Tried out the HK USP


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Sergei Mosin
December 18, 2012, 11:02 PM
Paid a visit to the local range/gun store and decided to rent a couple of HK pistols, just to try them out. They had the USP in both 9mm and .45 ACP, so I ran 50 rounds through each.

Interesting guns. Generally, I don't care for polymer-framed pistols, but the USP has a solid feel that some polymer guns lack - enough that I could probably overlook my anti-polymer prejudice.

Both were quite accurate in my hands. Once you figure out where to hold, the rounds go right where you want them every time. Big three-dot sights help, and the gun points pretty well. Quite pleased with my groups.

These particular guns were what H&K refers to as, and I quote from their website, "Variant 1:
 Double action/single action with "SAFE” position. Control lever (manual safety/decocking lever) on left side of frame." This brings me to the trigger.

The HK double action trigger has got to be one of the worst I've ever fired, and I own two Soviet Nagant revolvers. Long, impossibly heavy, mushy, with extra stacking at the end (if you ever get there.) These guns are range guns with plenty of rounds through them, so I hate to think how bad their triggers must have been when they were new.

Fortunately, in single action the trigger wasn't too bad - still a little mushy but not horrendous.

The grips have a pretty aggressive pattern on front and rear that I thought might rough up my hands some, and it did, but only in the harder-kicking .45. Recoil was plenty manageable in both calibers, although the 9mm was a good bit softer.

But if you're worried about the grips hurting your hands, wear gloves. There's plenty of room inside the enormous trigger guard for a gloved finger - or two, in case you need extra help to fire in double action. HK must have designed it to accomodate the fingers of a Bavarian bodybuilder drafted into the Bundeswehr and standing guard on the Inner German Border. In January.

Overall, I was reasonably pleased with the USP. It's a solid example of a service pistol, if a bit on the expensive side. I'm not likely to buy one, but it's a plastic gun I don't hate. Now that's impressive.

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Fremmer
December 18, 2012, 11:16 PM
The trigger would be the deal breaker for me, something that's heavy and stacks? No thank you. Especially if the single action trigger isn't a whole lot better, or something. I'm surprised, I always assumed the trigger on a usp would be something like a sig da/sa feel.

Jim Watson
December 18, 2012, 11:44 PM
I had a USP.45 V1.
It was reliable and accurate and I have no doubt it was durable.
But it was too big for my hand, I should have got a 9mm.

The DA was indeed tough, and a softer mainspring only helped a little.

The gun to get would be a V9 (or V10 if lefthanded) safety only, no decock, and go cocked and locked. The DA linkage is still there for a double strike on a dud.

9mmepiphany
December 19, 2012, 01:54 AM
You could take a look at what H&K introduced as their product improvement version of the USP...the P30 (9mm) and the HHK45 (.45ACP)

gun addict
December 19, 2012, 03:52 AM
ive had 6 different USPS go through my hands, lets see, a standard USP40 because it was a good deal, a usp40 compact for ccw carry, a USP9 standard, USP45 compact for carry, 2 USP tacticals 45.........and as much as i try to "like" them, i just could'nt due to all of its faults compared to my CZ75s or 1911s, lets see where to start?

: Bore of axis is extrmely high, not even close to the feel of a 1911 or cz75 or a S&W MP for that matter

: Horrible trigger

: Bad ergonomic, designed for tutonic operators

: Polygon rifling that offers no significant advantage to accuracy and you cannot shoot non-jacketed ammo through them

: No standard rail that only accepts certain HK accessories and requires a goofy and expensive picatinny rail adaptor if you want standard accessories


My point is, some people loves the USP series but its not just for me, however you'll never know if a certain gun fits you unless you pick it up and hopefully have a chance to fire it before purchase

Pilot
December 19, 2012, 07:06 AM
The only polymer pistol I own is an HK USP Tactical .45. The primary reason I bought it was that if I ever wanted to use a suppressor it was already set up to do so. The other reason was that it has an HK "Match" trigger as standard configuration. The DA, and especially the SA trigger pull are lighter, smoother, and crisper than the regular USP's. If you like the USP but don't like the trigger, a Match trigger can be installed or just get a Tactical with it already included.

FWIW, I still can''t get used to the plastic sounding "thunk" when dry firing the pistol as all my others are all steel or alloy framed, and sound like real guns.

FIVETWOSEVEN
December 19, 2012, 08:40 AM
The way I see it is the USP is a $500 gun and the HK45 is at a realistic price point. I don't see where the USP gets the MSRP it has. The ergos weren't that bad I'm my hand but that trigger is awful. My less expensive CZ75 has a much better trigger and for is much more gum than a USP.

I've never shot a USP so my opinion comes from just handling a couple.

Onmilo
December 19, 2012, 09:41 AM
I own USPs in .45 and 9mm.
I don't have a problem handling them but my hands are huge.
The P30 and HK45 are better choices if your hands are smaller plus they feature picatinney type dustcover rail instead of the irritating proprietary H&K rail

Whole Hog
December 19, 2012, 09:47 AM
You described my .45 USP pretty well, especially the trigger, but you left out 'big'. The thing just feels enormous to me. I got a really good deal on it though and like it well enough I sent it in to be converted to Variant 2 (same as above but left handed). I'll never carry it, but it's a great house/range/truck gun.

usp9
December 19, 2012, 12:02 PM
I've never had a problem with the HK standard trigger. I almost never use it in DA, and the the SA is typical of most duty guns of that ilk. I do agree that the match trigger is certainly a step up, but I'm not sure I'd want it on a carry gun. One thing is certain about HK triggers, unlike most manufacturers that may offer only one or two types, HK offers a wide selection that should suit anybody's needs.

As to lead in HK polygonal barrels... Hk just reminds users to clean the barrel after using lead bullets. No prohibition.

I'm a HK fanboy. I've tried many guns and owned quite a few. HK's features, quality and reliability suit my needs perfectly. If there's a better gun for me out there... I haven't found it yet.

481
December 19, 2012, 09:31 PM
These particular guns were what H&K refers to as, and I quote from their website, "Variant 1:
 Double action/single action with "SAFE” position. Control lever (manual safety/decocking lever) on left side of frame." This brings me to the trigger.

The HK double action trigger has got to be one of the worst I've ever fired, and I own two Soviet Nagant revolvers. Long, impossibly heavy, mushy, with extra stacking at the end (if you ever get there.) These guns are range guns with plenty of rounds through them, so I hate to think how bad their triggers must have been when they were new.

Fortunately, in single action the trigger wasn't too bad - still a little mushy but not horrendous.


If you get a V1, you can get around the issue (as I have) by carrying it cocked & locked.

CaptHank
December 19, 2012, 09:41 PM
Purchased a new one, when they first came out. It was the only new gun that I've ever sold after 2 months. The trigger was the WORST!

Kabal
December 20, 2012, 09:32 AM
I've shot the P8, the Bundeswehr version of the USP, more or less frequently for 10 years. The guns I used were military pistols and a range gun, so they weren't pampered like the average target shooting handgun. Never have I had a malfunction, or even witnessed a malfunction on a P8. Every single time I pulled the trigger, the gun went "bang".

I've hardly, if ever, used the gun in DA, but the SA trigger seems adequate for a service handgun.
My teutonic thumb has absolutely no problems reaching the mag release, and I never even noticed the trigger trough until I read complaints about it on the Internet.

However, the grip doesn't feel ergonomic to me, and I don't shoot the P8 very well. I shoot it decently enough to qualify for all military shooting awards, but not well enough to use it for target shooting. I find my CZ75 SP-01 Shadow to be much more ergonomic, and - for me - more accurate.

Also, HK's pricing in the US is somewhat of a mystery to me. In Germany, the USP costs about as much as a CZ75 or a Walther PPQ.


My conclusion: The USP is a well-made and extremely reliable service pistol, but it does not have perfect ergonomics and is a little on the expensive side (in the US). Personally, I'm fine with the P8 as Bundeswehr sidearm, but I wouldn't buy one for target shooting.

mes228
December 20, 2012, 10:51 AM
I've owned five H&K's and only "liked" two of them. The one thing that can be said is that they RUN. I never had a malfunction with any of them. The truth about hand guns is that the only thing that means anything is "does it run?". That's an exaggeration but not by much. I like accuracy, good triggers, aesthetics and ergos. However, in a self defense scenario at 3-15 feet you may be able to work with those things. That leaves this question for any firearm you intend to carry "does it run?". H&K's do run, at least that's my experience.

Trisha
December 20, 2012, 11:46 AM
The HK USP Compact in .45acp is my EDC cold weather gun and has been since they were first released (I traded the G21, which had served flawlessly, for a customized Oneida bow). Even with smaller hands, it's comfortable, completely reliable, and more than accurate for my requirements to 25 yards.

The best accuracy is with 8.5grs VV N340 and 230gr TC with a Fiocchi primer. Tens of thousands of rounds, I like the combination. Easy to work with winter gloves, and nice to bare hands even @ -10F.

I appreciated the easy to configure controls when I had shoulder surgery, and I became very fond of the ambi mag release.

Likely, I am not tactical enough, but I dislike handguns with rails - I'm never going to be fast-roping. . . Rails snag, and an easy draw/reholster are important.

When I want a smooth DA, I look to revolvers. Otherwise, the few other handguns I have are mostly 1911's.

HKGuns
December 20, 2012, 12:20 PM
Great pistols never go out of "style" whatever that means. My USP45 is a fantastic pistol.

Da40CalGlock27
December 20, 2012, 12:28 PM
I never have had a HK but you have put severe doubt in my heart about getting one :uhoh:

Pilot
December 20, 2012, 05:26 PM
HK has addressed any ergonomic shortcomings of the USP series with pistols like the P30, and HK 45.

Rinspeed
December 20, 2012, 05:48 PM
Purchased a new one, when they first came out. It was the only new gun that I've ever sold after 2 months. The trigger was the WORST




The two USPs I owned both had marginal DA triggers but both had good SA pulls. They were never designed to be target pistols.

SwampWolf
December 20, 2012, 08:28 PM
I'm obviously in the minority here, but the da pull on my HK USP 40 (which I've had since 1994) is no worse nor better than most of the other da trigger pulls that are on the many "traditional" da autos that I own.

1858
December 20, 2012, 09:19 PM
I shot a hundred rounds or so through a USP Tactical (.45 Auto) last week and didn't like anything about it. Awful trigger, terrible mag release, crappy decocker, useless sights ... in short an ergonomical and functional disaster (to me). I've shot GLOCKS, M&Ps and Xds and would buy a polymer pistol from any one of those manufacturers before a USP. :barf:

vba
December 21, 2012, 12:50 PM
I don't find firing my USPc 45 a problem in double action. I love this pistol as the full size USP is too large.

FIVETWOSEVEN
December 21, 2012, 02:48 PM
I don't get it, I really don't. You pay more for a HK and it doesn't really offer that much over the competition with the USP. What's so special about HK? Why is the trigger so bad on a gun that's so much?

Sergei Mosin
January 17, 2013, 05:15 AM
I said I wasn't going to buy a USP.

I said I hated the DA trigger, and I did.

I swore, for years, that I'd never buy any plastic polymer gun, of any kind, ever. No tactical tupperware for this 1911 guy, no sir. Pay no attention to the AR behind the curtain.

But I kept remembering those groups. 9mm or .45 ACP, the USP can shoot. I'm not a natural shooter. I have to work at it. Even worse, I'm self-taught. But the USP made it easy.

And although I don't get too excited about capacity, something with 12+1 rounds of .45 ACP would be nice to have, even if the gun is enormous. Be great for bowling pin shoots, right?

It's even got a rail. Maybe I could be a little bit tactical...

JMB forgive me, I bought one.

It's not here yet. I don't need another .45 to feed. I don't know where or when I'm going to be able to get more magazines. But my Teutonic tactical tupperware will be here soon. Maybe it'll get me started reloading, finally. Maybe I'll luck into some mags.

Those bowling pins had better watch out. :eek:

1goodshot
January 17, 2013, 07:23 AM
I have a USP in 9mm and it would be the 1 gun I would sell or trade from my collection. I just dont like the way it feels iin my hand.

Vonderek
January 17, 2013, 10:29 AM
I can think of plenty of handguns with worse DA triggers than the USP. The variant 1 trigger will allow SA cocked and locked if that is what the shooter desires. I had one of the early ones and didn't think the trigger was a hindrance in either DA or SA and the gun was incredibly accurate and easy to shoot. It was just too big and chunky for carrying concealed.

bikemobile
January 17, 2013, 11:00 AM
Why pay more for a worse trigger? I just dont get it. Its tough to beat the new m&p triggers or the XDM triggers.

clang
January 17, 2013, 01:01 PM
There are plenty of H&K fanboys, but I think there are even more haters.

I've got a USP 45 with a stainless slide. I bought it used but like new for a reasonable price because it is set up for a lefty (I am left handed too). It has the traditional DA first shot, single action follow up and can also be cocked and locked. DA first shot is a little stiff, but no worse than my CZ85 (I have an early one, I think it is called a pre-B now). Single action is pretty good on my USP.

The H&K USP 45 is big, but no less than expected for a high cap .45. When I first got it, I had the sensation like the gun wanted to slip out of my hands, but after shooting it the first time the feeling went away. I am very happy with the accuracy.

I had one experience with H&K Customer Service - the weld snapped on one of my mags, so I contacted H&K and they had me send it back. Not only did H&K replace the broken mag I sent them, but they also rewelded my broken mag and returned it too.

I'm not sure how the current prices compare for a new H&K vs other brands, but if you can find a new or used one for a reasonable price, they are worth looking at, especially if you want a hammer fired polymer gun, as there are not too many examples out there (FN has one, not sure who else).

Dryft
January 17, 2013, 01:27 PM
I used to own an USP40, and will say this - it was as accurate as could be. The trigger? Not great, but a quick shipment over to Bill Springfield at Triggerwork.net and it was a heck of a lot better.

I got rid of it because the grip is massive. The USPc and the P30 are a lot more ergonomic though, and I have to admit I would love to have either in my collection - in 9mm of course.

I agree with everyone else on the price point issue - they're just too darn much money.

CPshooter
January 17, 2013, 01:52 PM
I'm amazed at the people who keep commenting on the USP.45's price. If these people actually shot their guns, they would realize that ammo trumps the initial cost of the gun in the first place. The difference in price between a USP.45 and a Glock 21, for example, is $300. That's about 500-600 rounds of ammo. So essentially you guys are saying you'd give up the more reliable and durable pistol over a lifetime just for a few trips to the range? Seems silly to me. Don't like the ergos or can't shoot it well? Okay, fine, but the price argument is getting very old from all the Glock and M&P fanboys.

The USP.45 is an absolute beast of a handgun. It will last longer without major parts breakage and maintain its accuracy better over the long run than any Glock or M&P. You have to change the recoil spring assembly on a Glock every few thousand rounds. The USP.45 is known to go 20k+ before needing a new recoil spring assembly. There has also been documentation of the guns going > 300k rounds without any problems other than periodic spring changes.

The haters can keep hating all they want, but the USP is in a completely different league if you ask me. It certainly isn't an ideal pistol for every situation given its size, but if we're talking about larger pistols you'd bring into a combat or SHTF situation, the USP.45 is still king IMHO.

Fremmer
January 17, 2013, 03:47 PM
Yeah I'm not so sure that its significantly more reliable than a glock or a s&w.....

CPshooter
January 17, 2013, 04:01 PM
Yeah I'm not so sure that its significantly more reliable than a glock or a s&w.....
I think it is. I've seen/read/heard of plenty of Glock 9mm slides cracking at far less than 300k rounds. I own a 26 and 17 btw so no bias here. Just giving my input and opinion. That's all.

I've also seen people posting around here with relatively significant M&P failures after 10-20k rounds. Like I said, the USP doesn't even need a recoil spring change at that point. There's really no comparison here if we're talking about straight durability and lack of maintenance over the long haul.

I don't even own any H&K plastic anymore..my only H&K is a P7M8. However, I am in the process of hunting down an od green USP.45 just because I need to have a USP in my collection for the reasons I've already mentioned.

Aiko492
January 17, 2013, 06:20 PM
Any time you get a product that is more expensive than its competitors, you are going to get haters. The HK usp may not be perfect, but it is a very solid pisol.

Fremmer
January 17, 2013, 06:45 PM
Saying the da trigger on a hk sucks doesn't make one a hater, and the higher price for a pistol with a sucky trigger is a relevant consideration for a potential owner.

Rinspeed
January 17, 2013, 06:51 PM
I have a USP in 9mm and it would be the 1 gun I would sell or trade from my collection. I just dont like the way it feels iin my hand.




I might be interested in it. Do you have any seven round mags for it.

justice06rr
January 17, 2013, 08:14 PM
thanks for the review. I've always wanted a USP9 or 45 myself. Some of the downsides other people posted are minor and negligible to me.

Rubber_Duck
January 17, 2013, 08:43 PM
I've always been impressed by how well the USP shoots considering how blocky and unergonomic the grip is and how heavy the trigger is. They are big guns though, and I will probably never own one unless one of the compact ones comes along for a really good price.

Sergei Mosin
January 17, 2013, 09:10 PM
I dislike the USP's DA trigger, but it doesn't matter to me, because I'm unlikely to use it in DA mode. The gun I'm buying is V1, so if I ever carry it, it'll be cocked and locked just like the 1911 I usually carry. The USP's SA trigger isn't great, but I've yet to find a DA/SA automatic with what I would consider a good SA trigger. It's not a 1911 trigger. It's not even a BHP trigger. But nothing else is.

But for all that, I still prefer the USP trigger over that of any striker-fired pistol.

Now yes, the USP is expensive. I got mine gently used so somebody else took the depreciation hit, but it's still pricey. So are SIGs and 1911s. It depends on what you like. I don't like striker-fired guns so those aren't relevant to me. I wasn't going to buy one anyway. In my gun fund, the USP was competing with a Colt Delta Elite.

As was observed, the ammo cost is more important anyway. A 9mm is more economical, and I gave a lot of thought to getting one, but I wanted the .45, so I bought it. Still cheaper than feeding a Delta Elite!

Pilot
January 18, 2013, 05:00 PM
I have the HK USP Tactical .45. It has the Match trigger as standard, which is lighter and crisper than the standard. These are available to install in any USP, so if you don't like the trigger a drop in replacement is available.

Bovice
January 19, 2013, 12:46 PM
A lot of complaints about the USP .45 are based on size.

It's a .45, which is a big round. It's double stack as well. Why then does it surprise you that it is going to be a bigger handgun compared to what else is out there?

FIVETWOSEVEN
January 19, 2013, 01:39 PM
but I've yet to find a DA/SA automatic with what I would consider a good SA trigger.

Czech out the CZ line of pistols. Great trigger both DA and SA. :)

robhof
January 19, 2013, 01:57 PM
My son has the 45 Tactical and the trigger both double and single action is fine. The gun seems to fit my hand well as I can hit what I aim at and after a few hundred rounds it's still confortable to hold. Recoil seems more manageable than my Beretta in 40S&W.

Sergei Mosin
January 24, 2013, 07:01 PM
It's here! :D

Fremmer
January 24, 2013, 07:19 PM
Nice gun, I like that you can carry single action

Jenrick
January 24, 2013, 09:57 PM
If you have issues with the DA/SA or DAO trigger (yeah they are heavy), check out the LEM. Basically it's a SA trigger with a long take up, think Para-LDA. Probably the best trigger I've ever shot on pistol that's not a true SA gun. If you prefer a thumb safety you can have one put on no problem.

I've owned both a USP 45 and 9mm. They are two the most accurate pistols I own, they also are stupid reliable (I've got a G34 with about 97K rounds through it, believe me I run my guns hard). The double recoil spring thing they use on the fullsize works very well, and keeps the gun very flat for the bore axis. They, like any pistol, are not for everyone. However if you don't mind the larger group size they are a great pistol.

-Jenrick

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