Retrospect Series Part 3 – H&K P30

Retrospect Series Part 3 – H&K P30

Heckler & Koch’s take on Walther’s rotary pellet semi-autos

By Dennis Adler

The Umarex HK P30 delivers a lot of airgun for the money. For proficiency training or to get a feel for handling the 9mm pistol, the CO2 powered HK P30 delivers outstanding performance with a 3.35 inch rifled steel barrel. The gun comes in a hard plastic foam lined case with spare rotary magazine and pellet seating tool.

Umarex always has big shoes to fill, it’s own, as the world’s largest manufacturer of airguns, and those of the various brand names Umarex represents. The list reads like a Blue Book of Gun Values, from Colts to Walthers, revolvers and semi-autos, lever action rifles to full auto submachine guns. Scrolling down the brand name alphabet, when you get to “H” there is one famous German brand that jumps out, Heckler & Koch. HK is also one of Walther’s greatest competitors (as Umarex and Walther are two divisions of one company), and Umarex treads the divide with one particularly intriguing CO2 model that lifts its internal design from the German-built Walther CP 88 (as well as the Beretta 92FS and Walther CP 99, among others), the c.2007 HK Model P30.

Overall size, weight, and general operating features are identical to the 9mm HK P30 models. The air pistol is designed as an ideal training substitute for the centerfire models, as well a dual-purpose CO2 air pistol. What do I mean by dual-purpose? It can fire pellets or BBs in a unique way.

A late comer with old tech

As an armsmaker,Heckler & Kochhas always catered to a diversity of clientele ranging from the civilian market tomilitaryand law enforcement (particularly in the U.S.) by tailoring specific models to meet the requirements of either law enforcement or the military. The civilian market is the benefactor of most of these options.

With the P30 there are multiple versions in V1, V2 and V3 configurations. From an air pistol training gun there is one more variation, the H&K licensed and Umarex built HK P30, which looks and handles like the Heckler & Koch model but has firing system firmly planted in the Walther CP 88, though the HK P30 is quite a bit more advanced in its design, finish, and operating features.

The elongated slide release is used to open the action for loading 8-round rotary magazines. The gun is shown with the hammer cocked and the safety on FIRE. When actually loading the gun, the safety should be pressed to the right (red not showing) and the gun put on SAFE. The hammer can also be de-cocked with the ambidextrous decocker at the back of the slide.

With multiple P30 models, HK and Umarex had to decide on which version to build as a training gun/CO2 air pistol, and there is a much more rewarding outcome in the P30’s CO2 model’s overall design that literally evolves beyond the older Walther CP 88 internal platform. Among centerfire P3 models the categories are divided into V1, an enhanced DAO with light trigger pull, also designated as the LEM (Law Enforcement Modification). There are variations of this as well as some law enforcement organizations do not want their offices carrying a gun with a light trigger, thus HK has the V2 LEM with enhanced DAO and a standard weight trigger pull. For those who want it all, there is the V3, a traditional double action/single action (DA/SA) model with a hammer spur for manual cocking, and a manual decocker, in my opinion the best of all combinations and the version duplicated by Umarex for the P30 air pistol. At its core the, the P30 still uses an 8-shot cast alloy rotary magazine loaded at the breech like the previous Walther and Beretta models.

The design of the CO2 model matches the V3 version with the DA/SA trigger and decocker. At left the hammer is shown cocked, safety off and ready to fire. At right the gun remain with the safety off, but has been de-cocked by depressing the ambidextrous release at the rear of the slide. Also note that the trigger has returned to its forward DA position. In this condition the gun is off safe and ready to fire double action or have the hammer cocked to fire. Since the HP 30 is not a blowback action air pistol, for SA firing the hammer must be manually cocked for each shot.

About the Gun

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 ambidextrous rear 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 slide release is used to open the action and the design is far more durable than the early Walter CP 88 and you do not have to exert nearly as much effort on the slide to keep it from slamming forward when released. The spring system is entirely different as well and more like a traditional recoil spring wound around the guide rod.
With the safety depressed from the left in the SAFE setting, the safety button protrudes from the right side of the slide, as pictured. On the left side, the red outline (shown in the photo above) is no longer visible. While the ambidextrous slide release design is carried over from the 9mm pistol is not a functional piece on the CO2 model. The slide can only be released for loading from the left side.

Among the few remaining CO2 models still made in Germany, the airgun 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 matte black finish similar to 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 and more precise targeting.

The magazine design for the HK P30 is derived from the CO2 magazine developed for the Umarex Walther CP 99 in 2000, which did not have the BB firing capability.

The update to old CO2 design   

While the P30 is a pellet pistol with a rifled steel barrel and fires pellets using the same cast alloy rotary pellet magazines as other Umarex models, the CO2 is loaded in a separate magazine that loads into the grip, which is actually derived from the 2000 Umarex Walther CP 99. There is, however, one distinct difference, there is a BB channel in the front of the magazine (like other self-contained CO2 BB magazines that will load 15 steel BBs. Used in conjunction with the BB adapter in place of the rotary magazine, the P30 becomes a non-blowback action semi-auto BB pistol with a rifled barrel. This makes it an ideal gun for using lead BBs and Smart Shot (copper-coated lead BBs), since steel BBs could over time erode the rifling.

Duality of purpose, the HK P30 is designed to fire pellets with rotary magazine BB adapter in place of the cast alloy magazine. The adapter fills the opening, keeps the system active and has a port for the air charge. The magazine is switched from the locked follower position by pressing the round pin that passes from left to right through the cast alloy housing to the left side (magazine facing you). Then the follower can be pulled down to the loading port and up to 15 BBs loaded as you would a self-contained CO2 BB magazine. Lead BBs are better for the rifling and Smart Shot should work perfectly at 7.4 grains, just a little heavier than a Meisterkugeln lead wadcutter pellet.

The only drawback to the Umarex HK P30 not having a blowback action is that you either have to fire every shot double action, or manually cock the hammer to shoot single action. This is the same situation with the Umarex Beretta 92FS and Walther CP88 pellet models, but not the CP 99 because it is based on a striker-fired design and is a double action only (DAO).

In Part 2 we take the HK P30 shooting

A perfect fit and excellent means of training for the 9mm HK P30, the air pistol fists any holster that will accommodate the centerfire model. This is a Galco Tac Slide belt holster that combines a leather belt slide with a riveted on, injection molded holster for a secure fit and ease of draw. Pretty much a minimalist holster, the contour fit is the only retention device for the gun.

A word about safety

Authentic looking airguns like HK P30 provide the feel and basic operation of their cartridge-firing counterparts making them ideal for training purposes. All airguns in general look like guns, models like the Umarex HK P30 more so, and it is important to remember that the vast majority of people can’t tell an airgun from a cartridge gun. Never brandish an airgun in public. Always, and I can never stress this enough, always treat an airgun as you would a cartridge gun. The same manual of operation and safety should always apply.

One thought on “Retrospect Series Part 3 – H&K P30

  1. Being one of the most recent P 30 users, the co2 off course, I will present my experience with it.
    DA trigger difficult, even compared to the Baikal MP654. SA very nice.
    In any case, after the first sessions I fell in love with this Black/green version so a small laser is already attached. The most important thing is that I changed the rear sight. Now there is an LPA set, fully adjustable, from Crosman. It was necessary to file the recess a little, but since its a keeper it doesn’t matter. The two magazines loaded with lead bbs provide great joy and training.
    I can certainly understand the choice of the German elite commando units.


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