(This is a reader-submitted review as part of our gun review contest. See details here.)
By Nicole Lezama
Heckler & Koch’s P7 is the pistol that belongs in a spy’s hand when telling the villain in a calm yet threatening voice, “Release her! You don’t want to find out what happens if you don’t…” *cue music*. It holds itself in a very sleek and composed classy manner. Unlike the more common polymer handguns being produced now, the steel design doesn’t have the block-like or bulky style to it at all. Every component on and within the pistol are extremely flush—leaving out all tactical style.
The built-in cocking lever may seem to be bulky in theory, but just by looking at the appearance of the P7 I think it contributes a unique style to gun. The lever looks as if it were meant to be there as part of the pistol from the get-go. The slightly textured grip is another component that contributes to the P7’s exterior minimalist and friendly design with the magazine release at the heel instead of the top—the top being where some people may find to be inconvenient.
With the P7, there’s no way you could accidentally release the magazine while shooting. I mean…unless for some reason you’re giving it a viper-like death grip and the bottom of your palm somehow provides enough force to push into the release. If that happens then I don’t know, I’d think we have bigger things to worry about.
The external slide release button for the P7 is non-existent because the cocking lever serves this purpose, continuing the clean exterior design. With a pressure of roughly 12-15 pounds squeezing the lever in, the slide will follow in its release. This feature also acts as the pistol’s safety if you will—without the lever squeeze, nothing happens. To manually pull the slide back and have it remain, there’s a small notch built into the trigger guard that can be pushed inward for the slide to stay back.
Ease of Use and Ergonomics
Despite its steel design the P7 feels extremely light in my hands with a comfortable grip. That’s definitely saying something because I have small hands and I am of smaller stature; I was expecting it to feel heavier even though it’s listed at just under two pounds. Once the cocking lever has been depressed it only takes about two pounds to keep it there, following with a smooth and light trigger pull.
I found there’s quite a bit of slack (I feel more than what I’m used to with the PPQ) and it takes about a 4 ½ pound squeeze all the way through. The trigger has a serrated texture to it and is also wide, but not too wide, providing a comfortable feel. I can adjust easily and quickly with positive results if I notice too much or too little trigger finger.
A downfall for the exterior features are the sights. Looking down range I find there’s not much that’s special about them; the P7 has standard rear and front sights with the 3 white dots.
There are no malfunctions to report on my end after shooting roughly 150 rounds through it. Shooting more than 150 rounds through a pistol whose magazines only hold 8 rounds, in addition to the frame and trigger guard heating up to high hell is not worth the burn and red marks on my fingers. But 150 rounds through it without a single malfunction or hiccup gets an A for reliability in my book!
Now, about the before mentioned heat issue… Yes this pistol is super sleek with the steel design and lightweight, but boy is the heat build up a let down! After putting just 50 rounds through, the entire trigger guard as well as the magazines get to an uncomfortable heat level. The heat emanating from the gun is an inferno, I can’t imagine going through a competition with this pistol if I couldn’t even handle 50-70 rounds at the range. However the upgraded P7M8 has a heat guard around the trigger area, so that might be something to consider.
The P7 would be a great conceal carry weapon. Its weight and size are perfect and it would serve its purpose in being easily withdrawn from the holster. You’d have no qualms or issues finagling with a safety switch or even a malfunction because of the cocking lever. As a competition and range pistol? Definitely not competition only because of the heating factor. If I had to choose, I’d say using it as a pistol at the range to practice is bearable if you take breaks because the accuracy is phenomenal and something I cannot ignore.
It’s ridiculous. As much of a nuisance the cocker lever can be for someone with smaller hands when changing magazines, it actually forces me to stick with the grip I initially establish when squeezing it back. I cannot adjust (a bad habit) between shots—if I do that with the P7, it de-cocks then I’d have to resqueeze 12-15 pounds all over again. Therefore, the built-in cocker actually works to a shooter’s advantage, maintaining a steady and constant grip as well as trigger pull. As you can see in the pictures below, I produced better grouping with the P7.
Ease of Disassembly
At first I thought it was going to be a pain to disassemble because it’s technically an old gun but despite this it wasn’t bad at all. It took me a couple tries to get the slide pulled back but once I had a firm grip I had no issues pushing the button at the back of the slide. All it took was a slight lift and a forward slide, then voila. I had the pistol disassembled into three pieces and took the opportunity to clean it up as well. Reassembly was just as easy: pulling the slide all the way back and it automatically slid back into place—like Lego’s!
Favorite and Least Favorite Features
Despite having to squeeze roughly 12 pounds every time I want to cock the gun, the cocking lever is my favorite feature of the P7. It requires me to keep it depressed until the magazine is finished, resulting in phenomenally great accuracy.
My least favorite feature of the P7 would have to be the sights. In this review I’ve only mentioned it once and didn’t have much to say about it. The sights are functional but aren’t anything I can rave about.
Aftermarket Options and Availability
In 2012 the P7 was being sold used for $900, that alone I would consider expensive. The cheapest I have seen it selling now in 2016 is at about $1200 used on sites like Gunbroker. The selling price is one of the more common aspects that deters people from actually wanting to purchase it. That, and the fact that you really have to research and look hard for a P7 since they stopped producing them in 2008.
I’ve found the upgraded P7 (P7M8) selling for $2500 on Gunbroker. $2500! I’ll let that sink in… Aftermarket availability options for the P7 are extremely limited because they are expensive compared to the average 9mm pistol pricing. But I can still find holsters and magazines for the P7. H&K sells the 8 round magazines for $65 while Gunbroker sells them for close to $100 each—in this case, go with H&K’s direct site.
Specifications: H&K P7 (PSP)
Weight: 1.88lbs with empty magazine
Overall Length: 6.54inch
Sights: Steel, 3-dot white sights
Finish: Steel, Black
MSRP: Out of Production
Ratings (out of five stars):
Accuracy: * * * * *
The accuracy is phenomenal! The P7’s cocking lever forces a constant grip that doesn’t allow me to readjust easily, unless I want to squeeze 12-15 pounds all over again. This nifty and unique design contributes as an advantage to the great performance with consistent and tight grouping.
Ergonomics: * * * *
The all steel design surprisingly isn’t overbearing. Its got a nice balance to it at just under 2 pounds with a serrated trigger—allowing the trigger finger to be adjusted easily after a smooth
4 ½ lb pull if needed. I took a star off because of the standard 3-dot sights it comes with; although they weren’t horrible, I also couldn’t say they were super fantastic either.
Reliability: * * * * *
There were no malfunctions whatsoever when I put a straight 150 rounds through it at an indoor range. Yes, there is the before mentioned heat issue I noticed, but I’m not knocking a star off for that because that has nothing to do with the reliability of the gun. There were no jams, no accidental magazine releases, and no hiccups whatsoever when it simply came down to pointing and shooting.
Applicability: * * *
Unfortunately I did have to knock a couple stars off because the P7’s heat issue is what eliminates the range pistol and competition pistol applicability completely. Even so, I’d still give it an average of 3 stars because this would be a GREAT conceal carry pistol. It’s a great size even for those of smaller stature and it’s easily withdrawn from the holster without worrying about a safety feature (remember the cocking lever).
Trigger: * * * *
The functionality and physical attributes of the P7 trigger are great with the serrated design and butter-like pull—I can easily adjust if I notice I have too little or too much trigger finger. But 1 star is knocked off when it comes down to again, the heat issue—it spreads to the actual trigger. So after about 50-70 rounds, I’m forced to take a break. Sad face.
Overall: * * * *
Although most of the features such as accuracy and reliability have proven to be of five-star quality, the only purpose I could see the P7 serving is that of a concealed carry weapon. I can’t give it five stars due to the trigger guard becoming overheated after putting only 50 rounds through and its applicability only being for conceal carrying. BUT keep in mind, you cannot find any pistol on the market now that’s remotely similar to the P7 in style with its unique and flush design. H&K did a superior job keeping this pistol smooth and classy, providing the ultimate spy pistol.