The Heckler & Koch P7M8 pistol, chambered in 9x19mm (9mm Luger or Parabellum), was at one time unsuccessfully marketed to the United States Department of Defense during the hunt for a replacement of the 1911 combat pistol in the early 1980s. One glance at the P7M8, and you can tell it certainly looks different than more well-known pistols. The slide and barrel sit much lower on the frame than, say, a Beretta 92 series or a Ruger P95 pistol.
Derived from the PSP, Heckler and Koch designated this particular P7 series as an M8 – carrying a total of 8 9x19mm Parabellum cartridges in a single stack magazine. There are other models varying in cartridge size and capacity – P7M10 and P7M13. While the PSP series had a European magazine release at the heal of the firearm, this model uses the American magazine release – maintaining the ambidextrous utility of this pistol.
In 1976, an H&K design pistol was submitted as part of a pistol trial for West Germany as they were choosing a new, high performance 9mm pistol. Although the design didn’t have a formal name yet, it would eventually be produced in 1979 as the H&K P7 pistol. While the P7 was considered a very successful pistol internationally, it really didn’t catch on the US. It was believed that the following 2 issues adversely impacted adoption in the US: