Far beyond its small size and unusual delayed blowback design, the PSP is best known for its squeeze-cocking operation. In lieu of a fixed front strap the gun uses a finger-grooved cocking bar/lever that initially requires 13 pounds of pressure to make the gun ready to fire. While that might seem overly stiff, it is actually rather easy to apply because three fingers are at work. Also, once the squeeze cocker’s spring is compressed, only 1 1⁄2-pounds. of pressure is required to keep the gun ready to fire. Aside from this cocking lever/grip safety, there are no other external safeties.
After emerging as the clear winner of the German government tests, the PSP was adopted as the standard pistol for its federal police force in 1978 and designated the P7. The German police contract was so large that there were no commercial sales until 1981. Once available for the civilian market, the P7 was offered in a variety of models, including the P7 M13. This gun has a double-column, 13-round magazine in place of the original’s single-column, eight-round type. Alternate chamberings included .40 S&W in the P7 M10 with a 10-round, double-column magazine and the straight-blowback P7 K3 in .32 ACP, .380 ACP and .22 LR.
The P7 does not require the shooter to master two distinct trigger pulls. It also requires no manual manipulation of a separate safety lever as in a single-action design. The cocking lever cocks the hammer and acts as a decocker, grip safety and slide release. The only other external controls are a slide stop, a magazine release and a take-down latch.
The P7 appeared at a time when most U.S. law enforcement officers were equipped with revolvers, because semi-automatics were deemed too complex and unreliable for use by officers on the street. Despite its high price and sporadic availability, the P7 was adopted by a number of U.S. police departments. The gun’s ease of operation, slim profile and light weight changed the way police and licensed individuals look at carry guns.
Begin disassembly of the P7 by ensuring that all ammunition is removed from the work area. Remove the magazine by depressing the magazine catch (50) at the bottom of the grip to the rear. Some later models have a magazine release lever behind the trigger guard, which is depressed downward. Check the chamber and magazine to ensure that they are empty, and release the slide (1) by squeezing the cocking bar (38) on the front of the grip frame (36). To remove the slide, hold in the slide retainer (32) while retracting the slide to the rear about half an inch. Then lift the slide at the rear and press it forward off of the frame.
The slide should be mounted on the frame for removal and installation of the firing pin (14). Using the supplied combination tool or a coin, turn the slotted firing pin bushing (15) 90 degrees to the right while the cocking lever is held partway back. Fully depressing the cocking lever allows removal of the firing pin. Reassembly is in reverse order.