Umarex H&K USP Part 2 Part 1
The long awaited HK .177 caliber blowback action model
By Dennis Adler
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.
First, let’s look back at what Heckler & Koch had in mind for the SOCOM project in the 1990s. The guns were designed for dedicated accessories, which are still made for the current USP centerfire models by companies like Streamlight and Viridian. Yes, they cost much more than the CO2 model, but there are also a few lower-priced items (adaptors and one red laser) that will work with the CO2 model and not break the bank. Two are available online from HKparts.net. They have a rail mount light laser adaptor ($27) and a red laser ($30). I’m ordering these parts now so next month we will do a follow up piece on accessorizing the USP.
Handling and operation
The cartridge firing HK USP model is manufactured in 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. The centerfire models weigh an average of 28 ounces (without magazine), and have an overall length of 7.68 inches, width of 1.26 inches and barrel length of 4.25 inches.
Interestingly the centerfire pistols use injection molded magazines while the air pistol has a heavy duty all-metal design, and this is accounts for most of the weight differential. The actual USP magazines weigh a modest 1.87 ounces (empty) while the CO2 model adds 12.5 ounces making the overall pistol weight of the USP 34.2 ounces (empty) compared to the centerfire model’s average carry weight of 29 ounces (in 9mm).
The heaviest part of the centerfire pistol is the slide and while the CO2 model has the same milled contours, it is an alloy slide compared to the centerfire model’s forged steel slide. The sight designs are identical, a squared rear notch with white dots and white dot front. Both appear to be actual dovetailed pieces on the Umarex USP but they are either epoxied in place or the best molded-in sights so far. Either way, they do not adjust for windage.
The CO2 BB magazine has a 16-round capacity so you have the equivalent of a 9mm with 1 round chambered and 15 rounds in the magazine; again ideal uniformity for a training gun. The trigger pull on the centerfire guns averages around 5 pounds fired single action and a robust 12 pounds average double action, about the same as many double action revolvers.
The CO2 model stacks up pretty close with an average SA trigger press of 5 pounds, 1.5 ounces and a DA pull of 11 pounds 8.0 ounces. Like 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP models, the DA pull is a long 0.68 inches but it is smooth and the hammer comes back quickly as you pull through. There is zero over travel, and of course, after the first round the gun fires single action unless it is de-cocked. SA take up is 0.25 inches and reset is 0.25 inches.
Next week we’ll wrap up the Umarex HK USP with a full range test, average velocity, and hopefully the HK accessories will arrive in time as well.