Test & technology: Heckler & Koch USP Elite .45 ACP pistol

Besides those made for the military market, there are numerous other USP variants, with longer slide, or different models for sport shooting. The Heckler & Koch USP Elite falls within this last category.

With its 6’’ slide and modern sights, built by Italian company LPA, the Elite is ideal for target shooting. The barrel has a precision threaded muzzle, polygonal bore profile and O-ring bushing. The extended slide fits an LPA rear sight with micrometric adjustment, while the front sight has a unique design.

Heckler & Koch has also thought to add a trigger-stop. The grip and controls on the .45 ACP are the same as the classic .45 ACP HK USP.

Heckler & Koch USP Elite: technical details 

The rear sight on the Heckler & Koch USP Elite
The LPA sight on the Heckler & Koch Elite USP is adjustable for both elevation and windage. It fits in a dovetail slot.
Heckler & Koch USP Elite in .45 acp, slide front 
The distinctive design of the slide front: the scallop on the slide bottom gives the Heckler & Koch USP Elite its unique appearance.

As far as the grip is concerned, there are no adapters (-2 points). Most polymer-frame pistols today have this feature.

However, the USP in caliber .45 ACP is suitable for shooters with medium-large hands. The textured grip is a guarantee for a firm hold. The available accessories include covers for the polymer structure.

The controls, with safety/release button, are impeccable to manage. The magazine release, too, is easy to reach and handle. Unfortunately, however, it is placed only on the left side of the weapon (-2 points).

The sights are perfect for sport shooting ranges (-0 points). The rear sight is fully adjustable, with a 6 mm high notch. The sightline is 212 mm long.

As well as the trigger-stop, Heckler & Koch have also cut trigger weight by a further 100 grams. The trigger rubs slightly in the initial stage (-1 point), but the trigger pull and the rear travel control through the trigger stop are good.

As far as fire cycling operations and safety are concerned, there really is nothing to add (-0 points). The test was carried out in perfect safety and with no problems. Even when it comes to the preparatory stage, there is practically nothing to add. The QPR surface coating on the barrel stays clean.

The barrel sits perfectly in the slide, and the breech is firm in the ejection port. There is a small amount of backlash between the locking action and the slide, typically found on USPs. The handgrip quality is excellent with just a few minuscule burrs that are perceptible to the touch on the bottom part of the magazine (-3 points).

As far as accuracy is concerned, this longslide model is really great. With a minimum dispersion of 27 millimeters, the Heckler & Koch Elite USP firing Magtech cartridges achieved a maximum score (-0 Points).

Heckler & Koch USP Elite: analysis and test results

Accuracy (max. 50 points )50 points
Cycling/safety (max. 10 points)10 points
Trigger  characteristics (max. 10 points)9 points
Trigger-grip design (max. 5 points)3 points
Control elements (max. 10 points)8 points
Sights (max. 5 points)5 points
Workmanship (max. 10 points)7 points
Total score (max. 100 points)92 points


6 out of 6

Heckler & Koch USP Elite: characteristics and technical data

Heckler & Koch USP Elite
.45 ACP
12 + 1 rounds
Size (L x W x H ):
238 x 32 x 151 mm
Barrel length:
152 mm
Trigger weight:
1,600 / 4,550 g
953 g (with empty magazine)
1,435 Euro

Composition: polymer pistol with exposed hammer and single shot or double action system, Browning locking system and rail for accessories with excellent accuracy.

USP Elite Heckler & Koch stripped
Components of Heckler & Koch USP Elite: the design of the Elite uses the same criteria as the other models in the range. The barrel locks through locking the chamber in the ejection port. The recoil spring has a buffer.

Heckler & Koch USP Elite Pistol – test summary

The functions of the .45 ACP Elite are the same of the USP family. The handgrip, with all the controls is practically the same. The sports model with the modified trigger and professional sights make it stand out from the standard model.

The changes to the barrel and slide allows greater accuracy than the basic 5’’ model. Due to its conception, the Heckler & Koch USP Elite is ideal for all large caliber target shooting disciplines.

The pistol comes with two large magazines in a locking HK case of the highest quality, with metal frame.

For more information on the Heckler & Koch USP Elite, see the manufacturer’s website.

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