Most of “my circle” of friends in the firearms world knows that I am an unrepentant fan of HK firearms. I have been a dedicated user of Heckler & Koch service pistols for over 25 years. While I love 1911 pistols and big bore revolvers with all my heart, I am most often found carrying an HK pistol of one variety or another. In the world of HK the names of the premier HK gunsmith’s is a short list………with one name-Bruce Gray. Others can work on them, but only one that I know of has been synonymous with high-end gunsmithing on them (especially with the P7 series) is Bruce Gray. I remember coveting a long slide P7M13 back in the late 80’s when they graced the HK catalogs. It has taken a lot of years, but finally in December I secured not one, but two Gray Guns, Inc. HK pistols.
The guns I got are two of my favorite pistols. One is a HK P7M8 and the other is a HK45C. These guns are generations away from each other and totally different. One is a all forged steel pistol that was one of the most innovative and unique pistols ever made and was very cutting edge in the 80’s, while the other is an up to date polymer framed wonder that is currently in use with one of America’s premier special operations units. This is what makes the Gray Guns work unique in that two radically different guns with radically different actions can be tuned to perfection at the same place.
First up is the P7M8. This came to me via a friend who every time we find ourselves in a home repair crisis we sell the other one a P7. We have had several guns go back and forth so we keep them in the family. This gun is my favorite variety of P7M8, an IE date code Chantilly, VA. Import. It was sent to Bruce for a total rebuild and refinishing. It is now a stellar carry gun. First and most obvious is a Novak rear sight has been expertly machined into the slide along with a custom made narrow serrated front sight. An action job has been done and an internal trigger stop built. The internals are coated in Nickel Polytetrafluoroethylene and the external parts and magazines in Superblack. While appearances are subjective, this thing is simply very black and very sexy (note for the record-nothing with a polymer frame can be defined as sexy as they have no soul)
The HK45C is a light LEM variant. It has a duty/carry action job and a short reset trigger. HK’s newer polymer framed service pistols have never been known for their “great triggers”. Even the “Match” triggers are work compared to the short take up and short reset triggers found in many other modern service pistols, and of course the easy to use 1911 trigger. A longer take up in the trigger is something I actually consider a positive for a “people management” gun, but a long take up combined with a long reset along with being fairly heavy makes accurate shooting at speed a good deal of work. I have come to like the lighter LEM triggers as my favorite “street” trigger for a L/E gun, but there is no need for a longer reset. The most noticeable thing about the GGI trigger work in my HK45C is a greatly improved trigger without losing the benefits of the LEM’s long, but light initial take up. The internal parts are also all plated in Nickel Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). This is important because unlike many other “trigger jobs” that are being done, the Gray Guns trigger work has a well established reputation for staying the way the are set up and not having later reliability issues or problems as the altered parts begin to wear with use. I swapped a 10-8 rear sight for the factory Meprolight rear, and the rest of the pistol is factory.
My initial trip to the range was a real joy. I need to spend some quality time with the P7 to really get used to running one again. I could shoot it well, but one test proved to me that there is a ton of potential in this gun. While working a B8 bull stapled to a typical silhouette resulted in easy and rapid hits to the bull and head, the real eye opener came at the end of the day. Working at 7 yards on an 8-inch plate from the ready I was getting easy .43 to .44 hits. This may be slow for many, but considering I hadn’t been shooting in almost two months and a long time since I worked a P7, I was pleased beyond words. This is where the P7 is a great gun. I have always found them to be easy to get hits with at speed if I don’t really think about it. The HK P7’s are very intuitive pistols to run. I also had a good time with the HK45C. The trigger made stacking rounds on top of each other fairly easy. I shot it good, but my bubble was burst when I handed it off to my business partner Wayne Dobbs. Most people who know Wayne know that he is a very gifted shooter. I should know better than to hand him my new “neat gun” with three loaded magazines. Wayne simply stood about 8 yards away and dumped 25 rounds into the X-ring of a B8 target at a fairly rapid pace. Not 25 10’s, but 25 X’s…I took it away and asked him to kindly wipe the gigantic grin off his face. Simply put, the Gray Guns trigger will help a good shooter be more consistent, and allow a great shooter to do the Lord’s work.
I have never sent a gun to Gray Guns in the past due to the expense of their work and the wait time. This is going to change as I have a pair of P30’s that will be making the trip next. I have found that the money and wait are well worth the quality of the delivered product. I will still continue to hope that one day I can pony up and get one of Bruce’s long slide P7’s.