HK45 Endurance Test: Week Nineteen

17-Aug-10 – 09:31 by ToddG

26,334 rounds

0 stoppages 0 malfunctions 0 parts breakages

25,000 rounds… just a memory, now. Number 25,000 happened during this F.A.S.T. drill, shot cold first thing in the morning with my carry ammo (Winchester 230gr Ranger SXT) with all my gear exactly as I’d worn it for the ninety minute drive to the range. Sadly, I missed scoring a sub-5 run on this momentous occasion, primarily due to losing visual contact with the sight during the initial press out:

At 26,334, the lowest eleven guesses in the When Will It Stop? contest have already been passed by. There are a lot of guesses between 26,000 and 28,000 and something tells me they’re all going to be disappointed when the next report comes out, too.

The week’s practice involved a lot of great shooting and a lot of horrible shooting.

On Friday, I hit the range and worked almost exclusively on my draw… for over 1,000 rounds with my best being a 0.96 using the Garrity In-Victus and an untucked polo. I was pretty excited to pull some sub-second draws from concealed AIWB.

There were also 100 concealed draws to a 3×5 card, trying to get two hits in a 2.0 second par time. I managed to score 173 out of 200, with most of the misses happening because I was going too fast, not too slow. Another hundred rounds was spent on one shot concealed draws using a 6″ circle for a target and a 1.2 second par time. I hit 90 of those, with more late shots than misses.

Drawing and hitting an 8″ target five times at 7yd within a 1.8 second par time was also pretty consistent, with splits averaging around 0.17-0.18 for most runs.

Then Saturday came along, and I paid the price for shooting 1,090 rounds on Friday. I had blisters pop open during three different drills. Let me tell you, high round count days with a .45 are a lot harder on the hands than with a 9mm pistol.

Disasters for Saturday included, but were not limited to:

  • a personal all-time low of 245 on the Hackathorn Standards, including dropping seven points during the 5yd stages and a whopping nineteen at the 25yd line (which I usually shoot clean).
  • Of three F.A.S.T. runs, my first was a 5.17 clean (seen above in the video clip) and then the last two had multiple misses.
  • A 32.91 on Dave Sevigny’s Catch-22, which although I shot from concealment, it was much worse than it should have been thanks to a multitude of misses on the WHO stages.

It was just about the suckiest day I’ve had at the range since I finally figured which end of the big L-shaped thing the hard shiny metal thing flies out of. About the only high point was a pretty good Bill Drill at 1.98 seconds (1.08 draw from concealment, 0.17-0.18 splits):

YouTube Preview Image

Then two days later it was back to the range and all was right in the world, hitting 3×5 cards at 25yd and scoring three 5-zone hits on a reduced TransTar in 1.5 seconds from concealment. Of course, the difference was that unlike Saturday, I was all alone with no one to see how super awesome I was shooting.

So now that we are halfway through the test, both in terms of rounds and weeks, where do things stand?

The pistol is obviously performing perfectly. Going over 26,000 rounds without a single stoppage, especially given that the gun has only been cleaned three times, is nothing short of amazing. I’ve had some pretty reliable guns in the past, but this HK45 has set the bar so high it’s ridiculous. And who knows how much farther it will go?

Compared to the P30: The HK45 has definitely been more reliable and durable, at least on paper. In fairness to the P30, the only stoppages it had by this point were due to an out-of-spec mainspring whereas the HK45 came from the factory with the lighter mainspring already installed, and the only breakage was a trigger return spring (at about 19,000 rounds) whereas the trigger return spring on the HK45 is being replaced every 12,500 rounds. Still, the P30 came from the factory with an out-of-spec part that caused stoppages and the HK45 came from the factory clearly anointed by the Pope himself. The P30 also got cleaned and lubricated more often than this (very abused) HK45. You can’t pick up an HK45 without feeling how utterly over engineered and over built it is. To quote Larry Vickers, “It’s bomb proof.˜

I’m happy with my shooting performance as well. Spending this much dedicated time behind a .45 has retaught me a lot about some finer points of grip, recoil management, and sight tracking. It’s not uncommon for me to see 0.16 splits. Recoil on the gun is very easy to control, something many people comment on when trying it. The only sticking point has been the reloads. The width and length of the magazines — and the enormous floorplates, even after I shave them down — make them harder to index properly, which means either slowing down to avoid a mistake or a higher risk of fumbled reloads.

Compared to the P30: I still shoot the P30 better. While it has a longer reset, the P30 just seemed to shoot without any conscious thought or effort from me. My fastest splits on the HK45 are probably a couple hundredths faster than with the P30, but my consistent split times when running a comprehensive drill like the F.A.S.T. or shooting a match, were a couple hundredths faster in favor of the P30. If the reset of the P30 is a real sticking point for you, I got to shoot a Gray Guns modified P30 about a month ago while teaching in Seattle and let me tell you… the reset on that gun was a thing of art. Reloads on the P30 were faster, as well, due to the more manageable magazines.

Ergonomically, the HK45 ranks well for a high-capacity .45 Auto pistol. I’ve yet to find anyone whose hands were too small to operate the gun properly. The magazine release is fantastic and far outshines button-type designs (though it makes administrative reloads in the holster a little tricky). The mag release levers themselves are a bit sharp and could use some softening via emory board. The finger grooves on the front strap could disappear and I wouldn’t complain, either. Some folks have difficulty with the slide release interfering with their grip. While I don’t have that problem, I have had to modify my grip to avoid it and the lever instead digs into my hand pretty hard. A narrower lever would be preferable, in my opinion.

Compared to the P30: The P30 is still the most ergonomic gun on the market bar none. With twenty-seven different user configurable grip combinations, the gun feels like it was custom designed for every shooter. The slide release, magazine levers,and front strap finger grooves also seemed to be less of a problem, though in large part that is probably due to the P30’s lesser 9mm recoil.

As a carry gun, the HK45 is definitely big but not so big that it can’t be concealed if you are reasonable about clothing and holster. Even carried in an appendix IWB like I use, it’s wearable all day without discomfort. The size of the magazines makes them more of a challenge, but careful selection of concealment pouches keeps things doable. Ten plus one rounds of full power .45 ammunition is something a lot of people are willing to make compromises to keep on the belt.

Compared to the P30: The P30 is smaller and obviously easier to conceal. The magazines are also shorter and slimmer. While I can drive all day with the HK45 and not get sore, I could take the same trip with the P30 in the same type holster and never even realize I had a gun on. Personally, I prefer 15+1 rounds of 9mm to 10+1 of .45, too. But that’s just me, and a debate for another time (and someone else’s website, please).

Overall, the HK45 has really surprised me with its shootability and, obviously, flawless reliability. A year and a half ago when HK gave me the choice between the P30 and the HK45, I chose the P30 because I felt like the HK45 would cost me too much in shootability and would be impossible to CCW every day. Obviously, I was wrong.

We’re right on track to hit 50,000 by the end of the year!

This coming week, the HK45 will be at another Judgment Day class which means a whole slew of tests with results to report at the next update. See you then!

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

Previous HK45 Endurance Test posts at pistol-training.com:

  1. 19 Responses to “HK45 Endurance Test: Week Nineteen”

  2. Excellent write up and excellent videos. What’s with the elbow? Tendonitis?

    By gtmtnbiker98 on Aug 17, 2010

  3. Todd,

    What distance are you shooting on some of these drills? For example…

    “There were also 100 concealed draws to a 3×5 card, trying to get two hits in a 2.0 second par time.” and

    “Another hundred rounds was spent on one shot concealed draws using a 6? circle for a target and a 1.2 second par time.”

    Thanks

    By Barefoot Shooter on Aug 17, 2010

  4. gtmt — Just a precaution. My elbow first began bothering me in ’08 during the M&P9 test, and on the advice of my good friend Dr. NO I started wearing the brace while practicing. No problems since.

    Barefoot — Those were done at 7yd.

    By ToddG on Aug 17, 2010

  5. Only in my wildest dreams is your bad “disaster” day even close to my best day! (-:

    Great article and comparison on the two pistols. Thanks for writing it and sharing your practice work. I really enjoy reading about your times, etc. A great motivator!

    By Christian on Aug 17, 2010

  6. Todd,

    Man that was a SMOKING fast Bill drill!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    IIRC the best I’ve done is 2.2 so I have some work to do…

    By Prdator on Aug 17, 2010

  7. A question:
    Are you actually grabbing the bottom of your shirt with your left hand on the draw, or further up (maybe belt level or higher). Can’t tell due to the camera angle and your speed.
    Where ever it is, I’m hoping for some insight as to the ‘how and why’ of your left hand movement.
    Thanks, and I appreciate your last few blog posts. Very good stuff!

    By Mike on Aug 17, 2010

  8. Mike — I grab the bottom of the shirt. I find it gives me the greatest chance at a fumble-free draw.

    By ToddG on Aug 18, 2010

  9. Todd did you replace any parts at round count 25.000?

    By Irfan on Aug 18, 2010

  10. Hey Todd, nice shooting. Are you guaranteeing me that I will shoot like that after October? HaHa….

    You mentioned that you shot a Gray modified P30, was that the LEM version or conventional DA/SA?

    By JohnN on Aug 18, 2010

  11. any chance you could do a slow mo of your Bill Drill? your draw and pressout look text book dude.
    and what is he asking you at the end of the video?

    By Rob Engh on Aug 19, 2010

  12. Irfan — Due to some scheduling issues, the 25k maintenance parts won’t be here until next week. So the gun will be somewhere between 26k and 27k when it happens, and the parts replaced will be listed in this coming week’s report.

    JohnN — Yes, you will be able to shoot a sub-2 Bill Drill after class in October. Assuming you can shoot a sub-2.1 Bill Drill now. 8) The Gray Guns pistol was a DA/SA, but my understanding from talking to the owner is that the same reset reduction is possible with the LEM.

    Robbie — If you mean putting that video in slow motion, I can try to figure out a way to do it.

    At the end of the video, he’s asking if there are two shots in one of the bullet holes. The answer was yes.

    By ToddG on Aug 19, 2010

  13. Which trigger system do your prefer on the P30 and why do you prefer it?

    Good shooting!

    By Mike on Aug 19, 2010

  14. Rob — If you join the YouTube HTML5 Beta, you’ll be able to watch the Bill Drill video at different playback speeds. There will be a button on the player bar next to where it says HTML5 that you can click on to select either 2x, 1.5x, normal, 1/2, or 1/4 speed.

    By Tom on Aug 19, 2010

  15. Awesome, thanks Tom! Dude, I look awesome at 2x speed!

    Mike — I’m a big fan of the LEM. In particular, I set my guns up in what the folks at HKPRO.com have jokingly begun calling the “TGS” (Todd Green Special): LEM trigger return spring, non-LEM firing pin block spring, non-LEM mainspring. I also use the “match” sear spring, though I’m unsure that it really makes a noticeable difference.

    By ToddG on Aug 19, 2010

  16. hmm I went the the HTML5 site and enabled it, but still don’t see the option when I go the video link.
    sorry for the Hijack Todd

    By Rob Engh on Aug 20, 2010

  17. Todd,

    Any chance that once the HK45 test ends, PT.com can do a comparison chart between the three guns already tested?

    Info could include information like number of rounds fired when test ended, parts replaced due to shooter preference, maintenance, and parts failure, accuracy at the start and at the end of the test, best and worst FAST runs,etc.

    Might make for an interesting page on the site.

    By Padwan on Aug 22, 2010

  18. I never liked H&K pistols but the rifles I was a fan of. Then I picked up my first P7M8 and ever since I can’t say enough about H&K, I have several models and have the HK45C and now getting ready to purchase the head huncho the HK45. I love the line and performance can’t be beat. I don’t know of anyone who might be putting 50,000 rounds through any gun let alone one pistol. I have several pistols and use them here and there but I dought if I will ever reach the max on any pistol. It is nice to see quality is still being produced.

    By KOCH on Aug 23, 2010

  19. Hey Todd, I’m interested to know how Slipstream is working out for you?

    By Joe on Aug 26, 2010

  20. “over engineered” is not a complement.

    By bill on Sep 1, 2010

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