P7 for first gun?


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sawdeanz
February 20, 2012, 10:28 PM
Hey doing some research for my first handgun. The HK p7 has always intrigued me. It is definitely on the very top end of my budget, but it looks so cool and I love the concept so much, that I would consider buying one if I could find a good deal, and if after handling one I still like it.
Now I'm a little hesitant about buying a used gun, does HK warranty still cover used guns?
My other concern are the magazines, from what I can tell they are really expensive. Does HK still manufacture new magazines or are they all on the used market?
Also what should I look for? I'm looking for a shooter not a collector. I know that you need to inspect but what am I looking for? If it is well used in the gas port does that just lower the price or do I avoid it altogether?

Thanks for the help!

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alienbogey
February 21, 2012, 12:57 AM
There is no reason you shouldn't get a P7 for your first handgun. You would learn to operate it with no pre-conceived notions, for one thing.

HK does still service the P7, but you will pay for it. (No lifetime warranty applies to them)

Magazines run in the ballpark of $60 each or so. Availability fluctuates, a couple years ago they were scarce and prices were higher. I bought two from Midway a month ago and as far as I know they are still in stock. They were new HK's.

You won't be able to see into the gas cylinder but the gas piston will be what you look at to judge wear. The rings should be smooth and be able to be cleaned up (do NOT use abrasives) to shiny.

The importation of German police trade-ins seems to have slowed or stopped, they got as low as $500 a few years ago, then $600, now it's getting difficult to find one below $700.

Google "Cult of the P7" and go there, plus the HK forum, for lots more expertise/answers.

9mmepiphany
February 21, 2012, 04:58 AM
The German police trade-in P7s are a great deal. Last I saw they were right around $700.

The are all graded when they were imported...A, B, C

Their grade doesn't refer to the finish, but to their interior condition (although the exterior usually follows the interior condition) An A gun will be LNIB inside

Pilot
February 21, 2012, 06:14 AM
The P7 is a GREAT choice for a first gun, although it will spoil you in the accuracy department.

sawdeanz
February 21, 2012, 10:53 AM
As I likely can't afford an A condition gun, and if they truly can't be had for under $700, then it may have to wait. However, what am I sacrificing in a C grade? If the piston is not sharp and shiny, will it affect functionality or just value? Can it be replaced down the line? Obviously I don't want a pitted barrel or something, but can I find a well used shooter for $600 or does $700 refer to the bottom of the barrel already?

boricua9mm
February 21, 2012, 11:36 AM
If you are set on buying the P7 as your first gun, then I highly suggest you purchase a .22 pistol at the same time. New shooters tend to want (and need) to shoot a good amount to groom their fundamentals and stay in practice. The P7 pistol gets extremely hot due to the hot gas being directed into the chamber in the frame. After a few magazines worth of shooting, the pistol becomes extremely hot in the area right above the trigger and you'll need it to cool down before you can resume firing comfortably. Which is why I recommend the .22 pistol.

While you are waiting the 10-15 minutes for your P7 to cool down, you can continue to practice with the .22 and do so for very little money (from the cost of ammo standpoint).

There are relatively few Grade C pistols are out there. I have one of them, but I have never seen another "C" in person, nor heard about them from online posters. Shouldn't be too hard to find a good "B" pistol for around $600 though. Most of these imports were carried often, but not fired very much at all. Worst case scenario is usually a rough looking finish.

The P7 is a wonderful pistol and one helluva piece of engineering. It just isn't a pistol that can be shot sustained/continuously due to the heat issues. Having another pistol to shoot will help, but if that isn't an option and the overheating of the P7 is going to hinder your practice and progress as a shooter, then perhaps another pistol is a better choice. For what it's worth, I'm an HK fan and I'm just being honest here. Whenever my P7 gets shot I always bring another pistol to shoot for the cool-down periods. Hopefully that helps!

tinygnat219
February 21, 2012, 12:00 PM
^^^^^^^^^^^^

This is excellent advice on the pistol and on getting a .22 pistol.

rellascout
February 21, 2012, 12:08 PM
It would not be my first choice for many reasons.

#1 is that it is a unique manual of arms which I do not think translates well to other pistols. The squeeze cocker is going to have a different feel than just about any other gun out there.

#2 As others have pointed out these things get hot. After about 50 rounds of shootin at a normal pace him is hot enough to burn your hands. This will mean the amount of shooting you can do continuosly with this pistol is limited.

#3 Cost OTD. If you cannot afford a $700 grade A you will not be able to get more than one mag and you will not be able to shoot it as much as you could if you bought a $400 9mm and $200 worth of 9mm ammo, which at todays prices would be about 1000 rounds.

#4 Mags for these guns are no longer made and will cost you $40+ for used mags. Contrast this with other pistols where factory mags or Mecgars runs $20 to $25 a pop. It gets really old reloading the same mag over and over again at the range. LOL

#5 There is no warranty and if you are not familar with the gun determing a abused gun from a pampered one migh be difficult.

It is an accurate gun a lots of people love them. I own one but have never really warmed up to it. It get shot but not as much as other guns. I found it heavy and unbalanced on the belt as a carry pistol. It IMHO has to be carried IWB or it rocks around too much even with a proper belt and a holster.

As 9mmepiphany pointed out these surplus guns were grade on their internal condition. They are not your usual carried lots and shot little LEO guns which are 99% of the time graded by external wear. When these it the shores I saw lots of grade Bs whose finish was great but were not as clean as other guns internally which for this design is important IMHO. You can over clean the gas tube and harm the gun.

For those who are recommending a P7 and a 22LR the OP cannot afford a grade A gun which will cost around $700 how is he going to afford a P7 and a 22LR? That advice makes no sense when you take into consideration the $$$ he has a available to him. If it were me and I had a limit of $600 I would get a Gen 3 S&W which are being sold everyewhere for $300, if it fit my hands, and then a Ruger MKIII or Ruger SR22 for $300. This way he would get a 9mm and a 22LR for the cost of a grade B P7 with one mag....YMMV

boricua9mm
February 21, 2012, 12:41 PM
For those who are recommending a P7 and a 22LR the OP cannot afford a grade A gun which will cost around $700 how is he going to afford a P7 and a 22LR? That advice makes no sense when you take into consideration the $$$ he has a available to him.

What people say they can afford is almost always what they can afford right now. If it means waiting out the purchase a few extra paychecks and finding a B-grade pistol at an honest price, then it could be well worth it in the long run. Perhaps a better question might be "How does recommending a completely different pistol make sense when the P7 is what he likes and wants to buy?"

A B-grade at $600 plus a used .22 at $100-$150 really does make sense, believe it or not. Hell, the B-grade pistols will be plenty nice enough, and the .22 can be a Bersa or Bernadelli as far as I'm concerned.

rellascout
February 21, 2012, 01:27 PM
What people say they can afford is almost always what they can afford right now. If it means waiting out the purchase a few extra paychecks and finding a B-grade pistol at an honest price, then it could be well worth it in the long run. Perhaps a better question might be "How does recommending a completely different pistol make sense when the P7 is what he likes and wants to buy?"

A B-grade at $600 plus a used .22 at $100-$150 really does make sense, believe it or not. Hell, the B-grade pistols will be plenty nice enough, and the .22 can be a Bersa or Bernadelli as far as I'm concerned.


Look at the title, th OP and his other posts. He is asking is the P7 a good first gun. I have replied NO. It is not IMHO. Since I stated that opinion I offered an alternative. Sorry but if someone is on a budget the P7 is not a good choice. YMMV

Jim K
February 21, 2012, 01:55 PM
Alienbogey wrote: "You would learn to operate it with no pre-conceived notions, for one thing."

Yep. The P7 is different! It has devoted following, but for an experienced shooter, the operation requires a re-learning process that I consider questionable. The reason is that in an emergency one is likely to revert to habit and the P7 is unforgiving to those who do that. If the P7 is the only gun you have ever fired, and you are totally familiar with its quirks, go for it. But remember, the re-learning works in reverse as well and going to a conventional auto pistol will not be easy.

Jim

IMTHDUKE
February 21, 2012, 02:05 PM
http://i700.photobucket.com/albums/ww2/imthduke/GUNS/P7.jpg

They are awesomely different. Most accurate pistol I have fired, that including my Eddy Brown.

ExMachina
February 21, 2012, 02:23 PM
As a first gun?? Heck NO a P7 is not a good choice.

It's been covered already, but the P7 is an oddity in most respects--"odd" is not necessarily bad, but it is not the way to go if you are starting out in shooting.

Worst problem with the P7 is that it gets hot. And I cannot emphasize this point enough--after just four to six magazines the gun gets friggin' :fire: HOT :fire:

That overheating really limits the amount of shooting you can do which is then not conducive to learning how to shoot.

Pilot
February 21, 2012, 02:43 PM
If you shoot a box of ammo, 50 rounds or so rapidly, yes the gun gets hot. If you take a some time between magazines, there is not problem. Also, if extended rapid firing is required, some where a shooting glove. However, it is nice to have something else to shoot if the pistol does get hot, but again, typically that is not an issue if you just take your time a bit.

The P7 is a solid choice as a first pistol as it can do it all. Accurate range shooting, home defense and concealed carry. There is no external safety, the gun is totally ambidexterous, and the manual of arms is one of the most intuitive. Squeeze grip like and other gun, pull trigger. The gun is totally safe, and uncocked until you decide to pick it up and shoot it.

Justin
February 21, 2012, 03:24 PM
Speaking as a die-hard fan of the P7, I would recommend against buying a P7 as your first centerfire gun, especially if you're on a budget.

Everything connected with these guns is expensive. Holsters are expensive, especially if you want leather, spare magazines are much more expensive than what you would pay for a comparable, more mainstream pistol, and if the thing breaks on you, it'll likely require a trip to a gunsmith.

Keep in mind that there will be additional costs for your first gun, and you need to factor these into your budget.

In addition to the gun itself, you should budget for the following items:

• Three or four spare magazines.
• A holster.
• A decent belt built to hold the weight of a pistol if you intend to carry concealed.
• Magazine carrier(s).
• Cleaning equipment and hearing protection.
• At least a couple of hundred rounds of practice ammunition, and a box or two of premium defensive ammunition if you intend to carry the pistol or keep it for home defense.
• A training course that covers the basics of safe gun handling and marksmanship.
• The cost of a concealed carry permit, if you intend to carry.


For someone on a budget, I would recommend against the P7 as a first gun. I'd suggest looking into picking up a used Glock, SIG, or S&W M&P. Used Glocks show up on the secondary market for under $400 pretty regularly, and something like a Glock 19, while not as sexy as a P7, will be a much more practical choice.

Toml
February 21, 2012, 03:40 PM
A fine choice for first or last gun. Great balance in the hand, simple manual of arms, accurate. If it gets warm to the touch put it aside while you count the x s you've scored.

ATLDave
February 21, 2012, 04:00 PM
I'm just old-school about this. I think the best first handgun is a .22. It's just easier to learn to shoot well that way. It's not what I did, but I wish I had.

boricua9mm
February 21, 2012, 04:25 PM
Look at the title, th OP and his other posts. He is asking is the P7 a good first gun. I have replied NO. It is not IMHO. Since I stated that opinion I offered an alternative. Sorry but if someone is on a budget the P7 is not a good choice. YMMV

You need to back up a bit...the OP never stated that a $700 investment was out of the realm of possibility, only that he would need to save a bit more.

Looking at what you said here...

For those who are recommending a P7 and a 22LR the OP cannot afford a grade A gun which will cost around $700 how is he going to afford a P7 and a 22LR? That advice makes no sense when you take into consideration the $$$ he has a available to him.

...just doesn't seem to jive. If he can swing $700+, then a P7 and a used .22 is well within his reach. I, and others, would definitely agree that the suggestion of a .22 to go with the P7 "makes sense."

rellascout
February 21, 2012, 04:32 PM
You need to back up a bit...the OP never stated that a $700 investment was out of the realm of possibility, only that he would need to save a bit more.

Looking at what you said here...



...just doesn't seem to jive. If he can swing $700+, then a P7 and a used .22 is well within his reach. I, and others, would definitely agree that the suggestion of a .22 to go with the P7 "makes sense."
OP States: As I likely can't afford an A condition gun, and if they truly can't be had for under $700, then it may have to wait.

This implies that he does not have $700 now and it would take him time to get to that amount. I agree 100% with Justin... For a first centerfire handgun, when you are on a budget is not a good choice.

Why can't people see past their fanaticism for a particular platform and make objective realistic statements about it. Just because you love the P7 does not mean it is for everyone and every budget.

Maybe the OP can clarify what the actual budget is. To get a HK P7 even a grade B will cost you $600. Most likely it will come with one mag. As Justin pointed out for any primary gun you want at least 3. So add another $80 to $100. Again as Justin pointed out there is not a cheap part or accessory when it comes to the P7 line of pistols. Repairs that are easily done on other platforms require a gunsmith when it comes to P7s. This does not make them bad but they are not a budget gun. Its like you are telling someone who is looking at their first car to run out and buy a used Porsche... LOL

fennecfrank
February 21, 2012, 04:35 PM
P7, as mentioned, gets really hot........ Have a P7M8, which has the plastic guard against heat, but it still gets really hot after 16 shots.

You can try wearing a pair of gloves to resolve this issue, or shoot another gun to wait for it to cool down.

Also, P7's are gas operated and some claim that even without the extractor, the gas can still push out the empty shell (I've never tried it before, so no comments). Some people also claim that it's better not to touch the piston during cleaning. However, for mine, it cannot function well without cleaning the piston.

If it's your dream gun, I suggest you to get it. One can always learn alot from the first gun, and you can always buy a much better replacement afterwards.

HK P7M8, 9mm, NP3 by Robar
http://www.freeimagehosting.net/uploads/03dafe7280.jpg

Justin
February 21, 2012, 04:48 PM
I'm just old-school about this. I think the best first handgun is a .22. It's just easier to learn to shoot well that way. It's not what I did, but I wish I had.

While I'm in complete agreement with you, I've decided to stop tilting at that particular windmill.

oneounceload
February 21, 2012, 05:02 PM
If you are set on buying the P7 as your first gun, then I highly suggest you purchase a .22 pistol at the same time. New shooters tend to want (and need) to shoot a good amount to groom their fundamentals and stay in practice. The P7 pistol gets extremely hot due to the hot gas being directed into the chamber in the frame. After a few magazines worth of shooting, the pistol becomes extremely hot in the area right above the trigger and you'll need it to cool down before you can resume firing comfortably. Which is why I recommend the .22 pistol.

That would be determined by haw fast one shoots and whether or not it is the PSP or the US version M8 with the heat shield. My PSP never gets hot, but then I don't blast through a magazine as fast as possible either, preferring to concentrate on my target, trigger control, etc. to get the best accuracy the gun can deliver.

These guns are not cheap to buy, equip with magazines or get serviced when needed - but they are great pistols nonetheless

If you want cheap and readily serviceable, get a Glock - great gun, great price, mags are everywhere and everyone works on them

Peter M. Eick
February 21, 2012, 05:22 PM
Good choice but I agree the P7PSP is going to bias you against other guns. First off you will learn about reliability and accuracy. Many other guns are neither out of the box. You will learn about steel and why it is heavy and better than plastic. Good lesson to learn.

All in all I can think of other guns I would recommend first like a good 22LR like a S&W 41 but if you want to start with a centerfire the P7 is a good one.

Hugo
February 21, 2012, 05:31 PM
Haven't shot one myself but did handle one in a gunshop. Neat design, very safe, but dang heavy and unwieldy to me. Bet the magazines are expensive and hard to find. Getting hot and burning your hand would also suck. Great for a collection but not a good first (or worse, only) gun. Second or third gun? Fine then but I'd keep looking and testing.

No Lifetime warranty work HK??? Shame on you! What happened? :)

The grip lever squeeze to fire part would give you hands strong enough to crack walnuts with some practice.

Toml
February 21, 2012, 05:31 PM
TTGunLeather makes a good reinforced mouth IWB holster for the P7.

9mmepiphany
February 21, 2012, 05:36 PM
No Lifetime warranty work HK??? Shame on you! What happened?

The grip lever squeeze to fire part would give you hands strong enough to crack walnuts with some practice.
I don't think any manufacturer offers a warranty on a LE trade-in gun ;)

The squeeze cocker only takes about 12 pounds to pull back and only about 4 pounds to hold in the cocked position...it's like a compound bow

meef
February 21, 2012, 08:00 PM
I'm a big fan of the P7. Yeah, they get hot. Yeah, so what?

But as to whether it should be your first gun, I've got a question.

What purpose(s) do you intend for your first gun to serve?

Might have some bearing on your choice.

Toml
February 21, 2012, 08:43 PM
Might as well add, lead bullets are not recommended for P7 use.

Brazos
February 21, 2012, 10:47 PM
I am with the "get a .22 pistol first" crowd. Too many people screw up by trying to be "cool" with their 9mm, .40, .45, etc. like they see in the movies. Buy a decent .22 pistol like a Ruger MKIII or a Browning Buckmark (for $300'ish) and learn how to shoot. In the mean time you can search for a deal on a P7 or try out some other pistols to figure out what suits you.

gc70
February 22, 2012, 01:23 AM
P7 for first gun?

The P7 is a weapon that many experienced gun owners find highly desirable. But it is a unique design and might not be the best choice for a first gun.

The P7 has many positive attributes. The fixed 4-1/8" barrel contributes substantially to accuracy, as does the consistent single-action trigger. A low bore axis aids in recoil management for fast follow-up shots. The near absence of buttons and levers simplifies the manual of arms and provides a smooth profile for concealed carry. The guns are robust and were built to a very high quality standard. The design is also inherently safer than most.

However, the P7 also presents challenges. The manual of arms is unique; some find it intuitive, while others find it too alien to use successfully in comparison to other pistols. For a used gun, the P7 is expensive -and the magazines more so- and factory service can be pricey since there is no warranty. For a carry gun, the P7 is heavier than most comparable guns, has a smaller magazine capacity than many, and has fewer holster choices than more common guns.

One thing that has not been mentioned is a gas cylinder cleaning tool ($25 or more ... when you can find one). While the gas cylinder can be cleaned with a .270 bore brush, the cleaning tool is highly desirable to get carbon deposits out of the cone-shaped back of the gas cylinder where a bore brush will not reach.

I won't venture into the start-with-a-rimfire debate, but I would hope that a new shooter would not be banging away at such a rate of fire as to cause concern over heating the gas cylinder. A 50-round box of ammo, fired slowly and deliberately, particularly with magazine reloading and target inspection between strings, should not cause heating problems.

sawdeanz
February 22, 2012, 06:50 PM
After getting an idea of the expenses, I will have to wait on the P7. It is very attractive to me but when I can get a used glock/m&p/xd for almost half that, it seems like a better choice for now. Thanks for the input guys, I still want one but especially for practicing a lot (my primary reason) the heating factor seems like it would be an issue. And price.

johnnydollar
February 22, 2012, 07:51 PM
After getting an idea of the expenses, I will have to wait on the P7. It is very attractive to me but when I can get a used glock/m&p/xd for almost half that, it seems like a better choice for now. Thanks for the input guys, I still want one but especially for practicing a lot (my primary reason) the heating factor seems like it would be an issue. And price.

Many of us do start with lesser guns; that way, you learn to appreciate the difference. P7s are an expensive gun to own; HK has never apologized for that, nor do I. High quality weapons simply cost more money. P7 magazines are expensive. They are also the finest pistol magazines made anywhere, anytime, by anybody. Those magazines contribute heavily to the legendary reliability of the P7. The guns do get hot. That is unavoidable if you shoot a large number of rounds quickly. But you can let the gun cool while you marvel at the accuracy the gun is capable of delivering! Good luck in pursuit of that first pistol. I am obviously a P7 fan; but I, too, would not recommend it as your first gun. You do need something to measure against perfection!

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