HK P7 is not a Service Pistol

Now before the HK fan-boy’s get butt-hurt and start dropping in photos, pictures and links of various departments and agencies that have issued the HK P7, read this to the end. I have a real life, personal story I can share about that. 

The Good

Now…what is there to like about the HK P7 (and all variants of the squeeze-cocker / staple gun designs)? For one, they are super cool. German made. High quality. And a very unique design in a world where every modern service pistol / duty weapon is functionally the same. 

The P7 will always be cool.

Two. The single stack variant is quite thin. Which means it is easy to conceal for most people. 

Three. The squeeze cocker design is inherently “safe” for very unorthodox and deep concealment carry methods. I am sure this is lost on most readers today, since everyone is a Tier-1-Ninja who does everything by the book. But back in the day, it was very common to carry a pistol without a holster. Hiding a pistol in a pocket, or down your pants, or in the small of your back, or in a bag isn’t popular these days. But before every Joe was making Kydex holsters for modern, striker-fired guns; getting a holster might have been a challenge. Getting one for an odd gun was even more challenging. And getting one suitable for deep concealment was practically impossible. 

I have known a few cops who carried the P7 while working undercover. Without a holster. Because having a holster was a “tell” you were a cop. And having a holster makes discreetly “dumping” or hiding a gun in an emergency very hard. Again…concepts not commonly recognized today. The P7 excels at that. 

And it goes without saying…they are so uncommon that should a bad guy get a hold of your gun, that squeeze cocker might buy you a few seconds to bash the guy’s face in. We’ve all heard the stories. I’ve never personally bothered to confirm any. Typically because the officer involved had a commission with a far off PD in Never-Never-Land. But I digress.

Four. Hans Gruber. The Die Hard movie. Because why not? Nerds gonna nerd. 

Hans Gruber MADE this pistol popular. Which probably explains why it fails so hard in the real world.

Now for the Bad

All of these squeeze cocker guns have an inherent flaw when trying to stick them into the service pistol column. The action. In particular the delayed-blowback, gas-piston system. Don’t get me wrong. It works. Seems to work well. But the flaw is…the gun eats it’s own gas. Steaming, hot, burning gas. And that heat migrates through the metal parts of the gun into the shooter’s hand. 

Explanation of the gas piston on the HK P7

Not really a big deal for most people and most guns. Because most people don’t actually shoot that much. Even folks who are issued guns for a living spend way, way, way more time carrying a gun than shooting it. 

But of course…if you read the gun forums…everybody has thousands and thousands of rounds through their pistols, “trouble free” for many years. Coincidentally these same folks tend to post photos of these same guns that are 90%-95%-99% condition. Things that make you go, Hmmmm. But there I go digressing again. 

Her Department Issued Her a P7

Some years ago I was attending a training and in our class was a female police officer from far, far away. Likely in the same Never-Never-Land PD mentioned earlier. And, Boy! Let me tell ya! Her PD must have had money. Buckets of it. She had nice gear and nice guns. And her PD was paying money to send her to some pretty high-levels of firearms training. She even arrived with a few cases of PD issued duty ammo. 

HK P7 is not a good service pistol. No fancy grips don’t help fight the heat.

And guess what kind of gun she had? One of those HK P7 squeeze cockers. She didn’t pick it out. It was issued to her. I never found out if it was one of a few makes on an approved list? Or if the entire NNLPD issued them?

But what was painfully obvious…literally painfully…was that someone over at NNLPD was a gun nerd. Probably a member of the HK gun forum. Maybe it was the chief? Maybe it was the FTO? Maybe it was their head firearms instructor? Dunno. And don’t care. But whomever it was…they screwed her and me! Because at this training, since we both arrived solo, we got stuck together as partners. 

Most P7’s for sale are in collector grade with original box for a reason.

So any problems she had, I had. And before lunch the first day, WE had major problems. I was running a 45 caliber 1911 with 8 round mags. Which already sucks. So I’m throwing reloads into my gun about as fast as you could blink your eye, and she never seemed to pick up the pace to reload much at all. Which held us both back. I was blasting away trying to keep up with the wonder-9’s and she was literally one shot at a target. Sometimes skipping targets all together. As a team, WE were the preverbal George and Gracie act. Always bringing up the rear and not communicating well. 

Soon I noticed…she started constantly disappearing. Not being a controlling ogre, I don’t question woman about where or why they dip. None of my business. Besides, I’ve been acquainted with this woman for about 3 hours and WE are not clicking at all! 

Here is one that hashed the markings fluffed by collectors for glamour shots.

Eventually I figured it out. She wasn’t running to the bathroom. Getting out of the sun. Or finding any free moment to sit in a chair. What she was doing was scooping handfuls of ice out of a cooler and holding the ice, in her bare hand, against her gun. Her P7 gun. Her metal framed, delayed gas-piston, German-engineered heat-sink. Shooting line. Ice chest. Shooting line. Ice chest. Rinse and repeat. 

She was storing ice in her pockets on the line. Holding ice in her hand when not at the ice chest. Alternately BURNING her hands on the pistol and FROSTBITING her hands on ice. At. The. Same. Damn. Time! 

Interesting cutaway of a P7.

Bullshit internet alert: right now someone is reading this and going to not accept or understand what I just described. Somehow you’ll be smarter than everyone else, and she’s dumb. Because this will never happen to you. So let me tell you want happened next: 

As she is explaining to me what is going on, this is the first time I am hearing the concepts. At that moment, I didn’t even understand understand how a P7 really worked. I just politely asked her if could see her gun for a minute? She motions with approval and hands me the P7, which she is still holding in her right hand, while holding ice against it with her left. 

I didn’t get my grip completely around the pistol before I involuntarily dropped it on a table with a loud thud! To this day I don’t know if the weapon was loaded or empty since I never held it long enough to even chamber-check it! It burned my shooting hand enough that I still was feeling the tingle in my skin the next morning. 

Some variants have American style mag releases. If a gun is too hot to shoot, you certainly won’t be sweating fast mag changes.

It was bad. Very, very bad. Out of control bad. And she was suffering in silence not wanting to ask for help because…maybe I didn’t seem like I was open to help her? Maybe she didn’t want to seem, “like a girl”. Maybe she was inexperienced and just didn’t know any better? 

But as hot as that gun was? And as long she held in there? She was a bad-ass. A straight-up bad-ass. More bad-ass than me. I couldn’t even hang for 2 seconds on that HK P7.

She ended up finishing the class with a borrowed gun. Thus choosing to take off her duty belt since none of the mag pouches and holster worked with it. Remember, it was NNLPD who was paying for all of this to “theoretically” make her a better street cop. They wasted their money. 

Conclusions

Everybody failed her that day. The Never-Never-Land PD failed her. Her Chief failed her. Her FTO’s failed her. The firearms training staff failed her. HK failed her. The training facility she was at failed her. The instructors all up and down that range failed her. And most importantly…the one person closest by when all this nonsense was happening failed her: me. 

So when I see a P7 squeeze cocker pistol, I think of 3 things:

  1. The HK P7 is a straight-up joke as a service weapon. 
  2. Pay more attention to the needs of people around you. 
  3. Women have a higher tolerance for pain and bullshit than men. 

 

 

Marky 

www.John1911.com

“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”

Marky Mark

Marky Mark

Writer at John1911.com
Writer for john1911.com. Co-Host of the John1911 Podcast. Video content provider for John1911-TV.

Areas of focus: Defense and National Security, Modern Light Weapons, Small Arms, Weapons Training.
Marky Mark

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