Heckler & Koch, or HK for short, is a brand name synonymous with quality in the firearms world. HK has long been a highly innovative gun manufacturer known for producing duty-level guns for military and law enforcement units all over the world.
Based out of Germany, HK emerged after World War II with their HK4 pistol, which was very unique because it could chamber a wide variety of different calibers with only a few simple conversions.
Since then, HK has continued to build quality and innovative firearms that are considered by many to be the gold standard in the firearms world.
With that said, here are the greatest HK guns of all time [user ranked].
#1 HK MP5
The HK MP5 is simply the most successful and popular 9mm submachine gun ever invented. Despite being originally made in the 1960s, it is still popular with military and law enforcement units all around the world. Even in the face of newer HK submachine gun designs such as the MP7 or the UMP, the MP5 shows no signs of decreasing its popularity. The only other submachine guns that are as iconic as the MP5 are the Thompson .45 ACP. submachine gun and the Uzi 9mm.
As a submachine gun, the MP5 is not available in select fire mode to American civilians, but it is available in a semi-automatic only in the form of the HK SP5. In addition, there are many clones of the MP5 produced for the American market as well, including the Zenith ZR5S and the PTR-9CT.
The MP5 is currently in service with the militaries and/or law enforcement units of over 40 nations. It was and is widely issued with US SWAT teams, although its popularity has decreased a bit due to many such teams transitioning over to the AR-15 series off rifles, which offer greater stopping power due to firing rifle ammunition.
#2 HK USP
The HK USP was introduced in 1993 in the 9mm and .40 S&W calibers, and later in 1995 in the .45 ACP as well. The USP is perhaps HK's most well-known gun today. This pistol is a workhorse and one of the most torture tested pistols on the planet, and is well known for its excellent reliability including when under stress. The .45 ACP version holds 12 rounds, the .40 holds 13 rounds, and the 9mm holds 15 rounds. HK purposefully makes their magazines hold 1-2 rounds less than their competitors in order to reduce the odds of the springs wearing out faster, thus making them last longer.
The USP in 9mm has been most notably adopted as the standard issue pistol of the German military, replacing the previous Walther P38 in 2004. However, the .45 ACP version of the USP is in service with special forces units.
The USP is noted for its very large size with oversized grip controls and a larger trigger guard in order to easily accommodate a gloved hand, which special forces and tactical operators are sure to appreciate. An even larger version of the USP, called the MK 23 in .45 ACP, took this concept even a step further and was developed as an offensive weapon.
All in all, the USP is a supremely made pistol and one of the finest sidearms ever made. It may be a large gun, but it's also a gun built to take and sustain a lot of abuse.
#3 HK P30
The HK P30 was designed in 2006 as the successor to the HK P2000. It features greatly improved ergonomics over the P2000, but also keeps some of the same features, including a decock lever on the rear of the slide. There is a version of the P30 with a thumb safety, as well as a version without it.
The P30 comes standard with a 15 round magazine for the 9mm version, while the .40 S&W version holds 13 rounds. The P30L features a longer slide and barrel, and was the original version of the pistol, although the standard P30 with a shorter barrel and slide is far more common. The P30SK is the subcompact version and holds 10 rounds of ammunition, but will accept the longer 15 round magazine as well.
#4 HK USP Compact
The HK USP Compact is the compact variation of the full size HK USP. The USP Compact maintains the same build quality of the full size while being in a smaller package. The USP Compact is available in the 9mm, .40 S&W, .357 SIG Sauer, and .45 ACP cartridges. The 9mm holds 13 rounds, the .40 and .357 12 rounds, and the .45 holds 8 rounds.
The Compact magazines are different from the full size due to their smaller dimensions, but the manual of arms between the two pistols are one and the same. To that end, the USP Compact is a double action single action hammer fired pistol with a frame mounted safety and decock lever that should be easy for your thumb to reach. This lever along with the slide release lever are both oversized in order to be easy to reach with a gloved hand.
#5 HK P7
The HK P7 is one of the more unique types of HK pistols. The P7 was developed in the 1970s for the West German police, who were looking for a new 9mm pistol to replace the older .32 caliber Walther PPs and PPKs that they had been using. Three new 9mm pistols were adopted: the Walther P5, the SIG Sauer P225 (or P6), and the HK P7. Out of these three, the HK P7 is easily the most unique and innovative due to its neat firing system.
The P7 is a gas delayed blowback operated pistol. A modern pistol that utilizes a very similar system is the Walther CCP. A piston is contained inside of a cylinder located under the barrel of the P7. The gas pressures from a fired cartridge travels through a port in the barrel to cause the slide to travel rearward with the help of the piston.
The P7 is also referred to as the squeeze cocker due to the fact that the grip must be depressed in order for the weapon to fire a round. This is a good safety system that has not been replicated in other pistol designs.
#6 HK VP9 and VP40
The HK VP9 is HK's third striker fired pistol in their history and their current striker fired pistol under their existing lineup. The VP9 holds 15 rounds of ammunition, while the VP40 in .40 holds 13 rounds. The VP9 has an excellent trigger and ergonomics. It competes directly with the Glock 19, Smith & Wesson M&P9 2.0 Compact, CZ P10C, and the Walther PPQ.
The VP9 provides a number of neat features, including the ability to change out both the backstops and the side panels on the grip to larger or smaller sizes to accommodate different hand sizes. It also has two polymer extensions on the sides of the rear of the slide to make it easier to grasp and rack the slide in wet conditions.
There are also subcompact version of the VP9 called the VP9SK. The SK comes standard with a 10 round flush fitting magazine, but also accepts the larger 15 round magazines of the VP9, although they will protrude beneath the gun. The benefit here is that you can carry the VP9Sk for concealed carry, with a longer 15 round magazine for you reload. Or, you can carry both pistols at once, and then use the same magazine for your reload for either weapon.
#7 HK G3
One of the most popular battle rifles ever invented worldwide has been the HK G3 in .308 Winchester or 7.62x51mm NATO. The G3 is an excellent rifle with a manual of arms setup that you may recognize from the MP5 submachine gun. The charging handle, for instance, is located near the sights at the end of the barrel and you have to reach over the charge the weapon and load a round.
Today, the G3 is among the most successful battle rifles and competes directly with the FN FAL, Springfield M1A, and the AR-10 platform of rifles. There are also many cheaper versions of the HK G3 that are available for the American market. These include the Spanish-made CETME rifles and the Century Arms imported C308. These rifles are built largely from surplus G3 parts and are available for a fraction of the price for a true G3.
#8 HK45 and HK45C
The HK45 in .45 ACP was developed as an evolution of the USP pistol for the United States special forces. The HK45 full size has the same ergonomics as the P30, while the HK45C has the same ergonomics as the P2000.
The HK45 is overall a smaller and thinner gun than the USP, or at least it's less bulky. The ergonomics are improved over the USP, but the grip is thinner. This means that the pistol should be easier to conceal but it also results in a reduced magazine capacity of 10 rounds for the full size and 8 rounds for the Compact variation. The Compact, however, will accept longer 10 round magazines.
Both the full size and the compact versions of the HK45C can have their grips customized with larger or smaller backstops in order to accommodate different hand sizes. The HK45 Tactical, or HK45T, and the HK45 Compact Tactical, or HK45CT, come with threaded barrels to add suppressors with high quality tritium front and rear raised sights.
#9 HK P2000
The HK P2000 was released in the year 2000 as an updated version of the USP Compact. The P2000 is basically the same gun as the USP Compact and accepts the same magazines, but it features different grip texturing and backstraps on the rear of the frame to accommodate different hand sizes. Along with the Walther P99, the P2000 was one of the first pistols ever made to have this feature.
The P2000 also introduced features that would be adopted by HK to the later P30 pistol. These include the fact that the P2000 has a decocker lever on the rear of the slide and does not have a safety. The lack of the thumb safety technically reduces the overall width of the gun to make it slightly easier to conceal. Some users will also appreciate the lack of a manual safety as it makes the pistol more simple to operate.
The subcompact version of the P2000 is called the P2000SK. It accepts a 10 round magazine, but will also accept the longer 13 round magazine of the P2000 full size as well.
The HK4 was HK's first pistol and was a development of the Mauser HSc, which was in turn based on the Walther PPK and served German forces in WW2.
The HK4 is truly a unique pistol because it can chamber four calibers: .380 ACP, .32 ACP, .25 ACP, and .22 LR. The pistol shipped with a different barrel and magazine for each caliber, which was unlike any other pistol made back then and remains so today.
The HK4 was produced from the 1960s through the 1980s. Today, it remains a very popular collector's piece.