Monday, July 11, 2016
Me and the USP
If you are a regular reader no doubt you already know about my long standing admiration for Smith & Wesson revolvers. I carry them in public on a daily basis. Let's just say that I like 'em a lot and leave it at that. But my other gun, the one that also gets used every day but not talked about nearly as much is my Heckler and Koch (HK) USP (Universelle Selbstladepistole) chambered in .45 Auto. The USP is my "house" gun and is right next to my bed when I sleep. If something goes "bump in the night" it will be the HK in my hand when I get up to investigate. Truth be told, if I had to head for the hills and could only grab one handgun on my way out the door - it would be the USP.
But there are a lot of great handguns around, what makes the USP for me?
Reliability - An unreliable gun is not only no fun it's useless for self-defense. The USP has no problem in this regard. I've owned mine since 2009 and have put almost 5000 rounds through it including 750 rounds in one range session (boy do I wish ammo was still that cheap). I have used very expensive hollowpoints to low quality practice ammo, and everything in between, including questionable reloads and even some truly ugly, corroded WWII era ammunition. To date - not one malfunction.
Accuracy - The USP is just an inherently accurate pistol. When I take it to the range it makes me look good. I hit what I aim at - hitting is always better than missing.
Magazine release - I know there are many that don't like the HK paddle style mag release but I'm not one of them. I believe it's one of the best features of the gun. I can use my trigger finger to release the pistol's magazine - just like my AR-15 and SCAR17. Not only that but the USP is the only pistol I own that I can drop the mag without having to either use both hands or shift my grip on the gun.
Soft shooting - The HK USP is a big honking pistol! It is also the lightest recoiling 45 Auto I own - those facts might be related.
Capacity - The USP is one of the higher capacity 45 Autos you can buy - 12 round magazines. Yes there are a few pistols that will hold more but the HK is the one that fits my hand best.
You can put a light on it - I know this is 2016 and almost every full size pistol made has a rail but the USP originally came out over twenty years ago when rails weren't that common. I'm glad HK was ahead of their time. Seriously, if your home defense gun doesn't have the ability to attach a light you are doing yourself a disservice.
But the USP is by no means perfect and has its own issues, including:
Size - The USP is a big honking pistol! What makes the USP easier to shoot also makes it harder to carry. Except for short trips when I carry concealed I prefer IWB. That's pretty hard with the USP especially if you spend much time sitting. Please note that I said size not weight. I carried a Colt Government Model for years and the USP with 13 rounds weighs about the same as the Colt with 9 rounds.
The rail - Heckler and Koch, being Heckler and Koch, just had to do things their way, including their own proprietary rail system that won't work with anything that is not specifically designed for it. There is an adapter for using accessories made for the standardized rails on the HK. It is a pain though.
The price - HK don't make nothing inexpensive.
But even with those minor problems the USP is for me. I trust my life with it every day of the week. That says everything.