The H&K USP Compact is a hell of a pistol. Extremely accurate, durable, reliable, and simply cool, it’s still in production for a reason. The magazines are just as bomb-proof as the pistol itself. Given the obsessive engineering at H&K, this comes as no shock. Like everything else it builds, Heckler & Koch goes totally overboard with their mags and the USP Compact magazine is no exception. Construction is typically overbuilt, which I find to be appealing. The mag we’re looking at today is the 13-round steel mag with the finger rest, and it ranks among the very best metal magazines for any pistol on the market.
Construction and Features
The steel is heavy gauge and confidence-inspiring; there’s nothing flimsy about it. “Made in Germany” is engraved on the front of the magazine. The finish is a semi-glossy, black that looks very rich. Aside from looking good, it seems to protect the magazine very well, as I’ve never experienced any rust issues or degradation. On top of that, the finish seems to blend perfectly with the pistol itself, matching very well.
On the rear of the magazine, holes numbered, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 13 allow a visual check of how many rounds are in the magazine. Also on the rear of the magazine, we can see how it was put together, as the two halves were spot welded together.
A steel spring pushes up a polymer follower, which contributes to longevity and smooth, reliable feeding. I’ve always found that magazines with a polymer follower and a steel body feed extra smoothly. That polymer just glides right along, and these magazines do feed perfectly! I’ve owned a couple of H&K pistols in my time, and I’ve never experienced a stoppage while firing any of them.
One of the more interesting aspects of this magazine is the floor plate. It’s made of polymer and is actually slightly flexible. The more I think about it, the more brilliant it is — if these mags are dropped and they land on the base plate, it won’t break. It will give the mag enough flex that nothing bad will happen. On top of that, the pliable polymer is also thick, which will only contribute to its durability.
Another nice aspect is that, if gripped hard, the base plate can flex a bit to accommodate the shooter’s grip. The extended nature of the base plate allows the shooter’s little finger to have a place to park, which really helps the grip. For my medium-sized hands, it works perfectly as far as size is concerned.
I’d forgotten to mention the USP Compact’s paddle-style magazine release, which is fully ambidextrous. Some people don’t care for it, but I happen to love it. In fact, I wish all American pistols would adopt this style of mag release! I’ve taken to using my index (trigger) finger, or sometimes both my trigger finger and my thumb. It very quickly becomes intuitive.
A final tidbit makes this magazine just a little more attractive: it will also fit the H&K P2000 pistol. Nothing like being able to pull double duty! H&K was wise to give these mags a dual purpose.
Unfortunately, full-sized USP magazines cannot be utilized in the USP Compact. Evidently, the USP Compact’s grip was re-engineered to be significantly smaller, so the full-size USP magazines are simply a little too large. Oh well.
Disassembly and Reassembly of the USP Compact Magazine
Disassembling the magazine is easy enough. Push in the recessed button in the floor of the magazine, slide the base plate forward, and be prepared for the spring to come flying out. From there, the follower can be removed, and you’re done with disassembly. Simply reverse the process to reassemble. There are no hidden tricks.
H&K’s USP Compact
A few words about the pistol itself…
It weighs 27.2 ounces, has a barrel length of 3.58 inches, and an overall length of 6.81 inches. It is five inches high. Although listed as a Compact (and compared to the USP, it is very compact), it’s a mid-sized or maybe slightly larger pistol by today’s standards. The slide is gorgeous and the controls are among the best of any pistol on the planet, with the slide release being huge and the safety/decocker just right.
As this is written, the price of a USP Compact magazine is $42.99. When you consider the quality of the magazine you’re getting, that’s not a bad price. This piece of gear will last a very long time.
I’d grab a couple of these while you still can. In fact…I did grab a couple!