Firing Line 02/99
H&K USP40: Glock Killer?
I’ve been a subscriber to Gun Tests for three years, and really enjoy your magazine and your editorial courage. Too many of the popular gun mags are afraid to tick off their advertisers. You aren’t because you don’t take advertising. Keep up the great work.
Your comparison on the S&W 4006, Glock 22, Walther P99, Beretta Model 96, Sig P229, and H&K USP40 was of great interest to me. The first pistol I owned was a Glock 22, which I sold in order to buy an H&K USP40. There were several reasons for my decision to switch:
• The Glock does not have second strike capability. You must cycle the slide to pull the trigger in the event of a misfire.
• I didn’t like the Glock’s “Safe action” trigger—it blistered my trigger fingertip.
• In my grip, the Glock tends to point high. I feel more confident with a manual safety/decocker. The H&K has one, the Glock doesn’t.
These factors made the H&K well worth the extra $44 to me.
Still, the H&K has one characteristic that bothers me. After firing about 500 rounds, I noticed the slide goes into battery when I slap a magazine into position. I returned the gun to H&K. It came back with a note saying this is normal, and characteristic of European combat pistols. H&K also sent me a new owners manual with a warning (in red type) to always engage the safety before loading a magazine into the gun. The 1994-1995 H&K ads stressed that the USP was designed for the American market. I’m very careful where the muzzle is pointed when I go to the range for a practice session (and at all other times, too). I just hope the guy next to me on the firing line is as careful where he points his H&K USP!
Kimber Gold, Tarnished
Just wanted to let you know of my experience with Kimber and feeding problems I encountered with one of the company’s guns.
About a year ago I purchased an LE that works fine with my reloads. Based on its performance, I purchased a Gold Match about 6 months ago, and once again, it fed my reloads just fine. Shortly after this I needed to shoot some factory ammo. I decided to go with hardball and found out that neither of these firearms would feed it reliably. Several different brands were tried with the same results. The problems were bad enough that I rarely could get through an entire magazine without at least one failure to feed. The LE went back to Kimber for repair, where they installed a new barrel. When it was returned, the problem still existed.
A .45 that will not feed factory hardball is a problem. I have had three Kimber barrels and all had the same problem. If there is only a problem feeding specific ammunition, such as Federal match semi-wadcutters, then that may be acceptable. But not feeding factory hardball is totally unacceptable.
Chino Hills, CA
Of course it’s Kimber’s responsibility to make its customers happy, but we realize it’s difficult to determine if a fix at the factory stays a fix for the customer. Besides, the problem may not be the barrel or the gun’s feed ramp. Buy some other magazines that work in the Kimber and see if they fix the problem, or diddle with the mags you have. To us, this hardball-feeding problem should be easier to solve.