Heckler & Koch P2000

posted on May 19, 2009

Produced as a duty gun for a German police agency, the Heckler & Koch P2000 is a light, slim and fully ambidextrous polymer-frame pistol. The only catch is that its long and heavy double-action-only trigger pull―a system H&K calls the Law Enforcement Modification or LEM-is not conducive to practical accuracy.

In response to consumer desire for a more precise trigger, H&K introduced a double-action/single-action P2000 variant at the 2005 SHOT Show. Sharing the same nomenclature as the USP family of pistols, the gun was called the P2000 Variant 3. But unlike the rest of the USP family, the V3 is a dedicated double-action/single-action pistol that cannot be retrofitted with the LEM trigger system.

A quick look at the V3 reveals that H&K dropped the familiar side-mounted USP decocker/safety lever in favor of a decocker mounted on the left rear of the frame next to the hammer. More a button than a lever, this decocker precludes any levers that could hang up on clothing and increase the thickness of the gun. More importantly, the gun still remains totally ambidextrous. You simply reach back with the weak hand and decock the gun with a press of the button. As unwieldy and unusual as the decocker looks, it's simple to master.

The gun is built around a polymer frame and weighs a scant 23 ounces. In lieu of the proprietary H&K rail found on USP pistols, the dustcover has a more sensible Picatinny rail for illumination accessories. The stippling is molded into panels on the P2000's front and backstraps, but it is not nearly as aggressive as the USP's diamond-point checkering. A matte-black nitro-carburized finish H&K calls Hostile Environment is applied to the slide and other metal parts.

Disassembly is simple. Just drop the magazine and align a square notch on the left side of the all-steel, machined slide with the slide-release lever, and pry the lever away from the frame. The slide, barrel and guide rod/recoil spring assembly come off, and the left-hand slide-release lever comes out of the frame. The right-hand lever stays attached to the frame. The pistol utilizes the Browning linkless design found on so many semi-autos these days, with one additional feature. A polymer, recoil-absorbing bushing rides up and down the steel guide rod. This bushing is found in both the P2000 and USP compact pistols.

The barrel is 3 5/8 inches long and features polygonal rifling. The pistol is a trim 7-inches long and stands just over 5-inches tall. Dovetailed into place, the sights are the traditional three-dot pattern and have a low profile. Tritium night sights are optional.

Total thickness of the gun in the three calibers offered - 9x19 mm .357 SIG and .40 S&W-is 1 1/3 inches. The magazine-release extends out of both the left and right sides of the oversized trigger guard and drops the magazine when swept downward.

The P2000 comes with four backstraps (small, medium, large and extra large) to reduce the need for slip-on grips or expensive fill-and-grind jobs. Simply punch out a roll pin and replace the backstrap with one that best fits your hand. The backstraps slide in the frame via a full-length vertical dovetail that eliminates any play or wiggle.

Where this pistol shines is on the range. Our sample pistol was chambered for .40 S&W, and function firing yielded brisk recoil with heavy 180-gr. loads but manageable recoil with 165- and 155-gr. loads. Five, five-shot groups fired for accuracy at 25 yards averaged 2.47 inches with Remington's 165-grain Golden Saber jacketed hollow points. The pistol is quick to the target and points well for those who prefer the more aggressive grip angles of modern designs.

The first shot heads downrange after a 10-pound trigger pull, and subsequent rounds are released after a sweet single-action pull of just 4 pounds. It was a delight to cock the hammer and hit falling plates at extended distances instead of fighting through a long double-action trigger pull.

So what's the big deal about the single-action option in a carry gun? Many would argue that consistency is the key, but a dire situation could demand pinpoint accuracy. The P2000 V3 has a desirable blend of accuracy and controllability that make it ideal for service, sport or licensed carry.

Manufacturer: Heckler & Koch, Germany
Importer: Heckler & Koch, Inc.; (703) 450-1900; www.hk-usa.com
Caliber: 9x19 mm, .357 SIG, .40 S&W (tested)
Action Type: short-recoil-operated semi-automatic pistol
Frame: fiberglass-reinforced black polymer
Barrel: 3 5/8" chrome-moly steel
Rifling: six-groove polygonal 1:16"
Magazine: 12-round, detachable box (14-round capacity for 9x19 mm and .357 SIG)
Sights: rear notch and front post align three white dots, drift-adjustable for windage
Trigger pull: double-action (9-lbs. pull)/single-action (4-lbs. pull)
Overall Length: 7"
Width: 1 1/3"
Height: 5"
Weight: 23 ozs.
Accessories: four replaceable backstraps, two magazines, lockable carry case
Suggested Retail Price: $887


Lee Enfield Carbine Ihtog 1
Lee Enfield Carbine Ihtog 1

I Have This Old Gun: The Lee-Enfield Carbines

In addition to the Lee-Enfield infantry rifle, shorter Lee-Enfield carbines were created and adopted for use by British cavalry units. These carbines had specialized features that made for easier use while on horseback.

New For 2023: Heritage Mfg. Settler Series

Long known for its single-action rimfire revolvers, Heritage Mfg. is now extending its Western-themed firearm lineup into long guns with the addition of the Settler series.

Rifleman Report: Our Diverse Firearm Community

In this issue, we report on two of the latest firearm designs—and highlight one now long forgotten—and we present a heartwarming story involving family-centric defensive firearm training.

Product Preview: THAW Rechargeable Hand Warmers

THAW hand warmers power up in only seconds and can fit easily within most pants or jacket pockets to help make your outdoor winter treks considerably more comfortable while keeping your electronic devices charged.

Springfield Echelon: The Leading Edge Of Self-Defense

A new full-size pistol from a trusted brand brings the latest thinking to bear on the striker-fired, polymer-frame semi-automatic format—whether for duty or everyday carry.

The Armed Citizen® Oct. 2, 2023

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.


Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.