USP 45 Reliability


March 17, 2006, 01:07 AM
I'm considering the 45 compact for a concealer and want to know how it is on reliability since I've read a few bad stories about them breaking.

I really like the gun but will consider others if the overwhelming response isn't good.

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March 17, 2006, 04:32 AM

March 17, 2006, 07:56 AM
No gun is perfect! Humans make and assemble them. Worse yet humans use and maintain them! So with that said. My USPf in 45acp has 26K through it! The gun is dead on accurate! It goes bang! The bullets go where pointed. The little brother has about 8K through it, and it is just as accurate. Frankly I like the feel of the compact with the extended floor plates! Buy It, Shoot It, Enjoy It!

March 17, 2006, 10:50 AM
No problems whatsoever with mine, and it's been about 2 years/7k rounds. I regularly carried it for about 18 months too. What stories have you heard?

March 17, 2006, 12:46 PM
Some USPs have had broken firing pins from dry firing a lot. There was apparently a batch of early ones that went out with brittle pins.

I have two USPs (45 Compact and 45 Tactical) and have not had any problems from either.

If you do get a USP, it's safest to use a Snap-cap when dry firing.

Other than the potential firing pin issue, USPs are very durable and reliable.

March 17, 2006, 06:40 PM
I've never heard much bad about the current USP's. I recently had the chance to get some serious trigger time on a fullsize .45 and the compact. The fullsize was a tad on the large side for me, but the compact was just right. These belonged to a friend and he had just bought the compact. The fullsize had about 4k through it with no problems. We put 500rnds through the compact at the range and it ran flawless. The USP series in one variant or another may end up on my shopping list.

March 17, 2006, 06:50 PM
I carried a HK USPc .45 and it never malfunctioned on me. Ever. The only reason I stopped carrying it was because it's like wearing a brick on my side.

March 17, 2006, 06:54 PM
No problems here. The 45 USPc is like the energizer bunny in black. :evil:

March 17, 2006, 07:18 PM
Undeniably reliable. The only knock was the bad pins in 1999/2000.

March 17, 2006, 08:04 PM

The testing process of the USP, already extreme, exceeded strict NATO AC-225 Military Specification Standards and in many ways mirrors the regimen the HK Special Operations Pistol was subjected to by US Government testers. The barrel of the USP is cold-hammer forged from a high-grade chromium steel - the same type of steel used in cannon barrels. For increased velocity and longer barrel life, all USP barrels now have a polygonal profile. During testing, a bullet was deliberately lodged in a USP barrel. Another cartridge was then fired into the obstructing bullet. The second bullet cleared the barrel, resulting in a barely noticeable bulge. The pistol was then fired for accuracy and the resulting group measured less than 2 1/2 inches at 25 meters.

Other less destructive tests reveal much about USP reliability and durability. Function testing a wide selection of ammunition types, one test gun fired more than 10,000 rounds without a single malfunction. That means no stovepipes, no failures to feed or eject; no jams! Endurance firing of test samples has passed 24,000 rounds of high performance .40 S&W ammunition without any parts failures. Severe temperature tests required the USP be frozen at -44°F (-42°C) and then fired, frozen again, quickly heated to 153 F° (67°C), and then fired again. These temperature spectrum tests were continually repeated with no adverse effects on the USP.

Demanding NATO Mil-Spec mud and rain tests were conducted, again with the USP passing without difficulty. Water immersion and salt spray also presented no problems to the USP. Outside metal surfaces of the USP are covered with an extremely hard nitro-gas carburized and black oxidized finish. Interal metal parts are coated with a special Dow-CorningŠ process that reduces friction and wear. Both the intemal and exteral finishes have proved to be especially corrosion resistant. For more than two years, German Navy combat divers have used the same process on weapons parts without any signs of rust or corrosion.

Safety testing exceeded the ANSI/SAAMI requirements adopted in May 1990. These included dropping a USP with a primed cartridge and decocked hammer on a variety of hard surfaces without discharging. The USP easily surpassed these commercial requirements, as well as tough German Army and police tests including repeated drop tests from six feet, hammer first, onto a steel backed concrete slab. Proof round firing resulted in no cracks, deformations, or increase in head space. Attempts to fire the USP pistol with an unlocked breech proved impossible.

HK firearms are known worldwide for their accuracy. Testing with a variety of ammunition proved the USP meets these high standards. The HK patented recoil reduction system, a mechanical dual spring buffering device, is another feature common to the USP and the HK Special Operations Pistol. During the USP testing phase, HK engineers discovered this innovative unit reduces the peak force acting on the USP grip to less than 300 Newtons (66 pounds). Peak force shock on competing .40 caliber polymer and metal framed pistols climbed to more than 5000 Newtons (1,102 pounds). The primary benefit of low peak shock is a decrease in wear and tear on pistol components, a great concern with the powerful +P cartridge in 9mm, 40 S&W. and.45 ACP. Reduction of peak shock forces also contributes to softer recoil for the shooter, although these "felt recoil" values are much more subjective.

Even after the commercial introduction of the USP in 1993, testing and product improvement have continued. USP test pistols have already fired more than 24,000 rounds of.40 caliber ammunition without any component failures. Heckler & Koch engineers are set to surpass the standard set by the HK Special Operations Pistol of 30,000 rounds. The USP project demonstrates a simple, guiding principle of Heckler & Koch engineering; form follows function. All HK pistols are designed and manufactured to meet the operational requirements of the most demanding users.

I really want one.

March 17, 2006, 08:14 PM
During testing, a bullet was deliberately lodged in a USP barrel. Another cartridge was then fired into the obstructing bullet. The second bullet cleared the barrel, resulting in a barely noticeable bulge. The pistol was then fired for accuracy and the resulting group measured less than 2 1/2 inches at 25 meters.

Don't try this at home kids. :what:

March 17, 2006, 08:18 PM
I really want one.

Then go get it :)

March 17, 2006, 08:22 PM
I do believe I will, I just know I am gonna have problems concealing it, I only weigh 160lbs!

March 17, 2006, 08:56 PM
I just know I am gonna have problems concealing it

Two words can fix that...

Comp-Tac CTAC. The greatest thing that ever happened to my USP.

March 22, 2006, 07:58 AM
The reason I asked this was because I heard of a few ranges across the U.S. (where guns are undeniably shot to death) and the USP's were breaking and out on repair orders regularly.

I do like it and will probably get it in 9mm compact form. Though this firing pin isn't very reassuring

March 22, 2006, 03:47 PM
Though this firing pin isn't very reassuring
Yes it has happened, but to a very, very small percentage of USP owners. On, guys rip on HK when it is deserved, but the firing pin issue is not one of major concern among the members there.

March 22, 2006, 03:58 PM
I read the same HK special forces crap for three years while I saved for an HK USP Tactical. I paid a grand for that thing and it has given me nothing but trouble. I paid half as much for the Glock and it has been at least twice the pistol.

Recognizing that everyone turns out a lemon once in a while, one should never have to deal with such a laundry list of problems from a new $1000 pistol. My experience with HK leads me to believe you pay twice as much for half the pistol.

Even if it functioned as advertised, I would still prefer the Glock just because it has much less muzzle flip and a much better trigger.

You can listen to a bunch of people tell you they have so-and-so many rounds through there's without problems and read all the special forces stuff, as I did for three years, but don't put HK on a pedestal or it will sorely disappoint. Realize they can turn out utter crap too and consider carefully before laying down your money. Regardless, I wish you luck with your purchase.

March 22, 2006, 04:08 PM
I've seen only ONE picture of firing pin that broke off.
If you're so worry about it like this militadude, don't get it.
get yourself a compact 1911/commander or something, i'm sure it'll work better. :rolleyes:

March 22, 2006, 05:35 PM
I really want one.
See my signature line :D

August 4, 2006, 12:37 AM
Maybe should I consider the slimmer SIG 220 instead?

Has this gun ever had a firing pin problem? Or any other recurring reliability problem?

August 4, 2006, 02:02 AM

"...we then plugged the barrel, by filling it with concrete, from the muzzle, to just ahead of the chamber. While the concrete was setting, we drilled two 3/8" holes, laterally through the slide, fore and aft of the ejection port. We then inserted a 3/8", grade-5, case-hardened, hex-head bolt through each hole, fastened with nuts and lock washers. It was nearly impossible to reinstall the barrel in the slide!

Next, we removed the sights. We then cut the lower half of the trigger completely off, with an old coping saw. We also heated the grip with a torch, until it warped significantly (after which, it required hammering the base of the mags, to even seat them - which we were never able to do completely).

We then took the slide off and deeply abraded it along each side with a bench grinder, using a coarse wheel...

Finally, we put the entire pistol in a Coleman picnic cooler, filled with a combination of saltwater, bleach, Tahitian Treat, OxyClean and dog urine. After soaking in the swill for six months, we retrieved the gun, only to find it with minor pitting on some of the pins.

After loading 600 magazines with 230 grain .45 ACP +P FMJ ammo (remember, this particular gun was chambered for 9mm!), we headed to the range. It required a great deal of effort to chamber the first round, which consisted of a protracted hammering session with a ball pein hammer...

The first 50 magazines fired, all going into one ragged hole - offhand, at 75 yards! This continued, without drama, for the next 500 magazines. One shooter noted minor chaffing of his trigger finger from the jagged bottom edge of the trigger, where we had cut it off, using the old coping saw. We attributed this to some faulty reloads.

Finally, we threw the pistol under the tracks of a large Caterpillar bulldozer, working at a nearby rock quarry. After running over this pinnacle of German engineering a total of EIGHT times, we retrieved said pistol and headed back to the range. We finished the remaining 50 loaded magazines of 230 grain, .45 +P FMJ ammo, though the 9mm pistol, without fanfare. Try that with any other 9mm!

All in all, we were impressed. 6000 rounds of fired .45 ACP brass littered the ground. A cloud of smoke hung over us, like a long afternoon on hold with this company's customer service department and we were ready to head home. Even though I cut my teeth, firing cheap, imported .38 snubby revolvers, I would not feel undergunned, if forced to carry this teutonic marvel. It truly is a gun for the 21st century!"


August 4, 2006, 09:00 AM
I have a stainless USPc 45 and it has been without a doubt the most reliable and fun to shoot piece I've ever had. I love mine, you'll likely love yours. I'd trust my life to it, even if I had to drag it out of a river bottom to fire it.

August 4, 2006, 09:02 AM
Hell, as much as that thing cost it should be reliable!:rolleyes:

August 4, 2006, 02:27 PM
hello all, been lurking for a while and this is my very first post.

It also pains me to have to do this but i feel obligated.

I wanted a USPf .45 for years and when I finally did get mine I was so pleased. I put several hundred rounds through it with no problems. then it developed a tendency to not return to full battery. this seemed to only happen when firing hollowpoints. Needless to say I was not pleased. It would stop just short and could be pushed the rest of the way into battery.

I sent my pistol to HK for 50$ and they had it back within 2 weeks. the shop receipt said only "extractor adjustment". well, now my pistol fires fine. I really like it. but my 800$ gun now is an 850$ gun. From a lot to a lot and more. Plus I wont be truly 100% comfortable with the gun until ive got 500 more rounds through it malfunction free.

read into this what you want. I really like my gun and feel that i probably just unluckily got a mess-up. yet, im ticked and disappointed that i got the lemon.

August 4, 2006, 02:35 PM

All manufacturers can have lemons, from time to time. It is disappointing, when it happens to you, though.

I've had several USPs (have NONE, now). One of them, didn't work right out of the box. The safety/decocker didn't work. I forget the details, but it wouldn't engage or something. (It's been a few years).

I sent it back to HK and they sent it back, saying it was fixed. Took it out - still didn't work. Plain and simple, the lever just didn't work. Sent it back a SECOND time. It did come back fixed, this time (they replaced the safety components). I never fired the gun a single time (and I bought it new). I ended up selling it later (on consignment through this same dealer), because I just didn't care for the USP platform.

Fortunately, the shop I bought it from did the shipping, back and forth. It would have cost me around $100-$120 to do it twice.

August 4, 2006, 06:21 PM
I'm considering the 45 compact for a concealer and want to know how it is on reliability since I've read a few bad stories about them breaking.

Despite the few lemons out there (far fewer than a lot of other manufacturers), you'd be hard pressed to try to "break" one. It's an absolute Grade A gun that I would put up against any other pistol.

August 4, 2006, 09:16 PM
Every man made item will have its issues...Rolex to Rolls Royce, Hyundai to Honda, Bryco to SIG Sauer. IMO, HK makes the most consistently fine product in the industry. I have 4 USPs in various sizes & calibers and the 45 is truly a fine handgun!

Compared to the P220 I had, all my HKs rock! :cool: and that SIG was just a lemon!

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