I’ve owned several HK handguns in the past. One of them was the USP, which was an incredible handgun when it first came out. It was big and rugged, and it sported frame rails for those who wanted to mount lights or lasers. I might be wrong, but the USP was the first handgun to have these rails built into the frame. The one I had was a full-size .40 caliber unit. It was reliable, it was accurate, and it was a pussycat, even shooting the sharp .40 rounds that I liked, typically 135 grain Cor-Bons. I tell you this to impress upon you that I have always appreciated HK handguns. I’m not alone in liking HK guns; lots of shooters like them too. Some people like them a bit too much. To the "mall ninjas" and "gun shop commandos" anything with the HK logo on it is imbued with mystical forces that give it +1 powers against the forces of evil. It’s the gun of choice for those who play Rogue Spear or Counter Strike. The reality is a little different from the fanboy hype.
The P2000 may have ridden in on the crest of that hype wave. Germany’s state police wanted a new gun, but they didn’t want a USP. So HK took the USP, put some bevels on it, remolded the grip frame, copied Walther and included user-changeable backstraps.
Then they called it the P2000, and it’s supposedly a completely different gun now. Maybe it is. The new grip frame feels smaller in my hand than the USP did, but not really any better. For some reason, the alternate backstrap choices seem to make the gun feel just a bit wrong in my hand, regardless of which one I tried. Instead of 3 choices, maybe they should try 5 or 6.
I dislike HK’s mag release on these guns (and with the USPs actually) because for some reason they always accidentally let the magazine slip. My USP did it and the P2000 did it too. I’ve never really had this problem with any other magazine release. This could also have been because I was using a generic belt slide holster with the P2000 and not a form fitted rig made specifically for it. The mag release also irritated the middle finger on my firing hand. Perhaps there was a burr or something that could have been remedied with a touch of a nail file, but I didn’t see anything. It just felt uncomfortable while shooting with a firm firing grip.
The sights are typical HK, which is to say that they are large and generally quite good, with big white dots. I would have been more impressed had HK included night sights on this gun. One would think that any serious handgun company bold enough to put "No Compromises" out as their motto would not compromise on a handgun purportedly for serious use and would naturally include night sights as a standard feature. Evidently, this is an upgrade option, so HK does have some compromises.
The one thing that I found interesting was the location of the decocker lever. It was at the back of the gun, right next to the hammer. Maybe "interesting" isn’t the right word for it. I hate this thing to a level that surprised even me. I can’t stand having the decocker on the back of the gun. I would rather have all of my shirts hanging in my closet some shade of pink than own a gun where the decocker is on the back of it, by the hammer. Maybe this is something I’m just not used to, but I don’t make that statement lightly, as having done my own laundry in college, I have had on more than one occasion accidentally turned all of my light colored shirts pink. I don’t really know why I hate it so much, but I do. The only thing that I know I hate as much as this is okra. I can’t stand the stuff. Some people love okra, but I don’t know any of those people. I’m only guessing that someone out there likes it because I see it on the store shelves. Since HK is still offering this decocker, I’m guessing that some people must like it too. I don’t know any of those people either.
The trigger pull on this gun is something special. Now, this gun I’m testing is traditional double-action/single-action. There is another version that has something called an "LEM" trigger system. Get the LEM trigger. If there is no LEM version of a P2000 available, then put your name on a waiting list for it because you do not want the DA/SA version. The double-action pull is truly and amazingly horrible. The pull weight is up there in the realm of "crossbow draw weight." If it was just heavy, it wouldn’t have been so bad. But it was heavy and gritty. Maybe gritty isn’t the right word for it. It’s more like… rocky. If this was a road, you would need a trail-rated Jeep with a winch and a lift kit. This has to be the worst-double action trigger pull I’ve felt in a good long time. The only thing worse was probably… no… my mistake… there was nothing worse. The upside was that the single-action trigger pull was just fine. Nothing special, nothing too bad…a completely average pull.
So what does the P2000 have going for it? Well, it’s a rugged little beast. Feels good and solid. And the recoil from firing even the hottest +P+ ammunition was not unpleasant. Most of my shooting with the P2000 was done with typical standard or +P ammunition in the 115 to 124 grain range. Accuracy was very average, acceptable by most standards for a service pistol, but I was disappointed. I suspect that it could have been much better had I either found ammo that the gun liked better or if the trigger had been less horrific. I fired all the rounds double-action in the target photo, decocking after every shot. With some more practice, better ammo, and using single action, this group should tighten. Range was 15 yards, standing, unsupported, using a modified Weaver stance (as in all my evaluation shooting). I found this P2000 to be a completely adequate handgun, and if I was to be issued one for whatever reason, I’m sure I would be just fine with it. Should I be in the market for a new handgun, I don’t think I would go out of my way to look for a P2000 as my gun of choice. If I came across one with the LEM trigger, I would consider it for a moment if it had night sights. If not, I’d most likely pass it up for something else.
Thanks to the United States Concealed Carry Association for this article. To get USCCA tactical emails free just click here and sign up.