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Try Something New: I Picked Up a HK Pistol to Train With for the First Time

Last month, I wrote about The Mingle training event I attended in north Georgia. As I mentioned in that article, I decided to leave my own firearms at home and rent an HK pistol with a Holosun optic for the weekend. What better opportunity to spend some time running an HK while shooting a red dot optic? 

On the morning of the first day, I picked up an HK VP9 with a Holosun red dot and an IWB appendix carry holster. The only thing similar to what I usually carry was the 9mm ammo. All the gear was new to me. There would be a few challenges: drawing from a new position, releasing the magazine differently and remembering to focus on the target while watching for the red dot. However, I know my foundational skills are strong. I understand how to grip the gun and press any trigger so as not to disturb the sights. 

Drawing from a different position was less of an issue than I thought it would be. Obtaining a master grip with my dominant hand on the gun wasn’t a problem. I was just reaching for the gun in a different spot. Also, since speed is only needed on the draw, I took my time reholstering and looked the gun back into the holster each time. There is zero shame in that.

If you’ve never shot an HK before, you may not know they have a paddle magazine release instead of a traditional push button behind the trigger guard (although some models are available in push button versions). HK paddle magazine releases are located at the rear portion of the trigger guard.

The paddle release is ambidextrous. Right- or left-handed users quickly release the magazine using their fingers or thumb. I chose to use my thumb to release the mag. Honestly, thanks to muscle memory, during the first day, my thumb searched for a push button a few times. However, if I had more time on the gun, it would have become a natural movement for my thumb to go straight to the paddle to release the magazine. All it would take is time on task during dry fire. 

My biggest fear was the red dot optic. To practice at home, I dry-fired a little every day using a gun with a red dot, although I wasn’t always successful in finding that dot immediately. At the Mingle, I’m pretty sure fellow shooters on the line heard me say, “Where’s that dot?” a few times in the beginning. And I recall one time, with the sun straight overhead, I became confused by what I saw through the window. But I quickly moved the gun a little and found the dot.

The only other thing I needed to remember with the red dot was mechanical offset when shooting up close. Since a red dot is target-focused shooting, I could quickly make corrections if my first shot was low. 

On day one, we were challenged to shoot the 5-5-5 drill—five shots at five yards in five seconds—again, something I have never done. I’m happy to say I succeeded in getting my card on day one, and another when a different instructor offered the challenge on day two (using a different gun, holster and red dot.)

During the HK training block at The Mingle, everyone had the opportunity to shoot ten rounds out of any HK they wanted to that was on display, including an SP5K-PDW.

Then came the HK Top Shot Shoot.

We were given numbers and sent to a spot at the table where we had to use the gun at that location. The challenge was to shoot ten rounds into the target in front of us under time constraint. I’m beyond thrilled to report that I earned the beautiful first-place Top Shot trophy with a score of 100 points and nine Xs.

Anything is possible with a bit of time-on-task using a new gear and a strong foundation in the fundamentals of shooting. 

Am I glad I decided to rent new gear for a weekend of training? Yes. Was it challenging? You bet. Was I successful? Definetly. Do I now want my own HK VP9 with a Holosun red dot? Absolutely!

5 Responses

  1. P30 is also fun for their newer models but the trigger reset can seem a mile long depending on what version you use. As it is will probably save up for a USP expert in 45 just for the silliness of 45 super and above.

    1. I seriously considered getting a P30L when I was looking at full size 40s. I rented one at the range, and loved the way it shot. It was my favorite among the group I rented. The only reason I decided against it is because everyone says it’s difficult to get used to DA/SA. The DA was long and heavy, but I was accurate with slow fire at the range. Langdon Tactical works on them now.

  2. Michelle,
    Loved the article! It certainly was a great time and learning experience at The Mingle. Congratulations again on your accomplishments while at The Mingle.

    1. Thank you Kim. The Mingle offered a fantastic atmosphere to gather tidbits of knowledge, have fun and of course mingle with like minded people.

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