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(This is a reader gun review contest entry, click here for more details.)

By Paul K.

Heckler & Koch P2000. Is it “In a world of compromises, some don’t”, or “Because you suck, and we hate you”? If you were born in the mid 80’s, you might understand the brainwashing that has been bestowed upon me about HK firearms. Between Tom Clancy, Metal Gear Solid, and the US SOCOM pistol trials, there has been a never ending craving to own what has been heralded as the best, most durable, most accurate, most awesomest combat pistol ever created. It’s true, Thor’s Hammer can be yours for only $1,800 in the form of the Heckler &Koch MK23 . . .

Well, it turns out that “perfect” combat pistol bestowed upon us by the gods is only a slight step down from a Desert Eagle in size. Combined with the fact that it does not include the iconic suppressor and “state of the art” light and laser module from the factory (at least not without a DoD contract), I soon found myself looking at the offspring of the coveted MK23.

Enter the USP series. The USP series blah blah blah…… Google the history of the USP if you care. We’re here to talk about the P2000. The selling price of the P2000, to this day, is over $800. I picked this one up for $550 used. By used, it looked like the original owner fired one mag through it, realized he’d been duped by the HK mythos, and promptly sold it back to the dealer at half the price he bought it for. I had the clerk pull out a new model to compare to the used one side-by-side, and we almost got them mixed up.

It is important to mention that this is the fourth HK pistol I have purchased. The other three have since been sold off, so you can start to see where this is headed.

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Mods
Knowing what I was getting into, I figured I would pick up this DA/SA version for pretty cheap (for an HK) and then install the LEM trigger in it when I got it home. For those who have never tried a light LEM in an HK, you really should give it a whirl before you trash on the concept. It is basically a four pound double action trigger pull with an extremely short reset. This allows you to have a long four pound pull on the first shot, and keep the trigger back in the single action area for fast follow up shots. It’s best of both worlds, between double action length of pull safety, and having a light four pound pull for accuracy.

Stay with me now, I promise I’ll get back to the review. Once home, I jumped right online to order up some parts. Well it turns out every other USP pistol with a DA/SA trigger can be switched to the LEM trigger, except the P2000, P2000sk and P30. Those have to come from the factory with the LEM kit installed. To install an LEM trigger on a DA/SA P2000 voids the warranty.

To say I was miffed would be an understatement. Especially since I had all of the knowledge in the world in my pocket while fondling it at the gun store. If you have ever fired a stock HK pistol in the DA/SA configuration, you know the trigger blows. I’m sorry, but for an $800 pistol there is no justification whatsoever for these pistols having such a horrible trigger out of the box. The DA pull was roughly 64 lbs., and it was like dragging a cinder block over concrete. Well, maybe not quite that bad, but it is still not good for that many fat stacks. Yo.

So I did some more Google fu, and it turns out you can do a little parts swapping trigger work on HK pistols. The following goodies filled my cart on HKPartsNet.com:

Light Hammer Spring – $9
Nickel Plated Flat Sear Spring – $12
Extended Mag Release – $24
Firing Pin Block Spring – $8
Light Trigger Return Spring – $9
Magazine flat floor plate – $9
Trijicon HD night sights (amazon.com) – $140
Total – $211

So I took a $550 used HK, and dumped $211 worth of upgrades into it, still making it below the cost of a new P2000. Not bad if I say so myself. Now let’s continue this saga with the modifications installed.

Trigger
As previously mentioned, the factory trigger blows harder than Miss Lewinsky in the oval office (#belowthebelt). It took about 20 minutes to install all of the springs, except for the G__ D____ trigger return spring. I ground off several years worth of enamel from my teeth while installing that spring.

The end result was a trigger that felt like rolling a bowling ball over glass. The DA pull is extremely smooth, but man is it heavy. It also stacks like a Waffle House right before the break. So the DA pull is still not great, but better. The SA pull is as it should be: short, light, and smooth with a decently short reset. When compared to my SIG P226 though, the SIG takes the cake every which way you slice it.

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Ergos
The P2000 was one of the first pistols to offer replaceable backstraps. It comes with f0ur different sizes S, M, L, and XL. For me, I use the L backstrap. What is interesting to note is both the L and XL backstraps have a rubber molding over the plastic framework of the insert. The rubber is similar to a Hogue grip. This makes the pistol feel a lot more secure in the hand than with the plastic backstraps. It is also better than a Hogue wrap because it does not put rubber on the side plates of the grip, which just drags against you shirt or “cover garment” (that’s operator speak for Hawaiian shirt).

The controls are all positioned well, except the mag release. No, I’m not gonna start crying about having a thumb style mag release. I actually prefer the paddle style as it is just as fast to use your trigger finger to release the magazine as it is your thumb. What I am complaining about (…because you suck…), is how ridiculously small, and painful, the factory magazine release is on the P2000.

Because it is so short, it is positioned in such as way that the corner of the plastic mag release digs directly into the tip of your finger when using the index finger. It’s similar to someone taping thumb tacks to your keyboard keys. After installing the extended mag release, this problem goes away completely. Strange why HK would install this extended mag release on the HK45 and HK45c and P30, but on none of the other pistols they still manufacture ( …because we hate you…). Yes, I know the VP9 has an even more extended slide release, and I’m pretty sure that will also fit on the rest of the HK lineup. For $24, it will be worth a try when it’s stock.

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Fit and finish
Know this: whenever you see HK, fit and finish = excellent. Except of course for the mag release. Ok fine, the fit and finish = very good, but not perfect. There really are not any areas that need to be addressed in terms of build quality. The only small thing I could find was on the large backstrap. There is a little space between the top of the rubber on the backstrap and the frame. Other than that, it’s great.

Magazines
If you know anything about HK, you know that the magazines are expensive and only available from HK. They do not allow any third parties to manufacture their magazines. Some might think this is because the folks at HK are soulless money grubbers. While this might be the case, I believe it has more to do with quality control and reliability of the design.

If you keep your magazines loaded to full capacity for long periods of time, the springs can wear, causing feeding issues in the gun. HK eliminates this problem by limiting the number of rounds in the magazine so the magazine spring is not worn out if stored fully loaded. What a novel idea…placing reliability before all else (…no compromise…).

This is also why the P2000 is larger than a GLOCK 19, but carries two fewer rounds. Am I saying HK mags are better than GLOCK mags? Of course I am, it’s a requirement as an HK owner to hate on GLOCKs. It is also not uncommon to read about 1911s having feeding issues because of some cheap magazine. So stop whining that you can only purchase very high quality magazines for your HK pistol.

Another feature of the P2000 magazine is the rubber padded base plate that comes standard. This allows you to drop the mag on a concrete floor without having it explode. Note: the flush mount base plates are plastic without any rubber coating.

Reliability
If you are still reading this, you’re not a real operator. Real operators would have stopped after the first sentence, but you are still here which means your fingers are probably covered with too much Cheeto dust to click the back button. It’s OK, I’ve got powdered sugar on my fingers.

So now that we’ve established our non-operator level we can say that for you and I, HKs, GLOCKs, SIGs, and any other quality firearm is going to be damn near 100% reliable. We’re not fighting in the desert, or assaulting Russian subs in the arctic sea in a scuba suit. So the HK P2000 is going to work at the range and when carried on our hips where the harshest environment it will see is greasy bacon sweat from our love handles. This pistol has never failed to function and eats all types of ammo. If you really want to see how much abuse your HK can take, just Youtube it and watch some other schmuck abuse an $800 gun.

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Sights
Regular three-dot sights are standard. I switched them out for Trijicon HD night sites, which have both tritium inserts and glow-in-the-dark orange paint on the front sight. They work great, and I highly recommend them.

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Firing
Take the time to play with the different backstraps, as they do make a difference when firing the pistol. The large strap is just right for me, and the rubber does a great job of keeping the pistol from moving around. The skateboard tape-like stippling of the front strap is just right. The only place I don’t like rough textures on the grip is on the side panels. It gets old fast having sandpaper rub at my love handles while I walk around my house in my tactical sweat pants.

Yeah, yeah, the bore axis of the HK USP series pistols is higher than that of striker fired pistols. Does it make the gun wildly uncontrollable when firing quickly at a target 15 yards away? No, it does not. I’ve fired the P2000 right beside my friend’s G26. Yes, there was a tiny bit more muzzle flip with the HK. No, it did not affect accuracy or speed of accurately rapid-firing at the target. I could see how a competition shooter would need every fraction of a second they can get, and would choose a GLOCK, M&P, CZ, or 1911. But remember, the P2000 is not a competition gun. Besides, I have learned to smoke my competition by holding down the shift key for added stability while firing.

I think the thing to remember with self defense and combat handguns is that they are tools. Like any good craftsman, you should be competent with a variety of tools made by different manufacturers. You may find that you like a particular tool manufacturer better than others, but that does not mean that it’s the best. It also doesn’t give you an excuse to not be able to work with the others. If you like Gaston’s grip angle and low bore axis, then great. If you agree that John Moses Browning was a prophet and the 1911 grip angle is a gift from God, then go with just about any other pistol manufacturer besides GLOCK (troll alert). Either way, you should be competent with both.

Accuracy
I’ve already made it clear by now that I am no operator, so I will refrain from further humiliation by not showing any groups at  seven yards. Let’s just say, the P2000 can shoot out the center circle, but I cannot. This is a defensive pistol not a target pistol. It’s not like I’m going to be making headshots at 25 yards from a helicopter anytime soon.

Pride of Ownership
Does owning a firearm manufactured by Heckler & Koch turn you into Solid Snake? No, it does not. I’ve been a hardcore GLOCK-hater for about 10 years, the entire time having never fired one. I looked for every reason why an HK would be better to own than a GLOCK. Four HK pistols later, I don’t think I can truly make the case for HK over GLOCK anymore.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have no plans on departing with this P2000 in which I’ve invested so much. I truly do like and enjoy the pistol and I know it will continue to work no matter how badly I might abuse it. But if you were on the fence between an HK and any other popular high quality pistol, I would not say the HK offers much more for the price.

If you do decide to go with an HK, go for a used one. The used price makes it a competitive contender to other combat and self defense pistols. Plus you can sell it again down the road for close to, if not more than, what you purchased it for. I’ve made money on two of the three HKs I’ve sold in the past.

Overall
While the P2000 is a far cry from the much-desired MK23, it is still an excellent pistol. Just swap out the mag release, nearly all of the springs, and the sights and….well hell, you’ve practically rebuilt the pistol at that point. Once you return from the dentist for your cracked molar, you will have a decent shooter that offers decent capacity, decent concealment, and excellent reliability.

As a new purchase, I cannot recommend spending over $800 for a pistol with such a bad trigger. If you want DA/SA, and you want a new pistol, go with a SIG. Even a new SIG trigger is better than a used HK trigger that has been broken in. In the end, the real reason to own the HK P2000 is just because you want an HK. For me, I needed a gun in a decent carry size, and the P2000 was the best HK had to offer at the time. Now, when the VP9 Compact comes out, that might be a different story….

Ratings (out of five stars):

Style * * * * *
If you like HK and you appreciate fine milling such as tapered slides, rounded and contoured edges, and burr-free polymer, then the P2000 will impress.

Ergonomics Carry * * * *
It falls right into the sweet spot for maximum carry size. I carry it OWB in a leather holster during the winter with little worry of printing. No sharp edges, safeties, or rough textures to worry about chafing your sides.

Ergonomics Firing * * * * *
Choose the right backstrap and you’re good to go all day at the range.

Reliability * * * * *
“No compromises” means my pride will not allow me to give it less than five stars in reliability. Subjective much? In all seriousness, it is a perfectly reliable pistol. If you want to shove Twinkies in the dust cover to prove this point then go to town.

Customize This * * * *
Plenty of holster, plenty of sights, plenty of parts, one kind of mag. No you can’t put punisher back plates on it, but really? If you want to trash it up, just get can of Rust-o-leum and spray paint it gold.

Trigger (out of the box) * *
Cinder block over concrete.

Trigger (after mods) * * * 1/2
Bowling ball over glass, but still stacks like a Waffle House.

Overall * * * *
For me and my tastes, it’s great. For fence-sitters, definitely not worth the price tag. If you know what you’re getting into and you buy used, you will surely be a happy customer.

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78 Responses to Gun Review: Heckler & Koch P2000

  1. My friend is a Border Patrol agent and I shot his issued .40 version. Wasn’t a fan.

    But hey, he gets to carry it anywhere he wants anytime he wants, so I guess he wins?

    • Unless he took the time to show you how to run the LEM trigger, he did you a disservice. The LEM trigger group can be lightning fast, especially on follow up shots once one learns to “ride the reset”.

      • Superior design in what way? The author goes through practically a rebuild to make the pistol ‘semi-acceptable.’ An out of the box Glock, $300 cheaper, comes with at least a ‘combat trigger’ of 5-6 lbs. No double-action required for a first shot, no safeties except that trigger to confuse/frustrate. Only issue being, too many would be mall ninja warriors will wind up shooting themselves or others, accidentally, because they can’t pay attention!

        • Ever get a light strike on a primer, or a primer that took a couple of hits to ignite with a certain brand or type of ammo? The hammer-fired LEM trigger group in the HK gives the ability to pull the trigger multiple times if needed, whereas the Glock and all other striker-fired pistols are “dead” at that point, requiring immediate action. Hammer-fired has it’s advantages.

  2. I am a retired US Customs and Border Protection officer. My last issue weapon was the P2000 in 40 S&W. I used it for almost 5 years. Some people can shoot it very accurately, specially those with young eyes and some need plenty of practice all the time. I can say that I was not a fan of the this particular weapon. Things I did not like:
    I did not like the trigger reset function, if you let loose completely of the trigger after firing a round it reverts to a very heavy pull that feel like firing a H&R revolver in double action: Very BAD! I did not like the sights, the rear sight notch was very wide and with a short sight radius it is very easy to make mistakes. I did not like the short barrel, it makes for more recoil in a 40 cal. I do not like the price; if I am going to spend $800 + in a weapon like this I rather have a SIG Sauer. The only thing I liked was the size that makes it very concealable in civilian clothes. My service weapon before being issue the P2000 was a Beretta 96 in 40 Cal. It was easier to shoot because of the long sight radius and it was a heavier full size service pistol more in keeping to wear in uniform. This weapon was very capable to hit torso size targets 100 yards away which I did regularly. i had to carry the P2000 so I diligently practiced with it but and was efficient with at 25 yards but I did not like it. i rather use a Sig 2340 (I have one) or the newer version P2022 in 40 Cal., it is accurate, concealable, more ergonomic and has an easy trigger at about 50 to 60 % of the price of a P2000.

    • Did you ever really handle a Lem trigger because it does not work the way you are describe it. The only way you should ever get a true double action trigger pull is if you have a FTF other wise it is a constant trigger pull regardless of wether you shoot from reset or not.

    • I’m retired CBP as well. I can’t say I hated the gun because at least it was light and small. I outgrew the need for a hog leg long ago. The thing is that coming from my personal Glock 23 that I carried until they made me take the company gun and then the issue Glock 17, the trigger on that HK just plain sucked. Like you said, some people learn to use it and others hate it.
      I never worried about shooting expert but tried to shoot it like I would in a real gun fight. First one on target, first shot on the line fired nearly every time. I always managed to keep them in someplace painful with my 23 and even the company 9mm Glock though not as well. When it came to that HK it was slow motion careful shot every time or they went all over. Not my idea of a good duty gun at all.

  3. “If you keep your magazines loaded to full capacity for long periods of time, the springs can wear, causing feeding issues in the gun.”
    Is this an HK exclusive problem? Because that original myth is a myth

    • It must be.

      Springs “wear” due to being pushed to full compression, then released, over and over.

      Springs don’t wear from being compressed and left there. If they did, guns’ springs or coil springs held under compression would have spring failure over time. You’d have guns that have been left cocked simply fail to fire, right?

      Example: You leave a pistol cocked for a decade in your bedside stand. Does the striker or firing pin spring lose strength in that time? When, after 10 to 20 years, you pull the trigger, does the gun fail to go “bang?”

      Of course not.

      • As a further example of D. Gunsmith’s point, if the compressed-spring-wear thing were true, every car over five years old would be sitting on its axles.

        • Well no, if it were true and cars were kept with their springs fully compressed for extended periods you would see them sitting on their axles. And even that is not what the “myth” says. Nobody says that the springs would be permanently flattened and never extend again, but that their function would be compromised. And that much is true. If a magazine spring is over compressed and held there for long periods it can be effected enough to cause functional failures. A spring must provide enough tension to support positive feeding under minimum tension, meaning with one or a few rounds in the mag. And it must also have little enough tension to allow normal function when under maximum tension. Many modern pistols can hardly be loaded to their maximum capacity because the tension required for reliable feeding is so high, it is also possible for the magazine to eject multiple rounds of the tension is high enough this causing multiple possible failures. HKs decision to not push the magazine capacity to extremes allows the springs to work under a friendlier range of tension thus preventing premature wear. This is not un like car manufacturers recommending modest cargo capacities to preserve the suspension and performance of their cars.

        • “Over-compressed” springs can be a thing.

          The issue with some magazine springs is that they’re a constant pitch spring, ie, they have the same number of coils per inch for their entire length, and the coils will be of the same diameter/area.

          Here’s an example of a spring that is designed to deal with the issue:

          http://www.brownells.com/magazines/handgun-magazines/magazine-parts/magazine-springs/magazine-spring-14-15-round-prod14856.aspx

      • It really depends on the specific spring and its use. I can see malfunctions from “weakened” mag springs because they must operate over a wide range of compression and having to much tension under full compression or to little tension under minimum compression can both result in functional failures. A hammer or striker spring operates (typically) under much less extreme ranges and with less strict tolerances.

    • A myth about magazine springs taking a set if left fully loaded? I owned a USP 45 that did just that. I even replaced the magazine springs with heavy duty replacement springs and still had the same issue. As likely as anything it was because at that time I could only buy 10 round mags and it’s likely the follower was the culprit. It wasn’t as though the spring set would not feed properly, it was that the slide stop would not work to lock the slide back on the last round. I was able to purchase new 2 P2000 V3 pistols for a very reasonable price. Something to be said for magazine interchangeability between pistols. The one for the hous has a small rail mount laser since I do not have a holster to carry the pistol W/laser mounted. The trigger is what it is and it’s just fine for a personal defense pistol.

  4. I think the P2000 is pretty much the worst pistol in the current HK lineup. Granted it is still a well built and highly reliable pistol, the trigger really does just kind of kill it.

    I have fired a few of their higher end (and pricier) offerings to include the mk23 and found that most of them shoot as nicely as many custom target pistols but with a reliability and durability that would impress a glock owner.

    Somehow the P2000 has always just felt like they did compromise. Maybe they weren’t designing it for their usual customers or something but it doesn’t shoot like an HK should.

    As to the Glock vs HK thing, I own examples of both (the P2000 is the HK I sold) and fail to understand the argument. In my view the good HKs hold up better under the most extreme conditions but that isn’t saying much because by the time you are sitting in a place that a Glock doesn’t like you had better get Charon to farry your butt back across the river…

    • Every HK trigger “kind of kills it”. Name one gun they have ever made besides the VP9 that has had a wonderful or excellent trigger? None have. The P2000 trigger is no worse than the god awful trigger on the HK 45, MK23, P30 or USP, which are all sloppy, long, heavy and have tons of slack, overtravel and takeup. HK simply can not seem to get the DA/SA hammer fired trigger right. Where Sig has seemed to master it. Nothing about HK has ever impressed me. They are all heavy, bulky guns that are offensive pistols. And 99.9% of CIVILIANS will never need a pistol for offensive purposes. Ive just never been impressed or in awe of anything they have ever made. Sure they might run for 60,000 rounds or more, but again, a moot feature for most. I would rather buy something with a really good trigger that is almost just as reliable, but is easier to handle and is lighter and has a much better trigger.

      • H&K has had a host of excellent triggers over the years. The P9s, the P7, various match triggers, and of course the VP9. Basically, they will give you whatever trigger you want. The/USPC/P2000/P30 line were all born to be German police pistols. The Germans had very specific requirements as to weight, stack, etc. They basically wanted a trigger that was heavy with take up to minimize accidental and negligent discharges. You can argue with their reasoning if you want, but it is what it is. Now, the VP9 has a “great” trigger but I can’t imagine anyone thinking it is safer than an old LEM. I like the LEM, but then again I like DAO, DA, SA, and Glock-alike triggers. Hell, I like em’ all!

  5. I have one, 9mm and like it a lot. No safeties, 10 shot (CA) vertical revolver is what I call it. Have no plans to mod and I like the DA/SA and the trigger pull. Here’s why, the trigger is position predictable and can pull to one point and know beyond it, releasing lead where I want it. Follow up reset is crisp and lighter. Shit you not, I can place 5 rounds in the radius of a quarter at 5-7 yards. At an active move & shoot range, its Alpha Bravo score on cardboard. However its not one I would carry…bit bulky. Purpose of this weapon is home defense and uncomplicated for the wife, should she need to employ it.

    I camp at buy and learn to work your gun, not buy and mod so all your armaments feel the same. As for drinking the kool-aid, nope, all my other handguns are Ruger’s, those are my close combat fighting or dying kit.

    • Thanks for adding some relief to the unrelenting drum beat here, mk. The 9mm P200 was my service issue for 4 years, until I retired – and I loved it. The heavier trigger was not considered a shortcoming but an additional safety margin, to lessen the chance of a UD when adrenalin levels might be amped up. It did require familiarity but that’s what training is all about.

      I was no expert but, after my instructor diagnosed my trigger-pull and provided the remedy (by putting his finger over mine and letting me feel the squeeze, for a few rounds). He then assembled the class around my station to have me demonstrate my new-found skill … and I put the next four rounds in the same hole. I should have quit right there, though; my last round was about an inch to the right and I came quiclky back to earth. (I think somebody must have coughed.)

  6. “………but you are still here which means your fingers are probably covered with too much Cheeto dust to click the back button.”

    Actually, it’s Beaver Nugget dust from Buc-ee’s. Shows what you know, Paul K.

    Great review, though. You raise an important point about operating environments. What works great for the spy guys et. al. may not be best for suburban concealed carrier guys. Not just because international intrigue operations are more intense, but because they’re fundamentally different from day-to-day private citizen carrying.

    For example, a firearm’s reliability in extreme cold, heat, sand, water or mud is great, but how well does it hold up to routine fouling and owner neglecting to clean it for a year or more? Is there’s any truth to the belief that magazine springs lose their springiness if kept fully loaded and allowed to sit for months on end? Between training and operations, that’s a non-issue for the SEAL boys and such, but that’s often real life for regular guys. Pistol handle grip texture is important as pertains to sweat, as that’s universal, but what about the cheese and grease of a double meat, extra cheese and jalapeno Whataburger? After all, a given private citizen is more apt to be involved in a robbery at the local burger joint, than he is to rope descend into Osama’s compound.

    So there really are differences between the Pros and the Joes, but those differences are not merely degrees of severity, as differences in the very nature of environments are important, too. Again, great review. Thanks.

    • To answer your spring question… Kinda. A springs rate is defined and dose not change except by changing the dimensions of the spring. What can change is the free length of a spring and in the case of a magazine spring this can lead to operational issues as the net force applied to the round can drop as a spring “Sags” with use. The issue as I see it is only a problem in magazine designs that try to maximize capacity for the size. The further a spring is compressed the more drastic the sagging will be and in the case of mag springs the range of compression a spring must operate at is already high, compressing it further for that all important +1 capacity advantage is highly detrimental to the spring unless it is accommodated elsewhere with more magazine space and a longer spring.

  7. I don’t know what it is about me or H&K, but every time I fondle a H&K pistol, I come away with a huge disappointment and let-down from reading the specs.

    On paper, H&K guns sound wonderful. About the only thing they need to complete their PR package are pictures of magical elves forging the steel for their guns in an underground armory, toiling away and using the tears of Fafnir to quench their steel.

    In practice, H&K guns seem to suffer from a bizarre mix of un-ergonomic features, poorly thought out sight pictures, large, blocky outlines that make for poor concealment and (let’s be honest here) poor support.

      • CZ’s p-07 is probably the best CCW pistol out there, perfect blend of size, superb trigger pull, shootability and excellent accuracy….. i like the p2000 as an EDC also, less levers and other protrusions than just about any other model on the market…..the only real weak point of the P07 is the control surfaces that kinda stick out off the gun…

    • When a vast majority of the handguns they make are full sized combat pistols, why the hell would how easy they are to conceal be a concern to H&K?

    • Dyspeptic,

      Have you gotten your hands on a new VP9? I got one just a few months ago as my first pistol (unfortunately I haven’t been able to put a bunch of rounds through it yet) and I’m really enjoying it. If you get the chance to try/buy one, I highly recommend you do so; it may change your mind about current HKs!

      • I have had my hands on exactly one. Wasn’t impressed. My beefs:

        – There’s all sorts of gripping slots cut into the slide, even on the front end of the slide. Don’t need ’em on the front end, and it just slows down a draw from a snug leather holster.

        – The trigger was nice, but too light for my taste without any external safety. The one I felt up had to be only 4lbs or thereabouts, which while it made for a very nice trigger, was just too light without another safety to my taste. If they had a grip or other safety on the gun, OK, I’ll go for a 4lb or lighter trigger.

        – It had a wanker rail molded into the frame. Some people might like that, I don’t. I see no need to mount a light on my pistols, and wanker rails on the front end of my pistols just slows down my draw again.

        Back when we were concealing revolvers and 1911’s, there was a process called “de-horning,” where gun owners would come to a gunsmith and ask that all the sharp protuberances on a pistol be rounded down, hammer spurs taken off, or a spurred hammer replaced with something else. It was to make sure that a pistol didn’t snag on clothing from a concealed draw.

        Now we have some gun companies adding “horns” by the dozen to pistols. It doesn’t make any sense to me. But hey, it looks so awesomely tacti-kewl, it must sell like gangbusters. The VP9 just feels “covered in horns” to me.

        And the grip panels – I guess some people go for those mods to striker pistols, I just view them as something more to lose or keep somewhere in my ever-growing pile of stuff.

        And then the price: About $800 where I looked at one (Cabelas). What’s so much better about this no-external-safety, striker-fired, cheez-whiz pistol than a Glock? Nothing that mattered to me, really. I can get a Glock in any LGS here in Wyoming. To get a H&K, I have to drive at least 130 miles from my location, possibly more.

        The Germans & Austrians seem to be pumping out similar pistols, festooned with “features” which really aren’t for concealed carriers. (Walther has similar “features” on some of their recent introductions) These Euro-weenies think they know what they’re doing in offering such pistols, but they really don’t, because they don’t carry concealed much (if at all) in Europe. They literally don’t know their asses from a hot rock on this subject.

        What I want in a CCW pistol is something slick, slim, de-horned from the get-go, in any of 9×19 (+P capable), .38 Super, 9×23 or .45 ACP, six to 13 rounds, single or barely double stack (ie, I want it thin), a grip safety, and maybe (going against the tide) an external hammer gun. I want it to have a 3.5 to 4″ barrel length. I want the grip bobbed, ala Dan Wesson CCW 1911’s.

        Something like a Colt 1908 Hammerless in 9×19 or .38 Super would be a contender for me from the get-go. All metal construction, able to be made to look Very Nice, can be tuned to have an excellent trigger, grip safety, fixed, de-horned sights, no sharp edges on the gun, etc. Colt & John Moses Browning (insert Tabernacle Choir chorus here) seemed to know a lot more about CCW guns 100 years ago than the Europeans want to exhibit today.

        • Makarovs and Tokarevs to the rescue! Both are easy to hide (from my experience at least, I am as averagedly built as possible). And they are both decent in terms of power (7.62×25 is pretty strong while 9×18 is about the level of a 9×19).

        • @DG,

          Opener: I have read a few comments here at TTAG, and I will say that your posts, DG, are often some of the wiser posts I read.

          Here, though, it seems you are viewing H&K pistols, esp. the VP9 (and all H&Ks), through a lense. You want it to be a great CCW pistol.

          However, in Europe, CCW doesn’t exist. The German and Austrian makers you mention don’t really market to, nor do they understand, the requirements of a good ccw pistol. If H&K did, they would still be selling the P7, and if Glock did, they would have the single stack 9mm that everyone has wanted for more than a decade. (Yes, I know about the ridiculous BATFE point system, but the G42 is made in the US–import excuse is gone).

          The VP9, and all other H&K pistols, to be honest, are for military and police. That is who they are marketing to, and that is who they sell to. All of your CCW gripes against the VP9 may be well founded, buth the VP9 was neither designed as, nor is it marketed as a CCW pistol. It was designed and marketed to compete with GLOCK for military and police contracts.

    • At that stage of the Ring Cycle they would forging the steel as Albrecht, made invisible by the Tarnhelm, mercilessly flogs the Nibelungen.

    • “In practice, H&K guns seem to suffer from a bizarre mix of un-ergonomic features, poorly thought out sight pictures, large, blocky outlines that make for poor concealment and (let’s be honest here) poor support.”

      I have never been able to put my feelings about H&K pistols into words until now ^^this^^ x1000

      Held a VP9 a few weeks ago and my only feeling was just that sense of being completely underwhelmed. What does the VP9 do that a Glock 19 or Walther PPQ doesnt? For nearly $100 less on both of those. Yes the trigger is nice, the lines are a little smoother, but is it really better? By what metric? I had never been able to put my finger on it when I have passed over HK pistols before, but reading this you are completely right, the proportions are just wrong on all of them (my experiences include shooting a USP45, P30, and holding a VP9). Nice pistol, but doesn’t do anything revolutionary that other players aren’t already doing for less coin.

  8. I had a P2000 and sold it. The trigger pinched the end of my finger every time I pulled it. The back straps were poorly shaped. Perhaps the P30 is better.

  9. This gun is my agency issued gun as well. It’s not the worse but if I could carry one of my own guns at work, I definately would.

  10. I don’t use HKs, for one very important reason among many.

    If one carries an HK for defense, it stands a good chance of being impounded by police if its ever drawn-which means you’re on the hook for $1600 , assuming $800 apiece . That’s a lot of bread to cough up for two pistols- either purchased pre incident or one after the original is seized-and were just getting started.

    Magazines -$70 a pop including shipping. Future proofing yourself from a future magazine ban could run you another $700 plus the acquisition cost of the guns themselves. Say hello to the heirloom magazine!

    Holsters-better go see your banker. A personal loan helps.

    All that money and once the targets reeled back in -or the dead body carted off to the coroner- its all the same outcome.

    • Disclaimer: I don’t own any HK firearms.

      Red Herring, Red Herring, Red Herring.

      Have you tried to introduce yourself to your local sherriff? Do you even know who your sherriff is?

      P2000 magazine are currently around $30.

      Holsters for various H&Ks are common–it is obvious you didn’t even look.

    • Why are you on the hook? If the shoot was justified there is an excellent chance you’ll get your pistol back.

      I never think about the price of the pistol if I ever have to use it for a defensive purpose. Quibbling over a few hundred bucks for a pistol you are comfortable with, whether it be because it shoots well in your hands, it was found reliable with your ammo, whatever, is foolish if that pistol saves your life or those of your loved ones. I go through a few hundred bucks of ammo in a month of shooting, more now that I plan to compete, and I have more than just one pistol. If your life isn’t worth a few hundred bucks that’s your call but it reminds me of people who buy cheap motorcycle helmets – we had a saying, go buy a $50 helmet if you have a $50 head.

  11. Unless you’re getting a deal that’s too good to pass up… Skip the USP/P2000 and get your hands on a P30, or perhaps a VP9 (haven’t gotten my hands on one of those yet). You’ll be a much happier camper.

  12. Interesting review. It would not make me want to buy one. And I don’t see rev. McCain here sota…

  13. I did not like the P2000 grip but got a used P30 instead. Much better grip and the trigger is not bad. Got a USP 9mm compact also but the P30 is smoother and the decocker by the hammer works better than I thought. The P30 also has the better mag release and has a 15 rd mag. Believe in the V1 concept safety and decocker so love the HK’s overall. Hammer fired collection in progress. Going after Beretta’s next.

  14. P2000 is Hk’s best ccw gun. Trigger isn’t the best but its a defensive use gun, not a paperpuncher. P30 is too big for EDC and the grip panels will rub your skin raw. USP has the ergonomics of a 2×4……I prefer CZ’s p07 (second gen) for ccw as its probably the best concealable DA/SA polymer pistol on the market, doesn’t hurt that the trigger is great out of the box either…..

    • Um. Kinda. See posts above. It depends highly on the actual design of the mechanism in question but yes over compressing springs can have negative consequences. Spring rate will never change as it it inherent in the materal but free length can be effected thus changing the tension at given points. In a mag spring over compression can cause its free length to shorten enough that you may experience feeding issues.

  15. I have not shot the 2000 but I have a lot of trigger time on the MK23 and I really like it. Its just to big, but once you get past the size its a very nice shooting pistol.

    I don’t see where the 2000 has any advantages over a Glock 17 or a Sig 226.

  16. Couple of minor points:

    “The selling price of the P2000, to this day, is over $800.”

    No it’s not. As of Jan 1st, the price seemed to drop by close to $200. Many have seen new P2000’s and P2000sk’s for $650 or less. Just today picked up a PD trade-in for less than $500 shipped. LEM, with Trijicon’s.

    “To install an LEM trigger on a DA/SA P2000 voids the warranty.”

    Regarding warranty of the trigger, true. But one can still do it.

    “I took a $550 used HK, and dumped $211 worth of upgrades into it”

    As for the parts list, one could call HK Customer Service and pick up these components for half or even a third of the price. The mag release from HK CS is $5.

    • You sir, are correct on the new pricing. HK has recently initiated a $200 rebate on all new purchases of their USP and P30/HK45 pistols. Just check their website. The review was written before that happened.

      Good to know about the cheaper parts sourcing. The highest part cost was from the night sites.

  17. You owe it to yourself to investigate the Steyr line of pistols: the S9-1A I presently use for CC is a fine weapon, with a low bore axis, triangular sights, smooth trigger, and best of all it sells in the $500-550 price range. I’ve owned Walthers, H&Ks, Sigs, S&Ws, Colts, Rugers, Paras, etc. and this is my current favorite.

  18. I have my issued P2000 .40 V2 LEM on my hip as I type this, and I call tell you without a doubt it is the biggest POS I have ever had the misfortune of having to use. In the academy, it jammed up on 6 different occasions so bad we had to smack it against a brick wall to get it to eject the spent shell so I could continue practicing. 2 more times since graduation during qualification I’ve had it do the same thing, no brick walls so we had to use a hammer to knock it loose. Did I mention they refused to issue me a different one? Junk STAY AWAY.

    • lots of LEOs and others have said the same about a gazillion other brands….ive heard a near identical experience about the beretta px4 from a cop in a department that issued it, slide jammed open and they had to get a mallot to get it to close……..

  19. “Besides, I have learned to smoke my competition by holding down the shift key for added stability while firing.”

    I lol’d. Enjoyed the review and it’s pretty accurate. I think overall if I were to buy an HK pistol tomorrow it’d be a P2000 over any of their other offerings (though I’ve always had a soft spot for the USP ’cause, y’know, vidya games) and I’ve always been impressed by their accuracy, which is fantastic. You’re right about the DA being terrible though, but still the worst trigger on a TDA pistol (and second worst of all guns) I’ve ever felt was the DA on a Mk23.

  20. I don’t know about the trigger on a p2000 as I have not shot one but I got a p2000sk and it’s a great size for a carry pistol, with a Stealthgear USA IWB holster I barely know it’s there and I don’t print at all. I like the DA/SA trigger on it better than my Sig P229s with DA/SA, especially the DA part of the pull.

  21. Does any one know of a top quality shoulder holster (e.g., a Galco rig) that will fit the H&K VP9? I am having one heck of a time finding one for my new VP9…I like Galco’s Jackass rig but Galco informed me that as yet they do not have a Jackass rig to fit a VP9….only their suede Lite shoulder holster, but I do not like the looks of it…I want a hard pressed, quality leather shoulder holster for my VP9…Any ideas, guys? Robert Dakota Dunes, S.D.

  22. I have several H&K’s and love them all. I currently have a VP9, P2000 9mm, USP compacts in 40 and 45, full sized 40 USP, and was at the gun store yesterday and they just got in the full Desert Tan 45 and 45 compacts. Now I’m thinking they are pretty sweet but way too expensive. I got most of these used except for the VP9 (I paid $615 out the door new) and the P2000 I just got a couple months ago new at my LGS on clearance for $619. I forgot to mention I had the P2000 in 40 about 4 years ago but sold it to my nephew as he needed a gun for his job. I picked that up from the gun show lightly used from a guy for $500 with night sights and 3 mags in the box. Anyway. To get back to the P2000. I think it’s my favorite HK for concealment and shooting (and my USP 40 compact has the softer but sweet LEM trigger) I just shoot it better for some reason. The funny thing is that I love the VP9 but my wife kind of took it over from me since she has carple tunnel and the tabs help her a lot with the slide. Anyway this is just my 2 cents for me. I know others may have different opinions but I LOVE my P2000 in 9mm.

  23. Have both a USP Compact (virtually identical to a P2000 save for the grip design) and P2000SK, both .40 cal with LEM factory triggers upgraded with factory “Light LEM” parts from HKparts.net. Absolutely agree with the review that you simply must try this trigger setup before you completely pass judgement on these guns. I originally started shooting a tuned 1911 in USPSA competition 25 years ago and progressed through all semi pistol platforms. 1911’s still have the best trigger, but well-tuned CZ’s, M&P’s and Sig P226’s are close and excellent in isolation. The HK Light LEM is just a tick behind them and completely changes the character of the gun. Very accurate guns and ultra-reliable. I still prefer my P7M8 as the pinnacle of HK pistol design, but the USP/P2000/P30 guns are excellent products that are competitive when configured properly.

  24. I have owned numerous HK rifles and pistols. I have yet to have any of them ever malfunction. I have owned 91’s, 93’s, p2k’s, usp45, usp9 and a couple more I cant remember. None have ever malfunctioned. I cannot say that about all the other brands I have owned many of which had to be sent back to the factory on day 2.

  25. In response to Ben L. You got it right brother. Most of my guns wether HK, Glock, Sig, FNH, or M&P. I don’t skimp on anything. My life or the lives of people around me may depend on that quality firearm. I will also do some high quality upgrades to my guns as I can afford it. A little at a time. I think the funniest, most hilarious thing is when I go to the local gun shows in my city and I see so many people looking at the pieces of crap selling for around $150 or so. And the funny thing is they are so serious about buying the cheapest piece of junk because they think its’ a bargain and that’s all they want to spend for something they might want to use to save their lives. I remember when I was a Gun Virgin, and my first gun was a Lorcin 380, I took it to the range with good quality ammo and the gun and mags jammed about every other round. LOL. That was about 1991 and it was the first and only time I got a cheap gun. I also don’t ever buy aftermarket magazines for my pistols. Factory mags only so there should never be any issues with the feeding. As I stated in a prior post, I got my P2000 9mm on sale for $619 at my local gun store. Not bad considering I have spent wayyyy more than that on lots of my guns. I just recently blew a few thousand dollars on two FNX 45 Tacticals. One in FDE and one black both with Trijicon RMR’s (not sure I needed them but I got them anyway). I love my P2000 and the rest of my HK’s. Also. Mine came with 2 of the 13 round mags and I got 2 more at the gun show for $32 each after tax. That’s only $4 each over my Glock mags.

  26. I’ve been in the retail/wholesale firearms business for many many years—I’ve been lucky to shoot/own almost every major firearm made—often multiple examples of some pistols—I still own quite a varied selection of firearms (long and short)—one of my very favorate pistols is the HK P2000 9mm DA/SA—never jams—magazines are not that expensive—DA is heavy (DESIGNED to be that way for safe carry with a round in the chamber!)—SA has smoothed out nicely over the years (bought used, but mint)—grip is fine—gun shoots right to point of aim for me—size is just right—what’s not to like…?

  27. I have read all the trashing of the H&K, and I will not oppose anyone’s personal views and I respect their views. However, I will share my personal views with the USP 40 and the H&K P2000SK (.40 cal). I have conceal carried my P2000SK on my hip as well as my ankle for the last 9 years on a daily basis (7-days a week). The only thing that has gone wrong was that my rear tru-dot night sight fell off and would not lock in place the way it should. I called H&K and they were gracious enough to give me a one time only free sight to replace it. I am not sure but it could have been damaged due to several accidental drops throughout the years. Ankle concealed carry causes a lot of lint to build up around the trigger and the hammer areas. I usually take care of this situation with compressed air used on computers. A quick burst removes all the lint and makes sure all debris is removed. Not once have I had a malfunction other than an occasional magazine that fails to lock to the rear on the last round. I have heard so much negative talk about the triggers on H&K, I have a LEM trigger on mine and I love the light DA only trigger. My issue gun is a Sig and although a great gun and quite reliable as well, I do not like the heavy weight and I hate the trigger. In my opinion, it feels like I am firing a semi-auto revolver. As far as one comment noted above by someone else, he was not comfortable with a 4 lb. trigger pull and not having another safety. No offense, but your safety is your trigger finger, keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire.

    As far as my USP 40 is concerned, awesome as well, although H&K has told me the magazines are not interchangeable, I have used the USP 40 magazines on my P2000SK for years without any problems. That is, with the occasional fail to lock back after the last round. I have fired many other semi-autos with the same result.

    As far as the price is concerned, they are pricey, but in my humble opinion, they are worth it. I rely on these weapons to protect my life on a daily basis. If you can’t afford one, buy a Glock, you can’t go wrong either.

    • Is anyone clued up on the p2000 German police model with the closed accessory mouthing rail? I am really struggling to find any laser device that fits it or at least an adapter?

  28. Was perusing various articles on the P2000sk and the vast majority sing it’s praises. This article is by far the exception. I carried one on LE duty for many years and bought one when I retired. I found it to be superior to the Sig, Beretta and Glock that I also carried on duty. BTW I found the trigger to be much better than the mile long Sig. Not sure about the author and the vein of detractors who found him. Got nothing bad to say about the H&K.

  29. Is anyone clued up on the p2000 German police model with the closed accessory mouthing rail? I am really struggling to find any laser device that fits it or at least an adapter?

  30. Well glad I came across this article, was thinking of purchasing this product, but I’m having second thoughts, I own g17 paid close to $600 ( here in Komifornia ) plus $230 for a gunsmith to replace the crappy stock trigger and sights, fired near 1000 rounds and would not trust my life on it I’ve had several FTF and was looking for a replacement, was under the impression glocks were great, maybe Springfield Xd for the money can get one under $500 or a Sig 2022 for same price, but I’m a new gun owner not to much knowledge

    • Ren,
      I couldn’t agree more about the Glock, I had to carry one during my career in law enforcement. Upon retirement, I bought both the 2022 and XD service. My favorite, XD.

  31. I had one of the first USP’s, put about 15,000 rounds through it before trading. I liked it as a transition from 1911’s. I now shoot Glocks almost exclusively. I live in CA and would probably consider a VP9 if we could get them here. I have shot the P2000 and the VP9.

    I’m looking at a P2000SK for my girlfriend as she has small hands and that pistol has interchangeable backstraps (we can’t get Gen 4 Glocks in CA). She also doesn’t train that much (1-2 weekend classes a year and a range session every other month or so) so I feel the DA trigger would give her an extra margin of safety.

    For someone trying to answer the Glock vs. HK question, here is my experience:

    Both are close in accuracy (my CCW standard is based on making accurate hits at 25-yards, and with the right ammunition, on a good day, with a stock G17, I can keep 10-round strings in the black on a B-8).

    HK’s in general are more attractive, and I like the out of the box ergonomics and form factor of the VP9 over any Glock.

    I like a thumb safety and would run one on my Glocks if an option.

    I found my USP to be unnecessarily blocky, limited in rapid-fire speed by its high bore axis, the sights were adequate but not suited for accuracy at distance, the welds on several of the magazines broke, and parts were hard to come buy through HK. Note: The USP magazines were first Gen so I assume they have that fixed, HK may have fixed their service issues as well.

    I shoot about 200 to 250 rounds live-fire training a week, and 2-3 USPSA matches a month, each with about 250 rounds, so I’m expending between 15,000 and 20,000 rounds of handgun ammunition a year.

    I carry a G26 and G19 concealed, keep a G21 on the nightstand, and compete with a G17 and G34.
    I shoot Glock’s instead of HK’s because the Glock represents more of a “shooter’s system”…that is to say:

    • More parts are compatible between Glocks, including magazines. Didn’t bring enough magazines to a match? Someone will have an extra to loan you. G17 trigger spring wore out in the middle of class? Switch in the one from your G26? Flying somewhere where you’ll need to borrow a pistol when you land? Glock and Beretta are probably what you’ll have to choose from.

    • The Glock trigger can easily be adjusted/tuned in a number of ways.

    • There are more sight options for Glocks.

    • There is never a backorder or service issue with Glock parts.

    • Magazines are cheaper, even more so if using Magpul Glock magazines. I need at least 8 magazines per pistol so that matters.

    • I can see no reliability difference between Glock and HK, there may be one, but if there is it seems to be insignificant.
    HK build quality seems to be a little nicer, but I don’t see that translating to a functional benefit in terms of reliability of durability. The fact that NSW adopted the G19 should tell you everything you need to know about Glock reliability.

    • When I first started shooting Glocks I had the grips modified. Eventually I realized that good quality practice in the right frequency, trumps ergonomics, and I now shoot mostly stock Glock’s (better than I shot the customized ones). In other words, the difference between a Glock grip and an HK grip will disappear if someone taught you the correct way to grip, and if you train on a regular basis.

    In summary: HK pistols are very nice. If you like the way one feels then you should get it. If you want it purely for self-defense and the occasional range session it will be great. But if you shoot a lot and want a handgun that fits into more of a system, the Glock fits that description much more closely. For example, out of the box I prefer the look and feel of the VP9 to my G17, but given that I shoot them both equally well, I’ll stick with the G17 because of the system aspect mentioned above. But if you aren’t competing and/or doing a lot of training classes and/or shooting 10,000+ rounds a year, the VP9 might be the better choice…for you. The HK will also serve you well if you shoot a lot, you just won’t have access to the system benefits mentioned above. And maybe those benefits don’t matter to you, in which case get the one that feels best in your hand, and if that happens to be a HK — you’ll have both a prettier handgun and the satisfaction of being more specialer.

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