Pistol-Training.com‘s 50,000 round endurance test of the HK45 is officially complete. “The test finally concluded at 50,000 rounds,” Larry Vickers of Vickers Tactical writes. “I was honored to fire the 50,000th round through the gun that I helped bring into existence.” The bottom line? “As expected, the gun passed the test with flying colors and amazingly experienced only a couple of minor problems… all while going 10,000 rounds between cleanings!” Dude, that “minor problems” aside is a serious red rag to any self-respecting firearms truth teller. So I headed over to the website in question and uncovered a well-spring of ballistic truthiness . . .

There’s almost no way the HK45 could have proven more reliable. Only twice in 50,000 rounds did the gun fail to go through its entire cycle of operation, ready to fire again with nothing more than a trigger pull. Once was a light primer hit, the other was a broken trigger return spring. That’s a Mean Rounds Between Stoppage of 25,000 rounds… ten times the industry standard.

So now we know. Or wait. There’s this too . . .

The only other incident the gun suffered, as described in great detail here, was a dislodged sear spring. With the spring no longer in place, the gun continued to fire but was stuck in true “double action only” mode with a substantially heavier trigger pull . . .

Durability: As mentioned above, the pistol had a trigger return spring break during Week Twenty Five, just shy of thirty five hundred rounds into the spring’s service life. It was just a random thing, and proof that no matter who you are and what you’re doing, sometimes springs break.

Fair enough? And just for fun, here are some of the site’s “nitpicks” about the gun. You know, what needs changing.

  • Clean up the trigger a bit. Less creep, less overtravel. Noted polymersmith David Bowie does an outstanding piece of work called, conveniently, the “Vickers HK45 mods” which include an internal overtravel stop. I did not have this done to the test gun, but if the overtravel bothers you (or some of the other mods are to your liking), it’s a no brainer option.
  • Compact floorplates. The current floorplates were designed to pass some grueling NATO durability tests. They’re the size of a Volkswagen and not quite as ergonomic. The longer a flootplate’s lip extends past the magazine body, the harder it is to reload well. A more flush-fitting 9rd magazine might not be a bad idea, either.
  • Usable sights. Flat out, the stock sights are among the worst in the industry. They’re huge, the front sight is wide, the rear notch is narrow, and the “charge to glow” dots are distracting at best (and invisible in the dark unless your prognostication powers allow you to charge them up before trouble starts).
  • Modular side panels. As well as the HK45 fit in my hand, it was nothing compared to the fully customizable P30. The HK45 would definitely benefit from the replaceable side grip panels found in its 9mm cousin.
  • Easier assembly. This is a holdover from last year’s P30 experience. The HKs are incredible guns, but if you’re going to detail strip one it helps to have a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. Certain components could be modified into multi-part assemblies that would be more easily dropped into the gun. For example, the two pieces of the LEM hammer and the elbow spring could easily be turned into a single “part” that didn’t rely on gravity and the Force to align properly for assembly.

Otherwise, perfect!

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12 Responses to HK45 Endurance Test: What “Minor Problems” Might Those Be?

  1. Minor note, Larry Vickers isn’t the one who runs Pistol-Training.Com, the test was run by Todd Green (the site owner). He fired the 49,999 rounds, Larry just fired the 50,000th round and helped design the pistol for HK. The nitpicks are what Todd would have liked to see improved on the gun.

    I actually got to fire the gun used for the 50,000 round endurance test at a practice with Todd last time I was in Virginia. The gun really is a big gun, for a guy with my hand size it’s a little large for my taste. The thing that’s cool about Pistol-Training.Com’s endurance tests (they’ve done them for the M&P 9mm, the HK P30 and now the HK45) is that Todd actually reports any issues he encounters with the gun. It’s a lot like here, it’s refreshing to see people be perfectly honest about guns.

  2. Caleb,

    Not minor points at all. My apologies for getting the sources all mixed-up. I’ve amended the text to reflect reality.

  3. While I am favorably impressed by their candor, the multiple malfunctions and breakage of multiple parts during the test leaves me less than impressed with this product.

    Once upon a time, about a hundred years back, a man named John Moses Browning designed a certain pistol that during the trials fired 18,000 rounds without cleaning or lubrication in the first day’s test, without parts breakage of any type, and the sole malfunctions were provoked by intentionally damaged ammunition that would not fit its chamber. There were no “light primer strikes,” failures to extract, failures to eject, failures to go into battery, double feed stoppages, or anything else. The design still enjoys some popularity despite its requirement for a certain amount of hand fitting during manufacture. Copies are manufactured even today, though with powder metallurgy manufacture of critical internal parts, and the prevalent mania for full length guide rods and super-tight frame-to-slide fit, few examples will exhibit anywhere near the original’s durability or reliability, more’s the pity.

  4. The HK45 isn’t a logical choice in a world where there are Glocks and M&Ps, but boy do those suckers ever have rabid defenders. I bought one (based on hype) and having handled it, stripping it and looking at the replacement intervals, and parts costs, sold it unfired. I’ve never done that before.

    • Glocks and M&Ps isn’t a logical choice in a world where there are HKs, but boy do those suckers ever have rabid defenders. I would never buy a gun without doing my homework first, And if I ever did I wouldn’t mention it because It would diminish my credibility.

  5. I own a black HK45t – LEM “CA edition” with the threads removed,it shoots smoothly,accurately,its reliable,sexy and pricey, I love it best pistol iv shot so far,i advise anyone who cares about quality and performance to get one of these. If your concerned about capacity and you don’t live in commiefornia get yourself a “Taylor Freelance” +3 bullet magazine extension which gives your HK45 a 13+1 advantage. Btw the rifling extends threw the threaded portion of the barrel 😀

  6. HKs are great. Like with any fine product, bad parts make it out. The people who think HKs are not worth the money, they don’t shoot enough.

    I’ll agree, the hype behind them is ridiculous. Then you have those who say HK hates us, but forget the reasons why. They were the only fun mfg trying to fight the AWB and stripping their guns if the “sporter” designation. The people failed HK.

    Anyways, i haven’t owned the HK45, but have owned 3 USPs. One 9mm, two 45s. All three were fanatic guns, and not a single issue that wasn’t ammo related.

    The 1911s are great guns. When they’re built right. Most 1911s under 1500$ are garbage. The ones that aren’t, still require work and better parts which brings the cost up.

    Side by side, the USP is a better pistol design. It users many design elements from the 1911. But it seems the fan boys forget that, or don’t care.

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