HK P30 Enhancements

I have been carrying a 9mm HK P30 for my primary pistol for a while after having epic issues with my last newly purchased Glock 19. I have been very happy with the HK P30 with its out of the box performance. It is disturbingly reliable, has consistent and very positive extraction and ejection (even without a magazine), is more mechanically accurate than its more popular competitors, and actually doesn’t need anything done to carry as a working pistol. Mine is a V2 LEM that is the heavier of the LEM set-ups. It has the HK luminescent sights that are not tritium (due to a ban in Europe), but do work really well when simply hit with a light. I set my guns up with small back straps and side panels. The P30 is one of the most adaptable pistols made to tailor the grip to an individuals taste.

I spent a month “learning” the LEM trigger with all of the Variant 2 parts installed. I have other guns with the “Light” Variant 1 LEM parts and the only complaint is that the trigger reset is not very positive and a little “vague”. I ordered a new light Firing Pin Block Spring and a Light Hammer spring and installed them in my pistol with no issues. I left the heavy Trigger Return Spring in place (these are tough to change without some specialized tools). By leaving the Heavy TRS, I turned my gun into what is known as the TLG LEM, which is named for the set up preferred by firearms trainer Todd Green who has a significant amount of time on these guns. This allows for a lighter trigger but with a more positive reset from the V2 configuration.This is my favorite set up for this gun. Many others who have converted to the HK P30/HK 45 pistols with a LEM trigger favor this configuration as well.

I found running this gun that the LEM trigger takes some time to get used to. With that said, I also think this is the best trigger system out there for an issue trigger for typical law enforcement personnel. For those doing a lot of people management at gun-point versus straight up gun-fighting, I am of the opinion that having a good bit of initial take up is a good thing. With the LEM, it is very light in this stage, but tactile. I like this. It is not the hot ticket for pure shooting at speed compared with a tuned 1911 or modified Glock, but I have found that a light trigger with limited take up is not a good thing for those with typical minimal law enforcement firearms training.

On the other hand, typical DA/SA guns require a lot of work to run well and are tough for people with limited training time to master. I believe the LEM variant triggers strike a good balance. I was not initially a big fan of the LEM, but I have evolved in my opinion since I began working with them. I am still trying to maximize my trigger press with the LEM, but it is improving with every range session.

The other issue I noted with the stock P30 is the sights. The big luminescent 3 dots with their blocky configuration do not lend themselves well to maximizing the accuracy potential of the P30. I started with a configuration that I use on my HK .45’s with a 10-8 rear and stock front. This works well for me with the HK45, but the P30 seems to have a different front sight height and the “dot” was not centered in the U for my (poor) eyes. I solved this problem by setting my P30’s up with a 10-8 Performance HK Rear Sight and a Dawson Precision Tritium front. I find this to be ideal for me as far as sight picture. I have been able to shoot some very tight groups with these sights when my trigger finger cooperates. I sent my slide to Dawson for their expert installation of the front sight and their work is outstanding.

I have an additional pair of P30’s, both a standard and P30L as a dedicated light gun. These are essentially spares to the one I shoot, carry and beat the piss out of. My daily carry gun is a “do it all” pistol. With this in mind, I added a longer P30L barrel that has been threaded. I will eventually get a suppressor for this gun, but my main reason is to allow for a little more length if I run the gun with a Surefire X300 installed, plus I like the way it looks. It is a HUGE unnecessary expense for most, but I like it. I always prefer to run factory extended barrels for threading rather than aftermarket. It is just a fairly expensive way to go. In the case of the HK, you are getting a match quality barrel with the factory unit. Unlike the P30’s competitors in the service pistol market, they do not need a match barrel or various fixes to attain consistently tight mechanical groups. A good shooter can do stellar work with the P30 and HK45 series guns. Additionally, they do not need any kind of aftermarket extractors or internal parts. They are more expensive and harder to find parts for, but you also don’t have to really do anything to them. They run reliably right out of the box. I would like to see some of the “match” parts that are available for the USP series available for the newer guns, particularly an over-travel stop.

Overall, the P30 has exceeded all of my expectations. I never thought I would move away from the Glock for a service 9mm, but I have. I have always had great luck and outstanding performance from HK’s .45’s, and they have hit a home run with the entire line at this point. I have been a big critic of HK customer service over the years. This is one area they have also made gigantic strides in over the last few years. HK customer service has been great anytime I have called for various questions or needs. They are turning guns around sent in for changes or modifications in less than a day in some cases. If you are looking for a very reliable service pistol, the HK P30 should be a contender that is looked at seriously.

This entry was posted in Modern Service Pistols by Darryl Bolke. Bookmark the permalink.

About Darryl Bolke

Darryl Bolke is a retired SoCal police officer who spent 17 years assigned to SWAT as a firearms instructor and primary instructor on all firearm systems. Darryl also authored and created a program for L/E edged weapons use and issue knives for all officers, and assisted in the design of several knives. Darryl has worked several years on various private sector investigation and protection details, is a Pro Staffer for L/E with Aimpoint, and is the co-owner of Hardwired Tactical Shooting (HiTS).

23 thoughts on “HK P30 Enhancements

  1. Great article, I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been running a P30 for a year or so and your experience mirrors mine. While I still own and occasionally shoot Glocks, the P30 also became my primary due to some bad experiences with late production Gen 3 Glocks. The LEM trigger takes some getting use to but once I figured it out it works very well. My P30s have had zero problems after many thousands of rounds right and I like the P30s exposed hammer for reholstering.

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  3. DB,

    Solid account of how this evolution took place. It was very enlightening to be a part of that during our weekly training sessions and to see how well that HK worked and became extremely adaptable to the defined mission of the pistol. It was also disturbingly revealing about how badly the Glocks have gone over the cliff from a reliability standpoint. Obviously, the “Spawn of Satan” G19 is the stellar example of that!

  4. Watching Wayne work this gun on a B8 bullseye is one of those love/hate things. I love the fact that the pistol is really “THAT” accurate, I just hate that its that accuarte with someone else shooting it. On a positive note, I have been able to identify some issues that I need to work on with my trigger press because the gun shoots small consistent groups that really let you identify exactly what you are doing wrong. I have also been able to identify a new astigmatism/eye issue that cropped up recently due to the gun and sight capability.

  5. I’m in love with my P30 and P30L.

    Both of mine are the “S” variants, coming from a 1911 I find I still like the thumb safety. My P30 I run C&L, the P30L is a light LEM w/ Gray Guns trigger job, I just shot my best IDPA classifier score ever and made SSP Expert (although barely, but hey, it’s really frick’n cold here in Iowa) with the P30L having never shot the gun before. The Gray Guns trigger work is simply astounding.

    I can only echo my experiences with HK customer service, they’ve been more than helpful to me in the past.

    I wasn’t too keen on the stock sights as well, a 10-8 rear and Dawson front seem to be a workable combination for most, I prefer the Heinie Straight 8s but am awaiting Trijicon to release their HD sight for the HK45/P30 line to outfit my HK45.

    Release date for the HD sights should be 1st quarter 2013….should be, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

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  7. So, M&P has accuracy issues and you NEED an APEX kit. By the time you get a new barrel and the APEX parts, you are at the cost of a P30.

    Glock has crapped the bed trying to keep up with the Jones’ by modifying their mousetrap to the detriment of the shooter.

    So the P30S seems to be the way to go. I hear some complain about the trigger, but I just can’t see spending $300 to make it better. I just want a pistol out of the box that runs and is reasonably accurate. Am I on the right path with the P30S?

  8. I also have one of the very rare P30LS V1 LEM guns that HK brought 500 of into the country. It’s my bedside pistol with the mechanical safety left on and a Surefire X300. It is an outstanding out of the box pistol and I would get a P30 in the same configuration if I could. The biggest issue with the P30 vs. the HK45 series is that the P30 needs to be either ordered with a LEM trigger or with a DA/SA with a rear mounted de-cocker (that works great) set up with or without a safety. I shot HK DA/SA guns more than almost any other system for a lot of years. I am sort of used to the tough trigger, but they require work to shoot well. There are no free lunches. The HK’s are very reliable and accurate right out of the box, with a workable street trigger. That Trigger takes work and I haven’t seen any real street issues from the guys who have used them in shootings. With that said, for running range drills and “tests”, the trigger will hinder you. I made the decision with my P30 and HK45’s that the benefit of the whole package is greater to me than the ability to shoot it as well as a 1911 or Glock in various people’s “tests”. With the standards we use at Hardwired Tactical Shooting I run about 10% slower with the P30 than with a Glock and have found it is about 10% more accurate. I can live with the trade off.

    In regards to initially reliability with the P30’s. Basic fact, they require a break in with NATO standard ammunition. They are sprung for NATO spec ammo and will balk a little early if you try to break them in with weak generic 115 gr. ammunition. Many, including myself, will let them sit for a day or so with the slide locked open when they are new, and this seems to be a help.

  9. Tritium sights aren’t banned in Europe. It’s just that producing and dealing with products containing more than a certain (very small) amount of tritium requires licensing in Germany and most companies simply don’t bother, leaving the market to specialized dealers and foreign manufacturers.

  10. I love the P30. The MAJOR downfall is not the price. It is the lack of quality holsters, in particular holsters for the P30 with a light attached that is the major thing that kills the P30s popularity as a service pistol.

  11. Great gun, great post… P30 and P30L LEM with the TLG “light spring combo” action on the most list.

  12. I just found these site from TG’s link. I would be greatly interested in hearing about your epic failure (s) with a G19. We have ran into a number of recent failures/malfs with the G22 (issued) but none with 17/19. I have carried a G21 since they have been produced with no problems but as a result of a hand injury (and because of the problems with the G22) I just ordered a G17 (gen 3) hoping that it will run. Thanks

  13. I got a FDE Gen.3 G-19 that ejects like a lawn sprinkler. It throws brass everywhere from 1:00 to 11:00, and often back into the face. If you shoot it without a magazine the gun would have malfunctions like I have never seen before. One of Glocks armorers at a GSSF match gave me a new extractor that wouldn’t even fit in the gun. Wayne and I call this gun the Spawn of Satan. It became a beta test gun for the APEX Extractor. Using the Apex and a new ejector, it is starting to perform like it should, but I am still leery. Glock knows there are issues with their newer guns, and haven’t done a thing to deal with it other than blaming “limp wristing”. My biggest issue is that Glock has to know that the extraction and ejection portion of the cycle of operation were never the Glock strong point. For them to start using MIM extractors and have tolerances in play that are stacking on top of each other that is affecting proper ejection is an unacceptable situation. I have lots of Glocks that work. I will just keep them for teaching guns, but I am sold on the positives of the P30 for me for the stage in life where I am at. I am also very happy with the HK45/45C in a .45 platform and the P2000Sk is a great performer in a sub-compact.

    In regards to the response about Tritium in Europe…Thanks for the clarification.

  14. Thanks for the info- The HK is not approved for us so I will let you know how the G17 goes. Great site BTW.

  15. Do you feel the positives of the P30 outweight the lack of light compatible duty holsters?

  16. Like anything, popularity drives the market. I am hoping to see more light compatible duty rigs in the future. Currently, there are some outstanding light compatible kydex rigs being made by Raven Concealment for the P30 and other makers as well.

  17. I have one HK P30L. Is there any company that offers improved weapon accessories such as company APEX ? I want to shrink more recoil and trigger stroke

  18. There are no drop in parts that I am aware of for reducing the trigger reach. Gray Guns does an exceptional trigger job on these guns that will smooth out the trigger and shorten the reset. My article on Gray Guns on this site has more details. There is a wait, and it is expensive, but the work is top notch and the trigger work will not degrade over time. There are people doing trigger work, but most of it causes reliability issues. As far as limiting recoil, that is going to be a grip and stance issue. There are companies cutting comps into them, but I wouldn’t waste the money on this much cutting on a service pistol.

  19. I have the P30S V3 .40 S&W, I would like to change the springs to the TLG LEM set up & remove the safety levers, but I would like to keep the rear decocker and spurred hammer is this possible and what parts beside the light Firing Pin Block Spring, Light Hammer spring and hammer axel would I need to get in order to do this? I am just a civilian but I use this as a CCW sometimes so I would like to have the lighter trigger pull, I also want to have the same spring setup on my HK45 as well.

    • I am not sure what you are looking to gain by leaving the lever. The reality is that unlike the HK45 series guns, the P30’s are different between the LEM guns and the ones with a de-cocker. HK doesn’t recommend making LEM guns out of the V3’s. It can be done but leaves a gap where the De-cocker would go. I just read that you can leave the de-cocker and by hitting it would revert the system back to a DA first round, but I really do not see what the benefit is of this. I do have a couple of HK 45’s and a P30 that have manual safeties combined with light LEM’s. I like the safety for some applications, and especially for administrative manipulations. There is a new short take up set up for the P30’s that I will be getting for the P30LS that I think will be a nice set up for the times I want to run a pistol with a safety.

      A couple options would be to contact Gray Guns or Robar on your pistol as they can do this kind of work. HK Pro Forum is also good for a reference on how to do these conversions if you are going to be doing it yourself.

      • Darryl,

        Thank you for your feedback, to make it simpler would I be able to just switch the springs and leave everything else the way it is? The biggest thing I want is a lighter trigger pull having the safety lever left on is no big deal. Is there anything different between the v3 and LEM that would prevent me from putting in the light hammer spring and light Firing Pin Block Spring?

        • Some people are putting lighter hammer springs in their V3’s, but you can get to the point of having light primer strikes. The best recommendation I could give is to either just convert the whole thing to a Light or TLG LEM gun and keep all the old parts in case you want to put it back to stock to sell it, or what I would recommend is to maybe sell the gun to someone who wants one like yours, and buy a LEM P30. I used to run DA/SA guns almost exclusively. The arthritis in my hands has forced me away from these, so I was also looking for a lighter trigger weight. The LEM gives me a very similar function to a DA/SA, but without the weight. You will need to give yourself some time on the trigger to get used to it.
          I am now shooting mine as good as I was a Glock and its more accurate. I just ran the best performance I ever have on one of the signature tests that we run at out training company and I did it with a LEM P30 (same one in the picture, but with a regular barrel installed).

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