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American Handgunner Nov/Dec 2011 Digital Edition - Page 45
With lines and overall size similar to the Walther P-38, the PHP MV 17 is in fact a more modern design. The Croation PHP MV 17 is as modern as any autoloader, and actually offers some solid design features. Here the safety is off-safe (up), showing the red dot. or its time, the Walther P-38 was quite an achievement. It had a selective singleand double-action trigger, a firing-pin-block safety system and other excellent design points. The locking arrangement was also innovative, with a tilting block and a barrel movement that The slide release holds the slide open was straight to the rear. Much later, after the last shot from the magazine. this feature was wisely used by Beretta, and it’s currently one of our US Balkan area, the Croatian designers military pistols. developed the HS-2000, the pistol that Today, those who have always liked later became the Springfield XD-9. The the Walther P-38 have two problems. two earlier pistols were then withdrawn The first is original German military from service, which explains why we’re guns have moved into the collector cat- seeing them now. The original proegory, and some of the prices I’ve seen duction was not large, so the limited are tough to swallow. Even the cost of number means they will have some colthe post-war P-1 version has started to lector value a few years from now. escalate. Another issue for those who want it for practical use is the single- Solid Steel row magazine holds only eight rounds. In weight and dimensions, the MV Well, now, thanks to the guys at 17 is almost exactly the same as a stanimporter/distributor SOG, you can have dard P-38. The weight is 34.6 ounces, the P-38 look and locking system and overall length is 8.5" and the height is a 15-round, double-row magazine. The 5.37". The grip panels are polymer, but price is less than half what you’d pay everything else is all good steel. It sits for a decent Walther. sound in the hand. The sights are square-picture and The Story the rear notch has ample room for easy In the early 1990s, things were pick-up of the front post. Ejection of a little unsettled in Croatia, and they fired cases is to the right, unlike the needed an issue handgun for their mili- P-38, which was a little weird in that tary people. They quickly developed respect. A well-located manual latch the PHP —Prvi Hrvatski Pistol (First holds the slide open after the last shot. Croatian Pistol) — and made it in two The 15-round magazine has a nickelversions. The MV 17, shown here, has plated body, and the nicely curved a 5" barrel and a more P-38 look. The trigger has no annoying vertical ridges. other one, the MV 9, has a 4" barrel. The manual safety, set into the top of Mechanically, they’re the same. SOG the left grip, is actually more convenient offers both versions at the same price. than the slide-mounted one on the P-38. After things calmed down in the Turned down to on-safe covering the red dot, it locks the hammer and trigger WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM and, with the hammer in the down position, also locks the slide. If the hammer is cocked and the safety applied, the slide is not locked; this way, you can load, ease the hammer down, then move the safety to offsafe to release the trigger. It’s a very good system. The magazine release is a large, low profile checkered button in the classic location. On both sides of the magazine, there are numbered holes at the 5-, 10- and 15-round levels. The lower front of the grip frame is not curved; it’s straight-across flat with vertical grooving. You’ll be amazed at what a good “hold” this delivers. Close-In Testing I was mostly interested in simplefunction testing, so kept the shooting distance at 7 yards, using a standing, 2-hand hold. It kept five shots in the target center every time, with the groups averaging 4" or so. Several brands and types of ammo were tried, with no malfunctions. The PHP MV 17 had no problems with hollowpoints, which I was originally curious about. I’d venture it will shooter much better with younger eyes than mine and with a rest! Due to the weight of the gun and its inherently good “P-38-ish” balance, it was no surprise the felt recoil was moderate. The DA trigger pull of my pistol is smooth and quick, and the SA pull is perfect. The surface finish is a nicely done blue. Suggested retail prices are in the high five hundreds, but I’m betting you can bargain with your local shop for less. * 45 For more info: www.americanhandgunner. com/southern-ohio-gun