By Mark Kakkuri, Gun Digest contributor
Guns have a certain feel about them. And because of that, I have certain feelings about guns. Some guns feel chunky and plasticky and gimmicky. These guns make me feel like trying my hand at plastic surgery in order to trim them up or tone them down. Some guns feel heavy and stiff. These guns make me feel like giving them a massage to help them loosen up a bit. Some guns feel thin—functional but not outright durable. These guns I am afraid to shoot, let alone carry for self-defense. Guns like these I want to wrap in duct tape to help keep them together.
Not all guns have a bad feel. In fact, some feel just right in terms of fit and finish, functionality or how they fire. You can tell much about a gun’s feel just by hefting it in your hand. You can tell much more, however, after a session at the range. Sometimes you’re surprised by how a gun feels after shooting, but most often the range time simply confirms the suspicions you had before shooting it.
No surprise, there’s lots of subjectivity in this matter of determining how a gun feels. It might be impossible to fully quantify, but I’m going to give it a shot.
The Heckler & Koch P2000 SK felt good when I first tried it out. Not in a nonspecific way but truly and functionally. Since HK is one of the premier firearms designers and manufacturers in the world, this came as no surprise. Frankly, with a retail price of $983, we’re in the luxury class of handguns, so it had better be outstanding.
A sub-compact pistol available in 9mm, .40 and .357 SIG, the P2000 SK feels good when I’m just holding it in my hand—remarkably good in fact. I’m not just talking about how I heft the pistol and appreciate the ergonomics or the balance. It’s more than those. For example, the simple action of removing the magazine, a downward push on the ambidextrous magazine release, feels sure and confident. There’s no mush in the controls. You won’t eject the magazine on accident. When you do want the magazine to drop, it springs out perfectly. Put the magazine in and it seats perfectly. No extra push needed. No wondering whether it’s fully seated.
With the magazine out, the simple action of pulling the slide back to check for an empty chamber demonstrates superbly engineered, mechanically perfect motions, noises and feels. Dry-fire it and the trigger stroke, a light double action known as the law enforcement modification (LEM), feels perfect, even as it is a bit longer than most trigger strokes. Yet it is smooth, sure and consistent and one of the best I’ve ever felt.
Besides shooting the P2000 SK, which I will address shortly, the other action worth mentioning is the loading of the magazines. Pushing in nine .40 caliber rounds revealed just the right amount of resistance from the spring under the follower. Loading rounds seven and eight and nine showed no classic signs of fight.
Shooting the P2000 SK was pure joy because the gun got out of the way of the shooting experience, so to speak. In other words, all the mechanisms worked together so well, so smoothly, that nothing stood out during the range session. I just squeezed the trigger, again and again, and the HK sent every round down range, right on target.
The balance was superb and the sights were easy to acquire, shot after shot. But the best part of shooting the P2000 SK was the LEM trigger. More than just a double action-only trigger, the HK LEM trigger incorporates a 7.3- to 8.5-pound pull in an action that combines a precocked striker with a double action hammer. So it’s double action-only but it’s light and smooth, with just slightly increasing pressure required as it travels back. You’ll see the hammer move back and fall with every stroke. It doesn’t jerk, grab or stutter in its travel. If a round fails to fire, the LEM trigger system allows for second and third strike capability, though I never needed it.
The LEM trigger felt much lighter than the advertised 7.3- to 8.5-pound pull, but I attribute that to the ultra-smooth trigger travel. Even with its gradually increasing resistance, I couldn’t discern by feel if the trigger was nearing its breaking point; when the HK fired it surprised me every time but I was never unprepared for it. Indeed, after a while I could tell when the gun was about fire because it was always when my finger pulled the trigger back to exactly the same point. Shooting quickly—about two rounds per second—was remarkably easy, intuitive and fun.
Notice that I haven’t yet mentioned recoil. That’s because recoil on this handgun, while present, is aptly managed by the mechanical recoil reduction system—a dual captive recoil spring and polymer bushing. The system works so well in absorbing recoil that you have to actively think about the recoil in order to remember it’s there.
The combination of the HK’s balance, ergonomics, LEM trigger and recoil absorption system worked in harmony with the three-dot sights, allowing for easy follow up shots. It was easier to shoot this gun faster and more accurately than most others I have fired.
HK P2000 SK Additional Features
HK includes a modular grip accessory to increase the depth of the stocks. My medium-to-large sized hands enjoyed the P2000 SK’s stock in its standard configuration so much I didn’t bother with the extra piece. Some might prefer flush magazine baseplates, especially for concealed carry, instead of the two included nine-round magazines that feature a baseplate with a pronounced lip. I actually liked how these felt.
All the controls on the HK are ambidextrous. I’m a right-hander so I would right thumb the slide release on the left side of the slide but use my right middle finger to push the magazine release on the right side of the trigger guard. The P2000 SK also featured a tactical rail for lights and lasers. For a carry pistol, I found this to be a bit superfluous and would have preferred a skinnier dust cover and slide.
I have to admit, prior to shooting the HK P2000SK I was skeptical that the $983 retail price was justified. Sure, I knew of HK’s reputation for excellence, durability, reliability and accuracy. But once I experienced it first hand, the luxury price of this sub-compact pistol seemed more tenable. I just had to feel it for myself.
Mark Kakkuri is a freelance writer in Oxford, Mich. You can follow him on Twitter @markkakkuri.
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