Heckler & Koch GmbH (HK) is a legendary German defense manufacturing giant that was founded over 70 years ago. With the company motto being “No Compromises”, HK specializes in developing and producing some of the most high-quality and sophisticated handguns, submachine guns, rifles, and grenade launchers in the world.
HK is renowned for providing firearms to elite military and counter-terrorist units like the British SAS, the U.S. Navy SEALs, the German KSK, and the French GSG-9. The company has an illustrious history of designing innovative firearms that have been technologically ambitious and commercially successful.
Many of its firearms utilize the most advanced technology in the industry such as light pull trigger systems, short-recoil, and gas-delayed blowback. Its world renowned weapons include the MP5 (one of the most successful and prolific submachines in history), the HK417 and HK416 assault rifles, the MG5, the USP series of pistols, the PSG1 sniper rifle, and the MP7 personal defense weapon.
HK arose to prominence in the 1950’s in response to West Germany’s need for military weapons. The company’s first mass-produced rifle was the military G3 battle rifle.
In the 1960’s HK continued to expand its product line by producing the 7.62x51mm HK21 general-purpose machine gun, the legendary MP5 machine pistol (a staple among special forces in close quarters), and the 5.56x45mm HK33 assault rifle.
In the 1970’s, HK began to further specialize its product offerings by focusing development on defense and law enforcement weapons alongside hunting and sports firearms.
The 90’s saw HK producing revolutionary assault rifle prototypes that featured caseless weapon systems and lightweight carbon fiber-reinforced polymer materials.
Starting in the 21st century, HK was contracted by the U.S. Army to produce extremely advanced kinetic energy subsystem weapons such as “objective individual combat” assault rifles that fired 20mm HE airbursting rounds. During this time the HK416 assault rifle was developed as a Colt M4 variant to serve the elite Delta Force in the field.
Today, HK exports its firearms to many defense, law enforcement, and civilian markets around the world. A lot has been said about rifles and advanced weapon systems but HK handguns are also extremely popular. In fact, HK handguns are so popular in U.S. markets (especially for law enforcement) that HK has operating facilities in three U.S. states. Its handguns are just as expertly designed and engineered as its rifles.
Here is a list of popular Heckler & Koch handguns and rifles:
The Best HK Pistols and Handguns Reviewed
For over 50 years, Heckler & Koch (HK) has been a premier designer and manufacturer of small arms and light weapons for law enforcement, military, commercial, and sporting markets around the world.
HK handguns are the leading example of meticulously engineered products that are designed to meet the exact needs of specific buyers.
In the case of HK small arms, its pistols have been routinely sought after by several NATO countries and their law enforcement/military forces for many years. HK pistols are the standard handguns for some agencies and special units.
Like all of HK’s product categories, its handguns are best-in-class market leaders revered for their exceptional cost-effectiveness, technologically advanced designs, quality, innovation, and safety. HK exhibits an uncompromising commitment to excellence in researching and developing handguns that match specific requirements and offer remarkable flexibility and adaptability.
HK seeks to be “the world’s premier small arms system company”.
Check out these pistols to see why:
Heckler & Koch HK45 Compact Tactical .45ACP Pistol
The HK45 is an evolution of the popular USP family of pistols and was designed to meet requirements for the U.S. Military Joint Combat Pistol program in an effort to replace the 9mm M9 pistol used by the U.S. military.
The HK45 was the first firearm manufactured at American plants and its variants are used by major U.S. special operations groups. It is one of the most technologically advanced handguns on the market.
The HK45 Compact Tactical (CT) shown here is the civilian version of the HK45. However, the HK45 CT is used by military and law enforcement as well because it uses all HK45 magazines and is essentially a lighter version of the HK45 (there is a law enforcement modification with double action trigger mechanism).
The CT comes with a threaded barrel, 10-round mag with replaceable back straps to custom fit the user’s hand. All HK handguns feature a proprietary recoil reduction system that improves performance control by up to 30%. The “O-ring” barrel improves accuracy and reduces slide lockup.
Other cutting-edge technologies include a cold hammer forged polygonal bore profile that seals propellant gas behind the bullet which increases velocity, and a reinforced polyamide frame that provides strength and gives the handgun a futuristic look.
The option to custom order up to 9 firing modes (e.g. “decock only”), including double/single action, for the HK45 CT showcases the tactical sophistication of this incredible pistol and why the HK series is sought after by law enforcement and security personnel.
Heckler & Koch P30SK (SubKompact) 9mm, V3-Double Action/Single Action Semi-Auto
The SK version of the highly respected P30 series features all of the characteristics of the larger models except in a compact and concealable design. Like most HK handguns, the P30SK consists of modifiable back straps (3 types) and lateral grips (6 types) to suit the user’s grip comfort needs.
It is also available in several trigger firing modes such as the sought after double action, or “law enforcement modification”, and a “light strike” mode that requires a little over 5 lbs-force to pull. There are also ambidextrous manual safety levers and a double action/single action setup with a decocking button.
The P30SK, despite being one of the smallest HK models, feels perfect in the user’s hand due to being well-balanced and easy to control/point. The P30SK is a 9mmx19 caliber pistol with an overall length of 6.42 inches and weight of 23.99 oz.
Heckler & Koch VP40 .40 S&W
The VP handgun line was introduced in 2014 with the acclaimed VP9 (9mm). The VP40 is the Smith & Wesson .40 caliber rimless cartridge variant of the series. The VP series is HK’s most recent handgun family and was in development for over four years.
The P30 series of pistols inspired HK engineers to evolve the design of its handguns and resulted in the unique and innovative “striker firing system” that is integrated into all VP pistols. The “light pull” trigger that is characteristic of the series represents the best trigger quality on the market in comparison to any striker-fired handgun.
HK pioneered the first striker-fired pistols with the VP70 and P7 series. The superiority of the trigger system found in these groundbreaking pistols is showcased in the VP40 model and surpasses most pistols on the market. For example, the VP trigger has a consistent “pre-travel” pull with positive wall/crisp break. In other words, the pre-travel pull is barely noticeable until the trigger reaches the engagement point unlike other striker-fired guns in which the trigger feels heavier the farther you pull it.
Like all HK handguns, the VP series features an ergonomic, ambidextrous handgrip with interchangeable back straps and up to six grip panels. Finger grooves instinctively guide the user’s fingers into the ideal holding position.
The VP40 is truly a state-of-the-art handgun. Original features of the VP series include patented charging supports which provide superior gripping leverage for slide racking and also accelerate reloading. The VP40 has an extended Picatinny rail molded into its polymer frame for light mounts and accessories.
The handgun is crafted with superior materials like corrosion-free, cold hammer forged steel and passes extreme endurance tests (100,000+ rounds fired) without showing any wear and tear.
The VP40 comes with either 13-round or 10-round magazines of .40S&W and weighs just 28.93 oz.
Heckler & Koch USP40 Standard .40 Smith & Wesson
The standard USP (Universal Self-loading Pistol) was originally developed for U.S. law enforcement and military markets and has been a flagship model for Heckler & Koch ever since its inception.
Although the USP has uniquely American control designs, it is respected around the world for being accurate, versatile, and extremely reliable. The easily accessible USP control lever is frame mounted (instead of slide-mounted) and acts as a dual safety/decocking lever.
For over 30 years, HK has pioneered the implementation of advanced polymer materials and these materials are expertly showcased in the USP series in which all handguns use fiber-reinforced polymer frames that are bolstered by stainless steel inserts at key stress points. The special patented USP recoil reduction system reduces wear and tear on components and decreases recoil forces felt by the user.
This USP, which is available in three caliber configurations, can also be converted into nine trigger/firing variant modes including double-action/single-action and double-action only. Shown here is an absolutely beautiful .40 S&W USP with a blue modular synthetic grip, an ambidextrous mag release lever, and an oversized trigger guard for shooters wearing gloves.
It holds 10/13 rounds, has fixed sights and weighs 1.82 lb with a magazine.
Heckler & Koch VP9 9mm x 19 Pistol
The VP9 is one of HK’s newest and most successful pistols to date. Lucky for you, the 2020 version will be shipped out to customers with a few amazing upgrades such as a 17-round mag (replacing the original 15-round) and a new sight config featuring a high-visibility front sight and a clean, serrated rear sight.
You cannot make a more perfect handgun than the VP9. It is remarkably compact and shoots great. The entire pistol is ergonomically designed, from the grip angle to the contours of the front strap and rear saddle, to provide the operator with a perfect handgrip.
Twenty-seven unique grip configurations with interchangeable backstraps and grip panels are available with the VP9. The VP9 features a groundbreaking striker firing system with an enhanced “light pull” trigger. This precise trigger control system is best-in-class and you will not find another handgun that surpasses the superior function of the VP9 single-action trigger type.
It has a light take-up and a short, positive reset. The VP9 also features a proprietary captive flat recoil spring to reduce recoil forces and improve accuracy control for the shooter.
HK is famous for using advanced materials in its frame designs and this is evident with the VP9. The machined steel slide is corrosive resistant and an extended Picatinny MIL-STD-1913 rail is molded into the reinforced polyamide frame for mounting accessories.
Cold hammer forged, cannon-grade steel comprises the barrel and a high-grade polygonal bore profile contributes to incredibly long service life.
The VP9 is 9mmx19 caliber with a 10/15/17 round mag capacity, a 5.4 lb trigger pull, and weighs just 25.56 oz.
Heckler & Koch P2000 9mm 3.66 in.
One of Heckler & Koch’s latest handguns, the P2000 is a successful blend of features from the USP Compact pistol and other engineering innovations.
Originally designed for European law enforcement agencies, the refined P2000 model is available in a DA/SA trigger mode or LEM/CDA (Law Enforcement Modification/Combat Defense Action) mode originating from the USP Compact handgun.
The HK LEM trigger variant combines a cocked striker component (constant level of trigger pull) with a double-action hammer system and is specially designed for U.S. government agencies to enhance the trigger system.
An optional adjustment for the pre-cocked hammer system provides a trigger pull force of around 5.5 lb. Several easily installable modular grip panels are available for the P2000 as well as an ambidextrous mag release and dual slide release levers. These features provide superior feel and control for the shooter’s hand.
The P2000 is available in 9mm or .40 S&W caliber and weighs just 24.96 oz. This variant has a 3.66 in. barrel length.
Heckler & Koch HK45 Tactical .45ACP
This durable and robustly engineered pistol was designed as part of the U.S. military’s JCP (Joint Combat Pistol) program and is the threaded barrel version of the HK45 standard model.
The HK45 Tactical features a superior ergonomic grip design with interchangeable backstraps and molded finger grooves for optimal hand positioning.
All HK45 pistols are made in the USA with American and German parts. The HK45 Tactical has a proprietary internal mechanical recoil system that greatly reduces recoil forces for the user by employing a flat recoil spring coupled with a polyamide bushing sleeve.
This recoil reduction system significantly improves shooter control, accuracy during rapid firing, and component service life. The HK45 Tactical is guaranteed to remain accurate and perfectly functional for a very long time.
Nine unique trigger firing modes are available with this version as well as a patented “lock-out” system that allows the user to lock the pistol by inserting a key into the magazine. An optional suppressor accessory is available for the HK45 Tactical.
This pistol is strictly .45 ACP caliber and weighs 31.20 oz.
For over 50 years, Heckler & Koch (HK) has been an industry leader in the design and manufacturing of sophisticated small arms and light weapons for military, law enforcement, and civilian/sporting markets worldwide.
HK’s commitment to excellent and superior engineering quality, innovation, and safety are showcased in all of its technologically advanced firearms. HK products are exceptionally durable and cost-effective over their life cycles. HK makes some of the best pistols and rifles on the market.
HK’s goal is to be “the world’s premier small arms system company” and its motto is “No Compromise”. This vision is reflected in the company’s philosophy as it continues to reshape markets through superb marketing, product development, and technological leadership.