A Nurse with a Gun

Friday, May 02, 2008

Preferences

I own an H&K USP .45 ACP and I have been wondering for a long time now... Why do people prefer the 1911 over all other .45 ACP.
I own two HK USPs, and quite a few 1911s. I chose to carry the 1911s and relegate the USPs to the safe and range gun status.

The USP is a good reliable gun with a trigger that pretty much ruins the package. Click to enlargeI shoot the USP OK, it fits my hand OK, but even the USP compact carries like a clock radio strapped under your jacket. It seems these pistols were not designed for CCW but many owners try to press them into that role. Fully loaded, they are heavy and they print like a bobcat in your britches. That's been my experience, even using good leather, trying to carry a HK USPc unobtrusively. I'm a 6'1" 250 pound male with years of experience concealing handguns. If I can't keep the thing hidden, it's fair to say there is a problem.

Remember that a 1911 is a style of pistol, not a specific gun. A more valid comparison would be between a specific 1911 and a HK product of equal market value. Saying "1911" is lumping Ed Brown's product in with stuff from tropical islands in the west Pacific. It's like putting HK's in the same category as S&W Sigmas and KelTec pistols.

Let's compare the HK USP (either compact or full size) to a Colt 1911 such as the Colt Series 70, the Colt New Agent, or even the Colt NRM Series 80 1911. That's a fair comparison. The Colt product is reliable, accurate, and has a great trigger that can easily be altered to fit the shooter's desires if needed. Click to enlargeThe entire Colt pistol can be tailored to the shooter, in fact. If done properly, the pistol will remain reliable. If done on some gun hack's kitchen table, the pistol will be turned into an unreliable lump whether Colt or HK. But I digress.......The Colt product carries extremely well. With the right leather, it's about as obtrusive as an iPod. In fact, even with mediocre leather it conceals and carries very well. The only HK pistol that carries as well is the P7 series.

The Colt 1911 is accurate. It puts holes exactly where I want them to go, consistently hitting paper plates while I am on the move. The HK product, again with the exception of the P7 series, does not do that for me. I suppose you could say that I just have to learn to manage the HK USP trigger. Well, I shoot double action revolvers very well, in double action. Between the ergonomics and the trigger of the HK USP and it's more recent sibling, the P whatever it is called, I do not have the same accuracy under the same conditions. I'm just not willing to devote any more range time learning to accurately manage a trigger that is poor to mediocre from the start just so I can defend myself with the latest flavor of Kool-Aid. I would rather pick a pistol I shoot better with from the start and concentrate on training and tactics. Training and tactics keep you alive in a shooting. The latest Kool-Aid gives you bragging rights at the gun counter. I'd rather live through a shooting, assuming I can't avoid it from the start. That's why I carry a gun. When you think about it, that is the entire purpose of a handgun, to give it's owner a portable life saving device. If he can not carry it concealed and use it effectively, it fails in that role for him. Period.

I carry a gun and train to employ tactics with effective shooting to help me survive a threat to my life. Everything else is secondary to that. Click to enlargeRather than devote myself to learning a weapon that fails to meet my other criteria for an effective defensive pistol, namely the ability to carry it concealed and have it in my hands when I need it, because I could easily carry it, I simply relegated the USP to my pile of pistols that did not make the cut. That doesn't mean it's a bad pistol, it just means I found a pistol that serves me better for my intended use. No offense intended to the guys who prefer the Universelle Selbstladepistole.

Over time, that happens to every shooter. We find our personal favorite. Some would point out that the HK USP has greater capacity. I say my spare magazines help balance my entire carry package on my body. Some folks figure they need those extra bullets in the coming zombie apocalypse. I figure seven rounds +1 will get me out of a mugging or a liquor store robbery if I apply training and tactics well. If I need more ammunition, I have a spare magazine to cram into the gun while I am hunkering behind cover. I will be hunkering and exiting Dodge because I concentrated on learning tactics, not trends.

So that's why I prefer a 1911. After years of packing something else, after going through the wondernine revolution and considering the old GI gun to be an old man's gun, I realized that the 1911 and proper training and tactics was what I was looking for. That's why I carry a 1911. It works for me.

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13 Comments:

Blogger HokiePundit said...

Some of it depends on your use, too. If I were a cop, I might like the USP for being DA/SA and for having a larger magazine. I think they're more intimidating, too: the 1911 is just a little too sexy (heaven help anyone using a Hi Power on that front!). The USP is probably lighter, too, which must be nice on a duty belt.

(Yes, I have both a USP Compact in 9mm and a Springfield Mil-Spec 1911)

12:14 AM  
Blogger Not Too Pensive said...

The USP is a good reliable gun with a trigger that pretty much ruins the package.

Truer words were never spoken about this particular firearm.

I remember picking up the USPc at the shop for the first time. The grip slid into my hand and fit it like a glove. All the controls were in the exact right spot. I didn't immediately love the magazine release, but felt I could get used to it.

And then, after asking permission, I tested the trigger. And all of a sudden the love affair was over. Maybe it's possible to do some kind of work to it to make it less gritty, but with many better triggers out there and a small budget, it dropped off my list.

That said, it's not a bad trigger, and to each his own. It's definitely serviceable and certainly more than good enough, The pistol's numerous other advantages could easily outweigh the shortcomings in this area, and it is certainly a fine firearm which, once I have a bit more in the bank account could well find a place in the collection. It just didn't fit the bill for me right now.

12:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have many years of 1911 experience most of it in the Marine Corps and have used them through thick and thin. I'm very enamored these days of the Hk 45 and P30. The P30 carries well and I feel quite snug with 15 rounds of 124gr +P Gold Dots. I have no issues with its trigger and love the Hk 45 trigger which is Hk's match trigger. i carry the HK 45 locked and cocked in single action mode. Light, easy maintenance, far fewer points of failure than a 1911 and shoots like a laser beam.

12:54 AM  
Blogger lee n. field said...

Weems to me, if you want a coolish gun with a poor trigger, you could get a CZ-100 and save a lot of money over the HundK.

7:59 AM  
Blogger Rabbit said...

I grew up shooting the 1911. The first pistol I bought (with my own money) was, however, a BHP. I did have a difficult time deciding between it and a Colt 1911, though.

I've had plenty of opportunities to shoot HK's which belonged to friends and acquaintances. Every time I come away smiling outwardly and giving them compliments on their choice of sidearms, mostly because I consider myself a gentleman and one never disses a man's woman, dog or firearm. On the inside, I'm incredulous that they paid *that much* for such an unwieldy crunchenticker.

But hey, don't pay any attention to me. The wife carries a Springer Micro Compact. My personal choice in .45 is a P220, which sort of rolls gently with recoil and doesn't move much in the hand at all. I'd like to think that JMB would nod approvingly.

Still got that old BHP, too.

Regards,
Rabbit.

12:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why not a more contemporary comparison. The HK45 and the HK45c are more appropriate to compare against a 1911. Not to mention lowered bore axis, and more user friendly grip...

3:08 PM  
Anonymous Will said...

Xavier,
It seems to me that you have clearly enumerated why the HK should NOT be in YOUR safe. So, why is it? Sounds to me like trading fodder.

3:13 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

"why not a more contemporary comparison. The HK45 and the HK45c are more appropriate to compare against a 1911. Not to mention lowered bore axis, and more user friendly grip..."

I haven't shot those. If you are close by, I'll be willing to though.....

Will, when the right gun comes along and I need trade fodder, I suspect they will go.

3:41 PM  
Blogger Punditarian said...

Xav,

You will appreciate that William S. Halsted said that a good surgeon good get a better result with black silk than a poor surgeon could with gut.

Well thought out comments.

6:24 PM  
Blogger Stu Nod said...

"After years of packing something else, after going through the wondernine revolution and considering the old GI gun to be an old man's gun, I realized that the 1911 and proper training and tactics was what I was looking for. That's why I carry a 1911. It works for me"

Hey - that's my line, too!

9:27 PM  
Blogger Stoney Pete said...

My friends USP40 almost made me buy one. Now I'm tempted to buy a USP45. However, like yourself, I love the 1911 format and I carry my commander exclusively.

9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the artical!
I've done a lot of thinking about the new line of HK's since they came out and you basicaly read my mind.
I think my biggest beef is the price tag and B.S. hype behind a mediocre performing gun, I don't care how high quality a gun's manufacturing is, if it doesn't perform at the same level it's useless.
A rediculas trigger & brick ergonomics doesn't scream "go to gun" to me.

10:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Xavier; you nailed it, exactly my thoughts on the subject as well, kudos to you!

8:38 PM  

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