H&K P7 Family: Pistols for Gun Cognoscenti

Developed in the 1980s in response to a need for new West German police sidearms, the H&K P7 is one of the most mechanically unusual pistols to have been commercially successful in recent decades. It incorporates a number of features which are rather polarizing; brilliantly innovative to some, and pointlessly unproductive in the eyes of others.

The biggest innovation H&K made in the P7 was the squeeze-cocking system. The front strap of the pistol must be depressed (with a substantial amount of force) in order to fire. This action acts to cock the striker back to its full travel, and when the front strap is release, the striker is dropped completely forward. As a result, there is no chance of a discharge, and could potentially happen on a traditional striker-fired gun which keeps the striker partially cocked at all times. The P7’s system also allows it to have a better trigger press by not using the trigger to retract the striker.

For the action, H&K chose a gas-delayed blowback system. This system has been used in a few other places (Heritage Stealth, Norinco M77B, etc), but it not at all common. Basically gas pressure acts on a piston under the barrel to hold the slide closed until the bullet has left the barrel. This system allows the gun to have a fixed barrel, contributing to very good inherent accuracy.

The downsides to the P7 are its tendency to rapidly heat up (because of that gas piston), its unfamiliar manual of arms, and its low magazine capacity. Whether it’s a wonderful sleeper of a pistol design or just some German nonsense it up to you…

Note: In future videos, I will cover some of the other non-standard branches of the P7 family, including the P7M7, P7M10, P7A13, and P7K3.

67 Comments

  1. “Developed in the 1980s in response to a need for new West German police sidearms”Developed in the 1980s in response to a need for new West German police sidearms”
    Which mean it was direct competitor of Walther P5: https://modernfirearms.net/en/handguns/handguns-en/germany-semi-automatic-pistols/walther-p5-eng/
    which also was designed to be drop-safe and had capacity of 8. Both seems to be roughly similar in terms of size and weight, so I am wondering which one was more expensive and that time?

  2. I’m going to go with “German nonsense”, based on past experience with the gun. Between the gas system turning the thing into a source of severe burns during training drills, and the idiosyncratic squeeze cocker, well… It’s just not a practical gun, unless it’s the only damn thing available to you, and you don’t mind not being able to train effectively with it. Add in the traditional HK expense, lousy support, and… Y’all can keep it.

    • Maybe the nonsense was a response to idiots on the force who played with their side-arms and shot each other by accident!

      • Playing range safety, I think I actually saw more problems with the P7 than anything else from the modern era. The mechanism would be just fine–If the owners would stick to it, and not have any other pistol. The problems all come from the fact that a lot of P7 shooters were also Glock shooters, and revolver shooters, and… Well you get the idea: Unless you exclusively use a P7, the resultant confusion created by that thing and the muscle memory you build up with other designs just leads to chaos. Use one exclusively, it’s not too bad. Try to make it a semi-serious part of your collection, and it’s a recipe for disaster. I know one cop who tried carrying one as a back-up; he shot himself with it, because he forgot that it wasn’t his duty pistol, and forgot to let off the cocking piece before holstering it. Or, so he told the investigators–He mighta just been a dumbass.

        Don’t get me wrong–I like the design. If every other pistol was a similar design, I’d say “Yeah, that’s a great gun…”. But, since every other pistol is actually different, and that difference is enough to really screw up people’s reflexes…?

        • “forgot to let off the cocking piece before holstering it.”

          No, he forgot to take his finger out of the trigger guard. Dude would have had a ND with a Glock, too. If “keep your finger off the trigger unless you are about to shoot” is too high a training hurdle, then that department needs to be disarmed.

          • Nope; he got the thumb tab from the IWB holster crammed into the trigger guard, and still had the pistol cocked. Bang. Witnesses confirmed that his finger was alongside the frame when it fired, because the range safety was monitoring him while he did his pistol qual for backup and off-duty carry.

            His normal duty pistol was a Smith & Wesson something39 or 59; he wasn’t a complete idiot with a handgun, it’s just that the muscle memory was very ingrained in him from his normal duty weapon.

        • “The mechanism would be just fine–If the owners would stick to it, and not have any other pistol.”

          Could not agree more.

          • Actually this is a reply to Kirk above: You’re saying he forgot to uncock his pistol by using the same iron grip to holster it as to shoot it, and he later said the holster thumbstrap got into the trigger guard. Seems, if he wasn’t fibbing, that the same accident would have happened with a chambered Glock or any of its imitators, with a Springfield XD if he was gripping it hard, perhaps even with his double-action S & W or similar DA or DAO automatic with a light enough trigger pull, or even a revolver (and I have heard of DA revolvers with too-wide triggers going off when holstered). I think this is a case of man not gun and therefore invalid argument; I would like to hear about these other P7 accidents before I agree that a P7 is statistically unsafe as a Glock.

  3. A smart pistol and nice explanation. We had in on menu before, but it does not hurt to come back to it again. Thanks Ian.

    From American point of view, innovations present on it were not appreciated and I understand why – they prefer Browning action on their guns. It takes lots of effort to convince them otherwise; case in point being M92/ M9. It can be done, but HK apparently did not want to proceed with it. You do what your customer asks for, right?

    To me, this is indeed work in progress and it garners my admiration. When comes to heat issue, my thinking is based on more conservative view. My suggestion would be: how many shots you need to fire to be comfortable with results on target and in what kind of sequence/ firing regime? And, how much you want to invest into your “training” and where is its reasonable boundary? Here Ian is quite right saying that during practical use you do not come even close to being ‘burned’.

    • I think main problem was not gas-delayed action, but rather that front strip. After all if you are accustomed to grip safety in backstrap, then this solution looks like “being on wrong side”.
      Also while that front strip is… hmm… brutally effective in preventing discharges it looks somewhat… “ungerman” to me, as lacking finesse.

    • “M9”
      I must add there that this automatic pistol became default U.S. forces automatic pistol after controversial XM9, nonetheless still P7 has much smaller capacity (8) than M9 (15), which is significant disadvantage.

      • The version tested by the US Army in the trials that resulted in the M9 was the P7M13–Or, at least, that’s the one I remember seeing in all the pictures and articles about the trials.

        I am of the opinion that weapons trials in the US aren’t really trials, per se: They’re more marketing opportunities for the various weapons producers, particularly in small arms. The weapon selected is almost always not going to be the one that “won” the trials–It’s gonna be the one that offers the best deal, and/or is politically expedient. The pistol that actually “won” the M9 trials was the SIG-Sauer P226; the gun that “won” the coax machinegun trials back when we adopted the M240 was actually the battlefield pick-up PKT they threw in there as a control. As a confirmed cynic, my opinion of most US small arms trials is that they have more in common with the Miss Universe pageant than they do with any real sort of honest weapons trial.

        • ‘They’re more marketing opportunities for the various weapons producers….’

          This is farcical, if not outright scandalous; don’t you think?

          • This is the point, some people want the best looking item bought at a ludicrously low price. Good looking, yes. Best performing, maybe not! And don’t get started on why the AR-10 got rejected for American service, as it is said in some circles that Ordnance personnel sabotaged the submitted weapon with a sledgehammer and a bottle of nitric acid while the trials participants were at lunch. The brass blamed the damage on “bad packaging and handling by the contestant” and refused to admit to tampering when confronted with the contradictory evidence, to the point of threatening Armalite’s representatives with “shooting range accidental death” if they insisted on their demands for a retrial. No, really…

          • It is what it is. As a former US soldier of long service, I’m pretty much resigned to making do with whatever they hand me, and taking the historical long view, I’m actually tolerant of dealing with what I’ve got today. At least, I’m not trying to make a Springfield .45/70 make do against Indians with various models of Winchester repeaters… Or, the poor schmuck handed a developmentally-immature M16 in Vietnam, because some set of boobs wanted SPIW to go through, when and if they ever fixed it…

            Overall? Meh… Could be worse. At least, most of what we’ve got today can be made to work, and that radio over there in the corner has hot and cold running 500lb bombs on tap, 24/7…

        • There seems to have been two Army M9 trials, one in the late 70s and one in the mid 80s. The second trial was after the Air Force selected the Beretta 92 as the replacement for the S&W Model 15. The second Army trial delayed Air Force deliveries by 2 years.

          • Mmmm… No. That wasn’t what happened. At all. The Joint Services Small Arms Program started back in the mid-1970s, and while you’re right that the Beretta won that first round in 1977, the problem with the trials was that the Air Force put their thumb on the scale by testing against a control group of M1911A1 pistols with worn-out magazines. It’s the same crap they did with the M4 against the M8–Use rack-grade weapons pulled from the existing fleet, use used magazines, and put the combination up against brand-new weapons with full factory support. The Army rightly called “BS” on that, and they made them re-run the tests starting again in 1983. The Beretta actually did slightly worse than the SIG-Sauer, but Beretta made a better offer.

            Honestly, though–The best pistol on the market at the time wasn’t even considered, because of how they wrote the contract specifications. Which was a bit of a crock, IMHO. Glock would have walked away with the trials, especially from a maintenance standpoint. That damn Beretta is a friggin’ maintenance nightmare to keep working–And, God help the poor bastard that tries to detail-strip that bugger outside of a dust box. Springs everywhere…

      • It would not be very practical and hard on barrel breech end facing hard impact if cartridge is not present, but it is doable. I believe we had in past one such case on some SMG. I recall, charging handle temporarily disconnected return spring. This would be hard to do on pistol though.

        • Thanks for your replies. But with those in mind I bring up another 9mm such as the BHP that uses a spring only. Was the H&K gas system in place to compensate for less mass in the slide?

          • You are welcome Dave. As you already may know, pure blow-back with 9mm Luger on pistol is not a realistic proposition. One thing is to get bullet out of barrel, the other is what happens afterword. You’ve got to tame it somehow.

            Daweo mentioned earlier French PA15 as an alternative to pin-and-link action. It worked and it was accurate. Shame it was not widely adopted and offered to U.S. service. Another one was vz.52 which might have worked well in 9mm but was pruned onto 7.62 Tok. instead; not really best solution.

          • “pure blow-back with 9mm Luger on pistol is not a realistic proposition”
            Well, you can make such automatic pistol, but in such case you need to except limited service life and/or big force needed to operated it and/or peculiar manual of arms. One historical example is Walther Modell 6, see photos: http://historypistols.ru/blog/pistolety-pod-unitarnyj-patron-avtomaticheskie/pistolet-valter-model-6-walther-model-6/
            Germany during World War II bought some ASTRA 600 automatic pistols, but note that they were facing shortage of automatic pistols firing 9×19 Parabellum cartridge, at that time.

        • “disconnected return spring”
          Well, there was blow-back automatic pistol firing 9×19 Parabellum cartridge having this feature, namely Dreyse: general description: https://unblinkingeye.com/Guns/D9mm/d9mm.html disconnect: https://unblinkingeye.com/Guns/D9mm/D9-05/d9-05.html
          Creating disconnecting mechanism is possible, but not easy, as one hand it should be easily activated without needing use of excessive force from user, yet staying positively inactive during firing.

        • There is of course the option used in some blowback pistol designs from the early twentieth century

          Especially if the pistol was being designed for use by ladies and gentlemen who had very little strength in their hands.

          That was the tip up barrel, to allow the chamber to be loaded or unloaded without having to wrestle with the recoil spring.

  4. I bought three when the German police turn-ins hit the US market a few years ago. I love ’em.

    As an engineer I appreciate the mechanical features of the gun. It’s inherently safe, but it *always* fires when used correctly. In many thousands of rounds shot from my three examples I can count the malfs which were the fault of the gun (and not my carelessness) on one hand. Most of those were due to me deliberately challenging the gun with some of my junk reloads.

    As a shooter I like the fact that it can be carried safely with a round in the chamber, yet put instantly into action simply by gripping it properly.

    It’s flat shape makes it easy to carry concealed. The layout gives a 4.24″ barrel length in a gun the size of some compact pistols. The sights are not target grade, but quick and easy to use and more than adequate for self-defense use.

    The magazines are expensive but worth it. They are rugged and work as close to perfectly as we’re likely to get.

  5. There looks like sufficient material on either side of the delaying cylinder to bore a cooling channel. Perhaps with a flange near the piston pivot there may even be some forced air. I would consult with Isaac Newton … Lewis to see what he thought.

  6. Great video.

    I really like the P7.

    First time I shot it, I loaded up, and fired a magazine at 7 yards. Quickly. Result, one ragged hole at point of aim. Despite its size, very quick recovery, on a par with a Glock or GP35. Awesome.

    Eject mag, reload, and, er, how do I get the slide to go forward? No lever. Try overhand, does not work. You have to release the frontstrap and squeeze again. Forgot that.

    And that’s the design flaw. In the real world, any user will instinctively hang on to the weapon for dear life. In a dynamic environment, releasing the grip thing is not on. You won’t do it. You may drop it if you do. Yes, you can train through that, if this is the only pistol you train on, but it still requires you to act against adrenalised fight/flight imperatives. Which is not good.

    A shame. It’s an excellent pistol. It is just big enough for uniformed duty and just small enough for concealed. It is stupidly easy to hit with. The squeeze thing forces a good grip.

    The heat issue should not have been an issue. Adapt your training programmes accordingly. Yes, it gets hot after 50-100 rounds rapid, but that is not what will be fired in the real world. 90% (made up but probably accurate figure) of gunfights end within one magazine or less. Pace the training on the 7 with more breaks, whether water, cafffeine, or just general downtime and chat.

    Basically, an extraordinarily effective bit of kit, and, apart from the reload issue, as good as, or better than, anything made since.

    And, Ian, check your trigger control. First pad, or (some argue) first joint.

    • “The heat issue should not have been an issue.”
      Crucial question here: how many ammunition were intended to carry for their P7? I suspect not enough to overheat – in other words, they would have depleted ammo, before problem with heat arise.

  7. Who was the intended user? A German Border patrol supervisor who carried the pistol for an emblem of rank. A few others did, too, but HK RIFLES were the norm for them on duty.

    The Germans have been using all sorts of “small” pistols for a long time, and weren’t caught up in the growth of double stack combat handguns as much as others. Those pistols were most often in a belt holster – plenty of which accompanied them for resale when cycled out of inventory.

    With that in mind, how often do Germans shoot drills and practice? Not as much as many competitive American shooters – like our Police. they shot familiarization and qualifications. Weekly/monthly was reserved for RDF/Incident troops who likely carried something different. Just as ours do.

    The P7 is “quirky” at best and saying it should be used exclusively isn’t wrong. When you look at who is buying them up – and they are FAR from cheap, unlike a lot of other police duty firearms sold at the end of life – you see people who want it specifically for CCW – that is where the focus is. A light(er) small 9mm with excellent quality, one with a magazine that fits the quantity needed for people who do NOT run to the sound of gunfire. It’s awkward hustling your wife and kids out of a hostile fire zone as it is.

    In that light, the P7 is exactly what a CCW needs – it’s more safe than any other as it is always uncocked in carry, and the single stack magazine with low quantity is a good compromise for carry. If you only carry it most of the time, no problems. A spare mag? You could almost feel it’s no problem using the German heel catch – once again, you are not running to gunfire, you are avoiding it.

    I’m just not willing to part with four figure pricing when it originally sold for half – CCW users and collectors have high regard for it, and are willing to bid it up. It’s a loyal crowd and the few on the market are not getting cheaper. Reproducing them won’t happen – some writers have stated the slide alone cost more than a whole Glock. And that is exactly what happened, typical German overengineering to provide features that only their government required. It truly is unique – but all said and done, it’s just a bullet launching platform. It’s the ammo that does the work, and men make too much of what holds and directs the bullet. Badge of distinction and tool of competition is how we measure ourselves.

  8. Very attractive pistol molded in an unpractical lay out.

    Cocking lever needs some force to be squezzed and retaining lever holds it in cocked position with much little force than squezzing but, with a wounded or
    weak hand it can not be held in minutes. Besides, when the front strap is released, a loud “Lack” is heard.

    Striker front travel is limited by striker safety which is a piece of steel sheet and when dry fired, this piece is forged resulting breakage.

    Striker safety keeps its place only under force of its little torsion spring and when firing +P ammo it leaves its place and its duty througn inertia as suddenly forming the pistol into a piece of metal.

    Striker plug closing its tunnel at the rear, is freely moves back and forth through inertia resulting breakage.

  9. The worst feature of the P7 is the fact that it can be fired more than one way. Like if you squeeze the cocking lever while accidentally putting pressure on the trigger. In this respect, it acts a lot like a Winchester Model 1897 shotgun.

    As for CCW, it’s a risky proposition. Because in a situation where the police are involved, when you are told to “put down the weapon”, releasing the frontstrap makes a distinctive and loud clack that sounds a great deal like a hammer falling on an empty chamber or a dud primer.

    Considering how little most cops know about even their own sidearms, let alone pistols generally (I know because I used to teach such things), you would probably be shot several times by the officer as a response.

    And the review board, or even a grand jury, would very likely rule your death justified, because you put him in fear of his life with that “clack”.

    Incidentally, I once disposed of an HK USP .45 precisely because it made “clacking” sounds when handled. I never did figure out exactly what was loose inside (I suspect it was the disconnector), but I prefer sidearms that don’t “speak up” at odd moments.

    cheers

    eon

  10. I wanted one in the 1990s.

    The only ones I was seeing on the market around then were built around the 13 shot mag.

    I’ve got larger than average hands, but I still found the grip of the P7 M13 too large for a natural and comfortable hold.

    For its time, the P7 was a remarkable little gun; Low bore line, nice sights, comfortable grip on the M8…

    Things have changed a lot since then, with the flood of glockenspawn, that do much the same thing, without the premium pricing.

    And… I couldn’t even have legally got my hands on one of the second hand ones when the west German politicians decided that it was time their friends in the German gun industry got another big helping of OPM (politics is a hard life, votes to buy and sinecures to secure, all paid for with other people’s money).

    I was (and still am) being collectively punished for something that I wasn’t involved in; sigh.

    • I guess your past wishes were/are hypothetical ones, given current UK gun legislature. Even if you had purchased one it would end up in state’s hands.

      • Hi Denny,
        Yeah, Unfortunately. Collective punishment.

        The guy who owned an indoor range that I used to shoot at, and stored a pistol at for a while, had borrowed a lot of money to develop the place.

        When the confiscations happened, businesses were not compensated. The guy was forced into bankruptcy, he lost everything and took his own life. 🙁 it wasn’t a happy time.

  11. A couple of minor quibbles

    The “intrinsic accuracy” of a pistol with a barrel that is fixed to the grip frame, is only realised when you are shooting it from a machine rest. It has precious little value when the sights are attached to a completely different assembly like a slide, that has to have working clearances.

    The West German bureaucrapic specifications that the P7 was developed to meet, had very strict limits on size, and very few existing 9 x19mm pistol met those limits, adding in the de cocking and firing pin safety requirements, successfully eliminated any of the existing pistols that might have met the size requirements.

    The three pistols developed to meet the specs all have a shorter sighting radius than the previously existing full size 9x19mm military style pistols, such as the full size Browning GP35 (High power), the 9mm 1911s, S&Ws, Cz75s, Llamas, Berettas etc.
    So, (all else being kept the same), for any standard of sight picture, the German police guns would have a greater dispersion than the gun with the longer sighting radius

    And even assuming perfect sight alignment, and everything else kept the same… for any given tolerance of slide rail fit, the pistol with the shorter slide will give greater dispersion.

    The marketing claims of greater accuracy due to the barrel being permanently attached to the grip frame, may have impressed the bureaucrats who wrote the requirements, or the sort of gunzine writer, who regurgitates press releases from the marketing department of his favourite manufacturers, without any critical scrutiny, but the claim does not withstand any sort of close scrutiny.

    The claims that the gas piston “delays”

    In the sense of delaying the early movement of the slide and preventing the case walls from being exposed during the period of high breech pressure- as something like lever delay or roller delay does

    Does not withstand scrutiny either. I think that most of the commentariate here are clear that the gas system acts to buffer the slide much later in its travel, and reduces the need for a very heavy recoil spring.

    There is only the inertia of that little slide acting during the period of high chamber pressure.

    I know that the literature overwhelming describes the system as “gas delay”, but it really is not, it’s gas buffering.

    I don’t know what the general durability of the P7 is like in its fully developed form.

    H&K were given several goes at the durability test for acceptance, before they produced guns that met the requirements.

    Its not necessarily a bad thing, as it shows that the guns were not over designed. At least not in the areas that were breaking.

    • I’m not handgun expert, but it seems to me that fixed barrel and better accuracy is linked to what happens after the trigger is pulled (because you do not have backwards movement of barrel), and not around the sight radius; that are two different things, Id say.

    • ‘The “intrinsic accuracy” of a pistol with a barrel that is fixed to the grip frame, is only realised when you are shooting it from a machine rest. It has precious little value when the sights are attached to a completely different assembly like a slide, that has to have working clearances.’ – incorrect on several levels.

      The factors contributing to inaccuracy are many, and cumulative. Loose mechanical tolerances such as you described; human factors (trigger squeeze, breath control); and aspects of the user interface (sight quality, trigger, suitable grip, etc.) all add up.

      A fixed barrel eliminates not one, but at least two potential sources of looseness in the mechanism (the other being slop in a barrel bushing, since none is required). Furthermore, it reduces another that you yourself described: the working clearances required by the slide, which doesn’t need to permit any off-axis movement by the barrel, but requires only the bare minimum to slide smoothly straight backward.

      Claiming one or more of these factors is insignificant or irrelevant because the other, contributing factor(s) exist is like refusing to exercise or limit saturated fats because family history means you’re going to get heart disease anyway. The exact opposite is true.

  12. The good accuracy of the P7 in practical pistol and two gun matches probably has far more to do with good sights, very low bore line and a grip which both aids natural pointing, and demands a firm hold.

    Than it has to do with whether the barrel recoils within the gun or not.

    All pistol barrels recoil and tilt! Simply because the human hand that is holding the gun, gives slightly, and is positioned below the bore line.

    As a wider point, almost any rifle being fired with a human shoulder behind will “compensate”. it’s not something that is unique to Lee actions (and I seriously question how much of the talk about Lee actions compensating, is bs).

    In pistols which do have tilting barrel locking, the initial movement of the slide and barrel, while the bullet is still in the bore, is in a straight line.

    It needs to be, even in a pistol with a swinging link, like a 1911. The designer is not going to have the locking surfaces grinding over each other under conditions of high breech pressure.

    The other reason is to allow sufficient free travel to absolutely positively ensure that the barrel is locked, before the disconnecter can work it’s way up into its cut out in the slide, even allowing for the most adverse combination of manufacturing tolerances, and a good deal of wear. Every successful designer took especial care to make sure that his work guarded against out of battery firing.

    The straight line travel is most easily appreciated in guns which have an enclosed camming track, like the Petter inspired SIG p210, the CZ75 and the lovely little French gun that preceded them.

    If you are concerned about the barrel tilting, there are instructions out there for putting additional springs in that will bias the barrel upwards. I haven’t seen them circulating recently, which I suspect means that it’s just not worth the effort.

  13. Perhaps I’m stealing Ian’s thunder here…

    Vector produced a cute rounded little gas buffered blowback 9mm for ccw.

    I can’t remember the problems that they were recalled for.

  14. Movies: Once upon a time the villains all had Lugers; then they had P7s: Alan Rickman in “Die Hard,” Tommy Lee Jones in “Under Siege,” and Christopher Walken in “True Romance.” The exception was in Hong Kong’s cinema, the hero’s sponsor Mr. Dragon carried a back-up P7 in “God of the Gamblers” starring Chow Yun-Fat.

    Cons: The other problem with the flapper magazine release: sometimes mistaken for a slide lock. Reload, hit “slide release,” squeeze to cock, and you’ve got an empty gun. Have to learn how to keep your thumbs to yourself. Yes it was complicated and expensive. Yes it got hot. Yes it was oddball. Yes the bluing was not too durable and the re-bluing jobs from the factory that turned purple are just durned strange. I admit it.

    Queries: All you guys complaining of the decocking “click:” find me one case of a innocent civilian user who got shot by police who could somehow hear it and mistake it for a threatening hammer pullback. Find me some more unintentional discharges like so frequentliy happen with Glocks and their ilk with so-called “safe-action” triggers and tell me the statistical difference isn’t staggering.

    Pros: Points well, shoots great, exceedingly malfunction-free. FIRST PISTOL EVER WITH THREE-DOT SIGHTS. Someone also forgot to mention the polygonal rifling — quickly adopted by Herr Glock. Good small size and heft. Doesn’t snag on anything. Relatively childproof because little junior can’t squeeze that hard, if you were careless enough to leave your loaded P7 lying around. Still the best idea ever for a safe one-hand gun, and really not executed all that badly.

    Wishes: Further development of the squeeze cocker, which obviates so many problems of trigger pull and everyday safety. Perhaps when HK’s patents have expired, perhaps someone can produce for us a polymer-framed squeeze cocking fully ambidextrous pistol, perhaps with a rotating barrel lock or Browning tilt-lock or Mauser-P38-Beretta-Archon dropping lock, and an ambidextrous button mag release a la CZ82 or Ruger, and an ambidextrous conventional slide release, and a simpler drop safety, and please keep the polygonal rifling and the vertical magazine if you can, and I’ll bet someone can engineer it to fit under Glock slides and barrels, and then we’ll have the perfect carry gun, if a little ugly. You can keep the gas-delay mechanism too, if it can be made easier to keep clean.

    • “Someone also forgot to mention the polygonal rifling — quickly adopted by Herr Glock”
      Now provide evidence Glock implemented polygonal rifling as knock-off of P7 and not Steyr GB and not MG3 and not some other much earlier design like for example, as it was already used in 19th century metallic-cartridge fire-arm namely Peabody-Martini.

      • Dear Mr. D:

        PSP: released 1976. Glock first began development: 1981. Steyr GB designed, allegedly, in 1968 but not produced until 1982 unless my source is wrong. Incidentally HK beat Glock to a polymer frame with the even earlier VP70.

        I’m not saying Glock stole anything, and I’m not saying HK invented polygonal rifling — you might have mentioned the Whitworth rifles and artillery as well. I’m saying HK went with polygonal rifling at great expense as a superior system, that it should be mentioned as one of the many positive qualities of the 9mm P7 series, and Herr Glock (have you read “Glock: the Rise of America’s Gun” by Paul W. Barrett?), recognizing its advantages and not having a bunch of rifling machines to amortize, adopted the same system. That the P7 was in service for five years, proving the durability of polygonal rifling in a pistol, is circumstantial evidence for Glock noticing it. And I think Steyr, his competitor, would not have shown him the GB design; therefore I deduce that HK was the obvious model.

        As noted on FW, and a few other places, Glock deserves his greatest credit for assembling many previous good ideas rather than inventing anything startlingly new of his own. His insistence on reliability and durability of his product is to his honor as well.

        I hope I have made my case on this very minor point. In the meantime I thank you for your many contributions to this site, which have given me both education and enjoyment.

  15. Yeah; H&K had a string of patents for things from the past.

    I don’t know whether it’s plain ignorance of history, or something worse than innocent ignorance, that had gunzine writers praising the features as cutting edge innovations, and the gunzine editors (who I’d have hoped should know better), letting such crap go to press.

    Lancaster “oval bore” was a two groove nineteenth century version of what H&K patented in 4 groove form.

    Metford “segmental” rifling was effectively the same thing, and it worked well with hard chromium plating in the bore.

    Incidentally, there was a squeeze cocking adaptation of the 1911, from a long time before the P7 was developed

    The 1911 version used a lever on the back strap of the grip. I’m not sure whether it was a simple drop in part, or whether the gun required some preparation and fitting first.

    • The 1911 version was called the Ace, I think, but the hammer had to be held at half-cock and the firing pin was unlocked. Not drop-safe, nor compact. Presuming HK saw and adapted it, they certainly improved it. That the cocker was also the slide release seems certainly their own idea. In those days, when the idea of training for an SA/DA trigger pull was anathema to so many, and “cocked and locked” considered unsafe (pre-Series 80 1911), the P7 idea seems to me still a brilliant solution to the question of achieving consistent trigger-pull in a one-handed semi-auto fast-draw service pistol.

  16. Just thinking about the move vertical mag…

    First of all, it needs to be out of the way October the cocking lever, which suggests the steeper orientation.

    Secondly, I bet that that little slide cycles very quickly

    And more vertical slide is one way to speed up the raising of a full column of ammunition in the mag, without having to go to an uncomfortably strong mag follower spring

    Lahti, used a brutally strong mag springs in the L35 pistol, which combines a fast moving light bolt, and a nicely raked grip angle. The mag spring is so strong that it is painful to fill a magazine without the tool to depress the follower.

    Lahti also limited his options by using a rotating hammer mechanism inside the back strap of the grip. There wasn’t room to stand the mag at a steeper angle without lessening the rake of the grip as well.

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