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The P7 is a German 9mm semi-automatic pistol designed by Helmut Weldle and produced by Heckler & Koch GmbHOberndorf am Neckar. It was revealed to the public for the first time in 1976 as the PSP (Polizei Selbstlade Pistole—”police self-loading pistol”)
The decision to equip West German police with an advanced 9mm service pistol and replace existing 7.65mm-caliber weapons was prompted after the 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre. The new firearm was to meet the following requirements: chamber the 9x19mm Parabellum cartridge, weigh no more than 1,000 g (35 oz), the pistol’s dimensions would not exceed 180 x 130 x 34 mm, it should have a muzzle energy of no less than 500 J and a service life of at least 10,000 rounds. The pistol was also to be fully ambidextrous, safe to carry with a loaded chamber and able to be quickly drawn and ready to fire instantly. As a result of a competitive bid the German police forces selected three different pistols into service: the Swiss SIG-Sauer P225 (designated the P6) and two German designs—the P7 (officially called the PSP) and the Walther P5.
Series production of the P7 started in 1979. Shortly after, the pistol was adopted by the German Federal Police’s counter-terrorism unit (GSG 9) and the German Army’s special forces formations. The P7 was produced primarily by H&K but also under license by the Greek defense firm Hellenic Arms Industry as well as in Mexico by the Departamento de Industria Militar (DIM), as a sidearm for general officers and staff. The pistol was also exported to several countries.
The P7 is a semi-automatic, blowback-operated firearm. It features a unique gas-delayed blowback locking system modeled on the Swiss Pistole 47 W+F (Waffenfabrik Bern) prototype pistol (and ultimately on the Barnitzke system first used in the Volkssturmgewehr 1-5), which used gas pressures from the ignited cartridge and fed them through a small port in the barrel (in front of the chamber) to retard the rearward motion of the slide. This is accomplished by means of a piston contained inside of a cylinder located under the barrel that opposes the rearward motion of the slide until the gas pressure has declined—after the bullet has left the barrel—hence allowing the slide to end its rearward motion, opening the breech and ejecting the empty cartridge case.
The chamber has 18 flutes that aid in the extraction process by allowing combustion gases to flow between the fired case and the chamber walls, preventing the case from “sticking” to the chamber walls. The drawback of this system is that the breech “opens” slightly prematurely to allow the slide to initiate its rearward motion. The high temperature gases cycling through a tube located below the chamber area and above the trigger made the early versions of this pistol uncomfortable to shoot after the content of two magazines were fired due to heating. The advantages of this system are a simpler manufacturing process due to the absence of a locking system and a high mechanical accuracy due to the barrel being fixed in the frame; the barrel does not execute any sort of lateral or vertical movement during the operating cycle as with the prolific Browning cam-action systems used extensively in other locked breech pistols.
The P7′s spring extractor is contained within the slide, while the fixed ejector is a surface on the slide catch.
The pistol has an innovative trigger (with a squeeze cocking lever located at the front of the grip, beneath the trigger guard) and is striker fired. Squeezing the cocking lever with a force of 70 N (15.7 lbf) automatically cocks the firing pin. The weapon is then fired by pressing the single stage trigger rated at approximately 20 N (4.5 lbf). The squeeze cocking lever also acts as the safety and protects against accidental firing as the lever moves forward to its initial position automatically decocking the pistol when the lever is released. This method of operation dispensed the need for a manual safety selector while providing safety for the user carrying the pistol with a chambered round and increased the speed with which the pistol could be deployed and fired. The trigger and firing mechanism’s method of operation (and the unique slide catch) were protected by U.S. Patent 4,132,023, issued on January 2, 1979.
The P7 is fed from a single-stack box magazine with a capacity of 8 rounds, which is held inside the firearm’s frame with a release located at the heel of the grip. After the last round has been fired, the slide will remain open thanks to a slide catch that can be released by pulling the slide further back or pressing the squeeze cocker.
The firearm uses a fixed, polygonal barrel (hexagonal with a 250 mm twist rate) and a fixed notched iron sight with contrast dots that enable shooting in low-level lighting conditions. The pistol is completely ambidextrous and two-handed use is enhanced through the use of a profiled and enlarged trigger guard.
Between 1982–1983 the P7 received several modifications, mainly to address American market demand and shooter preferences. These modifications resulted in the P7M8 model. A new magazine release lever (available on both sides of the frame) was installed just beneath the trigger guard, which forced designers to modify both the pistol’s frame and magazine. The trigger guard was equipped with a synthetic heat shield that protects the shooter from excessive heating and a lanyard attachment loop was added in place of the previous magazine heel release. The firing pin and its bushing were also changed.
Taken w/ credit from Wikipedia.