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Meet the Heckler & Koch P9S: The Gun the Navy SEALS Loved

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Charlie Gao


We explain why.

Meet the Heckler & Koch P9S: The Gun the Navy SEALS Loved

Like many German pistols before, it used blowback action, 9x19mm Parabellum caliber, and a single-stack magazine with a heel release. But it paired this with an unorthodox roller-delay mechanism, internal hammer system, and extensive use of polymer.

The resulting pistol didn’t see widespread adoption, but it was successful in niche roles and is considered to be very accurate. What drove H&K to make such an idiosyncratic pistol? What parts of its design can be seen in H&K’s handguns today?

In the 1960s, H&K had a series of successful weapons that used the Vorgrimler roller-delayed action. The G3 and MP5 are the most famous of these, seeing wide service with German military and police forces. But back then H&K didn’t really have a pistol to offer with their rifles.

H&K commenced the development of two pistols in the 1960s to fill the gap in their product line. The first to enter production was the HK4, a simple blowback pistol that could be converted between four small calibers. The second was the P9/P9S.

Since the P9/P9S was chambered in 9x19mm Parabellum, the pistol would need a locked or delayed action of some sort to have a reasonable slide mass. H&K’s Herbert Meidel, the chief technical designer of the P9/P9S decided to stick with what H&K knew and installed a miniaturized roller locking mechanism in the P9/P9S.

In many ways, the system is the same as that on the full-size H&K........

© The National Interest