Larry Vickers & Ken Hackathorn Interview: The HK45

14-Jan-11 – 12:34 by ToddG

More anticipated than the Verizon iPhone or the 10 billionth App Store download, pistol-training.com is proud to announce (finally):

Learn about the true history behind the HK45 from the two men who brought the idea to life, from the earlier HK 1911 project to the HK45′s design parameters and prototypes … and read about their impression of the gun as it exists today.

You’ll also hear from two of the world’s foremost 1911 aficionados when they answer this question:”How would you compare the HK45 to a top-quality custom 1911?”

If their answers surprise you, you haven’t been paying attention.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

  1. 29 Responses to “Larry Vickers & Ken Hackathorn Interview: The HK45”

  2. It was very enlightening to read that (much anticipated on my end) interview. I think excerpts of it will be referred to in lots of places for a long time to come.

    By TCinVA on Jan 14, 2011

  3. The SEALs adopted the HK45c?!? I need one ASAP!!! ;)

    Seriously, it’s pretty cool to see this kind of article on here. I’m sure you guys could have made a few bucks selling it to some rag or other, and it’s nice to see how not full of yourselves you are. I plan to sign up for 3-day classes from each of you as soon as the FT&T crew gives me permission…

    By MDS on Jan 14, 2011

  4. The more I hear about it the more I want to try an LEM H&K. May have to rethink my choice in 9MM when the time comes.

    By rsa-otc on Jan 14, 2011

  5. Wow, really good interview!

    By pennzoil on Jan 14, 2011

  6. Great interview Todd. I’ve been waiting with baited breath to read this one. It’s very interesting to hear from Larry and Ken that the cocked and locked 1911 is a thing of the past from a logistics standpoint. Though we still use them in service, if we put them through the paces that these two have in the past, I fully understand how we would be having issues. You have proven that these series of HKs can go the distance so maybe it’s time to shake them down myself. Thanks for an extremely informative and interesting test.

    By Steve K on Jan 14, 2011

  7. Todd, thanks for posting this interview. Great insights.

    By JSGlock34 on Jan 14, 2011

  8. A quick note to those who are diehard fans of the 1911:

    If you find that you are thoroughly disconcerted by anything said by Ken or Larry in the interview, rest assured that YOU are the one who is wrong. Not the guy with the American Pistolsmith’s Guild Award or the guy who has been teaching the 1911 since before Gunsite opened it’s doors.

    Let’s be sensible about this.

    By TCinVA on Jan 14, 2011

  9. I heard LAV state at a recent class that the 1911 at this point should be relegated to the same category as Cowboy Action guns.

    Of course I finally bought one, but only because I need one for reference. I am under no illusions nor will I carry one day to day.

    By Jay Cunningham on Jan 14, 2011

  10. Great interview ,I agree 100% with both LAV and Ken this is the must have weapon system for any serious shooter or collector.I have the full size and am looking to get the compact.A+ to HK on these fine weapons.

    By charles grumbling on Jan 14, 2011

  11. Good interview and my favorite part is the bluntness they both deliver on where HK screwed up. Why companies ask for help from people like this (or Todd, or Ernest) only to have some meddling fool stick his nose and ignore their recommendations I’ll never understand.

    By Rob E on Jan 15, 2011

  12. I finally shot a HK45 today, and I’ve gotta say, it’s a heck of a handgun. Even with my meager skills I can’t shoot a 3″ group at 25 yards with it and keep all my shots in an 8″ circle at 10 yards with double-taps (0.2 splits or so).

    I’m seriously in love with this thing, I now just need to make the money to support buying and shooting one in addition to my P30. :D

    By Jeremy P on Jan 15, 2011

  13. Er, make that “…I can shoot a 3″ group at 25 yards”.

    Stupid brain fart.

    By Jeremy P on Jan 15, 2011

  14. Thanks Todd, These two are the real deal and we are wise to head their advice.

    By chrisk on Jan 15, 2011

  15. Great read Todd. Thanks.

    By KW on Jan 15, 2011

  16. Some of the comments from folks on various gun forums have been hilariously pathetic. My favorites are the ones about Ken & Larry being ‘paid’ by HK to say good things about the HK45. Not only are neither of them currently getting paid to consult with HK, neither of them even got so much as a free HK45 when the things came out! (which is pretty sad on HK’s part in my opinion)

    Folks who think either Ken or Larry would endorse something for money when they don’t honestly believe in it, or who think Ken or Larry would tell someone to carry a gun “in harm’s way” when they didn’t honestly believe in it, are welcome to say so to Ken or Larry’s face.

    I’ll sell tickets.

    By ToddG on Jan 15, 2011

  17. I think the HK45 is an amazing .45. If I was carrying a .45 handgun into a nightmare this is the one.

    By Greg Bell on Jan 15, 2011

  18. put me down for one of those tickets Todd. Now if HK paid for the positive comments, who paid for the negative ones? SIG, Beretta or S&W? lol

    By Rob Engh on Jan 15, 2011

  19. “Some of the comments from folks on various gun forums have been hilariously pathetic.”

    I was just reading a thread about it on “The High Road.” They should change the name of that website to “The Idiot Road.” I’ve never seen so many foolish comments.

    By F-Trooper05 on Jan 15, 2011

  20. Heck, I carry a 1911, and I certainly didn’t see anything to disagree with.

    (Although I’ll note that most mass-market 1911s sold, like most ARs sold, are “hobby guns” and will never get worked hard enough to expose their weaknesses…)

    By Tam on Jan 16, 2011

  21. …and, of course, most HK’s sold with the “Hostile Environment Finish” will never be exposed to an environment more hostile than carrying it from the trunk of the car to the front door of the indoor range. :D

    By Tam on Jan 16, 2011

  22. Todd—thank you very much for the transcription.

    LAV and Ken–Thank you both for the interview. Extremely insightful.

    I have over 25000 rounds through the “Heavy” LEM and zero through the “light” version. Gotta find one to rent or try out.

    Thanks again!!!!!!!!!!

    By Bill Lance on Jan 16, 2011

  23. Bill -

    The difference between the light and heavy setup is three springs, with 90% of the difference made by swapping in a standard non-LEM mainspring. It takes all of 30 seconds with a punch to swap a mainspring, so depending on what rentals cost in your area, it might be cheaper just to buy the spring and try it out.

    Amusingly, this is the first Google result for “HK LEM mainspring”:

    http://hkpro.com/forum/showthread.php?125671-LEM-V2-to-V-Todd-Green-Special

    It also covers replacing the firing pin blocking spring to lighten things up a hair more, which would give you the same combo Todd runs on the HK45.

    By commandar on Jan 16, 2011

  24. I’ve wanted an HK45 since Todd’s endurance test was coming to a close. This just further solidifies that want.

    By Tim on Jan 17, 2011

  25. Todd – I was discussing the interview with some friends today and we realized that the Mark 23 never came up. We were curious if Mr. Vickers or Mr. Hackathorn reflected on that earlier collaboration between SOCOM and HK – and any lessons learned?

    By JSGlock34 on Jan 18, 2011

  26. Great interview, I haven’t read any of the drama on the other forums about it yet, but I am sure I will. As a diehard 1911 fan (even used one in the AFHF class) I did not read anything in that interview that surprised me or that I really disagreed with.

    By Corey on Jan 20, 2011

  27. JSG — The Mk23 didn’t come up. The USP45 Compact project Larry mentions in the beginning was a response to the Mk23′s unruly size.

    Corey — “As a diehard 1911 fan (even used one in the AFHF class) I did not read anything in that interview that surprised me or that I really disagreed with.

    That’s because you’re rational and have reading comprehension skills. The moron chest-thumpers running around pretending that Larry & Ken somehow denounced the 1911 — or my personal favorite, the guys who say things like “those two have clearly never used a quality 1911 like my Rock Island/Taurus/etc.” — are too emotionally invested to read what was actually said.

    By ToddG on Jan 20, 2011

  28. That was a great interview. I appreciate it when these two industry experts provide people with so much information about their involvement with the HK45. I also appreciate how honest Larry and Ken are when discussing all the aspects of the HK45, and their opinions on the potential of the HK45 in competent hands.

    I kind of laughed after reading the interview because I anticipate all the stupid comments, which will no doubt be posted on forums and YouTube :D.

    By Magnus on Jan 21, 2011

  29. It’s nice to read the same comments from LAV and KH that I have been saying here for some time: ;-)

    Regarding the mag release and trigger guard:
    “The Compact is closer to the true form of what we envisioned than the full size gun.”

    Regarding trigger philosophy:
    “but what we’ve seen since then is that candidly, the way to go with the gun today is with the light LEM trigger.”

    “The two areas where they still have issues is they don’t understand a good trigger pull . . .”

    Nice to know they read my comments on the boards or that “great minds” think alike. :-)

    By P30man on Jan 23, 2011

  30. Interesting read. I’m not a serious enough shooter to abandon my 1911s for something more robust. I have the luxury to maintain them and I love too many aspects of them to think about changing. However, I also see how the HK45 fills a niche for heavy users, and I like what I see.

    The only statement in the interview that I would take issue with is: “The whole cocked and locked thing, as we know now in hindsight, it’s time has come and gone.” The implication is that we now have so many systems for firing weapons that give consistent, short trigger pulls, that cocked and locked is outdated. I disagree with this. Based upon nothing else than my experience at the range (when I let others shoot my gun and even show them how the thumb safety works) I believe that carrying in condition 1 gives me insurance should I ever loose control of my gun. We’ve probably all heard anecdotal stories to this effect too, and I’m inclined to believe them.

    Nice interview. Thanks for posting.

    By DavidR on Feb 17, 2011

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