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Posted: 12/26/2005 5:46:55 PM EDT


Here we go. I know a lot of folks here who would, at the drop of a hat, ridicule either model, but here's my shooting review:

As some may have noticed, I bought a USP last week, this one in 40cal, since they didn't have a .45, and I'm not adverse to using the .40. I think they're comparable, using proper ammo.

The Champion:
My tried and true Springfield Armory 9109L was dragged out of the holster for a long day of head-to-head comparison against the new USP. The 1911 has been my carry gun for several months now, and I'm very, very familiar with it. I shoot at least hundred rounds through it a week, usually in defensive draw-and-fire maneuvers.

The Springfield shoots well, if a bit low at longer ranges(25yards), something I have meant to get taken care of through warranty, but have been reluctant to part with the weapon long enough to get it done. It carries well, and provides for good comfort IWB. This little gem points like my own finger and when I take a shooting grip, it's as though I'm shaking the hand of a dear old friend. I find it hard to describe any better than that, but this pistol just feels RIGHT to me. Pretty tough stuff for any plasticky challenger to try to unseat this beast.

The Challenger:
This new autopistol represents a first for me, a venture into the realm of fullsize polymer guns. It initially turned me off in the store because it wasn't balanced worth a damn, but at the behest of a friend, I tried one fully loaded, and determined that the lightweight polymer frame and no ammunition in the grip to counterbalance the massive slide made for a poorly pointing weapon. A loaded magazine remedies this problem quite easily, but of course, during the course of firing the weapon, it must, at some point, return to the empty frame/top heavy feel of before.

This particular specimen of the H&K was purchased with the Varient 1 safety/decocker system, allowing for cocked and locked carry. same as the Springfield. That's where the similarities end though. The double stack frame of the USP does not point nearly as well for me as the 1911, and does not provide the same ergonomic satisfaction. Still, it points nicely, and acquiring the sights quickly was nearly the same as the Springfield, if not completely perfect.

The USP shoots very well, even in hands such as mine, unused to the weapon, I was able to provide groups on par with what I am used to from my 1911 at all ranges, though the trigger definitely takes some getting used to. Even in single action, the trigger has a long pull, or quite a bit of takeup before the break. Reset, as well, was surprisingly long, and in rapid fire drills, provided for some shortstroking, a byproduct of a hand used to the 1911 trigger as well. Regular use of the weapon should remedy every vestige of this problem.

Gripping surfaces on this autopistol are, to say the least, sharp. Several hundred rounds a day seem to be my own mazimum at this point before the sharply checkered frontstrap and backstrap begin to bite. There is not doubt, though, that this weapon stays put in wet or sweaty hands.

Controls are not quite on par with what this writer is used to. The safety lever has about the same throw as the Springfield, but doesn't feel quite as crisp, and the safety itself seems a bit more forward of where it feels like it should rest. This provides for a switch that feels not more difficult to use, but simply not as ergonomic. It does, however, provide a decocked by thumbing down on that same switch, something probably nice for those who feel the need for such a thing. Slide release levers for both weapons are in the same place, and provide for equal reach and feel. Magazine releases, on the other hand, could not be more different. The USP places the magazine release nearly out of reach for me, even with my average-sized hands. I have no choice but to shift my grip to drop a mag, or else use the middle or trigger finger of the shooting hand, something I have no intention of shifting all my training to relearn. (as an aside, a law enforcement trainer for a local agency that issues these weapons considers this a Godsend, as they teach their employees to use the trigger finger to drop the mag, thereby ensuring that the finger cannot pull the trigger this inopportune moment)

The Meprolight nightsights on the USP are about on par with the Novaks on the Springfield, but are obviously geard toward quicker acquisition, as they seem much larger, including larger glowing dots.

Magazine capacities are, of course, favorable to the double stack weapon, especially as it also houses a slightly smaller rounds, though I do not consider this a selling point of the weapon. I certainly do not feel undergunned in most cases with my standard complement of a 1911s seven or eight rounds plus one in the chamber and a reload. The .40caliber USP boasts a thirteen round tapared magazine, which, I must admit helps when reloading compared to the single stack that I am used to.

So far, nearly five hundred rounds have gone down the pipe, without a single hitch. Not impressive, but no less than I'd expect from H&K. In fact, I have heard of other with tens of thousands of rounds without a malf, and I hope mine does as well.

The weapons themselves are about the same size, with the 1911 being a little longer, a by product of the five inch barrel and the USP giving up a great deal in concealability to it's own thickness. It's a lot thicker. In fact, it's damn thick. Like the-girl-that-shoudn't-be-in-a-bikini-at-the-beach type thick. I think, should I have to, that I could carry and conceal it without a whole lot of problems though.

I realize that this is not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison. What it is is a comparison of a weapon many are not all that familiar with, with a weapon that many have grown up shooting, or at leats have had the opportunity to handle. Both shoot about equally for me, but when I wake up in the middle of the night, you can guarantee that I want the weapon on my nightstand that points well for me. I want the weapon that I don't have to think about shooting, that just does what it's told, when it's told and lets me do whatever else needs to be done.

The USP feels very nice, and lends itself to shooting well, if not so well for concealed carry. It also provides the feeling of comfort and safety. I don't feel like I need to worry about whether it will work or not when or if it's ever needed. I do not, however, see it replacing a good 1911 in my IWB holster anytime soon.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 6:00:59 PM EDT
a good review. i also have both guns and agree that the 1911 feels and points more comfortably.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 6:25:11 PM EDT

Originally Posted By netwt12:
a good review. i also have both guns and agree that the 1911 feels and points more comfortably.



+1

1911s smoke HKs for feel while shooting
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 10:20:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/26/2005 10:21:21 PM EDT by BSheppard]
I have both and could not pick a winner. I have a warrior that is an 8 and a USP.45 that is a 9 and a Ed brown that is a 10.

Link Posted: 12/26/2005 11:13:11 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/27/2005 4:58:49 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/27/2005 4:59:46 AM EDT by desertmoon]
Matt, as far as your Springie 9109L shooting low, this is common.....go to Brownells and order the Novak Officer's Model rear sight and your problems will be over. Myself and many others have done this with their 9109s and in every instance that I have heard ( including mine ) it has cured the issue.
Link Posted: 12/27/2005 5:24:01 AM EDT

Originally Posted By vanilla_gorilla:
...Magazine capacities are, of course, favorable to the double stack weapon..., though I do not consider this a selling point of the weapon...



You are determined not to like that H&K
Link Posted: 12/27/2005 5:35:13 AM EDT
Nice review.

Av
Link Posted: 12/27/2005 6:07:14 AM EDT

Originally Posted By BSheppard:
I have both and could not pick a winner. I have a warrior that is an 8 and a USP.45 that is a 9 and a Ed brown that is a 10.

i2.photobucket.com/albums/y30/bs101177/I-8412.jpg



I have both a Kimber Warrior and an HK USP .40 S&W and its hard to pick a clear winner. The 1911 obviously has a better trigger. Reloads on the small single stack magazines are more difficult as it is hard ot find the hole h Regular energy readings for STANDARD ammo, the .40 S&W nearly always has higher energy numbers, but compare that to +P .45 ACP loadings and your in a whole different ballpark.
The texture on both models is great. My Warrior has the Gunner Grips from Simmoich (sp?) and those make up for the lack of texturing on the front strap. You not gonna let go with either gun.
The actual grip on both guns is pretty good. My Warrior is my favorite. Since it is so much smaller, my hands just entirerly consume the enite gun in a huge bear hug grip.
My complaint with the 1911 is that the magazine release is hard to engage. I had to twist the gun in my hand, move my thumb down and then press inward, in order to release a magazine. The USP is just one simple thumb swipe downward. It is really alot better in that regard. With the USP you has get alot more options on how you want to carry the pistol.
1. Hammer Down (Safety ON)
2. Hammer Down (Safety OFF)
3. Half-Cock (This "Half Cock" is the postion that the hammer falls to when deocked using the deocker lever) ON
4. Half-Cock (OFF)
5. Cocked and Locked

1911 there is only one way to carry the gun in a constant state of readiness and that is cocked and locked.

USP (5) vs. 1911 (1)

Family Picture;
http://img507.imageshack.us/img507/6007/pistols0zo.jpg

Also, Lugers are great
Link Posted: 12/27/2005 6:08:10 AM EDT
I feel the HK is also a bit blocky. Ergonomics are not so good for me. We have the same 1911, but it looks like yours has been slightly modified. What kind of barrel bushing is that? Did you replace the guide rod also? I changed mine out with Ed Brown GI guide rod and recoil plug. If you want to see something really neat, put a Hogue wraparound finger groove grip on that 1911 and watch how much faster you get back on target. It amazed me the first time I tried it on mine. I will never go back to regular grips after running Hogue. MJD
Link Posted: 12/27/2005 7:46:16 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Rodent:

Originally Posted By vanilla_gorilla:
...Magazine capacities are, of course, favorable to the double stack weapon..., though I do not consider this a selling point of the weapon...



You are determined not to like that H&K




On the contrary, I do like it. In fact, I hope to have a holster in time to shoot the next USPSA match here with it. It shoots as accurately as any handgun for me (problems with the shooter, not the gun), and the 13 round capacity is nice. I do not, however, think that, for a personal carry weapon, I would do any better with 13+1 and a reload than I would do with 8+1 and a reload.



Originally posted by highwayman
I feel the HK is also a bit blocky. Ergonomics are not so good for me. We have the same 1911, but it looks like yours has been slightly modified. What kind of barrel bushing is that? Did you replace the guide rod also? I changed mine out with Ed Brown GI guide rod and recoil plug. If you want to see something really neat, put a Hogue wraparound finger groove grip on that 1911 and watch how much faster you get back on target. It amazed me the first time I tried it on mine. I will never go back to regular grips after running Hogue. MJD



That thing is bone stock for now, just like when it shipped from Springfield. I tried the wraparounds on another 1911, and while I like shooting with them, I don't like the fact that they "grab" clothing. My Sig 220ST wears them, and my cover shirt stuck to the gun and showed all of Wal-Mart my beautiful Sig one night.
Link Posted: 12/27/2005 8:09:24 AM EDT

Originally Posted By vanilla_gorilla:

That thing is bone stock for now, just like when it shipped from Springfield. I tried the wraparounds on another 1911, and while I like shooting with them, I don't like the fact that they "grab" clothing. My Sig 220ST wears them, and my cover shirt stuck to the gun and showed all of Wal-Mart my beautiful Sig one night.



Looks like you got a stainless bushing on a parked 1911. Kinda odd that they would do that. I know what you mean about the rubber grips and sticking. It can sometimes be a problem. I've thought about getting Nill wood grips for my 220 but I like the Hogues too much to change. Every one of my metal-framed handguns wears Hogue except the Buckmark, I like the cheesy plastic grips it comes with, feels like a Hi-Power. MJD
Link Posted: 12/27/2005 8:21:18 AM EDT
Great review,
I have both as well. I went to the range one day with my Nighthawk, USP, and SA Loaded. Against the NH, the USP held it's own pretty well, but in the end the NH smoked it badly. However, against my SA loaded, the USP outperformed it in just about every way. My SA is an older "loaded" from '99. The SA's then had a squarer front strap, and NO dehorning. Yes the USP is pretty huge, but at least it didn't cut me up the way my SA does. I guess I'll have to get a newer SA to compare 'em...you know, for the sake of "science"
Link Posted: 12/27/2005 8:37:45 AM EDT
I have a USP f 40 and a SA Champion. While the SA feels better in my small hands, I find both guns work equally well for me. I am LH too. The similar safety and CNL features are nice , because I carry both . either gun should work well for most.
Link Posted: 12/27/2005 9:01:56 AM EDT

Originally Posted By highwayman:

Originally Posted By vanilla_gorilla:

That thing is bone stock for now, just like when it shipped from Springfield. I tried the wraparounds on another 1911, and while I like shooting with them, I don't like the fact that they "grab" clothing. My Sig 220ST wears them, and my cover shirt stuck to the gun and showed all of Wal-Mart my beautiful Sig one night.



Looks like you got a stainless bushing on a parked 1911. Kinda odd that they would do that. I know what you mean about the rubber grips and sticking. It can sometimes be a problem. I've thought about getting Nill wood grips for my 220 but I like the Hogues too much to change. Every one of my metal-framed handguns wears Hogue except the Buckmark, I like the cheesy plastic grips it comes with, feels like a Hi-Power. MJD




Yes, it is a stainless bushing. I thought they were te norm. It looks great to me just like it is, but I may throw some VZ grips on it in the future.

And you're right about the Buck Mark. I love mine!
Link Posted: 12/27/2005 10:47:15 AM EDT

Originally Posted By vanilla_gorilla:

Originally Posted By highwayman:

Originally Posted By vanilla_gorilla:

That thing is bone stock for now, just like when it shipped from Springfield. I tried the wraparounds on another 1911, and while I like shooting with them, I don't like the fact that they "grab" clothing. My Sig 220ST wears them, and my cover shirt stuck to the gun and showed all of Wal-Mart my beautiful Sig one night.



Looks like you got a stainless bushing on a parked 1911. Kinda odd that they would do that. I know what you mean about the rubber grips and sticking. It can sometimes be a problem. I've thought about getting Nill wood grips for my 220 but I like the Hogues too much to change. Every one of my metal-framed handguns wears Hogue except the Buckmark, I like the cheesy plastic grips it comes with, feels like a Hi-Power. MJD




Yes, it is a stainless bushing. I thought they were te norm. It looks great to me just like it is, but I may throw some VZ grips on it in the future.

And you're right about the Buck Mark. I love mine!



Hmmmm, I'm going to have to check. Maybe I got shafted. MJD
Link Posted: 12/27/2005 11:37:03 AM EDT
Nice comparison.

One of the things I picked up on was that you have to change something on your 1911. While the USP is not competition material, it is designed as service pistol out of the box.

The 1911 you have pictured looks very nice. I think if you compare that to say a USP45 Tactical (same price range?) you may feel that the USP is a bit better in trigger feel.

At any rate, it's a nice comparison and very well written. Thanks!
Michael
Link Posted: 12/27/2005 4:08:02 PM EDT
The 1911 is only that much of a better pointer when using a single stack. If you are using a double stack Para or Caspain frame, there is very little difference. The grip to bore angle is the same, it was designed that way by H&K.
Even with the match trigger, it still isn't as good a single action pull as a decent 1911, but it can be gotten used to. Supposedly the double action is very heavy, but I don't have a prblem with mine.
Link Posted: 12/27/2005 8:00:08 PM EDT
Interesting review. I've thought about writing a similar one, but it's gotten to the point where they pretty much both feel the same and I have become indifferent to their minor differences. I may have to look into the thumb safety issue, as that seems to be a common complaint. I suspect the USP's thumb safety was designed specifically to mimic that of the modern 1911, and it certainly feels that way to me (my V9 at least), but I might be missing something. Regardless, after you spend enough time with both, the cross-platform transition becomes completely transparent.
Link Posted: 12/28/2005 3:31:34 AM EDT

Originally Posted By MichaelVain:
Nice comparison.

One of the things I picked up on was that you have to change something on your 1911. While the USP is not competition material, it is designed as service pistol out of the box.

The 1911 you have pictured looks very nice. I think if you compare that to say a USP45 Tactical (same price range?) you may feel that the USP is a bit better in trigger feel.

At any rate, it's a nice comparison and very well written. Thanks!
Michael



Remember, the sight problem seems to be limited to the Springfield Armory line, apparently, they don't have the sighting thing figured out.

As far as comparing prices, the USP and the 9109L were within nine dollars of each other, and both are bone stock, just as I bought them, so feel it's a valid comparison of similarly priced weapons. If you have a .45 Tactical I can have for 6 bills, IM me!
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 8:10:35 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Vinh:
Interesting review. I've thought about writing a similar one, but it's gotten to the point where they pretty much both feel the same and I have become indifferent to their minor differences. I may have to look into the thumb safety issue, as that seems to be a common complaint. I suspect the USP's thumb safety was designed specifically to mimic that of the modern 1911, and it certainly feels that way to me (my V9 at least), but I might be missing something. Regardless, after you spend enough time with both, the cross-platform transition becomes completely transparent.




When the USP was first released HK said that many of it's design features were designed, copied really, from the 1911. The grip to bore angle, and the thumb safety. I used to have their video and an older catalog that gave a listing. This gun was supposedely designed to cater to what American shooters wanted.
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