The did exist a few months before the ban went into affect and there are dealers on this board who had them in stock, both pistols and mags, before the ban went into affect and that is documented by them regardless of what HK says. They do exist but the problem is proving they are pre-ban now. I have several of the so-called non existent pre-bans that I bought during the AWB that were not marked with any sort of LEO use only, and according to the ban, unmarked means pre-ban since all full caps after that date HAD to be marked for sale in the USA. And there has never been on shred of proof of any of them being illegally imported nor has anyone ever proved them to be illegal to own during the ban. While this is mute for us in free states, there are pre-ban 12 round .45 ACP USP and SOCOM mags out there, finding them and being able to prove it now is another matter since there are plenty of unmarked USP and SOCOM full caps out there that were brought in after the AWB ended.
You may have better luck finding SOCOM full caps and being able to prove they are pre-ban because during the ban you could buy used unmarked Mark 23 full caps all day long at $30 each for 10 or more at The Creek. Mark 23 mags work perfectly in the USP but if you do not want the floor plate gap you will need to change the Mark 23 floor plate to the USP floor plate which is an easy swap. The company who was selling them (Sunset Weapon Systems) has folded but don't let anyone tell you they do not exist. They most certainly did.
The date HK lists for the release of the USP .45 is not correct. That was the official release date but they were on dealer's shelves well before that official release date.
Something else that HK didn't want too public, a shipment of 12 rd. USP45 mags came into the US after the ban, but the mags didn't have the restricted LEO markings on them. Seems these unmarked mags walked out of their bonded warehouse before anything could be done with them. They tried hard to find out who took them (and who was selling them at gun shows in the Virginia area).
I had about 8 -12 round mags with no markings on them. But I had to send them back to get the "marked" ones. (Administrative decision). So they have been out there, just hard to find now. Also I am not sure if you can prove they are pre-ban.
Regarding any type of date code on pre-ban mags. HK use to mark a date code on them but not all had the code. Also, the date code is not the same as the frame date code so while we "think" we have it figured out nobody can be absolutely certain. If, and I mean it is a big IF, if you can find a USP or SOCOM mag with a date code on it and IF our guess on mag date codes are correct, it MIGHT have the letters "ir" for 93 or "ie" for 94.
Now, while I am certain full caps for the USP .45 existed before the ban, they would be marked "ie" but that does not say when in 94 they were made. You would have to assume, as did the ATFE, that since it did not have the LEO only marks then they were pre-ban. Since the mag date code has never been officially released the date codes really mean nothing legally. It is only a best guess rule you can use to hedge your bet.
Also, since SOCOM mags were out in 93 and can be used in the USP .45, then if you can find them with 93 date codes (ir) then that would be the most certain way to go. That is if our best guess is correct.
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