Heckler & Koch P9S .45 ACP
Courtesy Mitch H.
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Heckler & Koch P9S .45 ACP
Courtesy Mitch H.

[This post is part of our series, What I’m Carrying Now. If you’d like to submit a photo and description of the gun, holster and gear you’re carrying in the new world in which we live, send it to us at [email protected] with WICN in the subject field.]

Mitch H. writes . . .

Sometimes I get nostalgic and bring out my EDC from the early 80s. Even though we didn’t call it that back then, this H&K P9S in .45 ACP loaded with Black Talons was my constant companion. It has consumed thousands of rounds without a failure.

In its day it was one of the few large caliber pistols that would work really well with a suppressor. It came to me through a tortuous path. At the time I drove a 1971 Corvette from which I traded cylinder heads for a bolt action in .270 Winchester.

Not long after I traded the rifle for a Browning Hi-Power and then traded that to the P9S. As a poor college kid, I felt like I’d made the greatest of scores and the H&K become my Precious.

Over the years, my collection has grown and carry pistols have improved. The P9S usually sits in the safe jealously watching as I holster my P365, but when the weather cools and I can conceal a bigger pistol she still gets out.

I use a simple custom IWB appendix holster from Turtlecreek and load her with Black Talons. Just to compound her audacious size I drop a Bundeswehr gravity knife in one pocket with an excellent Fenix E15 flashlight in the other. Alles ist gut!

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    • goob is the right name for you. That is one very well made pistol. From the day when men weren’t afraid to carry a full size pistol. goob, just get yourself a Kel-Tech .25 and have a seat.

    • Mitch H. refers to his P9S as a she. I only have one gun I refer to like that, my old Star M43 Firestar. She ain’t the prettiest or most reliable, but she’s kept cleaner then my Glock19, XD9, Ruger, S&W’s, and Sig guns; these are just tools to me.

      • I feel ya… Most of my guns are “Shes.” But you know, one time I had this pistol… a Ruger LC9S actually… and every time I talked to it, she’d be like, “Dude, I am NOT a she… so cut it out. I identify as a guy, and so I am a guy. Okay?”

        It got weird because when I would shoot her, he’d be like, “Stop fiddling my dick!” every time I pulled the trigger. It was awkward having “his” muzzle down next to my nuts. It’s really is too bad, because she had a nice crisp trigger with a great break… but when I started thinking about what loads I was shooting and all that…. “No. I’m sure, buddy– I’m a dude. I am not a She.”

        So I just had to sell her. I sold her to a discharged Marine… and after he gave me the cash, I was like, “Pssst. Hey, just to let you know, she thinks she’s a he.”

        And the Marine was like, “Oh for sure. Hell, I new that the second I looked at him. Can’t wait to twiddle that dick… totally into it.”

        Hey, this is America. It’s a free country. Carry on, brother. 🤠

    • to goobygock . You are correct. This design was a disaster. It stemmed form trying to make a gun too cheap. Its junk plastic buffer disintegrates with even a normal amount of shooting and its flimsy cheap ass stamped sheet metal slide was known for high rates of failure. Just go to some of these forums that discus this pistol if you want to find out about all the problems people have who actually do any amount of shooting with this piece of crap.

      I also agree with your statement about how anyone who would trade a Browning High Power on this piece of crap would have little understanding of how the HK p9s was made or its sorry history.

      • Do not feel upset if you cannot buy black talon ammo. It was no different than many of the other brands of expanding ammo, no better and no worse. Winchester just changed the name after all the uproar over the name by ignorant people who knew nothing about how expanding ammo even works.

    • You stupid mfer…. you’re too gd dumb to appreciate that HK…. some people are unbelievably stupid….

  1. I just had a friend give me a HK 4, there first gun made , her husband has dementia and she didn’t want the gun around . Always willing to help .

    • Dementia is rough. I knew someone who went through that with their spouse, and finally had to make an arrangement with a gunsmith to make a house call while the lady was at a doctor’s appointment.

      The smith filed down the firing pin on the semi-auto she carried.

      Yeah, it was *her* gun, and she was the one sliding into dementia…

  2. God forbid you ever have to defend your use of a firearm in a court of law. The prosecution will paint you in a terrible light for choosing ammunition with such a “colorful” past history. Perhaps the best place for Black Talons is in a cartridge collectors display case.

    • Nah. They’re still made. Just under a different name.
      I’m carrying the same thing in my 1911 edc.

      • @Tom in Oregon – The technology is still employed by Winchester; somewhat modified and appearance altered. Even a half-assed investigation would reveal the Black Talon moniker on his ammunition of choice. An average US jury would become convinced the user was ‘out to kill’ or ‘looking to cause instant death’ or some other bullsh1t. Simply not worth the risk in my opinion.

        • Exactly, that’s why I carry a nerf gun for self defense, and you should do the same.

      • Tom, I believe you’re right. I think it’s Winchester Ranger. Same bullet minus the moly coat.

        • The “moly” coat is the special sauce…. so if the new rounds don’t have the teflon, they ain’t the same…

      • I still have a box of .357 from back when, don’t recall if I ever actually fired any! But when Uncle Sugar said I couldn’t have them, I went out and bought a box. They have never been illegal, just restricted to LE, since they are the only ones who need to commit murder all the time. Prosecutor can make a fool of himself if he wishes.

        • Actually, Black Talons are illegal in some states. New Jersey certainly comes to mind. I believe they are also illegal in Minnesota and Illinois.

    • Yeah in fact it’s probably safer to probably just not carry at all. You’re better off just letting the bad guy rape you.

  3. P9 is one excellent handgun. I have fired several, owned one years ago.

    It is all good but the Winchester ammo is getting a little old, hasn’t been made in years—-

    Cool set up

    • Maybe he wanted an actual gun….with magazines…..that actually worked.

      Maybe…just sayin……

      • refresh my memory: did they ever actually get around to making mags for that thing? Even an aftermarket option?

        • I don’t think so. Not for production.

          I think it was always vaporware. Before there was vaporware.

    • Huh?…. you’re stupid attempt at disdain just made you look like a fkn pric…. so….

  4. Love the nostalgia, but not sure I’m willing to sacrifice the ballistic advantage modern ammunition offers. At this point for me personally, it’s HST’s or Black Hill’s HoneyBadger round. Gold Dot’s are also acceptable in a pinch but no longer my go to. But hey, I wouldn’t volunteer to get shot with that talon either so wtf do I know lol

  5. This guy is a liberal politician’s worst nightmare.
    1. A great suppressor host pistol
    2. A real gravity knife(not Cyrus Vance definition)
    3. Black talons
    It’s like a big FU to stupid laws. But those black talons are pretty old as mentioned, swap out for some Winchester ranger t if you can find it.

    • Second the ammo comments. I’d swap for some more current Rangers of whatever weight you prefer, they aren’t difficult to track down. Also, a second magazine is a must, great light choice too!

  6. Maybe it’s the pic, or just my old eyes, but that kind of looks like the gun Hi Point made a bad copy of.

    • Billy, you’ve obviously never handled a H&K P9. Even there were a minor cosmetic similarity (there’s not) anyone who knows anything about firearms knows when he’s holding gold in one hand and a turd in the other.

      • I personally like to think of it more as holding a Mercedes S-Class vs a Toyota Corolla (yeah, my arms are that strong…NOT). As much as Hi-Point is knocked, they function as advertised: inexpensive, reliable, and virtually indestructible (ask Matt from DemolitionRanch).

        Hi-Points are like a brick 🧱 but go bang every time. Would I trade one for any of my pistols? No. At the same time, if someone needs an inexpensive thing that goes bang every time, it is better than nothing.

        Now for the HK, yes, gold is right! Another fine one is the P7. Years ago, a coworker at my agency had one. I thought it looked like the stupidest thing possible until I shot it. Amazing gun and wish I had picked one up back then when they were still new and reasonably priced…

      • “anyone who knows anything about firearms,” holly sh*t, really? Your comment makes you look like a turd, and I don’t want to hold your hand. What a jackass!

        • Hey Jackass! Spoken like someone who carries a Hi-Point. I must admit though, they certainly are popular in the projects.

  7. I’m not really sure “poor college kid” and “Corvette” go together but that’s a pretty nice setup.

    But then I’m a sucker for the HK pistols.

  8. Carrying Black Talons is stupid. Not for the liability what-not above. The stuff is collector’s items, especially in the box.. Even if you aren’t involved in a defensive situation, you should be firing your carry rounds and cycling new ammo in every few months. Ranger-T are the modern day equivalent, and the don’t go for $4/round like the Black Talons. This guy probably carries gold and silver coins and spends them for face value.

    • I want to know who came up with the idea of cycling ammo every few months for carry guns.

      I’m guessing they sold ammo.

      • It’s nonsense and it’s bandied about even by certain writers here.

        I get the feeling it’s along the same vein as those who say “make sure to unload your magazines if you’re not using them or the spring will get damaged!”

        Just anecdotes from a friend of a friend’s uncle given no scrutiny.

      • If you skip the reasoning for cycling ammo, which was in an article a few days ago, you should at least run a few boxes of your carry ammo through the gun to ensure functioning in a semiauto. Assuming he has already done that with Black Talons when they first came out, he’s still needlessly marring collectible rounds when almost identical current rounds are available.
        Cycling ammo isn’t that expensive. If you carry 3 15-round magazines, it’s still only 50-100 rounds a year. But heck, cycling is probably like all that other stuff people have made up to make defensive rounds “better” so they can charge more for them, like nickel cases, sealed primers, temperature stabilized powders, anti-flash additives, and hollow point bullets. FMJ bullets in brass cases with plain Western powder was good enough in the ’40s, and it’s good enough now for 1/3 the price.

        • Dude…. you just don’t get it…. who fkn cares about marring the rounds??….I mean REALLY????…
          We buy this stuff to USE… NOT TO LET IT SIT AROUND IN A FKN BOX SOMEWHERE….

      • “I want to know who came up with the idea of cycling ammo every few months for carry guns.”

        You might change your opinion if you carried in the sub-tropics in the heat of summer and your weapon was *literally* covered is sweat at the end of the day…

  9. I have literally hundreds of rounds of Black Talon 45 acp 230 grain. It was largely a gimmick, that name and it backfired. If they’d called them Pink Ladies and colored them that color, they’d still be on the market with the same expansion characteristics. The bullet technology has caught up and surpassed them. See “Honey Badger.” Thanks to “Stand Your Ground” where also modified by civil immunity laws there’s no negative repercussions to using any of them. Or hell, ball ammo which the U.S. military proved for nearly 100 years to be supremely effective in hostile situations. But proper shot placement is still the key, almost making bullet configuration irrelevant. “Two to the chest, one to the head… will make certain… He’s DEAD!”

    • I don’t know, man. In the late 80’s/ early 90’s the anti gunners were on a one hell of a tare (tere? Tair? Ter?) They’d have found a reason to turn the unknowing masses against all hollow point ammunition if they could.

      • I think you mean the antis were on a TEAR as in TEARING up the landscape trying to ban this or that. If I recall correctly that was about the time NJ banned possession of JHP’s to which the projectile companies responded with all sorts of improvements in the tech to get around that and also provide more support for the rest of the shooting community who were interested in self defense. MagSafe and Glaser Safety Slug popped up around that time. Later, Hornady came up with their ballistic tip rounds. Today, the marketing trend continues with Remington’s new “Black Belt” ammo. Same basic concept as Black Talon. But as I said, if I lived in NJ and was carrying a .38 with hollow points, I’d just go back to a 1911 and ball ammo, with more frequent trips to the range.

      • “…one hell of a tare (tere? Tair? Ter?)”

        Tere was a woman I knew years back who was very ‘friendly’… 😉

    • Ex, just for you. Don’t even begin to believe that “Stand Your Ground” any other immunity laws will keep you out of civil or criminal court. Ask Zimmerman. And a few others. Including cops.

      • That’s why I pay for shooting insurance with Law Shield. But in the end, Zimmerman prevailed using that defense and it was one of the first tests of the law. And of course that law won’t work and no law will work in the event of a bad shoot. The real benefit of such laws is the prevention (where also codified in the law) of civil “wrongful death” lawsuits when the firearm use is ruled either justifiable or excusable. That’s already proven itself over and over. Florida was the first to pass such legislative modifications to do this. When we retired and moved to East Tennessee in 2018, I was happy to see they also had SYG laws but gulped when I found no civil immunity in place. So I gritted my teeth and got the insurance. Paid for 50 state coverage. I asked some old law school friends who actually went on to successful legal careers if it was a good thing and if my chosen company was reputable and got enthusiastic thumbs up all around. But make no mistake, SYG laws and civil immunity do work. Cops are held to FAR higher standards than civilians. That’s an apples and oranges thing. More like apples and motorcycles!

        • Zimmerman’s case is useful to look at. He did prevail at trial due to a number of things he did right and the simple fact that there was insufficient evidence for any reasonably juror to convict; but his life was ruined.

          He ended up having the sort of notoriety that got him shot at by random whackos in traffic and reduced him to giving autographs at gun shows to make ends meet. Had Zimmerman been mugged in a dark alley and defended himself the case would not have gained the significance it did because he was ‘patrolling’ the neighborhood. Even being within the law doesn’t mean you’re in a good way.

          Even if your legal costs are covered- which is a big if, no matter what insurance or laws exist- it is best to avoid bringing attention to yourself unless it has a benefit. I use hollowpoint ammo but would avoid any marketing gimmicks that don’t demonstrably perform better than the ho-hum defense rounds that you would find fielded by municipal police departments.

          • All your points are good ones. Zimmerman avoided jail and he probably should have done some time. His life was ruined because his actions from start to finish were felony-stupid. Proof to this point is that he kept getting arrested afterward. His life in ruins didn’t help but he should have kept away from more run-ins with the law. I’m pretty certain that legislation was passed subsequent to this case forbidding neighborhood watch from being armed or taking actions that are the purview of sworn law enforcement.

            I’m not gonna quibble about my levels of legal protection because it’s just insurance after all. The likelihood of having to use it is infinitesimally small. I moved away from high crime intensive South Florida where I taught gang bangers in the inner city to slow moving East Tennessee where the bigger threat is bears in the backyard.

            In South Florida, I kept my EDC loaded with MagSafe because of the safety factors in having a load that won’t over penetrate, won’t ricochet in case of a miss and will debilitate an attacker wearing light clothing suitable to the tropics. Assuming you do your job in shot placement.

            These days in the land of Appalachia, I carry more conventional ammo that’s likely to produce acceptable stopping power assuming I do my job in shot placement. The issue handgun up here for nearly all law enforcement is the Glock M21 in 45 acp. They know they’re more likely to have to shoot a bear, too.

            I usually edc a Sig P365 9mm in my pocket for around town. If I go on a road trip adventure with the family out of town and especially into the mountains, I up that power factor to my Sig 1911 45 acp. Lots of spare mags. Ammo is usually Federal Guard Dog flat point or something Hornady. That’s usually in the ballistic realm of 400 foot pounds of muzzle energy. I really like the Ruger ARX polymer ammo because of it’s phenomenal accuracy.

            Trout fishing from the river bank in bear country will see me OCing an EAA Hunter long slide 10mm with 14+1 and using very hot Buffalo Bore ammo generating 750+ foot pounds of muzzle energy. That’s approaching ballistics of a 41 magnum and that’s comforting.

        • “…But in the end, Zimmerman prevailed using that defense and it was one of the first tests of the law.”

          Incorrect. He never claimed ‘Stand your ground’. Self-defense was his claim…

      • Zimmerman did not invoke “SYG” in his defense because retreat was not an option when Martin attacked him. Zimmerman’s legal defense was straightforward self-defense.

          • My memory is very hazy (it’s usually the first thing to “go” as you age) so, I’ll just say: “I stand corrected.”

    • Suspicious, don’t be so suspicious of Ex. He makes some points. Of course the moniker “Black Talon” was a marketing ploy. Name a manufacturer that doesn’t use one. The “black” came from the molybdenum coating and the “talon” came from the way the jacket opened. Around the time Black Talon was hot shit a Winchester rep came into a friend’s lgs. Upon being quizzed he said the way the jacket blossomed was a surprise. They ran with it. So did the media. Suspicious, one other thing Ex is correct about. Two in the chest and one to the head with a large caliber handgun is usually deadly.

      • I just remember them paying… I mean, doctors coming out on their own will… and saying they were worried their gloves would get cut and was a greater risk of infection while trying to remove the bullets.


  10. While this a cool setup I don’t think this is his EDC. He is just showing off to make us feel envious. He has succeeded.

  11. I use to own a P9S in 9mm. One of the most accurate pistols I ever owned, wish I had held on to it. I may pick up a used one if I ever spot a good price on one in good condition. In this case good price is around twice the bucks of a new G19.

  12. Black Talons have gone through numerous design phases and name changes. the original Black talons expanded less and penetrated deeper. that changed into the SXT and Ranger-T series wich expanded a little more and penetrated a little less. then there is the Ranger series (bonded) which, because of the bonding, don’t have the talons. those branched off into the PDX1 Defender series, also bonded. most of those separate designs had multiple generations and tracing the lineage of each is a confounding task. most of them are still for sale today in their latest generation.

    watching a few videos demonstrating the differences in terminal effect on atttacking gel blocks, the later designs are clearly different and better than the Black Talons. of course they have some nostaligic and collector value, but people who know better would rather choose modern ammo and leave the Black Talons to the collectors.

  13. Winchester’s Ad Campaign introducing the Black Talons was what really bit them in the arse. Full page ads in all the gun magazines showing off the pretty black petals, gave the Libtards extra skid marks in their tighty whiteys. If Winchester would have backed off on the gruesome (in a Libtards mind) photos, there wouldn’t have been such a hoopla over the cartridges.

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