Heckler and Koch Firearms
Following in a long heritage of fantastic designers and manufacturers, Heckler & Koch, commonly referred to as H&K, is a famous if not infamous manufacturer from Germany. It is not an old classic like SIG Sauer, Beretta, or Walther, or a relative newcomer like Glock, but firmly entrenched in history. It has developed tremendous lore in Hollywood because of its world-famous MP5 and practical terms as the G3 battle rifle maker, among many other excellent firearms.
H&K could be considered a post-World War II arms manufacturer, and it would be correct. H&K came into being some four years after the end of the war to end all wars. As the war came to a close, Oberndorf, Germany, came under French control. In the city of Oberndorf was a factory that manufactured Mausers for the war, and all of the documents in the factory were destroyed per orders of the French Army.
In 1948, three former employees of Mauser, engineers, acquired the factory and saved what they could. These men were Edmund Heckler, Theodor Koch, and Alex Seidel.
Initially, the Engineering Office Heckler & Co. was not in the business of firearms, probably a wise thing only four years removed from the worst war of all time. They specialized in manufacturing machine tools, as well as bicycle parts, and even sewing machine parts. They also produced precision parts for a varied sundry of items and gauges.
Their abstinence from firearms design and production did not last particularly long; they were at the drawing board eight years later, designing a West German Army proposal. This first offering was an absolute home run; it may have even been a grand slam. Their first battle rifle design was the G3 battle rifle, a design based on the Spanish CETME battle rifle.
The G3 was a relatively lightweight battle rifle chambered in the formidable 7.62x51mm NATO. It was comparable in a lot of ways to the M14 battle rifle in terms of size, effective range, and capacity. A key feature of the G3 over the M14, which surely adds to its staying power as a battle rifle, is it being perhaps the first widely-implemented modular battle rifle. The same rife can easily be transitioned from a fixed stock rifle to a lighter, much more compact rifle with a retractable stock.
A Fine Line of Handguns
H&K is well known for its fantastic long arms, which was where they got their start. The MP5 became one of their best known and most beloved designs, but that should not take away from a number of fantastic pistols.
Their inaugural pistol was released in 1967, the very PPK-Esque HK4 chambered in .32 ACP. Although it looked a lot like the PPK, it was actually based on a Mauser design, the HSc.
The P7 was their first pistol to gain Hollywood appeal, starring as the infamous sidearm of choice for Hans Gruber in Die Hard. But long before that role, it was the sidearm chosen by the German police to replace the Walther PP chambered in the diminutive .32 ACP.
Their modern lineup of firearms includes the fantastic USP-series of DA/SA pistols, and the Mk 23 pistol, which is the pistol selected as a standard tactical pistol of the U.S. Special Operations Command operators.
H&K is generally considered a high-end manufacturer, and they have a certain specific clientele to which they cater. Not just anybody uses H&K because not just anybody can afford to, but for those who can and need a superior firearm, H&K stands tall in a crowded field.