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HK P9S - Thoughts?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Dryft, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. Dryft

    Dryft Well-Known Member

    Hey y'all,

    So, I have the opportunity to pick up a very good condition 9mm H&K P9S, and after reading a bunch of information on the internet, it seems like a well-thought-of pistol!

    Does anyone here own one? Thoughts? Size-wise, what would y'all say it compares to?

    If I continue to like what I hear, I'll give the fella in question a call and go shoot it, but if it's looking like a bad idea, I'll just call it off and save us both some drive time and ammunition.

    Can't wait to hear what everyone thinks!
  2. PabloJ

    PabloJ Well-Known Member

    These are large guns about size of G17. These have not been made in many years and parts are not available so if something breaks one is left with very expensive paperweight.
    Don't walk away run away. The asking prices alone should be enough to scare prospective buyer away.
  3. Pilot

    Pilot Well-Known Member

    Huh? The only part that is consumable after thousands of rounds is the polymer recoil buffer, and they are available and/or easily fabricated. I've not heard of other P9S parts that were prone to breakage.

    They are very accurate and reliable pistols. Yes, they are single stack and also a full size service pistol, but not overly large in the least. It is a very well made pistol that is not seen very often these days. I would not hesitate to buy, shoot, and carry one if I could pick one up at a decent price.
  4. PabloJ

    PabloJ Well-Known Member

    The have roller lock system which made them expensive to make. It offers no advantage and is more difficult to clean. Being expensive and single-stack only they sold like stale bread and now that they're long out of production there is even less reason to buy one.
  5. bannockburn

    bannockburn Well-Known Member

    I had a P9S in .45 and I thought it was a decent enough gun. Definitely in the range of being a full size service pistol but not exceedingly so. I did think that the trigger in DA mode was a slight bit of a reach with someone with a small hand or short fingers. Accuracy was very good and the gun itself was very reliable. This was usually attributed to the roller delayed blowback method of operation, though it is somewhat more complex than what you would normally find on most any other auto pistol. Spare factory magazines can be rather pricey.
  6. usp9

    usp9 Well-Known Member

    Built tough, accurate, reliable and unique. A great addition to any collection. Contrary to popular belief, HK does in fact work on their older guns should you need it. A Nice P9s usually runs around $650 to $800, depending on condition, mags, accessories, etc. Prices may be higher now during the "Season of Madness".
  7. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    They are a great gun for any collection and have a lot of features that were very cutting edge.

    They are about the size of a Colt Commander, but quite a bit lighter due to their press steel construction wrapped in polymer. They are very accurate and light recoiling due to their polygonal rifling and roller-delayed locking system. The locking system allows reliable operation with a wide range of bullet/pressure variations as it is self-adjusting. They are also one of the easiest semi-auto pistols to rack the slide

    The gun can be carried in hammer down in DA/SA, hammer cocked with thumb safety on for Condition 1, and hammer down while cocking during the draw using the de-cocking lever.

    The only part I've ever heard of wearing out is the recoil buffer
  8. lathedog

    lathedog Well-Known Member

    I have one and generally like it. It has always been reliable in feeding and extraction/ejection but it does have a light strike on primers. I have found cheap ammo in the past that requires a second strike from the P9S but will shoot fine in other 9mm's.

    It is pretty big and clunky. The commander length barrel is inside a big long slide (it needs space for the internal frame-mounted hammer to do its thing) and it feels bigger than a 5" 1911. The trigger reach is long. You better have big hands and/or long fingers.

    The side lever to cock (or decock - but makes me nervous) is kinda cool and unique but I could not call it a great feature in general. It makes the gun a contraption in practical use and adds a weird bulk to the gun. Decoking is performed by holding the lever down then pulling the trigger, then releasing the lever. That always made me nervous and I did not like to do that unless I was at the firing range and pointed downrange on a hot line.

    The slide mounted safety prevents firing by blocking the firing pin, but allows pulling the trigger. Lots of folks who have shot it (me too at first) have attempted to fire with the safety on and then had a time figuring out why it did not fire. There is no different feel like there is in an older S&W, for example. Just something to keep in mind.

    The trigger transition from a trigger cocking shot to the "SA" mode is much more pronounced than any other gun I have shot. You have to get used to it or you will inadvertently double tap. To call the "SA" trigger pull light is to seriously understate the lightness of the pull. And to call the "DA" pull long is to understate how long that pull is. The two together give an extreme variation and will trick someone new to the P9S.

    The weight of the slide compared to frame is significantly different and you can feel it when firing. It really wants to flip or rotate. I have had this gun a long time, and when Glocks came out (yes - that long ago) I was suspicious that they would feel like the P9S when firing. Turns out they do not, which also tells you how much the P9S flips when firing.

    I would wonder where to get more magazines for any sort of reasonable price. I have two that came with the gun but it is a safe queen so 2 are fine for me. Same for holsters; you will need a custom made holster or one of those junk generic floppy pouches (even those may not fit with the huge trigger guard).

    My P9S is a safe queen and I keep it because I like it. I think it is a cool 9mm. However, I have other 9's for carry or competition so the negatives about the P9S do not matter to me. Hope this helps.
  9. Dryft

    Dryft Well-Known Member

    Hey folks,

    Thanks for all the quick advice - I think I'm going to pass on this one. Yes, it's in good shape and all, but it only comes with one magazine and in looking at H&K's website they are no longer supporting the P9S.

    There's a lot of great guns out there - I just don't think this one is for me.

    Thanks again!
  10. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    Sorry to hear than...if it was local, I'd seriously consider looking at it

    Here is a nice picture of one from the TV series Hunter

  11. Dryft

    Dryft Well-Known Member

    9mm - Care to talk me into it? I have a thing for pistols with hammers and external safeties...

    Everything I read says it's an intrinsically excellent shooting gun, but I simply don't know if it's for me.

    Although, at the price, I guess it'd be pretty easy to sell it for a profit.

    Keep going folks - maybe this is worth a look.
  12. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    I would never try to talk anyone into one. Like most older H&K guns (pre-USP), you are either intrigued by the engineering or not.

    I got mine because I liked the:
    1. Roller-delayed action,
    2. Polygonal rifling
    3. Target accuracy in a combat gun
    4. Polymer interface
    5. Multi- function trigger action

    Plus I just liked the space gun look


    This was a grail gun at one time

  13. 22longrifleguy

    22longrifleguy New Member

    Tempting: I currently own the p2000 and its an amazing handgun. I would consider the P7. If you haven't looked into it, that is a very accurate single stack 9mm and is the same kind of collectors item. Parts are still available, although production has stopped.

  14. Pilot

    Pilot Well-Known Member

    I've wanted a P9S since I saw one on a cover of a gun mag with the excellent P7 in the late 70's. I have a few P7's now and believe it is one of the best 9MM's ever produced, and I carry one in my rotation. The P7 is a bit more pratical as a "user" gun most likely considering what some others that own them have said, however, it does seem like a pistol you could get used to or just keep as a range gun for something different.

    It depends what you want it for. If it you are looking for an accurate, reliable yet different style pistol, the P9S may be for you. If you want a dedicated, hicap carry gun that is similar to many others, you probably want something else. Bottom line, if I only had a P9S for carry, I would learn its idiosyncrasies, mostly of trigger pull, and feel well armed when carrying it.
  15. bannockburn

    bannockburn Well-Known Member


    I think lathedog did a very good write-up on the good and not so good aspects of the P9S. For me it wasn't a great fit. I liked the advanced technology that the gun featured with the roller delayed locking action, the use of alloys and polymers in its construction, the polygonal rifled barrel, and its futuristic styling. The fact that mine was in .45ACP made it all the more desirable.

    In terms of ergonomics though, it wasn't such a great fit for me. I have small hands so the reach to the trigger in DA mode was tenuous at times. Same with trying to use the slide mounted safety. I thought the roller delayed system, coupled with the lightweight slide did make for a very smooth cycling operation, but when firing there seemed to be a lot more muzzle flip and torque occuring than compared to shooting something like a Colt Commander. In the end I decided it was an interesting foray into the new world of H&K technology but it just didn't work for me.
  16. Storm

    Storm Well-Known Member

    I have shot a P9S in 9mm since the mid Eighties. I find it to be incredibly accurate with one of the best triggers going. It is the very last handgun that I would sell if I had to. Recoil is super light and follow-up shots are a breeze. The construction is amazing and I don't think that the same gun could be made today at even close to its original pricepoint. Durability? I wouldn't be concerned. As to mags, yes they can be hard to find and pricey but there is now an aftermarket mag that really works.

    Having had extensive experience with the P9S I can, without qualification, highly recommend it.
  17. Dryft

    Dryft Well-Known Member

    What would be the average price for a P9S in very good condition? Includes one magazine.

    It seems like this is a pistol I need to check out at least, huh?
  18. bannockburn

    bannockburn Well-Known Member


    Just looked on Gunbroker and there are 5 listed; 1 listing with box and an extra mag with a B-I-N price of $741, the other 4 are all together with another listing and all have a fixed price of $617 with box and an extra mag. There's also another separate listing for 5 factory mags starting at $199. You might want to check them out.
  19. Bentonville

    Bentonville Well-Known Member

    I owned one a few years back. I picked it up at a pawn shop. I sent it to HK for spring replacements and a ramp polishing due to some FTF. Also, the front sight was bent slightly askew so I had it replaced. The buffer had turned to gel and the buffer housing was a gen. 1 and was very difficult to assemble. I got an updated houseing. Once it was refurbished, it was an amazing pistol. Mags, even then, were expensive but not so difficult to find.
    I finally sold it just because I realized replacement parts and support for the pistol were only going to get more difficult. If the pistol wasn't going to be fired often, I would have kept it as a part of my collection but that wasn't the case. Just sharing my experience with the P9S .45.
  20. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    Interesting tidbit about price.

    I got my P9s as a German LE surplus gun for $278...this was a lot of years ago. When I couldn't find a holster for it, other than custom, I tried to sell it for $350...no bites on consignment at the LGS.

    He took it to a local gunshow and put a price of $475 on it, figuring it gave him room to bargain, on his table. It sold right away at the full asking price. Just goes to show you that what something is worth is whatever someone will pay for it

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