Gun Review: HK P30LS in .40 S&W

At first I was going to succumb to the Glock gods and indoctrinate myself like the tens of thousands of others who buy a reliable polymer pistol. But if the Glock 23 is the Toyota Camry V6 of pistols, I wanted something a little more towards the BMW end of the spectrum. Don’t get me wrong- that Camry is a wonderfully engineered vehicle. It’s just not for me. Enter the HK P30LS in .40 S&W. So what does double the price get you?  Let’s break down those letters. HK still stands for reputable build quality – even if HK hates you and you suck (Google the last six words, noobs).  The P30 is the latest version of the P2000 pistol that’s been around for the past decade.  The L stands for the long slide option so the barrel grows from 3.86 to 4.45 inches. Finally the S stands for safety. And who doesn’t like safety? . . .

Yep, I wanted to test mine with all of the options available, and ‘no external safety’ guys be damned. Call me crazy, but I enjoy the additional security of a dedicated safety switch. And this ambidextrous unit has the tactile feel of quality like a Hermes belt snugly hugging Karolina Kurkova’s waist. You know once the safety clicks off at the range you are in for something special. However, unlike Kurkova, once the belt comes off and you can see that something is missing (mainly a belly button) the HK wears the metal safety appendage nicely. The ‘S’ and ‘F’ are even labeled in the same HK typeset as some of their more famous military rifles. If for nothing than the cool factor.

Along with the optional safety, I wanted to make sure this weapon could be as potentially confusing to the end user as possible, short of a Beretta where the safety engages after racking the slide. Hey- for the money I coulda’ gotta lotta Glocka, so why not go all out with the buttons and switches? After all, I am fascinated by a plethora of ancillary gauges on a car, so I chose the ‘Version 3’ HK which is DA/SA with a decocker on the left side of the hammer.

Aside from the safety, the P30 really behaves just like a SIG or CZ counterpart, but the button press of the decocker is ultra-positive. What’s a little disconcerting, though, is the way the hammer almost seems to smash back into its home. The decocker instills the same confidence as Carly Rae Jepsen asking out a cute guy. I don’t decock in my holster and I make sure the muzzle is in a safe direction.

BUT, there is no real reason to decock with the safety. For me, it’s just carry cocked-and-locked, 1911 style. Any doubts left about the sonic signature from the decocker is handled by a safety that seems to stop the trigger like Jon Jones bouncing Betty White from the Youth of MMA meeting.

Carrying with the hammer up never gives me the willies – as long as the safety is engaged. Ever carry a 1911 and notice the safety got snagged by clothing and was unintentionally disengaged? It’s happened to me. I am actually more comfortable carrying the safety-equipped HK cocked-and-locked than a traditional 1911.

Which is a good thing because the HK’s double-action pull is like a Cialis overdose; long, hard and seemingly never-ending. My RCBS scale goes to eight and my guess is the double action pull weight is 13-14. Or more. Single action’s fine, coming in at just under 5 pounds, but it’s still a long way to travel and the reset is tough to find. Everything else about this gun rules as a go-to-war weapon…except the bangswitch. For this amount of coin, it should be better from the factory. A lot better. Maybe not perfect, but better than this. You know what – maybe perfect after all.

Because the rest of the gun is phenomenal. It’s built like a tank. It also comes with a set of small, medium, and large palm inserts and backstraps. I ran everything small because that’s how I roll and my minuscule hands loved it. It also eats different brand of ammo I can find, kinda like John Pinnette at the Borgata buffet after his act.

I thought I wouldn’t like the magazine release being in a place where God and John Moses Browning never intended it to be. But the mag drop on the sides of the trigger guard (think Walther P22) work very well. I also like the serrated slide that has that ‘just right’ feel when you yank back on it- not so aggressive as to cut you, but not so smooth you’ll lose your grip if your hands are sweaty. Or bloody.

I also really love the sights on the P30. I have a few guns with Trijicon night sights, but the HK sights just work better for me. The dots are larger in diameter, the highlighter-yellow color is right and even if there’s no fancy radioactive material in them, they still glow nicely in the dark after being exposed to light.

Accuracy?  Of course, it is an HK. But I couldn’t confirm my groups being any tighter (or looser) than my trusty 1911. The .40 is described by some as snappy, and this gun in 9mm might well eek out a bit more paper-punching accuracy from an end user. But combat accuracy is well beyond anything you’ll need it to be.

Oh and there’s a rail so you can add on all the tactical goodness your ninja heart desires.  Mine is wearing a Crimson Trace RailMaster. Review on that to come….

The HK P30L is the honey badger of pistols. It eats anything. It’s built like a brick shithouse. Larry Vickers can defend himself from Chuck Norris by sending 100,000 rounds at him at 400 yards continuously without a failure. It’s comfy to fire, yet cannot be menaced by the environment. All in all, if Rule of Law disappeared tomorrow, this would be my sidearm. But that trigger really should have been good right out of the box.

Specifications:

Length                         7.56 in
Height                          5.43 in
Width (with lever)     1.37 in
Weight with mag        1.72 lb
Capacity                        15+1
Trigger                          DA/SA
MSRP                            $1100 (street about $925)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Style * * * *
Black plastic and metal work well, both for HK and Amex.

Ergonomics  * * *
The safety and mag release work great. The de-cocker could (should?) be more damped. But get thy trigger to a good smithy.

Reliability * * * * *
From the cheapest S&B and Fiocchi I could find to the most esoteric hand loads, if it is stamped .40 S&W on the bottom, the P30L will eat it.

Customize This  * * * *
Right out of the box, you can adjust the grip to fit your hand. Then there’s all that rail space.

OVERALL RATING * * * 1/2
The Lionel Richie of handguns. Talented. Versatile. Smooth. Black. Great Lineage. Great Performer. Full of Soul. So why is the trigger so very Nicole?

avatar

About Brett Solomon

Brett Solomon got his first taste of the magazine world covering car electronics for CarSound & Performance Magazine. He landed the job by being noticed for designing high-end car audio systems. Which was fine by him because there was no way he was going to pass the third level of calculus toward an electrical engineering degree at University of Delaware. Not with those DuPont scholars around campus, he’ll take Journalism over Engineering, thank you very much. He has since written for a number of publications (think in-flight journalism) that lack the chutzpah of Robert Farago, and having all of those milquetoast reviews pent up in his system now allows his pen to spit fire. We’ll, he is just not that mean but happy to tell the truth…and the truth is most firearms are fun!

40 Responses to Gun Review: HK P30LS in .40 S&W

  1. avatarRokurota says:

    What the heck is that in the case? Does the P30LS come with a 22-round magazine?

  2. avatarMichael B. says:

    I recently set up my HK USP40C with the light LEM trigger. Trigger pull comes in at about 4 lbs and it’s friggin’ sweet. I couldn’t stand the external safety and the obnoxiously long and heavy DA pull. SA pull was crappy too.

    All that’s fixed now.

    • avatarDex says:

      I love LEM triggers. Thats what I have on my USP, P30, and 45. They take some getting used to, but are sure nice.

      • avatarMichael B. says:

        Do you have the light LEM setup or the heavy LEM setup?

        • avatarDex says:

          On the USP it is definitely Light since its LEM is within the 4 lb spectrum. You can obtain the “heavies”, though im satisfied with mine.

          My V2 P30 in 9mm has a V1 4lb LEM trigger retrofitted. The HK 45 was a V1 SA/DA but I installed a 5 lb LEM kit, which works profoundly well.

  3. avatar2Wheels says:

    Almost a grand and they still can’t give ya a decent trigger? :(

    Bring back the P7 HK!

  4. avatarstateisevil says:

    It’s a really nice gun and I’m incredibly accurate with it. Unfortunately, it had to go because shooting it hurt my trigger finger so badly. Unless I used the very tip tip of my finger, it caused a lot of pain. Not sure why. Didn’t care. My XD rocks.

  5. avatarbrigo50 says:

    Has anyone had trouble getting on BudsGunshop lately? Everytime i try it times out. Yet many other pages load right up.

  6. avatarChris Dumm says:

    Farago and I shot the P30 in Las Vegas, and I came away with three observations:
    1. It’s incredibly comfortable, and if you hand doesn’t like it you can change it until it does.
    2. It’s incredibly accurate in SA mode. I put one or two whole magazines through it, and I hit (rapidly) every steel pepper popper and hostage target I aimed at within 15 yards.
    3. The DA trigger pull sucks shit, and the SA reset is a little too long.

    If Taurus can make an *outstanding* DA/SA trigger for the 24/7 G2 for $400, H&K should be able to make at least a decent DA/SA trigger for $1000.

  7. avatarjkp says:

    Why can’t anyone make a good trigger anymore? It’s only the most important part of shooting!

    When Glock is the polymer handgun with the benchmark trigger, it’s a sad world.

    I WISH BMW would make guns, at least they’d get the trigger right. (BMW INSIDE JOKE: Although you’d probably have to use a computer to press-check the chamber.)

    • avatarBirdeyeDrew says:

      The Walther PPQ trigger rocks! It has to be the new standard – at least for polymer, striker-fired guns.

    • avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Because of lawyers. Every company wants to have a trigger that shows how hard it is to make the weapon fire under unusual, accidental or inadvertent situations.

      Most of these negligent or accidental discharges would not occur if people learned the simple rule: Keep your booger hook off the bang switch until you’re actually on target and ready to fire.

      • avatarme says:

        This. So very much this.

        Plus there is also the point that DA/SA triggers aren’t supposed to be easy to shoot. Ease of use, ergonomics, achievable accuracy under field conditions, these are not criteria. The whole point of the DA/SA trigger mechanism is to make it harder for some untrained illiterate peasant conscript from the People’s Republic of Gumbystan to kneecap himself while he’s waving it around drunkenly. That’s why it was invented. You want a trigger that’s usable for every shot, a trigger for an actual fighting gun, to defend your life with? Single action only or striker-fired is what you’re looking for. Just don’t issue it to Abdul unless he knows not to put his booger hook on the bang button, etc.

  8. avatarMichael B. says:

    BTW, the position of the decocker on the P30 sucks.

  9. avatarMichael B. says:

    Really? REALLY?

    Fine, let’s try this again.

    The position of the de****er (rhymes with blocks) on the back of the gun *****s (rhymes with ducks).

    • avatarMoonshine7102 says:

      I agree. Honestly, Robert. Is there any chance we could get the filter, I don’t know, adjusted?

      • avatarMichael B. says:

        I could go David (the android from Prometheus) mode.

        “The choice of placing the hammer disengagement switch on the rear of the pistol was most unwise and is very unergonomic.”

        • avatar2Wheels says:

          It actually ain’t that bad, not too hard to touch the back of the slide with your thumb, and it’s not something you do very often anyways.

          It’s better than incorporating it into the thumb safety switch like the USP, and better than a silly Beretta slide mounted hammer dropper switch thingy (can’t say the D word!!!).

          If they did it Sig style, they’d have to redesign their slide lock lever. So, I guess it’s the only place they had left.

        • avatarMichael B. says:

          2wheels, how much force does it take to de**** it? Is it plausible that if you were carrying it IWB that you could accidentally press the button?

        • avatar2Wheels says:

          Not if the safety were on.

    • avatarDex says:

      HAHAHAHA!!! youre getting C O C K blocked.

      PS im not making fun of you. like a fellow gun owner, i love all of you :D

  10. avatarStephen says:

    Sounds like my Camry will flat out SMOKE your BMW!

  11. avatarVorpalis says:

    “The HK P30L is the honey badger of pistols. It eats anything. It’s built like a brick shithouse.”

    I can vouch for this. So can Pistol-Training.com, who put 91,622 rounds from various manufacturers through one and had only 13 stoppages and 5 parts break. The P30 has by far the most comfortable grip I’ve ever held. The mag release is weird until you learn to push it with your trigger finger – without having to shift your grip. Then you have one of those “Ah-ha!” moments, and now I wonder why any other style of safety exists. It’s true that the DA/SA trigger sucks, but the LEM trigger is a thing of beauty.

  12. avatarDex says:

    hmmm, interesting.

    My trigger on my P30 is not the greatest, though in a combat handgun, you dont need hair triggers. Theyre designed to be rugged and dependable.

  13. avatarRambeast says:

    “But what brought HK to international fame and the cover of Dick Marcinko books (for example, Rogue Force Delta Green Team 7 Ninja Force Alpha II: The beginning)”…Epic.

    Honestly, if I’m dropping a grand on a handgun, it better be damn near perfect. This beast is a huge disappointment to non fanboys.

  14. avatarg says:

    Solid, honest, review. But after you shell out 1k for the gun, how much does a good trigger job cost by an excellent gunsmith? That’s a lot of $$$…

    • avatarBrett Solomon says:

      Its my job to find out and report back the results. There is a ‘smith in WA that HK forum gurus rave about. Just give me some time to recoup some funds for the full treatment… I’ll keep ya posted.

  15. avatarBad Matt says:

    Has anyone asked HK to fix their trigger? What happened?

  16. avatarMontrala says:

    P30 is service pistol used by German LE. There are regulations in Germany that (among other things) limit minimal trigger travel and minimal trigger reset. HK makes all their handguns to comply with those rules. Walther PPQ for instance is banned from LE use due to it’s trigger, so Walther markets it as “special forces pistol” and offer P99 with longer pull and reset as LE gun. Heavy DA comes from strong hammer spring, good for even most stubborn, hard military primers used in SMG ammo.

    HK makes stuff mainly for LE/mil customers, and those do not want “match” or “hair” triggers, so it is very unlikely that HK will change trigger design. “Match” trigger (with shorter trigger reset) is all that HK done for their “sporting” and “special forces” USP pistols (Match, Expert, Elite, Combat Competition, Custom Sport and Tactical).

    • avatarchad haire says:

      thats the whole problem with HK–like FN they only care about military/police contracts and don’t give a damn about consumers.
      And they are clueless about consumers needs too. Too bad, they do make some good stuff.

  17. avatarM. Lawson says:

    I have to disagree about the trigger. I’ve had a P30 since 2009 and I love the trigger. I recognize that I’m the minority here but the trigger is exactly what I want in a combat gun. Mine does not have an external safety and the heavy DA is virtually impossible to fire accidentally. I also find the SA very precise. I actually like the heavier feel of the trigger. Yes the reset is a little long, but I have no problem running rapid fire drills and producing clover leaf groupings at 7 yards. The recoil is amazingly soft with this gun. I have thousands and thousands of rounds through this gun and have yet to have a stoppage of any kind.

    I also love the mag release (again, I think I’m the minority). But I can drop a mag and reload without taking my sights off target. In addition (and it might just be my gun) the gun runs right into battery as soon as the next mag is inserted. I don’t even have to hit the release. Fastest reloads ever with this gun. Ridiculous. Seriously, I can drop a mag and fire the first round off the next mag in under 1 second.

    I don’t care what name is stamped on the side… this gun is awesome and worth every penny – I think I paid $830-ish after tax for it back then. Oh yeah, one other thing… over the last three years this gun has been riding in my serpa 5 days a week and there is zero evidence of any finish marring. The gun still looks like the day I bought it.

    • avatarchad haire says:

      its a good gun in many areas but it has finger grooves–this idea faded out decades ago because it doesn’t work, so why would HK use this. Yeah I know Glock uses them too, and it doesn’t work well on their guns either.
      Also has 3-dot white sights, the worst setup on the planet. Front dot OK if you have a rear white outline ( Glock) or rear lower line/bar as on Sig. If you paint the rear dots a different color it works OK — guess you gotta do it yourself. Attention to detail people!!!!!!! But 3-dot sights of the same color is a crap setup which I will explain in another time ( if you have to ask, I think you have a problem anyway)

    • avatarj says:

      to m.lawson well said to all else quit bitchin about ur paper targets & all ur lazy trigger pulls reliability in ur had when u really need it is what this gun is made for. show me a $1700 comp. kimber u can drop pick up & still depend on?

  18. avatarAl says:

    The comments about DA trigger pull are accurate but the single action pull is acceptable.. I’m a die hard 1911 fan but I have to admit my two H&K P2000SK are my “go to” guns. My 9mm and .40 are both DA/SA V3′s and I like them so much I can forgive the DA trigger pull. My forgiving nature may come from the fact I always thumb cock the first shot even on the 1911′s. Just ordered a V1 LS LEM Long Side. Something about the H&K build and feel is just as unique as my high end Colts and Wilsons. I’m just as comfortable with the H&K at my side as I am with the 1911′s. Actually, I think the H&K is a saver firearm when you consider the actual mechanics of the internals. The H&K finish on the slide seems to wear well and the polymer portion seems indistructable. I’ve owned Glocks and they are good for the price but they don’t excite me, and he same goes for S&W Dx’s. Never owned a PPQ and see no reason to own one now that I’ve discovered H&K. Having said all this, I’m very particular about my weapons and if the only criticism is the trigger, then there’s nothing to be critical about since the trigger does what it’s supposed to do and allows the shooter to place shots accurately, reliably and safely. If double action trigger pull is objectionable to you, go with the LEM V1 then there’s nothing to be critical about unless you just can’t feel right about yourself without having something negative to say about most anything you come in contact with. Over all the H&K’s are excellent go to war sidearms, but bench rest shooting instruments they are not, but then, neither is the 1911 in any fully modified configuration.
    There’s a bunch of really good guns out there to choose from. I just happen to like and choose the H&K reliability since that’s what really matters in a tight spot.

  19. avatarNathan says:

    I’m a little confused about a couple points in your scoring of the HK P30. Style: 4, Ergonomics: 3 Reliability: 5, Customize this: 4. Using the following formula, the average of your scores comes to 4. (4 + 3 + 5 + 4) / 4 = 4. Unless there is a criteria that you are using to come up with your overall score that you didn’t include in your breakdown, I think you under-scored this pistol with your overall score of 3.5.

    Also, I’m not sure you understand ergonomics. You speak about the safety and mag release working well, the de-c0cker needing to being more damped, and trigger needing refinement. However, ergonomics is about being designed for comfort, efficiency, safety, and productivity. Things such as the angle of the grip compared to the slide, width, depth, and length of the grip (palm inserts and back straps), location and ease of access of the controls, etc. make up the ergonomics of the pistol. Since the P30 comes with palm inserts and back straps, I would say that HKs are far above other manufacturers who don’t offer either, or only offer back straps. Also, the locations of the controls are easily accessible, and can be used by a variety of hand sizes. I won’t pretend to know what you would score these aspects of the pistol, but I would guess it would be more than 3 out of 5.

    In conclusion, I’m not sure your scoring is either adequate, or fair. However, I don’t want to come off sounding like I didn’t enjoy the article. I thought the write-up was phenomenal. You include great information, and your use of images to separate content areas was perfect. Since I am considering purchasing my first H&K, I found your write-up invaluable.

    • avatarMike Dawkins says:

      you sound like a tool

      • avatarAJ says:

        Mike Dawkins….Nathans comments are accurate. Maybe its not a big deal for subject matter, but the over all rating should at least be a 4 since all points add up to 16, divided by 4 categories = 4 stars. And with how much praise the author gave certain elements of the weapon then rated it lower, like ergonomics (since trigger feel should not actually be included in ergonomics, ergonomics is how the human body naturally fits with something)…especially since it offers actual ergos 99% of other pistols do not offer. From the authors own praise & requirements it should have at least received a 4 1/2 out of 5 over all rating.

        So the point being, you don’t need to be a d*ck just because you thought someones personal insight into an article may have been excessive. To others, who actually process and think while reading, the points made are valid. Grow up.

  20. avatarcaligula says:

    I rack the slide of my Beretta Storm and 921A with the safety engaged all of the time. No problem.

Leave a Reply

Please use your real name instead of you company name or keyword spam.