They say you never forget your first. And they’re right. I remember the first time I brought it home and remembering how much of a pain in the ass it was trying to find my beloved Mark 24 Model 0, better known as the HK45C. Every place that I went to, didn’t have it stock and it took nearly 3 weeks to get it. This was because I wanted a “left-handed” version of the gun, and little did I know how that didn’t really matter much. (Oddly enough, the dealers didn’t want to order me a V2 style. They all seem to have the same network of “distributors” that said they won’t be able to get the V2 for several months. I find that really odd or probably just pure laziness from the dealers.)
Looking back, I could have probably found my HK much faster knowing what I know now. But it’s all about the learning experience right?
Well here is a review to my go-to gun that I used nearly for an entire 2 years. Without getting into the specs of the gun, I’ll just link the sites that has those in detail. Here I’m going to break it down from my perspective of what I first thought of the gun when I got it and to what I now think of it after running hard in training and in competition.
Breaking It In
For a compact 45, it’s actually quite a big ass gun. Nearly 7.25in long and 5.50in in height, I never quite found a way to really carry this good comfortably for my daily carry. Now I could attribute this to also being a first time carrier, but still, it always felt like I had a tumor growing out of my side. Of course after I made adjustments to my belt and clothing attire, it started to feel a little bit better.
Truth be told, after a few months, it was one of the reason why I switched to the Springfield XDS 45. The Springfield was a little more comfortable to carry and it was much thinner. The HK just seem a bit thick in my opinion.
Even as a first time gun buyer, with no knowledge whatsoever; it definitely felt like maybe I just made a mistake with my HK and had hope that the Springfield would replace it. Boy was I wrong. That lesson that cost me $600 (and then some more when I finally got rid of it) and I ended up switching back to using my HK45C.
Note: It’s only fair to say that I initially developed the buyer’s remorse for my HK after taking a couple of training classes where the instructor told me that I made a mistake with buying my gun. He pretty much told me that I was incapable of handling that gun. He even suggested that I look into another lower end brand and that he would be willing to sell me one. Turns out he was just trying to milk me for more money. He didn’t really give a shit about me or my gun. So the lesson here, watch out for the shady trickster.
If The Shoe Fits
Surprisingly to me, this gun has been out for a while. The first time I ever heard of HK was way back in the mid-90s when they introduced the USP. In fact, I lived pretty much under the rock back then until now. The HK45C, circa 2007 was when it became available. (There’s even an awesome story behind the history of the HK45.) Yet, fast forward by more than 5 years, I never once found an off-the-shelf holster the fit this gun oh so perfectly… for a left handed shooter. After a couple of weeks, I gave up on trying to find holsters and mag pouches locally via in-store or gun shows. And I refused to go to Uncle Mike cause, well, I didn’t want a one size fits all. Even going online was trial and error before I finally settled on Comp-Tac being my go to.
Over the last two years as my needs evolved, I was able to find other manufacturers online and took some chances on them. But you would think, for a gun that’s been out for sometime, someone would be able to find it commonly within driving distances right…????
Holding On To It
When I first held the gun, it didn’t bother me at all. It just felt, maybe a little bit big? Really hard to describe it now. However, I remember running it for the first time in class and I sure did had a flinching problem; still do actually, but that’s another story later down the road. What I remembered the most was that I actually had a hard time holding on to the gun. Was it the 45 recoil kicking my ass or was it because I had shitty grips? Don’t worry, I already know the answer to that question.
But to be fair, the gun itself was really quite smooth. It came to a point a few times that I ended up having to chalk my hands with dirt just to keep it from slipping out of my hands. Still, that didn’t help with the flinching – much. (I know, no excuses for poor fundamentals.)
It wasn’t till after a year, I decided to stipple the grips myself and I have to say that it really made a big difference.
The Big Click
Being a new shooter at the time, I never thought much of the trigger. However, everyone complained how “crappy” it was and I never figured out why they are saying that. To me it was fine really, being that this was my first gun – ever. But as I spent more time on the gun, I began to understand why.
The double action of the HK was just really long and I didn’t understand the difference it would make in terms of accuracy and speed. Of course, it only took me a matter of weeks of dry fire and trigger pulling that I was able to overcome that long ass pull.
Still, till this day, my first double action shot on this gun doesn’t bother me much anymore. Once I gotten used to the trigger, I was getting decent at hitting my targets. What’s interesting is that when I switched to a striker fired pistol, my shooting and accuracy was really awesome. Oddly enough, I wonder why I haven’t made the switch for a striker fired pistol. Probably because I was stubborn in wanting to master the almighty 45.
It’s interesting to note that some of my buddies who just shoot striker fired pistols seem to rag on my double action single action hammer pistol. Why? Cause it hotness for them Glock fan boys. Yeah I have to say they all wanted to touch it and molest it. Sometimes, I just wish they would admit how awesome my gun is.
Note: Why do I seem to hate Glocks? Well, I don’t really. It’s like that anecdote of why BMW drivers are just dicks. Not saying that all Glock shooters are. Just that my first time taking lessons on the range and in class, lets just say that those Glock guys were pretty much dicks.
This one time, when I was a green shooter, this Glock guy came up to me and offered me some pointers. So he took my gun and shot through all my mags without giving me one pointer. That was my first lesson to never ever give my weapon to someone else; especially one that gives me shit about my gun but wanted to find a way to molest it. Not only did I felt like a sucker afterwards, I pretty much realize that the Glock toting guy is a real fucking asshole. I learned quickly, not just on that night, but at other events, the people are hating on your guns, that pretty much means they are curious or jealous. They’ll find a way to try to get you to let then shoot your gun. But NEVER EVER give your weapon to anyone with your ammo in it. EVER. Let them hate with jealousy. And if they say their Glock is better, just smile at them and keep on shooting; cause you know they are really curious to know what it’s like to shoot a HK.
Bust A… Small Load
Despite this being a big compact gun, I am still quite disappointed about the carry capacity of this gun. But seeing how this is a 45 and supposedly being a “compact”; the 8+1 round would be adequate for the job. Still, it was a pain in the ass to use in my pistol classes, let alone in IDPA and 3 Guns. But if there is a takeaway here; this is where the gun taught me more about shot placement than capacity.
For a daily concealed carry weapon, it was always a chore to be totting this gun and two extra magazines, which gave me really a total of 25 rounds on me at anytime. But the added weight to my belt line soon enough nagged me. Yet, in reality, I’m sure that 25 rounds might be enough. But in this day and age of crimes and such, I really wonder if 25 rounds is ever enough?
Of course the biggest draw back here is that ammo cost for the 45 will always be more costly than the average 9mm. But that’s the price I have to pay for running this big ass gun.
The Southpaw Rises
One of the huge factors why I chose the HK45C, aside from being influenced by the Team guys, was that it was very friendly for the lefty shooters. I had tried and use all sort of other guns in the past and they were pretty cumbersome to work. But what I really love about this gun is that the controls and levers just felt so natural.
It was with this gun, I was able to develop my own deliberate loading technique and refine it for me. I love the way the magazine release lever sits at the button of the trigger guard. While it never bothered me, I knew that it bother other shooters as it seem unnatural for them. Well this I can only speculate since they were probably shooting with pistols that had a button release versus lever. Let alone to the fact that it’s not really a full ambi gun to begin with.
Despite my attraction to the M&P9, I was never quite ready to purchase one. I mean, I shot really well with that gun and I knew right away that I can feel a big difference between the HK and M&P triggers. But the one thing that kind of always made me hesitant was the lack of ambi controls on that gun and the slide release levers being small.
The HK is all about the ambi and with that, the HK45C really rocks.
I have to say that for my first pistol, I truly love and appreciate everything this pistol taught me. From fundamentals to frustration, it was a lot of learning and painful gains from this pistol. Despite the long trigger, I actually don’t find it bothersome. I actually do enjoy it cause that’s what I started with and that’s what I trained with. So it’s not like I knew any different beforehand. But switch to striker fire, this gun forced me to get good with fundamentals that translated to me rocking with the strikers.
Still, doing advanced manipulation with this gun can be quite a real chore. The dove tail rear sights is nothing more than a pain in the ass when it comes to single hand reloads and manipulation. However, no matter what, I can still apply the same basic manipulation technique to other pistols without using the sights as a catch. While the HK is really seemly unique to certain users, it is a brand of its own.
Another thing people often complained is the pricing that HK puts out. Yes, even I barked at their prices too. But after being in plenty of training classes, I’m glad to say that my pistol function reliably over the course of 2 years, 10000 rounds, 200 hours of dry fire, and my stupidity cleaning methods. So is the price worth the gun? I’d say it is.
Sadly though, I retired my beloved 45 in favor of a 9mm. Despite some of it’s short comings and ammo capacity, in reality, I actually outgrew this pistol. But that doesn’t mean I won’t ever pick it up again.
It was my first pistol and will always be my favorite.