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The Heckler & Koch
P7M8 and The NJ State Police
I'll tell parts
of this story as best I know them, but I could be wrong.
The NJSP all carried
P7M8's (and some P7M13) since 1983, till the point where the guns were
simply wearing out. Rather then buy more P7M8's they (their bosses
and political types) decided they should buy all new S&W Model 99 autoloaders
for all of them. So we P7 lovers got ready for a new wave of used
P7's to be available.
Then this happened:
State Police Recall New Guns Originally
found at NewsDay.com
N.J. (AP) -- The State Police have recalled hundreds of 9 mm guns recently
issued to troopers after several of the weapons jammed or otherwise malfunctioned
were enough malfunctions during the transition that it raised serious concerns
among the union members,'' Chris Burgos, a leader of the troopers union.
Smith & Wesson guns had been issued to about 500 officers, who will
go back to using a different brand of 9 mm until the problem is solved.
problems came up during training in early February.
& Wesson experts were unable to determine immediately whether the weapons
were defective or had been used improperly by troopers.
state has a $2.1 million contract with Smith & Wesson for 2,600 guns.
So the officers didn't
like the new guns to start with, but when they jammed and didn't feed,
there was a revolt through their union.
S&W tried to
blame everything on the cops -- same cops who had been qualifying at the
same range for years with their P7's with Zero malfunctions -- now they
weren't using them right. Like they weren't holding them absolutely
rigid, "limp-wristing." This is likely total crap -- or maybe they
got used to the P7 which cannot be "limp-wristed" by design.
NEW JERSEY STATE POLICE OFFICIAL NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:March 14, 2001
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
John R. Hagerty, NJSP Public Information Office (609) 882-2000 x6515
STATE POLICE PLACE HOLD ON NEW HANDGUN
DiFRANCESCO AND DUNBAR CITE SAFETY AS FIRST PRIORITY
W. Trenton - With the support of Acting Governor Donald T. DiFrancesco,
Colonel Carson J. Dunbar,
Jr., Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, today announced that
in an abundance of caution and for
the safety of State Police personnel, he has placed a hold on all training
exercises and the issuance of the new
handgun recently purchased by the State Police to replace the current sidearm.
"The safety of our troopers is my top priority," said the Acting Governor.
"Until and unless these
firearms can be proven to operate in a consistent, reliable and safe manor,
we will not issue them. I will not
allow our troopers to stand on the front lines without the protection they
so vitally need and deserve."
Col. Dunbar noted that he was taking the action in light of reports from
State Police firearms instructors
and troopers training with the new Smith & Wesson Model 99 9mm semi-automatic
handgun that they were
experiencing instances of the weapon jamming during training exercises.
Specifically, State Police firearms
instructors have reported instances of spent shell casings jamming in the
weapon's ejection port (not expelling
the spent shell casing) and loaded rounds not being properly fed into the
weapon from the magazine. At this
time, State Police and Smith & Wesson firearms experts have not determined,
in whole or in part, whether
the issues of concern are related to the firearm itself or the way the
weapon has been fired.
Dunbar said that State Police firearms experts have contacted the manufacturer
and that Smith &
Wesson has begun to examine the Model 99 in an effort to determine the
exact cause of the concerns.
Additionally, Smith & Wesson experts have met with the State Police
armorer and are together working to
evaluate the issues of concern.
Col. Dunbar noted that pursuant to the terms of the contract with Smith
& Wesson, a report has been
filed with the Division of Purchase and Property regarding the weapons.
Additionally, Dunbar said that he has
met with representatives from the State Police associations and has provided
the union leadership with a
detailed briefing regarding the concerns involving the weapon.
The State Police contracted with Smith & Wesson last year to purchase
3,200 new handguns at a cost
of $1.3 million. The S&W Model 99 9mm sidearm was purchased to replace
the current State Police-issued
H&K (Heckler & Koch) P7M8 9mm handgun first placed in service with
the State Police in 1983. To date,
431 Model 99 handguns have been issued to State Police personnel. All personnel
currently issued the Smith
& Wesson handgun will turn-in the weapon for replacement with the H&K
Here is what GunWeek had to report:
Extractor Change To Solve NJ Pistol Problem
Dave Workman, Senior Editor
& Wesson will modify the ejectors on 3,300 semi-automatic pistols to
solve a highly-publicized jamming problem experienced by the New Jersey
possible contributing factor Gun Week pursued was a reported variation
in the ammunition New Jersey issues to its troopers, but that apparently
was without merit
Gun Week was told that duty ammo, supplied by CCI Gold Dot, used in the
agency's Heckler & Koch P7M8 pistols was loaded with a different propellant
to solve a fouling and cycling problem in that pistol, which has a gas-retarded
action. However, that does not now appear to be accurate. True, there was
a powder change in the 9mm Gold Dot, but not directly to address a problem
with the pistol. Nobody has suggested that ammunition might be a part of
the S&W malfunction puzzle, and a source at S&W noted, "We never
had that (ejection) problem with off-the-shelf Gold Dot ammo." Gold Dot
ammunition, developed several years ago by the CCI division of Blount Inc.
in Lewiston, ID, has an excellent track record. When Gun Week checked with
CCI-Speer's tech specialist, Allan Jones, he confirmed there had been a
change in the propellant used in the Gold Dot ammo, but it was to a slightly
faster and cleaner-burning powder, designed
make it function better in the H&K MP5 submachinegun. Coincidentally,
this cleaner-burning powder apparently worked better in the P7 pistol by
reducing powder residue that fouled the pistol's gas port. Jones also said
the change was made, "across the board," and that New Jersey was not using
some specially-loaded, exclusive ammunition
Garden State troopers began seriously shopping for new duty weapons, they
tested pistols from Beretta, the Glock 17 and 19, Heckler & Koch's
USP, and the SIG P226, P228, and P229 among others. When the gunsmoke cleared,
the testing committee picked the Smith & Wesson Model 99 semi-auto
pistol as their new service sidearm
the whole program of re-arming troopers went south. Or, more accurately,
the problem went northeast, right back to S&W's Massachusetts headquarters,
where the beleaguered handgun manufacturer thought it had experienced all
the bad publicity it could stand with gunowner outrage over the "deal"
former CEO Ed Schultz cut with the Clinton White House. A captain involved
in the testing and selection process for new state police pistols considered
the highly-publicized jamming problems as nothing more than a "bump" in
the road, "not a spike." State Police Capt. Carl Leisinger told Gun Week
that, "The things I'm hearing on the news have really spun out of control.
I'm not saying everything (in the reports) is wrong, but some of it got
a little exaggerated." Leisinger, who is based in West
acknowledged that, "The number of malfunctions is more than we want (but)
it is not tremendous." That's not what published reports by the Associated
Press, newspapers and television stations in the state suggested, though.
During the initial testing, when 60 troopers fired a reported 3,000 rounds
through each of their individual test guns, there was only one malfunctioning
pistol reported. That changed abruptly when the guns were issued to over
431 troopers, who reported over 130 malfunctions, along with over 200 failures
reported by state police recruits.
specialists went to work on the problem, noted company spokesman Ken Jorgensen,
and came up with the ejector modification. He also confirmed that, in some
cases, shooters themselves may have also been an element in the malfunctions
by "weak-wristing" during shooting exercises. (Editor's
Note -- Bullshit!) Semi-auto pistols
of just about every make will experience cycling malfunctions when shooters
do not maintain a properly rigid wrist, and allow the pistol to wobble
in their hand.
agreed that the "human factor" may have a great deal to do with the malfunctions.
A veteran shooter, Jones has experience with the P7, noting that when he
has fired that model, he held the gun in such a way that, if he had used
the same grip pressure on another type of semi-auto pistol, he likely would
have "limp wrested" the gun. Jones also noted that shooting with a limp
wrist "will produce a straight-line stoppage" because the spent cartridge
case does not properly eject. Asked if it is possible a variation in ammunition,
however slight, could have contributed to some of the malfunctions in some
way, he said, "It's possible, but that would be a stretch." His analysis
was that some New Jersey troopers may have experienced transition problems,
learning to grip the new pistol differently than the H&K model they
had grown used to.
Jersey's cycling problem became immediate fodder for the Internet, and
that quickly deteriorated to conjecture that did not even have the total
number of pistols involved in the contract correct. New Jersey is purchasing,
according to Leisinger, 3,300 of the new S&W pistols. The guns were
purchased through Ray's Sport Shop in Plainfield. A spokeswoman for the
gun shop declined comment, noting only that, "We don't comment on anything."
She said past experience with the press had resulted in that policy.
Jersey issues the standard load 124-grain Gold Dot from CCI. It replaced
a Remington cartridge with the same bullet weight about four years ago,
Leisinger said. Leisinger recalled, "One time we had a slight problem
with powder speeds. The H&K is very sensitive with that gas port. They
(CCI ammo technicians) came down and worked with us and changed the powder
combination (in the cartridge). They worked with us 100%. I thought their
cooperation was unbelievable."
Jones said switching to a cleaner burning powder would not have a significant
effect on the function of one handgun over another, though it did appear
to solve the P7's fouling problem. The failure of S&W pistols to eject
spent cartridges became the focus of media attention, though Leisinger
would not characterize these as "stove pipe" jams. John Hagerty, director
of communications for the New Jersey State Police, described the ejection
failures: "In a nutshell what we have determined are instances of spent
casings jamming in the ejection port." Neither elaborated as to whether
this means the spent casings do not fully clear the ejection port, and
thus nose into the top of the breech when the slide moves forward into
said 431 troopers had received the pistols and have subsequently turned
them back in, for the older H&Ks, until the S&W pistols can be
fitted with the new ejectors. Those H&K pistols will remain with the
agency, he added.
to Hagerty, troopers qualify four times annually, firing 42 rounds in each
course. Leisinger said they qualify twice annually, shooting twice during
their qualifications, once in the daylight, once at night. All duty side
arms are equipped with tritium night sights. Hagerty maintained the "jamming
and reliability rate was well within the standards."
Jersey troopers are reportedly not so sure of that, and newspaper reports
have quoted Col. Carson Dunbar Jr., superintendent of the State Police,
as being "personally uncomfortable" with the performance of the guns as
the course of selecting the S&W Model 99, a design that is actually
the product of a joint effort between S&W and Walther, there were some
modifications initially made to the gun at the request of the state police
agency. Leisinger confirmed that the decocker was first deleted, then put
back, when concerns arose about accidental discharges.
submitted the gun without the decocker," he recalled. "Then that became
single-action-only. And then when we discovered with the decocker you can
take the gun down without pulling the trigger, we wanted the decocker put
(back) on. Down the road, somebody was possibly going to shoot somebody."
He portrayed the initial concern as trying to eliminate levers that might
project from the pistol and interfere with its operation. Decocker levers
do project varying distances from other gun models, though Gun Week has
not found any indication that these have ever posed serious problems. What
makes the Model 99 S&W different is that the decocker is not a traditional
"lever," but designed more like a "plunger/button" on the top left of the
slide. It profiles quite well with the slide surface. Gun Week visited
a gun shop and, with the help of a shop employee, tested various ways to
make the pistol accidentally lock open during cycling (arguably possible
by pressing up on the slide stop with the left-hand thumb during right-hand
firing), but could not find a way to accidentally engage the decocker.
Magazine capacity was changed from the original 16 rounds on the test guns
to 15 rounds on the duty weapons. Leisinger said some of the duty guns
were experiencing failures to feed, with the round nosing down and jamming
against the feed ramp.
to Re-Arm The
push to re-arm Garden State troopers began with the October 1997 death
of Trooper Scott Gonzales. His pistol jammed during a gunfight with a mental
patient, and while he was attempting to clear the pistol, he was killed.
Both male and female troopers were involved in the gun tests, and among
the winning attributes of the Model 99 is the synthetic grip's backstrap,
which can be changed to fit different sized hands. While switching to a
new gun seemed to be a priority, changing calibers did not. According to
Leisinger, State Police top brass decided to keep the 9mm as the agency's
caliber of choice. With the Gold Dot projectile, he noted, there have been
no jacket separations even with a muzzle velocity of 1,150 fps, and bullets
have expanded as advertised in a variety of media. Law enforcement
across the country use Gold Dot ammo, which has a solid performance record.
Gun Week has used it in various gun tests, and in assorted calibers, over
the years without problem.
decided just to buy P7M8's to replace the guns that were too worn out.
And we P7 lover's went from the anticipated flood of used guns to all the
new production bought up for two years. Then this happened:
April 23, 2000, Newsday article reports, "The New Jersey State Police could
get its first shipment of new
in the next several months, despite a canceled contract with the former
gun manufacturer and
with several replacement weapons. Officials from the Attorney General's
Office and the State Police
bids are expected next month to replace the weapons used by all 2,700 troopers
since 1982. The officials
they expect no further delay in replacing the current guns, now the subject
of a complaint by the
union, which alleges the pistols are worn and unsafe. The state canceled
its contract with German
Heckler and Koch after the company said it could not produce enough weapons
at once to cover
state contract, said State Police spokesman John Hagerty. State Police
administrators looked to simply
the contract and buy replacement guns, rather than an entirely new type
of weapon, Hagerty said. But
and Koch told the state it needed to retool its factory since it no longer
produces the weapon used by
Jersey troopers, Hagerty said. (Editor's
note -- bullshit!) The company could not
supply all of the weapons
once, as required by the state, he said. Officers also found ''slight
problems'' with ''quality control issues'' in a number
the 450 replacement weapons recently shipped by the manufacturer,
Hagerty said. Testing officers found the gun
to be ''slightly off,'' Hagerty said. That prompted Col. Carson Dunbar,
the State Police superintendent,
cancel the order, Hagerty said."
attack gun availability, yet recycle own weapons
traded-in N.J. police guns have been connected to crimes
MICHAEL DIAMOND, Special Reports Unit, (609) 272-7227, E-Mail
JOHN FROONJIAN, Special Reports Unit, (609) 272-7273, E-Mail
blah, blah, blah, stupidity, stupidity
over crimes committed with former police guns, some departments have financially
bit the bullet and have foregone the discounts that come with trades.
months ago, when the N.J. State Police purchased new guns, former Attorney
General John Farmer decided not to let the old guns back onto the market.
than 3,000 former State Police guns are being warehoused in a state-owned
building somewhere in New Jersey until they are melted down.
Anyway, all the nonsense
is over. The $2,000,000 worth of used P7M8's are gone, and new P7M8's
are in stock again.
Chris writes me:
a few words on the NJ State Police P7M8s. The M8 was developed for
the NJSP because HK needed a large enough contract to justify the expense
of changing the magazine release. The first prototype was a handmade
“one off.” HK then made 10 preproduction prototypes for NJSP testing.
These guns are numbered 10000 through 10010. While most parts look
the same, many are not interchangeable. For instance, magazines won’t
a word on 9mm ammo in a P7. The US Park Police complained that their
P7s were jamming so HK bought 10,000 rounds of the ammo the Park Police
was using, standard 115 gr., Remington 9mm ball, took a new P7 and proceeded
to shoot the daylights out of it. It get very boring shooting 10,000
rounds all at once.
that were found out:
Remington ammo is VERY dirty and filled the sides of the gas cylinder with
The gun get VERY hot after 4 or 5 mags
It takes a straight, 7mm spiral reamer to get the carbon out
There were NO other problems