H&K LRP, c Nick Leghorn

These last few months – years, actually – have been very good to manufacturers here in the United States. Record levels of sales combined with sky-high prices means some record profits. But things aren’t all sunshine and lollypops, especially for the popular German manufacturer Heckler & Koch. German newspaper Die Weldt is reporting that the manufacturer posted a 20 million euro loss for 2011 and more red ink for 2012. However, the prospects for this year’s profits are looking good. Then again, that was before the AR-15 market bubble burst . . .

116 Responses to While US Gun Market Booms, H&K Close to Bankruptcy

  1. Overpriced German tomfoolery and elitist Euro-weenie marketing. Now there’s a formula for success. Besides, we suck and they hate us.

  2. If they quit pricing their pistols at $1000 apiece,perhaps theyd boost their profits.Why buy a P30 when S&W and Walther will both sell you a gun just as tough & ergonomic for half the price?

    • You show me one single test showing a modern walther and a modern HK going head to head where the walther proved either more durable or more reliable.

      • Hal, I can show you one with an HK and a Glock doing at least the same thing… at half the price.

      • Show me any review of an HK pistol that doesnt complain about something before excusing it by saying “but, hey, its an HK!”.

        They’re over priced and overrated.

      • In Memphis,
        I said HK and Walther, not HK and Glock. I am a Glock guy and not an HK fanboy. I agree that HKs are overpriced and I am not a defender by any stretch of the imagination. But there is a reason I singled out walther by name. Glocks, M&Ps, HKs and Sigs are all proven, robust, bomb proof duty pistols. Walthers (and XDs) are fine pistols; totally suitable for low-to-medium round count users and self defense. But to say that a Walther P99 (or name your modern model here) could keep up with the round count/lifecycle of the aforementioned guns would be both unsubstantiated and unproven at best.

        • I have a walther p99 (from germany, not the S&W/walther debacle) with well over ten thousand rounds through it, a daily carry for over ten years, and it still throw lead in the ten ring accurately and reliably. One of my favorite purchases ever. I also have a (again from germany) walther PPS that has been a rock star. It is absolutely a tack driver inside 25 yards and has thus far ( a couple thousand rounds in) never failed to feed/extract/fire/make me smile. Not sure what your experience is, but sorry you had it. FUll disclsure, I will never buy any walther designed after their relatively recent purchase by another company. The PPS (from Ulm) was the last awesome pistol they will ever produce. I disavowed anything smith and wesson when they signed on in support of clinton era AWB. You’ll never see a new smith in my house.

        • My good sir, my XD40 with around 2500 rounds through it with ZERO MALFUNCTIONS EVER and limited maintenance takes serious offense to your heinous aspersions. (And yes, I did catch your part about low to mediums round counts. Go over to XDtalk and read the stories of the people with 30-40K through theirs.)

        • Hal, I wont even spit numbers out. I’m just going to say: This argument must be aimed at young bucks with a lot of CoD hours logged, because a P99 is far better than any H&K.

          Okay, later.

      • I dont think such a test exists because nobody has pursued it.

        I will bet a large quantity of money that Walther could keep up though.

        In classes where 1000-2000 rounds are fired, I’ve seen Walthers, specifically the P99 and PPQ, keep up with the best.

        • Are you talking about Walther-made pistols, or S&W-made? I tried an S&W-made PK380 and after the first mag, it would fte on every third round. The range officer said that it had been a consistent problem for them.

    • I gotta agree I looked at the P30 for my first pistol but it was the price tag that stopped me. My 92A1 @750 after tax and nics was at the tippy top of my price range.

    • Why buy a Ferrari 458 when Toyota camery is 1/10’s price? Both cars get you to point A and point B!!! Both cars have doors, engine, intake, frames and etc!! So stop posting retarded questions like this, it doesn’t make sense!!!!!

  3. Well maybe they would post profits if they wouldn’t sell watered down versions of there modern sporting rifles to us Americans!

  4. If they started selling their Hk mp5 pistols in semi auto and some of their G36’s in semi auto I can guarantee you they wouldn’t go bankrupt.

      • I would love to SBR a semi auto MP5 pistol. The issue with HK is availability. My LGS is always out or almost out of H&Ks

    • That would be too good to be true.

      You know a niche in the market exists when you have guys spending more money to covert the damn SL8 into a true G36.

      Myself and 15 other guys I know would buy a semi-auto MP5 if they sold one.

      Yes there are parts kits, yes there are “pistols”, yes, they all cost the price of a well built AR. No thank you.

  5. I think they shouldn’t have pulled the USC off the line. Also agreed sell their guns at legitimate prices including the cool ones like the 417

  6. Overpriced euro trash.
    What do they expect when all of their offerings are nearly double the price of anyone else.
    Reminds me of when VW was priced the same as BMW.

  7. Today Germany, tomorrow bankruptcy? Gott im himmel, how did that happen? I thought that only The Freedom Group was capable of such mismanagement.

  8. Where does HK fit? Their weapons are high quality but overpriced. The difference between a $400 XD and a $900 HK is insufficient to justify the higher price.

    • HK is Europe’s Colt. Except they haven’t figured out yet that shrinking government contracts won’t pay the bills. Maybe gun companies world wide will figure out gun control gets rid of their biggest potential customers? Nahhh.

    • Thats a bit of a stretch.

      The difference between a 600 dollar Glock and 800-1000 dollar HK is insufficient to justify the price.

      XDs dont belong in the same category.

        • I’ve seen em for around that at my lgs. Although it seems to have abnormally low prices.

      • I got my XD for $440 at my local LGS, but my store seems to have the lowest prices in town on anything I can find aside from the store downtown that carries agency trade-ins from time to time.

      • Personally, I wouldnt waste my money.

        You can get a used Glock for 4-500 bucks that is twice the handgun anyways…

        • Ah, unsubstantiated fanboyism. Glad to see you’re alive and well in the firearms world as well.

          The HS2000 platform has been in service for over a decade. It’s regarded as a top tier reliability platform along with any of your other major-name polymer pistols.

          Cult of Glock, Cult of Sig…all the high quality polymer pistols go boom every time. The rest is personal preference.

  9. With products like the USC, no wonder they’re having issues. That product was such an overpriced disappointment.

    • Are SWAT teams still using H&K long guns? Every time I see pictures of SWAT these days they seem to be using some version of the AR. I know there was a time they all seemed to use the MP5 but if the news pics are anything to judge by they’ve upgunned to rifles.

  10. I have a sneaking suspicion that HK feels guns should not be owned by civilians and that is why their sales to civilians is very limited which of course is leading to their demise. I’m basing this on the following three observations:

    1. HK is foreign owned in a country where civilian gun ownership is strict.

    2. The infamous Recoil magazine issue where the MP7 reviewer stated the gun does not belong in the hands of civilians. I suspect the article’s author got that idea from HK.

    3. HK-USA is run by pro-Obama big government liberals.

    • I have one of very few post sample mp7’s. fantastic little gun that if made as a semi auto pistol would sell like wild fire…even if you charged 3 or 4 grand.

    • “I suspect the article’s author got that idea from HK.”

      Yup. While Jerry was wrong for putting it in the mag, I always doubted it was an original thought.

    • If this is true:

      “HK-USA is run by pro-Obama big government liberals.”

      Then they will not go bankrupt. Obama will bail them out (with our money).

    • I couldn’t agree more. If H&K opened up their sales to all markets, and reduced prices by 20%, they’d be back in the black in no time. Hell…just selling the semi auto 416 to civilians in the US a couple of years ago would have kept them in the black.

  11. I love the full size USP .40 and am shooting at my best with one BUT I can do just as well with a G22 or 23 at half the price.

  12. And not a single fvck was given. At least by me.

    I understand they make really neat stuff, but 85% of it is unavailable to me, and the rest is priced well above what I’m willing to pay. I understand that the USP Tactical is quite possible the most durable, best made production handgun there is, but it’s big and bulky (so I can’t carry it), and the incredible durability that you get for its mile-high price is far, far, FAR beyond anything that it would ever be subjected to in my life, and thus is an unnecessary expense.

  13. Looking back, HK’s board of directors wonders whether “HK. Because you suck and we hate you.” was really the best choice of slogan.

  14. I knew they were going tits up when I saw the Spiderman grips on the P30… they peaked at roller delayed blowback.

  15. Maybe they should charge a more reasonable price for their products. Maybe then more people would buy them. They make good stuff, but lots of other companies make guns just as nice for a lot less money.

  16. What the article doesn’t make clear is where the loss comes from.
    How much is from loss of sales vs. devaluation in the Euro,
    investment issues and other outside economic factors? Europe
    isn’t exactly fiscally stable at the moment and Germany is taking
    a huge financial hit to keep everyone solvent. The article does
    state that the previous manager was involved in hedge funds
    and the monetizing of debt. This would make H&K more
    susceptible to changes in the stock market and bond valuation.

    I do think H&K placed too much emphasis on military/government
    sales. (A mistake I think FNH is also guilty of.) As others have
    already noted, H&K needs to actively pursue the civilian market.
    Yes the prices are high, but comparable to others, such as SIG.
    On the other hand that $1000-1500 pricetag doesn’t seem so
    bad when compared other higher end pistols like a Wilson or
    Les Bear.

    • “…that $1000-1500 pricetag doesn’t seem so bad when compared other higher end pistols like a Wilson or Les Bear.”

      Apples / Oranges

      Part of the reason those HK pistols are $1300-1500 is that they’re engineered beyond all rationality to keep running despite ridiculous abuse. They’ll take the worst anyone would ever throw at them and keep right on humming. You can’t say the same for a Wilson or Les Baer of equal price, not that most people with one of those would ever treat it with much less than kid gloves, anyway.

      • I wasn’t trying to denigrate H&K pistols, quite the
        opposite. I feel that the level of engineering in an
        H&K makes it a high-end pistol. Considering their
        reliability even under seriously adverse conditions,
        I’d also consider the price to be a bargain.

      • So are Glocks, steyrs, CZ’s, Sigs and all manner of other pistols. (not saying they’re equal, but they are designed with the same intent, with various levels of success)

        their price has less to do with “over engineering” and more to do with brand perception and reputation.

        but agreed, those high end 1911’s serve a different market, and it’s definitely not one that’s putting their life on their gun, generally.

    • ChuckN, I thought we had already established that HK’s woes are the fault of Obama and Liberals!

      Seriously, I have no stake in things, I doubt I’ll ever be lucky enough to own an HK product, but I spent many a teenaged hour gazing at those ads in the ’80s gun magazines and, yes, SOF. But they wanted like $600 or something for that HK-91. Ridiculous.

  17. Whats the bad new no company treats US costumers and treats US gun rights as poor as HK who bows to antigun politicians and never sells a Semi Auto G-36 or withdrew HK-94s all too fast to Billy Clinton’s demands. They and FN can die off forever more power to US gun makers.

    • Careful there….FN has established a pretty substantial presence here in the US market, military and commercial both. Unlike HK. It’s a shame I think. I used to own a P7M8 and a USP45 years ago, and they were both fine pistols. I suspect that their downfall is the result of a lot of factors, among them their well-known Teutonic snootiness, high labor costs, stiff competition both at home and abroad, and an overemphasis on the military/LE market (see snootiness.)

  18. The problem with HK is two-fold:

    a) their stuff is overpriced (but then, many German products are).

    b) their corporate management is getting increasingly financially shady.

  19. Much like Spinal Tap’s manager dismissed the cancellation of the Boston gig with, “It’s OK, it’s not a big college town”, so H&K told themselves, “It’s OK, the U.S. civilian arms market is small potatoes.”

    Too bad they couldn’t monetize Call of Duty fanboy drool.

  20. Wow.

    Just wow.

    I am surprised to see so many comments spewing hate toward one of the finest arms manufacturers in the world, most of them purely because they choose not to afford the fine products they produce.

    Certainly, less expensive options are readily available, and most perfornm, reasonably well. My experience, however, has repeatedly proven that you almost always get exactly what you pay for, and the vast najority of my personal weapons all say either ‘Made in Germany’ or ‘Made in Austria’.

    All of my HK’s have performed flawlessly for me, and I would not hesitate to trust them with my life. I suspect many (if not most) of the HK haters posting comments here today have never owned an HK, and thus never afforded the opportunity to fully appreciate the level of quality and craftsmanship that is integral to every HK weapon.

    Even Colin Noir finds HK’s to be ‘Reasonably Priced.’ And I am not going to argue with that.

    • I’ve owned H&Ks. They’re a fine product, and the only problem I ever had with any of them is they think every one of their customers has a big hand. But they’re overpriced by 10-30%, depending on model and where you buy them. You can find equal quality and craftsmanship at that price range

      But their problem isn’t with price. You could sell an over priced high quality pistol. What you can’t do is sell a high quality pistol with very little new innovation one year to the next, and with the disdain H&K has for the civilian market with the items it want’s the most.

      Selling guns is like selling anything else. You give the public what it wants, and if you ignore the public, someone else will give them what they want and you’ll be out of business.

      H&K is headed that way.

    • “most of them purely because they choose not to afford the fine products they produce”

      that and/or they’re too broke and want a high quality, high reliability handgun for 400 dollars.

      Or a aimpoint for 100.

      it never ends.

    • I have a safe full of hk and no complaints. The best investments I’ve ever made. No mechanical issues ever. Keep up the great product hk!

  21. H&K must have secretly replaced their C-level executives with executives from the American mass media.

  22. HK might do well to pick a few ideas from sig sauer, like their p250 and sp2022 value line pistols, great quality and reasonable prices will get the customers sipping on the brand’s kool-aid.

  23. retool and make bicycles and spandex pants. the liberals will buy it up and save the company. problem solved.

    • And with their new MPX pistols coming out to the civilian market, who wants to spend the money on an overpriced MP5!!!

  24. Got two USP45s. I like ’em but I can’t hit sh*t with ’em. Too honkin’ big for me dainty grubs. Too expensive too. Just can’t beat a Glock for a poly pistol. Sp2022 even, now there’s a quality piece. HKs are nicely made but they won’t compete on price, and truthfully, they aren’t made any better and will not endure any more abuse than a Glock or a Sig.
    The reason HK is having problems is because they need to sell more pistols period. Stratospheric pricing and snubbing the US civilian market is not the way to go about it.

  25. We will never go out of business! Because we are HK and we don’t need to sell to civilians! We will just raise prices by 300% and you will still buy because we are HK! $150 for an AR magazine and $200 for new G3 magazines!, but you will still buy them because they are the best, they are HK! We load our ammo backwards, because we are HK!

  26. I like H&K firearms, but their high price and attitude towards the civilian market turned me off to buying them.

    I bought a C-93 instead (Century Arms has been hit and miss with these, I got a hit, it’s a good one, reliable and accurate).
    I also have a GSG-5, but that’s more of a look-alike than a clone.

    • My brother got one of the “good” C-93’s as well. He picked up basically on a whim, not knowing what to expect. A few thousand rounds later…and it has gone “bang” every time. And hit what were aiming at.

      • I bought mine from a co-worker/friend of mine.
        I had shot it before on a few range trips with him, so I knew it it was a good one.
        I don’t think I would have bought one under different circumstances.

  27. I love the look of the USP and got to shoot one that belonged to my friend. Was really accurate and fun to shoot, but if you don’t have big hands, (/southpark) You’re gonna have a bad time (/end southpark).

    That said, HK hates you. Because you suck. And when they deign to allow one of their products to the citizen market, they exclaim “Look at what you made us do!” Then they smack you.

    🙂

  28. i don’t personally know anyone with a H&K gun so I’m not overly shocked. they seem to me to be like over priced Glock’s or Springfield’s. good combat or competition guns, but then again so are the other leaders in polymer pistoles.

  29. Priced a Colt lately? $1000 and up for pretty much everything, and that’s just because it’s a Colt. Has Colt designed a new pistol in the last 40 years? Or just modified the ones its got? They’re recycling the Mustang, unmodified at all except for better materials and CNC machining, and calling it “all new.” I sent a link to RF last night–seems Colt is in dire straits as well, and because of declining military sales is going to be recombining Colt Defense with its domestic sales unit. However, that does not address its massive debt that it may not be able to refinance.

    I handled a HK45 at a lgs last weekend. If I’d had $850 I would have bought it. Just racking the slide you can feel the quality of the engineering. Smooth as silk, very unKahr like (and Kahrs are just as expensive). And for me, the ergos were spot on.

    • Colt tried to innovate a bit in the 90’s after the ‘Wonder 9’s’ from Beretta, Glock and Sig took most of their market share. They produced the Colt 2000, a double-stacked, light-weight 9mm handgun. However, Colt was going a ruinous 5-year labor dispute at the time and the new workers they hired couldn’t turn out quality products at a steady pace. I think they had the same problem with the Colt Mustang of the 90’s. So the 2000’s were unreliable and a commercial failure that only added to Colt’s woes of outdated products, foreign competition and loosing all of their military contracts.

  30. Nobody is buying HK firearms, at least in the civilian market. Over-priced great quality products in a market with a bunch of other well-priced great quality products equals loss of sales.
    HKs do not shoot better, work better or look better than most other firearm brands. The days of one brand being of better quality and performance than all the others is over and has been for quite some time. HK sales have steadily dropped for a reason.

  31. Charge twice what your guns are really worth and you may go out of business. Ya’ don’t say.

    • Easy fix
      1. Build a plant in the US.
      2. Bring back the P7 for about $700
      3. Bring back the SL8, with a normal stock and pistol grip, and have it use AR magazines for about $1500
      4. Bring back the USC, with a normal stock and pistol grip, 30 rnd mags for about $800
      Watch the money roll in!

  32. 1.) H&K needs to expand their civilian market in the US more. By setting up shop in the US and producing a few guns here, this is a start. Well see more produced in the US because we are the world’s most prolific private small arms business.

    2.) H&K produces excellent products and Ill argue that they’re not in fact overpriced for the quality control, superior engineering, and accuracy.

    3.) American gun owners largely want something for nothing.

    4.) Its hard to spend 1000-1200 on a HK pistol when I can send 500-600 on a Glock, magazines, a holster, a CCW, and a training class. The person with training will always be more effective. In addition, there is no reason to spend the money on a MR556 when a Daniel Defense, BCM, or Colt will do the same job in the 5.56 fighting rifle configuration. Oh, and you will have money for magazines, a sling, and a class (maybe a surefire and optic depending on what you spend).

    5.) If HK hated you so bad, then they wouldnt have began producing some guns in the US wouldnt of they?

    “Because we hate you…” The biggest mantra of ass clownery that exists in the gun world today. Based off of…a piece of relatively inaccurate bullshit peddled over blogland.

    • Well, which is it? Does the higher price buy you “quality control, superior engineering, and accuracy”, or “Daniel Defense, BCM, or Colt will do the same job”?

      • If you read my comment more carefully, I implied that you are buying something that has superior quality control, superior engineering, and accuracy for a higher price, with a emphasis on the handguns.

        For those unwilling to spend 3k on a MR556, those aforementioned rifles will work just fine, if not better when evaluating all of the variables.

        Personally, I see no incentive whatsoever to buy HK rifles other than for the collector value.

    • H&K set up a production facility in the US because they thought they were going to be selling millions of XM8 carbines to the US armed forces.

      That fantasy went swirling down the toilet and they’re trying to make up for it with wildly overpriced AR variants.

      H&K has been relying on their CoD fanboys for years now, and eventually the fanboys grow up, move out of mom and dad’s place and have to start being a little more realistic about their toy purchases.

      • I work for a Libertarian think tank. Every day, people claim that we’re shills for the Kochs, and that we’re getting tons of money from them. In reality, we can’t figure out HOW to get money from them…

        Now I know why!

  33. When I look to buy guns, I automatically rule out H&K on price alone. The closest thing I’d consider would be a G3/HK-91, but the PTR91 clones have me covered there.

  34. They sell a lot to European governments. Europe isn’t doing so well right now. They don’t sell much (relatively) to the USA markets.

    It is no surprise at all that they are in trouble.

  35. You can sum up what is wrong with HK by handing over the magazines for their handguns. A plastic magazine for $50?? Even if there is some justification for not having metal bodies with plastic like the Glocks I really can’t imagine any real justification for why they would be So expensive.

    • this is my big problem with hk and why i’ve never bought anything from them. can i buy many magazines for a reasonable price and get replacement parts without too much of a hassle? if not, then i will never purchase a firearm from you, h&k.

      whenever you buy a gun, you buy into it’s logistics and supply train too. no one cares about some special unicorn gun that only has the mags it came with and hopes some part doesn’t break for fear of some 2 month ordeal just to get a company to agree to service it.

  36. It’s a free market. Charge what you want for your product. Consumers can decide if they’re willing to pay for the product. I’m debt free with money in the bank. I did not get that way by paying 1000+ for a handgun.

  37. Sold my USPc out of spite and got an M&P. Guess what? I shoot the M&P much better. I won’t buy any euro gun ever again.

  38. I think HK’s effort to expand their civilian market will be disastrous because they will believe “Because we’re HK, we will sell anything regardless of price.”

    I could well imagine HK making a Mauser-type bolt-action rifle that will use a stamped receiver and only take proprietary HK accessories. And all for the bargain price of $8000. Meanwhile a Savage Varminter will shoot just as well for less than 10% of the price.

  39. I don’t own, but have handled and shot USP handguns. I honestly didn’t see anything special about them. I’d take the XD or M&P over them every single day.

    The only H&K design that remotely interests me I can get from PTR instead. And it’ll probably be a lot better for less

  40. If their handguns were in the $600ish range and came with decent triggers then I’d own at least 5 right now. As it is I won’t sleep over not owning an HK at $1k a pop.

  41. Well the problems with H&K are really simple to identify. I have had the sorry ass experience to have to dill with them back in the early 90s for the DEA here in FL. The DEA had an million dollar contract with H&K for there Mp5 series sub machine gun. And even with that much money on the line, they treated us a factory authorized dealer and service center like a bunch of backward hill billies! Was never the weapons fault for failure, always ammo and or user!! I had a newly rebarreled MP5 direct from H&K. The DEA officer that received the weapon couldn’t get it to chamber a round So after bringing it in for me to inspect, I noticed the barrel had been rifled but not reemed for the cartridge case!! After contacting H&K directly they told me “NO WAY WOULD THEY HAVE LET A WEAPON LEAVE THEIR FACTORY WITH OUT INSPECTION!!! It must be something the DEA AGENT DID, OR SOMETHING I DID TO CAUSE THE PROBLEM!!!! And did this in a manner that insulted me and our shop, not to mention the agent that had been using the same weapon for years earlier with out a hitch! After 3 months of bitching back and forth, and many photos, polaroids, no camera phones in 1991. They actually decided to take another look at the weapon, and guess what they had the BALLS to tell me… They said 4 months earlier they had a barrel smith leave early one day sick, and he had rifled the barrels and had started reeming chambers, when he left all the barls in a stack. A unknowing smith installed all the barrels in MP5’s in for rebarreling repair. They told me to send the weapon back for re repair, and didn’t even say SORRY for calling me a LIER 2 months earlier!!! I wish this was the only story I had bad to say about there customer service, but there’s many!! And this from a Federal contract in the million dollar range!! I could only imagine how they would treat a first time gun buyer/owner that’s not as up to date with how a firearm is suppose to work. H&K did this to themselves, with over priced average at best products. And NO CUSTOMER SERVICE AT ALL!!!!! Not to mention that UMAREX MP5 22lr that is a complete piece of trash, went threw 3 before selling it off at a loss! Had H&K actually built the mp5 22lr with a real barrel, and not a paper thin stainless liner barrel that stays straight only by tightening the fake can onto the barrel liner. So ever time you shoot the liner moves!! COMPLETE TRASH!!!!!!! Im happy there going under, couldn’t have happened to a better company, now just maybe they will understand a companies much more than a name, you have to cater to all your customers!! And you have to understand, the MP5 was a great sub gun, but it was made in the late 60’s and now other companies here in the States have newer and better techknowledgy ! HINTS THE KRISS VECTOR!! Its easy to be 1st when your competing by yourself, just like Glock was, but with much better customer relatins!!
    Just remember this gun makers, take care of your customers, or they wont take care of YOU!!!!

  42. On top of losing business from the military and police Colt’s corporate structure prevented the company from capitalizing on a boom in gun sales after the election of President Obama.

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