Heckler & Koch USP: A pistol with probably the best ergonomics of its time.

Heckler & Koch USP is an accurate, well-made, rugged, reliable, functional pistol often used as a service sidearm. It’s an impressive pistol known to absorb the recoil of .45 ACP well through the weight, mass, design, and wider grip to accommodate a 12-round magazine.


The USP stands for Universal Slebstlade Pistole (universal self-loading pistol). It was designed and developed by German Heckler & Koch.


The Heckler & Koch designers started working on USP in 1989. The base of the future USP was a Heckler & Koch Mk 23 pistol. It was intended for wide use, including civilians and military and law enforcement markets. In 1993, Heckler & Koch started serial production of USP. In the first batch, Heckler & Koch developed various variants.

In 1995, the Bundeswehr adopted USP as the primary sidearm designated as P8. Today, the HK USP is used in more than 20 countries. The first version of the USP has been chambered in .40 S&W caliber. At the time, it was a relatively new caliber. However, other versions of the USP appeared shortly, chambered in 9×19 mm Parabellum, .45 ACP, and .375 SIG ammunition (USP Compact).

The Heckler & Koch USP has a metal reinforced polymer frame and one-piece milled steel slide. All metal parts have an exceptional finish that protects against corrosion and wear. Users can even keep the pistol for prolonged periods in saltwater. It is a short-recoil-operated ωεɑρσռ with a unique patented recoil reduction system.

The USP has a double-action trigger. It can also be in a single-action firing sequence. Also, there are versions with a double-action-only trigger. There are nine basic variations of the trigger and safety arrangements. Some of them have a safety lever on the right side. Others are without a manual safety or with a decock-only lever. This pistol also has an automatic firing pin safety.

The Heckler & Koch company was so confident with the USP that they gave it a lifetime warranty. The service life of this pistol is around 20 000 shots. The USP is fed from a double-stack magazine that holds 15 rounds. The magazine release button is ambidextrous.

This pistol has simple sights that are dovetailed to the slide. The USP is accurate at ranges of up to 50 meters. The maximum range of fire is about 60 meters. There are universal mounting groves under the barrel for various accessories, such as a tactical flashlight or laser pointer.

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