Heckler & Koch P7: Polizei Selbstlader Pistole (PSP)

Author: Ian Hogg

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Heckler & Koch P7 is an unusual pistol that can be used rapidly, with neither a safety catch nor a cocking hammer delaying matters, yet it is totally safe while being carried loaded.


The Heckler & Koch P7 (originally called the PSP for ‘Polizei Selbstlader Pistole’) is a pocket or holster weapon, relatively small, but firing a powerful cartridge. For this reason, it demands some form of breech locking, and this is done by gas pressure. The slide has the usual recoil spring beneath it, with a guide rod inside the spring.

But this guide rod is carefully machined and as the slide recoils, it moves inside a close-fitting cylinder lying in the frame above the trigger. A port between this cylinder and the barrel allows high-pressure gas to flow in and fill the cylinder when the pistol is fired; this pressure resists the rearward movement of the slide.

Design and firing mechanism

Once the bullet has left the barrel and the gas pressure drops, the rod can move back, forcing the gas out of the cylinder and into the barrel and thence out to the atmosphere. Thereafter the action is that of any other blowback automatic pistol.

In order to carry the weapon safely in a loaded condition, the firing pin is not cocked during the recoil stroke is usual; instead, it is controlled by a grip forming the front edge of the butt. When the firer grasps the butt and squeezes the grip, the firing pin is cooked there is no need for him to keep squeezing since the grip engages in the cocked position.

Heckler & Koch P7 in 3D CAD
Heckler & Koch P7 in 3D CAD (Photo: XY)

Once he releases his grip, however, the pistol is de-cocked. It can thus be carried safely with a round in the chamber and brought into action with no delay; if once uncocked, the shooter drops it, it is uncocked before it hits the floor.


The sights are fixed, but the foresight can be changed and the rear sight moved sideways to zero the weapon. Both sights have inlaid white dots to assist in aligning in poor visibility and it is possible to have ‘Betalight’ luminous markers fitted for night firing. Disassembly of the Heckler & Koch P7 distinctive pistol is easy, though it requires the use of a special stripping tool.

Technical specifications: Heckler & Koch P7 (PSP)

Manufacturer: Heckler & Koch GmbH, D-7238 Oberndorf/Neckar, Germany
Type: delayed blowback, semi-automatic
Caliber: 9 mm Parabellum
Barrel: 4.13 inches (105 mm)
Weight (empty): 27.07 oz (785 gm) with empty magazine
Capacity: 8 rounds
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