Wow! I believe I really under-estimated the H&K USP!

Wow! I believe I really under-estimated the H&K USP!

This is a discussion on Wow! I believe I really under-estimated the H&K USP! within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have to admit that I am a Sig man - I think the Sig 226 may be the most reliable fighting handgun ever made. ...

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Thread: Wow! I believe I really under-estimated the H&K USP!

  1. #1
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    Wow! I believe I really under-estimated the H&K USP!

    I have to admit that I am a Sig man - I think the Sig 226 may be the most reliable fighting handgun ever made. But, about 4 or 5 months ago, I bought an H&K USP in 9mm and it's really starting to grow on me.

    The trigger is just a bit gritty and heavy in DA. I replaced the stock hammer spring with a Wolfe reduced power spring; I think I went from 16# (stock) to 14#. This was against the advice of Wofe Gunsprings for a carry gun I should add. But, I shoot about 200 rounds a week and fire a magazine of my carry ammo anytime I make a change to the gun and fire about a box of carry ammo about once a month, just to be sure. The reduced hammer spring made a significant difference; it's not a match trigger job by any means but it did reduce the DA trigger pull.

    I think the SA trigger is wonderful! It's short, crisp, smooth, and breaks at 4.25#. But if that were all there was, I wouldn't be much impressed; my Sigs are all that and more. But I began to notice things about the USP. Like after a reload, the slide barely has to be moved to release the slide lock and chamber a round. Again, not a biggy, but different enough to catch my notice of it.

    Then there's the mag release, first, it's fully ambidextrious. Second it's weird, but once I got used to it, my other guns seemed, well, awkward. You know how you have to change your grip to reach the mag release with your thumb on many guns? Not so with the USP; you just have to move your trigger finger to the rear of trigger and press down on the mag release - it works! I have to admit I like it much better than the conventional thumb buttons.

    I'm usually not big on safeties, but the USP safety/decocker thingy, adds a lot of versatility, at least for me. I can carry the gun in DA/SA with the safety on or off - my preference. I can carry the gun cocked and locked with the safety on just like a 1911. In fact, the thumb safety is in the same place and orientation as a 1911. If I need to take the the gun out of the holster for administrative duties, like going to the bathroom, I can engage the safety, remove the gun and it's just an added precaution. The same is true if I need to take the gun out of the holster in the car, say to go into a post office or anyplace where the gun is inappropriate. I can engage the safety, remove the gun from the holster, place it under the seat or in the glove box without worrying about the trigger hanging on something and...

    The gun looks big, but seems to carry small. The grip fits my hand comfortably and the USP is light. Including empty magazines in each gun, the USP is only 2.8 oz heavier than a gen 2 Glock 17, 4.5 oz lighter than a Sig 226, and 4.2 oz lighter than a Sig 229. I suspect if I could have compared the USP to a gen 3 Glock 17, the weights would be even closer.

    Slide/frame widths: G-17 = 1.15" (The frame is actually wider than the slide), Sig 229 = 1.12", Sig 226 = 1.0", USP = 1.134". So, the USP slide is only 0.016" wider than a G-17!

    Grip widths: G-17 = 1.16", Sig 226 = 1.31, Sig 229 = 1.25, USP = 1.21. So the USP's grip is only 0.05" wider than the G-17. That's less than a sixteenth of an inch.

    Overall dimensions: the G-17, Sig 226, and USP are essentially the same size.

    So the USP isn't such a big gun as you may think! I know it sure carrys good, being so light. And of course it conceals just as well as a G-17, Sig 226, or 1911.

    One downside of the gun is that stupid accessory rail that none of the Picatinny stuff will fit. That's a real disappointment on such an otherwise fine gun. And, the mags are kinda big, but then I think Glock mags are wide too and the USP mags are only 0.03" wider than a Glock mag.

    Most importantly by far, the USP has been 100% reliable. And far FUNNER than I ever imagined. I got all the confidence in the world in this gun.


  2. #2
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    Nice report Tangle - I have shot someone else's and did I must say find it a pleasant experience.

    Thus far tho my 226 ST still fills the roll of my ideal carry - plus, unless I ''thin the herd'' I doubt I'll be doing much more buying anytime soon. Re mag release aspects - maybe cos my hands are on large size, I find the SIG mag release excellent - from my std grip I can just tweak it with thumb tip and a mag change is potentially very fast (well - for me!).

    The ''1911'' mag release situation is for me always the ideal - and I am not so happy (re carry anyways) having anything too different, from choice. I happen to like shooting my SW99 a lot - and for size it is a great lil' gun - but, oh my that mag release is a bummer - not one I regard as instinctive in use - in fact the other alternative I do not mind too much is the heel type, instance my R9, Mak, and even CZ-52.

    The BHP of course also is very ''JMB'' and Bersa .380 also similar - these I like for that very reason, among others.

    Big thing tho is as ever - what the individual likes and certainly, I have heard minimal bad words re the USP.

    Thx again anyways - always good to hear first hand thoughts.
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    Usp is a great gun i dont carry mine a ton not a lot of great holsters im not a sig fan so no comments there but ill still pack a good old 1911 first

  4. #4
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    Thumbs up Ditto: Nice Report Tangle.

    HK USP ~ Nice FINE Pistol ~ Shot One More Than Once ~ Don't Have One.
    Have 2 SIGS though.

    One small suggestion: There are usually better ways to smooth out & degrit a yukky DA pull than to go "Way Light" on the hammer spring.
    That is usually not the very best "fix" for a self~defense firearm.
    You should maybe think about having a street carry action job done on it. When the firearm internals are smoother then the hammer spring can be heavier & the DA pull will still be slick & butter smooth.
    That will really help.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Array Tom357's Avatar
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    When I was deciding what to get for carry, I got down to a CZ-75, the USP, or a SIG P226. Then, down to the USP or the P226. Then they came out with the P226ST. I couldn't resist. Now that you've got me thinking, though, I may have to go down to the range and rent a USP...
    - Tom
    You have the power to donate life.

  6. #6
    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    Only problem with a USP is that you cant find to many people to do trigger jobs

  7. #7
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    Question USP Trigger Job

    Ted Jacobson ...& I can't remember the name of his place.
    Lemme go search it out............be right back!

    waiting....

    waiting....

    still waiting....

    QKShooter should be back by now????

    Where is he????

    OK I'm Back! Teddy Jacobson ACTIONS BY "T"
    He is semi~retired right now. You'll need to call or E~mail him first.
    CLICK HERE TO GO TO ACTIONS BY "T"
    The Action Job on the one custom USP that I shot was done by him.
    FANTASTIC! JOB!

    I hope that helps.
    Last edited by QKShooter; August 4th, 2005 at 08:28 PM.
    Liberty Over Tyranny Μολὼν λαβέ

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tangle
    But I began to notice things about the USP. Like after a reload, the slide barely has to be moved to release the slide lock and chamber a round. .
    the USP was initially designed so when you did a mag change slamming a new mag in would release the slide.I can duplicate this on my USP 45 and prefer this,although reading at HKPRO boards it was re-designed to be "less likely" to do this.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by QKShooter
    ...One small suggestion: There are usually better ways to smooth out & degrit a yukky DA pull than to go "Way Light" on the hammer spring...
    Good advice of course, but I didn't go way light; I went from 16# to 14#, which is only a 14% change.

    Quote Originally Posted by USP45
    ...the USP was initially designed so when you did a mag change slamming a new mag in would release the slide.I can duplicate this on my USP 45 and prefer this,although reading at HKPRO boards it was re-designed to be "less likely" to do this.
    My P2000 will "slam" release the slide every time and it doesn't require that much force on the magazine. I love the feature! I cannot get my USP to do that; apparently, as you say, they designed that out. That's too bad - it's a great feature I think.
    Quote Originally Posted by P95Carry
    ...Thus far tho my 226 ST still fills the roll of my ideal carry...
    I'd agree on that! Some think it's a bit heavy, but so is a gov. model 1911 and "everybody" carries them.

    I have a 226 ST and feel the same way you do about it, but sometimes I get the urge to try something different and that usually puts me in constant conflict over what to carry. I'll stand by my statement in my opening post, "I think the Sig 226 may be the most reliable fighting handgun ever made." And, the ST version may be the best of the best. But it seems to me that the H&K USP is a close second.

    BTW, if you carry a Sig 226ST how come the handle, P95Carry? P95 is a Ruger isn't it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom357
    ...Then they came out with the P226ST. I couldn't resist. Now that you've got me thinking, though, I may have to go down to the range and rent a USP...
    As you can see from my response above, I don't think you can beat, heck I don't think you can even tie, the 226ST as the best fighting gun in the world. But for me, there's lots to like about the USP and Sig and USP were tops in the ICE tests. If you rent a USP, the DA trigger is going to be a little gritty and slightly heavy, but certainly managable. The SA should be great. The mag release(s) takes some getting use to but once you do I think you'll find it's about as natural as it can get.

  10. #10
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    Hammer Spring

    I dunno what I was thinking.
    I was thinking that a 14# hammer spring was really light compared to a Colt 1911 which has a standard hammer spring weight of 23# ~ Big difference but, also different operating systems.
    14# seemed really light compared to that.

    Actually, I just checked and the FACTORY STANDARD hammer spring weight for the USP is 13# so...with a 14# spring you're good to go.

  11. #11
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    BTW, if you carry a Sig 226ST how come the handle, P95Carry? P95 is a Ruger isn't it?
    Haha - Tangle - this is one of those ''I'm stuck with it'' deals!!! I did carry the P95 for quite some time - mostly in a sho rig or Fobus paddle but - as we know, we move on to try or prefer other things.

    I transferred to snub carry for a good length of time, thinking then of going small - so M85 and then SP-101 did duty. I briefly went back to semi - using BHP which I like a lot but felt drawn back to something DA/SA and thus came the SIG!

    I should now be 226STCarry - but hey - I am stuck with the old ID I think - keeps folks guessing!
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


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    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    Tangle, check this out:
    http://www.streetpro.com/usp/detail/why.html

    I did something similar to my USP (when they first came out in 9mm, and before I traded it! ). You can get a really amazingly smooth trigger with some delicate needle filing, and some Flitz polish with a Dremel.

  13. #13
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    Rob72,
    Thanks man! I am printing the reference out as I type and guess what I'll be doing tonight?

    The folks at the HKPRO forum seem to approach disassembling an H&K with much trepidation, claiming that the USP is too complicated. Maybe it is, but I kinda doubt it. I've built five 1911s from scratch, done trigger smoothing on Sigs and S&Ws so I should be ok.

    I do heed the warning - don't mess with the sear and hammer engagements.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by P95Carry
    Haha - Tangle - this is one of those ''I'm stuck with it'' deals!!!
    I kinda figured that was the case.
    Quote Originally Posted by P95Carry
    ...as we know, we move on to try or prefer other things...
    Don't I know that!
    Quote Originally Posted by P95Carry
    ...I should now be 226STCarry...:
    Hmmm, that would mean I should be:
    226_226R_226ST_USP_1911_and_sometimes_G17_Carry,
    because I can't make up my mind what to carry. And even when I do carry one, I'm always thinking why it should be one I'm not carrying. Personal conflict don't you know.
    Quote Originally Posted by P95Carry
    ... - but hey - I am stuck with the old ID I think - keeps folks guessing!
    I like that, too!

  15. #15
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    I love my USP 40. I have had it since 93 when it first came out. I can hit what I aim at with it so why change?

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