by David Crane
defrev at gmail.com
August 17, 2002
The bulk of this story is basically a re-printing of a post reply I made to a thread at TheFiringLine.com(a.k.a. TFL), along with a couple little changes and additional material and commentary. The title of the TFL thread is "Why the HKP7 is Superior to the Glock", and it was posted by "Sundance". For the record, I have to say I disagree with Sundance’s position. The HK P7 and Glock 19 (G19) were created for different purposes. The P7’s raison d’etre is as a police weapon. Specifically, it was created for…
the German police. It was thus designed for combat in an urban environment. The Glock 19 (G19), being derived from the larger Glock 17, shares that weapon’s intrinsic design purpose, which is as a sidearm for war. This means it was designed from the ground up to be able to deal with all the elements that war presents. As it happens, both the HK P7(M8 and M13) and Glock 19 make excellent self-defense guns for trained and proficient civilians. Now, let’s get to what I wrote over at TFL(along with the extra material I’ve added for the readers here at DefRev). Please keep in mind that I originally wrote it in stream of consciousness, post-type fashion, rather than with the intention of re-engineering it into a DefRev story. Here it is:
"The HK P7M13 was the first handgun I ever owned, and I immediately liked it, right off the bat. I absolutely loved the squeeze-cocking mechanism, which is the ultimate in safety, combined with speed. Nothing else compares. The P7 is just incredibly fast on target, thanks to the squeeze-cocking action combined with an extremely low bore axis. It’s also extremely safe in trained hands. Basically, if ya’ ain’t squeezin’ that grip, that gun ain’t gonna’ fire, period, because the gun is in a totally decocked state. Sqeezing the grip is a natural movement, and lightning fast, under stress. The high visibility 3-dot sights also help in achieving hits off the first shot. There is one caveat, and that is that the trigger is single action and has a relatively short stroke, so it’s finger off the trigger until you intend to fire, folks. Otherwise, your looking at either a possible accidental discharge(AD) or worse–a wrongful shoot, which is always a tragedy.
With quality factory jacketed ammo of 100 grains and up, a P7M13 is about as reliable as one can make a pistol/handgun, assuming it’s for urban purposes. Even when the gas piston/chamber starts to get dirty, the gun will continue to run, grit and all, for thousands of rounds, possibly over 4,000 rounds–and up to 5,000 rounds–without a malfunction, provided it’s kept with a modicum of lubrication.
The Heckler & Koch P7M8 and P7M13 are probably the fastest guns in the world to speed-reload. This is because of two things: First, the magazine release is ambidextrous and of the push-down variety, instead of the normal push-in type. A right handed shooter can therefore operate the P7’s mag-release with his or her index finger, and the movement is incredibly fast and easy. Once the new magazine is installed, all the operator has to do to release the slide and chamber a fresh round is squeeze the grip as he or she normally would to fire the weapon. It’s really fast.
My single favorite feature of the P7, besides the squeeze-cock front strap on the grip, is the quick-removable firing pin/striker assembly. It’s one of the coolest features on any handgun ever, and hardly anyone ever talks about it. You can remove it by hand in seconds, and this procedure renders the gun totally inert. You can then leave the gun where it is, and take the firing pin/striker assembly with you(in your pocket), and not have to worry about that gun being picked up and used by anyone else. At the same time, it cannot be done by accident or by anyone who isn’t intimately familiar with this feature. Once you return to your weapon, you can reinstall the firing pin/striker assembly, again, in seconds, and you’re good to go.
All that said, HK P7M13’s are pretty damn heavy when fully loaded with 14 rounds. They also heat up like crazy. If you go to the range and want to shoot over 100 rounds back to back, you’ll have to lay the gun down and let it sit and cool off at least once. The gun will actually start really heating up around the 50-60 round mark, and sooner if you go rapid-fire.
What does this mean? It means while the P7 may help you beat the other guy to the shot in a quick gunfight, it’s probably not the best gun for protracted gunfight / firefight situations. It’s also expensive and nice looking, which makes one want to baby it and worry about it more than one would, say, a Glock 19. Oh, and the grip is a little large and blocky(but I have large enough hands for it, so it never really bothered me).
Oh, I almost forgot–the finish. The HK P7 has absolutely the best and most rust-resistant blued finish I’ve yet experienced, but it’s still just a blued finish. Not even close to the rust and corrosion resistance offered by the Glock.
Now, the second handgun I ever bought, and the type I still carry, is the Glock 19 (G19). It’s turned out to be a superior carry gun(to the P7M13) for me for several reasons. First, it’s a good bit lighter fully loaded than the P7M13, while holding anwhere from 2-6 more rounds at the same time(depending on which magazine I want to use). The multiple magazine options (15, 17, or 19 rounds) is nice in itself. I even have a reliable 33 round factory magazine option, if I choose to carry a Glock 18 (G18) magazine as a back-up.
The polymer frame doesn’t heat up in the South Florida weather or during multiple rapid-fire strings like the P7M13’s steel frame. You can shoot the G19 all day and never have to lay it down. The polymer is also not as susceptible to cold, so it’s more comfortable to hold in cold environments as well.
My G19 functions reliably with Magsafe Agent Loads and other "safety" ammunition reliably, even though all these rounds are less than 100 grains. The G19’s I’ve owned have been reliable pistols. Are they as death-and-taxes reliable as the P7M13? Perhaps not. But properly fed and maintained, they come pretty close.
The G19 is more comfortable to shoot, and it’s bore axis is almost as low as the P7’s. The polymer grip flexes and absorbs a good portion of the recoil forces.
I never have to worry about the G19 rusting on me. The tenifer finish being as close to rust-proof as you’re gonna’ get, even in Miami humidity and salt air. The G19 is easier to maintain and repair. I can clean a G19 faster than I can a P7. In terms of repair, ALL G19 parts are cheaper and easier to install.
Now, this next point is worst-case-scenario type thinking, but so what? The Glock 19 is a more versatile and hardier gun under adverse combat conditions like mud, sand, extreme cold, salt water, and constant abuse. Am I ever going to have to use the gun in these types of conditions? I don’t know. No one really does. Who knows where, someday, you may have to take your gun.
Finally, the G19 is just easier for me to carry than the P7M13, due to the G19’s lighter weight. The polymer frame, being softer material than steel, might also contribute somehow to carrying comfort. Two, you just don’t have to baby it or worry about it like like you do the P7. If your G19 drops on the ground, you can just pick it up and dust it off. A P7 hitting the ground will cause you significantly more grief.
And think about this: God forbid you ever have to shoot another human being in self-defense, the police WILL confiscate your weapon. God only knows how long they’ll keep it and how they’ll treat it. Which gun would you rather lose? Of course, the infinitely more important concern is dealing with the emotional aftermath, the police and the district attorney(and staying out of jail)–but still."
Both guns can be drawn and fired equally fast, as far as I can tell. Both weapons’ shot-to-shot times during multiple-shot strings also seem to be pretty close, although the Glock might enjoy a slight advantage, due to its unique trigger reset. My fastest split times(time between shots) during fast strings with the G19 are in the .12-.13 seconds range. I haven’t shot a P7 against a timer.
The HK P7’s fixed-barrel construction, combined with an exceptionally heavy recoil spring(which surrounds the barrel), makes it possible to push the weapon into an attacker and still fire, if performed in a specific way. The user has to press the P7 into the attacker straight-on, so that the barrel is what makes primary contact. When done this way, the gun should still fire, at least
a high percentage of the time. If you try this with a Glock, theres a good chance you will push the slide out of battery far enough to either render the weapon useless, or fire the gun out of battery, causing it to blow up in your hand. Of course, your attacker will still get shot in this latter case.
The heavy recoil spring on the P7 is necessary because of the gun’s operation, which is delayed blow-back via gas piston.
Click on this link to read the orignal TFL thread that gave birth to this story.
Click here to visit Chris’s Unofficial Heckler & Koch P7 Pistol Website.
HKPro.com is the best single HK resource on the web, and you can reach it by clicking on this link.
For the best Glock site on the web, click here. Of COURSE it’s GlockTalk.com.