High-Tech: H&K P30L

This a practical review of the H&K P30L V1 semiautomatic pistol, with an eye towards its performance in games like GURPS, Call of Cthulhu, and Delta Green: The Role-Playing Game.


Describing the H&K P30L V1

The P30L is an elongated version of the P30 designed by Heckler & Koch of Oberndorf, Germany. The P30 in turn is a primarily ergonomic improvement of the H&K P2000, which is a slimmed down and more compact version of the H&K USP. The P30L (Lang, or long) with longer barrel and slide was introduced in 2006 after it had been specifically requested by the Norwegian Politi (national police). The original compact P30 is a popular law enforcement sidearm in Germany and Switzerland; a few US police departments have also acquired it.

The P30L V1 uses a Browning-Petter-SIG action, an external hammer with bobbed spur, and the Combat Defence Action (CDA) trigger system, which can be used as a double-action-only or with cocked hammer for a continuous, lighter trigger pull. The lack of external controls except for the ambidextrous magazine release and ambidextrous slide catch makes it smooth to carry concealed and easy to operate.


The P30L V1 is a heavy for a polymer-framed pistol, weighing 1.05 kg (2.3 lbs) loaded with 15 rounds. The 15-round magazines weigh 0.27 kg (0.6 lb) filled. The latter are extremely sturdy and have a steel body.

The P30L is 19.6 cm (7.72”) long and has a 11.3 cm (4.45”) barrel with polygonal rifling. The P30L has awesome fit and finish. The heavy slide serrations make all manipulations of the pistol sure and safe, including in rain and when wearing gloves. It has an integral MIL-STD-1913 accessory rail beneath the barrel to mount a weapon light or targeting laser. Its ergonomic grip was designed by Karl Nill and has interchangeable side and back straps in small, medium, and large sizes to accommodate different hand sizes. The ambidextrous magazine release is of the same type as used on the second-generation H&K P7 pistols, which I find much faster and easy to use than the traditional button. The slide closes automatically when a full magazine is inserted with sufficient force. The dot sights have Luminova inlays that, after having been charged with direct light, including a flashlight, are luminescent for a short period. While this is less efficient than self-illuminating night sights with tritium inlays, the latter are outlawed in many areas.

The H&K P30 is extremely reliable, as the 91,322-shot endurance test of Todd Green of pistol-training.com revealed. However, the P30L is prone to user mistakes. The main issue is the ambidextrous slide release lever. This is placed so that when the pistol is held in a high two-handed grip with the thumbs pointing forward, the lever is often inadvertently disengaged after the last shot, preventing the slide from locking open. The other issue is that it is easy to take up an improper grip (“limp-wristing”), resulting in a failure to eject. Both can be avoided by a conscious user, of course.

The CDA trigger of the P30L V1 has a lot of built-in slack in its two-stage pull and a long reset. I prefer a better defined first stage and a short reset, meaning I shoot less well with this than with for example the standard Glock safe-action trigger. Overall accuracy is nevertheless more than adequate. At 7 m (7.7 yards) ‒ a typical distance both in IPSC matches and self-defence situations ‒ it is easy to place five factory-loaded 8-g (124-grs) Seller & Belliot bullets into a playing card even if shooting relatively fast. Putting five shots into an NRA B-3 50 Foot Rapid Pistol target at 15 m (16.4 yards) is also no problem.


Suitable gear for the P30L includes the open Speedsec 4 kydex holster by Höppner & Schumann of Troisdorf, Germany, as well as open Sickinger Combat Single Box leather magazine holders.

In Gaming

To date, I have covered the H&K P30L for Call of Cthulhu in Investigator Weapons 2: Modern Day (2014) (pp. 66-67).


In GURPS, the P30L’s luminescent sights count as improved visibility sights (GURPS High-Tech, p. 156) when Shooting in Darkness (GURPS Tactical Shooting, pp. 18-20), but only if previously charged. Jams are typical for shooters with Guns (Pistol) skill at default. The ambidextrous magazine release, angled shape of the magazine, and automatic slide closure make a +1 bonus to Fast-Draw (Ammo) realistic. It has an integral accessory rail (High-Tech, p. 161).

Pistols Table

See pp. B268-271 for an explanation of the statistics.

GUNS (PISTOL) (DX-4 or most other Guns at ‑2)
TL Weapon Damage Acc Range Weight RoF Shots ST Bulk Rcl Cost LC Note
8 H&K P30L, 9×19mm 2d+2 pi 2 160/1,800 2.05/0.6 3 15+1(3) 8 -2 2 $950/$27 3 [1]


[1] Very Reliable. Won’t malfunction unless lack of maintenance lowers Malf. (p. B407).


In Call of Cthulhu, the luminova sights count as illuminated (Investigator Weapons 2, p. 23) when Shooting in Darkness (Investigator Weapons 2, pp. 22-23). For user errors, see Malfunctions (Investigator Weapons 2, p. 51).


In Delta Green, the P30L does not differ from other Medium Pistols.

Handguns Table

For an explanation of the statistics, see Delta Green: Agent’s Handbook, pp. 32, 54, 57, 60, 84.

Weapon Skill Base Range Damage Lethality Ammo Capacity Armour Piercing Expense
H&K P30L, 9×19mm Firearms 15 m 1D10 N/A 15 N/A Standard

At the Picture Show

My favourite scenes involving the H&K P30L are in John Wick (2014), in which retired assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves) uses it extensively.

Shooting Dice_TS_John Wick