One of the reasons for Heckler & Koch’s sterling reputation and market success – they celebrated their 60th anniversary in 2010 – is their commitment to innovation.
H&K has produced far more than their share of firsts: the first polymer pistol – the VP-70Z, the first successful closed-bolt submachine-gun, the legendary Mp-5, and even the first caseless round and rifle, the 4.7x33mm G-11. They also make – in my opinion – the first ultra-reliable M4 variant, the HK416.
One pistol that’s often left off this list is the P7 series, better known as the “squeeze cocker.”
The P7 was designed in 1976, entered production three years later, and was produced for nearly 30 years.
There were several variants. The most popular held eight rounds of 9mm. A high-cap model, the P7M13 held 13 rounds. One variant, the P7M10, was chambered for .40 cal, and there are rumors that one prototype was made in .45ACP.
The “squeezable” part of the front grip allowed the pistol to be safely carried with a round in the chamber – safety was always a big concern of the West German Police who issued the P7 to their officers. It also allows for a uniform trigger pull, unlike the double-action trigger pull of the Sig P225, which the P7 competed against for police and military contracts.
Since more than a few Germans are lefties… HK designed the P7 to be completely ambidextrous.
The gas-delayed blowback action makes the pistol smooth to shoot. The polygonal rifling in the barrel makes the P7 far more accurate than most 9mm pistols with 4-inch barrels.
Sights are bold, and incorporate the classic easy-to-see three white dots.
While the P7M13 is a handful, literally, the standard 8-round P7 is just about right, and makes a fine concealed carry choice.
As to the weapon’s reliability – it’s an HK. What more needs to be said? My wife’s P7 has never jammed – not once – and it’s seen heavy use.
Drawbacks are few. Production stopped in 2008, but there are few replacement parts available. Used models range in price from around $600-$800, depending upon condition. NIB models command substantially more – a lot more.
I think the P7 would have become a house-hold name had it not been for an Austrian import that started showing up around the same time as P7s. Once shooters saw their first Glock, the squeeze-cocker became passe.
Today, if you can find one, I would not hesitate to carry a P7. It’s concealable, reliable and accurate, and it’s an HK.