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Today we’ll review an interesting piece of German firearms machinery – the Heckler & Koch P2000 V3 semi-automatic pistol with an amusing trigger system. It’s a third variant of the HK USP line of these German pistols, hence ‘V3’.
This is a duty pistol made for German law enforcement agencies. You can tell by how uniform the design is, with its ambidextrous mag release and snag-free decocking lever. It’s practically designed to be used by both left and right-handed men and women of the police force.
What’s curious about this gun is that although it was intended for commercial use, somehow folks like it so much that it’s very rare to see one in stock.
That aside, today we’ll look into some of its features and pros & cons, see how it shoots, share what the owners have to say and give you the knowledge you need to decide whether it’s suitable for your taste. We’ll also list some alternative handguns and show you where to find a decent price.
If this is your first handgun, I recommend you get yourself a concealed carry permit and insurance. Check out our guide for more info.
Overview of the HK P2000
Listed here are the .40 S&W caliber types. If you’re looking for an HK P2000 with a 9mm caliber, check out these retailers:
Here are the specifications for the H&K P2000 handgun:
- Catalog model: HK P2000 V3
- Manufacturer: Heckler & Koch
- Caliber: 9mm, .357 SIG, .40 S&W also available
- Construction: fiberglass-reinforced black polymer
- Trigger action type: short-recoil-operated, locked breech, semi-automatic pistol
- Trigger pull: DA 9 to 10-pound pull and SA 4-pound pull
- Magazine: 10 and 13-round capacity for 9mm, 10 and 12-round capacity for .40 S&W and .357 SIG
- Overall length: 6.8 inches
- Width: 1.3 inches
- Height: 5 inches
- Weight: 22 ounces (unloaded)
- Barrel: 3.7-inch chrome-moly steel
- Sights: Fixed open iron sights, front blade and square notch rear sight with white contrast dots
- Accessories: two magazines included, four backstraps, lockable carry case
- Warranty: Check with the manufacturer
Let’s take a look at the idea behind the HK P2000’s design, and what makes it tick as a compact self-defense handgun.
The Manufacturer’s Idea for the HK P2000
Produced by Heckler & Koch way back in late 2001, the HK P2000 is a lightweight, ambidextrous, polymer-frame, semi-automatic concealed carry.
The idea behind the P2000 semi-automatic handgun was to make a well-balanced, ergonomic, semi-auto handgun that’s compact enough for quick action for German law enforcement and security agencies.
It’s definitely not a competition shooter because of the concrete-heavy trigger pull, obviously intended for the gritty hands of military and law enforcement units.
Check out our buyer’s guide if you’re looking for lightweight, subcompact handguns for self-defense.
Let’s take it back to WWII.
A Brief History of Heckler and Koch
Born from the aftermath of World War II, the manufacturer’s name originates from three engineers that worked for Mauser, one of the first German firearms manufacturers.
After Mauser’s dismantlement (they went back in business soon after), the apprentice engineers Edmund Heckler, Theodor Koch, and Alex Seidel started paving the way for the company.
So, we have three former Mauser engineers and mechanics in Oberndorf, who formed what was to become one of the most prominent firearm brands in the world.
These guys first started working on rifles and submachine guns and blueprinting stuff like the MP-5 and the G-3 Gewehr 3 select-fire battle rifles. Then, they went headfirst into the pistol market with their VP-70, P9, and P7.
A now dated and obsolete design, the Heckler & Koch P7 9mm semi-automatic pistol served the German police well back in the day.
H&K presented the P7 to the U.S. Army as a duty pistol to replace their M1911 but lost to the almighty Beretta M9.
It was designed by Helmut Weldle, went into production in 1979, and was replaced by the far-superior HK VP9 with a polymer frame.
The HK VP9 is another cool concealed carry, but we’ll continue that discussion another time.
The 80s and the Semi-Auto H&K USP Handgun
Then the 80s came and the steel/polymer craze began, ushering a new era for pistols.
They were known as ‘Wonder Nines’ back then, 9mm calibers with polymer alloys and a 15-round mag as a chosen successor for the dated, steel handguns.
The US and World pistol market exploded with new models like Beretta 92 and others that were quickly becoming popular, but Glock was undoubtedly the star of the show with their G17 model, first introduced in 1982 – a model that’s still kicking.
You could see them on European police officers’ holsters, and in Hollywood movies.
Heckler & Koch were a little late to the party with their own ‘Wonder Nine’, the semi-auto, DA/SA USP, or Universal Service Pistol. But, it quickly became a favorite.
It’s available in full-size and compact series, and .40 S&W, .45 ACP, and .357 SIG calibers, and packs quite the punch for a compact HK handgun.
Fast forward to 2001, H&K designed the semi-automatic P2000, probably in honor of the year 2000.
Conceiving the HK P2000
The P2000 was an answer to the USP’s need for better, more modern ergonomics for a concealed carry that would be easier to operate, had less recoil, a crisp trigger, and fit most holsters.
This gritty semi-auto was designed for the German border customs, and they requested some features so the gun would be compliant with the CDA standard (Combat Defense Action).
So, the manufacturer added a customizable grip, a rear-mounted decocking lever, a side-mounted safety lever, replaced the mounting rail for better aftermarket compatibility, and went for a spurred hammer.
This led to the V3, or ‘third variant’, which now prides itself with a long and heavy DAO trigger pull, dubbed by H&K as the Law Enforcement Modification or LEM. This is odd because those features are a standard DA/SA (double-action/single-action). We’ll discuss this more in the trigger section below.
Some gun owners aren’t too keen on the HK P2000’s trigger system, but some might like the strong trigger pull, and besides, it was specifically made for law enforcement and military uses anyway.
The fact that there are no major complaints and that it hasn’t been modified since 2001 proves that people just seem to like this model overall.
To this day, production of the HK P2000 is still going strong, and they won’t be discontinuing it anytime soon.
Speaking of which, check out the Glock 19X Discontinuation rumors and what we have to say about that issue.
The HK P2000 Body, Construction, and Features
The HK P2000 V3 is a compact semi-automatic concealed carry. The surgical attention to detail H&K dedicated to this one is pretty astounding.
The fixed open iron sights, white contrast dots, and square notch rear sight is decent enough for standard accuracy and precision shooting, but you could go for laser aimers if you feel like it.
When it comes to ammo and feeding, it works great with 9mm Federals, Winchester 115-grain white boxes, or even Remington’s 165-grain Golden Saber. But I recommend you go with your gut feeling and experiment a bit more.
Let’s take a closer look.
Size, Ergonomics, and Magazines
The P2000 is 6.8 inches long, 5 inches tall and 1.3 inches wide, and it has a 3.7-inch chrome-moly steel barrel. It’s pretty compact compared to the 9mm SIG Sauer P320.
It also has a polymer frame which means that it’s pretty lightweight with 22 ounces, and it can reach 25 ounces when loaded. It has a matte-black, nitro-carburized finish.
Originally conceived as a 9mm with a 10-round and 13-round magazine, it’s available in .40 Smith & Wesson caliber, and it’s comfortable for people with large hands.
Ergonomically, the P2000 was ahead of its time for a 2001-modeled gun.
Once they went for a compact design such as this, lots of other manufacturers, like Ruger and Walther, followed suit with ambidextrous mag release designs, decocking buttons, and slide release.
In contrast to the side-mounted decocker/safety lever on the USP, the P2000 has the decocker on the left rear of the frame.
It’s convenient that it’s close to the hammer, and it feels more like a button than a lever. It’s snag-free and ambidextrous.
Just reach back, press the button, decock, and shoot freely. It’s pretty easy to form muscle memory for it.
The Trigger Action
The trigger action is a DA/SA design. The DA pull is around 10 pounds, and both cocks and fires the pistol. The SA mode needs a manual hammer drawback, and the pull is only 4 pounds.
See? It breaks easily.
I wouldn’t exactly recommend it for target practice, but if you can get used to the trigger pull, then by all means go to town.
As we discussed before, the P2000 has a so-called Law Enforcement Modification trigger which offers a consistent trigger pull and is designed to be still pretty heavy for increased safety.
In my honest opinion, I think that’s the only place for the decocker to be if you don’t want tenderized fingers.
However, the P2000 doesn’t have that. It’s a L.E.M.D.A.O. version.
Let’s clear up what that means.
What in the World Is L.E.M.D.A.O.?
L.E.M.D.A.O. stands for Law Enforcement Module, Double Action Only.
Simply put, it’s a D.A. trigger system where the hammer is pre-cocked. This way, the weight of the trigger pull is lightened. The hammer stays down, so it’s D.A. all the time.
H&K introduced the odd LEM trigger system on their USP Compact which combines the cocked striker-fired component with a DA hammer. This system significantly lowers the trigger pull from standard DA/SA 12-15 pounds to L.E.M.D.A.O. 8-10 pounds.
So, if you’re looking for a pistol that does both a light DA pull and a crisp SA pull, this gun might be just perfect for your fingers.
Having listened to the complaints and suggestions for the USP, H&K added a more convenient Picatinny rail for sights and other accessories.
In order to make a gun that’s comfortable in anyone’s hands, H&K was also the first to add interchangeable backstraps in lots of different sizes on the P2000.
The stippling is molded to the front’s panels and backstraps and is comfortable enough for your hands.
Backstraps reduce the need for slip-on grips, and you won’t have to spend lots of money on fill-and-grind just to customize the grips.
Simply punch the roll pin and replace the backstrap with a new one. See this video on how to replace the grips.
Some Aftermarket Options
I recommend grabbing the P2000 decocker if you don’t like the factory one.
You can also check out the 13-round magazine with finger rest. I think it will significantly improve the ergonomics and the feel of the gun.
If the P2000 doesn’t cut it, check out the HK P2000 SK version.
The HK P2000SK
Let’s get subcompact in here. Here’s P2000’s little brother.
The HK P2000SK has the same width, but it’s 2.4 inches shorter and is 4.55 inches high. The barrel is reduced to 3.8 inches and weighs a pound and a half.
Smaller and lighter than its older brother, the HK P2000SK is a good concealed carry gun for you if you have small hands. It’s available in either the 9mm or the .40 Smith & Wesson caliber.
Pros & Cons of the HK P2000
- Lightweight and ergonomic
- Comfortable to carry
- Reliable and has no problem with feeding
- Long and convenient slide release lever
- Lots of aftermarket customization options
- The ambidextrous magazine release can be annoying for some
- The trigger is light for a DA, but it might be difficult for some
- Not exactly a con, but it’s becoming hard to find in stock
What Do Others Have to Say?
Disassembling the HK P2000 Pistol
I’d normally recommend videos on how to disassemble, but the P2000 was made to be field-stripped easily, so here goes nothing.
- Just remove the mag, and ALWAYS check the chamber.
- Slowly pull the slide until the hole is perfectly lined up with the release’s lever.
- From right to left, pry the lever off and remove it off the front of the frame. You won’t have to pull the trigger for this.
- Remove the recoil spring and guide rod.
- Remove the barrel.
- Remove the guide rod. Notice how the right-hand lever stays attached.
- You’re done.
Reversing the process takes much longer, but you can do it!
Here are some interesting alternatives to the HK P2000 if you’re looking for similar sizes, similar ambidextrous builds, ergonomics, and trigger actions. The calibers vary, though.
The semi-automatic, 9mm Glock 19 is a staple of concealed carry pistols. It’s slightly longer than the HK P2000, it has an ambidextrous slide stop lever and, with 30 ounces, it’s heavier when loaded.
But, it has a larger 15-round capacity, and it’s cheaper, so this may be a great alternative to the HK P2000.
The Walther P99 was designed to be an improved hammer-fired model with a striker-fired system. Simply put, you’re looking at one of the first, if not, the first handgun with a DA/SA striker-fired trigger system.
In comparison to the P2000, it’s longer in length, but shorter in height.
You can find the button decocker on the slide, and you have a pointy indicator that tells you if the gun is cocked.
It’s a nice little alternative for the HK P2000, and not because it’s German.
It was difficult to decide which gun is a better alternative to the HK P2000, the P220, or the P226.
The P220 has been a classic and a staple of the SIG Sauer P series.
But the P226 has so many similarities and it’s available in 9mm and in the .40 S&W caliber variant, just like the P2000.
This is a robust, compact, DA/SA shooter with a double-stack magazine and a very comfy decocker. It’s not exactly polymer, but the 15+1 capacity will change anyone’s mind.
If you’re looking for something with different ergonomics and a lighter trigger pull, there’s no better alternative than the Heckler & Koch P30. What’s more, the 9mm version HK P30 has a 15+1 mag capacity.
It’s still a DA/SA trigger system, but it’s significantly lighter than the P2000 trigger pull. It has the same ambidextrous controls, a trigger guard mag release, and lots of customization options that you can find on the market today.
Overall, it’s a great choice and it’s probably easier to find in stock than the P2000.
Conclusion – A Well-Balanced Handgun for Self-Defense
The P2000 is a solid example of German engineering which focuses on ease of operation and ergonomics. It’s a well-balanced HK pistol for both civilians and law enforcement units.
I’m not exactly sure what’s the big deal about the trigger pull complaints.
Yes, the heavy trigger pull directly affects your accuracy, but have you tried out other DA/SA handguns? In comparison to the, let’s say, the SIG Sauer P226, there really is no difference. The DA pull is 10 pounds, and the SA is 4, just like the P2000.
So what’s with all the hate?
Sure, the 10-round capacity won’t turn any heads at competitions, and handguns that have more than 10 rounds are usually wider. But this was obviously not the idea that the manufacturer went for.
H&K intended to make an ergonomic gun that’s easy to conceal. Apparently, you can’t please them all.
It’s not too big, not too small, not too gritty, not too loose. Depending on your hand size, it fits like a glove, but you can just go for new grips if it feels too awkward.
To sum up, the HK P2000 is the Goldilocks of German law enforcement pistols.
With that weird L.E.M.D.A.O. trigger system I think it’s more like the Pippi Longstockings of DA/SA. I don’t even know what that means and frankly, I don’t even care.
Check it out at Sportsman’s.
Pro tip: If I convinced you to buy this gun, you might want to try and snag a used one. It’s cheaper, and I’m pretty sure you won’t find a brand new one in stock at this time anyway.
Besides, used handguns for sale usually means they’re field-tested and have served the owner well. Unless you’re being swindled, conned, duped, taken for a ride, ripped-off, or worse – bamboozled.