The H&K P7 (And Why I Carry One)

The Heckler and Koch P7 handgun was designed in the mid 1970s by Helmut Weldle and utilizes an interesting gas-delayed blowback system, whereby pressure imparted on the piston serves to delay the action. The interesting squeeze-cocking mechanism also draws the attention of many for its uniqueness and inherent safe design. We mention the P7 often on TFBTV, and we figured that it is probably time to give it a review.

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Transcript …

(gunshots booming) (mechanism clicking) – [Voiceover] The Heckler & Koch P7 handgun, a gun I talk about quite a lot on TFB TV but I’ve never actually reviewed.

So I figure it’s probably time to get that out of the way.

I’ve carried it for about five years and it rides either on my person or in my laptop bag, at all times.

The only reason I’m actually making this video is because so many of you have requested it.

So let’s discuss a few merits of the P7.

As you can see here, it’s got a heel release, so you can’t accidentally bump a button and release the magazine, making it great for concealed carry.

The squeeze-cocking mechanism also releases the slide and the gun cannot be fired unless you deliberately squeeze this.

We’ll talk a little bit about that in a second.

To fully field strip the gun, use just press a button, pull the slide back, and pull it off.

Boom, it’s ready for cleaning.

The gun functions via an interesting gas-delay blowback system whereby pressure imparted on the piston serves to delay the opening of the action.

The mechanism actually draws the striker to the rear, and like I said, without squeezing it, the gun cannot be fired.

P7s also have a fluted chamber just like an MP5, which aids in extraction.

And the barrel is polygonally rifled, something that was popularized, arguably, with the Glock handguns, but HK was actually the first company to polygonally rifle barrels in small arms.

So the squeezing mechanism serves to cock the gun.

It is not a safety, but it kind of doubles as one.

There are documented instances of criminals getting the gun away from law enforcement and then being unable to fire it, not knowing how to operate it.

The guns were also expensive.

HK actually had to release this advertisement justifying why they were expensive at the time.

Polygonally rifled barrels, fluted chambers, and the complex squeeze-cocking mechanism all made for a pretty expensive firearm in the ’80s.

I’m a firm believer that a concealed-carry handgun should not be a tiny little mouse gun.

It should be big enough to fight with but small enough to conceal.

As you can see here, it fits quite nicely into a laptop bag, because of its relatively slim profile.

The profile also allows it to be carried in the small of my back relatively easily with this pancake holster.

I think it’s a Comp-Tac, although I’m not a hundred percent sure.

I bought it, like, four years ago.

So I’m a relatively thin man, I’m about 6’4″ and 170 pounds.

And as you can see I can conceal the P7 in the small of my back in this holster very well.

It doesn’t print too much, except when I bend over, ah, quite a bit, you can see a bit of a lump, but it’s not something that anybody would recognize.

I can also draw it, cock it, and get the gun into a fight very quickly if I had to.

Although, to be honest, I never had to with this firearm, and I’m very thankful for that.

So for me, it’s sized right and conceals well, though let’s see how it shoots.

(gunshots booming) The fixed barrel of the P7 lends itself to pretty good accuracy.

It points very naturally and the grip angle is quite nice.

It’s very steep, but if you shoot something like a Glock or you’re used to a Luger for some reason, you might find that the P7 actually fits you quite well.

(gunshots booming) (mechanism clicking) About once a month, I like to take the gun out with a couple boxes of ammo and just really try and practice with it, by going from low ready, going up onto a silhouette, and trying to put all eight rounds from the magazine on target.

The reason I do not draw from a holster when I’m by myself is because that’s the most likely way you’re going to injure yourself, and if you’re like me and you shoot out in the middle of nowhere, and you accidentally shot yourself, you’re going to bleed out and die.

Be very conscious of this, and if you’re going to draw from a holster, do it on a public range where it’s allowed and there’s someone trained to accommodate the worst situation.

(gunshots booming) So after five years I’ve just found that the P7 works for me.

It’s extremely reliable, it has never jammed or failed.

It fits my hand well.

It’s large enough to fight with and small enough for me to conceal.

I don’t like the idea of changing up a gun that I trust my life to every couple of months.

That just seems foolish to me.

However, if that’s something you do, then, it’s your life and you can do whatever you want.

I’m just happy that I’ve found a gun that I like, I shoot well with, and I see no reason to deviate.

Big thanks to Ventura Munitions for helping us out with the cost of ammo and a special thank you to you for watching.

We hope to see you next time.

Alex C.

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


    • ostiariusalpha

      Thanks again.

    • noob

      hmm I wonder why the squeeze mechanism could not be improved – make it simpler and cheaper to manufacture on cnc equipment.

      also make an interlock to prevent sympathetic squeezing of the trigger: if the trigger is depressed, the squeeze mechanism cannot move and is locked in either the fully squeezed or fully released position, and likewise if the squeeze cocker is not in the fully squeezed position the trigger cannot move.

      • FWIW: HK got around the double-action requirement for the West German police pistol trials with the excuse that you could fire the pistol by holding trigger back and then squeezing the cocking piece.

      • Kulibin762

        If I’m so desperate as to start yanking the trigger before obtaining the grip the last thing I want is to have to troubleshoot why the gun is not firing.

        P7 lockwork is as cost effective as they come. Mostly stampings, just like Glock.

  • Al

    I have a P7 in the safe.
    I’ll carry a lighter, less expensive pistol with high capacity, that has magazines readily available at a reasonable price. One that also has parts available for it should something break.

  • Gail

    Thats not how you pronounce ‘polygonally’.

  • Brick

    Sympathetic muscle response is the issue from what I recall.

    • vwVwwVwv

      i dont know the proper english wording, bympathetic muscle response
      sounds right, its the natural thing to close the hand while squeseing it.
      thats why you call P7 the squeser, i think

  • Ron

    The I really like my P7M8 but don’t carry it because of weight and low capacity.

  • I sold my PSP a long time ago like an idiot. I loved how it shot but it would cut the web of my hand by dragging it with the slide serrations. The real negative I saw for CCW was the weight is heavy for the size, other than that and the cutting my I loved it.

  • Cal.Bar

    Wow, carrying a 40+ year old firearm is just not smart. There are MUCH better firearms (HK and otherwise) on the market.

    • I guess I prefer the time tested and proven to the latest and greatest. I dont want to get R51ed or Glock gen 4ed.

      • Pistolero

        What’s wrong with the gen 4??

        • Kivaari

          Nothing really.

        • Almost all of them were recalled immediately upon release.

          • AJ187

            Um, that problem has been resolved with the recoil spring replacement program for the last 5 years. I wouldn’t expect anyone carrying a hipster gun to to keep up though….

          • Yes, all it took was a massive recall effecting almost every model.


    • Darkpr0

      That cloud of dust you see on the horizon is a legion of 1911 and Hi-Power users coming for you :}

    • c4v3man

      Besides the weight I’d like for you to explain what out there is “much” better than the P7? Sure there’s higher capacity, lighter weight options available, but with each bullet you fire having a lawyer on the other end, having a great trigger and excellent accuracy could make the P7 literally the BEST handgun if you shoot it well. The fact that it can be completely disabled by easily removing the firing pin can put your mind at ease if you need to leave the gun in a glovebox to head into a post office, etc.

      If it’s age, I used to shoot a made in 1912 winchester shotgun for cowboy action shooting… seemed to work just fine despite it’s age. The P7 is a solid design, it’ll be safe to fire as long as any other gun.

    • I’ve known a fella who literally carried the same 1911A1 his dad snuck brought back from The War and used it effectively in defense of his family, andI would absolutely carry my Webley Mk VI if I had a zoot suit to wear over it. Competence of user and reliability of equipment trump all other concerns.

      • iksnilol

        I want a Luger, with a longer barrel (though not full on Artillery model).

    • Spencerhut

      One of the most important aspects of choosing a carry gun is choosing one you feel comfortable using. Confidence, familiarity, and reliability are far more important in a firearm and will always trump anything new or anything someone claims as superior in their opinion.

      Use what you know and trust.

  • Pete – TFB Writer

    Thank Alex. I’ve always wanted one.

  • Steve

    I used to carry my P7 PSP, as well.

    As mentioned by Al in the comments, it’s now in the safe and I also carry a newer, lighter, higher capacity pistol these days (HK45C-T). I also carried a Ruger LCR for a short time between the auto-loaders.

    The lack of parts availability was one factor in retiring it… but also having it professionally refinished had the unexpected side effect of making it almost too nice of a gun to shoot, and definitely too nice to carry.

    One thing to add to the video – you have a ‘phase 2’ PSP. I normally wouldn’t have mentioned this, but you called attention to the flush heel release. The original (phase 1) PSP models had a ‘tooth’ heel release that *could* eject the magazine if bumped. ‘Phase 1.5’ models were essentially the grip panels and mag release from the ‘phase 2’ model retrofitted to a ‘phase 1’ frame. The original frame did not have the scallop directly above the magazine release, and therefore looked like absolute garbage when retrofitted with the new style release/grip panels (the grip panels actually protrude BEYOND the frame in this case).

  • Marc


    • vwVwwVwv

      Visier magazin, Schweizer Waffen Magazin and i have seen a
      police instruktor shooting in his leg.

      here you have german sources, if you like use a translator…. 😉

    • Gregory

      The New Jersey State Police issued the P7 when it came out. The first training class had at least one trooper shoot himself in the leg doing what vwVwwVwv said, I remember the news report of it.

      • Kivaari

        WSP had it with a M92 FS. APD had a LT. shoot his finger off with a M1911. SPD shot a suspect with a Glock while the cop jumped a fence. GHSD shoot all the windows out of the under sheriff’s car and the ID door room with M97. Another deptuy and trooper put holes in passenger side car doors using M97s. Or when an APD rookie, using a M&P Victory Model, just about shot his sergeants head off after having a misfire while shooting at a suspect (bomber-real deal) then stopping, looking at his gun and squeezing a round off, just missing the sergeant. Or MPD and EPD putting holes in car roofs while the partner had to play with the trigger of the shotgun in the dash rack. If you want to count up NGs I know quite a few taking place with “pros” and using just about every handgun, rifle and shotgun made.

        • KestrelBike

          “SPD shot a suspect with a Glock while the cop jumped a fence.”

          *ahem* that’s a feature, not a bug?

          • Kivaari

            The officer was retained, retrained, as were all Seattle PD officers.

        • Any idea how many suspects/bystanders/fellow officers have been shot by LEOs who couldn’t figure out the difference between the weapon light switch and the bang switch? I hear at least one CA department tried to sue Streamlight because it never occurred to them that their lack of training might have more to do with it than some alleged defect in the light.

          • Kivaari

            No idea. The use of pistol mounted lights bother me for patrol use.

      • Only in New Jersey could you get a state cop coming down with a case of Glock Leg before Glocks were even on the market.

  • vwVwwVwv

    the P7 is sure a thing to have, if on can get one, but as carry gun, its like haveing a
    corvette c1, it’s not your every day car.
    there is the steier GB
    a chinese and
    a southafrican gun working
    with similar principes, as far as i know. the precision of the steier gb was only a match
    for sig 210’s as military autopistols in 9mm Luger.

    • Amplified Heat

      Also that Walther CC(C)P pistol, that’s received extremely lukewarm & cold reviews (being an Umarex product is apparently not very advantageous)

      • vwVwwVwv

        i have no clue, never had one in my hands 🙁

  • Reed Cz

    I’m not sure you would bleed out and die from an accidental discharge even if you are alone. I imagine you’d hit your leg. I also figure you have a trauma kit with you. Affix a tourniquet high on the leg, tighten past the point of “way too tight” by three or four turns, and then get help.

    Just don’t shoot yourself in the groin. You really need buddy aid for that one. Putting enough pressure on your own groin is a lost cause.

    Although it’s really up to you how you train. Just wanted to throw in my opinion on the comment that you would certainly exsanguinate due to being alone and in the middle of nowhere.

    I suppose I’m also betting on you being able to maintain your composure. I have faith in you.

    • Bill

      The military recently came up with an inguinal tourniquet that looks like a S&M device and is supposed to be so excruciatingly painful that you can’t really practice applying it to another person.

      The NDs I’m aware of from drawing or holstering the pistol tend to be shots to the butt or hip, and I doubt anyone has ever died of a bullet wound to the ass. I’d tell them to walk it off.

      • Anon

        Have you heard of the femoral artery?

        • Bill

          Indeed, femoral bleeds are one of the applications of this device.

        • Redwing

          Which would be the point of the inguinal tourniquet… The femoral arteries run down either side of the groin. Getting shot in the ass might cause some nerve damage but won’t hit the femoral.

      • Kivaari

        The P7 lends itself to safe handling. Ready to re-holster, simply relax your grip and the gun un-cocks and goes into safe mode.

        • Bill

          Indeed, I never shot myself with mine, and I can screw up anything.

          The only potential issue is that while every handgun but the P7 requires one master grip, it requires two, so I’ll concede that it may take somewhat different training than other pistols, but no more so than learning to decock a SIG or re-applying the thumb safety on a 1911.

          • Kivaari

            I thought it was instinctively easier.

          • Bill

            Yes and no. I try to have trainees establish and keep a strong, positive and correct grip on the pistol from draw to reholstering. I don’t want them to “relax” anything until the gun is reholstered and secured, in case the fight isn’t over, so relaxing the grip on a P7 has to be incremental so that they decock the pistol while maintaining complete control of it.

  • Bill

    Sort of interesting logic, in a weird sort of way, about not practicing drawing the handgun except under certain circumstances. Arguably, drawing the handgun is a skill that is equally as important as shooting it. I’ve drawn handguns zillions of times, and a number of times for-real on the street, but never had to fire one at a human.

    If you are that concerned about shooting yourself, stop carrying the gun.

    • I think its always wise to take safety precautions when you can. Hell, I’m concerned about car accodents as well but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop driving.

      • Bill

        Being prudent is cool, but training is training. You have to make a practical and realistic risk assessment and balance risks and benefits You could carry a self-aid kit and file a “flight plan:” If I’m on a range alone alone I typically let someone know where and when, so if I don’t show back up they’ll check on me. It’s also a good security precaution.

      • I classify “carrying a concealed handgun in public”, “having a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and bedroom”, and “never putting the vehicle in gear until all occupants are wearing their seatbelts” as the same level of sensible safety precautions. All three have saved my life and the lives of those around me on more than one occasion.

    • Bob

      Hmmm… I go ahead and pull from a holster when I am alone on the range, but I use pistols with safeties and don’t exactly whip it out so hard I fling it into the target.

    • Seems like practice time with an unloaded gun is a better place to find out that you have a problem drawing and aiming under stress than a dark alley or a public place crowded with fellow potential victims. I always suggest to anyone that they should follow the old adage, “Train Like You’ll Fight, Because You’ll Fight Like You Trained”; if you’re carrying concealed, wear your normal clothes and practice drawing and dry firing from concealment after you do some calisthenics to get your heart up and your hands shaky (like they would be if your actual life was actually on the line), and when you’re confident you can do that safely, do it live fire at the range until you can at least get Minute Of Bad Guy Torso at 10 yards.

  • Bill

    I haven’t let many guns get away, but there are two that I really regret, one being a P7 PSP.

  • gordon

    So “famous” a problem that most of us never heard it? Not saying it didn’t happen, only that it didn’t get famous.

    • vwVwwVwv

      it was a german cervise sidearm, if you read german googel will help.
      dont get me wrong, i have donated (a part of the money)
      one to my shooting club,
      just to watch it sometimes, i like the baby but i am
      just entusiastic, dont think i am an expert
      or something.

      here in germany i can gave 3 pistols, rifles and shothuns, that the maximum,
      than i have to become a colector and get killed by birocraty.

      • gordon

        Thanks. I used to have one and loved it, except for the front top of the trigger area heating up so fast. I might still be carrying it if it hadn’t been stolen after they had gone out of production. I wouldn’t have expected that that was a stress response that was likely to happen.

    • Bill

      For those of us in the training field, and who new NJSP troopers at the time, it was “famous.” It also seemed to occur more frequently to administrators and such that didn’t handle their weapons as frequently as the road troops.

      The NJSP was seemingly happy with their pistols, and changed when wear and tear and economics dictated a switch.

  • Malthrak

    I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen someone call a heel release a positive feature in a semi-auto pistol…

    This really comes off as an awkward attempt to justify, in a practical sense, carrying a cool factor item, instead of just admitting that it is what it is and cool factor is the reason for carrying it, like carrying a 1911 or a Luger in this day and age when cheaper, smaller, lighter, higher capacity options with plentiful parts availability exist.

    • ostiariusalpha

      I dunno’, as Alex said, the heel release isn’t such a bad feature on a concealed piece, especially if you are not carrying with a spare mag (as many, if not most, do). I conceal with a thumb release, but I also have a spare mag virtually every time.

      • Harry’s Holsters

        The no spare magazine is a good point.

    • Amplified Heat

      Yeah, I’d call that sour grapes (or at least, unripe grapes). Heel releases make sense on guns so small that a button would be in the way & likely to be released under recoil (RM380 potentially as an example), but the P7 ain’t that, and has plenty of real estate for an HK paddle release, or something.

      • Kivaari

        First gen had a heel release that was actually protruding from the frame. Gen 2 had a flush release and gen 3 the “bi-lateral” release. The Gen 3 was the best, since it had my favorite accessories, a lanyard ring.

    • Kivaari

      Heel releases are not bad. I used them on the P220 SIG and a very early P7 (where it protruded) and did ot have an issue. A little training goes a long ways. Other than one handed operation the side button really isn’t so important. Especially for people that grew up using revolvers professionally. Having a P220 with 9 rounds and a heel release was a big improvement over a K-frame S&W revolver.

      • Harry’s Holsters

        While I get what you’r saying if you’re having to reload during a fight with a handgun things have gone beyond wrong and every tenth of a second will count.

        • Kivaari

          That’s my point. Heel releases aren’t so bad. And, needing to reload DOES mean you are in deep trouble. MOST bad guys are not as good as the trained good guys.

    • Harry’s Holsters

      The heal release is my biggest problem with the P7.

      If it’s that big of a concern get a holster that covers the mag release.

    • Rodford Smith

      The way these mag releases are set up, you cup your off hand under the butt of the gun, squeeze the mag release with your thumb and the magazine drops into your hand.

    • iksnilol

      Heel releases are better for CC, less likely for them to get bumped. I believe SIG magazine releases are specifically engineered to eject the mag at the slightest touch (from my experience with them).

    • Dragonheart

      If you think carrying a 1911 is just a cool factor then you obviously don’t know much about 1911’s.
      The little SIG 238 & 938 handguns have sold more than any gun SIG has produced and I might point out is based on a 1911 design.

      • Malthrak

        Lots of things sell well just for cool factor. That said, those sigs are also not full sized pistols firing .45acp, they’re adaptations into a much smaller format, which don’t face the same issues that a full sized classic 1911 faces, which is what I was primarily referring to.

        A full sized 1911 pistol from 100+ years ago with a 7 round magazine capacity, that often may have issues with hollow points, makes for a poor concealed carry option in 2016 when other options are available that will be the same size or smaller but have double or triple the magazine capacity (in either the same or equivalent calibers) while weighing less and having zero issues with hollow points, at a lower price point to boot. Adaptations of the fundamental principle to different form factors and calibers is a different discussion.

        • RickOAA .

          1911 feed geometry for hollow points has been well established for some thirty plus years or so.

          Lightweight frames have been around since the 50’s.

          When single stacks are all the rage suggesting a modern 1911 is obsolete is silly.

          I’m not stuck on 1911’s…but they do make capable carry guns, though they may not be the most practical option.

          • Malthrak

            Many 1911’s today still have issues with hollowpoints, as will milsurps. Some have figured it out, but nowhere near all. Single stacks are all the rage in small frame compact formats in 380 and at largest 9mm, a .45cal handgun is not making into those size categories, especially if we’re talking about having a capacity of more than 5 rounds, while a full size .45cal 1911 is going to be nowhere near the size of the single stack compacts we’re seeing like Glock’s 42 and 43. The iterations of the 1911 that we are seeing in that arena are .380ACP, and generally cost way more than a Springfield or Glock equivalent.

            And sure, they’re capable, but yeah, not the most practical, that was my primary point. You could carry a Luger too. It’d be capable, but for the same size, weight, and caliber you could get a lighter gun with double the capacity or more.

            I’m not saying a 1911 is a useless weapon, it’s just there are better options that will give you dramatically more rounds in smaller, lighter, more reliable, and generally much cheaper packages.

  • Bub

    Alex please stop doing videos on the P7. In the early 1990s I had a chance to purchase a P7 and pasted. At the time the gun cost around $750 or so if I remember correctly. Anyway long story short the shop had a S&W 66 I wanted so I bought it instead of the P7. At the time I was intrigued by the P7, but was a little worried about getting accustomed to the cocking handle. Seldom have I ever past on a firearm purchase and later regretted it, but that one I regret to this day. BTW glad to see you gave the P7 such a positive review.

    • I’m That Guy :/

      *passed … twice

    • ostiariusalpha

      Yeah, but that 66 was a nice gun, wasn’t it? I wouldn’t beat myself up too badly about it. At least you didn’t overlook the P7 for a Remington All American, or something stupid like that.

      • Bub

        Yes 66 great gun, no regrets there for sure.

  • Anon

    TL;DR, Ermahgerd H&K!

    Also, you are still quite possibly SCREWED if you lose control of the gun even if they don’t know how to fire the damn thing and as such, that feature has little to no value to me as a civilian, because I probably don’t have backup or any partners with a gun, which means I still have a good chance of dying regardless.

    And really, the heel magazine release is a good feature? I guess that’s why the button magazine release is considered obsolete and no pistol manufactured today uses it.

    • Kivaari

      What? Keep control. Your partner isn’t going to want to give you his gun. Pack a back up. Chances of all that coming together is zip.

      • Anon

        What I meant is for them to shoot the guy when they’re trying to take your gun with their gun, not for them to give you a gun, and yeah, I guess a backup gun works, but the best defense in the first place is trying not to put yourself into a situation where you just got your gun stolen.

        Sorry that wasn’t clear enough.

  • Badwolf

    Hi! Can anyone give me the pull weight on the squeeze cocker?

  • c4v3man

    I carried a P7M8 for a few years, and love the unique design, the slim width, and it’s a fairly pleasant to shoot as well. As a lefty, I love that it’s fully ambidextrous as well, and doesn’t have a compromised leftie slide release like many semi’s these days. While it may be suggested to slingshot the slide always, in the event that one hand is unable to assist with shooting, having an easy way to release the slide that is consistent left handed vs right handed can help as well.

    Innovation is still out there, but rarely do you see a truly revolutionary design like the P7 come out nowadays which is a shame. And I agree, for concealed carry I greatly prefer a lever or heel release over a traditional push button magazine release. I’ve found magazines partially ejected far too often with push button releases to consider much else for concealed carry. It’s a shame the P7 was discontinued, and nothing else has used the superior squeeze cocking design in any other firearms. It would be awesome to see a pocket VP9 variant with a squeeze cocking mechanism.

  • retfed

    I shot a friend’s P7 quite a bit. Here are the pros and cons of the gun itself, and of carrying it today, as I see them.

    Pros: 1. The gun is slim and the ergonomics are good. The heel mag release is not as slow or obsolete as many people think it is. The Sig P220 originally came with one, too.

    2. It’s the most accurate pistol I’ve ever shot. Aiming it is like pointing your finger.

    Cons: 1. The squeeze-cocker has a history, as vwV said, of facilitating (i won’t say “causing”) NDs due to the entire hand tightening up under stress. I’m not sure how easy it is to train out.

    2. The trigger is too light. For a citizen CCW who will arguably never hold someone at gunpoint, this may be a non-issue, but it was a serious one for LE when the pistol was popular.

    3. The gun gets too hot in extensive shooting. I shot a 72-round qual course with it once, and while I shot a great score, the gun got so hot that if I carried it the way you do, I would have been afraid to holster it at the end for fear of burning my back.

    4. It’s now an heirloom-quality piece, ungodly expensive (if at all possible) to replace. If you ever have to use it, it will sit in a plastic bag in an evidence locker for a long time, with no one taking care of it, and moisture and any blood that may be on it will destroy the finish before you get it back. In some jurisdictions, you may have to sue to get it back at all. If and when you do, it will have someone’s badge number scratched on it, at the very least. (That may or may not make it more valuable to you.)
    I think you can see the drift of my soliloquy here. But as always, it’s America. You go to your church and I’ll go to mine.

    • Bob

      I’ve heard a lot about gloves being a big deal in winter, but I haven’t had many problems. I suppose since I like to wear thin driving gloves rather than thick heavy gloves, it helps.

      • retfed

        Well, there is winter and there is winter. There’s a big difference between walking from the house to the car in 20-degree weather and conducting an outdoor search in zero-degree weather. I found the best all-round gloves for moderate winter weather (before you had to go to ski gloves) were the old Army two-piece gloves with the wool or Polypro liners and the leather shells. The leather stops the wind (which is really what makes your hands freeze), and you can pull them off and leave the liner on to shoot. This worked tolerably well for me the one time I had to conduct an outdoor qualification when it was 20 degrees below zero.

        • Bob

          Oh, I’m crazy. I have spent hours in negative degree weather wearing my skimpy gloves. Of course, I also spend time shoving my hands in my pockets whenever convenient too…

          • retfed

            When I wrote this, I was afraid you’d take it the wrong way. All I’m saying is, sometimes you have to wear heavy gloves, and then they can become an impediment to efficient and safe manipulation. I never meant to disparage you or your experience. Myself, I’m a famous cold wimp and I probably glove up earlier and heavier than you do.
            My reference to zero-weather searches implied an inability or unwillingness to stick hands in pockets. I don’t think I ever conducted any search, in any weather, without keeping my hands free.
            But as I said earlier, it’s America. You go to your church and I’ll go to mine.

        • iksnilol

          I wear fingerless leather gloves (with no vent holes). I just use my thumb to heat my fingers on occasion.

  • Able_Dart

    Great video Alex. Have you found the P7 finicky with ammo? Lots of folx on the boards say it has problems with hot loads and/or heavy bullets. Fud?

    • Rodford Smith

      My three P7s will shoot reliably with every factory ammo I’ve tried. However, using bullets heavier than 124 grains throws the timing of the gas delay off and can cause excessive wear.

  • Kivaari

    Mine always worked. It was accurate. I never shot myself. Everyone saying you are likely to shoot yourself seem to miss that every model gun has that potential. A Single Action Army and clones are notorious for leaving wounds in legs. It comes to safe handling. I know one person with Glock leg. Others using SAA-types and even a Taurus M85. Hand a man a gun, and he can shoot himself. Be careful out there.

    • Amplified Heat

      Those other ways of shooting yourself are a lot cheaper than a P7, though…

      • randomswede

        Do you think HK skimped on the fairydust needed to help the shooter not shooting themselves and pocketed the money?

  • Amplified Heat

    Sounds like similar reasons that I carry a Mateba Unica 6 whenever I go out;
    -Inherently safe system, being a SA/DA
    -Extremely high level of build quality
    -Exceptionally good SA trigger, and respectable DA
    -Highly potent cartridge
    -Ambidextrous controls (at least unless you’re using speed loaders)
    -Incredibly accurate & easy shooting
    -Any thug posing a threat will be instantly transfixed by the arcane beauty and esoteric curiosity, and rendered completely harmless

    Perfectly logical decision; it’s not like I’m indulging in anything by carrying an obscure, three thousand dollar irreplaceable museum piece that few will ever see, let alone get to shoot.

    Just kidding; my carry is a Remington R51;
    -Extremely simple system, SAO with safety
    -Safe controls layout (grip safety requiring conscious effort to depress)
    -Reliable with a wide range of ammunition (except literally just Whitebox for some reason, which hates the feed ramp) both bullet shape and power level
    -Low bore axis makes the gun more compact, and much softer shooting
    -Extraordinarily controllable in rapid fire (almost easier than deliberate fire)
    -Ergonomic controls layout, grip shape, and rounded edges
    -Very slim overall width, but also a very short height & smooth edges aid in concealment & draw speed
    -Very accurate, and very easy to pick up the highly visible sights
    -Decent trigger, can be easily made better with little effort

    Now, it didn’t come from Remington this way, but if you hail from the “if you want it done right, do it yourself” school of thought, then cleaning up the chamber & polishing down some burs is a possibility (if rather insulting to have to do in the first place), and you can be left with an extremely compelling carry piece.

    • Kivaari

      Winchester “white box” DOES seem out of spec to some degree. Stacking it next to Federal 115 ball ammo, you can just see that it is not as uniform as the Federal. That said, I just shot 200 rounds of it, and it all worked, albeit, dirty in comparison. I now buy Federals “white box” since it is cleaner burning and just looks better.

  • truthsayer

    Are there threaded barrel suppressed variants? If so, comments?

    • vwVwwVwv

      here in germany to have a supressor can lead to 2 years jail term.
      you may understand that i have seen supressors
      only thrue a glas vitrine.

      they say that german jails are good but i rather go around this experiance. 😉

      the idea of supressed 9mm lugers is for me not clear, evan as sombody
      who is just a entusiast, not an expert. a 9 makarov and a 45acp are
      easy below sound speed, in 9 luger you need subsonic ammo,
      no? isn’t gas pressure and the blowback reduced with
      subsonic amo? i have seen sopressed
      45 ACP in israel on a range, the shooter used normal 45 ammo out of the box
      and the loudest thing was the hit on the metal target.

      • iksnilol

        You can have a suppressor in Germany. You just need the permit, it takes up one slot on the license.

        • vwVwwVwv

          i am not jesus, till i get a supressor, byrokracy will torture me to death,
          and german byrocrats are grandmasters in it, my interest is the gun,
          hunters have supressors sometimes, its a mater of time
          till we will have a total ban.

          • iksnilol

            Well, if you’re such a negative nancy and give up like that then it is no wonder we’ll get a total ban.

          • vwVwwVwv

            i am slowly emigrateing to israel, have fought lots of litle fights,
            on low and middle level, against a total ban with the
            “forum waffenrecht”, had dicussions with politicans and
            was a small screw in the aparatus to stop
            the last atempt but now there is a EU
            atempt and this one passed
            without real oposition.
            now the minister of interior can ban all semiautos,
            magasinfeeded and batery fiering guns, it’s anything
            but singleshot. now let a terroratack happen and BINGO!

            one of the gunclubs i am member was established 1604
            and a damn byrocrat from nowhere can klose it just like that.

          • iksnilol

            You are emigrating to Israel? For real? They got like just as bad gun rights just with crappier climate and more rocket attacks.

          • vwVwwVwv

            the situation in europe has changed and people like me have
            no place here no more, at least in israel i am allowd to
            defend myself, so if my time may come, i
            hope to go surrounded by
            empty magasins and
            empty cases. i love europe but she loves me no more. 😉

          • iksnilol

            I’m just saying, I’d go for a better place. But that’s just me.

          • vwVwwVwv

            no beter place for me and my family. my ancestors lived there
            for 1000’s of years, yes its hot there, the neighbors want us
            dead and its a miracle that we still exist, nothing new no?

            in the end we have no other place welcoming us
            and i am thankful for this one and only one.

  • Strongarm

    If the chamber is empty, there is no stopper for the firing pin forward movement excepting passive firing pin block which staying in its place solely by the force of its spring. Breakage or displacing of this small piece turnes the pistol into a steel paperweight. Avoid dry-firing.

    • HW49

      That’s what snap caps are for. Dry firing is perhaps the most effective training tool that exists. It not only allows effective, safe and free development of good technique and “muscle memory” but it makes your live-fire training more efficient too.

      • Strongarm

        In other striker firers, the striker is free to run forward as far as its rebound spring or its stop pin or the striker tunnel form permits, but in P7, since the passive sriker block added afterwards and depending upon finding a suitable location for this new member, striker’s forward travel is limited by the body of passive striker block and in the case of its tip finding no case cap to strike, it runs some more little forward and strikes to the downward extention of striker block body joining the blocking and upper sections. In other pistols dry firing without snap caps may be tolerated, but in P7 can not.

        • HW49

          As I said, that’s what snap caps are for. The whole point of a snap cap is to provide something for the striker to contact, therefore limiting the forward motion of the striker. I dont claim to know anything in particular about P7s, but if the problem with P7s dry firing is excessive forward motion of the striker, a snap cap should serve just as well as a live round.

          • Strongarm

            Thanks. Very informative.

  • Lance

    Never cared for a grip cocker and safety. Prefer a HK P-9 or a smaller PPK or Makarov PM.

  • AD

    Now I want one. Shame handguns are not easy to own where I live.

  • Giolli Joker

    I love it.
    It’s a shame that back in my country it’s not available because 9 Luger is forbidden and the option of rechambering in 9x21IMI would probably require at the very least a bespoke barrel* rather than the usual reaming of a 2mm deeper chamber. 🙁
    Given the high price and this issue apparently nobody bothered importing the .40S&W version as well.

    * the chamber is fluted and the gas port is right at its edge… a 9×21 would cover the original port…

  • T

    Alex, I really hope you aren’t offended by this, but you really, really, REALLY need to get some training first if you’re going to be discussing issues relating to self-defense. You seem like a nice guy and I’m sure you mean well, but… Seriously. Some high quality training is in order. And some more if you’re going to be discussing the topic in public.

  • Badwolf

    Yes it doesn’t look like much. Anyone measured the actual weight?

    • ostiariusalpha

      It’s usually around 16 lbs for the initial squeeze.

  • vwVwwVwv

    HK has built some Prototypes in 45 ACP, but it never was produced.
    they have great ideas from HK but somehow they make often things
    wrong and others earn than the fruits of the inovations.

  • randomswede

    Alex, I took it from an earlier video that you also own a P7M13, why do you choose to carry the P7 over the P7M13?
    I’ve never handled either but on paper I’m thinking I would have chosen the P7M13 for the six extra rounds on tap, so I’m curious as to how the real world is different.

  • Rodford Smith

    One of these is my usual carry. It’s slim and with the right holster fits snugly to my body. It’s also arguably the most reliable gun I’ve ever shot. The only failures were all my fault, including deliberately challenging it with some of my junk reloads which had bulged cases.

  • Paul Faiella

    Alex….about how many pounds of pressure does it take to squeeze the grip?

  • DIR911911 .

    uh , because you can.

  • Steve

    One random detail worth mentioning anytime an article pops-up that might sway someone to buy a P7:

    Don’t ever run 147 gr. ammo through it – quick way to permanently ruin a good gun. I wouldn’t have believed it if it didn’t happen to one of the two P7 pistols I’ve owned.

    A good way to check a used P7 to see if it has already been damaged in this way is to rack the slide rearward as HARD as you can. If the frame is already peened from the heavy ammo, the slide will stick and not return to battery.

    124 gr. +P (i.e. 9×19 NATO) is the way to go.

  • AJ187

    Who are you people having mags dropping out of your guns with standard mag releases? So you think they hold the mag in more secure? Surely, but you could also say that about Kommiefornia’s bullet button. But who needs a reload? Jeebus, if you can’t trust yourself to draw while alone in a controlled range environment, good luck doing it with a massive adrenaline dump in a life or death situation.

    • BigFED

      They are the same guys that replace the standard mag release with a oversized one!!! I had enough problems the the standard one when I carried a 1911 WAY back it the 1960’s before if became popular. I used a Bianchi 100A (forward cant) holster and if the butt of the gun was pushed in, then the mag button would press against the leather covered, steel shank and and either drop out or not be seated!!! When I finally went to a left hand rig (I shot many years right handed for the lack of left hand gear) I had a problem with bumping into counters of shelves that would hit the mag button enough to cause a problem, LIKE FALLING OUT WHEN I DREW)!

      Things didn’t get better when SIG became popular. Yes, it could be set up either hand, but the same problems existed. About the only type that doesn’t have an issue is the HK trigger guard and similar makes.

  • janklow

    honestly, i like my P7 too much to consider it for carry. but i can see it working well in that role.

  • Heckler_und_Koch ✓ᴺᵃᵗᶦᵒᶰᵃˡᶦˢᵗ

    I own two myself (both M13s) but I am not going to carry a weapon of that value as my EDC. The thought of losing it to some government bureaucrat in the event of ever having to draw it is not one I like to contemplate. I love the weapon and wish they still made it but it’s just to valuable to me to sacrifice as an EDC now.

  • Ranger Rick

    I remember these and like everything H&K it was expensive, still regret not picking one up on the secondary market. Also remember a fellow going through Gunsite with one in the 1980’s, he did well with it.

  • L. Roger Rich

    IVE GOT a PSP with release by magazine. Beautiful pistol. Got mine in 1977 and still a virgin. And it is Not a police buy back.

  • uisconfruzed


    Now I want one of these again.

  • Burn Riec

    My only problem with them is that after to quick magazines they get hot to the point of being uncomfortable to handle.

  • Canarsieboy

    Fair review. My own pistol collection is rather limited to one in each major caliber. I’ve had several hours of range time with the HK P7 M8 9mm Pistol. My range pal who owns the firearm swears by it and states it to be the best firing pistol he owns….and has ever fired. As we both are former Marines, trained and taught early on in life the proper way to shoot pistols according to Uncle Sam, I have a different POV. Perhaps it isn’t fair, but I naturally compare the HK to two of my pistols, one is my S&W m/n 469 chambered in 9mm; the other is my Sig p226, chambered in 40 S&W. I will state this a simply as possible. Both of those guns shoot better, feel better, come down to original point of aim quicker, are more accurate at distances from 21 to 50′ in an indoor range with controlled climate of 68 degrees F and (obviously) no wind, fired without any support in several different offhand positions and differing speed drills. I find the HK P7 M8 9mm Pistol to be a snappy firing gun that requires constant pressure on that (not easily mastered) “squeeze grip” . Now I may be a prima donna about that issue, but remember; I was weaned on the M1911 with that “far ahead of it’s time” John Moses Browning design feature of the dead mans grip….or simply, the grip safety. It seems that I somehow managed to master that weapon in my early 20’s and now, in my mid-50’s, it appears that I’m the old dog that can’t learn a new trick! For those of you that think I am not being fair in my writing about the HK P7 M8 9mm Pistol…..well…..then go ahead and prove me wrong!

  • DaveB

    These used to be issued to police dog handlers in the Ontario Provincial Police back in the 1980s. I had a chance to get some range time with one, and fell in love with it. Unfortunately I could never find one for sale at a price that wasn’t two or three times what many other pistols cost, so I never got to own one. Sure wish they’d start build them again!

  • Jackson Andrew Lewis

    These still interest me sadly they are not Legal in canada….

  • Kulibin762

    Marvelous engineering. Great barrel length to slide ratio, great sight radius. One of the few guns that have low bore axis AND point naturally. Accurate. On the flip side:

    Disassembly is easy, assembly less so;
    Heel release makes reloading one handed not exactly drama free;
    One of the most difficult slides to rack one handed;
    Locking the slide back one handed on a full mag (clearing type 3) is an adventure in itself;
    De-cocking without making loud clanking sound is awkward. Doing it one handed is pretty much impossible;
    This thing heats up in a hurry and stays hot. An average class of 40-60 rounds per evolution all day long might get interesting.

  • RickOAA .

    Just a little too funky for me. They are exceptional pistols.