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P7A13: H&K’s Entry into the US XM9 Pistol Trials


Hi guys, thanks for tuning in to another
video on ForgottenWeapons.com. I’m Ian McCollum, and I’m here today
at HK’s Grey Room in Ashburn, Virginia taking a look at some of their interesting prototype pistols. And today we’re taking a look at the HK, well, they would call this the P7A13, or the XM9. Now XM9 was a pistol trial and so there were a bunch of potential XM9 pistols, and this was HK’s entry into the competition. This series of trials actually began in, like, 1977. And for that first round of trials
HK actually submitted two pistols. And this was, I should say, trials for the US military
to adopt a new 9mm pistol to replace the 1911. So 9mm pistol, HK in 1977,
they actually entered two guns, they entered their P9S and they
entered their VP70, both of which failed. If for no other reason than they
simply didn’t meet the requirements. The guns had to have a 10 round
magazine capacity, which the P9 didn’t. And the VP70 for fairly obvious reasons
failed the accuracy tests because as a … semi-automatic handgun, it
has a just truly atrocious trigger Now nothing ended up being really viewed
as completely successful in that early testing, and so there were two later … iterations of the testing
program that were done under the name now XM9. So HK started developing this in 1981, and for the first series of XM9 trials what
they submitted was actually the P7A10. That was basically a standard P7 pistol with a couple of
changes to meet the technical requirements of the trial. For one thing it had to have a 10 round magazine
capacity and the P7 had an eight round mag. So they extended the magazine well below the grip panels,
and they gave it an extended 10 round single stack magazine. And then the guns also had to have
a high mounted magazine release. The P7 had a heel mounted
European-style release, so HK actually… Well, with their A10s, that still had the heel
release and they just submitted it that way. After this trial also came back without any suitable guns
there was a third series of testing held. And in that one given the additional development time,
(by this point we are at like 1983-84), HK had been able to develop their gun a little further. So instead of having this magazine well
extension, now they had a widened frame and they actually had a 13 round
double stack magazine with the gun. In addition they had developed a magazine
release lever that sat right behind the trigger guard. So nice and up high where we
would expect a magazine button. And I have here one of the prototype
trials XM9s, so let’s take a look at that. HK ended up making a total of just over
30 pistols for this whole trials program. And their serial numbers range
from 27,841 through to 27,873. And we can see that this one falls right at
the very beginning of that number range. Note that this is the zip code of their Arlington office,
not a serial number. That’s the serial number over there. Now we also have an XM9 mark on the right hand grip panel.
Note that instead of the normal sort of textured stippling, these grip panels have horizontal ridges in them.
This is the only time HK would do that for a P7 grip. Flip it over to the other side, we have the designation P7A13, and 13 indicates the magazine capacity. “A”, I presume, would be army. As for the other features, what’s really interesting
is that it is in fact the US Army procurement trials that led to all of the new features that
would be released commercially as the P7M13. So the magazine release moved from the heel up to this lever. Pop that, it pops the magazine out. Not a button, presumably when the Army wrote the requirements
for the pistol they were anticipating a button, but what they specified was that it had to be a
high mounted ambidextrous magazine release. And HK’s solution meets those requirements
just fine, and is an interesting development, an interesting different idea than just a push button. So that was introduced. The heatshield, the little
plastic heat guard here at the top of the trigger guard, was introduced for the XM9 trials. As was the double stack … widened magazine well. So what we have here is a standard commercial
M13 and it is mechanically, in every other way, identical to this XM9. But not because
HK submitted the M13 to the trials, rather they developed this gun for army trials.
And when it failed to win army trials they then released it commercially, where it
proved to be a reasonably successful pistol. Ultimately, of course, this wouldn’t be
accepted as the new US military pistol. That would go to the Beretta M92
which was adopted as the M9 pistol. … Ultimately it really didn’t matter in hindsight
how good the P7 was in any of the testing. It didn’t matter if it passed everything absolutely perfectly, because
this was too expensive of a pistol to actually end up being chosen. To put it in context, in 1984 the Beretta cost
on their M9 pistol was $178.50 to the Army. Well, two years later in ’86 the dealer pricing on a P7M13,
basically exactly identical to this gun, was $499. So HK would have had to find a way to
reduce their prices by more than like 60 percent in order to actually be competitive for this trial. Because military arms trials are
not about strictly quality of the guns, they’re about a balance of
quality and cost and logistics. And doesn’t matter if the gun’s the greatest
thing ever, if it’s that much more expensive than something else that is deemed
perfectly adequate, it’s not going to win. And so that was the end of HK’s P7
design in American military testing. Thanks to HK for allowing me access to their XM9 trials
pistol to show to you. Hopefully you enjoyed the video. Thanks for watching.

100 thoughts on “P7A13: H&K’s Entry into the US XM9 Pistol Trials

  1. I can see that release having some advantages. By being a level you can't accidentally squeeze with your hand enough to engage it. It also doesn't have the issue of some reversible mag releases where your hand can block the opposite side and make it hard to use.

  2. Actually the P7A13 didn't reach the cost comparison phase of the trial. It was eliminated because it fared atrociously in the reliability tests.

  3. Semi-unpopular opinion from a former soldier: The M9 Beretta SUCKED. The grip felt like a darn VCR cassette in my hand and didn't inspire confidence in the handling. I felt more destructive with it if I THREW it at the target.

  4. True the Germans lost both wars, but they’re recovery is amazing. After WW1, Germany had to pay the Allies 132 Billion Gold marks and somehow still had money for the second war, even though living conditions were terrible. Then after they lost that one, they came back and have the fourth largest economy. Japan is 3rd on the list which I find funny considering they also lost the Second World War.

  5. Sorry I ever sold my P7M8……. 🙁 They're kinda heavy but they had the lowest bore line of any pistol from that era

  6. …and the oddest ad to pair with a video goes to 3 minute metabolicfactor.com/p.mb/lander with their 'Burn Fat Faster' Pills for Menopausal Women on 05AUG19. Made the the 3:30 minute ad for drsquatch.com soap look normal in comparison. Gun Jesus, you damn well be seeing a Google Ad Check in the till at the end of this month!

  7. Funny to see the ZIP code stamped on the gun. Don't think i have ever seen one on a gun, and the city is often abbreviated, as here. I always liked the P7 since it is fully ambidextrous and has good ergonomics. Never got to fire one, but i did handle and fieldstrip them in the gun shop where i worked from '93-95. Great video as always. Thank you

  8. What in the hell is going on with that pistol over Ian's right shoulder? Looks like it might be an experimental sight mounting device.

  9. Hey in light of the recent violence in America I'd like to see Ian do a panel with his foreign gun law experts and maybe some "lawmakers" and maybe beau of the fifth column https://youtu.be/Ht5ldqQdioM.
    Ffs I'm trying to convince my wife firearms aren't inherintly evil lol. Probably a ton of folks like me.
    I'm a pellet pusher and she sure appreciates the removal of garage squirrels etc but gets sooo anti gun it's silly, all rational logic is gone.
    I bet Ian could put together a panel that could make legislative proposals that would make everyone happy. I know he's not political here but save us gun jeebus!

  10. P7 is such a lovely gun. Really comfortable, intuitive, and accurate. You actually do get what you pay for sometimes.

  11. It’s “The Gun Jesus “ 😲😊 Richard Marchinko carries a HK P7 in his Rouge Warrior book series…love your vids they make me smile.

  12. I had a P7 squeeze cocker that came in a very nice hardwood presentation case years ago. It came with two barrels, one 9×19 and another that I want to say was .32, but I dont really recall. It was the first handgun I had that was pinfire with only passive safeties. I paid a lot for it but only shot it one time. I just didn't like it except for the cool factor. It came up missing some years later when I was looking for it after seeing how much it was worth.

  13. I was disappointed that there was no explanation of the squeeze cocking mechanism, which, to me, is what made this pistol attractive

  14. Easily one of the most impressive pistol designs to come out in the last 50 years. Too bad it was priced beyond what H&K could offer it for. Kinda makes you wonder what lengths gun manufacturers go through to win military trials. Sometimes it smells a little fishy…

  15. The p7 series has been on my list to obtain since the horrible incident at Nakatomi plaza. One day I'll have one.

  16. I have honestly never been impressed by anything made by HK. I think they followers are the original Glock fanboys. I can find just as good, if not better guns for less than both.

  17. Ian, please stop calling the heel mag release "european-style". Both styles you are discussing originated in Europe and as such both are european-style. You're just perpetuating a myth here.

  18. P7s really are not THAT great as a combat pistol. They get hot, REALLY HOT, 4 magazines in a P7 or three magazine fulls through an M13 will make the pistol hot enough to melt a nylon holster and char a leather holster as well as burn the shooters hand and fingers. I can go on but you get the idea.

  19. Was this the origin of the magazine release lever on the bottom of the trigger guard, like we commonly see today on H&K pistols like the USP?

  20. Still patiently looking forward to an in-depth review on the boondoggle known as the p7 M10.. you know, for science. 😉🙂

  21. Not a good design for a military pistol, too many areas dirt mud and sand can enter, but these are superb quality and p7 8 are very collectible, these guns get very hot after a box or two…

  22. Tnx for the informative video as always. I have a question though. I know this might be a stupid question but what is that hook loop at the bottom and just behind the pistol grip? I have seen such hook on many other pistols and revolvers, mostly from the 50's and 60's.

  23. andy.garrett.528 US AIR FORCE VETERAN BAMF ONLY NO wuss!!!!!!! …—… DO IT NOW ON INSTAGRAM…—… I love this channel I learn a ton about old weapons!

  24. Please someone explain why US military instead of common words such as pistol or gun come up with things like "modern personal one hand self defence system for close range" MPOHDSFCR or something similar ? HMMWV is typical example instead of all terrain car.

  25. Friend of mine had the P7M8 Pistol. Single stack nine millimeter.

    Frigging nice gun!

    Finding a Holster for it was impossible though…

  26. I remain convinced that the P9S, even with the peculiar, and by today's standards unsafe, 'hammer dropper' was a lost opportunity.

    A widened butt and 13 capacity and reworking the hammer dropper could have produced a revolutionary service pistol…

  27. I really enjoy shooting the P7M8. The P7 series is pretty mechanically complex. I think it probably has far more parts in it than a Walther PP series pistol. It's a very cool design but way overkill for something like military use. The Beretta 92 series by contrast is fairly simple and easy to work on. It's also fun to shoot, but the fat grip kills the ergonomics in my hands. The P7 probably has the nicest ergonomics of any pistol I've handled.

  28. Dunno, something about it feels unbalanced. Like the grip seems too big in comparison to the barrel/slide part.

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