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Old 03-24-2021, 02:12 PM
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Talking My H&K USP45 Elite has arrived!

A few days ago I ordered a Heckler & Koch USP45 Elite online. This is a firearm that I've wanted for years now, but because it's an expensive premium grade pistol which is only manufactured/imported in limited quantities, I was never able to get one due to either lack of funds or availability...Until now.

The H&K USP45 Elite is essentially a long slide, match grade variant of H&K's Universal Self-Loading Pistol (USP for short) which was originally released in 1993 but has remained popular ever since. The USP is a successor to the H&K Mark 23, a massive .45 ACP pistol designed for the the US Navy SOCOM, made a bit smaller, lighter, and less expensive, and designed for the new .40 S&W cartridge. However, the USP, much like its predecessor the Mk23, is so overengineered that you can actually modify them to shoot 10mm Auto with no problem whatsoever.
Similarly, the USP45 can handle .45 Super right out of the box with no modifications necessary. For those who are unfamiliar with it, .45 Super is an overpressure variant of the .45 ACP cartridge boasting performance on par with 10mm Auto, only at substantially lower operational pressures, and needless to say with a larger caliber bullet.

Being the highest grade of the USP, the Elite model has all the bells and whistles. An elongated slide with a 6" match grade barrel, high profile adjustable sights, a tuned trigger, and just more care overall to fit and finish. So as you can imagine, these babies are expensive, typically selling for over a grand even at pre-pandemic prices. At pandemic pricing, I've seen these selling for $1500+, but I got lucky and found mine for $1061 online with free shipping, so I had to have it. I knew that I was unlikely to get another chance to buy one at that price, so I went for it, and I have no regrets.

I love the styling of the H&K USP45 Elite, which reminds me of the Walther PP with that long slide that tapers off at the end. Some folks think it looks ugly, with a common sentiment I've seen online being; "It looks like in needs a nose job." To me it looks absolutely gorgeous, but then again, I don't find long noses unattractive on women, (in fact, some of those that I fancy just come that way, and it just adds to their exotic charm as far as I'm concerned) so why would I find them unattractive on a firearm? As they say; "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

The USP45 Elite is surprisingly lightweight for a pistol of its size, even considering the polymer frame. It fits great and points naturally in my medium sized hands. The controls are not unlike that of the 1911 and just feel right to me. The trigger is long but smooth in Double Action, light and crisp in Single Action with very little takeup.

Overall, I'm absolutely in love with this pistol. It was already love at first sight when I first saw it online years ago, but now that I have it I love it even more. I can't wait to take it out shooting, but I need to get some ammo first, renew my range permit, and then find the time. For the time being through, I'm more than content just to fondle it.

I took a quick pic of it fresh from the box, but the lighting in the room doesn't do it justice, and since I hadn't cleaned/lubed it yet the finish just looks sort of dull, so I'll take some more pics later on.
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Old 03-24-2021, 09:55 PM
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Nice, they are fine pistols.

I have a Euro-spec Elite 9mm. I like the case and mag funnel.














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Old 03-25-2021, 09:19 AM
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That's really cool. The USP9 Elite is a lot more expensive than the 45, especially when it's one of the older models that came in a aluminum case like yours.

Mine is a brand new 2021 (CB date code) model which comes in a more plain plastic clamshell case.

Upon breaking down the pistol for clearing I'm even more impressed. All of the machined parts are so smooth, smoother than any other gun that I own. No sharp or rough edges anywhere, everything is just rounded off and smooth. I know that this probably shouldn't surprise me considering the price, but it's a first for me. I'm very pleased.

I'm also pleased to discover that although the trigger has a built-in overtravel stop, it's unnecessary on my particular example since the trigger breaks fully to the rear.

I've ordered a few boxes of Buffalo Bore .45 Super since it was available. It wasn't cheap at $32 a box, but oh well, I already splurged on the gun, might as well splurge on the ammo too. Besides, .45 Super is really only available from 3 companies, all of which are boutique loaders, and the other two were completely sold out, so its not like I could have done any better.
I got three boxes, two FMJ, one JHP, the later of which will likely become my Hertengerger Buscadero Ticondas at the prices I paid.
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Old 03-25-2021, 05:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forte Smitten Wesson View Post
That's really cool. The USP9 Elite is a lot more expensive than the 45, especially when it's one of the older models that came in a aluminum case like yours.

Mine is a brand new 2021 (CB date code) model which comes in a more plain plastic clamshell case.

Upon breaking down the pistol for clearing I'm even more impressed. All of the machined parts are so smooth, smoother than any other gun that I own. No sharp or rough edges anywhere, everything is just rounded off and smooth. I know that this probably shouldn't surprise me considering the price, but it's a first for me. I'm very pleased.

I'm also pleased to discover that although the trigger has a built-in overtravel stop, it's unnecessary on my particular example since the trigger breaks fully to the rear.

I've ordered a few boxes of Buffalo Bore .45 Super since it was available. It wasn't cheap at $32 a box, but oh well, I already splurged on the gun, might as well splurge on the ammo too. Besides, .45 Super is really only available from 3 companies, all of which are boutique loaders, and the other two were completely sold out, so its not like I could have done any better.
I got three boxes, two FMJ, one JHP, the later of which will likely become my Hertengerger Buscadero Ticondas at the prices I paid.
Its European spec models that come in the aluminum case. Mine was actually built in 2020.

As for your observations, yes, they are high quality pistols. Very accurate also.
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Old 03-25-2021, 05:49 PM
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It really nice when a dream comes true! Especially if it's a long awaited firearm. Congratulations! Let us know how it shoots.
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Old 03-26-2021, 07:03 AM
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I have 2, non-consecutive serials. Put a 6" barrel in my FS usp 45 and an 18# recoil spring for 450 smc, which is the same as a 45 super with a small rifle primer. I named it Bad Boy. As been noted the usp 45s can handle 45 super out of the box but I like the idea of holding the slide closed a few mili secs longer. The factory 14# sounds kinda weak for my tastes.
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Old 03-26-2021, 09:42 AM
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I don't plan on shooting a lot of .45 Super out of my USP, so I'm just going to leave it in its stock configuration. Besides, I've looked into the matter, and from what I've seen based on comments made by other owners, the USP seems to handle it just fine right put of the box.

Heck, based on what I've heard, Federal actually used a USP to test proof loads and they actually put 6000 rounds of it through it before they bothered to send it in to H&K for evaluation, which was then determined to be free of damage by H&K. So yeah, if it can survive 6000 proof loads without being damaged, then I'm confident that it would hold up to .45 Super just fine sans modification.

I'd be worried that a 18lb recoil spring would render the gun unreliable with standard pressure .45 ACP and would result in inverse battering of the slide.
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Old 03-26-2021, 10:08 PM
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Congrats! I love my HKs. Great pistols. Have looked at their 45acps for sometime now as a house gun, but have not pulled the trigger. I just may look again.
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Old 03-26-2021, 10:41 PM
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Congratulations on a really fine auto loader

I got this one almost two decades ago.



They are very fine pistols. I have shot thousands of rounds of 45SUPER through my USPs and the long barrel of the Elite is nice for that last extra bit of velocity. No changes are necessary for 45 Super

I do modify or replace the followers in the OEM 12 round magazines to get the full 14 round capacity. I also have some of the extended capacity 26 round magazines, but that was mostly for the suppressed USP-T
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Old 03-26-2021, 11:50 PM
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@colt_saa
I actually recall PMing back and forth with you a few years ago about the USP45 Elite back when I first took interest in it, and said posts were highly influential towards my decision to get one, you really sold me on it. Although you may not recall those PMs because I had a different username at the time. (Dirty Harry Callahan)
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Old 03-27-2021, 04:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forte Smitten Wesson View Post
I don't plan on shooting a lot of .45 Super out of my USP, so I'm just going to leave it in its stock configuration. Besides, I've looked into the matter, and from what I've seen based on comments made by other owners, the USP seems to handle it just fine right put of the box.

Heck, based on what I've heard, Federal actually used a USP to test proof loads and they actually put 6000 rounds of it through it before they bothered to send it in to H&K for evaluation, which was then determined to be free of damage by H&K. So yeah, if it can survive 6000 proof loads without being damaged, then I'm confident that it would hold up to .45 Super just fine sans modification.

I'd be worried that a 18lb recoil spring would render the gun unreliable with standard pressure .45 ACP and would result in inverse battering of the slide.
Those are legitimate concerns. I got a complete standard recoil spring assembly from HKparts.net to easily swap out for standard 45acp loads. Exchanging just the recoil spring on that setup is not my idea of fun. I did try standard 45s with the 18# and it worked fine. Inverse battering will add wear and tear but I doubt it will amount to anything. When I destroy the gun because of it I'll just get a new one. I mean it isn't my living pet.
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Old 03-30-2021, 02:33 PM
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I don't really plan on shooting very much of the stuff, so I'm just going to leave it stock.

I just got the ammo in the mail today.
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Old 03-30-2021, 04:23 PM
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Okay, so now you have MY attention! This pistol seems like a nice piece. As far as weight goes, is it any lighter than the full-sized 1911 in .45? I'm tossing around, in my head, the idea of either a nice S&W 1911 in .45, or a decent Colt wheel gun. Now, waiting on your range results but reading about your view, and others', of the quality of the parts, I may have to add a new gun to my short list of wanna-haves! That looks like a nice pistol. Congrats.
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Old 03-30-2021, 07:46 PM
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Yes, it's substantially lighter than a full-size 1911 at a mere 33oz, making it about the same weight as a Lightweight Commander 1911.
Don't weight up on my range report since I have no idea when I'll be able to go out shooting, much less get in enough shooting to really get a feel for it. Fortunately, the gun has been on the market since the 1990s, so there is no shortage of range reports posted by others online, many of which are most likely far more skilled/experienced shooters than I.
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Old 03-31-2021, 02:51 AM
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Quote:
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I don't really plan on shooting very much of the stuff, so I'm just going to leave it stock.

I just got the ammo in the mail today.
What bullet is that in? I like their 185gr Barnes. Also the 185gr+p lead is smoking. I get a little case bulge at the base with that.
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Old 03-31-2021, 12:42 PM
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I got three boxes, one is a 230gr JHP, the other two are 230gr Flatpoint FMJ, all .45 Super.

I'm not a big fan of light for caliber loads, so I didn't buy any 185gr, (although I may get some 200gr later) and while I would have liked to buy some 255gr Hardcast SWCs, the USP has polygonal rifling which you aren't supposed to shoot unjacketed lead bullets through (even if it is gaschecked/hardcast) because it can lead up the barrel in short order causing unsafe pressure spikes, so I'll wait until Underwood gets some of their coated 255gr Hardcast SWCs back in stock for that. It's not like there's any rush to do so since I'm not really planning on taking a hike in Bear country anytime soon.
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Old 03-31-2021, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forte Smitten Wesson View Post
while I would have liked to buy some 255gr Hardcast SWCs, the USP has polygonal rifling which you aren't supposed to shoot unjacketed lead bullets through (even if it is gaschecked/hardcast) because it can lead up the barrel in short order causing unsafe pressure spikes
That is an Urban Legend that was begun by GLOCK when they started recommending not to shoot lead in their polygonal barrels.

HK makes no such claims of impending doom

Polygonal rifled barrels have been with us since the 1850s . . . Jacketed bullets did not become common until the 1970s

Heck, the Confederate Army sharpshooters used polygonal rifled Whitworth rifles during the Civil War, yes I realize the black powder pressures were much lower than today's cartridges.
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Old 04-03-2021, 05:29 PM
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Good to know. I actually took the time to read through my H&K USP45's Owners Manual since folks make all sorts of statements online regarding what H&K says about various things and I wanted to confirm/debunk them for myself. H&K makes no statements advising against the use of hardcast lead bullets. In fact, the only ammo they advise against using is ammo that is in poor condition or is foreign military surplus.
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