HK P7 Review: Most Accurate Pistol?

by Dave Chesson

February 23, 2023

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In this article, I’m going to do a full on HK P7 review.  While there are different models out there, this one will be focused on the PSP version.  However, minus the heat guard, capacity, and a heel mounted mag release, the operations and feel of the HK P7 is about the same as most p7 models out there and can serve as an adequate review for them all.

A squeeze cocking semi auto 9mm that is as unique as it is collectible

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HK P7 Specs

  • Name HK P7
  • Caliber 9mm Luger
  • Magazine Capacity 8+1
  • Barrel Length 4.1 inches
  • Overall Length 6.5 inches
  • Height 5 inches
  • Weight 27.7 ounces

H&K P7 Background

The P7 was introduced in 1976 in response to the Western police forces request for a more effective pistol after the tragic massacre at the 1972 Olympics. At the time, police were using a problematic caliber and pistol. There were many requirements set forth for this next generation pistol, but some of the largest were that it be in 9mm luger, ambidextrous in operations, safe to be carried with a loaded chamber and able to be fired immediately after drawing from a holster.  

Now, in most cases, I personally hate saying something is ‘revolutionary’ or ‘innovative’ considering many in our industry overuse this phrase.  That being said though, I feel very comfortable saying that HK went to work designing an incredibly innovative gun for the time. However, they weren’t the only ones vying for the contract, and were in competition with the Walther P5, and the Sig p225. In the end though, the German police ended up adopting all three.  The production of the P7 began in the late 1970s and was finally stopped in the mid 2000s. 

Upon its mass release to the market, it was generally hailed as the most expensive gun.  This was due to the fact that it had intricate workings, and thus its manufacturing cost was exorbitantly high.  However, it was these same intricate systems that made it so unique – which I will cover later in this article. 

While it is no longer in production, it is because of its unique design, sleek looks, rarity, and class (plus being an iconic piece to Hans Gruber of Die Hard) that has made this a collectors item.  Over the past years, this pistol has increased in value and serves as a very good investment. 

HK P7 Features

1 Fixed Barrel

Cold hammer-forged fixed barrel

2 Gas-delayed blowback

Creating a light recoil

3 110-degree Grip

For more natural slide

4 Squeeze Cocking

Built into the grip

Models and Variations of the H&K P7

There are many variations of the HK P7. Here is a list of the variants:

  • HK P7 PSP
  • HK P7PT8
  • HK P7M8
  • HK P7M13
  • HK P7K3
  • HK P7M10
  • HK P7m7

H&K P7 –  Our Take

Shooting HK P7

I’ve heard it said, that this should have been the gun that 007 carried.  I won’t disagree with that statement.  It clearly is classy, elegant, and unique.  But what really makes this collectors item great is that this firearm was designed to be a more effective pistol in a gunfight. It’s not just a pretty item to look at. 

To begin this review, let’s start by doing a deep dive into the components that make it both unique and effective.

HK P7 Side

Easily the most distinguished and iconic part to the HK P7 is its squeeze cocking mechanism built into the grip.  As you squeeze this back, this cocks the striker.  Because of this, the P7 will not fire unless you have this fully squeezed.  It takes about 14 pounds of pressure to cock which is a bit heavy, and about 2 pounds to maintain.  

While that seems like much in today’s designs, you have to remember that when the P7 came out, it was generally accepted that all pistols had a safety of some sort.  By designing the P7 this way, it was an ingenious method of creating a safety that doesn’t require any extra unnatural step of pressing a lever or button (all extra motions one has to coordinate before firing).  Instead, you naturally grab, squeeze and fire.  

What’s even better about this is that it’s actually the lever that is cocking the striker.  This means that if you aren’t squeezing the cocking mechanism, you can pull the trigger as much as you want and it won’t fire.  Furthermore, this also makes the trigger a true single action. 

Now, at first I fumbled a bit with this, considering I’ve never had to do this motion when firing and it was a bit alien to me.  However, after a couple practice sets, I not only got comfortable with it, but started to really love this. Another thing I realized is that when the slide locks back on empty, and you release the cocking lever and put in a new magazine, squeezing the cocker sends the slide home with the P7 cocked and ready to fire. This makes reloading and getting back into the fight that much faster. 

HK P& Slide with Piston

And while I’ve grown to love this mechanism, the only downside to it is that it is pretty loud.  There are some ways to practice its release without making a noise, but even that is a bit much. 

Next is its recoil.  There are two main components that add to creating an extremely nice recoil to this pistol.

The first is its gas piston delay system. The way it works is that when a round is fired, some of the gas pressure goes through a hole at the bottom of the chamber which goes into an opening in the frame and applies pressure to a piston attached to the slide.  Due to this added force, this reduces the slides pressure until it is an optimal level thus reducing the blowback. 

One of the drawbacks to this system is that because the gas runs along the bottom, this can cause the area where the trigger is to get hot after a couple of magazines.  In later versions, the HK P7 included a plastic heat shield in the trigger guard to minimize this – however, my PSP does not have this guard (they included it in the M8 and later models).  Even still, I’ve heard from other users that while the heat shield helps, it doesn’t fully mitigate this and the trigger area can get hot after excessive usage.  

HK P7 Bore Axis

The second design that makes recoil much lower on this gun is the low bore axis, which is the vertical distance from the top of your hand to the centerline of the barrel.  Because this is much lower than most pistols, this creates a reduced muzzle flip, making the firing of the P7 that much smoother and easier to control.  

Moving on to accuracy, again there are a couple of features which help the P7 to be extremely accurate (beyond normal pistols).  

The first is the fixed barrel and the polygonal rifling.  Because the barrel is fixed, there is less movement in the barrel and its design is what allows it to be low, like was previously discussed.  The polygonal rifling, which was new at the time, helps with bullet velocity and barrel wear.

Another thing that supposedly helps with the accuracy is the 110 degree between the grip and the pistol.  According to HK, this is inline with the low bore axis previously discussed which supposedly simulates better pointing than any other gun.  I’m not sure that I experienced this though but I’ve heard others speak of this 120 degree angle as something that aids in their aiming and shooting.. 

Finally, one last aspect of the HK P7 that I must bring is the angle of the magazine and compact striker block.  First, the magazine is inserted in a more vertical manner than most. It’s just about perpendicular to the barrel.  This means that the bullet is chambered further back, than most pistols.  The second part to this is the compact striker block – which is much smaller than most.  Because of these two aspects, the barrel length of the 6.5” gun is 4.1”.  For such a compact pistol, the bullet has more barrel to travel through than other pistols in the 6.5” length range.

Anything Bad About the P7? 

If I have to list some cons to the P7, there are two things that come to mind.  Firstly, the slide serrations aren’t very perforated, and so I tend to have problems gripping and pulling back the slide.  This is extremely difficult for my wife to handle and so it wouldn’t suit her. 

HK P7 Slide Catch Button

The second thing is the placement of the button to catch the slide.  Granted this is probably based on how I grip the P7, but after a couple of magazines, that button rubs and chafes the skin between the thumb and index finger.  I can see they clearly reduced the edge of this for this very reason, but I still have that part of my hand irritated after multiple uses.  

As for reliability, I won’t be giving it an extremely high grade.  Sure the P7 is extremely reliable in immediate usage.  However, there are many intricate and complex systems that make up the P7 that can have problems in the longevity of the weapon.  

Another thing many people could have issues with is the price.  As I said, when it first came out, it was hailed as the most expensive pistol on the market.  However, because they are rare and iconic, their value and thus price, have increased steadily over the years.  When trying to come up with a grade on this, it is very difficult.  Is the P7 worth its current value – I personally think so, but I wouldn’t argue too hard against someone saying that it is too expensive.  But another thing I’d bring up though is that the gun’s value has only increased over the years.  I have no reason to believe that the P7’s value will decrease, even with usage.  Therefore, if you buy a P7 now and sell it in 10 years – you’d most likely make a profit.  So, isn’t that a good ROI?  It’s for this profitable component that I’m going to give it a high grade on the value since that only increases over time.

Final Grade and Thoughts: I absolutely love this gun. It is amazing to shoot and incredibly well designed. It’s iconic and beautiful. It’s a bit pricy, but then again, it just keeps going up in value. I have made it my everyday carry, and especially as my date night gun. Although every time I put it back in the safe, I have to dab with with some oil so it doesn’t rust. But all in all its worth it. Some guys buy a Rolex, while I bought a HK P7. I’m good with that.

H&K P7 Pros and Cons 

  • Accuracy – Incredibly accurate
  • Recoil – Low Recoil
  • Aesthetics – Very Unique & Iconic
  • Value – Increases in Value
  • Price – Expensive

Report Card

Shootability

A+
Reliability

A-
Accuracy

A+
Ergonomics

A-
Value

A
HK P7 Final Grade

Our Grade

A

Reviewed by Dave Chesson

Reader’s Grade

A+

Based on 10 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Gun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

H&K P7 Starter Pack

If you own an H&K P7 you probably are a serious shooter. Here are a few extra things you’ll probably want to pick up–if you don’t have them already.

  • Gun Cleaning Kit: You will want to clean and maintain this highly collectable and valuable handgun. We’ve got a whole article dedicated to gun cleaning kits you’ll need to keep your pistol in tip top shape.  
  • Eye Protection: This should go without saying, but you need to invest in some quality shooting glasses. One errant piece of brass, and you’re in for a bad day. Check out our recommendations for the best shooting glasses!
  • Hearing Protection: If you’re a P7 owner this probably isn’t your first firearm. But that doesn’t mean you can’t upgrade your shooting life and get some quality hearing protection. We’ve gathered all of our favorites to help you decide the best hearing protection for you.

Unfortunately the only way to get your hands on an HK P7 is on the used market. Here are a few places where you can try to find one to purchase.

Upgrades and Accessories for the H&K P7

Normally, we’d list a bunch of upgrades or a list of accessories for you to add.  However, with the P7, it’s hard to find these things since it is no longer in production.  Most upgrades are parts that are no longer in creation.

That being said though, there are some holsters that exist for this iconic gun, and you can switch out the grips. 

Best Accessories For The H&K P7

Nill Grips for HK P7
  • Wood grips for HK P7
Check Price
Vertical Roto Shoulder Holster System
  • Leather construction
  • Holds pistol and magazines
Check Price
Falco A105 Falcon Leather IWB Holster
  • Reinforced leather holster
  • Steel IWB belt clip
Check Price

Best Ammo for Your H&K P7

The P7 would be one classy CCW handgun. We recommend that for your CCW firearm you have two different types of ammo–one for training and one for carrying. Here are some deals we found on each type of ammo. 

Range Rounds

Magtech 9mm Ammo

MagTech 9mm 115 GR FMJ

Carry Ammo

Hornady Critical Defense

Hornady Critical Defense 9mm 115 Grain FTX

Marketplace
Cost Per Round
Target Sports USA $0.92
Optics Planet $1.00
Natchez Shooter’s Supply $1.00

Other Pistols of its Class to Check Out

The HK P7 is a really in a class of its own. But since getting your hands on one can be rather difficult–financially–here are some other options for you to check out. 

#1 Sig P365XL Spectre Comp

Sig P365XL Spectre Comp

The Spectre family of pistols has become the pinnacle of feature-rich performance in the Sig Custom Works polymer lineup.

Check Latest Price

  • Shootability A
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics A-
  • Accuracy B
  • Value C

Our Grade

B+

Reader’s Grade

A-

Based on 6 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Handgun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

#2 M&P Shield 9 EZ w/ No Thumb Safety

Our Grade

Reader’s Grade

TBD

Based on 0 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Handgun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

#3 Glock 43x

Glock 43x

A single-stack “slimlined” Glock pistol specifically designed for CCW.

Check Latest Price

  • Shootability A+
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics A
  • Accuracy A+
  • Value A+

Our Grade

A+

Reader’s Grade

A

Based on 132 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Gun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

How to Care for Your H&K P7

Taking down your P7 for cleaning and other maintenance is pretty simple. However, it is very different than many other firearms on the market today. We found this video from The Firearms Blog where they efficiently walk you through the field strip.

Looking for some more information on the HK P7? We have a link to the users manual and video from Forgotten Weapons showing you everything you ever wanted to know about the P7, from the history of the weapon and it variations to how it functions.

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About Dave Chesson

Dave Chesson is prior Navy with a specialty in international arms dealing for the US government across multiple countries. Having traveled the world and abided by ATF and ITAR, Roy has a unique background in legal as well as practical capabilities of weapons deployment and use.

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