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H&K P7: The most well-designed, obsolete pistol? (Feat. Josh Mazzola, USPSA Grand Master) (Milsurp)


Welcome to 9 Hole Reviews. Today we
look at one of the pistols that is widely considered as one of the best
“obsolete pistol” designs and advertised at the time as “the most expensive
handgun in the world” The legendary Heckler & Koch P7 and
later in this video we hear from USPSA grand master class shooter Josh Mazzola
on his thoughts on handling the P7 The year was 1972 when a terror cell took
members of the Israeli Olympic team hostage and the West German police learned
that they were woefully unprepared for the worst Subsequently the West German
police re-examined their equipment at that moment, most West German police units were
using sidearms such as the Walther PP in .32 ACP commercial solicitations
resulted in three winning bids the Walther P5 the Sig Sauer P225, designated as
the P6, and the H&K P7 Of the three pistols, the P7 was famously adopted by
the Grenzschutzgruppe 9, or GSG-9 a tier 1 counter terror unit under the
Bundespolizei. The P7 is currently still in service with some units such as a
Bavarian police. Our review subject for this video is an H&K P7 PSP model.
This particular pistol still bears memories from the Cold War with its “Made
in West Germany” stampings and it also has an “NDS” stamp designating
it as a former “Polizei Niedersachson”, or Lower Saxony police service pistol.
Pistols from the 70’s had to either shoot anemic cartridges such as the 32 acp to
be concealable, or it would have to be heavy and widely un-concealable to
chamber at least a 9mm Luger considering that Glocks didn’t even
exist at the time of development the P7 truly was a firearms technological
wonder, as an accurate, relatively small, compact, and safe police pistol to carry
and shoot Hollywood seems to think that the P7 is
a pistol of choice for upper-class German movie villains the infamous Hans
Gruber from the original Die Hard Iconicized the P7 on the silver screen ” I’m telling you, you’ll just have to kill me” “okay” The lesser-known Bond villain from “Die
Another Day”, Dr. Kaufman and his ridiculous German accent “I am a professor
of forensic medicine; believe me Mr Bond I could shoot you from Stuttgart and
still creates a proper effect” So let’s shoot it! The pistol is incredibly
accurate for a duty weapon From 10 yards off-hand we shot a 2.2 inch “9 hole” group in the tactical bays, the 40-year old pistol was no slouch either. The
small frame was easy to carry, holster, and then fire at multiple targets in
short time frames. The recoil was controllable, and felt like a full-sized
pistol. The 8-round pistol was clearly not a modern high-capacity
pistol. Reloading the p7 PSP model took some practice As they used the European
heel release, these are ideal for concealment as they do not snag on
clothing; however for the North American shooter we have to re-wire our minds to
shoot these proficiently the later P7M8 and P7M13 models were sold with paddle
releases with the North American market in mind The p7 was reliable. It operates
on a “gas delayed blowback system” which siphons gas pressure from the fired
cartridge to force a slide in a locked position until the bullet leaves a
barrel. This mechanism allows for the pistol to use a significantly smaller
slide with a fixed barrel while achieving a good lock up during ignition
for great accuracy and less felt recoil from a smaller mass traveling. In fact,
if you look back into the chamber of the P7, you will find flutes. The pistol is
actually capable of ejecting spent casings without the extractor installed.
The flutes float and shoot the casings out leaving a tell-tale soot print on
the ejected casing. We must note that the gas system gets the front of the
slide extremely hot when shooting in great quantities. The squeeze cocking
safety is one of the most iconic features of the pistol. Once the lever is
squeezed, it cocks a firing pin; meaning the trigger is a true single action
trigger. This mechanism yields a very crisp 4-pound trigger pull. It takes 15
pounds to squeeze a pistol but less than 2 pounds to hold it. That way the squeeze
doesn’t affect the shooters grip The squeeze cocker also doubles as a slide release, simplifying the operating mechanism and decreasing snag points on
the pistol by eliminating a slide release From the law enforcement
perspective the squeeze cocking design is ideal because the firing pin is
entirely disengaged when not cocked In fact there are documented cases where
criminals fail to discharge an officer’s P7 after they’d taken it. The pistols
were also dropped from buildings to test for accidental discharges; there were
none. The 110 degree grip angle was also designed around human physiology as that
is a natural angle of our palms when we point our fingers. The magazines were designed to insert at a much straighter angle, making full use of the
space in the grip, presenting the cartridges as far back as possible. This
gives the small pistol a 4.1 inch barrel To put that into perspective the P7 has
a longer barrel than a Glock 19, but a shorter overall length in the Glock 19
The P7 is closer to the size of a Walther PPK. but as a controllability of
a full-sized pistol. Furthermore, the magazine was also designed to where the
cartridges are almost directly in line with a barrel. Cartridges barely touch a
feed ramp, making feeding hollow points exceedingly reliable. The fixed barrel
has true polygonal rifling Looking through it, you will see that it almost
looks like a wavy smoothbore This type of rifling is easier to clean, seals the
bullet better, and lasts longer and is accurate The P7’s are expensive… very expensive. They were expensive to produce in the 70s and expensive to acquire in the current collector’s market the price of the P7 did make it
difficult for some agencies to purchase the P7 for the entire police force now let’s turn it over to Josh with his thoughts on the P7 My name is Josh Mazzola. I am
a United States Practical Shooting Association PCC division Grand Master
and a Master class handgun shooter … if we take 650 shooters over the 31,000 we’re
talking about somewhere around 2% of shooters being grand master class
shooters it’s really interesting to be able to see all of these design
innovations that were built into this particular firearm that didn’t
necessarily catch on in the mainstream market of where modern service pistols
went, yet experienced that they actually work really well… and maybe they were a
little bit too expensive maybe they just didn’t catch on at the time, but it’s
still a perfectly functional and viable option for in many cases even today in
the modern service pistol market if we made some small revisions to the gun you can shoot it really fast because of the inherent design features that are
built in, that allow you to control recoil a little bit better. The grip is what you’d find in a full-size handgun but the slide is
significantly shorter getting that full firing grip on the gun allows you to
control recoil really well the recoil in the Walther, which again is
at .380… is substantially more than what’s going on in the P7.
It’s very similar to the CZ, where it has an extremely low bore axis; it’s allowing
the gun to sit lower, or the slide rather to be closer to the “lever”… the “lever
point” and so what that allows you to do is to basically get as high up onto the
gun as possible, to be able to control the recoil you factor those two pieces
together on the P7 and it it really lent itself to be extremely controllable for
a firearm that falls into probably what is the “compact” or maybe
even this weird space between “compact” and “subcompact” handgun I’d also say that
the trigger on this particular gun especially for something that’s like we
might just call “old school” it’s from the 70s or 80s but
really dang good… it’s a solid crisp 4 pound trigger and it it allows you to press off shots that are very well placed, very accurate…
I’m not trying to fight through a very difficult trigger pull in order to get
the the weapon to discharge this gun feels like the trigger’s been worked on
by somebody despite the fact that it’s just a stock trigger just being
able to handle the technology from 30 to 40 years ago that, and it
feels like it would be just as well placed in at home with any of the other
modern guns that I’ve I’ve gotten, I own, and I shoot… and seeing that
realistically it keeps up with all of them was a pretty amazing experience and there you have it. thanks for tuning in to another episode
of 9 Hole Reviews we hope you enjoyed our take on the HMK p7 and until next
time, we’ll see you on the range

100 thoughts on “H&K P7: The most well-designed, obsolete pistol? (Feat. Josh Mazzola, USPSA Grand Master) (Milsurp)

  1. The double stack version holds 13 rounds. I wonder why HK has not reproduced this yet. The demand is there. It should not be nearly as expensive to produce now. In fact, it should cost about the same as most modern handguns to produce. Of course knowing HK, they would still charge way more anyway, haha.

  2. I had a P7-M8 and a P7-M11 for some time (few years actually, late '70s to early '80s I think). The most acurate handguns I've ever owned, period… but heavy, got really hot fast when shot a lot; over complicated and the M11 in particular was a pain to cary concealed IWB.
    Sold them went to P226/P229, then G17/G19 and finaly to G23 and G27. No regrets…

  3. It's such a neat handgun. Far from obsolete, I'd say. I wish HK still made them, and made them less expensive. I'd love to get my Dad one, since he's always wanted one.

  4. Brother you are the only reviewer who cares about the correct pronunciation of other languages words, awesome channel, any idea who makes the holsters of the bavarian police? I discover your channel 3 days ago and watched all your vids, keep up with the good work.

  5. Obsolete? I don't think so. If they could make and still price them for $900-1,000, I would buy one. But now, everyone wants $1,800-2,000!! And half of the P7s I saw were in TERRIBLE condition.
    Brugger & Thomet, could you please buy the rights for this gun and put it back in production like you did with the cool Steyr TMP? They also made a modern version of a WWII "death" pistol that was quieter than any suppressed handgun in existence. Ian reviewed it on his excellent history channel Forgotten weapons.
    Funny thing is the paddle release is still in use. My .45 USP has one. It is NOT difficult to get used to it. I was used to dropping the mag after only 2-3 trips to the range. Oddly, it has an advantage for someone like me since I don't have large hands, if I can't reach the paddle with my shooting thumb, I can drop the mag with my shooting finger! Sometimes, I find myself switching between fingers each time I reload!

  6. The P7 was tested and liked by the DEA in the early 80s, but the gas operating system caused the frame to get too hot and caused burns during normal range training sessions when DEA Basic Agents would fire upwards of a thousand rounds during a 4 hour training block.

  7. another good video. I appreciate the German Police video footage as a German. I won't ask how you get hold of HD German police PR vids……

  8. Yet another excellent review! It’s funny that Sig never performed a drop test on their P320’s in today’s modern market prior to commencing mass production. Meanwhile, H&K has been drop testing their handguns for decades now. 😂

  9. wow … one of the best researched and most professionally produced handgun videos I`ve seen in a while! subscribed. And as a German: I appreciate your proper pronounciation of `Koch` and not as `Coke` 👍

  10. Interesting. You guys should analyze more pistols and their accuracy since I don't find many channels that do accuracy tests with pistols (I know pistol are meant for close range but it still interesting to analyze their accuracy)

  11. I was lucky enough to shoot two of these, one in Manchester NH at a range run by a cop in the 1980s and another was owned by a friend in the UK. The UK gun was moved to the Isle of Man to survive the gun ban. This has always been my favorite 9mm, I simply can't justify the price.

  12. You guys do some really top-notch reviews. I don't think anyone else integrates all the different aspects (a little history, some nice mechanical graphics, some accuracy testing, etc) so well, and in such a nice concise package. And it didn't even have to get any tattoos or yell at us! This channel is definitely the IPA to everyone else is Miller Lite.

  13. I miss mine so much, it's also worth noting some American police agencies bought these and at the end of their service life melted them down instead of selling them. I think it was like Maryland or something weird but a retired LEO made mention of that. I had to hear about it and now so you! >:(

  14. I am a true HK fanboy ..I own more than a few HK's . I have 3 of the p7's including the rare p7 M10 in .40 cal. if I could justify the expense I would get the K3 in .32 /.380 convertible .
    Detroit Police SWAT carried the M13 as their standard sidearm for years.

  15. Great gun…my experience with this type of gun…max 70 rnds can be fired before recoil increases due to gas chamber getting clogged and stoppages start with feeding problems

  16. you got that wrong the gun in tomorrow never dies which is Pierce Brosnan's 2nd bond movie the gun wasn't in die another day

  17. IMO this is the best carry/duty pistol I've ever used (current carry is SIG 1911, with HK P30SK 9mm da/sa as backup, with my HK P2000 V2 LEM as a secondary primary, love that gun). I used the MK23 in service and thought it was the neatest pistol I'd ever operated with. Anyway….shot a Pardini as well alongside the P7 and the P7 as as-good or better. The problem with the P7 is built TOO WELL and too much has gone into it to be marketed effectively….That said, the HK P7 is the gun I arm people i work security with (or a solid 1911, HK P30 DA/SA or LEM, P2000 DA SA or LEM, VP9, G19, G17, and the good ole' Beretta M9, which i happen to love, in spite of using some real clunkers in the army, a good one? One of the best out there. Also available are the SIG P220 Carry, SIG P227 and HK45 and 45c, I got a few USP .45 Tacticals as well)

    My general rotation is the MK23, HK P7, SIG P220 Carry, HK P2000 V2 LEM, (p30SK as backup always), lately I've really gotten back to the 1911, especially the new SIG 1911s I got in, couldn't believe how great they are. So right now the SIG 1911 and HKP7 are my two favorites, with the P30SK and M&P Shield (the one I give out to everyone) are the two backups I have ,one for car, one for carry.

    IF I had to pick just one pistol to kinda do-it-all, the P7 would be it. Wit ha good holster a full-sized 1911 like the one I carry just dissapears so the P7 is no problem. P7M8 FTW. Here in Utah the Highway Patrol used them forever and still use them, so getting P7s hasn't been the biggest issue here like it would be elsewhere.

  18. I've purchased mine in 1991, and still find it to be a great shooter now. The only issue I have is that it does get very hot during extended strings of fire, but it feels great to shoot up until that point. This pistol is close to having unicorn status now. Not many out there in the wild that I've seen. To get your hands on one now cost a lot more than what I paid for it 26 years ago. Great review!

  19. I have this pistol and it really is a remarkable piece of engineering and design. Mine shoots well and although I was aware of them since the 80's, was only able to find a pristine one with the box and tools within the last ten years. He is correct that they are not common nor cheap. Worth having in your collection.

  20. Nice vid and also pretty good pronunciation of german words. Almost all of them are very very close to be spot on.

    Thanks and Cheers

  21. My concealed carry is a p7m13. I only own HK for pistols. I carried an usp45 when I was in the army. If you can find one the p7m13 are 3k plus each.

  22. What are the issues that they had with this pistol is people kept shooting themselves when they first came out because of the squeeze cock and if you think I'm full of shit look it up cuz I remember reading the article in guns and ammo if I'm not mistaken

  23. Best pistol ever. And if you were to modernize certain features, it would make the gap widen between it and the rest. Newer materials for the front portion of the frame to insulate the shooter from heat buildup. Modern Euro-style paddle releases built into the trigger guard and a higher capacity magazine would put it so far above the rest it isn't funny. I've shot Glocks, other HKs, Walthers, Colts, Sigs and others. P7 is still my favorite pistol to shoot in 9mm.

    Yes it's complicated. Yes it's expensive to manufacture and service. But… If HK were to announce a new P7 pistol? No question, it would be how do I get on the list and why won't you take my money. I won't be alone.

  24. Obsolete!? Morons just don't understand either language or mechanics – it's simply better than any of their 'modern' pistols. AND it's German…

  25. Nice.

    The way the Steyr GP did gas-delayed blowback was better, though.

    Got to disagree with the grip angle. It's got the same grip angle as a Glock, which has never matched my natural point of aim. Any time I've pushed a Glock out on target, I've been looking at wildly misaligned sights and the top of the slide. First time I picked up a full-size Sig-Sauer, it pointed like the grip and grip angle had been designed for me personally. I can shoot a gun with too much rake to the grip like a Glock… I've got a Ruger Mk II after all. But for speed, it's got to be the more square angle found on other pistols.

  26. There's a difference between obsolete and having no picatinny rail nor backstraps and just keeping the essentials so you can't get in kool kids club.

  27. 3:53 FINALLY, a gun channel that knows about World of Guns XD
    That…game? is a dream come true for nerds like me.

  28. Actually the bavarian police replaced the P7 with the HK SFP9, i saw an article about it in a german newspaper and many officers were sad because they wanted to keep the P7. However i also remember that there was a scandal about this gun here in germany, some greenhorn police officers accidantely shot people because they pressed both trigger and the grip mechanism together in a stress situation. The paradox thing is that the new HK SFP9 is also criticism about the HK SFP9 because of bad tolerances and accuracy from several states in germany. This comes right after the G36 scandal in the german army, several soldiers claimed that the rifle got to hot in afghanistan under heavy shooting. Heckler & Koch is actually writing red numbers, they desperately need contracts now

  29. With a gun that good what finally stopped it’s production ? The cost of manufacturing it or some other reason ?

  30. Great information. Great videos… Please keep up with the great work! 
    I used to own both: an M8 and a M13. Loved'em both since they where the most accurate pistols I've ever owned. At the time my 1911 friends used to tease me over my "water pistol guns"… 
    The M13 whas great to shoot but a royal pain in the butt to IWB carry (she felt heavy and would dig the barrel on my side and push the butt out… not nice and very unconfortable feeling to EDC for long hours!). The M8 was great to EDC but was less great to shoot, at least for me. 
    Plus the fact that the manual of arms for these P7 was verry specific, due to the squize lever. I had to develop a less than the usual firm grip on presentation, in order not to squize the arming lever before pulling the P7 out of the holster. And if I EDC the M8 for some time, I had to think not to wait for the handell to "give-up" before shooting any of the "regular" pistols, like say: a 1911, GP35, CZ75 or 228. Or if I EDC my Combat Comander for some time, I had to re-think/re-train myself to squize the charging handle to arm the P7…  
    So it was sort of a pain in the butt, "high maintenance queen" kind of pistol, eventhough she was more than worth it acurracity wise… and did I mention the M13 "felt heavy" when IWB? 
    So in the end I got rid of them… and after much cussing, moanning and dragging my feet, over time I became a Glock fan boy… but I digress. :>)

  31. Great review guys! But a note: please leave the Seamaster at home and stick to the Core Black, I have nightmares about you scratching that thing :)))

  32. The P7 has a lot of things going for it in speed shooting.

    1, remarkably low bore axis, it's really close to CZ75 bore axis, which means follow up shots tend to be extremely close together. This is verifiable not just in the closeness of the grouping: but look at the placement pattern of the shots. All of the close targets stacked rounds vertically with very little drift left or right.

    2, although we tend to consider extra force holding the grip to be bad shooting technique – in this case it places the pistol in a single action firing mode not entirely unlike other single actions. For fast and accurate fire, a single action trigger is not figuratively, but literally, what all other trigger types are measured against.

    3, even if the P7 has a heel magazine release: having the slide go home simply by reapplying a proper shooting grip does shave off fractions of seconds because as seen here: it's incredibly intuitive even to people who've never trained that way.

    4, fixed barrel, If moving barrel type guns tolerances become too tight – the gun hangs up on it's own edges, and therefore there must be some amount of slop in how close to an absolute return point the barrel can possibly get. With a fixed barrel, because the barrel doesn't move – the mechanical accuracy of the firearm is not being diminished by slop in the location of the barrel between shots.

    I'd like to see another CCW class pistol – do as well as the P7. There certainly are available options which could perform as well – but not many. The P7's a fantastic little gun, I think the main reason it wasn't more popular in the States is the same reason most H&K guns aren't more popular in the States: $. While it was in production, it was a pricy gun and the earlier models had a few kinks to be worked out.

  33. Few other noteworthy movie mentions. Tommy Lee Jones' character William Strannix carried one throughout Under Siege. Bridgette Nielsen's villainous character uses one at the start of Beverly Hills Cop 2. Also the hitman in Mercury Rising utilized a 'supressed' version before planting it on the victim to commit a family murder-suicide. Bruce Willis' character says 'How could a family so broke afford a $1500 handgun'?
    They were never cheap compared to the contenders, even back then. This was set by the relative high price point by HK which resulted in the Hollywood elitist misconception which is further explained by the 'Gun Jesus' (Forgotten Weapons) in his P7 video.

  34. Well if you wonder how expensive this pistol is nowadays…. Pretty much all above 2k, some close to 4k and i found one listed for 6,990 USD… Yep pretty expensive.

  35. People like the P7 the same reason why they like the Luger. A unique design in the world of bland polymer pistols.

  36. one of my top choices on my list for a conceal carry. That is, if there's one for sale….and at good price…

  37. Oh we're doing a drop test to see if our new pistol will discharge if dropped? Better stand right next to the fucker then

  38. @2:25 That's not supposed to be a German accent that's supposed to be a Viennese accent… it would sound more convincing if he had been wearing a monocle! 🙂

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