Heckler & Koch P7M8 – A Brief Review

HK P7M8 – A Review

p7m8 pistol and magazineI finally settled down a bit and decided to write an overview of this compact pistol. I did mean to release this awhile back – you may notice the older logo in my photos =). After a rather short overview of the S&W Model 10-14, I hope to make it up with cool pictures of this fascinating pistol.

A 1985 production made in Chantilly, Virgina, I bought this particular P7M8 from MacTec Enterprises. Without delay, they shipped out my pistol after receiving my USPS money order. If you’re looking for another firearm to add to that safe, MacTec is certainly a company I would recommend dealing business with. Unfortunately, it didn’t come with the original box or manual. They did, however, send the pistol to my FFL with a lock, a hard plastic case, two factory magazines and the gas cylinder scraping tool and brush.

p7m8 front and rear sight

Derived from the PSP, Heckler and Koch designated this particular P7 series as an M8 – carrying a total of 8 9x19mm Parabellum cartridges in a single stack magazine. There are other models varying in cartridge size and capacity – P7M10 and P7M13. While the PSP series had a European magazine release at the heal of the firearm, this model uses the American magazine release – maintaining the ambidextrous utility of this pistol. The most unique feature of this firearm is the squeeze cocking mechanism on the pistol grip – a feature many argue claim to make it the safest carry weapon ever designed. With a forceful squeeze of the pistol grip, the mechanism pulls back the firing pin. With the release of the lever, the firing pin is safely disengaged. The implementation of the cocking lever is meant to prevent most accidental discharges. Generally, one must have a firm grip on the gun before being fired since the force necessary to squeeze the lever down is significant.

The sights are easy to focus on (at least for my young eyes) and were engineered so that tritium rods may be installed by simply removing those small white inserts. The serrations on the rear on the slide make a short stroke pistol easy to chamber a round. The external extractor doubles as a chamber indicator. When pressing on the cocking lever, one will notice the firing pin moving out of the slide just waiting for the trigger squeeze to release it. The grips are ergonomic for my small hands – it’s difficult to imagine how large a double stacked P7M10 would be. There aren’t any serrations, only a light grit texture on the cocking lever. They are thin and have a tendency to slip if the screws are not secured with Lok-Tite. I recommend purple or the blue variation.

p7m8 trigger The magazine base plates look pretty thin. I’m concerned how much abuse they can take on concrete and dirt. Given than each magazine can cost up to $60, you can’t blame me. The original ones that came with this pistol were date coded. The new ones I purchased lacked such codes. The good news is that they’re easy to disassemble for cleaning – very similar to the Wilson 47D magazines. One should note the plastic heat guard under the dust cover. Though it does it’s job for the first 50 successive rounds, the surrounding metal gets hot anyway. Had I brought this pistol with me to the LMS defense class, I would likely have left with burns on my fingers.

p7m8 magazine well

I’ve performed a few dry practice sessions with this pistol and the beveled magazine well assists my magazine change performance. Though I haven’t found any use for it yet, the lanyard loop is cool (No reason for me to loose an expensive pistol, right?).

The most noteworthy characteristic about this pistol is that I have yet to have a feeding jam, or other malfunctions of any kind. It’s been almost a year since I’ve bought this pistol, clocking around 1400 rounds. Though it stays relatively clean all the gunk goes through the cylinder and sometimes leaks the junk into other areas of the gun.

The general maintenance on this pistol is simple: bore-snake and wipe. The simple feed ramp and polygonal rifling make it very easy. Sure, there’s always powder residue on the trigger and slide mechanism, but it doesn’t cake on. Only after 600 rounds do I actually use the scrape and brush tool to clean out the cylinder.

p7m8 pistol piston

p7m8 slide

Taking the pistol grips aren’t necessary, but you might surprised how much junk gets in trigger and lever mechanisms. When cleaning, one must be careful to not be over-zealous. The junk on the piston MUST stay on. Don’t pry it off, don’t scrub it off… just don’t touch it (maybe wipe it down). It’s been implied that there a danger in scrubbing too much metal off, ruining the effectiveness of the piston. Though others have soaked their pistons with success, it doesn’t take long for it to collect more gunk.

p7m8 barrel feed ramp

Field stripping is pretty simple. Theres a small button located on the rear left side of the pistol. One will have to press that will pull back and up on the slide. This releases the slide from the frame and the assembly will move off forward. Another hidden button is the slide catch. Also on the right side of the pistol, the side catch is located right about the magazine release. It took me and Bill at www.mastercampers.com awhile to figure it out – only after downloading the manual at Heckler and Koch’s website.

One concern I’ve noted through research is that you should keep an eye on the recoil spring as cracks can develop quickly. The Wolff springs are excellent.

I haven’t had any failures yet, but I wouldn’t anticipate any. It’s a wonderful pistol that doesn’t get out much. But when it does, it kicks ass.

It shouldn’t be long, but I’ll have a sample target up. When I do, I’ll simply update this post.

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Categories: Firearms, Guns


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8 Comments on “Heckler & Koch P7M8 – A Brief Review”

  1. Steve
    January 6, 2009 at 4:00 am #

    You mention removing the white dots and installing the tritium cylinders. I have not been able to find any I can purchase without sending out my pistol. Can you tell me about this? Thanks.

    • January 7, 2009 at 8:32 pm #

      They’re removable; however, I have not performed this modification.

      The point was that you’re able to send in your slide without having to change out the slights and have it adjusted after. It just makes it easier for the installer and consumer to transition over from the white dots to the tritium sights.

      I do not have a source for the tritium cylinders.

    • January 7, 2009 at 8:32 pm #

      I could say I would sell you mine, but well all know better that it’s not happening =).

  2. Marc
    April 20, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    It wasn’t made in Chantilly, that’s just an import mark. P7s were only ever made in Oberndorf. The German proof marks prove that this pistol is German-made.


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