inherently awesome and should be manufactured by every single gunsmith out there.
Want to delve deeper into some of the most niche corners of the world of firearms? Check out our dedicated category page for more!