H&K Mark 23 Suppressed

The Heckler and Koch Mark 23 may well be the finest production handgun ever made: Match grade accuracy, unparalleled reliability, and size that makes throwing it just as lethal as shooting it all play into it being a fantastic pistol.

This behemoth of a gun was designed at the request of the United States Special Operations Command to fill a number of roles, and won the Offensive Handgun Weapon System competition which led to its adoption by a number of entities under the SOCOM umbrella. This time on TFBTV, Alex and Miles take a look at this .45 caliber German dumbbell.

Thanks to our sponsorsĀ Grizzly Targets andĀ Ventura Munitions.

Firearm featured:
H&K Mark 23 with KAC suppressor

The full transcript …

(gun shots) – Alright guys, what we’ve got today is a HK-Mark 23, known kind of humorously as the world’s only crew served pistol.

45 ACP firearm, it was designed at the request of the United States Military, because they wanted an offensive handgun. HK didn’t come up with that term, the military actually did and solicited companies like HK and Colt.

So what we’re gonna do today is see what this gun is capable of. They claim it’s one of the most tested firearms in history, all sorts of crazy stuff. I’ve heard military servicemen love it, some hate it.

I’m gonna see what it’s all about today with Miles, and let’s get to it.

– Hey it’s Miles Vining here, and this is my first time shooting the Heckler & Koch Mark 23.

Notice I don’t have hearing protection, because we’ve got a Knights Armarment OHG proprietary suppressor on it. It was made just for the Mark 23 as we can see here.

It gets pretty hot, as Alex was just shooting it earlier. But, let’s give it a go.

(gun shots) (gun shots) It’s a little front heavy, but that was interesting. It sure was.

Bit of a history here.

It’s part of the testing for the Mark 23 they fired three of them, up until about 30,000 rounds and the only thing they had to replace was the O ring, which is this little O ring right here on the barrel, towards the muzzle.

And that was only on one of them, at 20,000 rounds. The initial requirement was 2,000 rounds between mean failures.

It’s actually rated to 6,000 rounds.

And the first failure that occured was at 15,000 rounds.

So it’s a pretty mean beast right here.

It’s often quoted as one of the most extensively tested military pistols in history. A lot was definitely put into it. We don’t have the LAM that came up with it. It was a Laser Aiming Module that was inserted right here, actually that is…The radiation on it and the lasers on it are actually enforced by not the ATF, but by the FDA, for some odd reason with their jurisdiction.

But yeah, it was tested with the suppressor on it.

The proprietary suppressor as we mentioned before.

We can take it off.

And it’s got a little muzzle cap that goes on the end.

And that’s it right there.

Pretty huge. HK got a lot out of this pistol later on leading to the USP series, that we enjoy today.

(gun shots) (gun shots) (gun cocking) (gun shots) (gun shots) (gun shots) – Alright guys, so we had some fun with the Mark 23 today, wringing some steel and shooting it suppressed, unsuppressed.

I’ve shot this gun a lot, and I’ve owned it for I think three years now. And it’s never had a malfunction, shoots greet.

I have big hands, so it fits my hands okay.

I’m not going to lie to you and say it’s a small pistol though. It is a big pistol.

You can see. Miles has big hands as well and even with gloves, it’s still a pretty big gun.

But Miles, you fired it for the first time today, give your overall impressions of what you thought.

– An offensive weapon to say the least.

On single action”s pretty good.

But that double action, wow.

– Yeah, it’s got a stiff double action pull.

There’s no kidding there.

Other than that, the handling charactersitics, what did you think? – Handling? The de-selector over here might leave a little more to be desired.

The safety kinda gets hung up, sometimes.

Otherwise, if you shot a USP, then you’ve shot this. Similar just as that.

The sights, something that I’d like to add that people are going to look at this and say, “It’s unwieldly, it’s heavy, it’s long.

It’s wired, it’s got this LAM thing, that whatever happens on it. Something that we need to place in context is, when this came out this was actually extremely groundbreaking.

There were no Picatinny rails back then.

The concept of putting lights on the front of your handgun just wasn’t there.

This was one of the first pistols to incorporate a bunch of designs we already have.

With the de-selector up here, similar to the CIG.

– And you’ve got nice raised sights to clear the suppressor as well.

– Yeah, that kind of thing as well.

Maybe this started that kind of trend.

This is starting the supressor’s getting in on it as well.

– All in all, it’s a pretty interesting gun, guys.

I’ve read that they’re out of production, however I keep seeing them for sale from big distributors.

So I’m not sure if HK’s making them in batches or maybe they’re selling of remaining inventory.

But yeah- so they’re still around.

And with the suppressor, it’s a great suppressor host. You don’t have to buy the KAC can, their’s other cans with thread pitch now.

I just think the KAC can’s cool cause it’s proper for the gun. But all in all, cool gun.

I enjoyed shooting it. It’s fun wringing steel with this gun. People generally laugh at it what they seehow big it is, but…

if you’re in the market for a target pistol which, these are match grade pistols, they’re capable of two inch grooves at 27 yards. Then, it’s nothing to laugh at.

– No. Not at all.

You’re not gonna be disadvantaged by buying Mark 23. Let’s put it that way.

– It’s not gonna be my concealed carry gun either.

Maybe Andre the Giant could pull it off, but I don’ t think that I could.

– No, no.

– Anyways, at this time. I’d like to thank Ventura Munitions for providing the very expensive 45 ACP we shot today.

– And Grizzly Targets for giving us the targets that we have.

Held up pretty good. Once again, still pretty satisfied with them.

– Absolutely guys. Again this is Alex and Miles with TFPTV. Maybe drop a comment hit the subscribe button if you want.

But until then, we’ll see you next time.

– Until next time.

Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


  • Vitor Roma

    Solid’s favourite!

    • Anonymoose

      Just like old times.

      Kojima said that “Solid Snake’s story is not over yet” before making MGS5, so maybe we’ll get to see him again in MGS6. Hopefully they have real weapons again and not the hokey 5.56 FALs, not-AKs, not-CZ97s, etc they have in 5.

      • Mazryonh

        “Solid Snake’s story is not over yet”?

        Unless he retained the rights to MGS before Konami gave him the boot, he likely won’t be making more MGS games. Furthermore, unless they have enough money to buy a license from H&K (and any other company they use firearm designs from) this time around, they likely won’t be using realistic gun models again in MGS.

        • Anonymoose

          Aren’t M16s, M4s, 1911s, M9s, and AKs in the private domain by now? No one ever asks for a license to produce those designs, and there is plenty of unlicensed manufacture of MP5s as well. I’m pretty sure Colt still holds a copyright on the term “Commando” though.

          • Kivaari

            I think you are right. Recently I saw a Colt marked AR-15 Commando. Another SBR was a Colt M4, compared to each other they were very similar. I have M4 11.5″ SBR. Knowing the deficiencies of SBRs, doesn’t stop me from liking them.

          • Mazryonh

            Did you mean “public domain”?

            Anyway, MGS5 still didn’t have any guns directly based on real-life models. Has there been a rash of lawsuits by firearm companies against video game developers lately?

    • Uniform223


  • Xtorin O’hern

    54 ACP?!?! DAMN. (Jk i know its a type)

    • mosinman

      why do you think the pistol is so damn big?

      • Xtorin O’hern

        lol, atleast that would be a fitting caliber of that things size

  • SP mclaughlin

    There goes my 90’s action hero…..

  • Norm

    Initially, It would have been nice to show off it’s suppressor capability by just shooting into dirt to show the volume of the shot noise. Just a suggestion. And, I always thought the Desert Eagle was the worlds only crew served pistol. How could I have been so wrong?

  • iksnilol

    54 ACP? Never heard of that one O_o

    • FourString

      that a fcken big ACP yo

  • avconsumer2

    Great gun fo sho. Don’t expect to find a LAM though. They’re damn rare these days. If you’re lucky to see one for sale, they’re commanding north of $1500, even for the version w/o IR.

  • hami

    My Mark 23 has always been my favorite handgun. I shoot it often and I am not careful with it. Here is a pic of mine from my last outing thrown in some grass.

    • Vitsaus

      Wow, you let it touch grass… such abuse. You should do a Youtube torture test of how many times it can come in contact with vegetation before it stops cycling.

      • hami

        It’s amazing how rude people can be when talking to strangers on the Internet.

        Others may feel differently but the Mark 23 is the only one of my firearms valued at 2k or more that goes anywhere but on a table, in a case, or in my hands.

        • Scott Tuttle

          I’d like to think he was just being funny. how about ‘we put the HK into a salad spinner for 48 hours with no effect on function or accuracy….’

          • Anonymoose

            I would never do such horrible things to any gun (except maybe a Hi-Point, Cobra, or other potmetal junk). The fact that HK and NATO torture-tested it should be proof enough that you shouldn’t want to try to destroy such a beautiful and expensive piece of machinery.

          • FourString

            I was afraid you were saying Hi-Power, then I read the whole word and nodded in approval (^_^)b [it’s late at night over here]

        • Sgt. Stedenko

          That was sarcasm hami.
          It’s a learned skill to detect it and laugh along with the joke

      • Kivaari

        A snake in the grass.

  • andrey kireev

    I want one… sadly they don’t make it anymore…

    • CommonSense23

      Well you can always buy the MK24.

    • BillC

      Dude, just get the USP. It’s the child of it.

    • st4

      Gunbroker is your friend.

    • joey

      They make them, why do you think they stopped making them? ?

  • andrey kireev

    So by Andre the giant did he mean me ? XD

  • Surfgun

    Did you all see it? Miles shot a non ‘fox’ suppressor!

  • Kyle_D

    Official sidearm of the Maine State Police

    • john huscio

      Confusing it with the USP

  • datimes

    Nice Rolex Alex.

  • Bill

    Sorry to be the odd one out, but this a klunky pistol based on a flawed concept- the “offensive handgun.” There are occasion when having a suppressed pistol fits within an operational template, but to make a huge, awkward pistol when a smaller, more user-friendly pistol is nuts.

    And to think that it rides on a rubber O-ring.

    If having one makes you happy, go wild. You won’t see many in actual use for their intended purposes.

    • “You won’t see many in actual use for their intended purposes.”
      Well then 99% of my guns are pointless! Dammit.

      • iksnilol

        Don’t worry, just make up a purpose for it. Heck, that’s what we have to do in Norway.

  • Lance

    Its large grip made it a rather short term used SOCOM pistol while still in Navy SEAL use the Army as far back as 1998 retained the M-9 for the role till Glock 21s supplemented them in the Iraq war in SOCOM use. If you got BIG hands there a cool pistol.

    • CommonSense23

      The seals for rid of the mk23 a while ago for the mk24.

  • AJ187

    Yes, I have drank from the cup of the HK kool-aid before and it is good. Don’t fancy this gun but I see how many do because of history and allure. Glad you guys didn’t get into the massive rationalization of the owning it like most gun owners do by saying something to the akin of “it was forged from a meteor and quenched in unicorn tears.” :/

  • Uniform223

    The only movie I have ever seen the Mk.23 was in “Tears of the Sun”. Here is another opinion on the Mk.23

    • Bill

      A P226 also makes an appearance in “TotS,” which is a lot more realistic for a SEAL to use. I don’t know how many Mk23s are in the Naval Special Warfare armory, as I recall the OHWS program was an Army project, though I believe that the SEALs pioneered the Hush Puppy, a suppressed S&W M39 for prosecuting sentry dogs in Nam.

      An internally suppressed Ruger Standard .22 is the ticket for popping security lights before serving a search warrant, and while it may not work on a pitbulls’ skull, one through the medulla, ear or eye socket will likely work on a sentry, though any pistol without a slide lock isn’t taking full advantage of the suppressor.

      • CommonSense23

        Mk23s were a Navy project. If you notice the name Mk23. MK is a navy term, not army. NSWC Crane is responsible for the development of small arms and ammunition for SOCOM. While certain weapons due sometimes get developed outside of them, namely the 416/417 the majority of SOF weapons come from them.
        And the MK23 was pretty prevalent in Seal armorys until the MK24 completely replaced them. There never were a 1 for 1 operator deal but typically 3-6 per platoon.

  • GunKnowItAll

    Those gloves…

  • Pat

    Alex, how does the KAC suppressor compare to more modern offerings?

  • Rich

    The owner of my home range has one & is nice enough to rent it out with suppressor. I put 100 + rounds through it both with and without can. My immediate reaction? It felt like shooting a cap gun. Loved it. As everyone has said, very accurate. The only downside, like some other great DA / SA models, is the extra heavy DA pull.

  • Bill

    That one will go large because it has the complete kit and all the goodies.

  • Michael R. Zupcak

    Good video. Miles is good money. It’s always cool to hear details like how the laser is restricted by the FDA, although I knew that already;)

  • whskee

    I don’t know anyone who actually carried it in the field but it was the first weapon I shot suppressed in the military. It was the most fun I’d ever had shooting until the MP5-SD came out. The Mk 23 will always hold a special place in my heart for that, and for turning me on to the joy of shooting suppressed in general.

  • Jim

    Could have saved the taxpayers (me) a lot of money by just making threaded barrels for the SIG P220 or the IMI Desert Eagle………

  • Alex (not C.)

    I was talking to the HK reps at the Nashville NRA Show, and they said that they never quit making the Mark 23 altogether, they just make smaller batches of them than other pistols. Same thing with the USP Expert and Elite, they still make a few of those every once in a while.

    Like quite a few others, I mostly got mine because of MGS, as well as the fact that it’s still the coolest .45 there is, that also happens to be the most durable and reliable.

    Also, the “you need big hands” myth is just that. I wear small Mechanix, and I shoot this and my Desert Eagle just fine.

  • Mazryonh

    Lt. (JG) Pliskin sez:

    “That pistol you have is a SOCOM. It’s a 45-caliber Offensive Handgun designed for the American Special Ops Command. With twelve rounds of 45ACP’s, it has outstanding stopping power. The SOCOM has a minimum service life averaging over 6,000 rounds, and
    has a five-round group capacity that extends within a 1.4-inch radius. It’s a bit large, but the SOCOM is a gun you can trust. It also comes equipped with a laser aiming module.

    “Oh, and don’t go pointing that thing everywhere, kid.”

    As for “Offensive Handgun,” would one in 10mm Auto work better for longer range (i.e., 200+ yards if necessary)? It also has good subsonic performance as well. You just load in a magazine with supersonic rounds when necessary.

  • Brian M

    Y’know, for something built to replace the MP5SD, it ended up being far less useful than an MP5SD. An MP5SD is a fine fighting SMG that can also be stealthy. A suppressed handgun is a sentry-killing tool that could fight. Considering how trying to get sentries Sam Fisher style is considered about as suboptimal as possible, all I can say is the MK23 has had a nice long illustrious career of making teenage Tom Clancy fans wash their sheets more than usual.

    • Mazryonh

      Can you really carry an MP5SD while still carrying a rifle? This was supposed to be a smallish alternative.

      Would you rather try a slide-locked suppressed handgun instead? Or try the Soviet solution of “silent handgun ammunition” that doesn’t need suppressors and can be used on a small handgun?

  • jimpeel

    What’s with the left hand “twist-of-the-wrist” on recoil?

  • Kivaari

    Looked into buying one. A friends shop had the whole package, and that had a lot of appeal. Then I picked it out of the showcase, and found a boat anchor in my hands. In looking at the other HK .45s at the time, none of them fit.

  • Cymond

    I saw one for sale at Palmetto State Armory. You gotta hold one to truly understand how large they are.