Heckler and Koch P11: A legendary underwater pistol

Eric Sof

Heckler and Koch P11 is a rare underwater pistol designed for the special operations forces and maritime operations

Underwater Pistol Heckler and Koch P11 have been in use since 1976 in many military diving units in Western Europe armies and by the United States and Israeli special forces.


This weapon consists of a charger and an electric shutter for shooting. The clip comprises 5  tubes containing 5 mini-caliber arrow lengths of 6 mm, each having a tungsten tip (in the literal translation sting) 5 mm caliber. The electrical energy required for firing is obtained from the sealed battery installed in the hollow handle. The diameter of the trigger guard allows the use of diving gloves.

Military combat divers armed with Heckler and Koch P11 underwater pistol
Military combat divers armed with Heckler and Koch P11 underwater pistol (Photo: XY)

HK P11 is the American defense underwater Mk1 gun that was developed in 1960 and in operational use was introduced in 1970. Based on the available data about the gun, after firing all 5 bullets reloading guns is possible only by the factory.

Although the producer has denied the pistol P11, he became famous after appearing in the films Lara Croft: Cradle of life in 2003 and computer games in the 2002 James Bond 007: Nightfire and Delta Force: Land warrior.


According to available data, this gun is used by German KSK, British Special Boat Service (SBS), American, Dutch, Danish special forces, Italian COMSUBIN, Norway, France, and Israel’s diving units. This gun is a bit bigger than a Russian underwater gun SNP-1, but it has five instead of four tubes.

USMC Reconnaissance Battalions: Combat diving
USMC Reconnaissance Battalions: Recon Marines training with the Draeger MK 25 rebreather at an undisclosed location (Photo: XY)

There are so many new tactics and weapons in modern warfare, and in diving units, there is also a need for improvement and better weapons; one of them is the Heckler and Koch P11 underwater pistol.

Technical specifications

Manufacturer: Heckler & Koch GmbH, Oberndorf Am Neckar, Germany
Type: underwater gun
Designed/Produced: 1970/1976
Length: 200 mm
Weight (loaded): 1200 grams
Caliber: 7.62x36mm, 6 mm (caliber data differ from one to another source)
Effective range: 30 yards on the ground, 10-15 meters underwater
Line of sight: 14.6 centimeters
Magazine capacity: 5 rounds

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