Review: HECKLER & KOCH SFP9 in 9 mm Luger

Besides the HK SFP9 SF (Special Forces) model reviewed here, Heckler & Koch has released another version, the SFP9 TR (Technical Regulation), which satisfies the strict requirements placed in German police force service pistols.

The trigger units and their characteristics are the main difference between the two versions. Identical in structure, the SFP9 SF has a trigger pull of around 2,400 grams, while the TR version is designed with 3,000 to 3,500 grams. The SF is predestined for use in sport owing to the lighter trigger weight, combined with a shorter trigger travel and reset of 6 mm / 3 mm instead of 11 mm / 5 mm. Possible categories include dynamic IPSC shooting in the Production Division.

Right-side view of the Heckler & Koch SFP9
Right-side view of the Heckler & Koch SFP9.
Heckler & Koch SFP9
Left-side view of the polymer frame service pistol with the designation HK SFP9 from the Black Forest region of Germany.

Heckler & Koch SFP9 – Features and Engineering

Heckler & Koch SFP9 in 9×19 mm 
The Heckler & Koch SFP9 service pistol in 9×19 with polymer frame with preset single action firing pin block.
Stripped HK SFP9
The Heckler & Koch SFP9, stripped for cleaning.

In terms of basic structure and engineering, the SFP9 borrows from the P30 with its modified Browning-Petter-SIG locking system and tilting barrel. The barrel is equipped with a breech end designed as a locking block that fits in the ejection port, as well as an open control cam.

The hammer-forged barrel of the SFP9 with its polygonal rifling measures 104 mm and is therefore 6 mm longer than the P30. An instantaneously recognizable feature of the ejected casing is the cylindrical obturation groove situated roughly five millimeters from the mouth of the shell. It seals the rear end of the slightly conical chamber and therefore reduces soiling. The empty cases collected during the test had remained entirely spotless behind this obturation groove.

The SFP9 uses the structurally identical, flawlessly finished sheet steel magazines with a 15-round capacity that the P30 uses as well. Three differently sized back straps and grip shells can be mounted to the polymer frame, hence producing an aggregate of 27 different variations.

Heckler & Koch SFP9 – Ergonomically Perfect 

Co-designed by the prestigious German manufacturer Nill, the grip is among the features that many users appreciate. In our humble opinion, the P30/P30L/SFP9 frame is among the most ergonomically accomplished receivers of all modern service pistols available on the market today.

The rockers to release the magazine are located at their usual place on both sides of the transition point between the front section of the receiver and the trigger guard and can therefore allow ambidextrous operation. The slide stop lever on both sides was already a two-handed feature in the P30 (L). But the version fitted to the SFP9 is now leaner and flatter without compromising on user comfort.

The protruding plastic inserts fitted to the rear section of the slide are distinctive features of the SFP9. These small wings help with any kind of weapon/slide manipulation such as loading, unloading or troubleshooting. The wings are also useful features when operating the weapon/slide wearing gloves and/or in wet weather.

In our review, the fixed sights with lateral adjustment in the dovetail were equipped with fluorescent green contrast dots that are also available in red. Wherever permitted, the sights can also be ordered with luminescent, radioactive tritium. The coordination between the width of the front sight and the notch in the rear sight offers a sufficient light gap even for tall shooters with longer arms. They also allow sufficient light to pass through to the eye in gloomier conditions, a factor that is regrettably neglected in many sighting elements otherwise fitted to law enforcement pistols.

The SFP9 model family is also available with a finish in RAL 8000.

Side view of the Heckler & Koch SFP9 in 9×19 mm
Like the HK P30/P30 L, the Heckler & Koch SFP9 comes with replaceable side shells for the back strap and polymer frame.
Heckler & Koch firing pin unit
A detailed view of the firing pin/lock unit in the rear of the HK SFP9 slide.
Open receiver of the Heckler & Koch 
A view into the receiver of the HK SFP9 with the trigger assembly and the guide rails for the slide.
Rear view of the slide 
Rear of the slide: decocked trigger system on the Heckler & Koch SFP9.
Rear view of the SFP9 barrel
The red tip of the firing pin/loaded chamber indicator is visible when the weapon is cocked.

The Heckler & Koch SFP9 in Practice

The engineers in Oberndorf have improved themselves in designing the trigger on the HK SFP9 SF. Our unanimous opinion – shared by other experts – is that the factory fitted trigger is likely one of the best systems available for polymer service pistols on the market today.

The extremely good position in the hand with the low bore axis/line of sight resulted in pleasingly insignificant muzzle deflection during dynamic exercises, which was particularly noticeable when firing rapid shot sequences with the “weak firing hand.” Naturally, the crisp pull typical of a service pistol compliments this feature beautifully. The short trigger reset helps with rapid, accurate shot sequences.

Top of the HK barrel 
Top side of the Heckler & Koch SFP9 barrel from a bird’s eye view, clearly showing the ‘wings’ on the slide around the rear sight.
3D schematics of the new Heckler & Koch SFP9
3D schematics of the new Heckler & Koch SFP9.
HK SFP9 trigger
Trigger blade on the Heckler & Koch SFP9 with integrated safety element and ambidextrous magazine release lever.
Heckler & Koch SFP9 muzzle
Muzzle section of the HK SFP9 with beveled flanks on the slide to facilitate reholstering.
Mounting rail on the underside of the HK SFP9 grip
The mounting rail on the underside of the Heckler & Koch SFP9 grip.

Summary of the Heckler & Koch SFP9 Review:

As can be expected of a service pistol by Heckler & Koch, there was not a single malfunction during the review, although the number of shots fired was of course significantly smaller than would be the case in a major law enforcement test.

HK SFP9 SF buyers will therefore receive an altogether handsome pistol “made in Germany” with convincing finishing, handling, function and precision for the fair price of €749.00 (manufacturer’s recommended retail price).

Visit the Heckler & Koch website for more information on the manufacturer.

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Heckler & Koch HK SFP9


Heckler & Koch
TypeSemi-automatic pistol 
Caliber9 mm Luger, 9x19 mm
Recoil operated, modified Browning locking system
Preset single action striker system, average trigger pull: 2,680 grams (mean value of five measurements using Lyman digital trigger scales)
External, manual safety, automatic firing pin block, automatic trigger or hammer safety + other details as required
15 rounds
104 mm, 12-surface polygon profile, 1–250 mm) right-hand twist
Rear sight with 4.9 mm notch, 3.5 mm ramped front sight, luminescent, green contrast points, line of sight: 170 mm
Total length
186 mm (L) × 138 mm (H) × 33 mm (W)
703 grams (empty, with inserted magazine)
Material /surface finishSteel, black coated, polymer frame with steel inlays
Plastic case, spare magazine, 6 grip shells, 3 back straps, user manual, shot group
€749.00 (RRP, including sales tax)