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.
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.
The MP7/HK97 follows the “PDW Concept”, much like the FN P90/PS90. The rounds are similar in shape and size too:
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:
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:
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:
So anyways, onto my bullet points:
- 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
- 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
- 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!