With the current price of 32 ACP, I decided it was time to change my Heckler & Koch back to 22 rimfire. I got it when I taught at Trinidad State, and liked the idea of being able to use the HK-4 in 22 (spare magazines were cheap in 32, but have always been a bit spendy in 22). The picture below shows the reason for the 4 in the name – if you got all the bells and whistles, you had 4 different barrels and magazines.
My HK-4 doesn’t have 4 barrels – just two. The box shows its first user’s name – a West German customs agent named Lamke. He took good care of it, but it didn’t include all the tools for the conversion – it was, after all, government property, and sold on a competitive bid.
I developed my own set of tools for this task – a bent ballpoint spring to move the firing pin from rimfire to centerfire, and a straight pin I curved to hold the extractor out of the way. These are tools that worked well when I could still see without reading glasses and had good neural sensitivity in my fingers. The neural sensitivity has been gone for a dozen years, and I have really good distance vision. I found out that I can’t distinguish the ballpoint spring from the firing pin, and I discovered that I was bleeding from multiple stabs from my customized straight pin.
So the task that was a couple minutes with much younger eyes and fingers wound up taking me 35 minutes. It works just as well as ever. The frame is marked with the manufacturing date – September 1971. It was one of 12,000 that went to work for West German police, as a P11. The whole story on the HK-4 is available at unblinkingeye.com
It doesn’t make the “use enough gun” guidelines for most – but I don’t usually carry a pistol for bear encounters. More often, I run across something like a coyote or cougar, and occasionally they don’t understand that my Pomeranian sidekicks threaten them because they know they have human backup. After 40 years, the HK-4 is still comfortable, and definitely adequate for the small tasks where I may need it. And it’s back in a caliber where I can buy more cartridges.