The HK USP Compact holds a very special place in my heart. It was the first handgun I ever had and for the first five years, I shot the crap out of that gun. I think there’s always a special place in your heart for the first gun you own. The USP Compact was the first handgun I bought and learned how to shoot on. Luckily, I still own it today and still enjoy putting rounds through it at the range.
Buying It New
I picked up my HK USP Compact in 2004 for $848.99 at Jays Sporting Goods in Gaylord, Michigan. Since it was my first handgun, I spent a decent amount of time going between the HK, SIG Sauer P229, and Glock 19 Gen 2. I decided on the USP Compact based on how it felt in my hand and basic ergonomics. I planned on conceal carrying the gun and wanted to shoot in IDPA as well so I went with the compact frame size to compromise.
Shooting and Competing with The USP
Prior to buying my HK, I shot between 2,000-3,000 rounds out of my uncle’s Glock 17 Gen2. The Glock shot flawlessly throughout my first few months of learning to shoot. I could have bought a Glock but I wanted to try something else to see what I liked. At that time I was still a teenager and the HK fit my hand better while still being controllable and lightweight. A few things were different like the magazine release and DA/SA trigger but with practice, things became easier. Competing with an HK USP Compact was a bit unconventional compared to the older guys running their Smith & Wesson 686s and Kimber 1911s.
Despite being the area black sheep, I loved how well and consistent the USP shot every match I attended. The biggest issue I had with the gun was the polymer trigger and the amount of flex it had. Since it was my first handgun, I didn’t realize the difference in triggers until I switched. I decided to switch over to my SIG Sauer P226 after a few years of owning my HK. Honestly, in the grand scheme, the HK USP trigger isn’t terrible by any means. The USP has a recoil impulse that goes straight back and is very easy to control for quick follow up shots. I learned over time to hit the HK mag release with my trigger finger for faster reloads. After a while, the USP was a great gun for the IDPA arena but the 226 and other guns fit my needs a little better.
How It Stacks Up Today
The overall design of the HK USP Compact is 23 years old so it’s not considered new. Surprisingly, it holds up well compared to options offered today. With a full magazine, the USP Compact is very well balanced. It’s an easy gun to shoot and clean with a simple disassembly design of 4 major parts. In terms of disassembly, the USP Compact is just like any other modern-day handgun with simple takedown and reassembly. The biggest thing I see the USP having a disadvantage is mainly capacity. The standard flush-fitting magazines hold 13 rounds which isn’t a ton compared to the SIG P365 and Springfield Hellcat now. Modern variations from HK like the VP9 have higher capacity now. Back then, it was a good concealed carry option overall.
Overall if you’ve always wanted to own a USP Compact I would say you definitely should get one. Mine has been bulletproof reliable with any type of ammo. I still carry my USP Compact fairly often despite it not being the latest and greatest option out there. It may not have the capacity or features of handguns today, but it’s a workhorse and I still trust it with my life. Let me know what you guys think of the USP Compact after 23 years of it being on the market. If you have questions about my HK USP Compact fee free to message me on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there!