Heckler & Koch pistols Part 2

Heckler & Koch pistols Part 2 Part 1

Revisiting two often overlooked CO2 pistols

By Dennis Adler

Like a number of higher-priced Umarex pellet-firing models, the HK P30 comes in a foam lined carrying case. Shown with the P30 are two included cast alloy 8-shot rotary magazines and the loading tool (to firmly seat 4.5mm pellets) and the BB adapter which replaces the rotary magazine when converting the HK into a non-blowback BB pistol using the self-contained CO2 BB magazine.

Throughout its comparatively short but highly successful history, Heckler & Koch has always catered to a variety of end users from civilians to military and law enforcement by tailoring certain models in multiple variants, like its P30 Series.

P30 features in centerfire and CO2

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The centerfire models are offered in V1, V2 and V3 configurations. As categorized by HK, V1 is an enhanced DAO with light trigger pull or LEM (Law Enforcement Modification) which makes this version a much faster DAO to get into action than traditional double action only semi-autos or revolvers. As required by some law enforcement organizations, a light trigger is not approved, thus HK has the V2 LEM with enhanced DAO and standard weight trigger pull. Last there is the V3, a traditional double action, single action model with a hammer spur for manual cocking, and a manual decocker. The V3 DA/SA mode is also available with or without dual ambidextrous manual safeties.

Overall size, weight, and general operating features are identical to the 9mm and .40 S&W HK P30 models. The gun used a self-contained CO2 BB magazine allowing the pistol to fire either 4.5mm lead pellets from rotary magazines inserted at the breech, or steel BBs with the magazine. Releasing the follower lock (locked for using the pellet magazines) allows it to be pulled down for loading BBs.

The Umarex HK P30 airgun is the full size V3 variation of Heckler & Koch’s P30 Series introduced in mid 2007. The CO2 model has the same style V3 trigger design, manual safety, and decocker as the 9mm. The original P30 model has an overall length of 6.99 inches, a width of 1.37 inches, and height of 5.43 inches. The CO2 model also measures 6.99 inches in length, comes in at 1.25 inches in width, 5.5 inches in height (base of magazine to top of rear sight) and weighs 28 ounces empty, roughly 5-ounces more than the 9mm model.

The manual safety (shown in the FIRE position in left side view) is simply pushed from left to right to put the pistol in a SAFE condition. The safety operation is identical to the centerfire P30 models.

As a pellet-firing model it uses 8-shot cast alloy rotary magazines and loads the same way as earlier Umarex models like the Beretta 92FS and Walther P99. Made in Germany, the HK uses a polymer frame like the 9mm P30, with the balance of the components; slide, hammer, trigger, slide release and decocker, all metal with a black matte finish; the same as the 9mm model. The airgun also has a full length Picatinny rail to mount a weapon light or light/laser combination for enhanced training exercises.

A special BB insert (shown in position) is used in place of the rotary pellet magazine to channel BBs into the barrel. Once in place the slide is bushed closed and the CO2 BB magazine feeds rounds. Also note that the hammer is cocked and the safety engaged (by pushing it from left to right and no red outline exposed).
The 8-shot rotary pellet magazines are loaded the same was as other Umarex models like the Beretta 92FS and Walther CP88 using the slide release lever to open the action. This allows the barrel and slide to move forward exposing the loading chamber. Also note that here the hammer is lowered and the safety is in the FIRE position (pushed from the right side of the gun so that it sticks out from the left and exposes the red outline). This is identical to the safety mechanism on the centerfire pistols.

Another interesting feature of the Umarex HK P30 is the magazine, which can also be used to load 15 steel BBs, or if you prefer lead BBs (4.5mm round pellets like Gamo Round) which will be easier on the rifled steel barrel. Used in conjunction with a BB adapter (in place of the rotary magazine, the P30 becomes a non-blowback action semi-auto BB pistol with a self-contained CO2 BB magazine. A little more expensive than some CO2 semi-auto pellet models, with an MSRP of $249.99 (yes, better than four times the price of the USP), the dual firing system (rotary pellet and combined CO2 BB magazine) make the Umarex H&K P30 a double threat for accuracy and training.

Since the CO2 P30 is a non blowback action design you have to manually cock the hammer if you want to fire single action. Identical to the centerfire models, the hammer can be safely lowered by using the de-cocker at the left rear of the slide.
Even more realistic than one would expect, every Umarex HK P30 and USP has an individual serial number strip mounted in the same place as the cartridge-firing models on the underside of the dustcover. Also note the clean approach to the mandatory airgun warning information which is embossed into the bottom of the triggerguards to keep the side of the slide clean and authentic in appearance.


I have tested the centerfire P30 models so I have a good working knowledge of this model and how well the CO2 pellet-firing version stacks up for training. The centerfire model I reviewed in Combat Handguns was the V1 Light LEM DAO version. The gun had an average trigger pull of 5.84 pounds (once the slide has been cycled and a round chambered), with a length of pull measuring 0.875 inches, no stacking, zero over travel, and quick reset with a positive click felt through the trigger finger. Since the LEM trigger is an enhanced DAO there is no decocker and once a round is chambered trigger resistance is reduced. The CO2 model isn’t quite the same.

I tested the 9mm P30 for Combat Handguns magazine. The backstrap and side panels fit my hands perfectly, and the P30 has superb balance with the back of the frame resting firmly over the web of the shooting hand, and a solid hold on the grips. The curved, serrated front edge of the triggerguard provides a solid resting place for the support hand’s index finger, if you employ this type of hold to leverage more recoil control. (This works best using an Isosceles or Strong Isosceles Stance as shown).
The CO2 model feels exactly the same in the hand. Here I am using a Weaver stance and the support hand as a full wrap, rather than with the index finger on the front of the triggerguard. This works well with a Weaver stance, also, the CO2 model has zero recoil. Still, it handles and generally offers the same operating features, as well as excellent accuracy with a 3.35 inch rifled steel barrel. The accuracy of the Umarex HK P30 at a combat training distance of 21 feet is equivalent to a cartridge pistol.

The double action trigger pull on the HK P30 airgun is 11 pounds, 10.5 ounces average. Single action, the trigger pull drops to a refined 5 pounds, 2.5 ounces average. The 9mm models average 5 pounds, 8 ounces single action and 11 pounds, 4 ounces, so the airgun’s trigger is nicely matched with only 0.375 inches of travel fired single action, a crisp break and minimal over travel. The latter is irrelevant since you have to manually cock the hammer again before you can shoot single action, although with a two-handed hold you can cock the hammer with the support hand thumb pretty quickly. Either way, this is an easy pistol to handle, but technically it handles like a DAO.

Among other P30 features that carry over to the airgun are the elongated, ambidextrous slide releases. On the CO2 model only the left release operates and is used to open the slide, which separates allowing the front half to move forward and the 8-shot rotary magazine to be inserted. To close, just grasp the front slide serrations and push the slide back until it locks.

A total of 16 shots (two 8-round rotary magazines) had 13 of 16 rounds almost overlapping and obliterating entire portions of the 10 and X rings. Best group, all overlapping, measured 0.68 inches.

My best target, a total of 16 shots (two 8-round rotary magazines) placed 13 of 16 rounds almost overlapping and obliterating entire portions of the 10 and X rings. Best group, all overlapping, measured 0.68 inches.

For more affordable shooting you can switch to .177 caliber BBs. This also allows the P30 to become a non-blowback pistol with a self-contained CO2 BB magazine, another plus for training. From 21 feet I fired 10 shots into the 10 and X rings with the rifled barrel HK P30 and Umarex steel BBS.

Considering the air pistol’s internal barrel length is 3.35 inches and does not have the white dot sights used on the lower-priced USP (go figure), or even just a front sight white dot, at 21 feet the rifled barrel delivered very tight groups just slightly above POA. Even without the white dot sights, the P30 remains a well thought out pistol, versatile enough for target shooting with 4.5mm pellets and for use as a training gun.

3 thoughts on “Heckler & Koch pistols Part 2”

  1. So far I have shot only pellets with my P30 pistol fearing the damage steel BBs might do to the barrel. Now let me make sure I understand something you said in the blog. There were warnings about using Smart Shot BBs in some magazines because they don’t feed properly. I think that was with respect to double stack BB magazines. In this blog are you confirming that Smart Shot BBs will feed properly in the P30 magazine?

    • No, not at all. In point of fact, Smart Shot does not feed in the P30 magazine and it jams. What I am saying (and have tested) is that lead BBs (round pellets if you will) such as Gamo round 4.5mm fit in the magazine and function perfectly in the P30, as do steel BBs. Umarex states that steel BBs will not harm the rifled barrel, but I’d sooner use round lead pellets like the Gamo over steel BBs. That’s just my personal preference if I were not shooting 4.5mm pellets like Mesiterkugeln. I know I said Smart Shot in the article and that was my mistake because it had worked in a few semi-autos in past tests but not with the P30. For the record I am going to go back and change it for future readers.

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