It's slim, it's trim, it's the Police Selfloading Pistol


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Kilted Cossack
May 25, 2008, 12:30 PM
Guys:

I think I still remember the first actual for-real gun magazine I ever bought. Oh, I'd thumbed through Field and Stream before, but this was a GUN MAGAZINE. I was still at the stage in school where you got to cut out pictures and make collages. (Back in the day, this stopped around second grade, today it's probably PhD work, but that's no nevermind.)

There were three guns that caught my eye. This blurb is about one of them, and the other two were the 2" Colt Agent .38 Special and the Compact Offduty Police (COP) .357 Magnum four barrel derringer. (Yeah, I know. The COP was a stupid idea, but it looked cool.)

And the other pistol was this funky looking Kraut 9mm. Whee! For some reason, I really thought it looked cool, and this was back before video games made everyone love the HK brand.

Yep, I'm talking about a PSP, or P7.

Just in case you didn't know, the West German police, after the Munich Olympics terrorist incident, decided that they needed new pistols, and they cut a Request For Proposal for a smallish single stack 9mm. Today we've got 9mms that are a lot smaller (Kahr, Rohrbaugh, etc.) but the West German "P-series" police pistols were pretty revolutionary for their time.

Three pistols were approved: the P5, P6 and P7. Walther's P5 was a compact reimagining of the P38---with the ejection port on the LEFT side. (Funky.) SIG-Sauer's P6 was essentially a P220 cut down, using a braided recoil spring and a stamped slide with a breechblock insert. (Funky.) Heckler and Koch gave us the P7, which took funk from funky all the way to FONKY.

Like many pistols today, the P7 is striker-fired. That wasn't really so common thirty years ago. Like many pistols today, the P7 doesn't have a whole lot of levers, buttons, knobs or dials to spin or turn. Like many pistols today, the P7 gives you the same trigger pull every time.

Today we think of the Glock series as having been pretty revolutionary, but if you squint at a Glock you see a modern engineer's reworking of the basic Browning barrel lockup. (Not like that's a bad thing, mind you!) The P7, well, it went a little further than that.

The P7 uses a fixed barrel with a gas delayed blowback action. As the moniker "squeeze cocker" might imply, you squeeze the frontstrap to cock the pistol. If you've got a P7 at slidelock, you also squeeze the frontstrap to drop the slide. It's got a very low bore axis. The magazine is almost vertical and feeds ammunition into the chamber in as close to a straight line feed as I've ever seen. (This also gives the P7 a little extra barrel length for it's OAL.)

Oh yeah, and Hans Gruber used one in Die Hard.

Well, recently those German police pistols have hit the surplus market, and you can get your hands on a P7 for a good bit less than used to be the case, if you don't mind a used LEO gun (and I don't).

Mine dates to '84, and was ordered from CDNN. I'd always wanted one, and I figured that now was the time. So, what do I think, now that it's finally in my hot little hands?

WOWZA! I like it.

As I said above, by modern standards it's not really that small for a 9mm. It's about the size of a Glock 19, but with an old school magazine capacity of 8+1. Not only is the bore axis low, but the slide itself is trim and rounded. Squeezing the frontstrap is virtually silent, but releasing it gives you a loud "click."

Due to the gas-system, the pistol warms up when you shoot it. By the time I'd put a box through it (and not in any way rapid fire), the dust cover was hot hot hot. Combine that with the heel of the butt magazine release, and you don't have an IPSC pistol, or a military pistol either (in my view).

So it heats up, is slow to reload and doesn't hold a ton of bullets. Other than that, I love everything about it. Although it took me a few minutes to adapt to the trigger, I really like the trigger pull. It's not breaking a glass rod, but a short straight progression to release. Calling it "mushy" seems like an injustice, but I suppose you could.

I was shooting at seven yards, switching hands (supported) between each magazine. I started off scattering a few shots but just kept tightening up the groups as I went along. Finally I got all cocky and decided to pretend I was Mike Cumpston, and shot it ONE HANDED!

Yowza yowza woof woof!

Using a mongrelized hybrid of Weaver and bullseye stances (really, a Weaver with my weak hand tucked into my belt at the small of my back), I shot four five round groups, each going into about 3". (Hey, for me, three inches one handed at seven yards is really good shooting.)

The P7 is, without a doubt in my mind, the easiest pistol to shoot one handed I have ever fired. It's not the be-all and end-all of 9mms, but it's an enormously interesting artifact and another confirmation that Germans just love engineering.

I'm glad I finally got one.

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JustinL
May 25, 2008, 12:49 PM
Don't forget Tommy Lee Jones' character in Under Siege; he also carried a P7.

Pilot
May 25, 2008, 12:54 PM
Good write up on the P7! I think you hit its high points and very few shortcomings in a very objective manner. I am drawn to things that are "different" and often expensive. I've had a P7M8 for about 10 years and a P7E (which many are calling a PSP) for about five years when the first wave of police trade in P7's where imported by PW Arms. Mine is a 12/83 "BMI" trade in which I think adds to the guns interesting qualities.

jocko
May 25, 2008, 01:52 PM
wonder what ones hands would look like if one tried the 1000 rounds in 10 minuters like Todd Jarrett did with his Para 1911, only with the P7????

Does the word 3rd degree burns come to mind????:):)

Blakenzy
May 25, 2008, 02:40 PM
What about the P7m13? It has more ammo capacity, and the ones I have seen have a little tab under the dust cover, inside the trigger guard to protect from the hot gas tube (supposedly). Never fired one though. How do these "upgrades" affect the PSP's shootability?

legion3
May 25, 2008, 03:13 PM
Its slim, its trim, and its heavy for a single stack gun. Fantastic gun anyway just heavy.

TimboKhan
May 25, 2008, 03:54 PM
The P7 has a huge following, enough so that I have always been curious as to why HK stopped making them. Many guys swear that they are about the perfect carry gun. I don't know if thats true or not, but I handled a used one not long ago, and I have to say that I liked it...

Kilted Cossack
May 25, 2008, 05:28 PM
In inverse seriatem order:
TimboKhan: The only thing I can think is, it must have been expensive to produce, and when the Glock came out, I think HK saw the writing on the wall and switched over to the much cheaper polymer framed pistol. That is just a guess, tho, on my part.

legion3: I agree! It's certainly no flyweight, but it feels good in the hand.

Blakenzy: I think I may have handled a P7M13 sometime back in the day, but any distinct memory is lost to the mists of time. Unless they did something fancy, I'll bet the M13 wouldn't fit my hand nearly as well as the P7 eight rounder.

Pilot: Thankee right kindly! I'm new here, and I'm really trying not to pad my post count. I'm trying to post when I have something to say, and only then when I have some actual experience. Admittedly, only fifty rounds worth of experience with the P7 so far (and that "so far" should be heavily emphasized).

outerlimit
May 25, 2008, 05:36 PM
The P7 has a huge following, enough so that I have always been curious as to why HK stopped making them.

They still make them.

CZF
May 25, 2008, 05:47 PM
They call them the Kraut Staple Gun for a reason.

THe P7 feels exactly like a staple gun in my hands and NOT
an auto pistol at all. Top heavy and limited capacity for
a 9mm. Overly priced and points weird for many.
Gets HOT very quickly and can and will burn fingers.

However,
Some people will tell you that the P7 is the ultimate gun.

Probably, but even the German cops don't carry them anymore.
Too prone to recruits and ADs.

TimboKhan
May 25, 2008, 05:55 PM
Outerlimit, they are still in the catalog, but let me qoute directly from the K&K-USA website:

THE HECKLER & KOCH P7M8

Limited Availability No Longer in Production
The extremely compact HK P7M8 can be drawn, cocked, and fired accurately, faster than any other pistol. With an overall length and width close to many .380 pocket pistols, the full-power 9mm P7M8 has a full-length four-inch barrel enclosed in its low profile steel slide.


Still, I guess they made them more recently than I had thought...

riceboy72
May 25, 2008, 09:02 PM
It took me a long time to warm up to it (uh, no pun intended) but it is a nice pistol. I do admit there is nothing else like it.

http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg300/riceboy72/S5001179.jpg?t=1211763679

http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg300/riceboy72/DSC00152.jpg?t=1211844568

MM
May 25, 2008, 11:09 PM
I just got through cleaning my P-7 PSP from yesterday's range session. I took it, my FN HP, a S&W pre-27 3.5", M-28 4", and an M-65 3". Of all 5 weapons, none of which are in any way slouchy, the HK was by far the easiest with which to hit accurately. My groups were consistently more accurate with ths pistol than any other example I shot yesterday. Same shooter, same distance, the HK sure made me look more like I knew my business than any of the others.
MM

Kilted Cossack
May 25, 2008, 11:51 PM
MM:

That's indeed a sweet posse. That may be the sweetest little collection of five I've heard of (although I might swap out the 4" 28 for a 1911, given the 3.5 pre-27).

Tribal
May 26, 2008, 12:06 AM
Hans Gruber, in Die Hard, uses a chromed P7M13. Sophisticated, but not what I'd expect a "terrorist" to carry!

Disaster
May 26, 2008, 05:57 AM
Three good resources for info about the P7.

HK source...poor bloke can only own disabled version.
http://www.cybershooters.org/dgca/h&k_p7.htm

Extensive review with videos.
http://www.defensivecarry.com/vbulletin/concealed-carry-guns/31847-p7-review-video.html

Chris's Unofficial P7 website
http://hkp7.com/

MM
May 26, 2008, 11:03 AM
Cossack,
Now that you mention it, one of my Colt Gov models, or it may be the Kimber Ultra, has been whinning from the safe for an outing. I'll mos def add something that starts with a "4" to the next playtime!
MM

Pilot
May 26, 2008, 02:37 PM
Probably, but even the German cops don't carry them anymore.
Too prone to recruits and ADs.

CZF,

What is your source for this comment? I find it hard to believe because you have to actively cock and hold the P7's squeeze cocker before it can be shot.

The reason the German police and other agencies are going to other pistols is magazine capacity, lighter polymer, and the P7E's and PSP's the police were using are now over 25 years old.

lechiffre
May 27, 2008, 01:31 AM
"The only thing I can think is, it must have been expensive to produce, and when the Glock came out, I think HK saw the writing on the wall and switched over to the much cheaper polymer framed pistol. That is just a guess, tho, on my part."

isn't someone supposed to say hk did polymer first ?

Kilted Cossack
May 27, 2008, 07:21 AM
Yeah but the VP70Z wasn't exactly setting the world on fire.

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