First year production, in fact... I just love these things. The HK P7 Series handguns are some of the coolest firearms ever built, as far as I'm concerned. It could be the awesome looks, the great build quality, the unique design, the extremely low bore axis, or the pointability/accuracy. Of course, its more likely a combination of everything. The P7 was designed in the late 1970‘s by Helmut Weldle. It’s primary purpose was to equip West German police with a 9x19 pistol to replace the much weaker 7.65 (32ACP) pistols that they were carrying at the time. This change had been prompted by the disaster at the 1972 Olympic games in Munich. As a result of the size and weight criteria established by West Germany, they adopted three different pistols (The Walther P5, the Sig P6 (P225), and the HK P7). While I own and enjoy multiples of all three of these German service guns, the P7 is certainly the class of the trio from a build quality and accuracy standpoint. The P5 and P6 are both solid, well built handguns, but the P7 is a cut above, in my book and the only one that's all steel. The P7 is a blowback pistol, or more specifically a gas delayed blowback pistol. The gas from a fired round exits the barrel through a small port and into a chamber. The pressure from the gas dampens the reward motion of the slide during recoil. This is accomplished by way of a piston under the barrel that enters the pressurized chamber. Its a system that does a phenomenal job in making a small, blowback 9mm very pleasant to shoot. The drawback to this design is the tremendous heat that builds due to the hot gas being held in the gun. A rapid fire session with a P7 will have the gun sizzling in short order. Outwardly, the biggest design feature of the P7 is the unique cocking system, which renders the pistol completely safe unless its gripped firmly. While it takes a bit of time to get used to, many people who carry a P7 swear by it. In 1984, HK introduced two brand new variants of the of original P7. They were the P7M8 and P7M13. Both of these pistols differed from the original design in a few distinct ways. First, the trigger guard was made larger to incorporate a heat shield for your trigger finger. This was due to the excess heat build up that I mentioned above. Second, the trigger itself was lengthened for better purchase, particularly for those with larger hands. Third and likely the most noticeable change was the new paddle magazine release located just behind the trigger guard. The original P7 had a heel release, as many of you may know. Other than that, there were a couple other minor alterations, bigger sights being one of them. In addition to these changes, the P7M13 also had a bigger and wider frame to accommodate an extra five rounds of 9x19 ammo. Despite all these updates, I still feel the plain old P7 is my favorite of the series. The M8 and M13 are more rare and certainly more valuable, but I think I prefer the slightly smaller dimensions of the original. Sadly, due to a complicated design, high production costs, rising retail prices, and likewise sagging sales, the entire P7 series was discontinued about 10 years ago. The fact that the gunsmiths that built them were starting to retire certainly wasn’t helping their cause either. The P7 was in production for nearly 30 years (1979-2008), so it had a relatively long life. While the squeeze cocking design was a bit polarizing, few people could deny its great build quality and accuracy. Once the P7 Series was discontinued, HK was an all polymer pistol manufacturer. However, the P7 pistols have not been forgotten. The performance, quality, and relative rarity have sent prices soaring in recent years. This latest addition is my third P7M8 and the second built during the first year of production. As you can see, age has turned the slide plum and the gun is is outstanding condition, other than a bit of high edge holster wear. No box or anything, but I got a great deal at $2100 OTD. With the rate at which these are climbing in value (especially Chantilly models), I didn't hesitate when I saw it in the case. The shop owner knocked a couple hundred off the price for me. This early P7M8 differs slightly from my 2002 model. The original P7M8 (and P7M13) triggers were fat from front to back. The P7 trigger is steel, but covered in plastic to keep them cooler to the touch. I’m not really sure of the reason for the fat trigger cover. I guess HK wasn’t either because it only lasted a couple of years. These days collectors look for them just because it gives the pistol and added element of rarity. The early models also had the model name stamped on the left side of the slide, whereas the later examples did not. I'm thrilled to add yet another of these great shooting and highly collectible 9mms to my collection. Thanks for reading. Please enjoy the pictures and share your thoughts. Some macros... Here's my expanding P7 family (two P7's, three P7M8's, and a P7M13). I did own a P7M10 that I sold. I only like the 9mm variety.