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Tried out the HK USP

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Sergei Mosin, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. Sergei Mosin

    Sergei Mosin Participating Member

    Oct 7, 2011
    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.
  2. Fremmer

    Fremmer Senior Member

    Oct 9, 2009
    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.
  3. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Senior Elder

    Dec 24, 2002
    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.
  4. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    Dec 27, 2002
    northern california
    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)
  5. gun addict

    gun addict Member

    Jan 27, 2009
    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
  6. Pilot

    Pilot Mentor

    Dec 29, 2002
    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.


    Aug 28, 2009
    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.
  8. Onmilo

    Onmilo Mentor

    Jul 26, 2004
    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
  9. Whole Hog

    Whole Hog Member

    Dec 31, 2002
    Las Cruces, New Mexico
    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.
  10. usp9

    usp9 Senior Member

    Dec 17, 2005
    Bowling Green, Va
    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.
  11. 481

    481 Participating Member

    Feb 22, 2009
    If you get a V1, you can get around the issue (as I have) by carrying it cocked & locked.
  12. CaptHank

    CaptHank New Member

    Oct 10, 2010
    Ft. Pierce, FL
    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!
  13. Kabal

    Kabal New Member

    Nov 24, 2012
    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.
  14. mes228

    mes228 Member

    Feb 21, 2006

    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.
  15. Trisha

    Trisha Participating Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Rocky Mountains
    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.
  16. HKGuns

    HKGuns Senior Member

    Aug 29, 2004
    Bora Bora
    Great pistols never go out of "style" whatever that means. My USP45 is a fantastic pistol.
  17. Da40CalGlock27

    Da40CalGlock27 New Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    I never have had a HK but you have put severe doubt in my heart about getting one :uhoh:
  18. Pilot

    Pilot Mentor

    Dec 29, 2002
    HK has addressed any ergonomic shortcomings of the USP series with pistols like the P30, and HK 45.
  19. Rinspeed

    Rinspeed Participating Member

    Dec 25, 2002

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

    SwampWolf Senior Member

    Sep 18, 2005
    North Central Ohio
    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.

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