Heckler & Koch P30L Variant 3 Long Slide, M730903L-A5 9mm
Model Name:P30L Variant 3 Long Slide
Manufacturer:Heckler & Koch
Model Number:M730903L-A5 9mm
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In the February 2012 issue, Gun Tests magazine tested five high-capacity semi-automatic 9mm handguns that were aimed at the Practical Shooting competitor. Practical Shooting evolved from experimentation with handguns used for self-defense. One characteristic that separates Practical Shooting from other organized pistol competition is that the scoring takes into account the amount of time it takes to deliver the required number of shots for each course of fire. So, fast-action gun handling, as well as quick, precise shots becomes an integral part of the shooters score. In this test, well pay particular attention to features and components that make the guns faster and easier to operate, as well as more accurate.
GT thought that the Generation 4 changes to the $649 Glock G34 make it a better all-round pistol if not a better choice for Practical Shooting competition. By reducing the grip to SF (Short Frame) specifications, they were able to hold the gun more efficiently. Two more backstraps were supplied to increase the distance between the web of the hand and the trigger. The application of blunted pyramids to the surface of the grip was another welcome addition, in their view. Internally, the Gen 4 used a multi-spring recoil guide rod that is not interchangeable with Gen 3s. They thought its action was smooth and consistent, but this component may have to prove itself to competitors who change recoil springs to match the impulse of handloaded ammunition. Last, they thought the dot disconnector added a greater sense of feel to the trigger, making it more consistent, therefore safer.
The February roster included two guns that were specifically prepared for competition by CZCustom.com of Mesa, Arizona. In the new test the guns were not as specialized, but the $1108 Heckler & Koch P30L V3 is one of the guns favored by HKs official Practical Shooting team. Heres what they thought:
The pistol was tested for accuracy from the 25-yard line by firing from a sandbag rest. Test ammunition was the same as used in our previous test, including new manufacture (red box) 115-grain FMJ, and 124-grain JHP rounds from Black Hills Ammunition. We also fired 147-grain flatpoint FMJ rounds from Federal American Eagle. We shot groups of record with the HK P30L single action only.
To learn more about the match potential we set up two action tests. Our field course of fire was the same one used in our February test, consisting of picking the gun off a table top and firing at two IPSC Metric targets 21 feet downrange spread 15 feet apart. The shooter was centered between the two targets and the catch was that the gun was fully empty with pistol and loaded magazine lying next to each other. The shooter began with hands placed flat to either side of the gun and magazine. Upon an audible start signal from our CED8000 shot recording timer, our shooter loaded the gun, and moving from left side target to right side target, fired two shots to the center mass A-zone (a 5.9-inch-wide by 11.2-inch-tall rectangle). The shooter then reengaged from left to right but this time with only one shot to the head areas which measured about 6-inches square. Inside the head area was a 4x2-inch rectangular A-zone surrounded by B-zone values. We also carried over our double-tap test but with different rules. We still wanted to know how fast we could deliver a quick pair of shots, but we also wanted to know how fast the guns could be reloaded in situations where the chamber was not yet empty nor the slide
locked back. We added the reload because the HK pistol utilized ambidextrous paddles. The target for this test was Caldwells plastic-coated 8-inch Bullseye TipTop targets which overall measured 8.5x11 inches and were punched for loose-leaf storage. Figures from our double-tap test reflected the elapsed time between the first and second shot after we had raised the gun from about a 45-degree angle from the horizon. And the amount of time it took us to reload, acquire the sights and fire, then the elapsed time between the final two shots.
The $1108 Heckler & Koch P30L is available in four variants. We shot the Variant 3 (V3), which operated with a double-action first shot followed by single-action-only fire. Other key aspects included rechargeable luminous sights and an adjustable grip consisting of three complete sets of side panels and backstrap. The unique ambidextrous magazine-release paddles enabled our test shooter to eject the magazine very quickly using his middle finger, but this design will accommodate other methods as well. The HK P30L produced the best accuracy both at the bench and during our field test. But we might have been able to shoot the P30L faster with a simpler trigger arrangement. Based on results shooting the HK USP LEM pistols in our June 2011 test, we might prefer the light LEM trigger found on the P30L V1 for competition. Wed choose the V2 with standard-weight LEM trigger for carry.
In addition to judging match potential, we also wanted to know how they would relate to non-competitive or beginning shooters. The good people at FortTexas.us training helped facilitate this test, and we asked them why our test guns might or might not be included in their dirty dozen, a house collection of 12 different handguns that students are welcome to try to learn firsthand what type of pistol might fit them best.
Heckler & Koch P30L Variant 3 Long Slide M730903L-A5 9mm, $1108
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of our test was how different each gun was from the other. In the case of the Heckler & Koch, the P30L pistol actually offers four variants to choose from listed at the same price. Variants 1 and 2 have the LEM (law enforcement module) trigger, and there are two V3s; one with external safety lever and one without. We asked HK Team Captain Jason Koon which one he shoots. We learned that throughout the course of a season that includes not only Practical Shooting but the demanding Bianchi Cup and the Steel Challenge, the team is likely use all four. But Jason prefers the V3 without thumb safety. One common feature among all P30L pistols was the three-dot sights, which were dovetailed into place front and rear. The face of the rear unit matched the end of the slide, producing maximum sight radius. The three-dot sights glowed when powered up by ambient light or the beam of a flashlight. Wear this gun on a sunny range and they become blazing orbs.
The slide featured mild cocking serrations front and rear with an externally mounted extractor. Beneath the slide was a lightweight polymer frame offering several key features. The dustcover was full length beneath the 4.44-inch barrel, including a 2.5-inch-long accessory rail with five crosshatches that meet Picatinny specifications.
The decocker was located at the rear of the frame next to the hammer. Actually, the location is high enough so at first glance it appeared to be on the slide. It consisted of a small grooved rectangle that when moved, a short stroke downward lowered the hammer safely, returning the trigger to next-shot
double action. This could be accomplished by releasing the support hand and stroking with the thumb or with the strong-hand thumb, preferably in coordination with re-holstering with the thumb held against the rear of the slide. Holstering in this manner not only assures that the slide will not be moved out of battery by friction within the holster, but it also makes it possible to detect movement of the hammer should a foreign object enter the holster mouth and tug on the trigger. We liked the rear-mounted decocker because it promotes safety beyond its basic function.
The HK P30 design offered ambidextrous slide lock/release levers with a generous grooved platform for contact. These levers also played a part in takedown. Moving the slide rearward about 1.5 inches aligned the left side lever so that it was capable of passing through the relief notch in the slide. The point of rotation on the right side lever exposed the tip of the cross bolt. By pushing the crossbolt about 0.2 inch, we were able to clear the notch and pull the slide free. It was not necessary to press the trigger, and the slide latch did stay attached to the pistol, so we didnt have to worry about losing a spare part.
The P30L operated with a linkless design, and it was the rear of the guide rod that supplied the lug that interacted with the barrel during cycling. The recoil spring was a flat wire captured on the guide rod that was buffered by a 1.1-inch-long nylon tube that floated independently over the outside of the coils.
The trigger guard was square in the front with ambidextrous magazine release paddles located at the lower rear corner. The front strap of the grip was populated with three finger grooves, and the grip surface was covered with an effective yet comfortable knurled pattern. Both the dimensions of the grip and its contour could be adjusted to the shooters hand by mixing and matching a three-piece set of side panels and backstraps marked S, M, and L. Changing out the grip components was not a quick-change operation, nor was it meant to be. The side panels slipped in and out laterally from the rear. The backstrap slides up into place, capturing the side panels. A steel roll pin at the base of the grip held the unit in check. A light hammer and punch (not included) was required to remove or secure the roll pin. We found the difference between the side panels to be subtle, but choice of backstrap directly affected distance to the trigger. According to Koon, another benefit of this design is comfort. Over the course of a shooting season, he estimates firing his HK pistols more than 60,000 times. Being able to change grip panel sizes can give weary hands some relief. Koons regular set up is the medium backstrap with a large panel to the left and the smallest panel on the right side of the grip. We chose to test with the small side panels and small backstrap in place. From the bench our P30L was at its best firing the 115-grain and 124-grain bullets. Average group sizes were 2.1 inches and 2.0 inches respectively. The groups printed firing the 147-grain American Eagle rounds measured within a narrow range of between 2.3 inches and 2.6 inches center to center.
Thanks to the grip afforded us by the interchangeable panels, we were able to lock the gun in our hands and adapt quickly to the DA/SA transition. Our test shooter had a wide hand with
only moderate-length fingers, and he found that the easiest way to drop the magazine was to drop the middle finger of the strong hand down to reach the right-side paddle. Left-handed shooters who have adapted to right-side magazine-release buttons by using the index finger will like the HK pistols. With the gun remaining vertical, the magazine ejected quickly and cleanly. Our shooter was fast enough to get ahead of the process and knock the ejected magazine aside in mid air as the fresh magazine approached the mag well. If there was any sticking point to reloading the P30L, it was the lack of any structure to help guide the magazine into place. But HK team shooters overcome this simply by dry-fire practice, said Koon. One of the traditional features found on HK handguns is the indentation at the base of the grip panels. In the event of a malfunction, the magazine could be ripped from the pistol even if the operator were wearing gloves. But wed be hard-pressed to remember a malfunction with any of the HK pistols weve tested.
In our double-tap test, our first split included the transition from double to single action. Our best such split time was .43 seconds. Our reload times ranged from 1.92 seconds to 2.28 seconds, but this was still faster than expected. The paddle release was fast, and we didnt have to move the gun very much in our hands so we could get back to a firing grip faster than when we were forced to shift the gun in our hands to reach the side button. But during some of our runs we lost time getting the fresh magazine into place. What slowed our overall time on a more consistent basis was the elapsed time between the final two shots following the reload. Our best split time after the reload took more than .50 seconds. Having begun with a double-action first shot, we think too much time was spent adjusting our grip to the rearward single-action position of the trigger. In retrospect, applying a larger backstrap to regulate trigger reach might have helped.
In the field test the first action was to load the gun so all shots were fired single action only. First shots were recorded in a range of 2.96 seconds to 2.46 seconds after the start signal. The best total elapsed time was 5.97 seconds. We scored 18 A-zone hits and 2 C-zone hits on the body of the targets. The head shots scored 6 A-zone hits and 4 B-zone hits.
Our Team Said: The HK P30L scored the most points on target, but our elapsed times were slower. The answer might be to simplify the trigger. Switching to the Variant 1 or Variant 2 pistol with LEM-enhanced DAO trigger would eliminate the transition from DA to SA and solidify the position and the weight of the trigger, thereby improving shooter concentration and physical approach. We think the Variant 2 would be a better choice for the street, and the light LEM Variant 1 would be our choice for competition. The choice may come down to striker versus exposed hammer, ergonomics, or simply a matter of cost.
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Suck it Fritz! I'll spend my money with a company that respects me and wants my business!
I have a P30L. Fits my hand like a glove. My complaint with it is that when the slide is locked back and you insert a full mag with less than moderate force the slide will fall on me. Seems like this is a problem with other HK models based on comments on the HK forums. I contacted HK and they said it was normal so they won't do anything to fix it. It may be "normal" for HK pistols, but none of my other pistols do this. Personally, I think it's a safety issue. What irks me about this is that HK touts itself as a ultra-high end maker of weapons, yet, they try and rationalize away a safety issue. I can't really sell this gun. Who's going to buy a gun that that, I, in good conscience would disclose the fact that the slide slips into battery on its own? Well, probably only the die-hard HK fans who drink HK's Kool-Aid reasoning of "it's normal."
checking the box to get the updates
obm, your comment regarding the slide going into battery when a magazine is inserted, reminds me of the loading procedure for the M-1 Garand rifle. When I went through basic in 1962, I qualified with an M-1. As you may be aware, the M-1 feeds from an eight-round en bloc clip that is inserted through the top of the receiver, when the bolt is locked to the rear. Insertion of the clip required the loader to keep the edge of the hand against the operating rod handle, to keep the bolt and operating rod from slamming forward as the magazine follower is depressed by the loaded clip being pushing into place. Once the clip locks into place, the pressure on the operating rod is released, and the operating rod and bolt slam forward, stripping a round from the top of the clip, and loading it into the chamber. Of course correct procedure called for the safety to be locked on, so no inadvertent discharge might result.
I bring the above comment into this discussion, because with the M-1, a step in the correct loading procedure required the user to lock the safety. From what is written in the article, it is unclear whether or not a safety is present on all models of this pistol. That said, if a safety is present, perhaps a step that calls for engagement of the safety might be a way to rectify a problem with the slide slamming into battery.....if the safety locks the hammer.
Your insight always amazes me Colonel.
Well, Cecil, I don't know whether it's insight or just a lot of experience.....but then if we take the sum of all of our life experiences, and we organize our thoughts so we can draw on the catalogued experiences in ways relative to new problems, it sorta makes all of that experience pay off. I am certain that you have had a shitload of experience that is also relevant to situations that have arisen in your life, as well.....and those experiences likely paid off for you too.
You are correct Colonel. I have picked up a few things as I plodded through life. I have learned how to fix a lot of things around the house, so my neighbors benefit from those skills. I never did learn much in the husband department. All 3 of my exes will testify to that. But, at least I am still looking at the green side of the grass.
Cecil, we all know you're looking pretty hard at those young Latinas too. So you're not anywhere near being 'root-food' yet. You're only as old as the women you feel, or pay, or something like that....
The problem is dave, they don't look back.
Yeah, don't I know that. :-(
Yeah, Cecil & Dave, one of my favorite responses when people ask about how I'm doing is: "Every day above ground is a good one", and after they offer some comment to that, I usually follow with: "Better to be on top of the grass growin' it than underneath it growin' it".....
Each day truly is a gift!
you got it right about that canovack my friend I just tell them that "I am still alive and kickin, just not to high or to hard" God Bless America and Our Troops Past Present and Future Keeping to My Oath Locked Loaded and Keeping My Powder Dry. Get the US Out of the UN and the UN Out of the US
Hey there, bear 1, my friend.....It's nice to hear from you. I hope things have been going alright for you and your lady. My Texas Rose and I have been doing OK, and we have been helping our new daughter-in-law of about a year and a half acclimate to her new home in the USA. She is a Nepali national, who recently got her green card, and I am presently teaching her to drive. She's a wonderful girl of 27 years, who married one of our sons.....who is 39 years old. He is presently in Kuwait with a government contractor, so we have been taking care of her and helping her to furnish her lovely new house that's about ten minutes away from us. It has put us in the unique position of having a daughter who is more like our own, than our other daughters-in-law that have married our other five sons. All in all it is a very interesting and rewarding experience.
I am happy that all the guys,dave, cecil and you my friend canovack are doing well. I hope your son and new daughter-in law have a long and happy life. As for Moma bear and I we are going down to the gun store on thur. to pick up her Bersa thunder 380 that just happened to pop up at the gun store. Now I can have mine back where it belongs, now if I can get her from eyeing my new Auto Ord 1911 .45 I will be real happy, she keeps asking me when am I going to get her one, but I have been looking at a bolt action 30-30 for her instead of the Lever action so she has less chance of breaking a thumb nail and making it easier to load a mag instead of the side gate.
Hey bear. Glad you are doing OK, which seems to be getting harder to do. Quit carrying my .380 a few months back and bought a small .357, really don't know why. But now, Academy Sports here in San Antonio, has NO revolvers to sell. Every one got snatched up. This is really a crazy time and a little scary, unless of course one is well armed.
We also came across a 2008 Polaris Ranger 700 Browning model with less than a 1000 miles on it for a great price so we can ride together and hunt and fish or just go for a get out of the house and see the country. By the way get any guns here are not easy to do right now, last Ak style I looked at was $1900.oo plus.
I know. The Monday after BHO gave his Sunday night speech, declaring war on guns, I bought one of the last 3 assault types in San Antonio. A sweet Sig in 7.62 and rounded up more ammo before it all went dry. A year ago, I bought an AK for $429.00. It is madness.
Yes, guys, it really is getting to be madness out there! We didn't have any gun shows in nearby venues in March, but there's one in Cedar Park on 5 April. It should be interesting to see what's still available. I visited our local Academy store last week, and there wasn't an AR or any other tactical shoulder weapon to be seen in the store. No ammo in 5.56 or 7.62 either, but they still had a pretty decent selection of pistols. Walmart has become a complete bust for anything. I am also a bit disturbed that Academy, who always has sale flyers in the Sunday newspaper, no longer shows much in the way of any firearms. It used to be that they had a whole newspaper sized page of sporting and tactical rifles and shotguns, along with pistols and revolvers plus ammo and safes. Now there is barely a half page of anything remotely associated with firearms. It appears that the big retailers are running scared and are falling into the ranks of the politically correct..... What a shame!
Academy here, still has some ammo but it is restricted to one box per day. They sold out of revolvers immediately but still have some autos. The one thing I will say, they have not gouged us on ammo prices. Still about the same as before, just can't get a lot of it. BHO did gun/ammo control by just scaring the shit out of everyone.
He also managed to sell more guns in the last few months than the equivalent number of years prior, and ammo too. He's the best damned firearms salesman this country ever had, and has driven demand to where I believe it's the most profitable segment of our entire economy.
Talk about 'unintended consequences'! Between that and the sleeping giant of armed Americans beginning to awaken, the guy may be viewed (in the future) as the guy who re-awakened Liberty in the hearts of the nation. Whether that's the result of his accidental consequences, or whether he'll drive us to open rebellion, I can't predict.
I recall in the movie Tora! Tora! Tora! near the end of it, one of Isoroku Yamamoto's underlings cogratulated him on a "great victory", and Yamamoto's response was: "I fear that all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve." Prophetic words to be sure, and perhaps Obama may mumble something similar to them each night, when he finally crawls into the rack next to his angry bitch.
Where can we get a couple of P-39's though.
I am bewildered however; why is ammo still unavailable. It has been 3 months since panic set in. I would think that the ammo factories are running 24/7 but what I am reading is that it might be the Fall or perhaps never, when ammo becomes available once more. What gives?
When one considers the number of commercial ammunition manufacturers in the whole country, it seems to me that we really don't have a huge commercial ammo manufacturing base. Of course the GOCO (Government Owned Contractor Operated) ammo plants are in business only to produce ammo for government use, so I really don't think that the civilian market is being affected by government purchases. My gut feeling is that with lots of gun owners and wannabe gun owners anticipating a pinch in supplies, the commercial marketplace just cannot keep up. It seems to me that once the fears of draconian anti-Second Amendment legislation dies down, we may see a return to more normal quantities of both arms and ammunition on the open market.....At least I hope so.
What gives is government agencies going out and buying up billions of rounds over the next 5 years. That takes a lot of capacity. And it's multiple agencies buying it too. They're also buying bulk loads of AR-15s.
They claim it's for training, but a little research and math on one of the contract announcements showed that it was for about 1300 rounds per week per employee - and not all employees carried guns, e.g. secretaries and programmers. At over 1300 rounds per week, one has to wonder who they are planning to train?
So I'm buying what I can when I can, even at the higher prices. At least I'll have ammo. I'm currently buying only calibers for which I have guns, but would readily consider others once I feel 'flush' enough.
Of course, given that it's pricey stuff I may have to start trying to minimize calibers too. And that would mean trading off some of my firearms for more ammo in the calibers I want, or 'horizontal' trades for more arms in the calibers I want to keep. But I'm not at that point yet, so I haven't decided my course of action.
In fact, it'll be a while before I decide, as I'm also planning to stockpile multiple sets of repair parts for my guns (still available and relatively cheaply), and to upgrade all my optics as well as things like better trigger assemblies and extra, um, '10 round' magazines. And of course there are a few more guns I want to buy along the way....
Well, Dave, as you may recall from some of my previous posts, I have pretty much limited any new firearms in my collection to pieces that fire military calibers. What that translates to is .308&7.62x51, .223&5.56x45, and 7.62x39 for rifles. Pistols/revolvers are a bit broader with my concentration on 9x19, .45ACP, and .357Mag. Now, with that said, as I have also noted on occasion, I am still having a really torrid love affair with .357SIG, and of course anything in .22LR is welcome in the collection. In shotguns, 12 gauge is the only chambering I will consider. The foregoing provides a little simplification to my logistical support, but I also sometimes deviate for some nice pieces that may be in other calibers.....for the sake of artistic appreciation.
And I like that list Colonel. My exception is that I have a multiple need for 7.62x54R. And I recently found some 7N1 Sniper ammo for it - at only twice the price of usual 70's issue milsurp (but it was $100 a 'tin' more expensive two weeks ago and I passed). Too bad I couldn't afford it all, but after I get to CO if I have any cash left over I may buy whatever I can afford out of what is still available.
I was in Germany when I was about 10 and I remember hearing stories about G.I.'s buying a house for 100 cartons of American cigarettes.
Should the Cypress plan hit here, I suspect you might be able to buy a house for 100 boxes of ammo.
I started to write some smart-a55 remark, but then I realized all the implications of your statement Cecil. That's actually a very 'telling' story about just how bad things can get. Sadly, you may be right about the ammo too.
Sometimes it is fun to think back on all the shit you have witnessed in your lifetime. It could be a guidebook on stuff not to do. But then, no one will read it, so mostly, I just keep them to myself.
Heck Cecil - write the book. You can self-publish these days, and peddle it on the internet. You might sell several thousand or more, as electronic files they don't cost anything at all, and you could end up making some real money - like enough to buy a truck full of ammo and all the guns on your wish-list.
Well, now Cecil, there ya go.....a new entrepreneurial opportunity has knocked! I can't even count the number of times people have told me "You should write a book". The usual discussion centers around and alludes to an exciting life of many experiences..... Only problem is, having lived such a life, I've gotten a bit lazy in my retirement, and I'm not very favorably disposed to doing much more than what I normally do.....which does not include writing books.
Dave, I agree with your exception, as I too have a few M44 carbines that basically serve as "beaters". I don't stockpile as much 7.62x54R ammo as the other calibers, but I have sufficient supplies to get by. One of my M44s is a Polish model that is truly a lovely piece of machinery. I restocked it with a composite Monte Carlo, and I also removed the bayonet stud/swivel. I had an old AK muzzle brake lying around, so I installed it on the M44. All in all, for an inexpensive turn bolt rifle it definitely meets the need.
My home office resembles, in some ways, a military armory. Over the years, I have gathered a number of military relics which are all hanging on the walls gathering dust. Every one of them, however, is in working condition, save an old Canadian Longbranch Enfield Nr1 MK4 that is in need of a new bolt body. I do have a few rounds of ammo for each of those old wall hangers, though, with the exception of a Russian M1895 Nagant gas check revolver.
Yeah Colonel, I too am just to lazy now to attempt any book writing. And my cataracts keep me from doing much reading now.
I am interested though about what sort of pistol fires a 9x19 that you mentioned. I didn't even know there was such an animal until I read part of this months American Rifleman. It mentioned that round as having been one of the pistols built by Colt, years ago.
The caliber 9x19mm is simply the international designation for what many people commonly call 9mm Luger. It is contrasted with the 9x23mm (commonly called 9mm Largo), 9x21mm (commonly called 9mm Bergmann Bayard), 9x18mm (commonly called 9mm Makarov), and 9x17mm (commonly known as .380ACP, 9mm Kurz, & 9mm Corto). As you are likely aware, the two values shown as #x## express the bore diameter x the length of the cartridge case (in millimeters).
Thanks for the info Colonel.
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