Which is smaller - 3 inch 1911 or USP 40c?

Which is smaller - 3 inch 1911 or USP 40c?

This is a discussion on Which is smaller - 3 inch 1911 or USP 40c? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I like to compare the relative sizes of guns, and recently surprised myself by comparing my H&K USP 40c, which I have had for awhile, ...

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  1. #1
    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    Which is smaller - 3 inch 1911 or USP 40c?

    I like to compare the relative sizes of guns, and recently surprised myself by comparing my H&K USP 40c, which I have had for awhile, to a newly acquired Colt Defender, a 1911 with 3 inch barrel. The Defender is comparable to a Kimber Ultra or a Springfield Micro. I thought the 3 inch 1911 would be smaller than the USP, but I got a surprise. Here is what I found:

    1. Empty weight with magazine: Defender 24 oz., USP 24 oz.

    2. Height, top of rear sight to bottom of magazine: Defender 5.00 in., USP 5.00 in. (both with standard magazine, no thumb rest, etc.)

    3. Length of gun: Defender 6.90 in., USP 6.75 in. (Defender beavertail sticks out a bit, adding to length)

    4. Grip width, maximum: Defender 1.25 in., USP 1.10 in. (Defender is single stack, USP double, but Defender has grip panels which add to width)

    5. Slide width: Defender 0.90 in., USP 1.10 in.

    6. Capacity: Defender 6+1 .45 ACP, USP 12+1 .40 S&W

    Based on this, it appears that there is no substantial difference in concealment ability between these two. The Defender has an advantage in slide width, but the USP has an advantage in grip width and overall length. The weight is identical, as is the height of the gun. But the USP has a major advantage in capacity - 13 rounds of .40 compared to 7 rounds of .45 in the Defender.

    Does this surprise anyone? It surprised me.
    Last edited by pogo2; August 10th, 2006 at 11:24 AM.


  2. #2
    Distinguished Member Array AnimalKracker's Avatar
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    Get some regular grips on the Defender, and the width difference will go down quite a bit. And I know it's just me. The H&K just seems more bulky to me. Maybe it's the profile of gun or something. It looks bigger than it is. It could be the light rail,and the trigger guard shape.

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array ExSoldier's Avatar
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    Exclamation Reliability TRUMPS capacity

    Quote Originally Posted by pogo2
    I like to compare the relative sizes of guns, and recently surprised myself by comparing my H&K USP 40c, which I have had for awhile, to a newly acquired Colt Defender, a 1911 with 3 inch barrel. The Defender is comparable to a Kimber Ultra or a Springfield Micro. I thought the 3 inch 1911 would be smaller than the USP, but I got a surprise. Here is what I found:

    1. Empty weight with magazine: Defender 24 oz., USP 24 oz.

    2. Height, top of rear sight to bottom of magazine: Defender 5.00 in., USP 5.00 in. (both with standard magazine, no thumb rest, etc.)

    3. Length of gun: Defender 6.90 in., USP 6.75 in. (Defender beavertail sticks out a bit, adding to length)

    4. Grip width, maximum: Defender 1.25 in., USP 1.10 in. (Defender is single stack, USP double, but Defender has grip panels which add to width)

    5. Slide width: Defender 0.90 in., USP 1.10 in.

    6. Capacity: Defender 6+1 .45 ACP, USP 12+1 .40 S&W

    Based on this, it appears that there is no substantial difference in concealment ability between these two. The Defender has an advantage in slide width, but the USP has an advantage in grip width and overall length. The weight is identical, as is the height of the gun. But the USP has a major advantage in capacity - 13 rounds of .40 compared to 7 rounds of .45 in the Defender.

    Does this surprise anyone? It surprised me.
    The USP also has a MAJOR advantage....RELIABILITY. I will NEVER again own a sub 4" 1911 (unless I shell out a couple of grand for a Cylinder & Slide "Adventurer" custom chop job)...EVER! I've owned lessee.....two....no THREE. They have ALL been constant jams, FTFs FTEs & stovepipes. Different brands. All "quality names." My IDPA club members tried to tell me and I kept saying that I had just had a run of "bad guns." Well, after the third time...I learned. The 1911, IMHO becomes a flawed design when the barrel shrinks beneath four inches. Look at the Wilson Custom shop. They will charge $100 for doing a "reliability" package on a sub 4" 1911...BUT they will NOT warranty the work. For those of you who worship at the feet of Jeff Cooper, he did a part of his "Cooper's Corner" column on this problem and he agrees.

    Heck, I can't run an IDPA match with my GOVERNMENT model 1911 without a lube halfway through! But when I got my H&K USP 45 (fullsize) I did so because my best buddy, a retired SF 06 said that if he had to choose any gun to take to WAR right out of the box, it'd be the USP 45 fullsize.

    So I decided to test that assertion. I decided to take the gun and shoot it until it jammed on me. I did not clean it or LUBE it. It had only the factory lube when I started this informal "test." Well......TWO THOUSAND ROUNDS LATER....she was still humming along.....and I had to clean her out of sheer respect. None of my 1911's could have done that. Maybe a Glock could. But the H&K just ROCKED. I should know better than to second guess my friend.
    Former Army Infantry Captain; 25 yrs as an NRA Certified Instructor; Avid practitioner of the martial art: KLIK-PAO.

  4. #4
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    Wow the USPc series all seemed rather bulky to me. wonder how the P2000 & sk stack up?
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


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  5. #5
    Distinguished Member Array AnimalKracker's Avatar
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    I was very surprised at the comparison. The USP looks bulky and bigger. But I've never shot one so all I can go by is looking at the pictures of them.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Array MR D's Avatar
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    my son bought one of the USP c 40's, (I wish he had bought two!!)

    shoots great, operates great, we have put a couple of thousand rounds through it without failures....

    my P-14 Para-Ordnance otoh (on the other hand) has requires new spings due to failure in the same time frame

    the USPc IS on the top of my Christmas wish list this year!!!


  7. #7
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    I don't know...I've owned 3 different Colt & Colt clone pistols.
    2 Officers Model & one First Edition Detonics and I never had any function related problems with any of the three at all.

    Just depends on the individual pistols I guess.

    I've had good luck in the past with the Sub Colt and Colt style pistols.

    To be fair - I had minor initial Failure To Feed with one Officers but, polishing the chamber & breaking the bottom edge of the chamber mouth cured it.
    Liberty Over Tyranny Μολὼν λαβέ

  8. #8
    Senior Member Array David III's Avatar
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    Two Officer's and one Defender here. All have run fine. One of the Officer's guns has many, many thousands of rounds through it - the others probably have 1,000 between both of them.
    I hope they keep running. If I'm lucky, I hope it continues.

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