P30 Thursday: Week Twenty-Five

29-Oct-09 – 20:32 by ToddG

50,002 rounds
9 stoppages, 0 malfunctions, 3 parts breakages

Done! The magic number was reached while attending a Ken Hackathorn class in Marietta, OH. Ken even did the honors firing the 50,000th round:


The other students in the class, as well as some of the local shooters, all pitched in to put an astounding 2,055 rounds through the gun in just two days. Without their help, the test would never have finished so early. The weekend was not without incident, sadly, and the gun had an extraction failure during a 500 round rapid fire shoot over the course of a 30 minute “break” in the class. More on that later…

The pistol has was sent back to Heckler & Koch’s customer service center in Columbus, Georgia for an inspection. They made three determinations:

  1. The firing pin spring was broken. Even though the spring was broken, the gun continued to fire properly. I had noticed that the gun seemed to be making shallower than normal indents on the primers, but it never failed to fire.
  2. The extractor and the extractor groove were extremely dirty. Combined with a 50,000-round old extractor spring, this was causing the extractor to claw the cartridge rim with less strength than usual. Ergo, the extraction failure experienced during the class.
  3. The pistol is otherwise in perfectly fine condition.

Which is very good news, because as soon as the pistol gets back here on Monday, we’re going for 75,000 rounds before SHOT Show in January. Looks like I won’t be going anywhere for the holidays except the range.

Heckler & Koch is replacing all of the springs in the gun, giving it a thorough cleaning, and sending it straight back to me. So expect to see another report next Thursday, including a post-50k accuracy test.

So, what do I think of the gun? I think it’s fantastic… enough so that I begged HK to keep the test going, obviously. While I may not be able to pull splits quite as fast as I could with the M&P last year, the ergonomics of the pistol are second to none and allow anyone who picks it up to make good, fast hits with ease.

The ambidextrous paddle style magazine catch is a favorite of anyone who uses the gun for even a short while. It’s just… so… easy!

Because I carry in an appendix holster, the presence of an external hammer is a huge plus. Every time I holster the gun, my strong side thumb rides across the hammer and guarantees that I don’t inadvertently put a whole in my leg (or worse).

While the P30 definitely requires more skill and time to detail disassemble, the ridiculously long maintenance cycle — just once every 25,000 rounds! — makes that nearly meaningless. No other handgun manufacturer comes close to that. For 99% of the gun buyers in America, twenty-five thousand rounds is more than a lifetime. The P30, in essence, has zero cost of ownership once you’ve paid to take it home from the gun shop. Even the recoil spring goes 25,000 rounds!

The gun was definitely more reliable than the numbers reported at the top of each week’s post would suggest. The first seven stoppages were all caused by a bad hammer spring. Once that was fixed, the gun chugged along almost without fail for more than 40,000 rounds. Pretty good, especially for a pistol that was only cleaned every 5,000 rounds or so!

For those who like to see everything in digits and data…

Rounds fired:

  • Atlanta Arms & Ammo 115gr TMJ: 2,419
  • American Eagle 115gr FMJ: 39,673
  • American Eagle 124gr FMJ: 155
  • American Eagle 124gr TMJ Indoor: 1,951
  • CCI Blazer 115gr TMJ: 2,422
  • Federal 124gr Hydra-Shok: 250
  • Federal 124gr +p HST: 729
  • M882: 489
  • Pro Load 124gr +p FMJ: 200
  • Remington 115gr +p+ JHP: 498
  • Remington 124gr FMJ: 50
  • Speer 124gr +p Gold Dot: 384
  • Winchester White Box 115gr FMJ: 373
  • Winchester 124gr NATO FMJ: 409

Total days for the test: 178
Average rounds per day: 281

Total range trips: 85
Average rounds per trip:  588

Total hours at the range: 338.75
Average rounds per hour:  148

Number of times the gun was cleaned: 10

Number of parts replaced due to breakage: 3
(this includes the firing pin spring, even though it wasn’t discovered until after 50k)

Number of parts replaced due to scheduled maintenance: 5

Total number of stoppages: 9
(seven stoppages were attributed to an out-of-spec mainspring that was replaced within the first 10,000 rounds of the test; one was attributed to excessive debris in the extractor and extractor channel; one was an unidentified failure to eject)

Number of States the pistol was fired in: 11
Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin

Thanks again to Wayne Weber, Angela Harrell, Bob Schultz, Sam Bass, and Travis Teague of Heckler & Koch for their support and hard work on this project. Thanks also to:

  • Heinie Specialty Products for the sights
  • Rich at Custom Carry Concepts for supplying Looper holsters and BMC mag pouches for the test
  • the awesome folks at Atlanta Arms & Ammo who helped us with our ammunition supply during the “drought” earlier this year
  • all the great people at the NRA Range in Fairfax, Virginia for their patience and assistance over the past six months of the test
  • and the wishes-to-remain-anonymous reader who generously loaned pistol-training.com six of his P30 magazines while we waited for HK to receive their much anticipated shipment a while back 8)

See you again next Thursday!

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

Previous P30 Endurance Test posts at pistol-training.com:

  1. 18 Responses to “P30 Thursday: Week Twenty-Five”

  2. Todd,

    Well done. You and the gun.

    I’ll keep tuning into to what happens next.

    This is worse than a soap opera.


    By Timothy Slemp on Oct 29, 2009

  3. Too bad you couldn’t convince them to just replace the firing pin spring and give it the cleaning. I’d think they’d be interested to see how much farther you could push everything else before other parts start to break.

    By John H. on Oct 29, 2009

  4. Impressive! When were you in Montana? And which town?

    By Logan K on Oct 29, 2009

  5. how did “they” let you shoot in NY unless you have a ny permit or are a leo?

    By john on Oct 30, 2009

  6. You mentioned that Heinie was going to replace the sights. Has that happened yet or will it happen for the next 25k part of the test?

    By Jason on Oct 30, 2009

  7. Todd,
    Congratulations, and thank you for the providing such a tremendous resource and service. I am new to IDPA and idea of shooting as a competitive sport, don’t consider myself good by any measure. In fact I have made tremendous advances in my shooting ability through the use of the drills and articles.
    I have been shooting a G19 for 10 years and have no apprehension in speaking to the reliability of the weapon. This has served as my bench mark for which I have judged all others, this is the 1911 of my generation so to speak.
    I am now the proud owner of a P30 v3, and I absolutely love this weapon. After reading what felt like everything on the net and the respective reviews, I had to see what was really good for myself. I am impressed with the overall fit and finish and the comfort the P30 offers. Heckler and Koch have assembled a tremendous weapons system in the P30.

    Thanks for all the hard work. Job well done!

    By Walker on Oct 30, 2009

  8. Hey so what was the lube protocol by the end?

    What about mag and mag part reliability?

    By P30man on Oct 30, 2009

  9. Will the springs include replacing the guide rod?

    By P30man on Oct 30, 2009

  10. so now when the 50k mark is reached which do you like better the p30 or the m&p?and would your answer change if you didn’t carry aiwb.

    By JD on Oct 30, 2009

  11. why stop at 75k go for twice that, 150,000. Although I suspect you’ll be testing the first Gen4 Glock after SHOT. so 150,000 round test probably wouldn’t happen prior to SHOT.

    By Rob E on Oct 30, 2009

  12. John H — It’s never been our intention to run the gun into the ground. We’ve been following the recommended maintenance since the beginning, just like we did (or tried to do, when parts were available) for the M&P test last year. This isn’t a destructive test, it’s a test to see how well the gun will work and last for someone who does what they’re supposed to.

    Logan K — I taught a closed class for some local, state, and federal LEOs in Glasgow this past May.

    john — I was teaching a class at the US Military Academy (West Point), I had an invitation from the military to travel into NY with my firearms.

    Jason — We’re still waiting for the replacement Heinie sights. No definitive word on them.

    P30man — The mags ran well. I replaced some of the mag springs during the test, that was about it. It’s harder to track because some of the mags were in use from the beginning and others got added to the supply during the course of the test. When the recoil spring was replaced at 25k and again now at 50k, the entire recoil guide rod assembly was replaced.

    JD — I don’t know that I could say I prefer one over the other. Each has benefits. It really comes down to whether you’re looking for a striker-fired or hammer-fired gun. They’re both very good guns, and I wouldn’t hesitate to use either of them.

    Rob E — We’re going to take things one step at a time. Right now, we’re looking at SHOT. What happens after then will depend on HK, pistol-training.com, and the gun.

    By ToddG on Oct 30, 2009

  13. Congrats on a ‘job’ (Is this actually considered work?) well done!

    By G34Shooter on Oct 30, 2009

  14. Congratulations to you and H&K! I can’t wait to pick up a P30…maybe this weekend!

    By MW on Oct 30, 2009

  15. Same here, can’t wait to get a P30 myself.

    Well done, Todd

    By AdamG on Oct 30, 2009

  16. I love paddle mag releases. I wish they were more common. I think they are far superior to any button style release. So many more options.

    By Ariel Weisberg on Oct 30, 2009

  17. Todd,
    What parts where replaced during scheduled maintenance? And how many rounds between scheduled maintenance?

    I am willing to sacrifice and go to the range for you so you can enjoy your holidays.

    By Regularguy on Oct 31, 2009

  18. I’m not surprised that it ran this long, and I’m sure it’ll go twice as long as it has. I would like HK a lot better if they’d give up the state-of-the-art 1985 firing system and DA/SA trigger system and develop a striker fired one. Until then, they’re really expensive, old technology guns, albeit very accurate, very durable guns.

    By Haji on Oct 31, 2009

  19. Regularguy — The maintenance cycle is 25,000 rounds. For details on what was changed at 25k, see Week Fourteen. At 50k, all springs and the mag followers were replaced.

    By ToddG on Nov 1, 2009

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