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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After not shooting a single round of anything since January, I was at the point where I was thinking about dropping $500 for 1000 rounds of 9mm.

Then I saw a P5 on Armslist.

Negotiated a semi-decent price and picked it up. I've always wanted a P5 and I figure the price on these things is only gonna go up--ammo will come down. I mean, that's a solid justification for a flagrant impulse buy, right?

It's dated 1984 with a crossed-out "BMI" marking (which is the German Ministry of the Interior, I think). It's in good shape overall, though it does have the requisite "furrow" in the feed ramp finish.

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I scrounged up 100 rounds of UMC and took it to the range today--along with its bitter rival, the Sig P6. As I'm sure just about anyone following this thread already knows, both guns competed against each other in the 1970s to earn German police contracts (along with the HK P7--which I'm confident I'll never own). So, of course, I figured it warranted a vague, unscientific, completely subjective comparison.

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Here goes...

I put 80-some rounds through the P5. Love the way it shot. Once I got my grip and my rhythm dialed in, it was fairly easy to keep shots at the same POI at 10 yards--even when shooting fairly fast. I also ran a mag through it at 25 yards, and mostly kept them in the head (except two on the upper neck). That's honestly decent for me, at 25y. Especially with stock bar-dot sights. The only issue I had was one FTFeed when loading from slide lock; the round actually nosed-up going into the chamber. No stoppages while actually shooting or when slingshoting. So, the wear on the feed ramp didn't seem to affect function... I tend to think the slide lock issue was probably due to weak recoil springs; didn't seem to be getting a lot of "oomph" from slide lock. I Also used one of the ProMag mags that came with the gun... it worked fine. Locked back.

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The P5s ergos suit me well. Perhaps better than the P6. The grip seemed to be a bit more hand-filling and the trigger reach was just right. The SA "wall" was easy find between shots and the gun responded well to a very firm, high grip. I felt completely in control of the pistol and it still felt accurate when I was shooting somewhat rapidly. Seems to have a bit less muzzle rise than the P6--but also a slightly sharper recoil impulse overall (the P5 is a bit lighter than the P6). The DA is okay. It's fairly heavy and it stacks... but... there's an overtravel stop. So the sights don't fishtail, even when you're mashing through the last bit of stacked trigger travel. I found it very useable and it shot to POA.

As for the P6... I've owned two, so I've shot them a fair amount. The one I've got now is a BKA-marked example, '82 dated--that's the Bundeskriminalamt, which is more or less the German equivalent of the FBI. Which is cool. I found the gun languishing in my LGS for $299 a few years back. It had some minor scuffs on the slide, but it literally didn't seem like it had been shot. It's still tight as a drum and there's hardly any wear on the rails.

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Anyway...

I tend to think the P6 is just as accurate as the P5; I put the first few rounds through same damn hole. Though, for me, shots tend to slip low-left more easily. I think that has a lot to do with the thinness of the grip. I have Hogue G10s on this one (which I honestly don't love--too thin, no contour) but I replaced the mainspring housing with the new-style setup (HUGE improvement to the DA pull) so the stock grips don't fit. Had to be a little more conscious with my grip pressure... and everything, really... to get shots to stay exactly on my POA. But I can't say I shot it poorly. Especially after 5 months. It's a very nice shooting gun--especially now that the DA pull is actually manageable.

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Overall, the P6 feels like a "tougher" piece of machinery. Maybe that's just because it's a little heavier and has a little less recoil. But the frame's finish, and overall construction, seems more robust. Plus, the Sig has a steel feed ramp. After 50,000 rounds... I'd put my money on the Sig. Not that I'll put half that through either of these. But, I feel like the P5 is a more intuitive shooter; like, "shootability" was more of a design consideration. The trigger reach is better. There's less muzzle rise. Less overtravel. It's a great shooting gun.
 

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Awesome write up.
I've had the P5/P6/P7 trio out for a few range days where each had its own lane.
The P6 is always the one that gets put away first, having another handgun take over in that lane.
My P6s both have the stock mainsprings.
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Awesome write up.
I've had the P5/P6/P7 trio out for a few range days where each had its own lane.
The P6 is always the one that gets put away first, having another handgun take over in that lane.
My P6s both have the stock mainsprings. View attachment 98866 View attachment 98867 View attachment 98868
Thanks, man! That is a hell of a collection.

I'll say the P5 was a bit more exciting to shoot. But that's maybe because it's new.

That said, I love my P6. Changing the mainspring setup was super easy and really improved the shootability. But to get it truly dialed in, I need to get the grip situation straightened out. Unfortunately, the Nills on the P225 extended the trigger reach a little too much. Might grab some Nills for the P5 at some point, though.
 

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Nice writeup and a fair evaluation of two excellent pistols. I've owned four P6 Sigs and still have two. I gave one to a son and sold one. The last one I bought is marked "Made in Germany" and came in a P225 box serial numbered to the gun from the factory. It's 99% and I haven't shot it. The other one that I kept shows wear but is an excellent shooter. I changed the main spring to a lighter one and improved the DA pull. It came to me for $325 but I've since put original grips on it. I don't care for the Pachmayr grips.

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks!

Yeah, I love the P6. And the mainspring change was definitely a very worthwhile change for mine. I guess I consider myself more of a “Sig” guy than anything; I’ve got 3 P239s, a P245 and a P220. I think I might shoot the .45s the best. But the P239s are my go-to carry guns, most of the time.

But I really dig this P5. I wish they weren’t so expensive. Not that Sigs are cheap, but P5s are on another level, price wise, right now.
 

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the HK P7--which I'm confident I'll never own
I gave up on getting a P7 too. Eventually I found a nice one. Just be patient.

That was a great review. My impression of these pistols is a little different than yours. I find the P225 to be more ergonomic with the P5 having the better trigger and being more accurate. One thing that surprised me about the P5 was how glassy smooth the slide operation is when greased. It feels like it's rolling on bearings. I do agree with you that the Sig is probably the more durable of the two.

My P5 is an '84 brother to yours and is the one at the top of the WaltherForums banner. I tend to switch back and forth between the OEM plastic grips and the wood ones from Grips4U.
 

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I've had the P5/P6/P7 trio out for a few range days where each had its own lane.
That's a great picture of your incredible collection. The only thing that would make it better would be to add a P88C, a PP, and maybe a P38.

How did you light that picture ? Lighting is my biggest photography weakness.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I gave up on getting a P7 too. Eventually I found a nice one. Just be patient.

That was a great review. My impression of these pistols is a little different than yours. I find the P225 to be more ergonomic with the P5 having the better trigger and being more accurate. One thing that surprised me about the P5 was how glassy smooth the slide operation is when greased. It feels like it's rolling on bearings. I do agree with you that the Sig is probably the more durable of the two.

My P5 is an '84 brother to yours and is the one at the top of the WaltherForums banner. I tend to switch back and forth between the OEM plastic grips and the wood ones from Grips4U.
Thank you, sir! And beautiful pistols. I love the grips4u grips. Definitely would be easier on the wallet than Nills.

Ergonomics are so subjective. I love the contour of the stock P225 grips. But they don’t offer much traction. The G10s are okay, but I feel like I don’t get a ton of lateral stability—needs a palm swell or something. Honestly, Nills on a P239 feel just about perfect to me. I’ve got em on my .357 Sig example. That thing is tack driver. Shoot it way better than the P229/.357 I had.

The P5 felt completely “inert” in my hands. Like it was totally locked in. I feel like that’s one reason it stayed so accurate even when shooting quickly. Definitely a great shooter.
 

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During the official use of the P5, P6 and P7, the P7 proved to be the most unsafe pistol. A quote translated into English from the article about the P7 in German Wikipedia:
"In Lower Saxony in the 1990s several people died due to incorrect operation. This was favored by a constructive property of the weapon: With the P7, a shot is released when the trigger and cocking handle are pressed at the same time; the weapon does not differentiate which lever should be pressed at first. This led to several accidents in stressful situations, when police officers reflexively not only pulled the cocking handle, but simultaneously pulled the trigger with their index finger, injuring and killing colleagues and suspects.
The German Weapons Journal reported on this in 1996 and published an article how to change the P7 so that the trigger is inoperative if it is pulled with the grip uncocked and after pulling the grip the trigger is only activated again after releasing it, such as after a shot. It is not known whether and how many weapons have been rebuilt accordingly. "
Own comment: The HK P7 has never been modified accordingly.
 

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That's a great picture of your incredible collection. The only thing that would make it better would be to add a P88C, a PP, and maybe a P38.

How did you light that picture ? Lighting is my biggest photography weakness.
The pic of the P5/P6/P7/P5 Lang was taken on the kitchen counter with all the inside lights off. Just the early morning light coming thru the windows from behind and to the rt of the camera. That was taken with an old Sony Cybershot 5MP.

The pic of the P7M13 target sights was taken in the spare bedroom, lights off, and one window blind opened about halfway. That was taken with my Motorola 48MP phone camera.

The last pic was also taken in the spare bedroom, all lights off, blinds closed, and the phone light on. Again with the Moto 48MP.
 
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"........??The only thing that would make it better would be to add a P88C, a PP, and maybe a P38."

I have the P88C. After purchase it was immediately put away in the "long term storage" safe. Being a 100% example, it almost never comes out........

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Here's another 100% gun in the "long term" safe......

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This pic was taken on the kitchen counter, it was dark outside, so it was taken with a single ceiling light in the adjacent room illuminated. The old Sony Cybershot 5MP.
 

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I have a P5 and like it but its overly wide combat sights make precision shooting somewhat problematic. Its low capacity does not turn my crank, too bad they never made a double stack magazine version of this pistol. I do like the single lever that both drops the slide and then with a second push drops the hammer.

I have a P228, P226, and P220. I hate them all. They feel like a brick in the hand and due to the fact that they are top heavy have more muzzle flip than guns with a lower bore axis ratio. The stamped sheet metal slides on these pistols do not make me swoon.

I used to own a P13 and it was a disaster. It overheated when only firing one magazine on a hot summer day due to its gas system which also gave me other problems. If I did not use a very fast burning powder like bullseye and instead substituted Unique which is slower burning the pistol started to self destruct with violent recoil due to the slide opening up before the bullet left the barrel. It was very heavy for its size. Its loud clickety clack squeeze cocker gave away ones position when undercover. It was about impossible to shoot good groups in slow fire due to its very heave squeeze cocker which fatigued the hand very quickly when attempting to fire it in slow fire. It had a very mushy trigger making it difficult to gauge just when the damn thing was going to fire. It broke its striker early on in the pistols life.
 

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too bad they never made a double stack magazine version of this pistol. I do like the single lever that both drops the slide and then with a second push drops the hammer.
That would be the Walther P88 (minus the heel mounted magazine release).

I have a P228, P226, and P220. I hate them all. They feel like a brick in the hand
That's my assessment also. I much prefer the slimmer P225.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I love the P220. And the P245. The .45 Sigs seem to have some kind of “X factor” when it comes to accuracy. But I agree the P5 handles extremely well. In some ways better than the comparably sized P225 & P239.
 

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.......... I used to own a P13 and it was a disaster. It overheated when only firing one magazine on a hot summer day due to its gas system which also gave me other problems. If I did not use a very fast burning powder like bullseye and instead substituted Unique which is slower burning the pistol started to self destruct with violent recoil due to the slide opening up before the bullet left the barrel. It was very heavy for its size. Its loud clickety clack squeeze cocker gave away ones position when undercover. It was about impossible to shoot good groups in slow fire due to its very heave squeeze cocker which fatigued the hand very quickly when attempting to fire it in slow fire. It had a very mushy trigger making it difficult to gauge just when the damn thing was going to fire. It broke its striker early on in the pistols life.
I've found it takes a four mag fast dump before my M13 becomes uncomfortable to hold.
It goes to the range with three mags, so this is a non-issue.

Ammo run thru my M13 (and every other 9mm owned) has been name brand factory 124gr/1200 fps (+P). The M13 has even had two boxes of Underwood 147gr generating over 450 ft/lbs muzzle energy.

The P7 line takes about 10 lbs of force to cock, but the lever then requires less then 2 lbs of force to hold it in the cocked position. This is less then the normal force of a person gripping a gun while ready to fire.
Over a dozen people (four being women) have fired my M13 at range days, and nobody has said they found it difficult to hold in the "ready to fire" state.

As for the decock noise. Pro Tip; While the cocking lever is engaged, a bit of upward pressure on the link exposed behind the trigger guard (before beginning to release the cocking lever) will have any P7 decocking without any sound. Once the lever begins to move, the upward pressure on the link can be removed. No need to push on the link through the entire cocking lever movement.

A frequent comment among those who fire my M13 is how accurate it is out beyond 10 yards for such a short slide length. Yet to see any broken parts on mine. 👍
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Nonetheless, the P7 is a weapon that, compared to other pistols, is more sensitive and, above all, much more dangerous for incorrect operation, see my post # 9 in this thread.
As I have already reported elsewhere, I also had to experience that personally. Thank goodness this incident ended without harming myself.
Hence my personal assessment of the P7: Never again!:devilish:
 

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Nonetheless, the P7 is a weapon that, compared to other pistols, is more sensitive and, above all, much more dangerous for incorrect operation, see my post # 9 in this thread.
As I have already reported elsewhere, I also had to experience that personally. Thank goodness this incident ended without harming myself.
Hence my personal assessment of the P7: Never again!:devilish:
I've only used the P7 as a range gun personally.

I've spoken with several NJSP and Parks Police officers who carried P7s in the '80s and '90s. They speak positively of their time carrying P7s. NJSP officers regularly presented P7s in the line of duty. Not may reports of negligent discharge I'm aware of.

Edit; Can anyone provided some links of info in US LEO negligent discharge of P7s. The NJ State Police, Utah State Police, and US Parks Police were the major agencies that utilized the HK P7s. There may be a few smaller agencies that also used the P7.

The NYPD issues with both hammer fire DA/SA and striker fired (Glock) firearms is well known, no need to post those issues.🙄

On the topic....

 
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