Heckler & Koch P30S V3 40 S&W, $1005
Model Name:P30S V3
Manufacturer:Heckler & Koch
Model Number:P30S V3
Printer Friendly | Email |
In this test we evaluate a 40 S&W polymer handgun that offers significant changes to its original design Heckler & Kochs $1005 P30 V3 adds an ambidextrous thumb safety to the latest edition of that companys newest polymer platform.
Most polymer handguns are simple in design. Rather than call the HK P30 more complex, well use the word sophisticated. There are six variants of the P30 series pistol seven if you count the suffix "S" for ambidextrous safety. In our December 2007 evaluation of the 9mm Heckler & Koch P30 V3, we began our Gun Tests Report Card by saying: "Based on the fine accuracy we achieved firing single-action only, maybe this is a gun that should have a thumb safety rather than a decocker." The P30S V3 pistol in this test adds an ambidextrous thumb safety.
When we began putting this gun through its paces, we first wondered how bullet weight might affect accuracy. The most popular and readily available 40 S&W rounds are topped with 155-, 165-, and 180-grain bullets. The 155-grain JHP bullet is rapidly gaining popularity with law enforcement. This round was represented by Black Hills Ammunition. Next, we chose two Winchester USA rounds, one topped with 165-grain FMJ bullets and the other driving 180-grain JHP slugs.
Baseline accuracy was recorded from the 25-yard line firing from a sandbag rest. We also fired an action test standing offhand from the 7-yard line. This was a timed exercise designed to tell us more about trigger response and consistency, grip fit, and sight acquisition. We chose the Black Hills 155-grain JHP ammunition for our action test because we wanted to test each guns rapid-fire capability firing a hard-hitting defensive round. Our drill began with the shooter facing the target with the pistol held in both hands, arms retracted towards the chest. The front sight was at the bottom of the shooters peripheral vision. An electronic timer emitted an electronic start signal and registered elapsed time for each shot fired. We recorded the total elapsed time for all three shots as well as the time that had elapsed from the start signal to the first shot. After ten separate strings of fire were completed, we looked for 30 shots on the IPSC-P target from www.letargets.com. Vaguely humanoid in shape the lower A-zone is a 5- by 9-inch vertical rectangle. The upper A-zone measures 4 inches wide by 2 inches tall and could be considered the space between the cheekbones and the brow. We considered two hits inside the lower A-zone and one hit inside the upper A-zone a perfect run. Our overall objective was to find out what was required of the shooter to perform perfect runs on
In all of our tests, reliability was a top priority. Ease of maintenance, cost, and shooter enjoyment were also high on the teams grading list. Lets see how it performed:
Beginning at the muzzle, the forward profile was tapered for easy holstering. The slide carried cocking serrations fore and aft and low-mount sights dovetailed front and rear. The dust cover was cut with four crosshatches to form a versatile Picatinny rail. The trigger guard was large and square, with the frontal surface grooved to accommodate larger hands and fingers. Ambidextrous magazine release paddles were located at the lower rear corner of the trigger guard. Some members of our staff were able to release the steel 13-round magazines with the strong-hand thumb, others shifted the gun so it could be pressed by the middle finger or the trigger finger. One staffer swept the paddle with his weak-hand thumb as he moved his hand toward the spare magazine mounted in a belt pouch. Two magazines were supplied. We almost missed the night-sight feature on our HK pistol. Appearing to be a plain white three-dot set, the sights came alive after basking in the spotlights of our photo studio. These sights are not self luminous. Periodic charging turned them into moon-like orbs in dark or dim light.
The grip could be customized by choosing side panels and backstraps from three complete sets (small, medium, and large). After mixing and matching, we finally stuck with the large set because we liked where it placed our index finger in relation to the trigger for both double and single action fire. The front strap was carved with finger grooves that offered just enough scallop for each finger without getting in the way. We found the texture of the grip surface to be comfortable and effective, even with sweaty hands in 100-degree Texas heat. The panels were secured externally, meaning they did not interact with any internal parts. If you had to, you could fire the P30S V3 without any grip panels at all. At the base of each side panel was a slight inward relief. This was to help the shooter get a grip on the base pad should it become necessary to rip the magazine out of the receiver.
The P30 pistols operate with a hammer to drive the firing pin. Some variants of the P30 pistols operate with a full-time double-action trigger. Others utilize conventional DA/SA, traditional double-action triggers with a decocker. The decocker was mounted on the rear face of the frame immediately to the left of the hammer. The ambidextrous thumb safety locks the trigger in both single and double action, but allows the slide to be moved back and forth. This feature allows the chamber
The presence of a hammer was another type of safety feature. Should anything enter the holster along with the pistol, such as a shirttail, causing the trigger to move, the trailing thumb will monitor any movement at the hammer. When holstering a pistol that does not have a locked slide, such as a 1911-style pistol with the thumb safety on, it is advisable to place the thumb on the rear of the slide. This is to prevent the slide from shifting out of battery. With the HKs decocker located on the same plane as the rear of the slide, the act of holstering and decocking was easily coordinated.
The slide lock/release could be found on both sides of the pistol. During takedown the right slide lever stays in place. It is the left side lever that is connected to the slide stop pin. With the receiver and the chamber empty, we pulled back the slide until the rectangular cutout in the slide matched the profile of the slide stop pin. We couldnt use a fingertip, but just about anything else will do to push the pin out from right to left. The slide moved off the frame without having to press the trigger. The flat wound recoil spring stayed captured on the guide rod. So did a nylon bushing that rode over the spring, acting as a shock buffer. The rear tip of the recoil-guide rod assembly was lugged to interface with the slide-stop pin and the lug beneath the barrel hood. This interaction was the source of locking and unlocking the 3.86-inch barrel during cycling.
From the 25-yard line we fired single action only. The single-action trigger pull presented 4.0 pounds of resistance. Takeup measured less than 0.1 inches. Feel was smooth and progressive rather than crisp. Each choice of ammunition registered an average group radius ranging from about 1.25 inches firing the 165-grain FMJ rounds to little more than 1.50 inches shooting the 155-grain hollowpoint ammunition. This was good shooting with little variation, considering the difference in the power of our test rounds. The Winchester 165-grain FMJ ammunition produced almost 100 ft.-lbs. less muzzle energy than our most powerful choice, the Black Hills 155-grain JHP load.
In our action tests we began with a double-action first shot. Takeup to a double-action first shot was free swinging and measured about 0.1 in length. Resistance was measured to be 9.5 pounds. After 10 strings of fire we counted three shots pushed to the left of the lower A-zone on our IPSC-P target. Three shots were pulled low and out of the upper A-zone. One was unacceptably low, but two missed the A-zone by as little as 3⁄8 of
We dont think the P30S V3 was meant to be carried cocked and locked, if only for the non-locking slide. (It would be difficult to monitor the slide with the thumb at the same time as the safety lever when holstering.) But we decided that firing our action test a second time beginning with hammer back safety on was a necessity. Our very first run was over in 1.93 seconds (first shot 0.98 seconds). This run felt smoother and much faster than it actually was, but it was also the most accurate run fired by any of our guns. Two shots appeared in a 0.7 inch "snake eyes" pattern just above the letter A at center mass.
The letter A in the upper zone missed being perforated by about 0.7 inches to the left. Once we consciously tried to shoot faster our accuracy dropped off, but we still managed to land seven shots in about a 2-inch group inside the upper A-zone. Our fastest run fired single action only matched our best TDA run to the tenth of seconds. No malfunctions were encountered during our test of the HK P30S V3, and we found shooting it to be smooth, comfortable, and instinctive.
Our Team Said: Some say that todays double-action handguns demand only coarse motor skills. Therefore, the average shooter under stress does not have to be at his or her best to get the job done. The P30S V3 can be fired as a full time double-action pistol to serve this theory. Or it can accept fine motor skills for greater accuracy. The P30S V3 easily topped our action test. We think the modular grip, a feature common to all P30s, makes the P30 series a superior platform no matter which trigger option is chosen.READ FULL GUN REPORT
READ RATINGS AND RECOMMENDATION ON GUN TESTS
This report mixes an evaluation of the equipment with substantial gaps in shooter skill, not a very objective way to asssess a firearm. That your test shooter is apparently unable to manage a double-action trigger seems completely irrelevant to an assessment of the gun itself. Is the gun actually less accurate when fired with a decocked hammer, or is that just the incompetence of the operator? A statement like, "it was also the most accurate run fired by any of our guns" is about as useful to someone looking to purchase a gun as the headline "pedestrian killed by runaway SUV" is to someone wanting to purchase a vehicle. If this is supposed to be a report on the gun, make sure the author/shooter is up to the task.
Thanks for the excellent article. I've liked this pistol after seeing it in a gun store but never fired one. I found it comfortable also. I'd prefer a 9mm but your evaluation has answered most of my questions. It's very accurate considering a 4 lb. trigger and 25 yards.
Thanks for your helpful article. I am contemplating purchasing this gun or a Glock Model 30, 45 caliber. Decisions, decisions! Any suggestions would be helpful.
One day, I will have to break out of my mold of purchasing SIG Sauer pistols and rifles. I have several, so maybe it's time for me to sample some of the H&K wares. It's not that I am unfamiliar with H&K firearms, since I own a P7M8, and I had an H&K93 several years back and have also used and enjoyed an MP5. We'll just have to see what turns up at the next few gun shows.
I just don't see why a piece of plastic and steel should sell for so much. I just got a MetroArms American Classic Amigo .45 for under $700. All honest too goodness steel.
While lighter and carrying more rounds, I doubt it is more accurate or has a better trigger than my HKP9S OR HKP7M8.
It just seems that any quality firearms are getting pretty far out of sight with regards to price. I have to agree that with so many plastic framed pieces on the market, one would think that prices would be lower than they are. I can understand that plastic frames are lighter than metal frames, and that they are pretty impervious to environmental factors such as rust and corrosion, but I also figure that as a construction material, plastic is a lot less expensive and is easier to cast/mold and machine than metallic frames. This seems to point to an idea that by using plastic for frames, firearms manufacturers may have acquired the golden egg, since plastic results in less costs for production, but the manufacturers may have simply figured that they'd stick with the same prices as metallic framed pieces, and nobody might notice the difference.
I am a bit on the traditional side, when it comes to the firearms in my collection, so I appreciate those that are made of wood and metal. That said, however, when I open up my safes, I still see a lot of plastic framed and plastic stocked pieces inside.
Sure it's a great gun it's an H&K but you can get two S&W's for the same price that'll shoot just as well if you've a hankering to own a full size plastic handgun.
Yup, playhookie, I agree completely.....and I do have several S&W Sigmas and M&Ps.....
This review's got me interested in a 'plastic fantastic'! I'm a steel kinda guy, but I'm willing to take a chance. Thanks for a good review...
Blame Glock for the plastics revolution in handgun designs. The plastics used in Glocks and other handgun manufacturers is not cheap stuff and has to be able to withstand the rigors of having a metal block (includes the slide, barrel and other parts)operating on that frame. I have yet to try other handguns but am still shopping around for either a .40 or .45 to go along with my G20 (10mm). The thing I don't like with the 1911's design is that I want the gun to be ready to fire right out of the holster without having to worry about the hammer. So, I am still shopping.
I need to post something in order to follow the discussion.
James E, like you, I get the "willies" every time I think about carrying a 1911 with a round in the chamber and the piece is cocked and locked. I have resolved that concern by carryig SIG Sauer DA/SA/DAK pistols, but I do own and carry some striker fired pistols from SIG Sauer (P250) and S&W (M&P and Sigma) as well. Consequently, my 1911s are pretty much relegated to residence in my safes and occasional range practice, but I keep them around pretty much out of nostalgia, since I carried a 1911 for a good share of my 21-year Army career.
To post a comment you must be a registered user of gunreports.com and be logged in. Use one of the forms below to login or register for FREE to gunreports.com