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Heckler & Koch USP Tactical - KJW

Lots of people like the H&K Mk23, but, as in real steel, many find it too large a weapon and prefer the small USP (USP stands for Universale Selbstlade Pistole, or Universal Self-loading pistol in English.)

Smart looking USP Tactical

Tanaka sporadically make a P8 (the German army issue USP) and KSC recently launched a USP Compact, but the most commonly found GBB USP is the KJW pairing of the civil USP and this Tactical version.

In the Box

The USP was bought secondhand with a broken trigger and came unboxed.

I had heard that real USP triggers will fit the USP, but in my search for a source, I discovered DOA Airsoft, who make a steel replacement for the KJW airsoft trigger.

Ignore the STTi sticker, this is what would normally come in a USP box.

I contacted them, in the States, and they confirmed that for $20 I could have a trigger delivered. I paid via Paypal and the trigger arrived in the UK in just 4 days. Fitting was relatively straightforward, using the info on their website and the trigger is, certainly, as they describe much better quality than the unit it replaces. Full marks to DOA!

DOA unit (fitted, left) is much stronger than KJW unit (broken parts shown, right)

First Impressions

Looking for all the world like a baby Mk23, the first impression is quite good and it continues as you pick it up, as the gun has a nice solid feel and heft to it.

The shape is well reproduced, but frame shiny and slide grey.

However, as you look closer, you realise this is a class below the Japanese GBBs. The slide has a slightly odd grey hue, although the trademarks here are good. Trademarks are totally absent (oddly) from the frame and, although metal, the safety, hammer and slide lock are all crude and rather poorly fitting.

No markings on grip.

There is a threaded outer barrel, made of metal, which makes a great sound as the gun cycles.

Rail and trigger guard well reproduced

Overall, though, the KJW USP Tactical looks pretty good, at first sight, and feels good in the hand.

Tactical not THAT much smaller than Mk23.

Closer Look

A quick check around the forums will reveal two achilles heel to the KJW USPs. They all break triggers (DOA's excellent replacement is widely praised, looks very solid and is quite easy to fit) and the mags leak.

True to form, my gun's magazine leaks slightly from the top seal, although fairly slowly. Some people say these are fixable, but the concensus is that any fix will not be lasting. Over a few weeks, of irregular firing, the magazine retained enough gas to continue to operate correctly, so it would fine for a day's skirmishing.

Reasonable markings on slide.

The slide is a rather odd looking grey colour, but it does not, to my eye, look very plasticky, as some state. Some of these guns come with a metal slide. However, it features good looking trademarks, both realistic and well rendered.

The markings on the slide are an HK logo with "USP", "TACTICAL" and "9mmx19" further back, on the left side. On the right, the slide is not marked. The left side of the frame is unmarked, whilst the right side bears the wording "MFG. KWAN JU WORKS"/"Made In Taiwan" above the trigger. Under the trigger guard is the wording "WARNING"/"REFER TO OWNERS MANUAL". There is also a silver metal serial number plate under the front of the frame.

Adjustable sights at rear.

The frame is a much shinier than the KSC Mk23, but feels more substantial than the TM NBB version (which shares its frame with the springer). The surface is also rougher to the touch; which is more realistic, I cannot say. By comparison with the slide, the frame features no genuine trademarks at all!

Blade foresight dovetailed in, but no markings make it hard to see in low light.

The USP Tactical features adjustable sights front and rear, with a dovetailed in foresight and a groove unit, with screw adjustment for elevation and windage, at the rear. The sights, have no outlining or dots and are quite hard to see in low light.

Nasty metal barrel and chamber have no markings.

Under the slide, rather surprisingly for a gun at this price, is a metal outer barrel. This features a 14mm negative thread at the end, making fitting a silencer a possibility. The metal barrel is of poor quality metal and features no markings at the chamber, but it does make a pleasing metallic noise as the slide cycles.

Serial number plate under frame - Also note ambi mag release.

Reports on Hop-Up, fixed or adjustable, present or not, seem to vary. Some say there is fixed hop-up and some that it is adjustable via a hex bolt. Others, however, state there is no hop-up at all and it is possible that KJW have changed this feature over the time the gun has been produced.

Shooting Impressions

Carrying out my standard 5m/6 round, off hand test, I was rather impressed by the USP Tactical's accuracy.

Click on image for bigger version in separate window.

All six rounds fell close together and close to the aimpoint. All 6 shots were grouped in a 2.5 inch (6.5 CM) cluster, with the best 5 just 1.375 inches (3.5 CM) across. Dumborat achieved similar results with a KJW USP/P8 in his testing.

The sights were not easy to use in low light, which made the accuracy even more impressive.

However, over 10 shots, the KJW USP Tactical averaged a rather disappointing 245 fps (using Abbey Ultra gas) indoors (around 16C).

The magazine was leaking slightly, but I do not believe this contributed greatly to the lowish figures. After the initial leak at load time, the magazine retained enough gas to operate over a number of weeks, suggesting the leak was very minor.

Shot      FPS
1 232.8
2 251.7
3 251.0
4 246.7
5 247.2
6 245.6
7 243.8
8 242.7
9 243.8
10 251.2

The trigger pull proved rather nasty, too, with a long, rather gritty, feel (emphasised by testing against a Tanaka revolver) and producing a pull weight of 72 Ounces (2,050 grams), which is very heavy for a GBB, exceeding even the old fashioned JAC Browning.

Take Down

Take down of the USP is relatively straightforward.

Field strips easily to this point - enough for maintenance.

With the magazine removed slide the slide back until the cutout is over the pivot point of the slide lock. You can then push the slide lock out of the frame.

With the slide lock removed, you can push the slide, barrel and recoil spring assembly off of the front of the frame.

Undo the screws to get the barrel out.

To disassemble the top end, compress the recoil spring and remove from the barrel. At this point you have to remove two screws to remove a metal plate securing the barrel in the slide, then push the barrel forward in the slide and then back and down to remove it from the slide.


Overall, the KJW USP is not a bad gun.

On the downside, the fit and finish are only so-so, with the slide looking odd in its grey hue and the frame's lack of trademarks and the poor quality controls also belie the gun's Taiwanese origins.

However, accuracy is quite impressive and the metal barrel makes a great sound as the gun cycles. It is also available most places for around $100 new.

Only USP Tactical available, but not up to Japanese standards.

If you fancy a USP, but don't want a Compact (KSC) or to stretch your budget to the Tanaka (which isn't the Tactical) then the KJW is worth a look, as long as you aren't expecting KSC or WA level quality.

Personally, I'd live with the bigger gun and take KSC's excellent Mk23 SOCOM.

Weight : 840g

Realism : ****
Quality : ***
Power : ***
Accuracy : *****

Real Steel link at World Guns

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