Sunday, April 18, 2010

Heckler & Koch P7 M13 - A Political Refugee In America

If he had left the guns in England, he would have been forced to hand them in to the police, and he would eventually have been paid the full market price for them…
by Tony Walker.

(AAR Note: Tony’s article is a good read for any gun enthusiast. The part about the guns being refugees here in America struck me in a way that Tony may or may not have intended. Where are we going in this country? Will some gun enthusiast be writing an article in the near future the same as this one, but about our guns being refugees in another country?)
Washington, DC – -( When the private ownership of handguns was banned in the UK in the late 1990s, a friend of mine, who also just happens to be a lawyer, paid me a visit. He arrived with more than his holiday clothing; he also came with a couple of boxes of handguns.

“Take these and hold on to them,” he said to me. “They’re claiming political asylum.” The boxes contained all of his handgun collection, and he left them with me with strict instructions not to sell them unless he gave permission.

If he had left the guns in England, he would have been forced to hand them in to the police, and he would eventually have been paid the full market price for them. He preferred, however, to bring them to the Land of the Free, where they would be guaranteed to have a good home, and could be kept well-fed with the best ammo.

As an aside to this, the police in the UK were also taking in holsters, magazine pouches, and every other type of shooting accessory, so he and most of the shooting fraternity there were handing in tattered old holsters, of a type that couldn’t even be sold for ninety-nine cents in this country, and receiving the full retail value for them. Many shooters who were resentful of the government’s decision to ban handguns made quite a bit of money out of this!

That was over ten years ago, and the handguns have languished in my safe ever since then, with only a rare outing. However, I recently saw in the USCCA forum a letter from someone who was asking if an ex-police 9mm HK P7 M8 PSP (Police Service Pistol, or, as it’s called by its owners, the ‘pneumatic squeeze pistol’) would be a worthwhile buy. That letter made me think, so I went to the safe and took out one of the pistols my lawyer friend (known to all his friends as ‘Shyster’) had left with me.

It was a Heckler & Koch P7 M13, the high-capacity version of the M8. It had been given a coating of electroless nickel, and had been fitted with a set of Tritium night sights. There were three 13-round magazines with it, so I decided to see just how well it would perform at my local range, the Scottsdale Gun Club.

Before taking it to the range, I stripped it and made sure that everything was clean and lightly oiled, and then did a few dry fire exercises. To prepare the M13 for firing, the grip has to be squeezed, which takes about ten pounds of pressure. However, once it is cocked, the firing pin indicator protrudes from the rear of the frame, and only about three pounds of pressure is needed to keep it cocked. In fact, the grip can be kept depressed by the pressure of just one finger. If you decide not to shoot, simply release your grip, and the gun is immediately on safe.

The trigger is a dream: light, yet positive in its action. This particular model’s trigger broke at around three pounds pressure. A trigger stop had been fitted to stop any over-travel, and this worked perfectly, allowing me to keep a quarter balanced on the front sight while I pressed the trigger.

At the range, I loaded the magazines with a mixture of rounds which included military hardball and a variety of hollow point rounds. I even loaded one magazine with alternating hardball and hollow point, throwing in a couple of old handloads just to see if the M13 would digest them. I needn’t have worried. The slide strips rounds from the magazine at a perfect feeding angle, almost in a straight line from magazine to feed ramp, and the M13 fired everything without missing a beat.

Next, I rolled a combat target out to ten yards, and fired a few double taps. The necessity to keep the grip squeezed seemed to make my shooting better than it normally is, because the bullet holes were far closer together than when I shoot my P35 Browning.

The 4-inch barrel of the M13 is fixed to the frame, which gives it far greater inherent accuracy than could be had from a pistol with a Browning or SIG-style barrel linkage. At twenty five yards, I had no difficulty in keeping my shots in the ten ring of the target, with just under half of them blowing out the center ‘X’.

The first models of the P7 had a European-style magazine release, in the heel of the pistol’s butt. Later models, designed with the US market in mind, were fitted with an excellent ambidextrous release using a small paddle on each side of the rear of the trigger guard. This was simple to use, and magazines were ejected all the way, every time.

The M13 is certainly no handgun for anyone with small hands. Because of the heavy-duty recoil spring, people with not much in the way of upper body strength will find pulling back the slide a little difficult. There is no slide lock on the pistol, so if the slide is locked back, the grip must be squeezed to release it.

Like German cars, the HK P7 M13 does perhaps suffer from a little Teutonic over-engineering, but at the same time, the M13 does stand as a monument to ‘Vorsprung Durch Technik’ — ‘Progress through technology’. It’s well made, it’s a jewel of engineering, and if you are lucky enough to own one — hang on to it, as prices are rapidly rising.

Now … how can I persuade the Shyster to sell me his M13?
Heckler & Koch P7 M13 Handgun
Heckler & Koch P7 M13 Handgun

Tony Walker is the author of the critically-acclaimed book How to Win a Gunfight, and he also wrote Snides, the action thriller that introduced ex-SAS trooper John Pilgrim and his swift-shooting wife Sally. Find more information on Tony Walker’s website,

No comments: