The Korriphila HSP 701: A Pinnacle of Craftsmanship and Innovation

The Korriphila HSP 701: A Pinnacle of Craftsmanship and Innovation

The Korriphila HSP 701 is a unique and highly sought-after semi-automatic pistol that represents the pinnacle of firearm craftsmanship and design. Developed by Czech designer Edgar Budischowsky in Heidelberg, Germany, during the late 1970s, the HSP 701 was introduced in 1984 as a custom-built, high-quality handgun. This article explores the history, design, and legacy of the Korriphila HSP 701, highlighting its exceptional build quality, innovative features, and the niche it occupies in the world of firearms.

Design and Features

The Korriphila HSP 701 is renowned for its flawless workmanship and finish. The machining and polish are impeccable, with a deep bluing finish and classic walnut checkered stocks. Chambered for the popular .45 ACP cartridge, the HSP 701 features a stationary barrel fixed to the frame, with a recoil spring wrapped around it. The slide is equipped with combat sights similar to those of the Smith & Wesson Model 39, including a quick-draw ramp front sight and a fully adjustable rear sight for windage and elevation. The trigger guard is squared and checkered, reminiscent of the Swenson design.

One of the standout features of the HSP 701 is its roller lock mechanism. This system, known as the Budischowsky system, involves a movable breech-block within the slide. When the pistol is in the firing position, the breech-block and slide are mated, and the roller lock is pressed into the frame by an incline plane on the slide. Upon firing, the rearward pressure moves the slide a fraction of an inch, releasing the roller and allowing the slide to cycle smoothly. This system results in a very soft recoil, even with military hardball ammunition, and provides a marked improvement over traditional recoil systems.

The barrel’s fixed nature to the frame is another distinctive feature. Unlike many semi-automatic pistols where the barrel tilts, the Korriphila HSP 701 keeps the barrel stationary. This design contributes to the pistol’s enhanced accuracy and reliability, as the barrel’s alignment with the sights remains consistent with each shot.

Safety and Operation

The HSP 701 incorporates several safety features that enhance its reliability and user-friendliness. It has an automatic firing pin block that aligns the firing pin only when the double-action trigger is pulled or the hammer is cocked manually. This safety mechanism eliminates the need for bulky external safeties, giving the pistol a sleek and flat profile. The only external controls are the slide release and the magazine release button.

To field strip the pistol, the user pulls a button located at the front of the trigger guard, allowing the slide to move further back and then be lifted off the frame. This process, while requiring some strength due to the heavy recoil spring, is straightforward and efficient. The magazine is similar to that of the 1911, holding seven rounds of .45 ACP and featuring a well-made, hand-fitted construction.

The lack of external safeties makes the HSP 701 a user-friendly firearm for those familiar with its operation. The automatic safety features, including the firing pin block and hammer block, ensure that the pistol is safe to carry with a round chambered. The double-action trigger pull is short and smooth, allowing for precise first-shot placement, while the single-action trigger pull is crisp and light, comparable to top match-grade weapons.

Historical Context and Production

The Korriphila HSP 701 was developed and patented by Edgar Budischowsky in the late 1970s. Budischowsky, aimed to create the finest pistol with unmatched reliability and accuracy, regardless of cost. The HSP 701 was not designed for military or police use but was instead built for discerning individuals who appreciated the highest quality in firearms. Production numbers were limited, with approximately 30 pistols produced annually, totaling fewer than 400 units over its production run.

The development of the HSP 701 occurred during a period of significant changes in handgun technology and usage. By the 1980s, semi-automatic pistols were becoming more popular among law enforcement and civilian shooters. The transition from revolvers to semi-automatics was well underway, and innovations in firearm design were rapidly advancing. The Korriphila HSP 701, with its unique roller delay mechanism and custom-built quality, emerged as a high-end option for those seeking the best in handgun performance.

Performance and Accuracy

The Korriphila HSP 701 excels in both performance and accuracy. During test firing, the pistol demonstrated impressive accuracy, with groups measuring as small as 2 5/8 inches by 1 ¾ inches at 25 yards using Winchester 185-grain match wadcutters. The pistol reliably fed various types of ammunition, including hardball, hollow point, and semi-wadcutters, without any malfunctions. The roller delay system and fixed barrel contributed to its soft recoil and enhanced accuracy.

The recoil management of the HSP 701 is particularly noteworthy. The roller delay system significantly reduces the felt recoil, making the pistol comfortable to shoot even with full-power .45 ACP loads. This feature, combined with the fixed barrel, ensures that the pistol remains stable and accurate during rapid fire. The smooth and consistent trigger pull further enhances the shooter’s ability to maintain accuracy.

Build Quality and Refinement

The construction of the HSP 701 is a testament to Budischowsky’s dedication to quality and precision. All parts are cut from high-quality carbon steel blocks, and the level of part fitting is exceptional, rivaling that of custom 1911 builders. The pistol feels like a single piece of steel, with no rattle or movement between components. The cross-hatching on the front, backstrap, and trigger guard, along with the checkered walnut grips, showcase the meticulous attention to detail in its design.

The finish of the HSP 701 is another highlight. The deep bluing is both beautiful and durable, providing a corrosion-resistant surface that enhances the pistol’s longevity. The checkered walnut grips add a touch of elegance, while the fine cross-hatching on the metal surfaces ensures a secure grip. The overall aesthetics of the pistol reflect the high standards of craftsmanship that went into its creation.

Variants and Customization

The HSP 701 was offered in several variants, including different barrel lengths (4 inches and 5 inches) and calibers (.45 ACP, 9mm Luger, .30 Luger, .38 Super, and .38 Special Wadcutter). Customers could also choose between double-action/single-action (DA/SA), single-action only (SAO), and double-action only (DAO) configurations. Additionally, the pistols could be customized with different finishes, such as blued, silver, or Damascus steel, and various sight options.

The ability to customize the HSP 701 to the buyer’s specifications made each pistol unique. Buyers could choose the configuration that best suited their needs, whether for self-defense, target shooting, or competition. This level of customization was rare in the 1980s and set the HSP 701 apart from other handguns on the market.

Market Reception and Legacy

Despite its high price tag of around $2000 in 1984, the Korriphila HSP 701 was well-received by firearms enthusiasts and collectors. Its build quality and performance were praised by notable figures such as Jeff Cooper and Ken Warner. The pistol’s limited production and custom nature have made it a rare and valuable collector’s item, with used models fetching prices between $7000 and $45,000 today.

The HSP 701’s reputation for quality and performance has endured over the years. Collectors and enthusiasts continue to seek out these pistols, and their value on the secondary market reflects their desirability. The combination of innovative design, exceptional craftsmanship, and limited production has cemented the HSP 701’s status as a classic in the world of firearms.

Comparative Analysis with Other High-End Pistols

When comparing the Korriphila HSP 701 to other high-end pistols, several factors stand out. The build quality of the HSP 701 rivals that of the finest custom 1911s and European pistols. The attention to detail in the machining and finishing of the HSP 701 surpasses many production firearms, and even some custom models. The roller delay system, while not unique to the HSP 701, is implemented with a level of precision that sets it apart from other pistols using similar mechanisms.

In terms of ergonomics, the HSP 701 excels with its well-designed grip and intuitive controls. The trigger pull, both in double-action and single-action modes, is smooth and predictable, contributing to the pistol’s accuracy and ease of use. The fixed barrel and low bore axis further enhance the shooter’s ability to maintain control and accuracy during rapid fire.

The HSP 701’s closest competitors in terms of quality and design are likely other German pistols such as the Heckler & Koch P7 and the Sig P210. However, the HSP 701’s roller delay system and custom build quality give it an edge over these contemporaries in terms of both performance and collectibility. The H&K P7, while innovative with its squeeze-cocking mechanism, lacks the same level of bespoke craftsmanship found in the HSP 701. Similarly, the Sig P210 is renowned for its accuracy and build quality, but it does not offer the same degree of customization or the unique roller delay system.

The Development and Production Timeline

The development and production timeline of the Korriphila HSP 701 provides further insight into its uniqueness. After the patent was granted in 1979, Edgar Budischowsky began producing the HSP 701 on a fully custom basis in 1984. The pistols were built in small batches, with serial numbers reflecting the production year and order. For example, pistols produced in 1984 and 1985 were given serial numbers in the “0” block, while those from 1986 had “700” series numbers, and so on.

Production was never continuous, and each pistol was essentially hand-built to the specifications of the customer. This approach meant that no two pistols were exactly alike, further adding to their collectibility. The estimated total production of fewer than 400 units over the years highlights the exclusivity of the HSP 701.

User Experience and Practical Use

The Korriphila HSP 701, despite being a high-end collectible, was designed with practical use in mind. Its weight and balance make it a stable platform for shooting, while the soft recoil provided by the roller delay system allows for quick follow-up shots. Users have praised the pistol for its smooth operation, reliability, and the overall shooting experience.

Field stripping the HSP 701, while requiring some strength due to the heavy recoil spring, is straightforward once the process is understood. This ease of maintenance adds to the practicality of the pistol for regular use. The automatic safety features, combined with the absence of external safeties, provide a safe and intuitive user experience.

The HSP 701 in the Context of 1980s Firearms Development

To fully appreciate the significance of the Korriphila HSP 701, it is essential to place it within the context of 1980s firearms development. During this period, the transition from revolvers to semi-automatic pistols was gaining momentum, particularly among law enforcement agencies. The rise of practical shooting sports and advancements in handgun design were also influencing the market.

The 1980s saw the introduction of several influential firearms, including the Beretta M9, which replaced the 1911A1 as the standard-issue sidearm for the U.S. military, and the Glock 17, which brought polymer frames and striker-fired mechanisms to the forefront. Amid these developments, the HSP 701 stood out as a premium, custom-built option that catered to those who valued quality and precision above all else.

The Legacy of Edgar Budischowsky

Edgar Budischowsky’s contribution to firearm design extends beyond the HSP 701. His earlier work on the TP70 .22 and .25 caliber pocket pistols showcased his ability to innovate and refine firearm mechanisms. However, the HSP 701 represents the pinnacle of his career, embodying his philosophy of uncompromising quality and performance.

Budischowsky’s legacy lives on through the Korriphila HSP 701, which continues to be revered by collectors and firearms enthusiasts. His attention to detail, commitment to excellence, and innovative approach to handgun design have left an indelible mark on the industry.

Collectibility and Market Value

The collectibility and market value of the Korriphila HSP 701 have steadily increased over the years. As a result of its limited production and exceptional quality, the HSP 701 commands high prices on the secondary market. Collectors value these pistols not only for their performance but also for their rarity and the craftsmanship that went into their creation.

In recent years, the market for high-end collectible firearms has seen significant growth, with enthusiasts willing to pay a premium for rare and unique pieces. The HSP 701 fits perfectly into this niche, often fetching prices between $7000 and $45,000, depending on condition and provenance. This trend is likely to continue as more collectors recognize the significance of the Korriphila HSP 701.

Comparing the HSP 701 to Other Premium Firearms

The Korriphila HSP 701 can be compared to other premium firearms from its era and beyond. One notable comparison is with the Korth semi-automatic pistol, another high-end German firearm introduced in the late 1980s. Both pistols share similarities in terms of build quality and exclusivity, but they differ significantly in design and functionality.

The Korth pistol, while highly refined and well-crafted, uses a more traditional locking system and does not feature the roller delay mechanism of the HSP 701. This difference in design philosophy highlights the innovative nature of Budischowsky’s work. Additionally, the HSP 701’s emphasis on a sleek, safety-free exterior contrasts with the more conventional controls found on the Korth.

When compared to contemporary custom 1911s, the HSP 701 stands out for its unique approach to recoil management and its fixed barrel design. While custom 1911s are renowned for their accuracy and craftsmanship, the HSP 701 offers a different shooting experience with its roller delay system and meticulously fitted components.

The HSP 701 in Modern Context

In today’s context, the Korriphila HSP 701 remains a symbol of excellence in handgun design. Modern firearms have continued to evolve, with advancements in materials, manufacturing techniques, and design philosophies. However, the principles that guided the creation of the HSP 701—precision, quality, and innovation—remain relevant.

While polymer-framed, striker-fired pistols dominate the market today, there is still a strong appreciation for the craftsmanship and attention to detail found in firearms like the HSP 701. Collectors and enthusiasts continue to seek out these pieces, not only for their historical significance but also for the unparalleled shooting experience they offer.


The Korriphila HSP 701 stands as a testament to the heights that can be achieved in firearm design and craftsmanship. Developed by Edgar Budischowsky in the late 1970s and introduced in 1984, this pistol embodies the principles of quality, precision, and innovation. Its unique roller delay system, exceptional build quality, and limited production have made it a highly sought-after collector’s item.

As we reflect on the legacy of the HSP 701, it is clear that Budischowsky’s vision and dedication have left a lasting impact on the world of firearms. The HSP 701 remains a benchmark for what can be achieved when cost is no object, and the pursuit of excellence is the primary goal. For collectors, enthusiasts, and anyone who appreciates the art of firearm design, the Korriphila HSP 701 represents the pinnacle of what a handgun can be.

Love this article? Why not share it...

Related News

Sign In


Not a member? Register and get started today.