H&K 97: The Civilian MP7

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We here at TFB have had a great relationship with H&K for a long time. Despite them being one of the world’s largest arm’s manufacturers, they have always been easy for us to work with and get products from to review. One of the first guns I had the opportunity to review since writing here was the MR556A1 rifle, which I thoroughly enjoyed shooting. Even at SHOT, I had a chance to meet and talk to Wayne Weber, the president of H&K USA.

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Wayne Weber, left, is truly a class act.

 

Mr. Weber is an incredibly nice man and he may well read this blog, because after a few of the big guys (print/subscription media) we are one of the first group of folks that got to test the HK 97, the civilian version of the H&K MP7 PDW.

Phil White shot me an email telling me that I would the one to test the HK 97, and being an H&K guy, I was absolutely thrilled. I rounded up some 4.6×30 and was eager to get to it!

The gun ships in a plain cardboard box just like the SL8 or USC carbines, and comes with two magazines (both have a 40 round capacity). The 97 ships as a pistol and a regular MP7 stock will not fit the gun. The rear does however have a provision to attach a sling loop plate so the gun can be carried “sling forward” like an MP5k. If you file an ATF Form 1 and find a stock, then you can definitely have a neat SBR.

IMG_4417

The MP7/HK97 follows the “PDW Concept”, much like the FN P90/PS90. The rounds are similar in shape and size too:

IMG_4418

On the left is the H&K 4.6×30 round. On the right is FN’s 5.7×28. If you read our test on 5.7x28mm Vs. armor, then you know that with the right projectiles, the PDW concept is very valid. While I did not have another set of armor to shoot up with the 4.6×30 (yet) I imagine that the round would perform similarly.

The HK97’s magazine is also more conventional than a P90’s. Rather than rotate the rounds 90 degrees to stack them atop the weapon system, the 97 loads up just like a regular double feed magazine. It feels like you are loading a mini-AR15 mag:

IMG_4421

The mag release is like a USP’s: ambi and along the trigger guard to be friendly to both right and left handed shooters. The sights are also quite nice, as is the ambi safety and charging handle. The one thing I wish the gun had was some kind of foregrip that wasn’t a sharp picatinny cheese-grater. I know a traditional foregrip would make the gun an AOW, but I honestly would prefer no rail.

I took the gun to an indoor range to test and shot several groups with no sling or other stabilizing method but my bare hands:

IMG_4451

The 97 shoots very well and handles like a giant, albeit light pistol. The gun is extremely loud, and the muzzle flash is blinding despite the flash hider (I assume due to the nature of the round). I shot a total of 250 rounds of Fiocchi 4.6×30.

While shooting the 97 I did feel the gasses hit my left (forward) hand, but it was not uncomfortable (just enough to notice). Recoil is minimal, and I acclimated to the controls very quickly (thanks to many years of shooting USPs perhaps).

My groups were decent at 12 yards (10.9 meters). Best:

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Excuse the 9mm hole in the center!

 

Worst:

IMG_4510

So anyways, onto my bullet points:

The Good:

  • Low Recoil
  • Reasonable accuracy
  • No jams in 250 rounds
  • Should have the same penetrating characteristics as the “good” 5.7x28mm stuff
  • Very light
  • Would be a great SBR Project
  • Ambi controls
  • Excellent factory sights
  • Rails for mounting whatever your heart desires

The Bad:

  • Right now, ammo availability is a definite issue
  • I feel the PDW concept shines on select fire guns best
  • It is like a pistol, but larger, bulkier, and less concealable
  • SBRing the gun may require a fuze, similar to an SL8 to G36
  • The factory picatinny rails are ludicrously sharp

The Ugly:

  • Magazines are expensive, at over $80 a piece!
  • Only a pistol version will be made, as 922r does not apply to pistols
  • You cannot reload 4.6×30, as no 4.6 projectiles are made
  • The HK97’s MSRP is $1799.95

For the amount the HK97 costs, you could buy a PS90 carbine and a ton of ammo. Honestly, I believe this gun at this price point is only for the most die hard H&K collectors. While cool, I can think of a whole lot of other guns I would rather have at that price point!


Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog who was born and raised in Texas with years of experience in hunting, shooting competitions, and general collecting. A degree in History from Baylor University has contributed to his love of both early and modern firearms technology, but Alex is most fond of machine guns and other NFA toys. Alex also owns a firearm manufacturing business licensed to produce title I and II weapons.
You can reach Alex at [email protected].


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  • Kovacs Jeno

    As far as I know, the German authorities do not allow the 4,6×30 mm round (Verboten by Kriegswaffenkontrollgesetz), therefore the civilian semiauto MP7 will be chambered to a new caliber, 4,01 mmx30, loaded by Hornady’s new Aprilia/Wyoming plant.

    • iksnilol

      Regarding reloading:

      Can’t you cast the bullets and then powdercoat them?

    • Dave from Canada

      HK USA…not Germany

    • Raoul O’Shaugnessy

      There are other makers for this ammo. I picked up sample of some 4,6×30 brass at SHOT a few years ago made by a US maker.

  • Nicholas C

    I hope this is not an April Fool’s joke. Very cool. I think an AFG would do wonders for this pistol.

    • guest

      What, if any, ptractical applications does this civilian version of the otherwise effective submachinegun have?

      • allannon

        Fun?

        • guest

          Depends on the definition of fun.
          To shoot slower, and in a more cumbersome way than a handgun? Even if someone can afford the ammo for it – five-seven is a much better investment if the ammo performance envelope is critical.

          Otherwise, as I expect, this falls into the same category of useless like AK and AR “handguns”.

          • allannon

            So, because it’s not fun for a particular subset of people, it’s not worthwhile?

            Regarding ammo, 5.7x28mm was rare as hen’s teeth just a few years ago. Given something to shoot it out of, 4.6×30 might end up the same way; who knows right now.

            So you don’t like it? Don’t buy one. If someone has fun with it, it’s not “useless”. But “It’s useless because it doesn’t fit my use case” is basically gun-grabber talk.

          • FourString

            Couldn’t have phrased this better myself. Thanks for this

          • guest

            Let’s assume your last sentance is correct, for the sake of argument.
            I do not think grabbing this “pistol” away from the person who owns it, for the matter of speaking everyone who owns this or any other rifle-tuned-pistol, would in any way affect the ability of people to defend themselves, because nobody with more than 2 braincells in between their ears would every use this “pistol” as anything other than a recreational toy anyway, and those whould would – would not depend on it or even picture themselves using it because besides toys like this – they would probably have a real rifle, a 1911 or a glock stashed away, for a real SHTF situation.
            If howerver a real gungrabber would look at this and see: a weapon with no practical use, generally bought as an adult’s toy, but also has enough “firepower” (insert loose definition of that vague word here), that would be THE argument point if practical use and need for ownership would be put in question.

            This howver is on the same level as fake supressors, semiauto mac-10’s, ATF approved semiauto-machinegun replicas etc. Just toys. Now I am tolerant of almost anything in the world, including grownups playing with toys, but in the end of the day it’s a toy and a person owning it is a grownup kid, who likes this kind of things for the same reason some older people play with toy trains.

            That being said – live and let live. But please have the decency to mentally categorize this as something other than a gun – because guns are not toys, and this is not a gun.

          • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

            1911:-)

          • allannon

            Springfield XD. ;D

            More bullets, more power!

          • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

            Hey if that’s what works for you go for it. The XD is a fine pistol.

          • guest

            I do not recommend using flintlock muskets, flails, viking halbards and 1911s for self defence but at least a 1911 is an actual handgun.

          • allannon

            So, we come back to your basic claim, which seems to be “Because I don’t like it, it’s useless and a toy”. Which is completely asinine.

            The gun is perfectly functional as a large pistol; the type is hardly new, and widely-used by a number of first-rate militaries. Most famously with the UZI.

            The round creates a sizeable wound channel, competitive with .45 (due to speed and yaw). So it’s a functional defense round. It actually has deeper penetration and more transferred energy than 5.7×28.

            So, since it’s a functional pistol firing an effective round, it’s obviously not useless. Ergo, not a toy.

          • FourString

            Yup, the UK Ministry of Defence police are issued MP7SF’s–semi automatic variants of the MP7 which work fine enough in practice to warrant usage by the MoD

          • guest

            Lets see you win a single IPSC/IDPA stage with it. You won’t – as it’s too heavy compared to other REAL handguns. FourString here claims it’s used by british military – yeah right, show me a single combat video from anywhere where this kins of weapon is used in actual combat.

            Sorry, you make up your own imaginary world by writing excuses why this toy should qualify as something it is not.
            Functional defence round, lol!!

          • allannon

            So a handgun with compensators, red-dot optics, flared magwells, and internals machined to tolerances that require careful and regular cleaning is a “real handgun”? What world are you from where a range queen is the definition of a real gun?

            Find a video? Fine. Try looking up “british mod mp7″; oddly, what comes up are British personnel carrying…yup…some form of MP7. Also, you can’t imply a “real gun” is combat-useful immediately after bringing up IPSC race guns; the two are mutually exclusive.

            And yes, testing and ballistics both indicate it’s functional as a defence round. Which, obviously, is why you cast aspersions rather than actually refuting the comment.

            So, given that all evidence supports my stance that the MP7 is a useful and functional firearm, it’s entirely reasonable to say I’m not the one that should be worried about making up an imaginary world by writing excuses why something isn’t something it obviously is.

          • FourString

            http://lmgtfy.com/?q=british+mod+mp7

            The MP7 is actively used in combat by militaries across the world including the Bundeswehr.

            Imaginary world? Mate, a quick Google search addresses not looking like an ignorant douchebag.

          • Cynic

            it is issued by MOD Plod mate, for operations in the united kingdom guarding MOD facilities the officers on guard assignments carry them as it is relatively lightweight build and small size combined with the ability to successfully engage armoured targets make it an effective choice. in and out of vehicles, concealed and in an offensive sidearm role whilst heavier weapons are being brought to bear.

            http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0e/Mod_plod.jpg

            http://img76.imageshack.us/img76/2808/451440564xq.jpg

            http://aylshamroundtable.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/5f24998d.jpg

            MOD police are not military they are a specialist Law enforcement unit tasked with a guard duty role that includes providing armed security for secure sites and bodyguarding duties. Similar in scope to the Nuclear Constabulary tasked with providing security to nuclear power generating facilities.

            For patrolling in an urban enviroment when there is the posiblities of having to engage hostiles wearing surplus or other concealable body armour it isn’t a bad choice especially when considering having to engage within environments that include tube network tunnels and other FISH areas.

            Especially when knowing your backup is armed with AR15’s AR10’s Accuracy international rifles in 7.62 and within the area there are forces with L85’s, Designated Marksman Rifles (LMT AR10) and other heavier weapons platforms that can assist.

            London Met’s standard armed response teams carry MP5’s iirc, the Transport Police carry LMT AR15’s and glock sidearms, Can’t remember off hand what the Met’s dignitary protection teams carry and the Armed forces carry either the L85A2 L86, a DMR AR10, benelli shotgun, Glock 17, Sig 226 or Browning HiPower depending on tasking or role with Browning 30 and 50calibre weapons on vehicle mounts

            tell me for patrolling in the centre of London potentially engaging hostile forces who are wearing body armour and have some paramilitary training or potentially have to be engaged with shots to the head at ranges exceeding 25 metres due to the threat posed by explosive vests what would you carry that could deal with both those threats whilst maintaining ease of maneuverability and the need to consider overpenetration and the presence of noncombatants. Something that can pierce armour, that can mount an optic and is capable of consistent accurate fire, can go toe to toe with hostiles carrying armalites until backup arrives and is easily suppressed?

            exactly….

          • Limey

            Uhh, 299 Signals and The MET police use Mp7 PDWs. The burden of proof is on the ignorant party. Nobody’s here to try and change your mind so stop acting like a hormonal teen

          • FourString

            a lot of ppl said the same rubbish about the P90 and the 5.7x28mm round when it first came out but look at the following it has today.

          • JohnyV

            You are the biggest moron I have had the displeasure to read on the net “Guest who will never understand fun and thinks he knows it all”.

            Get a life! A real civilian MP7 like this would be truly great and vast majority of gun owners would climb over each other to buy one… unlike tight wards boring @ssholes like you “guest”!

        • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

          A lot of fun—

      • adsfdf

        Home defense…. because of bad barrier penetration, but small size, good capacity, low recoil.

    • J.T.

      It is. Airsoft gun.

  • aalbert

    Not Real, April Fools!

  • Whacked-15

    Too bad you are posting pics of the air soft version

  • bbmg

    There does not seem to be any reference to the HK97 (other than a virus…) anywhere else online, so either TFB got the extreme exclusive or this is an elaborate hoax, making light of Jerry Tsai’s infamous comments on the matter.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      Gosh guys we would never do an April 1 joke—

      It took me a lot of time and effort to get this one.

      • FourString

        Yup, Alex C.’s piece looks pretty legit to me. I would like to ask him to please do a review on the classic H&K USP (9) :D

        • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Alex C.

          Will do!

          • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

            Fine by me Alex

      • bbmg

        In that case, care to explain the high capacity airsoft magazine winding wheel visible in the first photo ;)

        http://gunfire.pl/eng_pl_Long-hi-cap-type-magazine-for-the-MP7-type-replicas-1152199385_5.jpg

        • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

          Man I don’t squat about airsoft.

          • Andy Marcell

            We do not care about toys

        • SDsa22c

          just so you know no air soft versions feature a rail instead of the folding grip also you can clearly see the follower in the magazine outside the gun

          scratch that just saw the rail for the stock plate thats the cheap mp7 by Umarex that no one buys

  • allannon

    “May require a fuze”? I seem to be missing something; you want the gun to explode?

    • cmorrow

      Nah, he references the SL8 to G36 project, and by that he means “plastic welding” or whatever the heck they call it. People have been turning SL8s into G36 clones basically by cutting and fusing a G36 stock to the SL8 receiver, or something like that.

  • Yojimbo556

    Even if this is not a joke I still dont want one for that price, or the feeling of “Id like to shoot it but i only have one box of ammo left and nobody has seen any in months”

    • allannon

      You have to admit the price does seem in-line for HK’s odder designs.

      But yea, I’m with you on both points. While it would be dang nifty to own, I don’t have a need for a PDW of this sort. I’d be more interested in the RMR-30…though availability issues moderate that. :)

  • Sig Siggurdsson

    I hate 01APR.

  • Dave from Canada

    Remember what the date today is friends…

  • 1leggeddog

    I get the feeling this could only work if there was a way to get a stock easily on there and be chambered in like 9mm or something.

  • sterling

    shitty april fools joke I guess. when this is the most interesting post on the frontpage you know quality has been dropping.

  • Rich Guy

    I would rather have a MP5/10….

    • Brandon Whosville

      SD

    • John Willis

      a mp 10 ,10 mm would be the right stuff

  • Beju

    I picture Carlo Fiocchi getting notified when a box of 4.6x30mm sells in the US, and subsequently celebrating like Al Gore when Lisa Simpson bought his book.

  • ComradeCole

    While I realize this is an April fool’s joke, the picture of the “Hk97″ is exactly what I had envisioned for a civilian legal pistol variant of the MP7. Maybe the folks over at HK should get on this….

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      Looks pretty cool actually.

    • KestrelBike

      Didn’t something start or get announced on April 1st, everyone called BS, and then it actually happened? Was it the Tavor? Or it was some spoof of a sort that someone depicted a company doing, who saw the post and made it a reality?

  • SP mclaughlin

    Convert the HK97 to use pistol calibers and watch people get em’ like candy

  • Tierlieb

    The low MSRP gives it away^^

  • avconsumer2

    Had the msrp been juuuust below $3k, I might have believed it.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      I’m sure they would be happy to raise the price for you:-)

  • J.T.

    That is clearly an airsoft gun. You can see the holes for the screws that hold the two halves of the gun together, what looks to be a hop-up adjustment on the “bolt”, and the wheel to wind the hi-cap magazine.

    http://www.shortyusa.com/cart/images/3318b.jpg

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      Where??

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      Heck they make them look darn near identical.

  • LRB

    Its April 1st people, beware of April Fools Day

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      and the ides of March!

  • Shanksabunch

    Good God People. Take it easy and breath. I know your sitting there in your Operator ACUs with your mall ninja Ar-15s hoping for a post on this blog you can troll, but relax and take in laugh or two. This is funny, and it rides on the bitching of the RECOIL post…come-on…we all know that was quite the temper tantrum. It was like the online gun community was a K-school child told they could not have a certain lego block, but someone else can, never-mind there are millions of other legos in the room.

    Good one TFB…I think the only people who dug into this with their Troll powers are the one too stupid to realize it was fake until reading the comments below.

    #MERICA!

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      LOL!!!!

    • KestrelBike

      Hahahahaha “operator ACUs”.

  • ColaBox

    No stock? No deal. I know its not their fault, but if im gonna buy a wunder gun, its gotta be the full package.

    • allannon

      If it’s real (which given the date, it quite possibly isn’t), and there’s significant interest, I wouldn’t doubt a long-barrelled and stocked version will follow.

  • Doopington

    It’s a sad day when the P90 and a load of 5.7 ammo come out as the CHEAP option.

    • iksnilol

      How is P90 cheaper? Comrade buy hacksaw and Mosin, Comrade has PDW.

      Comrade want to be fancy? Make 10 round magazine.

      In all seriousness I would just SBR an AK with a 10 inch barrel. Don’t lose much velocity from the barrel and can use modified .300 BLK loads when handloading.

      • bbmg

        … are you suggesting that a hacksaw capable of lobbing off the end of a Mosin’s barrel is going to be cheap :D

        • BeGe1

          Well played…

  • Nate

    April Fools, but I wish it was real.

  • Michael R. Zupcak

    This is a hoax, I’m about 99% sure anyway. A few weeks ago they told us a civilian MP7 wasn’t in the works.

  • Pseudo

    My HK gland is throbbing. Why do you so tease?

  • Michael R. Zupcak

    Also, I have to take issue with this: “should have the same penetrating characteristics as the “good” 5.7x28mm stuff”. AP projectiles for the 4.6mm are quite different from the 5.7mm. The 5.7mm is more like a 5.56x45mm with a steel core penetrator inside a copper FMJ bullet. The 4.6mm is a steel bullet with a thinner copper “plating” over it. There’s not a chance the ATF is going to allow AP rounds to be sold to civilians if this thing is classified as a pistol. Or am I missing something?

  • Michael R. Zupcak

    Finally, before Alex C. admits this is a hoax, I want to say that his picture with Wayne Weber and his Shot Show coverage was posted weeks ago, so why wait all this time when you know the die-hard HK fans want an MP7 more than anything else? And that brings me to my final point: who wouldn’t love to pull off a hoax on all those people that think HK can do no wrong? This is all just too perfect.

    • Mazryonh

      Not to mention how the article says “the PDW concept is very valid.” Knowledgeable professionals such as Dr. Gary K. Roberts, a terminal ballistics expert, is strongly against such micro-caliber weapons. You can read his article, which includes testimony by professionals using the select-fire versions with “military-grade” ammunition, here:

      http://pistol-forum.com/showthread.php?4338-Small-Caliber-PDW-s-FN-5-7-mm-HK-4-6-mm

      Basically, these micro-calibers are good at penetrating non-rifle-grade body armour, but since their projectiles’ diameters are so narrow (and the projectiles don’t fragment once inside a person’s body like many 5.56mm NATO rounds do) they don’t cause enough trauma for a rapid bleed-out from a single shot or small burst, and thus they need full-auto spraying to effect rapid takedowns. This in turn drives up training costs for ammunition and makes training more difficult.

  • BattleshipGrey

    Haha, at first I was really impressed that HK would produce an MP7 for civilians….then… I saw the price! Ridiculous! Nice try HK, nice try.

    • John Willis

      of course the price is ridiculous ,its h&k

  • Mark

    So cruel. Low blow on April 1.

  • Lance

    No 9mm version??? That sucks. Rather stick to the MP-5 and or SP-89 version for a PDW version of a real SMG. Overall if you have to g with a larger caliber than 9mm or .45 Auto Id go with .223 over this expensive thing any day.

  • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

    What? I kinda like the thing.

  • pokulski

    Everyone claiming the is a hoax is wrong, Alex was kind enough to let me handle it the other day when i was at his shop. It really is a shame that HK built the gun in such a way that a SBR will be rather difficult. That said, I still pre-ordered one with Alex. I hope they solve the ammo availability issues before they start shipping pistols.

  • gunslinger

    looks like something out of the die hard movies

  • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

    This one is neat looking and all but I used my time machine last week and got a phaser from Jim Kirk. Nice guy Jim. Spock not so much—boring guy. Sulu strikes me as kinda strange. Anyway I sure am saving a lot on ammo and I haven’t had to charge the power cell once.
    A big plus is no brass to pickup and the targets are gone as well. I think I’ll take it to the Big 3 next time so when we blow a vehicle up we won’t have to clean all that metal up—-just vaporize it. Now if I could just find my car??? Damn Klingon cloaking devices there’s no remote!

  • TGM

    Found this posted on 3/30/14 here: http://www.dfwmustangs.net/forums/showthread.php?p=1282552

    That is two days before it hit TFB. I hope it isn’t a April Fools joke.

    • MEMEME

      110% it’s an Umarex AEW airsoft. They just went more elaborate on the hoax. How do we know it’s airsoft? First clue…the white text. Definitive proof? Where’s the charging handle in the rear? The real MP7 has it and even the KWA GBB airsoft does, the electric Umarex airsoft doesn’t because it’s non-functional. HK wouldn’t remove the charging handle to make something semi-auto…hence it’s an airsoft hoax….just slightly more elaborate.

  • Patrick Mingle

    This isn’t funny. This legit caused me emotional pain

  • Burst

    I’m not above seasonal mirth, but this seems needlessly cruel.

  • Raoul O’Shaugnessy

    “they have always been easy for us to work with and get products from to review. ”

    Thats the part that made me think this was an April Fool’s post.

  • Paul White

    “She kissed the tip, then said April’s Fools!”

  • Brandon Whosville

    Its a damn shame the writer recommends people file a form 1 to SBR this gun. Obviously he doesn’t understand that an SBR is still a rifle, and would then force the gun to comply with 922r, which it of course cant. So if you built this into a SBR would be violating 922r with your registered class 3 gun. And this guy is a firearms writer!!! {even as an april fools, it seems in bad taste to put ideas like that in peoples heads}

  • MartinWoodhead

    I think the very idea would offend the rhine goblins of hk without a stock or a forward grip you rather ruin the point of the MP7.
    lobby hk usa to make some just to annoy them :0

  • Zip

    I have a relative who works for HK an there is NO such thing in the works.