Germany’s H & K USP semi-automatic pistol is known for its accuracy and its reliability and is considered by many to be one of the top pistols of all time. The USP, designed by Helmut Weldle from 1989 to 1992, was to replace the P7 series of handguns.
H&K USP Design
Many traditional design elements were incorporated into the H&K USP, including those used in John Moses Browning’s M1911. Using the successful elements of their previous designs, the development of the USP also incorporated the use of a molded polymer frame.
The H & K USP featured both a mechanically locked breech and a mechanical recoil reduction system. All major metal components of the USP are corrosion resistant due to a proprietary nitride finish. Internal parts are protected with an anti-corrosion chemical coating which assists in reducing friction and wear. The USPs frame-mounted, control lever is a combination of both a safety and de-cocking lever and is easily accessible. The control level can be changed to accommodate either right-handed or left-handed shooters.
H & K Variants
The original H&K USP used a .40 S&W cartridge. At the time of its introduction, the 9 x 19mm Parabellum was also being introduced. In May of 1995, H&K began producing a .45 ACP variant and in 1996, they introduced their USP Compact series which was available in the 9mm Parabellum, the .40 S&W, the .45 ACP and the .357 SIG – which was exclusive to the Compact model.
One of the unique features of the USP is the number of available trigger styles which can be easily swapped. Composed of 54 parts, the USP breaks down into 7 major components for easier maintenance and cleaning.
The German armed forces first adopted the USP (P8) in 1994. The H&K series has been used in 20 countries throughout the world, including the United States where is mainly used in law enforcement. Germany’s H & K USP Pistol has remained in production since its inception in 1993.