Very good report there Mr PhilR. In-deph and informative. Thank you.
A few impressions of my newly acquired H&K P7....
After getting used to two different polymer pistols, handling the P7 gives me the impression that it is made of unusually dense steel. Of course this isn't the case, but it is fairly weighty for it's size. The grip isn't thick, but the cocking lever does give it a hand-filling shape that fits my hands quite well. The slide is shorter in height than any other slide for a 4" barrel that I've seen so far. The bore axis also sits lower than any other centerfire pistol I've used so far. This gives the overall feel a very interesting quality that is hard to explain, but I really do like the way it sits in the hand, and not above it.
The cocking lever must be depressed to cock the weapon, and releasing the lever un-cocks. The effort to cock is noticeable, but easily managed. I've read some unfavorable comments about the effort to maintain the lever in the cocked position during prolonged range sessions, but it only takes a minimal amount of effort to keep the lever cocked, and you have to maintain that amount of pressure if you going to shoot it anyway. It you aren't going to shoot it, then there is no need to depress the lever in the first place. The trigger is single-action, and I would consider it to be a somewhat long but fairly easy pull for this type of weapon. There is no external safety, and I don't believe that it needs one. After all, it can only fire if it's squeezed, and you don't squeeze it unless you actually want it to go off.
The P7 uses a single-stack 8 round magazine, with mag release at the heel of the grip. If you keep your thumb out of the way when pushing the release lever, the empty mag will fly out quite readily. Both sights are dovetailed into the slide, and are of the three white dot variety. Rear sight is drift-adjustable only. The front sight is only about 4mm tall, and there is a bit more space between the blade and rear notch than what the Glock has.
Takedown is even easier than a Glock. Just press the takedown button just below the left rear of the slide, and then pull the slide backwards and then off the frame. There is no need to pull the trigger before takedown. The slide is under pressure from the recoil spring and will take some effort to put back on, so reassembly is just a bit more difficult than a Glock. The recoil spring is a very long single-wound affair w/identical ends, and goes over the barrel. I think that the lack of a guide-rod w/spring allows the slide to have a slimmer and smaller appearance that pistols such as the XD or similar (the gas piston is slimmer than a guide-rod w/spring).
The striker is easily removed from the rear of the slide, without tools. Just use your thumb to rotate the bushing 90 degrees to the right, give the cocking lever a slight squeeze, and then pull the striker/busing assembly right out the back. This makes it quite easy to deactivate the weapon, if you desire.
There is a very small slide lock button on the left side of the frame, just behind the trigger. It's not easy to use, but I don't use it anyway. Slide release can be done by just squeezing the cocking lever, or the normal route of pulling back a bit on a full magazine. The magazines are all metal, and built just as solidly as the pistol itself.
Shooting was a very interesting experience. Some say that the gas piston will reduce felt recoil a bit. If it did, I didn't notice it. I think that the overall weight is why my impression of felt recoil to be slightly less than my other poly 9's. We only shot about 100 rounds (WWB, 115gr.), for several reasons. One is that we had two other pistols with us, and my wife is training for her CC class and concentrated more on shooting the baby Glock (she is taking the class as I type this, and just called a short while ago to let me know she passed the shooting portion with a score of 220/250). The other reason is that the P7 heats up a lot, and this is due to the gas piston located just above the area ahead of the trigger. One full mag and you can feel slight warmth. Two full mags shot in succession and the area above the trigger finger is definitely warm. Three full mags shot in rapid succession and the area gets downright hot. Four mags in rapid succession and you will not want to shoot any more for a while. I can see why the later version called the P7M8 had a heat shield located in front of the trigger. I've read that it doesn't work very well.
Although I didn't shoot for accuracy, I can certainly tell that the P7 is at least as accurate as my other modern 9's, and quite possibly more so. We shot at seven yards only (again, because of CC class training), and the best group of the day was with the P7, putting 7 of 8 shots into a single large hole. I've not been able to do this with the other two pistols. This doesn't necessarily mean that the inherent accuracy of the P7 is any better than my other two 9mm's, but I'm certain that in only one range session, I can shoot slightly more accurately with it. I think that ergonomics and trigger pull have a lot to do with this. Needless to say, I'm quite happy with it's accuracy. My particular pistol seems to shoot about an inch high and right, but I'm not bothered by it, for now at least. There were no failures of any type, and in fact I've read many times that the P7 is one of the more reliable - some say the most reliable - of auto pistols. Although there is an extractor, the chamber is also fluted which allows the spent case to self-extract if the extractor breaks.
I'm happy with my new birthday present (from the wifey no less -- see previous post), and I won't get rid of it. However, I can't think of anything that it does better than would a Glock or other similar pistol. Yes, the P7 is slim, but only by a millimeter or two over the Glock 26, yet the Glock holds two more rounds in grip that is noticeably shorter in length and in a pistol that is much lighter in weight as well.* The P7 also makes a lousy range gun, if it's the only pistol you had. Fortunately we have other pistols to shoot alongside the P7, so it's not a problem to give the P7 some time to cool. The P7 may hold an accuracy edge over the other newer designs, but not enough to make it a distinct advantage in a real-world self-defense situation. If I could only have just one pistol, the P7 wouldn't be it.
On the other hand, there is something about the P7 that makes it wonderful to shoot. Perhaps it's the overall feel, or maybe there is a "cool factor" in it's unusualness that I can't quite define. Or maybe it's because it's an all-steel pistol that gives the impression of heft and solidity that a poly pistol can't match (I'm not knocking poly pistols -- we love ours). Perhaps it's all of these, but I'm not a good enough writer to express why I like it so much. I guess I just like the more unusual (my wife says weirder) things. I can also say that I'm shopping for CC holsters, so I'm willing to bet my life on it....
* Yeah, a really long and rambling run-on sentence. I wan't an English major after all.....
Very good report there Mr PhilR. In-deph and informative. Thank you.
Nice Review PhilR
Needless to say I drink the HK P7 Koolaid. Nice review.
Welcome to the Cult of the P7