Lionheart LH9


My interest in firearms spans many genres, however my interests tend to focus on firearms with a military pedigree. That’s why when I learned the Korean K5 9mm service pistol was being imported into the U.S. by Lionheart Industries I became excited, I wanted one.  The Deawoo K5 9mm pistol has served the ROK Army for several decades and has earned a reputation for being well made and reliable. If you served in the U.S. Army in South Korea, you probably noticed the soldiers carrying the K5 pistol.
LH9N-MKII
The Lionheart LH9N-MKII pistol with the outstanding Inforce APL light.
At one time the K5 was imported as the DP-51 by Century Arms.  The importation stopped sometime in 1999 when the Korean government broke up the Daewoo corporate holdings.  Daewoo didn’t go away, they reorganized.  However this was enough to stop the importion of the DP-51 handgun. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to grab one of the original imports.
Fast forward to 2013 and the K5 is coming back into the country as the Lionheart LH9.Lionheart Industries was founded in 2011 and is a U.S. owned importer/manufacturer of firearms. Several versions of the LH9 are now available and I opted for their top end offering, the LH9N-MKII, which you see featured here.

VIDEO

In examining my LH9N-MKII I’ve noticed some evolutionary changes that set it apart from the military K5. The hammer has a slightly different profile, the sights are improved, the grip texture has changed a bit, the slide serrations are more aggressive, the pistols are Cerakoted vs. the traditional black oxide finish, and you can now order one with a 1913 rail on the dust cover (the LH9N-MKII).  These are all solid improvements to the original design, IMHO, and improve the appearance and performance of the pistol.
The K5 pistol was developed in the 1980′s and entered Korean military service in the 1990′s. The handgun is clearly based on Browning designs such as the 1911 and Hi-Power. It also has a clear connection to the S&W Model 59 series, which itself is based heavily on John Brownings’ designs. As a matter of fact, the LH9 is so similar to the 5906 that it can use the S&W’s magazines.The handguns are still made in the Daewoo factory in Korea and bare the required import marks on the right side of the frame along with the new LH9 monikor. On the left side of the slide you will find the Lionheart markings. Overall the LH9 is an extremely attractive pistol, at least to my eyes.
The LH9 sits in the “Wonder 9″ category as the pistol features a double action/single action trigger system… with something of a unique twist. The pistol uses a trigger system Lionheart calls “Double Action +”. When you load the handgun the hammer will stay cocked to the rear in a typical single action fashion.  This leaves the operator three choices. You can engage the frame mounted safety and carry the pistol cocked and locked as you would a 1911, or you can push the hammer forward with your thumb which will also move the trigger forward into the “Double Action +” mode. The third option is to carefully release the hammer by pulling the trigger while securely holding it with your index finger and thumb and letting it forward. This will put the pistol into a traditional double action mode for the first shot.
Shooting the LH9 is extremely pleasurable. If you’re a fan of “Wonder 9′s” such as the CZ75 or 5906 with their all metal construction and double action triggers, you’re going to love the LH9. I’m a fan of the S&W 5906  and shooting the LH9 is very similar.  The recoil is light, the action is smooth and the accuracy is very good. Ergonomically it’s very similar to the popular old school Smith, something I really like about the pistol. The texture of the grips is agressive but comfortable, which isn’t surprising given they were designed by Paul Kim, the former VP of engineering at Surefire. The Novak sights are as to be expected, very good.  My LH9N-MKII sports the optional Trijicon Novak sights with a big dot front sight post.When in DA+ mode the LH9 looks as though it’s in a standard double action mode, but it’s not. By that I mean, you would expect to pull the trigger which would offer a long and heavy pull as it draws the hammer to the rear then releasing it. The DA+ mode offers a much lighter trigger pull which is more like a long two stage single action pull. You have the same trigger pull distance as a double action trigger pull but the pull weight is drastically reduced.  It’s hard to explain how it feels or how it works which is why I will more thoroughly demonstrate this unique operating system in a future Military Arms Channel video review.
The gun comes packaged in a nice soft case and includes two magazines, a cleaning kit (and some Froglube), manual, safety lock, and various other goodies. The gun is available in several different configurations and colors. The basic model without a rail, standard sights and a black finish has a MSRP of $615. The version you see here is the LH9N-MKII with the Novak tritium night sights and it has a MSRP of $738. A compact version, called the LH9C, is also available starting at a MSRP of $595 with standard sights.  Keep in mind, these are MSRP prices and street prices will likely be somewhat less.The handgun has the controls in all of the usual places. The slide stop is located on the left side of the handgun and is not ambidexerous.  The frame mounted safety is located on both sides of the pistol and is similar to the 1911 safety in location. The safety can be applied in all three conditions; double action, single action and Double Action +.  With the safety engaged you can cycle the slide. The magazine release is on the left side of the pistol but can be moved to the right side for left hand use. The trigger guard sports an off-hand shooting notch for those who prefer to place their index finger of the support hand around the front of the trigger guard.  It’s not serrated and is a bit smooth, which some of you who use this technique may not like. I don’t use such a hold, so I’m impartial to the lack of serrations.
Basic LH9 Tech Specs
 
Caliber9mm
Length7.5"
Barrel Length4.1"
Weight1lbs 13oz (with empty mag)
Magazine Capacity13 (compact), 15 (full size)
Materialsforged 7075 aluminum frame / forged 4140 steel slide
Back in the 1990′s these handguns were available for around $325 in their basic military configuration. Inflation has taken its toll on all things including the pricing of the LH9.  But also keep in mind that the LH9 has a nicer finish than the original DP-51′s as well as better sights and packaging.  I’ve talked to many owners of original DP-51 pistols and I’ve yet to hear a disparaging word.  Don’t take my word for it, Google “DP-51″ and see what some of the owners have said about the pistols.  I’m looking forward to spending quite a bit more range time with my LH9N-MKII.

 

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