Heckler & Koch P7

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P7
HK-P7.jpg
Heckler & Koch P7.
Type Semi-automatic pistol
Place of origin  West Germany
Service history
Used by See Users
Production history
Designer Helmut Weldle
Designed 1976
Manufacturer Heckler & Koch
Produced 1979–2008
Variants See Variants
Specifications
Weight PSP: 785 g (27.7 oz)
P7M8: 780 g (28 oz)
P7M13: 850 g (30 oz)
P7K3: 775 g (27.3 oz) (.22 LR) / 760 g (27 oz) (.32 ACP) / 750 g (26 oz) (.380 ACP)
P7M10: 1,250 g (44 oz)
P7PT8: 720 g (25 oz)
Length PSP: 166 mm (6.5 in)
P7M8, P7PT8: 171 mm (6.7 in)
P7M13, P7M10: 175 mm (6.9 in)
P7K3: 160 mm (6.3 in)
Barrel length PSP, P7M8, P7M13, P7M10, P7PT8: 105 mm (4.1 in)
P7K3: 96.5 mm (3.8 in)
Width PSP, P7M8: 29 mm (1.1 in)
P7M13, P7M10: 33 mm (1.3 in)
Height PSP: 127 mm (5.0 in)
P7M8: 129 mm (5.1 in)
P7M13: 135 mm (5.3 in)
P7M10: 145 mm (5.7 in)

Cartridge PSP, P7M8, P7M13: 9x19mm Parabellum
P7K3: .22 Long Rifle, .32 ACP, .380 ACP
P7M10: .40 S&W
P7PT8: 9x19mm PT
P7M7: .45 ACP (prototype only)[1]
Action PSP, P7M8, P7M13, P7M10: Gas-delayed blowback
P7K3, P7PT8: Straight blowback
Muzzle velocity PSP, P7M8, P7M13: 351 m/s (1,152 ft/s)
P7K3: 275 m/s (902.2 ft/s) (.22 LR) / 330 m/s (1,082.7 ft/s) (.32 ACP) / 305 m/s (1,000.7 ft/s) (.380 ACP)
P7M10: 300 m/s (984.3 ft/s)-345 m/s (1,131.9 ft/s)
P7PT8: ~410 m/s (1,345.1 ft/s)
Feed system PSP, P7M8, P7K3, P7PT8: 8-round box magazine
P7M13: 13-round box magazine
P7M7: 7-round box magazine
P7M10: 10-round box magazine
Sights Front blade, rear notch
148 mm (5.8 in) sight radius

The P7 is a German 9mm semi-automatic pistol designed by Helmut Weldle and produced by Heckler & Koch GmbH (H&K) of Oberndorf am Neckar. It was revealed to the public for the first time in 1976 as the PSP (Polizei-Selbstlade-Pistole—“police self-loading pistol”).[2]

History[edit]

The decision to equip West German police with an advanced 9mm service pistol and replace existing 7.65mm-caliber weapons was prompted after the 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre.[2] The new firearm was to meet the following requirements: chamber the 9x19mm Parabellum cartridge, weigh no more than 1,000 g (35 oz), the pistol's dimensions would not exceed 180 x 130 x 34 mm, it should have a muzzle energy of no less than 500 J and a service life of at least 10,000 rounds. The pistol was also to be fully ambidextrous, safe to carry with a loaded chamber and able to be quickly drawn and ready to fire instantly.[2] As a result of a competitive bid the German police forces selected three different pistols into service: the Swiss SIG-Sauer P225 (designated the P6) and two German designs—the P7 (officially designated the PSP) and the Walther P5.

Series production of the P7 started in 1979. Shortly after, the pistol was adopted by the German Federal Police's counter-terrorism unit (GSG 9) and the German Army's special forces formations.[2] The P7 was produced primarily by H&K but also under license by the Greek defense firm Hellenic Arms Industry[citation needed] as well as in Mexico by the Departamento de Industria Militar (DIM), as a sidearm for general officers and staff.[3][4] The pistol was also exported to several countries.

Design details[edit]

Operating mechanism[edit]

A schematic of the P7's gas-delayed blowback system.

The P7 is a semi-automatic blowback-operated firearm. It features a unique gas-delayed blowback locking system modeled on the Swiss Pistole 47 W+F (Waffenfabrik Bern) prototype pistol[5] (and ultimately on the Barnitzke system first used in the Volkssturmgewehr 1-5[6]), which used gas pressures from the ignited cartridge and fed them through a small port in the barrel (in front of the chamber) to retard the rearward motion of the slide. This is accomplished by means of a piston contained inside of a cylinder located under the barrel that opposes the rearward motion of the slide until the gas pressure has declined—after the bullet has left the barrel—hence allowing the slide to end its rearward motion, opening the breech and ejecting the empty cartridge case.[7]

The chamber has 18 flutes that aid in the extraction process by allowing combustion gases to flow between the fired case and the chamber walls, preventing the case from "sticking" to the chamber walls. The drawback of this system is that the breech "opens" slightly prematurely to allow the slide to initiate its rearward motion. The high temperature gases cycling through a tube located below the chamber area and above the trigger made the early versions of this pistol uncomfortable to shoot after the content of two magazines were fired due to heating. The advantages of this system are a simpler manufacturing process due to the absence of a locking system and a high mechanical accuracy due to the barrel being fixed in the frame; the barrel does not execute any sort of lateral or vertical movement during the operating cycle as with the prolific Browning cam-action systems used extensively in other locked breech pistols.[8]

Features[edit]

The P7's spring extractor is contained within the slide, while the fixed ejector is a surface on the slide catch.

The grip of this pistol features a built-in cocking lever activated by gripping the pistol handle. Before the pistol can be fired, this lever must be squeezed. Thus this lever acts as a safety. The pistol has an innovative trigger (with a squeeze cocking lever located at the front of the grip, beneath the trigger guard) and is striker fired.[9] Squeezing the cocking lever with a force of 70 N (15.7 lbf) cocks the firing pin. Once fully depressed, only 2 pounds of force are required to keep the weapon cocked. The weapon is then fired by pressing the single stage trigger rated at approximately 20 N (4.5 lbf) As long as the lever is depressed, the weapon fires like any other semi-automatic pistol. If the lever is released, the weapon is immediately de-cocked and rendered safe. This method of operation dispensed the need for a manual safety selector while providing safety for the user carrying the pistol with a chambered round, and increased the speed with which the pistol could be deployed and fired. The trigger and firing mechanism's method of operation (and the unique slide catch) were protected by U.S. Patent 4,132,023, issued on January 2, 1979.[10]

The P7 is fed from a single-stack box magazine with a capacity of 8 rounds,[11] which is held inside the firearm's frame with a release located at the heel of the grip. After the last round has been fired, the slide will remain open thanks to a slide catch that can be released by pulling the slide further back or pressing the squeeze cocker.

The firearm uses a fixed, polygonal barrel (hexagonal with a 250 mm twist rate) and a fixed notched iron sight with contrast dots that enable shooting in low-level lighting conditions. The pistol is completely ambidextrous and two-handed use is enhanced through the use of a profiled and enlarged trigger guard.[2]

Between 1982–1983 the P7 received several modifications, mainly to address American market demand and shooter preferences. These modifications resulted in the P7M8 model. A new magazine release lever (available on both sides of the frame) was installed just beneath the trigger guard, which forced designers to modify both the pistol's frame and magazine.[12] The trigger guard was equipped with a synthetic heat shield that protects the shooter from excessive heating and a lanyard attachment loop was added in place of the previous magazine heel release. The firing pin and its bushing were also changed.

Variants[edit]

P7M8 with Karl Nill wood grips.
Heckler & Koch P7M13.

Based on the P7 several other variants were built: the P7PT8, P7M13, P7K3, P7M10 and the P7M7, none of which remain in production.

The P7PT8 is a dedicated, straight blowback training pistol modified for use with the 9x19mm PT training cartridge (made by Geco) with a plastic bullet (weighing 0.42 g).[13] A “floating chamber” adapter is used inside the barrel which enhances felt recoil for use with the special ammunition. The pistols were marked with blue dots on both sides of the slide to differentiate the P7PT8 from other P7 pistols that can chamber lethal ammunition.[13] To date about 200 pistols of this type were produced that are used mainly for simulated firing in enclosed spaces.

The P7M13 is the P7’s counterpart with a double-column magazine and a 13-round capacity.[14] This pistol was offered (unsuccessfully) to the US Army. A variant known as the P7M13SD was produced in limited numbers exclusively for German special forces, featuring a longer (compared to the P7M13) threaded barrel and a sound suppressor.[14]

The P7K3 is a shortened version of the P7 (inspired by the HK4 pistol) that uses straight blowback for operation. This version has a removable barrel and uses a sealed hydraulic recoil buffer in place of a gas cylinder.[15] After swapping out the barrel and magazine it can use .380 ACP (9x17mm Short) or .32 ACP (7.65x17mm Browning SR) pistol cartridges and after replacing the slide, magazine and barrel (with floating chamber insert)—it can also be used to fire .22 LR (5.6 mm Long Rifle) ammunition.[15]

The P7M10 was introduced to the American market in 1991.[2] It is chambered for the .40 S&W (10x22mm Smith & Wesson) round and has a double-stack 10-round magazine.[16] With the American market in mind, a variant known as the P7M7 designed to use the .45 ACP (11.43x23mm Automatic Colt Pistol) cartridge was also created.[1] However, it remained only a prototype[1] due to excessive costs and complexity of creating such a weapon.[17]

To commemorate 25 years of P7 production, H&K offered a limited run of P7M8 "Jubilee" edition. Only 500 examples were ever made. Included in the package were a wooden lockable presentation case, P7 challenge coin, and special markings. The slide's top-left radiused edge has the designer's name (Helmut Weldle) and "1 von 500" (German, and including the double quotes; it translates to "1 of 500" in English) etched onto its surface. The wooden grips were made by Karl Nills and had the H&K logo.

A final production run of 500 P7M8 pistols were produced under the AH date code (year 2007). Each is marked on the right side of the slide with X of 500. Other than the slide marking no other features nor accessories were added to the usual kit.

Users[edit]

Saudi Arabian P7

See also[edit]

  • Arsenal P-M02—another pistol using the Barnitzke system
  • Steyr GB—another pistol using the Barnitzke system

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c The P7M7 at the Wayback Machine (archived January 31, 2008)
  2. ^ a b c d e f Woźniak, Ryszard: Encyklopedia najnowszej broni palnej—tom 2 G-Ł, page 112. Bellona, 2001.
  3. ^ a b HKPRO. "The P7M13". HKPRO. Retrieved 2009-06-26. 
  4. ^ a b "World Infantry Weapons: Mexico". Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  5. ^ Hogg, Ian V.; John Walter (2004). Pistols of the World (4th ed.). Iola, Wis.: Krause Publications. p. 45. ISBN 0-87349-460-1. OCLC 56714520. 
  6. ^ Popenker, Max R. (June 29, 2010). "Gustloff Volkssturmgewehr VG.1-5 rifle (Germany)". Modern Firearms. Retrieved July 29, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Official HK P7 Manual". p. 4. Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  8. ^ "The Heckler & Koch P7 Pistol Family -- Introduction". Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  9. ^ "Unofficial HK P7 FAQ". Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  10. ^ "Helmut Welde's HK P7 patent". Retrieved 2009-05-02. 
  11. ^ "Official HK P7 Manual". p. 5. Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  12. ^ "Heckler & Koch PSP and P7". Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  13. ^ a b "Heckler & Koch P7PT8". Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  14. ^ a b "Heckler & Koch P7M13". Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  15. ^ a b "Heckler & Koch P7K3". Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  16. ^ "Heckler & Koch P7M10". Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  17. ^ a b c "Modern Firearms' Heckler - Koch PSP P7 P7M8 P7M13 P7M10 pistols (Germany)". Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  18. ^ http://www.bdmilitary.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=102&Itemid=95
  19. ^ a b c d e Jones, Richard D. Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009/2010. Jane's Information Group; 35 edition (January 27, 2009). ISBN 978-0-7106-2869-5.
  20. ^ "streitkraeftebasis.de: Pistole P7" (in German). Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  21. ^ "EBO 9 mm EP7 pistol (Greece), PISTOLS". Jane's Information Group. 2001-04-25. Retrieved 2009-05-22. [dead link]
  22. ^ "Elliniki Viomichania Oplon USP pistol brochure". Elliniki Viomichania Oplon. Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  23. ^ >"SWAT Round-Up International 2006: Team Insights". Hendon Publishing Company. January 2007. Retrieved 2010-09-13. 
  24. ^ "Unofficial Pistols Page, Equipment". http://USP.lu - Unofficial Website of Unité Spéciale, Officially Endorsed. Retrieved 2009-10-06. 
  25. ^ "L'Unite d'Intervention de la Police Luxembourgeoise" (in French). RAIDS Magazine. March 2006. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  26. ^ Ezell, Eward. Small Arms Today (Stackpole, 1988)
  27. ^ Kersten, Manfred. "P7 für Mexiko". Waffenfreund (3/1992)
  28. ^ "Pakistan's SSG". 
  29. ^ "Pakistan Army". 
  30. ^ The P7M8 at the Wayback Machine

Bibliography[edit]

  • (Polish) Woźniak, Ryszard (2001). Encyklopedia najnowszej broni palnej—tom 2 G-Ł. Warsaw, Poland: Bellona. ISBN 83-11-09310-5. 

External links[edit]