Retrospect Series Part 6 – H&K P30

Retrospect Series Part 6 – H&K P30

The Heckler & Koch vs. Walther CP 99 conclusion

By Dennis Adler

As you may recall, Part 5 ended with what appeared to be a problem with the P30 magazine, and we had to wait for a new magazine to arrive. With the new mag in hand we will pick up where things left off earlier this month with a short recap of the end from last time.

The Umarex HK P30 is one of the best looking CO2 pellet pistols in its class, which is to say guns like the Walther CP99, and at just over $200 is at the higher end but made in Germany. It also fires BBs as well as pellets, so that is an advantage over the pellets only Walther CP99, which sells for $30 less than the P30.

“To recap, I shot Meisterkugeln Professional Line 7.0 gr. lead wadcutter pellets, which averaged 342 fps, a little slower than expected. [Then I shot] 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 losing pressure prematurely. My first shots started at 355 fps and after 16 rounds (two magazines) had dropped to 317 fps.”

In the last part of this comparison the HK P30 magazine appeared to have a CO2 issue and I ended the test awaiting a replacement mag. This proved better overall than the original magazine but notably better with alloy pellets, compared to the original comparison test shot earlier in this month.

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To pick things up, I am going to reshoot the velocity tests with the new magazine and see what the HK P30 delivers with the Meisterkugeln and then with the H&N. The new magazine averaged 328 fps with the lead wadcutters, so even slower than the old mag. Switching to H&N, average velocity clocked an impressive 372 fps with the 5.25 gr. alloy wadcutters, so almost 20 fps faster overall than with the H&N in the old magazine. I ran the 7.0 gr. lead one more time and the average velocity clocked 323 fps, so the P30 is shooting lead pellets at the speed of steel BBs through most blowback action CO2 pistols, and alloy pellets at more impressive speeds (with the new CO2 magazine). Curious at best, but I am going to stay with the H&N for the duration of this test and pick up where I left off in the comparison to the Walther CP99.

The HK is the same internal firing system as the CP99 using cast alloy pellet magazines. In terms of handling it is also comparable to the Walther. But then the two begin to go their separate ways.
To help the P30, during the original comparison test with the CP99, which has a white front sight for easier target acquisition, I added white dots to the P30. These improved aiming with the large combat-style sights. The white dots are punched (with a leather punch) out of gum-backed white labels. Once positioned, they stay put on the sights.

Most of you probably do not chronograph you air pistols and are most interested in how accurate it is, not how fast BBs or pellets are traveling downrange, that’s the job for reviewers, to inform readers of how well a gun functions. The differences in velocity do not have a tremendous influence on accuracy at close distances like 21 feet unless the velocity is under 300 fps. This has been my experience, however, with pellet pistols like the HK P30, one has certain expectations beyond 21 feet, and accuracy does begin to suffer with lower velocity CO2 pistols. The P30 pushing alloy wadcutters downrange at 370 fps is more than capable. Even lead wadcutters in the 320 fps range will do well enough. But in this comparison between the older CP99 and more recent P30, the accuracy will be determined with alloy wadcutters.

The CP99 and HK P30 have a lot in common for design, and are both made in Germany which makes them more expensive than some similar designs made in Taiwan. The CP99 in this test is almost 20 years old!

What the CP99 did last time

With the H&N alloy wadcutters, the CP99 had averaged 382 fps with a high of 401 fps and three out of eight at 396 fps, and a low of 378 fps, so faster than the HK P30 on alloy even on the low end. As for the CP99, my10-meter test with the H&N was 1.125 inches, about average for me with that gun at that range. Now, it comes down to the P30 at 10 meters, and having altered the gun with the addition of white dot sights, (which I added during the first comparison earlier this month), sighting is now equal between the two guns.

When you draw the line between guns, it is often drawn on the firing line, and at 10 meters the CP99 was more accurate and more consistent than the HK P30.

At 10 meters the H&N punched eight shots into 1.5 inches. Again, not as good as the CP99, which appears to be the clear winner in the pellet-firing challenge.

The best groups with the HK were greater at 1.5 inches from 10 meters, compared to 1.125 inches and multiple overlapping hits from that distance with the CP99.

But remember, the HK P30 also shoots BBs. And to round this out, I am going to run one last test with the new magazine and Umarex .177 caliber steel BBs. To prevent any chance of magazine jamming caused by BBs being driven down into the loading port (because of the light follower spring), I am only going to load eight, same as the pellet magazine. Average velocity with the steel round balls clocked 410 fps but accuracy with BBs at 10 meters is not great. My best eight shots spread across the black at 1.875 inches. Accuracy is inconsistent.

I had hoped that the HK would redeem itself as a high-velocity non-blowback BB pistol, but at 10 meters accuracy with steel was disappointing. Of course, since the CP99 can’t shoot BBs, the HK wins this competition, even with a 1.875 inch spread for eight shots. Maybe I’m just having an off day.

As a high velocity BB pistol it is adequate for plinking, but being a non-blowback design it is over-priced compared to other models with more features. That puts it into the pellet pistol category for cost and the final word on the P30 there, is that it’s no match for the CP99. In a battle of two guns there can only be one winner, and the HK comes in second.

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