August 4, 2008

Heckler & Koch P7 PSP 9mm

Heckler & Koch began developing a new self-loading compact pistol around 1971 before bringing out the PSP (Polizei Selbstlade-Pistole, or Police Selfloading Pistol) for the West German Police in 1976. Production of the PSP started in 1979.

Our test gun was a standard PSP, whose overall length was 6.5 inches with a 4.1-inch barrel and a sight radius of 5.9 inches. The gun measured 5.0 inches in overall height and weighed 30.4 ounces with an empty magazine, relatively heavy because of the low-profile steel slide and steel frame. Our test gun came in a black case with two magazines and bore brush.

As noted above, it carried 8+1 rounds in its single-stack orientation, which gave the gun a thin 1.4-inch maximum width and a grip circumference of 6.2 inches at the thickest part of the grip. The frontstrap, measured from the top of the squeeze-cock lever to the lip of the magazine, ran 2.6 inches in length. The backstrap was 4.0 inches long, measured from the bottom of the slide to the top of the magazine release button. The blued frame finish showed very minor wear marks near the muzzle and on the squeeze-cock lever. Cosmetically, the only jarring note on the gun was the slot-screw head on the left side. It had lost its black finish, and the white metal color popped out against the stippled black-polymer grip panel.

Though the H&K P7s are no longer manufactured, they are readily available on the surplus market. These have value both as collectors' pieces and as personal defense weapons. We advise you get one while you still can.

The most notable feature of the gun is the squeeze-cock lever, or in HK parlance the cocking lever. To load the pistol, the shooter locks the slide back and inserts a loaded magazine. When he squeezes the cocking lever, the slide will slam forward and the firing pin will extend out of the back of the slide. The pistol is now ready to fire. The cocking lever allows the P7 to be carried safely with a round in the chamber, yet it is ready to fire by the natural tightening of the fingers around the grip. Releasing the cocking lever decocks the P7 immediately and renders it safe.

This pistol worked well for left-handed shooters because the cocking lever is ambidextrous. One panelist complained that the squeeze-cocking lever makes a fairly loud sound when released. It can be distinctly heard through a closed bedroom door at the far end of a house 50 feet away, but it cocks quietly, and once you have shot it, the de-cocking sound would be inconsequential.

There are actually three ways to fire the pistol, but only one is recommended (squeezing the cocking lever first and then pulling the trigger). You can also fire the pistol by pulling the trigger first and then squeezing the cocking lever and by squeezing and pulling at the same time, but it is very difficult to accurately shoot the pistol with these methods, but we did try them and they do work.

Once the pistol is cocked, it takes about 1.5 pounds of pressure to keep it cocked. As long as you keep a good grip on the pistol, it is immediately ready to shoot after it cycles. The trigger pull stacks somewhat, but is smooth and most judged it to be the best in the test. The trigger pull weight registered action 4.0 pounds on our scale, and the single-action trigger span was 2.9 inches.

The PSP had a European-style magazine-release button located on the bottom of the frame, whereas the P7M8 and P7M13 have the magazine release located on both sides of the frame just to the rear of the trigger guard. Most of our panel said they would prefer to have the magazine release located on the side of the frame, but one of our shooters pointed out that it is much more likely for the magazine release button to be accidentally depressed when it is located on the side instead of the bottom of the pistol. The pistol can be fired with the magazine removed.

Our test panelists liked the three-dot sights and the grooved slide top on the PSP best. Both sights were dovetailed into the slide, so they could easily be changed out if the shooter chose to upgrade them.

HK describes the gun’s action as a recoil-operated retarded inertia bolt system. In the gas cylinder, the propellant gas acts upon the piston, which retards the rearward motion of the slide until the bullet has left the barrel. Once the bullet has left the barrel, the decrease in gas pressure on the piston allows the slide to move rearward, ejecting the empty cartridge case. The recoil spring then moves the slide forward, chambering the next round.

At the range, we found the HK fed and functioned flawlessly. The brass was thrown out of the pistol nearly twice as far as the other two pistols tested, between 7 and 8 feet. This pistol left unique marks on the brass because of its fluted chamber. The fluted chamber is designed to increase reliability. HK states that, "… the P7 pistol will extract and eject an empty shell even if the extractor is missing." The extractor also acts as a loaded-chamber indicator. Recently, we had an extractor break on a Glock, and it was out of service until we replaced the extractor. The only possible drawback we can see with a fluted chamber is that it may prevent you from reloading the brass, but we think the increase in reliability is worth it.

The P7 with its fixed cold hammer forged polygonal barrel was the most accurate pistol in the test. It also had the least felt recoil. The weight of the pistol certainly helped dampen the recoil, but so did its gas system (which needs to be cleaned every 500 rounds or 12 months).

Comments (38)

I just purchased a P7 PSP 3 days ago, it was used by the German Police as it has the marking Nds? on the RH side... I have yet to shoot it and compare it to my HK P2000 and my wife's HK P30... Sooo excited... Thanks for the tip on the +P and +P+ ammo, (rather new to guns, only been shooting for about a year)

Posted by: okfoz | October 28, 2011 1:21 PM    Report this comment

Im 73 and just bought a P7. I don't think it has ever been shot and I have a real hard time racking the piece. (to weak) Also, it's a bear to put together. Either I get younger or someone give me a kind work.

Posted by: Old Inspector | January 20, 2011 12:14 PM    Report this comment

Im 73 and just bought a P7. I don't think it has ever been shot and I have a real hard time racking the piece. (to weak) Also, it's a bear to put together. Either I get younger or someone give me a kind work.

Posted by: Old Inspector | January 20, 2011 12:13 PM    Report this comment

Regarding some comments earlier: Comment by: lotoofla | July 18, 2008 - 'After about 20 rounds, the front dust cover and trigger guard start getting darn hot. Go much further, and you'll get scalded.". Does anyone have any solutions to this? I owned 3 - 1-m8 and 2 psp. M8 was my duty and PSP was my backup. During qualifications, it was a pain after 2 clips. The dustcover did really overheated. I had to carry a icepack in my pocket to cool it off. Otherwise, it is compact, accuracte and a natural pointer. PSP provides a secure way for the mag. Also, any one has recent experience of problem with +p?

Posted by: T H | January 26, 2010 10:49 AM    Report this comment

Great Comments guys, I have owned several of the Hk's the psp p7m8 and m13. I sold the m13 cause its fatter, the m8 fits my hand better. I was lucky to purchase one of the rare hard chromed guns briefly imported by RTB before HK closed them down. What an upgrade, it is great for carry and concealement with no worries from sweat, dirt etc and always looks gorgeous. Everyone always wants to buy it from me which I guess is the greatest compliment.

Posted by: rossmon1 | November 17, 2009 4:12 PM    Report this comment

So you think your Glock is superior to H&K because of the paint on the sights? Read this good,I'm only going to post it once!

Posted by: Robert J | June 11, 2009 9:13 AM    Report this comment

three dot white sights suck!!!They are totally inferior to the white dot front/white outline as on the glock. whith 3dot you see three front sights when firing under stress, not one, as this slows you down. All pistols with 3-dot suck. The only reason gun makers offer them is because they are cheap to make. If you have a 3-dot gun, paint the two rear dots red and see the differnce!!

Posted by: chuckh | June 7, 2009 6:37 PM    Report this comment

the 3-dot white sights on the hk and all guns suck. They should at least paint the rear red so they don't look like the rear.

Posted by: chuckh | June 7, 2009 4:25 PM    Report this comment

the 3-dot white sights on the hk and all guns suck. They should at least paint the rear red so they don't look like the rear.

Posted by: chuckh | June 7, 2009 4:25 PM    Report this comment

the 3-dot white sights on the hk and all guns suck. They should at least paint the rear red so they don't look like the rear.

Posted by: chuckh | June 7, 2009 4:24 PM    Report this comment

the 3-dot white sights on the hk and all guns suck. They should at least paint the rear red so they don't look like the rear.

Posted by: chuckh | June 7, 2009 4:24 PM    Report this comment

I just bought a brand new P7 from a local gun shop here in MN called Bill's Gun Shop and Range. Very impressed with this gun so far. They had 3 of them total that are brand new minus the one I bought. they're going for $799. If you're looking for one. Here's your place to go!

Posted by: smacsteve | April 26, 2009 11:54 AM    Report this comment

True Xray, my P7M8 is the best handgun I shoot. The P7 has great design and ergonomics. One should probably shoot a particular weapon before judging it.

Posted by: Robert J | March 17, 2009 2:07 PM    Report this comment

I guess the person who wrote, "I like these guns but the squeeze cocker by design cannot possibly contribute to good marksmanship." is expressing an opinion and has never had the experience of firing one.

Posted by: Xray | January 30, 2009 7:22 PM    Report this comment

I like these guns but the squeeze cocker by design cannot possibly contribute to good marksmanship.

Posted by: Mikarome | January 30, 2009 1:59 PM    Report this comment

Why are some many people obsessed with the heat generated by firing mutiple shots. My opinion is that if you need 13 rounds you should have gotten some more marksmanship training.

Posted by: Xray | January 29, 2009 11:16 AM    Report this comment

My P7 is the most accurate handgun I've ever owned, even beating out my very accurate pre70 Colt Gold Cup. Because of its fixed barrel and polygon bore, my handload of Bullseye with 124 grain bullets will magazine after magazine in the X ring off the bench.

Posted by: geezer1 | January 29, 2009 10:52 AM    Report this comment

Have both the Psp and the P7M8, love both but the P7 is my favorite, the only regret when i bought it two years ago, i could have had the P7m13 for $200 more but, one day ill find it at maybe the P7m10

Posted by: landshark | August 24, 2008 7:37 PM    Report this comment

Just bought one, I've wanted one for years. Haven't shot it yet but love the action. best fitting gun I own. which is several.

Posted by: rcorley11 | August 19, 2008 8:04 AM    Report this comment

Biggest drawback is, they want $2000 for it.

Posted by: JacE | August 16, 2008 7:45 AM    Report this comment

Love my P-7, carry it daily. The gun is easy to shoot well. Just ordered a new Wilson, but I will still keep my P-7 close. Best semi auto I ever owned.

Posted by: RANDY L | August 7, 2008 8:57 AM    Report this comment

I have 2 for sale at my FFL store. One is NIB other is 98%. Call 813-855-7001

Posted by: fourgetaboutit | July 21, 2008 12:04 PM    Report this comment

Does anyone have any comments or suggestions about the P7M10 ( the .40 cal. H&K)?

Posted by: jimlongx | July 19, 2008 9:56 AM    Report this comment

Hands down the best gun I have ever owned (P7M8). I love shooting this gun, if you don't have one get one. Its a must for any collection. I shoot this handgun better than any other . I wanted one for years after an HK rep showed one to us at Ft. Bragg, thought they were expensive though. Found out they were going to quit making them, so it was sh$% or get off the pot. I wish I would have bought one sooner. Buy one, you only live once.

Posted by: Robert J | July 18, 2008 7:33 AM    Report this comment

If you need to shoot more than 20 rounds you need some more target practice, or a SWAT team and not to worry about a hot gu.

Posted by: Xray | July 18, 2008 5:04 AM    Report this comment

After about 20 rounds, the front dust cover and trigger guard start getting darn hot. Go much further, and you'll get scalded.

Posted by: Randy C | July 18, 2008 12:44 AM    Report this comment

The HK P7 has been off the market for several years so the ones you see today are used. (cheap)Thomas B

Posted by: lotoofla | July 18, 2008 12:03 AM    Report this comment

I've been looking at one of these fine guns for years...but aren't they SUPER EXPENSIVE,esp considering the value of the USD to the Euro these days?

Posted by: BillC | July 17, 2008 11:19 PM    Report this comment

i have the p-7 psp european style &a m-8 they are nice peices exellent acurracy! i think part of the is the fixed barrel, and of course h.k.quality! Daniel R. Sahr

Posted by: dnlsahr | July 17, 2008 7:59 PM    Report this comment

I have a P7M8 and a P7K3. They are two of the finest guns I own, only exceeded by my SIG P210. The best testament to the reliability of these firearms is the video HK distributed on the P7. The best thing about the series is that if someone got it from you, and didn't know about the weapon, which is the vast majority of bad guys, you probably will get it back because it "didn't work" when he tried to fire it, and he throws it down. Accuracy is tremendous, and it's not much bigger than your hand, which makes it easier on wives and teenagers.

Posted by: Petro | July 17, 2008 7:26 PM    Report this comment

I have been carrying a P7M10 (40S&W) for over 20 years. Excellent accuracy, low recoil, outstanding multiple shot capability, very easily concealed in spite of the large grip; a great gun.

Posted by: daveday | July 17, 2008 7:11 PM    Report this comment

I have the HKP7M8, along with the Sig P210, the Walther P88 and P5, HKP9S, and Browning High Power the P7 is a classic gun and one of my favorites. It's extremely accurate, only drawback it tends to get hot when fired a lot.

Posted by: PH/CIB | July 17, 2008 6:33 PM    Report this comment

My department used to issue P-7s (M-8s and M-13s); in fact we just recently completed the last transition training for the final eight officers still carrying the P-7. Like most designs it has its pluses and minuses as a duty/self-defense pistol. While detailing these are outside the scope of this posting, as an instructor and armorer I just wanted to relay to Gun Report readers to avoid use of +P or +P+ ammunition in their P-7s. We suffered a number of “catastrophic failures” (the most dramatic involved the rear of the slide blowing off and striking an officer in the chest) and H&K is now on record as also not recommending the use of +P ammo in the P-7. Stay safe!

Posted by: Badge251 | July 17, 2008 6:28 PM    Report this comment

When I first read about the HK P7,I was amazed at how "goof-proof" the gun is. The squeeze cocker makes the HK the safest gun around, from pistol snatches, to having it in a house with small children, unless the shooter knows how the gun works, it's not going to go BANG even if it's fully loaded. The only drawback to it when it was on the market was the price (1980's dollars) $700.oo Tom B.

Posted by: lotoofla | July 17, 2008 5:06 PM    Report this comment

What is the suggested retail price?

Posted by: oreillydoc1 | July 17, 2008 4:58 PM    Report this comment

I've found that the location of the magazine retainer on the bottom of the pistol (e.g., P-38 and PSP and others) holds the magazine more securely. The side button type (e.g., p-08 and Colt .45 Auto) wear the edge of the magazine and then the feed lips are slightly out of position leading to stovepipe jams.

Posted by: Xray | July 17, 2008 4:36 PM    Report this comment

My favorite gun & my daily carry piece. I love how natural it is to cock & put into action. And it is very accurate.

Posted by: JEFFREY S | July 17, 2008 4:34 PM    Report this comment

The 9mm HK P7 pistols are about the finest ever built. The P7M8 is a nearly perfect carry gun if you fully master the manual of arms as squeeze cockers are a little different.

We have one of each, and they've never malfunctioned! Fine guns.

Posted by: mstarling | June 2, 2008 10:44 PM    Report this comment

Add your comments ...

New to Gun Tests? Register for Free!

Already Registered? Log In