Heckler & Koch is one of the leading manufacturers of law enforcement small arms in the world. Their pistols, submachine guns and rifles have been the weapons of choice for many police and government agencies, as well as special operations units around the globe. In the U.S., HK firearms can be seen on the duty belts of officers, in patrol and tactical vehicles, or in the batteries of local, state and federal law enforcement organizations. Speaking of federal agencies, HK was awarded a contract in 2004 from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to supply handguns to all organizational elements up to a maximum quantity of 65,000 pistols. This was the largest handgun procurement contract ever awarded by a U.S. law enforcement organization and included the USP Compact LEM, P2000 and P2000SK models.
Today, HK arms law enforcement and security organizations the world over with pistols like the P2000, USP and Mark 23; submachine guns such as the famous MP5 and the more recent UMP; and rifles like the G36 and HK416. There are even special-purpose HK sniper rifles, machine guns and grenade launchers. About the only thing they don’t make is a shotgun. I have been carrying an HK P2000 in .40 caliber for several years now, both on and off duty. It took me a little while to warm up to it, as I was happy with my former service pistol, but after a while I began to see its advantages—one being its more compact size, making it less of a burden for off-duty carry.
Two new service-type pistols from HK really impressed me. The first is the HK P30S. This pistol is what I regard as an improved version of the P2000. My biggest complaint about the P2000 is the ambidextrous magazine release—not so much the fact that you have to push downward on it rather than inward to drop the magazine, but when you combine that with its miniscule size, it’s bad news to me. The magazine release on the P30S is both bigger and better designed.
The grip on the P30S is also more ergonomic than that of the P2000. There are more knurled sections for a firmer grip, along with memory grooves, and if you are less than happy with the grip out of the box,
you can replace the backstrap and side panels to get the most optimal size for your hand. The Picatinny rail on the dust cover has more locking points than that on the
P2000, and to top it off, you get a 13-round magazine with the P30S as opposed to the 12-rounder in the P2000. All of this comes with a modest gain in overall height (5.04 versus 5.43 inches) and around 1.6 ounces in added weight with an empty magazine.
My P2000 is equipped with the HK Law Enforcement Modified (LEM) trigger, which is DAO, so there is no spur on the external hammer. The LEM trigger gives a smoother and lighter pull (6.2 to 8.5 pounds), with a “second pull” capability that is heavier because the slide does not cycle and reset the LEM mechanism. The P30 series can also be had with this trigger, or it can have a conventional DA/SA trigger with an external ambidextrous safety and decocker, as on my test P30S. I shoot well with the LEM trigger, but I also like the option of a single-action mode, so both guns are pretty evenly matched trigger-wise. The ejection port on the P30S slide is opened up a bit more, and the front sides of the slide are serrated.
My sample gun has fixed three-dot sights; the rear sight is huge—my service P2000 has fixed tritium night sights and the front and rear sights on both guns are dovetailed into the slide. Other commonalities are a polymer frame, non-reflective matte finish, and German quality throughout.
An interesting sidenote is an endurance test that was conducted not too long ago with a LEM-trigger P30 in 9mm. Beginning in May 2009 and over a period of 11 months, 91,622 rounds were fired through this one pistol. We are talking full-powered service ammo from eight different makers, sometimes fired at a rate of 350 to 550 rounds per hour, with 512 total range hours and 110 range trips. The gun was cleaned only 13 times (over 5,700 rounds between cleanings) and just three parts had to be replaced—all were springs. On March 11, 2010, at around the 86,000-round count, a tester noticed a small piece of polymer-covered metal was missing from the frame. More than 5,000 additional rounds were fired with no complications, but it was decided to end the test—even though the HK technical staff believed the gun could safely go a full 100,000 rounds.