The P8 is the successor to the Walther P1, the ordnance pistol of the Bundeswehr, produced by Heckler & Koch .
Like the USP from which it was modified, the P8 is made of plastic and metal. The handle is made of polyamide with reinforcements made of glass fibers and steel inserts, the breech and barrel are made of steel like most firearms.
The weapon is a recoil loader with a modified Browning system . A second locking spring on the spring guide rod should improve the buffering of the recoil.
The P8 differs according to the requirements of the Bundeswehr by three special features compared to the USP:
The following accessories are available in the Bundeswehr for the P8:
The P8 Combat is a special version for the Command Special Forces and the boarding teams of the Navy . Instead of the combined safety and release lever, this version only has one release lever to ensure quick readiness to fire.
The ammunition of the type DM51 (soft-core ammunition) used by the Bundeswehr caused dangerously high gas pressure, which can therefore cause injury to the shooter at rupture or closure and the tube. According to the Federal Defense Ministry from the beginning of 2012 to September 2013, 48 of those incidents were recorded, including 12 related to "breaks or cracks". The DM91 cartridge type (high-powered ammunition) was discontinued in April 2012, after 91 cases of damaged weapons in 2011. Most of the defects were fixed: The P8 is specified for a service life of 10,000 shots.
In addition to the standard P8 and in response to the initial problems, the P8A1 version emerged with reinforced closure and better protection against corrosion. For use in the special forces and in the Navy boarding company, the P8 C is used , which differs from the basic P8 in only having a disarmament lever, eliminating the security lever to make quicker use of the weapon.
Another variant, the P12 was also designed for the special forces and the Fernspäher, but chambered in 45 ACP and silenced. Very similar to the MK.23 SOCOM, the P12 does not have a trigger stop or manual safety. Robust, low recoil and precise, it has a 12 round magazine and is well suited for suppressed use due to the subsonic nature of the .45 ACP round.