Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 1

Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 1

What it takes to become 2018’s Top Gun

By Dennis Adler

Each year since I began writing the Airgun Experience I have selected one new model as my Air Pistol of the Year. For 2018, given the variety of new air pistols and satisfying, though not overwhelming number of models introduced, the focus has specifically turned to CO2 air pistols that are based on actual centerfire handgun models, whether new (like the Sig Sauer M17) or older (like the HK USP) so long as the air pistol is new. I am also establishing an updated point system based on five comparative categories with values from 1 to 10 points for each. This is going to separate out a number of guns simply because of their various features, or lack thereof. The gun chosen as Replica Air Pistol of the Year will be based solely on total points earned. read more


Umarex H&K USP Part 5

Umarex H&K USP Part 5 Part 4 Part 3 Part 2 Part 1

Training Day

By Dennis Adler

The beauty of paddle holsters is their ease of use. It doesn’t matter what type or size pistol, a paddle rig is usually more comfortable to wear than a belt holster or an IWB rig. The paddle curves so that it fits around the side and hips and contours to the wearer’s body. An injection molded belt hook, on the inside of the paddle catches under the wearer’s belt (from inside the pant’s waist) and this secures the paddle. The Sig-Tac models are also adjustable for cant so the gun (or magazines) can be set to a comfortable angle. In the top left photo you can see the at gun and holster pouch are angled just slightly forward.

Let’s recap the features and advantages of the new Umarex HK USP blowback action model. This is a 1:1 CO2 pistol in the standard HK V1 configuration: DA/SA with safety/decocking lever on the left side. It accepts all of the Universal mount equipment made for the centerfire models as well as the USP Picatinny rail adapter. The Umarex has the identical ambidextrous dual magazine release lever integrated into the bottom of the triggerguard. Developed in the early 1990s for the U.S. Army under the SOCOM project (United States Special Operation Command), the USP uses a polymer frame (injection-molded polyamide). As an historical footnote, Heckler & Koch was the first armsmaker to use a polymer frame, predating the Glock 17 by over a decade with the VP70. The centerfire USP and CO2 model share a common Browning-based short-recoil, locked breech design, that is modified for blowback action in the air pistol, but very close in appearance, operation, and virtually identical for field stripping. read more


Umarex H&K USP Part 4

Umarex H&K USP Part 4 Part 3 Part 2 Part 1

Accessorizing the Umarex HK USP

Mounts, lights, lasers and holsters

By Dennis Adler

The addition of the HK Mil.-Std. 1913 Picatinny rail to the HK Universal rail mount adds slightly more depth to the frame than a semi-auto with an integral rail. Most of the adapter’s mass is in the Universal mount above the rail.

The Heckler & Koch USP was a dedicated military design and it left its mark on the world of military arms both in the U.S. and throughout Europe. Even after a quarter of a century the USP is still in use by military units, law enforcement, within the private sector and by civilians for its effective design, ease of handling, choices in caliber and options. While many of the military accessories developed for the USP are outdated today, the ability of the pistol to be modified for almost any type of light or laser, either a dedicated USP mounting or Mil.-Std. 1913 Picatinny dustcover rail mount, makes it as versatile as any 21st century pistol design. Otherwise there is nothing old or outdated in the USP’s operation; hammer-fired DA/SA semi-autos remain a top choice among all handgun options. The CO2 model is true to the original USP in every important detail and particularly when it comes to holsters, lights and laser assisted sighting. read more


Umarex H&K USP Part 3

Umarex H&K USP Part 3 Part 2 Part 1

The long awaited HK .177 caliber blowback action model

By Dennis Adler

Having established the DA and SA trigger pull to be within an ounce of the average trigger pull on the centerfire HK USP standard DA/SA models, it is time to run a velocity check and see if the power needed to work that very impressive slide diminishes the average speed at which a .177 caliber steel BB travels downrange. I’ll also be keeping a count of shots per CO2 cartridge. A gun that delivers performance on both ends of the scale has to give up something. Or does it?

The centerfire HK USP model is manufactured in 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP versions with magazine capacities of 15, 13 and 12 rounds, respectively. The USP is a traditional hammer-fired design, as is the CO2 version, which perfectly duplicates the centerfire model trigger and hammer configurations. The white dot sights proved excellent for both outdoor and indoor testing.

FPS with steel

First, let’s look at the HK USP magazine design. If it looks a little familiar, and you have an Umarex S&W M&P40, you’re right, almost the same design but shaped to fit the HK, same heavy follower spring and yes, the same tiny follower legendary for torturing fingernails. The difference is rather than a loading port barely larger than a BB, the HK has a loading channel exposed when the follower is pulled all the way down. And like the M&P magazine, you have to hold the follower down the entire time you are loading. This is the best reason I know of to invest another $85.98 for two more ($42.99 each) HK USP CO2 BB magazines. I figure even with the cost of the air pistol, around $100, an extra pair of magazines, and either the HKparts red laser or Mil-Std. 1913 rail adapter (roughly another $30) you’ve just broken the $200 line (actually $215.98 less applicable taxes and shipping) for one of the best new CO2 blowback action pistols of the year. read more


Umarex H&K USP Part 2

Umarex H&K USP Part 2 Part 1

The long awaited HK .177 caliber blowback action model

By Dennis Adler

Putting the HK USP in its proper timeframe, it was developed in the early 1990s for a U.S. military program, the SOCOM Project, and was designed around specific military requirements. The guns were used for years by various U.S. Special Operations teams. The civilian versions, like the 9mm model shown, were very similar to the SOCOM models but without all of the various SOCOM accessories available to the public. (HK photo)

Sometimes when you copy a military style pistol, it comes with a little SOCOM baggage. Back when the HK USP was developed, long before the last round of U.S. military programs to replace the Beretta M9 and the U.S. Army’s Modular Handgun System Program (MHS, which resulted in the Sig Sauer P320-based M17 becoming the new standard issue military sidearm), Heckler & Koch developed the USP for specific SOCOM mission use. This included a dustcover rail system intended to accommodate special military accessories (and later for special competition accessories). Not a Mil-Standard 1913 Picatinny rail design, the USP either required dedicated lights and lasers (and other military equipage not available to the civilian market), or a simple adapter from HK to Picatinny/Weaver rail compliance. read more


Umarex H&K USP Part 1

Umarex H&K USP Part 1

The long awaited HK .177 caliber blowback action model

By Dennis Adler

Umarex and Heckler & Koch went all the way to make certain the new blowback action USP would be fully functioning and accurate match for the centerfire model. One minor alteration is the slight difference in the base of the magazine and the use of USP, and not HK USP, on the grip. Of course, white lettering is also a hint, but that isn’t always the case. There have been numerous centerfire pistols with white lettering on their slides. Also take note of the angle to the top of the barrel lug and its ft to the slide. There will be more about this later in the article.

Heckler & Koch has always catered to a variety of end users from civilians to military and law enforcement by tailoring its models in multiple variants, like the USP, which is offered in different calibers; 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP, and trigger/operating configurations. The standard USP or V1 is a DA/SA pistol, while the V7 version, for example, is a law enforcement (LEM or Law Enforcement Modification) version with a DAO trigger. The USP is also offered in left and right hand versions for the safety/decocking lever. There are also special variants V3 DA/SA without a SAFE position, just a decocking lever, the V4 which is a left-handed version of the V3, the V5 DAO without the decocking lever, V6 DAO with safety for left-handed operators, V7 and V8 both DA without safety or decoking lever, and two special variants for Government Agencies, V9 in DA/SA right-handed, and V10 for left-handed users. The new Umarex CO2 model is the standard V1 configuration, DA/SA with safety/decocking lever on the left side. read more


Compartmentalizing Airguns Part 2

Compartmentalizing Airguns Part 2 Part 1

Best in class options and a new contender!

By Dennis Adler

There are a few visual differences between the Umarex Beretta 92A1 (left) and the 9mm Beretta model. There’s the obvious white lettering on the CO2 model’s slide but in terms of size, handling, balance, and features, this is the one air pistol I would choose to be my one and only full-sized blowback action CO2 model. It has every desirable feature including a couple of years of production under its belt and readily available spare CO2 BB magazines.

What’s my choice for the gun that offers the most options for the money, as well as accuracy and reliability? I narrowed my best choices down to the Umarex Colt Commander or Sig Sauer WE THE PEOPLE for accuracy, trigger pull, and long term reliability (based on internal design, which is the same on both pistols). I have had the Umarex Colt Commander since the model was introduced in 2014; never a failure, never a problem. I have also chosen the Umarex Beretta 92A1 for the same reasons plus the advantage of a DA/SA trigger and selective fire like its distant cousin the 93R. All three guns are fully field-strippable and have excellent white dot sights. My overall first choice in the category then, the gun that fits the first compartment on my list, is the 92A1. read more