Understanding the ‘most expensive handgun in the world’

Between its innovative “squeeze-cocking” feature and its West German craftsmanship, Heckler & Koch’s P7 was billed as “the best combat pistol” on the market when it was released in Europe, pitched to police and military use.

Once it crossed the Atlantic, this morphed into the world’s “most expensive handgun” in marketing materials in the U.S. in the 1980s with a list of the reasons why the P7 was superior to the more economical options.

With a fixed cold hammer-forged barrel and polygonal rifling, the all-steel P7 was accurate while the 110-degree grip angle was billed as being very natural. Reliable, the P7 was designed so that an empty case would extract and eject even if the extractor was missing from the handgun. Using a hybrid gas-delayed blowback, recoil was light.

It was imported in a few different varieties.

This HK P7 PSP with a five-digit serial number is “PW Arms Redmond, WA” import marked and was produced in West Germany in the early 1990s.

This HK P7M8 is a Sterling, Virginia-marked import produced in West Germany in the mid-1990s. Note the difference in the trigger guard which now has a heat shield, the improved rear sight, and grip from the P7 above. The gun also has an ambi magazine release just below the guard and a lanyard loop in place of the original PSP’s heel-mounted release.

Add to this the P7M13, with the ability to carry 13+1 rounds, notably sported by fictional German terrorist-turned-crook Hans Gruber.

Ultimately, the P7 series was retired by HK over a decade ago but you can be sure that the legacy of these patrician pistols will endure as long as Die Hard is considered a Christmas movie.

One comment

  • Worked with a Mexican bodyguard back in 1984-85. His choice of carry was 2 P7’s in a “Jackass” shoulder rig. He was darn accurate and pretty fast with either hand. Worked for the Governor of Sonora. IIRC.

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