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Heckler & Koch P11

Underwater Pistol [ 1976 ]

The Heckler and Koch P11 Underwater Pistol was developed specifically with the special forces member in mind.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 02/26/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

Special forces elements have long since required specialized weapons and training to see their particular mission set through. As such there were many types of unique weapon designs that permeated the Cold War decades during which many of today's special forces groups were established. One of the more interesting categories of firearm became the "underwater pistol", a weapon that - as its name suggests - gave the special forces member the capability to fire under water. Such weapons were developed in the United States and the Soviet Union as well as Germany.

In the 1970s, the West German concern of Heckler & Koch began development and testing of an underwater pistol and, in 1976, the weapon was introduced as the "P11" (though it was not formally recognized publically until 1997). It utilized a five-barrel module arrangement with each barrel chambered to fire a 4-inch long steel dart. Power was electrical and served from a battery pack embedded in the pistol grip handle. These components coupled together - along with the trigger group - made for a large handheld weapon but one that was nonetheless deemed effective for its intended role.©MilitaryFactory.com
The P11 use of steel darts was common practice for underwater weapons as standard, land-based cartridges were found to perform poorly when fired in water. The darts were officially of 7.62x36mm Special caliber and held an underwater range up to 50 feet. If pressed, the weapon could also fire above water (though with reduced accuracy) up to a range of 100 feet. Sights were fitted to the weapon to provide for some accuracy at range. Once expended the weapon's entire five-barrel module was simply replaced. The module barrels themselves were only reloadable at the HK factory.

Beyond its use by German special forces (GSG-9), the P11 went on to see adoption by various other nations including Denmark, France, Israel, Italy (COMSUBIN), Malaysia (PASKAL), Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom (Special Boat Service), and the United States (Navy SEALs).©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Service Year

Germany national flag graphic


Underwater Pistol

Heckler & Koch GmbH - West Germany
(View other Arms-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of Denmark National flag of France National flag of modern Germany National flag of Israel National flag of Italy National flag of Malaysia National flag of the Netherlands National flag of Norway National flag of Pakistan National flag of the United Kingdom National flag of the United States Denmark; France; Germany; West Germany; Israel; Italy; Malaysia; Netherlands; Norway; Pakistan; United Kingdom; United States
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Pistol / Sidearm
Compact design for close-quarters work or general self-defense.
Special Forces
Qualities of this weapon have shown its value to Special Forces elements requiring a versatile, reliable solution for the rigors of special assignments.
Special Purpose
Special purpose weapon for a specially defined battlefield role.

Overall Length
200 mm
7.87 in
Barrel Length
60 mm
2.36 in
Empty Wgt
2.65 lb
1.20 kg

Iron Sights


Electrically-Actuated System

(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)


7.62x36mm Special

Rounds / Feed

5-Rounds Total (one round per barrel)
Cartridge relative size chart
*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources.
**Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.
Max Eff.Range
50 ft
(15 m | 17 yd)

P11 - Base Series Designation

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Images Gallery

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Image of the Heckler & Koch P11
Image from user R.A. via email.
2 / 2
Image of the Heckler & Koch P11
Image from user R.A. via email.


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