H&K P2000: The Right Stuff

DOUBLE ACTION shooting with the H&K P2000 is quick and effective. It does, however, require familiarity, as is the case with any double-action handgun. Here, the author takes the H&K P2000 for a spin.


Imagine an all-around pistol that is credible in a defense role, while offering a lot of enjoyment during informal range or plinking sessions. The Heckler & Koch P2000 is a fun gun that also is ready for serious situations.

With so many handguns available on the market these days, figuring out which one is right for individual needs can be confusing. Like the H&K P2000, most common are semi-auto pistols with polymer frames.

H&K has been manufacturing arms for military, police and civilian use for decades, formed late in 1949 and located in the gunmaking city of Oberndorf, Germany.


All H&K’s firearm models are serious equipment. Introduced in 2001 and since then establishing a track record, the P2000 represents an evolutionary notch beyond the H&K USP (Universal Self-Loading Pistol), which was introduced 30 years ago. The USP followed H&K’s legendary P7M8, which incorporated a squeeze-cock mechanism among other amazing features.

CRADLED IN the author’s hands, the H&K P2000 is a mid-size pistol that can fit all sizes of hands, from small to very big.

The P2000 is a medium size semi-auto pistol. For this discussion, we’re looking at the P2000 V3 in 9mmP. H&K also offers the P2000SK, which is somewhat smaller. The P2000 is available in 9x19mm Parabellum, .40 S&W and .357 SIG.

Shooting the H&K 2000 is intuitive. It is not a target pistol, but was designed for military and police, as well as civilian defense. This means that speed and ease of operation trump pinpoint accuracy.

The sights on the H&K P2000 are the three-dot design — quick and intuitive, but not as precise as target sights.

Trigger pull affects delivered accuracy, and nominal amounts of trigger pull for the H&K P2000 are 4.5 pounds for single action and 11.5 for double action. My trigger pull scale indicated that the pistol I received from H&K had a 5-pound single-action pull and 10.25-pound double-action pull.

This is fine for the kind of duty this model is designed to perform. However, it took a little bit of shooting for me to be able to realize maximum results from the double-action mode.

At first, I was pulling shots low. Once I became familiar with that specific trigger, the bullets grouped well, but just a tiny bit to the left with various loads. A quick nudge on the sight can drift the point of impact directly on-target.

Vertical stringing of groups at both 5 and 10 yards witnessed the existence of pilot error as I was learning the double-action trigger pull. But within a fairly sort time, shots began going where they were supposed to. The pistol was doing its part all along.

The P2000 V3 weights a scant 27 ounces empty, which is light enough that it is a bit snappy when fired. Interestingly, the pistol returned on-target naturally, which meant that rapid fire wasn’t hindered noticeably because of the recoil. That’s nice and an indication that the fit was right, thanks to the modular backstrap choices.

There are two things on the H&K 2000 that, to me, are truly improvements over the USP Compact (and the USP Compact is an outstanding handgun). One is the set of four interchangeable backstraps, ranging from small and medium to really big. The other is the de-cocking lever/button.

I have big hands – big enough that a full-size 1911 is a little small in my paw. The H&K 2000 discussed here came with the medium size backstrap mounted and the three others in a plastic bag. I went directly to the biggest backstrap and was amazed that it fit so perfectly that I may as well have had it custom-made just for me.

The H&K 2000’s de-cocking mechanism is actuated via a “button” on the left rear of the slide, next to the exposed hammer. Wow! Is that great! I wouldn’t have thought of it but am glad the folks at H&K did. It is simply a better mechanism for de-cocking.

When it comes to defensive handguns, they must go “bang” every single time the trigger is squeezed – no exceptions, no excuses. This requires the right combination of handgun and ammunition in concert with the shooter.

The H&K 2000 reviewed gobbled all manner of 9mmP ammo voraciously. It didn’t matter whether the load featured a round FMJ bullet, a hollow-point or flat point or what bullet weight. The pistol cycled without a hiccup.

Many of the concerns brought up about handgun designs, cartridge sizes and bullet weights come from law enforcement or military sources. That’s fine, and their concerns overall are good to understand.

DISASSEMBLY OF the P2000 is easy without using any tools. It breaks down into the frame, slide, recoil spring with buffer and barrel.

But there is a huge difference when it comes to actual requirements for them vs. civilians. Law enforcement and the military concern themselves with both offensive and defensive scenarios. Civilians need only focus on defensive matters or more casual shooting. This simplifies the subject tremendously.

Mounting rails on the P2000 and P2000SK allow a wide variety of lights, aimers and accessories to be added by sliding them onto

the open rail system. The HK P2000 uses steel USP Compact magazines.

Ambidextrous slide release levers and magazine release levers make handling the P2000 Series pistol natural and easy for right and left-handed shooters.

P2000 / P2000SK pistols use a modified Browning-type action, much like the HK USP

and USP Compact. And like the USP and USP Compact, these pistols also use a similar

mechanical recoil reduction system.

This system includes a specially designed flat recoil spring, contained in the captive recoil spring assembly by an absorber bushing made of a high-strength polymer.

The P2000 Series pistols have polygonal, cold hammer forged barrels. This feature ensures longer barrel life and easier bore cleaning, while producing a better gas seal behind the bullet for increased muzzle velocity.


  • Caliber: .40 S&W, .357 SIG 9 mm x 19
  • Operating Principle: Short recoil
  • Action Type: Browning type, linkless
  • Sights: Three dot, fixed patridge drift adjustable.
  • Total Length: 173 mm (6.81 in.)
  • Barrel Length: 93 mm (3.66 in.)
  • Barrel Profile: six-sided polygonal
  • Sight Radius: 142mm(5.59in.)
  • Twist Length: 250 mm (9.84 in.)
  • Overall Height (with magazine inserted): 138 mm
  • Overall Width: 34 mm (1.34 in.)
  • Weight (with empty magazine): 765 grams (27 oz.)
  • Weight of empty magazine: 85 grams (3 oz.)
  • Magazine Capacity: 10 (for pistol reviewed)
  • Safety Features: (1) Double-action mode with hammer intercept notch, (2) Firing pin

block, (3) Drop safety, (5) Lock-out device

The H&K P2000 is a credible handgun that can be configured to fit a wide variety of hand sizes. Among the world’s polymer frame semi-autos, it is a real winner.

EVOLUTION OF H&K pistols went from the P7M8, top, through USP Compact, center, to the P2000.