Following the international firearms formula of chopping down popular models to make compact models, H&K has executed this formula flawlessly to create a premium small, concealable H&K P30SK from the legacy P30.
Back when I reviewed the P30L with a 4.4-inch barrel, I believed then that it was one of the finest and most refined defensive pistols on the market. Almost two years, thousands of rounds and hundreds of carry hours haven’t changed my mind. The P30 platform is like the BMW 7 series I get to carry every day with all that glorious German refinement and exclusivity.
Part of that exclusivity is obviously the price. At around $750 over the counter, the night-sight-equipped version of the H&K P30SK isn’t within every customer’s reach. After all, price-conscious shooters can find used Glock 26 pistols for $400 or new versions for $500.
How Does It Feel?
The P30 series has been an enormous success for H&K and is seen as a solid, reliable pistol that delivers H&K’s innovative features in a design that’s not too radical compared to other handguns. H&K has been careful to offer a design that’s just cool enough to be unique, but not so unique it ventures into weird.
H&K pistols are kind of like BMW automobiles: Once your butt hits the seat, you’re sold. When you see an H&K on the showroom floor, you think “that’s odd,” because it looks different. And then you put it in your hand and think: “My [significant other] is going to kill me when I bring this home.”
The reality is that the H&K P30 series elegantly delivers a full complement of features in a highly refined manner that you don’t notice until you start looking. Now the subcompact concealable 10+1 round P30SK size makes it just as easy to carry as a standard Glock 26 but slightly taller and with a bit more grip to hold onto.
The fit and finish are excellent, as you would expect. The molding is well defined and precise around all areas of the pistol. As with all the other 9mm P30 pistols, you can still share all accessories, holsters and full-capacity P30/VP30 15-round magazines with this smaller P30SK.
The H&K P30SK is infinitely more comfortable for me than, well, any other subcompact pistol. People bantered that the comfort of a defensive pistol is secondary as long as it’s not uncomfortable, however, this is a different type of purchase.
For a retail price tag about 40 percent higher than most similar full-sized 9mm pistols, you expect refinement — and that is exactly what the H&K P30SK delivers.
If you need an even more comfortable grip, use any of the three sets of small, medium and large back straps and grips to tune the grip to your hand shape. I spent the better part of an hour playing Gun Barbies with the grips and settled on the medium side panels and small back strap. From a car perspective, I suppose this would be the equivalent to playing around with the seat height, angle and lumbar support on supple leather seats of a BMW 7-Series.
The result is that the P30SK locks in and feels incredibly secure — more like a larger compact-sized pistol even with the pinky dangling. Although the P30SK has a higher bore line than a Glock, it felt softer shooting — likely due to the great grip.
Beyond sheer durability and style of the P30 model line, one notable feature is the H&K paddle magazine release. The rationale for this release is that it greatly reduces the likelihood of a loose magazine pistol failure caused by the mag release button being accidentally hit in the holster or during the draw stroke.
I’ve had this happen during training but never with the HK pistols. After many hours on the range with the P30L, VP9 and this P30SK, I feel the paddle release is actually faster than a standard release because your trigger finger can drop the magazine without a hand reposition while you reach for the mag. But it does require some muscle memory retraining. The P30SK delivers fully ambidextrous magazine and slide releases and a serrated decocking button located on the rear of the frame.
If the more HK-ish refinements do not sell you, maybe the little nuances will. H&K designed the extractor to serve as a loaded chamber indicator, and the P30SK features luminous (non-radioactive) tubes housed within beefy steel front and rear night sights, which glowed all night on my nightstand. The Picatinny rail for mounting lasers and tactical flashlights is small but accepts most tactical lights.
All these cool features aside, the biggest plus for me is the double-action and single-action capabilities of the pistol. To me this gun is just an 11-round revolver that automatically cocks itself after the first round, and I love this feel just as much as a great striker-fired gun.
There is a lot to be said for the safety of a first-round heavier trigger pull that transitions to a lighter single-action trigger for follow-up shots. Obviously, if you have the time to cock the hammer first, you are treated to a lightened single-action trigger pull, which does increase first-shot accuracy. H&K offers six versions of the P30SK, which include Double Action Only and Safety Lever variants and the Single Action/Double Action version I tested with night sights.
I loathe safeties on pistols and applaud H&K for offering a safety-free model with the decocker moved to the back of the pistol — a small detail, but another level of refinement you see on the H&K P30SK that makes operation safer, faster and more user friendly.
This is a defensive pistol, so it does have some trigger take-up and the trigger reset is long compared to some striker-fired pistols. Compared to the Walther PPQ or a Glock, the H&K P30SK trigger pull and rest is a little longer for the single stage, however, that is a feel you get with a double-action/single-action trigger pull that is similar to Sigs and S&W pistols.
For me, if there is a weak point on the pistol, the trigger would be it. But you can install the LEM 5.5-pound spring kit. I did this on my P30 and it made a noticeable difference. For a defensive trigger, it works, though I would like it to have been more refined.
How Does It Shoot?
Just like a Glock, I am confident I could use soft turds and dirt clods as bullets and this P30SK would feed perfectly. At the range it proved me right, even with real bullets and my reloads, which in some cases are close to turds themselves.
The H&K pistol barrels are hexagonally rifled to maximize accuracy, so cast bullets are not recommended due to potential leading issues. The pistol has excellent accuracy and is a bit better than my similar-sized Glock, Sig and Walther — easily delivering 1.5-inch groups at 25 yards off sandbag rests with defensive Hornady, Winchester and Federal rounds. The H&Ks have always excelled in the accuracy department.
The Bimmer Of Pistols
If we look at what defines premium, generally German brands are on the top of the list. In cars we have brands like BMW and in guns we have brands like H&K.
The fit and finish of the H&K P30SK are outstanding, as are the features packed into it. If you put one in your hand I am sure you will agree.
- Caliber: 9mm x 19
- Recoil-operated weapon with modified Browning locking system and recoil buffer system
- Overall length: 6.42 in
- Overall height: 4.57 in
- Overall width w/lever: 1.37 in
- Barrel length: 3.27 in
- Weight With magazine: 24 oz.
- Magazine capacity: 10
- Action: SA/DA
- Trigger travel: .25 inch (SA) < .55 inch (DA)