KSC Heckler and Koch USP .45 “Full Size” Review
After many months of waiting and anticipation the KSC USP .45 is finally here. Having owned a USP compact a couple years back, and noticed the full sized USP cutout in the box, I figured it was only a matter of time before it happened. Needless to say I shit my pants the instant I first saw KSC’s prototype pictures of the new gun a few months back. Below is a very extensive breakdown of the operation and build of the gun. There is a lot of information to absorb, but I do suggest you read it all if you want to know ever single thing about KSC’s latest creation before you plunk down the $290.00. This review is probably unnecessarily long, but my goal when reviewing a gun is to discuss everything humanly possible about it. I’m sure there are some thing’s I am missing here, and if I am do let me know about them.
Opening The Box
KSC presents the USP in a nice classy blue box. The box it arrives in happens to be a USP Compact box with a USP 45 sticker on the side to indicated which model it is. Opening the box there she was, the gun seated in its black Styrofoam padding. Included with the USP is a loading rod, hop tool, bb’s, a lock out tool, and a USP Compact manual as you would expect to find. The Japan version of the USP has a manual designed for the full sized USP rather than the USP Compact one.
Since I have not fielded this gun or choreographed it yet, this review will mainly focus on the USP’s construction and action. I will update this review once I bring in some FPS and accuracy readings as well as a game play test.
Weight and Feel
The gun itself just looks hefty just sitting there on its own. However in a quick pre-review I did, I said I wasn’t satisfied with the weight, but upon researching the specifications of the real USP itself; the KSC actually weighs more! The real USP weighs in at 789.25g versus the KSC at 835g. With the addition of a metal slide that weight will increase a considerable deal, however I am pleased with the weight knowing the real specifications now. The size is similar to my Glock 17, but a bit fatter all around, it feel’s good and full in the hands.
Build Quality and Construction
As you should expect KSC releases some of the finest gas blowbacks on the market next to Western Arms. The pistol frame is finished in a very nice matte black plastic with a slight hint of grey to it. If you own a USP Compact you will know what kind of finish to expect, it’s a very refined and exceptional finish with faint mould lines that I’m sure are present on the real USP as well. While it’s not KSC’s “heavyweight” material it still looks great! The stippling on the grips and back strap are very well recreated and give you great grip if your hands start getting a bit sweaty. On the bottom rear of the frame is a lanyard mount, which allows you to attach a tactical lanyard do you don’t loose your gun if you go prone, or accidentally drop it. The slide is made of your standard plastic which has a slight shine to it as most KSC slides do, however I cannot complain as the slide is eventually going to be replaced by a metal slide once it arrives. The safety switch has the “S” and “F” markings that are deeply cast and painted their respective colors. The front and rear sites of the gun are your typical 3 dot sighting setup. What’s interesting is that the dots are not painted on but are actually long plastic inserts that go all the way in.
As per metal parts on the gun, it is what you would expect (trigger, slide lock, hammer, magazine, recoil rod, safety switch, magazine release, front and rear site).
The trademarks on the gun they are almost all re-created and are well done but with a grain of questionable accuracy. When you flip the pistol over and peer on the bottom in front of the trigger guard you are presented with a metal serial number plate with the numbers “25-094705” and the words “Heckler & Koch Inc. INC.” and “Sterling, VA”. On the bottom of the trigger guard itself you will see the words “WARNING REFER TO OWNER’S MANUAL”. Now onto the slide you will see full HK trade marks that read “HK USP .45 Auto”, the N (Bundesadler) or “Federal Eagle” logo, a date code that reads “AD”, the Ulm proof house logo, and a matching serial number of “25-094705”. The barrel sports the HK logo, serial number, and the words “.45 Auto”, and the Federal Eagle on the chamber. The bottom of the grip on the left side frame reads “HK USP”, and on the left side reads “US.Lot.5,309,615”. The bottom of the magazine features the “HK” logo on the base plate and bullet count on the magazine.
For the purists out there I will leave you with a blurb regarding the authenticity of the trademarks. As a side note the real steel USP reads “HK USP” again or “US PAT 5,309,615” on the left side. If you type in the patent number in Google it does come up with accurate information regarding the USP design so KSC reproduced that accurately enough. On the Taiwan version the frame is strangely devoid of trademarks on the top right of the frame. The Japan version reads “Heckler & Koch GmbH” and sports what appears to be a serial number of “XN 031916”. Removed from the TW version magazines are the trademarks that read “RESTRICTED LAW ENFORCEMENT / GOVERNMENT USE ONLY 10-94”, “Heckler & Kock GmbH Heckler and Kock Inc.”, “US.Lot.5,309,815”, “Sterling VA”. Yes it says “Kock” so way to go KSC, lol. Now while I’m a trademark whore myself, I’m still rather pleased with the extent to which the trademarks were reproduced, though purists will be disappointed.
Appearance and Build Issues
Another couple beefs people have been addressing about the appearance are the stippled hammer and the grip indent where your thumb rests. The real USP does not have a stippled texture on the sides of the hammer. I believe it may have been a casting error on KSC’s side but I can’t confirm my findings on this one. Next up is what appears to be a very deep grip indent where your thumb rests; while it is very prominently visible I have seen real steel USP pictures that show it to the same extent. It has to do with the angle and lighting of the photographs, which can exaggerate the illusion of a really deep groove.
Function and Action
Now to the fun part, let’s talk about how the gun works and how to operate it properly.
To eject the magazine all you have to press down on the low pro profile release that is present on the back of the trigger guard. While it is ambidextrous and you can press either the left, or right side of the release bar it is a bit harder rather than pushing down both sides with your thumb and index finger. If you want to change your magazines quickly and flawlessly use both fingers whenever possible. To charge the magazine with gas all you have to do is flip it over, and fill it up for a few seconds. The base plate doesn’t need to be removed to charge the gas. To load the bb’s all you have to do is simply push the bb’s in from the front and in. Unfortunately there isn’t a follower that allows you to just dump bb’s in, sometimes it takes a bit of force and trying to empty the magazine of bb’s after a game is quite difficult and requires a decent amount of force as well. Another downfall is that you cannot monitor your current ammo consumption so you must remember how many shots you have fired because you don’t want to be caught in the middle of a big firefight without any bb’s! The magazine also requires a good slam to put in. If you try to slowly put it in, chances are its going to fall out, or not seat properly. This same problem was present with the USP compact; you had to hit the bottom of the magazine to ensure that it actually clicks in. If you are trying to do a silent reload it might not be so easy, just make sure you pull down on the magazine after it’s inserted so you don’t drop your magazine on the floor. As a side note if you were wondering, USP compact magazines definitely will not fit in here, nor will any other brand of USP magazine.
What’s interesting is that KSC chose to even replicate Heckler and Koch’s lock out mechanism. Inside the magazine well there is a small screw which locks the gun out from use. Just insert the included key and give it a turn, nobody will be able to use your gun unless they have that key handy. Kind of a pain in the ass, but if you keep the gun lying around it will prevent somebody from accidentally discharging it. But you should lock it in a gun case any how
Lock and Load
After you slam the magazine into the gun you are ready to roll. Pull the slide back all the way until you hear that satisfying click then release it! Alternatively you can pull the hammer back manually for the added coolness factor but it wont fire lol which kind of dissapoints me. You will know if the gun is engaged because the hammer will be in its down position. If the gun is on safe, press the safety switch downwards until you feel a soft click. As a side note, the de-cocker does work and puts the gun in a half cocked position. Just drop the safety switch down further until the hammer pops up. Now back on topic, once the gun is cocked the trigger will have moved backwards into its ready position. Toss on your goggles, point the gun in a safe direction and fire. You will find that the gun is somewhat accurate and offers pretty nice blowback, while not sluggish it could be a little more quick and snappy; however it was enough to be enjoyable. I expect future upgrades like high flows, enhanced hammer springs, recoil rod and spring setups to be released. I have yet to chronograph the gun, but the performance is pretty standard thus far, and looks like it has the potential to be an excellent backup or primary for indoor use especially if upgrades are eventually released. But I will reserve my comments until further testing has been done before I can fully comment on the performance.
Disassembly is very straight forward, as with owners of USP Compacts the pistol breaks down the same way. All you have to do is pull the slide back until the slide notch lines up with the beginning of the slide release. The pieces will align, just hold the slide steady, and with your other free hand push the pin outwards. Sometimes it requires a slight hard push to pop it out. Once removed you just have to push the slide forwards and off the frame. The recoil spring, and barrel pop out very simply and are straight forward to reassemble. Adjusting the hop can be done here, just grab your hop tool and align the teeth and turn it left or right depending on the way your BB’s are traveling. The hop can also be adjusted with the slide on, and I recommend doing it this way so you can shoot and adjust accordingly.
Currently Available Upgrades and Accessories
Since this pistol was released only a couple months back it’s understandable that there are not many 3rd party parts available for it yet. Currently shooters design has a beautiful 7075 AL slide, which is CNC machined and sports full trademarks and some replacement hop parts. There are 2 models available of this slide, one with a threaded barrel ($158.00 USD) and one with a standard barrel ($137.00 USD). They are only available in black at this moment. I can’t possibly justify the cost of the threaded version, as all it includes is a threaded barrel adaptor. I expect to see Guarder or another company release threaded steel outers for them in the near future.
Next up there is your typical cheaply made zinc alloy Taiwanese made slide, which comes in at a price of $57.00 USD. It sports full trademarks laser etched through the paint. You get what you pay for in the world of airsoft; so if you don’t want to settle for any less than the best, stick with Shooters Design.
KWA has recently released a full metal OD version of the USP, which is completely devoid of trademarks. It’s quite a disappointing because I have always dreamed of a tan or olive framed USP. In 2005 Heckler and Koch released a limited edition run of its most popular USP models in colors such as desert tan, OD and grey. These colors were chosen to meet specific operating environments. Hopefully KSC or a 3rd party company releases frames in these colors because it would definitely make a great addition to the USP lineup.
If you want to mount a tactical light on your USP you cannot do so easily without the purchase of a GG&G or other adaptor which gives the addition of a 20mm rail to the bottom of the USP. With the adaptor you can mount just about any tactical light. Those who have a lot of money can purchase the Insight Technology M2 UTL or LAM for the USP series. These units were specifically designed for the USP but can range from hundreds of dollars to well over one thousand dollars. Knowing myself, I will probably pick up the M2 UTL (Universal Tactical Light)
Tritium sites are also available from manufacturers such as Trijicon and TRUGLO. I have seen the KSC USP Compact with Tritium sites that were successfully fitted, and I am thus basing my judgment off that alone. However I recommend doing some research into this before dropping $125.00 on a set. These are a great upgrade if you do a lot of indoor CQB or when playing in low light environments.
The KSC USP has undoubtedly done it again. With exceptional build quality and assumed upgrade potential, I think anybody who loves Heckler and Koch or the USP series in general will definitely enjoy having this in their collection.