Home » Equipment Reviews »Firearm and Caliber Advice » Currently Reading:

Defensive Handgun Selection – Glock, 1911 or H&K, Which One to Buy?

January 23, 2010 Equipment Reviews, Firearm and Caliber Advice No Comments

Question:  I’m looking to purchase a new semi-automatic pistol.  In your CCW class, you mentioned how happy you were with your H&K.  I would appreciate your thoughts on the .45 USP Compact.  I would be using it primarily as a defensive, home protection weapon, with occasional range practice.  I have extensive experience with the Colt 1911 .45, and have also enjoyed the simplicity of the Glock, but have heard many good things about H&K’s. Thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts.

Answer: I’m a pretty big fan of the H&K.  I carried both the Glock and the 1911 for a long time.  I carried a Glock 23 and Glock 26 for a couple of years.  I continue to be impressed by the Glock’s simplicity of operation, utter reliability and consistency of trigger pull.  The lack of an external safety except on the trigger dramatically simplifies the operation of the pistol and the training curve for the pistol is not steep at all.  On the downside, the grip was a little bit fat for me and I felt the trigger pull was a little heavy, so I decided to give the 1911 a try.

My Kimber TLE-II is very accurate and has been very reliable.  I feel that I was fortunate since many 1911 style pistols can be finicky about the ammo you need to use in them.  Some of the more expensive 1911s seem to have feed issues related to very close tolerances.  I did not experience that with my gun.   I liked the single action trigger of the 1911 but the weight of the gun was too much for daily concealed carry.  In addition, the reduced ammo capacity made carrying an extra magazine mandatory, adding further to the weight/bulk equation.  Finally, the effective operation of the pistol in a combat situation requires significant practice.  You must practice to insure that you get a firm firing grip to disengage the grip safety and you must train your muscle memory to disengage the thumb safety during the draw stroke.  Not a problem if you practice with your pistol, but if you don’t practice, disengaging the safety won’t come naturally and if you forget the safety during the draw, the consequences could be disastrous in a gunfight.

In the H&K I found a nice balance between the things I liked about both the Glock and the 1911.  My H&K fits my hand well, is relatively lightweight due to the polymer frame, had a reasonable ammo capacity, a thumb safety and can be fired in single or double action.  The first shot is double action which is nice due to the added margin of safety if I have to draw and prepare to fire in a violent encounter.  After the first shot, the H&K shoots in single action mode which allows for very fast, accurate follow up shots.  Finally, in nearly 4 years of shooting it, my H&K has probably malfunctioned a handful of times.  Please bear in mind how much shooting I do.  I must also confess that I am a little less than religious about cleaning it.  I would consider the gun “completely reliable”.  After shooting a 1911 for so long, disengaging the thumb safety on the H&K during the draw-stroke was a non-issue for me, but still will require some practice for a person new to the firearm so that they incorporate clicking the safety ‘off’ during the presentation of the pistol, just as it is in the 1911.

For me, for the reasons above, the H&K USP Compact has been and continues to be my choice for a personal firearm.  The only thing I might consider instead is the new H&K P30 that I saw at the Shot Show this week.  It is the ‘new and improved’ version of the USP Compact and has some nice features in terms of relocating the decocker to the back of the slide and adding what I think is an improved thumb safety that is more positive to release and that is ambidextrous.  The P30 also has a standard Picatinny rail vs. the proprietary rail on the USP, making it compatible with more weapon lights.  If I had the extra cash right now, the P30′s siren song might be nearly irresistible…

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Defensive Handgun Selection - Glock, 1911 or H&K, Which One to Buy?, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating