A few weeks ago I authored an article aimed at channeling my predictions as to where HK is going in 2016, and some of my theories as to what has happened with the product line, particularly why. In an effort to close the chapter, or my speculation if you will, I submit the following as an update to the original post.
It brings be great pleasure to bring Serpent Tactical LLC to the 2015 Modern Day Marine Expo at Quantico Marine Corps Base this week (22-24 September). In doing so, one of my primary goals was to find the HK representatives, hope that they are talkative, and see how much I can validate. The following information is straight from the horse’s mouth, HK’s government and military representatives from Ashburn, Virginia.
VP9 SK and VP40 SK
HK will be releasing these two versions next; we'll likely see them at SHOT SHOW 2016. Based on the representative’s enthusiasm, indications are that there is a significant demand, and HK is going after market share in the striker fired handgun arena undoubtedly dominated by Glock.
Unlike the VP9 and VP40 SK, there was no clarification as to when the VP45 would be released, or if it would be released in 2016, but indications are that it is “possible”. We discussed the strong demand for a striker fired 45 ACP among HK buyers and the natural pairing with the HK45. The HK representatives seemed almost overwhelmed by the requests for it at the expo - hopefully they take that south on I-95.
Continuation of the P2000 and P2000 SK
Because the P2000 series shares many of the same internals as the P30 line, we can expect to see this line survive for the meantime. The HK representative indicated that the P2000 (.40 S&W) is still being supplied on contract as the primary sidearm for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Continuation of the USP line
According to the HK representatives, the USP line remains popular among handgun purchasers, and it was grandfathered in under California laws, making it one of only a few handguns that lack advanced (regulated) features. The HK representatives admitted that there is duplication now with the P30 and HK45 as SA/DA handguns, but no indications that they will cease or cut back on production.
The Mark 23 remains
I specifically wanted to ask about the Mark 23, mostly because it is my most recent purchase into my personal collection, but also because I have an admiration for it. The HK representatives said that there have been numerous suggestions to pull the plug on the Mark 23, but it never pans out. They didn’t seem to indicate there was any reason other than enough demand to keep it afloat via retail sales here in the U.S. I asked if it was still under a SOCOM contract which was confirmed that it was not, however HK does supply SOCOM with the Mark 24, the HK45 Compact Tactical. I made a friendly suggestion that HK consider removing the oversized accessory rail and replace it with a common 1913 rail, which it was then indicated that HK will likely not make any changes to the Mark 23. We ultimately agreed that the Mark 23 has certainly moved into the category of being a HK novelty handgun in-production.
USC and SL8-6 availability
While the stock configurations are undoubtedly embarrassing, it was what was needed to get them from Germany to the U.S. A decision was made by HK in Germany to cease availability to the U.S. market of the USC and SL8-6 with the intent to move production to the U.S. However, that has yet to happen. The HK representatives explained that it consumes a lot of capital to move machining, dies, and polymer injecting mold equipment from Germany to the U.S. and this is the likely reason it simply hasn’t happened. According to what was said, they looked at partnering with a polymer injection molding specializing business – Magpul was named, but to no avail. HK representative expressed certainty that there is, and always will be a sense of AR-15 / M-4 fatigue in the market, thus the popularity of the SCAR line from FNH.
“It is our strategy to further expand our business in North American market” – Andreas Heeschen (6/15)
Given the difficult financial situation that HK finds itself in, coupled by the G36 issue with the German Ministry of Defense, it makes sense for HK to focus on the lucrative civilian firearms market - the VP9 and VP40 do just that. In the near-term we may be expect to see HK USA used to balance the books for the parent in Germany, which will limit immediate capital investment (machining, tooling, dies, and polymer injection technology expansion) at the HK facility in Newington, New Hampshire. Assuming HK stays the course and rectifies its financial standing; it follow (to some degree) in the shadows of what Sig Sauer did in 2007 when it invested $18 million into expansion/relocation of its production to facilities here in the U.S. Ultimately, if one wanted to see where HK is headed in the coming years, they’d keep a keen eye on the financial details, to include bonds, debt to asset ratio, capital investment, contract awards, and North American sales.