Heckler & Koch HK P7 9mm pistol
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Many of the products you purchase were designed by engineers, but heavily tempered by the demands of the finance and marketing departments. “Make us a product that does X, but we need the total cost to be under Y and it has to fit in this shell made by the art department.” But the Heckler & Koch P7 somehow seems to have avoided those constraints.

In my considered opinion, it’s the result of giving some talented engineers free rein to create the absolute best, safest, most technologically-advanced pistol ever made. At least, the best possible pistol for a police officer or other “gunfighter.”

The P7 has many notable design features, including many “firsts,” some of which have never been duplicated and some of which have since become ubiquitous. Despite being out of production for over a decade, here is why the P7 is still the best pistol ever made and why you need one.

The P7 is what 007 should have been carrying since it was first made in 1979. Functionally it’s a great spy gun, but it’s also the pistol I would pick above any other to pair nicely with a tuxedo and a high-end timepiece. Add a set of Nill grips and fuhgeddaboudit.

The P7 is elegant, classy, and civilized, but also highly efficient and effective. Every last detail and feature was designed to make it more effective in a gunfight.

Heckler & Koch HK P7 9mm pistol

H&K’s P7 may or may not be one of those things where the end result is “more than the sum of its parts,” but its parts alone are pretty darn impressive. In no particular order, here are the features I know of that set it apart from other pistols…or did in 1976 when it was designed.

Disclaimer: I’m not a historian and I’m writing from memory as I lack the time to research anything at the moment, so please consider everything you see below as though it has an asterisk reading “as far as I know” following it.

Squeeze Cocker

Likely the most notable feature of the P7, and the one that earned it nicknames having to do with staple guns, the P7’s striker is only cocked when the textured steel cocking lever on the front strap of the grip is depressed — i.e. squeezed inwards.

Heckler & Koch HK P7 9mm pistol

The backstrap is also lightly textured, which I note mainly because it’s not a standard texture you see every day on a steel gun.

Heckler & Koch HK P7 9mm pistol

It takes somewhere in the range of 10 to 15 lbs (depends on how you measure) of force to squeeze the cocking lever into the grip — it’s basically a moving front strap — but only about 1.5 lbs of force to keep it depressed, which means once it’s squeezed you don’t notice it with a normal firing grip.

This fully cocks the striker, so the trigger is then a true single action with the sole duty of releasing the striker.

Heckler & Koch HK P7 9mm pistol
FULLY COCKED. NOTE PROTRUDING STRIKER.

Release the cocking lever and the striker immediately and safely de-cocks. Keep it squeezed and the action of the slide re-cocks the striker after each shot, so it operates just like any other single action pistol — to be crystal clear, you do not have to release and re-squeeze the cocking lever for each shot, although doing so can allow you to strike a stubborn primer subsequent times.

The normal procedure is to squeeze the lever as you take your full firing grip, and then pull the trigger to fire. However, it also works in reverse: pull the trigger then squeeze the cocking lever to fire. This makes it more foolproof in the stress of a gunfight.

Also aiding your chances in a protracted gunfight, the squeeze cocker doubles as a slide release. When the P7’s slide locks back on empty, you’ll naturally release the lever as you drop your spent magazine and insert a fresh one. Squeezing the cocking lever again sends the slide home with the pistol already cocked and ready to rock and roll. Alternatively, you can drop the slide by pulling back on it and letting it go.

There is no external slide release lever other than the cocking lever. However, there is an external slide stop should you want to lock it back manually; it’s the little tab circled in the photo below.

Heckler & Koch HK P7 9mm pistol
PUSH INWARDS (TOWARDS THE GRIP PANEL) TO USE.

That lever is only on the left size, and is really the P7’s only firing control that isn’t fully ambidextrous. Many people — including P7 owners — don’t even realize it’s there, actually. Regardless, an otherwise completely ambi pistol was ahead of its time.

The squeeze cocker system, which was first seen on the P7 and is, as far as I know, still completely unique to the P7, provides an extraordinary level of safety. The P7 is at least as safe to carry with a round chambered as any pistol with a manual thumb safety. And it was quite hard to find a semi-auto pistol sans thumb safety at the time the P7 was designed.  Yet the P7 is arguably quicker and more intuitive to make ready to fire.

Despite that intuitive nature, rumors abound that multiple law enforcement officers’ lives have been saved by this unique operating mechanism. Basically, a criminal won control of the officer’s firearm, but couldn’t figure out how to fire it.

Additionally, this system allows you to chamber a round without the pistol ever being capable of firing it. The operator can also clear various types of jams with increased safety. Pulling the trigger does absolutely nothing unless the squeeze cocker is also squeezed, and there’s no hammer or striker that can drop either by operator error or mechanical failure.

Heckler & Koch HK P7 9mm pistol

On the downside, this whole mechanism is complicated and expensive. It’s not advisable for the end user to ever consider detail stripping a P7, as it’s like a dang Swiss watch inside. The cost of the machining, parts, assembly time, etc. isn’t particularly appealing and is the number one reason the P7 wasn’t more popular while it was in production and why it is no longer manufactured today.

It was always an extremely expensive pistol compared to the alternatives. I should mention that, despite the intricacy and quantity of parts involved, the P7 is highly reliable and durable and met the requirement of an at least 10,000-round service life.

Heckler & Koch HK P7 9mm pistol
Slide stop componentry on the left side.
Heckler & Koch HK P7 9mm pistol
Fire control componentry on the right side.

Gas Retardation System

H&K claims it’s gas retarded, but I think it’s pretty smart. Sorry to do this, but to prevent this post from being exceedingly long, I’m going to direct you to my recent Walther CCP review and, specifically, to the fourth section entitled “How It Works.” Everything except for the last paragraph applies 100% to the P7 as well. In fact, the diagram there is of the P7.

Once again, the P7 did it first, and with the exception of a few obscure pistols that were total market failures, this gas-piston-delayed blowback mechanism hadn’t appeared on any other firearm until the CCP.

Heckler & Koch HK P7 9mm pistol

Now, the P7 looks just slightly different inside and if you drop down to the end of the CCP review, you’ll find more side-by-side photos of the P7 field stripped next to the CCP for comparison.

Heckler & Koch HK P7 9mm pistol
CCP top, P7 bottom

110º Grip Angle

According to HK, if you point at something with your index finger your hand will form a natural 110 degree angle (I guess in relation to your forearm). Therefore, the angle of the P7’s grip is 110 degrees and shooting it is as intuitive and as natural as pointing at your target, which also assists in coordinating your eyesight with the rest of your body motion.

Heckler & Koch HK P7 9mm pistol
It’s actually likely the backstrap angle in relation to the bore, but this is what the HK advertising showed.

Magazine Features

Although the grip angle is 110 degrees, the magazine insertion angle isn’t. HK designed the magazine to insert at a much squarer angle — almost perpendicular with the slide.

Heckler & Koch HK P7 9mm pistol

This has two primary benefits:

  • More easily aligns the top round in the magazine with the chamber. It’s pretty much pointing straight into it. Although the P7 dislikes ammo with a particularly long overall length (which means most 147 grain fodder), it should feed anything under the sun that’s closer to normal OAL spec, meaning basically any 124 grain or 115 grain ammo ever. Ashtray-sized hollow point? Sure thing.

Heckler & Koch HK P7 9mm pistol

  • The magazine ends up farther rearward than it would if it followed the grip’s angle, which means there’s room for a longer barrel given the same slide length.

We ‘Mericans don’t generally like “European-style” magazine releases, whether it’s paddles on the trigger guard (did HK invent that?) or a heel mag release on the butt of the grip, but the first version(s) of the HK P7 employed a heel release.

I happen to think it’s pretty quick and easy to use in the P7’s case, plus it has the benefits of being equally accessible by either hand (ambidextrous) and allegedly being less likely to depress accidentally when carrying the pistol in a holster or when shooting.

Heckler & Koch HK P7 9mm pistol

In keeping with the “gunfighter” theme, a heel release better facilitates tactical reloads. That is, retaining the empty magazine instead of dropping it to the ground. Depress the heel release with your support hand thumb and the magazine pops into your palm, allowing you to strip it out the rest of the way in a controlled fashion and, presumably, retain it. The protruding lip on the front of the magazine’s baseplate allows you to forcibly strip it out should there be some sort of jam.

There is no magazine disconnect safety. No “sitting duck effect,” as HK referred to that in its marketing material.

The P7M8, designed with the U.S. market in mind, added an ambidextrous thumb-activated magazine release in the standard (for us) location. The P7M13 received a wider frame to accept a staggered-round magazine, and mag capacity was upped from 8 to 13 rounds.

Barrel Features

The P7 has a pretty darn long barrel — 4.1″ — considering the pistol’s very compact size. In part, this was possible because the striker block is quite compact (note barrel lengths & striker block lengths in the comparo pics on the CCP review). Additionally, moving the grip forward under the slide, which also created a beavertail without adding length to the rear, was possible without subtracting from barrel length due to the magazine inserting at a more vertical angle up and toward the extreme rear of the grip.

Here’s one of the photos from the CCP review, showing the length of the striker blocks and also the relative location of the breech faces and ejection ports . . .

Heckler & Koch HK P7 9mm pistol
CCP TOP, P7 BOTTOM

Polygonal rifling has been around since the days of cannons on horse-drawn carts, but the P7 marked the first time that it was used on a pistol. GLOCK made it mainstream, but HK did it here first.

Heckler & Koch HK P7 9mm pistol

The benefits of the P7’s fixed, cold hammer forged barrel with polygonal rifling are:

  • Accuracy. This is mostly due to the barrel being fixed, rather than the rifling. A fixed barrel is inherently more accurate than a barrel that moves every time the firearm is fired. Some folks claim that polygonal rifling is more accurate, but I don’t think that’s true. However, it can become true since conventional rifling wears down, but…
  • Polygonal rifling is extremely durable. Lacking protrusions, edges, and hot spots like conventional rifling and not requiring the rifling to actually cut or press into the bullet’s surface increases service life. If you go to a GLOCK certified armorer course, they’ll show you factory GLOCK barrels that have fired 100,000+ rounds that look brand new, whereas the rifling on a conventionally rifled pistol barrel would almost certainly be worn completely away well before then. Considering conventional rifling degrades and moving barrel locking mechanisms loosen up, the P7 is more likely to retain its same level of accuracy over a much longer service life.
  • Polygonal rifled barrels have a higher tensile strength.
  • Polygonal rifling is typically easier to clean with less copper fouling and stuck or burned-on carbon fouling. However, non-jacketed ammunition should not be used. Doubly so for the P7 (and the new Walther CCP), as bare lead ammunition will occlude the gas port.
  • Polygonal rifling creates a better gas seal. Less combustion gasses escaping around the projectile mean higher velocities for a given barrel length. In the case of the P7, it also means a more effective gas retarded blowback system.
  • There’s no question a fixed barrel is ideal for adding a silencer. Although some folks claim the P7 action doesn’t like being suppressed, intuitively I think it seems like a good fit. HK did, in fact, make a factory P7 version — the P7M13SD — for German special forces with an extended and threaded barrel plus a suppressor. Regardless, the fixed barrel means no booster device necessary and no increased wear or other reliability issues with moving barrel locking mechanisms.

Positive Ejection

The P7 will reliably extract and eject fired cases even with a broken extractor or with no extractor. In fact, the only purpose of the extractor on the P7 is to make ejection consistent, which it does with aplomb. Well, that and to manually extract an unfired round.

Thanks to the operating system basically evening out the slide’s recoil speed regardless of ammunition power level, the P7 ejects empty brass more consistently than basically any other pistol I’ve shot. If I’m shooting in one place, I expect to find the brass stacked in a neat little pile 10 feet away.

How does it do this, you say? Well, the chamber of the P7 is fluted. HK didn’t invent this (SVT-40, as far as I know), but until the P7 it had only been seen on rifles (I’m counting the MP5 as a rifle). Combustion gas and pressure is redirected between the chamber walls and the cartridge case, and the case is “floated” out of the chamber. Think air hockey.

Heckler & Koch HK P7 9mm pistol

In addition, you may notice in the photo above that the part of the chamber preceding the fluted area is of a larger diameter. The P7’s chamber is somewhat on the loose side. This helps the pistol accept a broader range of ammunition, whether slightly out of spec or dirty, etc. On the downside, the flutes and the “stepped” chamber aren’t kind to your brass, so the P7 probably doesn’t win points with reloaders.

Heckler & Koch HK P7 9mm pistol

I almost forgot: the extractor also doubles as a loaded chamber indicator. At least, that’s what the HK marketing material and Operator’s Manual will tell you. I can’t say I have any clue what they’re referring to, as there is no discernible difference whatsoever in the position of the extractor on the few P7s I’ve seen whether there’s a round chambered or not.

3-Dot Sights

There’s nothing physically special about the 3-dot sights on the P7. They’re steel, dovetailed into the slide, and have crisp, white dots. What is special, however, is that the Heckler & Koch P7 was the first firearm to have the 3-dot sight layout that eventually became the most common pistol sight style in the world.

Heckler & Koch HK P7 9mm pistol

Low Bore Axis

A low bore axis — the vertical distance from the top of your hand to the centerline of the barrel — reduces muzzle flip and often felt recoil and increases overall control. Essentially, the closer the bore is to being in-line with your hand and arm, the less leverage the muzzle has to flip upwards and the more recoil feels and looks like a straight-back push. Less flip and rise means reduced sight movement, which means a reduction in the amount of time it takes the shooter to reacquire a sight picture.

Without completely changing the architecture and layout of your typical semi-automatic pistol (grip and frame on bottom, barrel and cycling slide on top), which could result in something like this, the P7 likely has the lowest bore axis anywhere.

Heckler & Koch HK P7 9mm pistol

It’s literally as low as it can be without causing severe slide bite for the shooter. Every time I fire my P7 I have grease marks on the web of my hand, but I have never been cut or abraded. This combined with the very low profile of the slide means the centerline of the bore is as low as or, likely, lower than anything before or since (the Arsenal Strike One may match it). The slide is also quite light, which further reduces felt recoil and muzzle flip.

Striker-Fired

Honestly, I’m not quite sure why this category is here. Striker-fired pistols have been around at least since the first decade of the last century. Still, it was the exception in a world of hammer-fired pistols until GLOCK, which a lot of people actually credit with the concept. On a related note, HK was the first to make a polymer-framed pistol (the VP70, which was also striker-fired), although many folks think that was GLOCK as well.

Anyway, in the photo in the low bore axis section above, you see the back of the slide with the striker de-cocked. When you depress the squeeze cocker, the striker protrudes to let you know it’s ready to go.

Heckler & Koch HK P7 9mm pistol
FREEZE, OR THE CENTERPIECE GETS IT!

This is a popular feature nowadays that many shooters actually credit to the Springfield XD (which Springfield didn’t even design), when in reality I believe it hearkens back to the Roth Steyr model 1907.

Trigger Pull

In a way, the P7 gives the shooter the trigger pull quality benefits of a single action, hammer-fired pistol with the safety of always having said pistol in hammer-down mode. Instead of having to cock the hammer, though, you only have to take a full firing grip.

There’s a bit of slack in the trigger, and then about 4 to 5 millimeters of very smooth creep before a crisp break with little overtravel. The trigger resets when you’ve released it that same 4 to 5 mm, and it resets with a click that you can feel. Trigger pull weight is 4.5 to 5 lbs.

Heckler & Koch HK P7 9mm pistol

The trigger itself is flat and wide, with vertical serrations on its face. It’s a comfortable trigger.

Trigger Guard

Not very exciting, I admit, but the P7’s trigger guard is quite modern in appearance. It’s undercut, oversized, and has a flat (although not vertical) front with a bit of a hook on the bottom. The front is serrated like the trigger for those who like to wrap a finger over it.

Although other pistols existed with one or a couple of these features when the P7 was designed (e.g. Beretta 92 was getting there), it was still far from the norm and all of these things together was a big leap forwards. Even if finger-on-the-front-of-the-guard shooting has since gone out of style.

Easy Takedown

My recent experience with the Walther CCP reminded me of how exceptionally simple the P7’s field stripping process is. Especially for a pistol designed four decades ago. Push what today we’d call the “carry melted” button on the left side of the frame near the back of the slide, retract the slide about 1/2 inch, then lift the rear of the slide up and move it forwards off of the frame. Done.

Heckler & Koch HK P7 9mm pistol

Reassembly is the reverse, except there’s no need to press that button this time. Just pull the slide back onto the frame, lining up the gas piston with the gas cylinder, back over the rear by about a half inch again, and lower it down onto the frame. As easy as a GLOCK.

Heckler & Koch HK P7 9mm pistol

Criticisms

It can’t all be unicorns and secret agents, right? There are a couple of criticisms already mentioned above — high price and high complication. Two others may not be as obvious:

  • The gas cylinder gets hot, and if you scroll back up to the first photo in the retarded section you’ll see that there’s maybe a millimeter of steel between it and the outside of the frame, which happens to be the top, inside of the trigger guard. If you shoot a few magazines through the P7 fairly quickly, the top of the trigger guard area and the sides of the frame where you’d likely exercise proper trigger discipline when not firing can get pretty toasty as well. Dump a few more mags through it and you might even burn yourself. The P7 was not designed for competition shooting. It was not designed for blowing through ammo as quickly as possible on the range. It’s a gunfighter’s gun. A police officer, special forces, secret service, Federal police types, spook gun. Practice should be deliberate. Not fun. More, I don’t know, German. Unless you demand the ability to blast through a handful of magazines as rapidly as possible without part of the pistol getting hot, this heat soak problem really isn’t one. But it’s the biggest criticism the P7 received. Subsequent versions, beginning with the P7M8, have a polymer heat shield in the top of the trigger guard.
  • The striker makes a “clack” noise when de-cocked. Releasing the squeeze cocker slowly does not slowly lower the striker. At some point as you let off the cocking lever, the striker is “fired.” Obviously it won’t fire a chambered cartridge, but it does slam into the striker stop (firing pin block) and make a loud click. It sounds basically like dry firing a hammer-fired pistol. Who cares? Exactly. Well, apparently if you’re a high-speed-low-drag Operator operating operationally — and, to be fair, that’s basically who this pistol was designed for — the noise can give away your position or give away your intentions, etc. If the bad guy is familiar with the P7, he knows you’ve just decocked it. If the bad guy isn’t familiar with the P7, he may believe you attempted to fire it and it malfunctioned or had no ammo. So while this criticism is technically true, it’s a bit of a stretch and it certainly doesn’t affect my enjoyment or occasional concealed carry of my P7.

The P7 has a gas chamber, even if HK was smart enough to call it a gas cylinder. Nothing German after 1945 should have a gas chamber.

Due to the high cost, out-of-production status, mechanical intricacy, and general “fanciness” of the HK P7, it can be perceived as a bit of a snob’s pistol. Heckler & Koch owner jokes are taken to the next level. You know those “what’s in your pockets?” or “what’s your every day carry?” forum photo threads or dedicated photo blogs, where a lot of people just use it as an excuse to show off, posting carefully composed photos of expensive things taken with expensive cameras? I don’t have a lot of fancy crap, but if I did I’d pose it with a gussied-up (NP3+ coated with Nill grips) HK P7 and it would look sort of like this:

Heckler & Koch HK P7 9mm pistol
“I EDC more than you make in a month, son.”

^^^ that photo is also an HK “history” quiz.

On The Range

The P7 is nimbler than its weight would suggest and more accurate than its size should allow for. It’s an extremely soft shooter. Good ergos, good trigger, insanely low bore axis, good sights, fixed barrel, soft recoil, and reliable function all add up to the best pistol ever. Just don’t get it too hot.

Heckler & Koch HK P7 9mm pistol
HECKLER & KOCH P7 ADVERT

Conclusions

Most likely I forgot something awesome and noteworthy about the P7. Please let us know in the comments. Overall, I think it’s the best gunfighter’s pistol ever made. It’s deadly accurate, highly controllable, extremely reliable, quick to deploy and quick to aim, shoots softly and with minimal muzzle movement, and is one of the safest pistols ever to chamber and to carry chambered. It’s also classy and refined. Basically, it’s James Bond in pistol form.

Specifications: Heckler & Koch P7 (PSP)

Caliber: 9×19
Capacity: 8+1
Barrel Length: 4.1″
Overall Length: 6.5″
Height: 5.0″
Width: 1.1″
Weight w/ Empty Magazine: 30 oz
MSRP: out of production

Ratings (Out of Five Stars): 

Accuracy: * * * * *

Ergonomics: *   * *

Reliability: * * * * *

Trend Setter: * * * * *

Trigger: * * * *
It’s a really excellent trigger and it’s significantly better than almost any modern striker-fired pistol (PPQ and VP9 are stiff competition). It’s a true single action trigger, though, so it could be better.

Customize This: * * *
Not a lot of options for grip panels. Nill is amazing for wood ones, but they don’t come cheap. There are aftermarket sights, but swapping them out is best left to a professional in this case. The holster market isn’t exactly flooded with decent P7 options.

Overall: * * * * *
It’s the best pistol ever. Of course it gets a 5-star rating.

 

This article was first published here in January 2015

 

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121 COMMENTS

  1. What a crock of shit. The P7 was a good gun but also was one of the most unsafe guns ever manufactured for duty use. Holstering is especially dangerous as you have a cocked and unlocked pistol with a 2-3 lb trigger pull and anything brushing it sets it off. Also using a pistol like this under stress leads to inadvertent discharges. There is a reason it is not issued anywhere now!

    • Confused on this, unless you are holstering it while squeezed, it should actually be more safe than holstering the average gun. As soon as you stop squeezing, it isn’t cocked and can’t be fired even if you pull the trigger. Only squeeze when ready to fire.

      To prevent timing issues if you squeeze and pull the trigger, like the event where maybe you were only partially squeezed and pull the trigger, the gun will fire as soon as the trigger is pulled and grip squeezed, but the order of events doesn’t matter, in fact, you can pull the trigger, and then fire when squeezing just for fun, opposite of the squeeze grip first then pull trigger.

    • Ya, you put a cocked revolver in your holster? Do you keep your finger on the trigger as you holster? Then why would you keep the handle cocked? Disobey the manual of arms on any gun, and you can have a problem. They have not been used by departments due to Glock? Sigs ‘winning’ the replacement contracts; at the time, Glocks cost a department 350ish each, and a P7M13 was $1100. Glocks and Sigs offered 15/17 rounds vs 13. But the Glocks and Sigs are replaced every 4-5 years, and the M13’s made it 15-20. UHP(Utah) and NJSP(New Jersey) both used them for many, many years, without a single officer being killed with their own gun. In fact, there has ‘never'(true as of 20 years ago, and I have not seen one reported since) been an owner killed with their own gun-carrying one, but a couple of BGs have when the backup gun was used to kill them after they got the primary. They make the near-perfect gun to have out in the house with kids, physically a human has to be 10ish before they can muster the strength to cock it with both hands. How many years did it take Glock to pass the skip test(DEA)? Why would you want a cocked striker in your holster? How much of the P320’s problems relate to that?

      • I’m not a fan of sigs or glocks either. But this one is special as when in a high stress situation or holstering after the incident people tend to do as they have always done and that is keep the firing grip until the gun is in the holster. Having to release the grip while holstering is counter intuitive.

    • Rick, I hate to say it, but you know not of which you speak. The P-7 is one of the most safe semi-auto pistols ever designed. First, if it’s not in your hand it is not cocked. Second, if you drop the pistol it decocks itself. Before it hits the ground. Name another pistol that does that. Next, “reholstering.” Any idiot and his brother knows you “make safe and reholster.” With a P7 that means releasing the cocking leaver. On a 1911 it means placing the safety on. On a conventional DA auto it means decocking. And it always means keeping your finger off the trigger. So, Rick, what is it that makes the P7 platform so inherently dangerous? Bottom line. I don’t care if its a P7 or a P-51. It’s all about training.

  2. The heat build up in the trigger guard is real. Sustained fire is not this pistols gig. The following is subjective to the(my) gunners hand. The p7 is a compact pistol but it feels heavier than it is. That weight feels concentrated in a ball right above my grip.

    It is not my cup of tea. Not because of any defects on its part. It simply doesn’t sit right in my hand.

    • Ain’t gonna lie. I saw “best pistol ever” in the title, and only skimmed the article in my haste to read the comments and maybe see some pugilistic exchanges of “but muh (insert your own gun model here) is better, so you don’t know what yer talking about…”

      • I’m surprised that the Plus .40 crowd hasn’t jumped in for a scathing attack on a 9mm as ‘best’ at anything.

        • Too busy working overtime to afford range ammo? Can’t tease too much as I am in the same boat.

        • My comment on the P7 M10 was removed?
          I merely stated the slide appears huge on that version of the P7.

          TTAG is getting ridiculous with the random removal of comments several days after they post.

    • @jwm: I was gong to comment on Ian’s Forgotten Weapons video, which mentioned the heat build up. That was a big down point for me.

      Now, I’m interested again.

  3. P7 is awesome, don’t own one, have fired one. Only downside I can think of is the need for an asbestos trigger finger.

    • Buddy of mine tried using one in USPSA competition. Heat buildup was bad, bad enough to be an issue. The fact that it ejected empties into the next county made saving and reusing brass impossible. The gun itself was not nearly as fast to first shot as a single action, or even an SA/DA. Cool pistol, but mostly useful as a Safe Queen.

      • Well, USPSA went from 40-50 rounds a match to 220+. I have seen P7M8, far outshoot race guns; AKA splits of .09, .11 for controlled pairs were normal. But 60-70 rounds and heat was always an issue. Sub-second reloads, but at only 9 shots total and 8 on the reload, the guy has to be inhuman good to keep up with limited race guns if the course is not 6 round neutral. Single fastest gun out of the holster, hands down. Now the issue is good luck putting an RDS on it.

  4. Didn’t the squeeze cooking thing.

    Accurate and quick follow ups.

    Its a cool pistol, but a cult pistol……kinda like a Secamp or Semmerling.

    Just better shooting.

    • Funny you should say that. My other not-quite EDC gun is a Seecamp .32 that I got in 1986. Ever since then, it’s been in my pocket whenever I couldn’t carry the P7M8.

  5. Well, I’m chuckling a bit here. There are several ‘problems’ with the author’s prurient love affair with the P7. But who am I to discourage the pursuit of happiness. So I’ll just mention one that exemplifies the Author’s ‘wannabe gunfighter’s imagination that is not part of the reality of so-called Tactical Gunfighting with a pistol. The bottom of the grip mag release. “in keeping with the gunfighter theme, a bottom heel release better facilitates tactical reloading.”

    Maybe in the old days of ‘gunfighting’ when revolvers still dominated and a pistol like this could be considered a slight advantage in a basic one on one ‘shootout’ but never be truly considered a ‘tactical’ pistol for obvious reasons in the first place, at least by experienced pros? After Nam most ‘Real’ combat operators never even looked at a revolver, and would only use a 1911 if it was the only thing available. Browning High Powers were popular.

    And today, with bad actors gunning up to the max–‘as seen on TV’– and when seconds count in fast and psycho furious blast outs with H-cap continuous action, nobody wastes time removinga mag with their left hand, and certainly not putting it back in their pocket or mag pouch. What for? To stop in the middle of blazing fire and go back to their cars for a box of ammo to reload the empty mag, grab a beer, and then go back to action? LOL! That’s not exactly what we call having the ‘tactical’ advantage.

    No Pros or even Joes do that. They simply drop free the empty mag with your thumb button and your left-hand inserts the new mag as your are ready to drop the slide with the right thumb again for almost an uninterrupted flow of lead on the bad situation. Some are so practiced and fast at this they’re reloaded and firing again almost before the mag hits the ground.

    So to say something like a bottom heel release ‘better facilitates tactical reloading’ sure represents your amateur ‘gunfighting’ experience. And there’s other things, but it was still an interesting analysis of an old interesting pistol with good pictures. But there are many like this, and they all wound up as collectibles due to some of, but not all, your suppositions.

    Basically, their purported feature advantages just really were Not that advantageous compared to other real-time functions and applications when it all came down to the nitty spitty gritty mechanics of advanced practical combat tactical gunfighting weapons. Otherwise, they would have been incorporated in what we have today at a cheaper and improved function. This is why this H&K P7 was discontinued. I never became as good as some made it out to be. And why it was, and still remains today…

    NOT even nearly, ‘the best pistol ever made’.

    In any case it always pays, especially in firearms analysis, to not rely on articles like this too much.

    Because mainly they are just opinions. And we all know that opinions are like anal orifices. We all have one…and they are mostly full of shit.

    • “Because mainly they are just opinions. And we all know that opinions are like anal orifices. We all have one…and they are mostly full of shit.”

      Including yours, BTW… 🙂

      (I’m jealous Jeremy now has 2 of them, and his case-hardened project a few years back is drop-dead *beautiful*…)

    • A “tactical reload” is removing and keeping a partially full magazine and putting in a full one. The partial magazine is kept in case you run out of ammo later. I’ve always been told the heel catch was to keep European soldiers from losing the magazines they were issued, which is also why original Glocks didn’t have drop free magazines.. It’s definitely not there for reload speed.

      • Close, but not quite. You may be right about the heel release to some extent, but all these ‘innovations’ of the time were usually related to perceptions of military warfare applications. Like that little lanyard loop hook on the bottom of the grip there. The problem was that most of the weapon ‘designers’ were not down and dirty expeienced infantry combatants. And a lot of their ‘references’ were anecdotal.

        But your definition of a ‘tactical reload’ also carries the excess weight of urban mythology. In all my days, weeks, months, and years of switching mags in REAL firefights, I’ve never seen, heard of, or personally ‘counted rounds ” and removed a mag with ‘ammo left in it, in case you run out of ammo later’.
        The mag was removed and switched Only when It Was Empty. Especially back in the days when we were blasting full auto with 20 round mags at very high cyclic rates in our 16s. mplies that someone in a hot and heavy gunfight will actually have the presence of mind to keep arefully keep track of how many individual rounds the fired, in order to leave some left in the mag before you run out of ammo later, BY STOPPING HIS FIRING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ACTION TO ENSURE THAT YOU’LL HAVE SOME IN CASE YOU RUN OUT LATER?

        Well, how do you Define ‘in case you run out of ammo later’?

        What does ‘later’ have to do with the immediate dynamic of a shootout/gunfight? The only thing ‘close’ to being ‘aware’ of how much ammo you’ve used BEFORE you run out is in protracted military operations where there might be a tactical pause and SAW operators in a squad notice there’s only a few rounds left in the belt so they change boxes or belts so as not to have to interrupt their suppressive fire in the next likely clash.
        And the riflemen pretty easily automatically KNOW when they’ve used most of their mag loads up and have maybe one full one left… which by then the squad/platoon leader falls them back to defensive waiting for ammo bearers to come up and re-supply, or… if it’s small unit contact, they break contact altogether to an alternate strategic defensive position, and call in cover strikes.
        Point being, Nobody in a fucking combat firefight, except in the comic book or Hollywood fiction, ever worries about saving a few extra rounds for later by switching to keep their mags full DURING an intense firefight, if they’re not already emptied out and need a rapid switch to continue.

        Oh, you’re thinking about it a little now, ‘eh, sport? HeHehe.
        So let’s hope you realize that there’s only a couple scenarios where ‘real’ combat soldiers are concerned about only having one loaded magazine left in their chest rig. That’s how they ‘Have’ extra ammo “in case they run out of ammo later.”

        If they are not re-supplied forthwith or retreated to safety, then they have go to semi-auto eyeball to eyeball contact only, especially if they are surrounded and trapped. That’s it! Otherwise it’s:

        Heavy suppressing Fire Power,
        makes them Cower…
        And ‘Spray and Pray’,
        Will save the Day

        Now, to differentiate for this article’s purpose of pistol gunfights, like most in cop shootouts or personal private citizen attacks/robberies/home invasions, it is REALLY, Really, Squeally important NOT to try to switch mags prematurely “in case you run out of ammo later”, assuming you are so well disciplined under fire that you would have the presence of mind to actually think of it, let alone accomplish it in the first place when bullets are trying to French Kiss your ass, but only when your mag is empty and the slide is locked open.
        Because like most street fistfights are over in a few seconds, CQB pistol gunfights are over in half that even though it seems like an eternity sometimes. And If you haven’t WON the engagement by then and don’t need to fire anymore because the bad human is DOA and is no longer shooting at you, then you won’t NEEEED to worrry much about saving a couple rounds in a switiched mag ‘for later’ because if you’re not carrying an extra FULL mag, or two, it won’t matter, because, again, the initial contact very likely won’t last long enough.

        That’s the whole idea of carrying a high capacity mag in your pistol and EXTRA Full magazines?! SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO RISK DROPPING A RELOAD OR PRECIOUS SPLIT SECONDS using two hands OR interupting FLOW OF SUPPRESSIVE FIRE AS YOU DUCK FOR COVER OR CONCEALMENT IF YOU HAVE TO.

        Which, of course, is also why most modern ‘Tactical sidearms’ have at least 14-15 round capacity standard magazines AND, a few, like the most tactically prolific Glock line, have extended mags available in up to 32 rounds and most pros prefer drop free mags for action high speed reloads. SO YOU HAVE THE important TACTICAL ADVANTAGE OF potentially NOT NEEDING TO SWITCH MAGS DURING the first vital seconds of A FAST AND FURIOUS SHORT DURATION GUNFIGHT.

        Intentionally focusing on switching for the rationale of Saving a few rounds in your mags is about as stupid as a Grand Prix race car Not using the full air pressure in its tires so they can save some extra air in the ‘pits’ for when they get a blowout!

        Hahahaha…”…so much bullshit spread to so many, by so few passing it off as Gospel”

        In ‘Religious belief systems this is okay, maybe. But stupidity is not acceptable in real life and death gunfighting.

        • 👆🏼 Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!
          What a load of self-fellating 🐴💩!
          🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

        • I was a TL in 173rd LRRP so no ammo resupply. You had to make shots count. Only fire at targets on contact or being a bullet magnet Pray and Spray one magazine along with a WP to break contact.

          Extra ammunition in form of 140 round bandolier became SOP as contact with NVAs became more common. Tossed magazines would mean nothing to load.

    • Yes, people were not buying it so they discontinued it. Someone once said a pistol is used to fight your way to your rifle.

  6. “In a world of compromises, some people put the bullets in the magazine backwards…”

    HK. Because you suck. And we hate you.

    • They did get a bit fucked over with import law changes and the assault weapon ban so it’s not entirely them hating us.

    • Hi Standards in general (especially the older versions) are works of gun-making art…

  7. HK P7 best pistol ever? If you repeat that, an angry mob might show up at your door to throw you into a pond to see if you float, and you don’t want to know what we do with witches.

  8. I owned and carried several for years, both in uniform and off-duty. Really liked them back then, but the super high cost of everything – guns, mags, and spare parts – reminds me of owning an old motorcycle or sports car. It is not supported by the factory any longer. A few of the parts known to break are ungodly expensive. Would I jump on another ? Not at the current market prices. The other flaws noted in comments, such as the heating issue in the P7 (but not the M8/M13 versions) are true.

    • I have an old revolver no longer supported by the manufacturer. Then again, it is a Ruger Security Six, and they tend not to break. ☺️

      • I wish I had never traded off my service six. It would survive pretty much anything short of nuclear blast nearby.

  9. quote—————- Despite being out of production for over a decade, here is why the P& still the best pistol ever made and why you need one.————quote

    HERE IS THE REAL TRUTH ABOUT THE HKP7/P13

    1. A dangerous squeeze cocker that had to be modified by HK to be much heavier to cock because too many cops shot themselves when drawing the pistol. Remember this gun has no manual safety and in a panic situation the human panic condition is to immediately get the the gun in a death grip which cocks the pistol. The only problem in making the squeeze cocker harder to cock was the fact that then it was so heavy the average shooter could not hold it in long enough before fatigue set in and disturbed his aim. This happens after only a few shots. Too many cops shot themselves with this pistol its the reason HK was forced to increase the cocking pressure.

    2. The gun suffers from an extremely mushy trigger. I had the P13 and it was damn near impossible to know just exactly when the gun was going to go off because of this crappy trigger pull.

    3. The gun overheats in the summer time after only 1 magazine fired out of my P13. HK later in time even had to put a plastic shield on the gun to prevent you from barbequing your hand. This is also not conducive to long barrel life either as the deadly enemy of a barrel is over heating it.

    3. The gun suffers from being a gas operated pistol. I have yet to see any of the various brands of gas guns operated as reliably as the Colt/Browning recoil operated system. Gas guns must be kept very clean in order to work reliably and to make matters even worse in my own experimentation this turd of a gun worked only with fast burning power like Bull’s-eye. It did not work with Alliant Unique powder as its slower burning rate allowed the action to open prematurely which resulted in the slide beating itself to death against the frame of the gun. I found some factory ammo that did not work reliably either in this ill designed gum. Also this system was unsafe to use with even hard cast bullets as slivers of lead would plug up the gas bleed off hole. Only expensive jacketed bullets could be used. Nice if you are independently wealthy.

    4 The gun is extremely heavy despite its deceptively small size. I am speaking of the P13 model which I owned.

    5. The squeeze cocker lets off a loud “clickety, clack when you release it which gives away your position when you are in hiding if someone breaks into your home letting the criminal know exactly where you are and you will not be able to hold the gun at cock very long because of the stiff cocking mechanism.

    6. Even “back in the day” the gun was way ridiculously overpriced considering the fact that it was basically a high tech sheet mental pistol no where near justifying its ridiculous price. Today unfortunately the collector market for weird and failed odd ball pistols has driven the price far above what the average person can afford.

    7. The firing pin design in this gun was defective as it was noted for breaking its firing pin. One Maryland Cop got himself shot and killed because his gun failed in the middle of a fire fight and yes it was a broken firing pin.

    I do not regret dumping my P13 and as far as I am concerned it would not have another one even up my rectum. And I am a coinsure of collecting even weird auto pistols but not this one.

    I might add the only worse gas pistol I ever owned was the gas operated Steyr GB but that is another story for another day. May they both spend an eternity in auto pistol hell.

    • Yeah, well, we all know you never shot an HK P7. Much less owned one. If you did I’d buy it from you today. You have my PX #. Call me. Or, sit down and shut the fuck up!

      • A friend (deceased) had one in 9mm and the other in .40 S&W. I could not miss with either. He shit it nicely in IPSC and IDPA. He never found that overheating was a problem. You fire an event of 6 to 30 odd rounds and then officiate and run an event until your turn to fire an event. Weapon had cooled down. If a pistol gunfight lasts takes more than 30 rounds, your name will be on obituary page

        I covet one but what I want and what I can afford (aka what wife approves and $2K toy is not on approved list) are two different things.

    • dacian, I apologize. I just realized you said P7M13. Of course you did. I used to work with a guy who carried a P7M13. His name was Cecil M. Renee’ dubbed him “Cecil the Weasel.” Like you, he’s a coward. He pinned on a badge and carried a pistol because he thought those things would hide his cowardice. It didn’t. Have you discovered that you can’t hide yours? It’s okay. Really. Not everyone is cut out for solving dangerous problems. Someone has to perform the mundane things that keeps the wheels of society turning. Just think. If you didn’t flip that burger at the precise moment it might burn on one side. That’s a valuable skill and one I appreciate when I’m at the drive thru. Soldier On, Damien! Soldier On! Someone, somewhere might give a shit.

      • to Flag Waver

        That post was really over the top.

        Not only did it have zero to do with the subject at hand but you are to ignorant to realize it revealed that like most cops you took that type of job so you could have power over people and of course brutalize them. Your huffing and puffing and screaming that your penis is bigger than everyone else’s shows how demented you really are. If you had been a cop in Ohio you would not have lasted long (one way or another). We do not put up with such demented nut cases.

        • Bullshit. I have family in Ohio and have lived there myself. What they don’t tolerate in Ohio or WV or KY is nut jobs like you.

          Stay hidden in your mothers basement, herr dacian. It’s your only hope.

    • More mindless drivel from the lil’dtard.🤪

      You don’t know how much something costs until the day it’s replaced.

      ‘Glocks cost a department 350ish each, and a P7M13 was $1100. Glocks and Sigs offered 15/17 rounds vs 13. But the Glocks and Sigs are replaced every 4-5 years, and the M13’s made it 15-20.’

      Glock ACTUALLY gave no cost replacement firearm AND payments to agencies for each P7 M13 trade in. I wonder why? 🤔

      Don’t go changing pedotard. 👍

      • Paying for dinners, hookers, and blow, does not make them ‘free’. You followed those contracts huh? I would take 1500 P7M13s in trade for 2000 glocks any day. And make a nice pile of change. Remember Glock had sales and management charged for their questionable practices. The departments I know have to pay for the new guns. The personal attacks mean you have nothing to add, so why talk?

        • Oh, OK GTTroll. 🙄
          I’m probably one of the few commenting here who actually own several examples of the P7 line (pic posted up this AM on WForums, shooter and NIB unfired M13s)……

          https://www.waltherforums.com/threads/non-walther-gun-photos.43543/page-45#post-1290289

          The shooter is an ex-US Park Police M13.

          I actually fired one of the P7s from the first batch imported into the US. Also fired several NJSP examples, and have had numerous discussions with those who procured the NJSP P7s.

          P7s have been in regular rotation of my range/carry rotation for over three decades.

          When I suit-up, my go to firearm is that shooter M13 (Nill grips) with two back up mags in a Galco Miami Special shoulder rig.

          But I shouldn’t comment on this story. 🤪

        • A few service firearms that come out with P7 M13 on range days, posted this AM………….

          https://www.waltherforums.com/threads/show-us-your-walther-photo-thread.5666/page-63#post-1290311

          Those are only my shooters, I have many more unfired examples of the P5s in my collection.

          Around 25K worth of handguns in those two pics.

          I was considered THE most active personal collector of German firearms from this era by the members of Walther Forums in 2018 and 2019. Even purchasing and importing examples from Germany.

  10. My sister has a M&P Shield with a ridiculous grip safety hump gizmo and with that said I just cannot find a way to like the elongated complicated hump on the front of the P7 grip.
    The bore axis is low and almost too low. IMO…It appears to be more of a collector’s piece and perhaps better described as the best “short lived” pistol ever made.

  11. If you’ll tolerate me on this, Jeremy is right. A P-7 is one hell of a pistol. It’s not perfect. No pistol is. But, the P7M8 is close. I call the M-8 the thinking man’s P-7. Yeah, it’s easy to do a tactical mag change with a heal
    Mag release. What choice do you have. I’ll take a U.S. style mag release any day. I can do speed/tactical reloads. Do they still call them that today? Anyway, very good pistols. My retirement present to myself was my third P7M8. It’s on the front shelf of the safe.

  12. This pistol is a disaster as a carry weapon for extreme stress situations. You have a 2-3 pound trigger pull and no safety that leads to accidental discharges. Also holstering this pistol caused a lot of discharges because you are shoving a cocked and unlocked firearm with a light trigger pull into a holster. There is a reason police agencies quit issuing this gun.

  13. I saw a P-7 in .45 ACP years ago at a SHOT Show. It was big, but if a 5″ 1911 doesn’t bother you this P-7 wouldn’t either. I would have traded any two of my best handguns and a bit of cash for that P-7 and two spare magazines. If it worked. Didn’t get to touch it. HK should have developed that pistol in that caliber today. That would be a pistol. I never liked the M-13. Too fat. Told an HK rep at Ft. Benning the M-10 would never sell. I even piss off the people I like! I was right though.

    • Having XXL hands, the M13 fits me fine.
      That M10 is hideous, massive slide.

      I’ve actually removed the extractor from my range M13 and taken it to the range, the spent cases still extract and eject flawlessly.

  14. I did use a 9mm successfully today. There was an rattlesnake crawling across the road when I made my rounds at the farm this morning. A 124 gr Speer Gold Dot is a lot less expensive than a vet bill for a bird dog. I usually just hit them on the head with a handy stick, but I was in a hurry. It’s Easter. Oh, wasn’t a big one. About as long as my leg. Used that 19Xi mentioned last night. It’s nothing special but it’ll put kill a snake.

  15. Ok, I’ll say this, and it’s just my opinion, but that is one fugly pistol. I know it’s all in the eyes of the beholder and all, but damn. Don’t misunderstand as I think some of the features are outstanding, it’s just ugly is all. Kinda like a 1990 Chevy Lumina minivan.

    • Manse, that reminds me. The author said something about James Bond. When I bought my current P7M8 I showed it to my friend Jimmy M. Jimmy was a POTG before there was such a thing as POTG. When I showed him that HK P7M8 in factory hard chrome Jimmy said, “I’ve only seen pictures of these. Never held one. This is James Bond cool!” I had grilled salmon, roasted potatoes and asparagus for he, John and I that night. His dinner got cold and his beer warm while he played with that HK.

  16. I agree that the P7M8 is possibly the best pistol ever made. Mine I got about 14 years ago and I also got a P7M10 (.40 cal) about 20 years ago. Trouble is that they are so valuable now that I try not to shoot them much. The slide action even with the gas delay feature is extremely fast and accuracy is on par with a Sig P210. This feature is to slow down cycling. Fluted chamber will extract spent casing even if the extractor claw is broken or removed. Best part is the speed of a reload, dump a mag, slide new one in and just squeeze the handle and this releases the slide. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my Glocks but they are not on the same planet as the H&K P7. But hey I love guns and shooting. Like wheel guns too.

  17. Wow …. is it April 1st..? This has to be an attempt at humor

    Fanboy much? Paid by the word?

    Jeez – what a load of bs

    • bob, “a load of bs?” You, sir, obviously have no experience with a P7. A P7 doesn’t launch a 9mm bullet with any more deadly effect than my Glock’s do, but it does it more efficiently. And with a lot more style. If you don’t understand that you probably wear a Timex.

  18. Wow, I wonder what caused this item to resurface? Suddenly I’m getting a ton of responses.

    I guess I can understand that people have strong opinions about the P7, but nothing written here changes my opinion that it is the best pistol ever made. If course, you have to ask “best at what, and for whom? Here are some facts that may help to understand why I think this is the best pistol for me:

    1) The first pistol I ever bought was a P7 (PSP) in 1983. I knew very little about pistols, read some magazine articles, and decided to buy a P7. I taught myself to shoot with it. I practiced a lot, and the mechanism became second nature to me. It’s extremely accurate, safe, and easy to shoot in my hands.

    2) The heat issue with the trigger finger is real, and I wasn’t a big fan of the heel-mounted magazine release on the P7. But the P7M8 fixed both of those issues. I shot my P7M8 in competitions for years, including PPC (60-round match, timed fire), as well as quite a bit of rapid fire practice, long sessions at the range shooting many rounds. Never had to give a second thought to the heat problem.

    3) The P7M8 has been my EDC gun since 1985 when I bought it. Whenever I have lived someplace where carry was legal, it’s been with me every day. Probably a total of about 32 years of consistent daily carry, if you subtract the years I was deployed and my tours in Germany, plus add a couple if you count the years I carried the original P7 in Germany (1983-1985) even though I wasn’t supposed to. I can’t even begin to count how many times I holstered and unholstered it, loaded and unloaded it, and took it shooting at the range or in the field, with never a hint of trouble. The contention that it’s somehow unsafe baffles me.

    4) I can’t begin to count the number of rounds I’ve put through it. Many thousands of rounds, anyway. And it’s just as accurate and reliable as ever.

    5) I once fired a Glock. One round, one time, for a friend who thought there was something wrong with his sights. I punched the center out of the X-ring, after a seemingly endless time squeezing the blob of Jell-O that passed for a trigger. *That* was a mushy trigger. While it doesn’t quite measure up to my gunsmith-tuned 1911 really and truly “breaks like glass”, in my opinion the factory trigger on the P7 is a very crisp single action trigger. Never felt at all mushy to me.

    6) I sent it in a couple of years ago to get checked out and overhauled, and it came back with flying colors – everything in spec even after all of that time. The only thing I’d ever replaced was the main operating spring, and that only because it seemed like a good idea.

    7) My purpose is civilian self-defense, almost always concealed carry. So a slim single-stack pistol fills my needs. Two spare mags in my front left pocket for a basic load of 25 rounds.

    YYMV, but the P7M8 has been my EDC gun for most of my adult life, and I don’t see why I would ever change.

  19. I carried my shooter P7M13 for several years. It’s just been a range toy the last few years. Removed the Trijicon Bright and Tough night sights, fitted LDA adjustable target sights, and target Nill grips.
    I was so pleased with the P7 design/function/accuracy after carrying it, I purchased a 2nd NIB unfired M13.

    Fun fact, the P7 M13 sights fit my Mark 23.

  20. 5mm / 5lb is either a really good trigger for a striker pistol with no manual safety device,
    or
    A bottom-drawer, lawyered-up SAO trigger you saved a bunch of money on so you could send it to the gunsmith,
    but
    It is not a “best pistol ever” SAO trigger, and for P7 money it really should be.

  21. no thanks
    if somebody gave me one
    or i won one in a raffle
    the first thing i woud do
    is sell it outright
    or trade it for a real pistol
    and a rifle
    and a shotgun
    and 500 rounds of ammo for each

  22. All I will say is, I would not want to be on the wrong end of a P7. Chances are that anyone carrying one, knows how to shoot. Yeah, maybe one in a thousand will be a blowhard showoff or gangbanger who just lifted it, but I don’t wanna take that chance.

    • I’ve let around a dozen people shoot my P7 M13. Several have told me it produced the tightest groups they’ve ever shot.

  23. Never understood why they were so expensive back in the 80’s compared to other 9mm’s. They have a 2 piece stamped and welded frame just like the Ruger MKII. The slide is a heavy gauge stamping like the original P220/P226 with a welded on muzzle and a welded on insert that holds the firing pin assy (the Sig is affixed with roll pins). The real drawback is they are “noisy” and have a loud click when you squeeze the gun. Not good if you are trying to maintain silence if you have a home intruder. Just like having a loud click on your rifle’s safety to spook the elk except that won’t get you killed. Interesting that most commercial imports were P7M8 & P7M13. Almost all the surplus imports were the heel release PSP and all 3 use different mags. Oh and avoid all cast bullet loads with these gas retarded designs. Use jacketed only. The lead and lube really foul the gas system & polygonal rifling quickly.

    • It came out right during a period when the Deutschmark was overvalued, resulting in everything from Germany (HK pistols, Walther pistols, Mercedes, Porsche, Audi, Volkswagen autos, Leica cameras, Zeiss binoculars and lenses) costing approximately fifty to sixty percent more than they were worth relative to other products. I remember it, we all stopped buying anything from Germany because it was all absurdly overpriced.

      • I was lucky in this regard. I was stationed in Germany right after Reagan was elected. The exchange rate went up from 1.65 DM.$ to 2.85 DM/$. That, plus the fact that there were no import duties, no retail markup, and no taxes made it more affordable than it might otherwise have been.

  24. I was issued one as member of the NJSP in the 80’s. Great duty gun, easy to shoot tight groups with. During a 100+round qualification it did get pretty hot but never to the point of being uncomfortable.

    The very first guys had a few negligent discharges with it but that was a training issue that was resolved quickly.
    At a qualification I had an armorer show me how to strip the gun down completely. He did it in about a minute with just a pin punch. I never learned how from that demonstration but if you know how it’s easy.

    Lots of comments about the noisy click of the grip cocker. I’ve done a few building/house searches and that was never an issue. Friendly with our T.E.A.M.S members (the SWAT Team) and never heard of it being a concern. Doesn’t mean it can’t happen just my Dept’s experience.

    • Fun fact.
      All the P7s (PSP/M8/M10/M13) can be decocked silently. Just lift the little metal lever at the rear of the trigger guard while simultaneously releasing the grip cocking lever.
      This lever is only exposed when the grip cocking lever is in engaged.

  25. I’ve had a P7 since the first year they were available. It has been more reliable than my glock and far more accurate. I shot IDPA with it for a while and was not particularly bothered by the heat. I only quit using it for IDPA when they (stupidly) reclassified it up, and because our particular club ‘assumed’ everyone had 10 round mags, which meant I had to reload more often than the glockenspiels.

    By 2021 standards, it IS a bit heavy versus the plastic and aluminum framed guns, but not much. The weight does help with follow up shots. It is incredibly accurate, even in my hands much more than the glocks and sigs.

    The click debate reminds me of the arguments about Garand pings.

    I do agree for the money, the trigger could be better, but it IS better than every glock I’ve owned or shot. Perhaps the current Walthers and HKs are better, but again not That much.

    The P7 is the ‘best’ pistol I’ve owned. YMMV.

  26. Well-made may be one thing, but reliability is the key for a duty gun. I recall my police academy days in the mid 90s where the P7 was an option for individual purchase and use but I took my department’s issued Glock. Range stoppages with the Glock were virtually nonexistent whereas one P7 in the shooting cohort had several stoppages during the session. I do not know of a single law enforcement agency which issues the P-series now.

  27. I own several German handguns that were purchased by members of the Military while stationed in Germany. A few actually came into my collection with the original sales receipts from the Military base ‘Rod and Gun’ club purchases.
    These post ’72 Munich Olympics Terrorist attack designed handguns make up a significant portion of my firearm collection.

    A few were purchased from Ansbach AFB.

    I currently have the son of an Army Sargent (who has unfortunately passed away) interested in buying the Walther P5 twin barrel his father purchased almost four decades ago.
    The gun is still in NIB condition, with all factory items and paperwork.

    I posted this in response to Bradley J. Foster post. No idea why it was placed here.

    • My last HK purchase was a Mark 23.
      The ONLY handgun to be holding when things like customer service are non-existent. 🤔

      HK USA has been great getting my Mark 23 properly supported. Currently waiting on my tax stamp for the Rugged Obsidian 45 suppressor.

  28. I personally think the pistol is butt ugly. The H&K fanboys will get a bottle of Jergen’s, but in the end it is a really ugly pistol.

    If it was SO GREAT, H&K would still make it. There Heck they still make the Mark 23 and that has to be the most overpriced pistol on the planet.

    IMO, H&K hanguns while i am sure are well made, have absurd prices. The only H&K worth owning at a price point is the VP9. H&K seems to be able to make a well built firearm and NOT charge and arm and a leg….

  29. “Best pistol ever?” That’s a mighty tall claim to make, and I don’t think the P7 can ascend to that claim. It’s a well-made pistol, with some innovative design elements, but “best pistol ever?”

    There are two issues I have with the P7:

    1. There are several “bent wire” springs in the gun. The two issues I have with these are:
    – It is more difficult to know if the spring is weaker than factory spec. With coil springs, you can just measure the overall length of a new spring vs. an old spring, and if the old spring is 10% or more shorter than a new coil spring, you replace the spring.

    – Many gun owners scratch and mar parts inside the gun getting “bent wire” springs out/into the action, usually because they’re using a screwdriver, knife or something else they shouldn’t be using to pull these types of springs off their retention notches. This tends to result in a gun with guts that get all scratched and marked up.

    FWIW, what I use to manipulate these types of springs is a crochet hook. I have several crochet hooks I use for manipulating these types of springs. They’re usually made of aluminum, which won’t leave marks on the pistol innards.

    2. At least on the model of the P7 I played in the 80’s, it was possible to fire the gun by squeezing the grip with the trigger pre-pulled. This surprised just about anyone who handled the gun – the mental model is that the gun cannot fire without pulling the trigger after the squeeze-cock was squeezed.

    The P7 should have been in the market at a much lower price point than most people remember. When I first saw the P7 in the mid-80’s, the price was actually in-line with many other European 9×19’s. By the mid-90’s, H&K had raised the price.

    Looking inside the gun, it should have been a fairly inexpensive pistol – most of the parts are stamp-cut sheet metal. When you look at what H&K charges for those parts, you know that H&K is marking the pistol up by a hefty margin.

    • The P7 should have been in the market at a much lower price point

      That’s just the nature of HK across the board. Remember that even their flagship roller-delayed guns were designed out of late-war desperation, to reduce machine time, skilled labor, and high-tensile alloy usage to the absolute bare minimum. Then HK redesigned them for a much less demanding cartridge, replaced some of the stamped parts with even cheaper plastic, got air time in some popular movies and games (and, admittedly, coverage of real-world operators), and sells them like they were gold.

    • HK released some ad pics 40 years ago that showed the mags loaded backwards.
      They might have been loaded by a photographers assistant who knew little about semi-auto handguns.
      It’s been a running joke for four decades now.

    • I didnt EVEN notice. Kinda like some politicians talking about guns like they are experts when in fact they dont EVEN know which end the bullet comes out of.

  30. Biggest problem with the P7, within a year there was No Factory Support after they decided to discontinue the model. No parts, no magazines, Nada.

    HK lost my business after that. Screw em.

  31. The author should have interviewed some end-users of the H&K P7 before writing the article to get real-world feedback. The P7 was issued for a time to the New Jersey State Police and the German Federal Police back in the ’80’s. Both agencies dumped the gun because it was prone to unwanted discharges and was notoriously inaccurate in a gunfight. It was a very well-made firearm and very expensive. The ‘squeeze-cock’ mechanism was the culprit. The design concept was too advanced for everyday police officers to adequately master with the limited amount of training given to them by their agencies.

    • ‘……the New Jersey State Police and the German Federal Police back in the ’80’s. Both agencies dumped the gun…..’

      Do tell!

      Care to elaborate on how many years the NJSP used their P7s?

      How about Germany? How long did it take them to ‘dump’ P7?
      Hint hint: I was in Berlin a few years ago, saw several officers carrying P7s.

      • Lack of training in NJ led to the joke “Stop, or I’ll accidentally shoot you!” Not the gun’s fault…

  32. Timely article for me. I was an HK dealer back when they were direct back in the mid-’80s-mid-’90s. Recently got the bug for one again and picked up a nice M8. Carried one on duty and concealed back in the day, and I’m a huge fan. My only issue, ever, was the finish. Look at them wrong and they rust. HK always recommenced against hard chroming them (strange to see so many of the European ex-LE re-imports hard chromed), and I had one done in NP3. Alas, my body turns Nickel a nice straw color, so no solution for me carrying one against my body and sweating all over it. And if you know P7s, looking at the claims on Gunbroker will make your head hurt.
    Anyway, nice writeup. With advances in CNC machining, I would love to see them reintroduce these. People will pay for quality.

    • One of those NJSP ‘accidental’ shootings (that was eventually attributed to the P7) was an officer who shot a suspect that was seated inside their own personal vehicle.
      The officer stated he was attempting to smash out the non-cooperative suspects driver’s side window when the gun just mysteriously ‘went off’. 🤪

      It was very convient for the P7 to became the fall guy in this situation.

    • I agree that people will pay for it if HK reintroduces it. Even at $3k or something they’d sell. Not that I think they couldn’t do it and be very successful with it at half that price.

      I sent mine (the same one from this article) off to Midwest Gun Works some years ago and they refinished it. Color case hardened the slide, refinished the frame, etc. It’s soooo damn sexy now: https://www.instagram.com/p/CSuAh8NLT2a/

  33. Re: Finish and rust. I sent all my P7’s and magazines to W.E. Birdsong in MO to get their Black-T finish. Highly corrosion-resistant and closely resembles the factory finish. Very happy with it – array every day, IWB or OWB, no rust issues at all.

  34. 𝐈 𝐦𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐧 $𝟏𝟐,𝟎𝟎𝟎 𝐚 𝐦𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐡 𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐞. 𝐈𝐭’𝐬 𝐞𝐧𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡 𝐭𝐨 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐲 𝐫𝐞𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐦𝐲 𝐨𝐥𝐝 𝐣𝐨𝐛𝐬 𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞, 𝐞𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐜𝐢𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐈 𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐲 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝟏𝟏 𝐭𝐨 𝟏𝟐 𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬 𝐚 𝐰𝐞𝐞𝐤 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐡𝐨𝐦𝐞. 𝐈 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐚𝐦𝐚𝐳𝐞𝐝 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐲 𝐢𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐚𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐈 𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐭…𝐆𝐎𝐎𝐃 𝐋𝐔𝐂𝐊….
    =====))> 𝐰𝐰𝐰.𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐬𝐜𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐤.𝐜𝐨𝐦

  35. That’s why I say we have no hope for change except by force. This country has been taken over by corrupt politicians for over 45 years. Everyone one that in government from the past 45 years has baggage. They all need to be put on trial and investigated.i do home work ….. 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐬𝐜𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐤.𝐜𝐨𝐦

  36. I am sorry but the politically correct Elite of our society have a problem with the usage of “a gas retarded system” as that appears to be offensive to our mentally challenged community. It must be changed immediately to “a gas challenged system”. Please take note and make changes in any current and future discussion of the gas system of the P7.

  37. I do some of the FB posts for our shop. I used the term “gas retarded” in a post about the Walther CCP, and a customer actually complained. Not my shop, so I just changed it to “gas delayed”, but still…

  38. “Basically, a criminal won control of the officer’s firearm, but couldn’t figure out how to fire it.”

    That only works because it has a relatively obscure manual of arms. If they were common – it would be common knowledge of how to run that gun.

  39. Years ago a gun shop owner in Indianapolis was disarmed by a robber. Robber couldn’t figure out how to run the P7, which gave the owner time to grab the .357 stashed in the bathroom.

  40. I do not believe this story as all you have to do is grip it. That is what you normally do in a serious situation. I call BS on this one.

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