Gun Review: HK P2000 US Duty Pistol (LEM)

The other day my brother-in-law the federal LEO stopped by for a visit. I fully and publicly admit that I struggle with jealousy at my BIL’s ability to carry in all fifty states, in airports and on airplanes. As usual, we shot the breeze about politics and guns. My bonhomie was rewarded: I got to fondle, ogle and shoot a few rounds from his federally issued HK P2000 .40 cal . . .

Back in 2005, Heckler & Koch won a contract with the feds to produce the P2000 line of pistols for the U.S government. It was one of the biggest single federal law enforcement pistol contracts ever; in the order of $26.2m. There are a lot of these guns out there in the hands of Uncle Sam’s paramilitary pros.

The P2000 comes in all sorts of flavors: double action/single action, decocking and safety lever; double action/single action, decocking lever, but no safety; double action only, with safety lever; double action only, no control lever; double action/single action, safety lever, but no decocking. I sampled variant number 9, the gun blessed with the LEM (Law Enforcement Modification) or Combat Defense Action (CDA) trigger.

“The way in which the LEM hammer is cocked is unique,” HK’s webpage proclaims. “The hammer . . . is a two-piece hammer comprised of a cocking piece (not visible with the pistol assembled) and an external (visible) bobbed hammer.”

HK devised the Law Enforcement Modification variant to improve trigger quality and reduce the effort required to send rounds downrange; a 7.5 – 8.5 pound trigger pull vs. a “normal” double-action pull of 12 to 15 pounds. At the same time, the model’s stronger hammer spring improves reliability (by increasing the firing pin indent on the primer) and reduces the slide velocity when firing “hot” ammunition.

In theory, “The enhanced LEM trigger system combines the reliability of a double action revolver trigger with the crisp, precise trigger of a single action pistol.” Seems too good to be true. Feels good.

When dry firing (racking the slide each time) the HK P2000’s trigger pull is ridiculous long and supernaturally smooth. Though heavier than a Glock’s, the HK’s go-pedal is as consistent as a Robert Farago supermodel metaphor [removed from this post by the author despite the publisher’s objections]. The HK’s trigger reset is relatively short; HK claims it’s 7mm. But it suffers in comparison to the Glock’s crisp 3-4mm reset. IMHO.

The HK P2000’s uncocked trigger pull is long, heavy and, what’s the technical term? Yucky. Technically, one should only ever feel the heavier, longer trigger pull during a second strike situation (i.e., a primer misfire). This variant isn’t a DA/SA system, and there is no decocker.

Placing the HK P2000 into your hand is like slipping into a well-worn leather jacket: it feels good from moment one. (The gun wins the backstrap wars its four-sizes-fits-all solution.) Unlike the Glock, the HK P2000 points naturally. I like the fact that there are no safeties (including a trigger safety) to muck around with. My thumbs tend to ride on the HK’s disassembly pin, which eventually gets old. In one magazine I shot through the gun, the slide did not lock back on empty. I suspect my thumb (or the placement of the lever) was the culprit.

The HK P2000’s trigger guard-positioned ambidextrous mag release is hard for me to reach and manipulate with either index finger or thumb.  The gun also feels significantly heavier in hand. The web reckons the HK’s about 4-5 oz heavier than a Glock 19, which is about the same size.

I usually don’t like shooting the rather snappy .40 round, but the HK made it feel fairly tame. My groups were a typical size for me, but the point of impact tended to be a few inches below point of aim at 10 yards. More to the point, it felt like I was pulling the trigger forever.

The HK is an extremely well-built pistol. A lot of the “issues” I had with its operation are a simple reflection that I’m a Glock guy. As such, the P2000 doesn’t tempt me in the least. For the suggested retail price of $941, I would just pay a little more and pick up two Glocks, or a Glock and an Springfield XD. Still, you can’t fault this gun. And if you can, it’s probably best to blame the government. Of course.