Retrospect Series Part 5 – H&K P30

Retrospect Series Part 5 – H&K P30

The Heckler & Koch vs. Walther CP99

By Dennis Adler

The opportunity to shoot BBs from the HK P30 is a secondary feature; the gun by design is a pellet pistol with a rifled steel barrel. Its closest competitor, both as a 9mm pistol for law enforcement and military use, and as a CO2 pistol, is the Walther P99 and P99Q variations and the CP99. The CP99 has been in production going on 20 years and later in this review I will run the Walther against the HK.

I started this with good intensions and had no expectations of a mechanical problem with the P30; in fact, my actual concern was with the almost 20-year old Walther CP99 I was going to test it against. What can I say? This stuff happens, and the HK developed a problem.

Continued velocity tests

To recap, I shot Meisterkugeln Professional Line 7.0 gr. lead wadcutter pellets which averaged 342 fps, a little slower than expected. Today it is going to be lighter weight 5.25 gr. H&N Sport Match Green alloy wadcutters. Beginning with a fresh CO2, the first eight shots averaged 328 fps, which makes little sense and leads me to surmise the magazine is not holding air and is loosing pressure prematurely. My first shots started at 355 fps and after 16 rounds (two magazines) had dropped to 317 fps. I shot the Gamo lead BBs through the magazine and velocity again jumped around with a high that surprised me of 360 fps and then it dropped to 312 fps after half a dozen rounds. Since I do not have a spare magazine for the P30, we will have to suspend this test until a new one can be delivered. This rarely happens to me, but this gun has been sitting around in its case for a couple of years. This is definitely, “To be continued…”

With the velocity jumping around and dropping from 355 fps to 317 fps in less then 10 shots I was surprised I got any consistency to my shooting with H&N alloy wadcutters, and Gamo lead BBs, but I still kept everything in the black and had a couple of tight groups with the H&N. I credit some of that to adding the white dot sights, which helped keep aim on point even if velocity was dropping rapidly.

Moving on to the old CP99

I have had this CP99 pistol since 2001 and it has always performed well. It hasn’t been shot in several years, so this will be an interesting test to see how the magazine and pistol’s seals have faired in storage (in the factory hard plastic case).

First off, I am going to run a velocity test with the H&N alloy wadcutters, which I have not shot through the CP99 before, to see what the Walther delivers on alloy. With the H&N the CP99 averaged 382 fps with a high of 401 fps and three out of eight at 396 fps, and a low of 378 fps. At 21 feet, I shot two magazines and pretty much obliterated the bullseye. So this old gun still has it.

With the HK P30 sidelined, I unpacked the old 2001 model Umarex Walther CP 99 and found it was still working like a champ, with H&N alloy wadcutters punching shots tight at high velocity. With 16 shots (two mags) I blew out a good part of the bullseye and had two flyers, one left cutting the 8 and 7 rings and one high cutting the 9 and 8 rings at 21 feet.

Given the failed magazine with the P30, this ends the article on that gun until the replacement magazine arrives. As for the old CP 99, I completed the 10 meter test and my best target with the Walther using H&N was 1.125 inches, which is about average for me with that gun at 10 meters. One advantage the CP99 has over the HK P30 is that the Walther comes with a white square front sight, which is very easy to center in the rear notch, so POA is pretty consistent, and the gun generally shoots well with a 6 o’clock hold under the black. With the heavy, 8 pound, 4 ounce average DA trigger pull, I attribute more of the windage issues to myself than the gun. As something of a postscript, the CP99 is a real DA/SA design just like the centerfire model, and you can fire the air pistol single action by pulling the slide to the rear, which cocks the internal hammer, rotates the rotary magazine to the next chamber and stages the trigger in SA mode. (I will follow up on this in the next article).

At 10 meters I put eight H&N alloy wadcutters into 1.125 inches firing off hand. POA was a 6 o’clock hold under the black. My windage was a bit off but everything hit through the middle, with a few overlapping shots. This is also a relatively short barreled gun with an internal length of 3.375 inches.
I had mentioned that there were some similarities between the Walther and Heckler & Koch designs, and that is obvious in the comparison of the CO2 models. There is also one big difference, the older Walther (in 9mm) is a striker fired DA/SA pistol, and as a CO2 model a DA/SA with an internal hammer firing mechanism. The newer HK model, while also a polymer frame pistol, relies on a tried and true hammer firing system with a DA/SA trigger. Both of the centerfire models have manual de-coking devises, as do the CP99 and HK CO2 pistols. In terms of size, the two guns are comparable and are regarded as full-size duty guns for law enforcement and military. You might also note the lift in the triggerguard on the original P99 and CP99 pistols (some like to call it the ski jump) which was intended as a separation from the trigger providing a rest for the finger inside the triggerguard. A slightly smaller version of this is used on the HK P30 which also has a large, squared triggerguard shape.
The other key feature shared by the newer HK is the old P99 (CP99) ambidextrous horizontal magazine release paddles built into the rear section of the triggerguard. The HK uses roughly the same design seen on Walther P99 models (prior to the later series and PPQ M2, which changed to a traditional button release on the frame). Coincidentally, Walther later adopted the longer slide release levers seen on the P30 for updated P99/and current PPQ models.

I ran one more target and went through a fairly rapid fire string of eight shots, all of which went a little high, but grouped into a tight continuous tear of overlapping hits measuring 0.84 inches.

I ended the shooting session with a 10 meter group under an inch with the CP99. Proof that an old gun done right is as good in 2020 as it was in 2000.

So, the old German-made Walter CP 99 still delivers on quality and decent accuracy, obviously longevity (this gun actually being almost 20 years old), and as a basic CO2 training gun has become a staple of the Umarex Walther line for two decades. A lot of air pistols have come and gone in that time, and I guess that says something for the CP99. As for the newer HK P30, don’t let my issue determine your decision on ordering one. Even the best CO2 pistols have an occasional hiccup. We’ll get back to the HK P30 as soon as a new mag arrives.

8 thoughts on “Retrospect Series Part 5 – H&K P30

  1. As a matter of fact I had a similar, disappointing, experience today with the green H&Ns. I am not an airgun expert but it seems that air was blown off without firing a pellet which makes me think that they are too tight. On the other hand using various wadcutters was enjoying, they kept going where the LPA sight was pointing. Gamo lead balls are indeed producing high power along with accuracy, with only occasional jams like you described. This kind of personality, for an airgun, made it a keeper for me. The only drawback is that your today’s post made me search for the CP99 once again.


  2. Bill,

    That is an interesting observation. I did not experience that with the Walther CP 99 but, yes something like that with the HK P30 and H&N alloy wadcutters, which might account for lower velocity, though every shot did fire. Did you use the pellet seating tool with the H&N? When I resume the test of the HK in about a week, I will run that comparison as well.

    Thanks,

    Dennis


    • I confess that I never used the seating tool but I always seat the pellets with my finger nail. Today I had one more disappointing experience with H&N alloy pellets that wouldn’t shoot. So Gamo lead bbs and premium low weight diabolos for me.


  3. Dennis,

    “but only the HK CO2 pistol has decocking capability”

    That statement did not seem correct to me. So I got out my CP99 to check the validity of that statement. I have the bi-tone CP99. The decocking button is black and really stands out on the silver finish slide.

    When shooting the CP99, if all you ever do is aim and pull the trigger, then you are correct that the trigger is DAO. However, remember that Umarex built the CP99 with the ability to shoot single action. The striker (or internal hammer) can be manually cocked by pulling back on the rear half of the slide. Doing that cocks the pistol, rotates the magazine, and stages the trigger for one single action shot. To repeatedly shoot the CP99 single action, the rear half of the slide must be pulled back first for each shot. After manually cocking the CP99, the pistol can be decocked by pressing on the black decocking button in the top of the slide in front of the rear sight.


    • Charles,

      You are absolutley right. It has been so many years since I actually did that, I forgot the CP 99 was capable of being manually cocked. Same basic internal design as the CP 88 only without the external hammer. I stand corrected! Good call.

      Thanks,

      Dennis


      • The CP99 is not the only pellet pistol that works that way. I also pulled out my Umarex Smith and Wesson M&P 45 pellet pistol and checked it. The M&P 45 also can be manually cocked by pulling back on the rear half of the slide, and doing so also advances the magazine and stages the trigger for a single action shot. However, the M&P 45 absolutely does not have a decocker. I even tested the safety lever as a decocker, but the safety does not decock the M&P 45.

        I was just looking at the current Pyramyd Air inventory. It’s disappointing to see that all of the bi-tone Walther pistols appear to be no longer available. The Smith and Wesson M&P 45 pellet pistol is still available, and it also shoots BBs. I had forgotten that mine came with both an alloy magazine disk for pellets and a plastic magazine disk for BBs.

        A comparison of the CP99 and the M&P 45 shooting pellets and BBs might be a worthwhile installment in this retrospect series


    • Charles,

      I also went back into this article and corrected my oversight where I wrote DAO. It is funny because I have had three of these guns since 2000 and I don’t think I have fired them SA more than a half dozen times. No excuse for forgetting that you could, and I am going to run a full test of the CP 99 on Tuesday to show all of the gun’s excellent features.

      Dennis


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