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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone, I am a rookie here and have a few questions that maybe some of you can offer some advice on. I am 23 years old, and I have decided to get a concealed carry license as well as my first handgun. I have always been attracted to H&K due to it's excellent visual design and, from what I understand, very high quality.

I've had my eyes on the USP compact, and I am trying to decide between .40 and .45 caliber. I am somewhat of a beginner when it comes to firearms, so I don't know much about the practical differences between these 2 calibers.

I went to the gun show here in Houston this morning, and I was able to get my hands on the USPc and it did indeed feel great. I also was able to check out an HK45 which felt even better; I was very impressed with it.

This brings me to another question: if I decide to go with a .45, should I wait until the HK45c becomes available??

Any advice/experience would be greatly appreciated. I really like H&K, and I am trying to learn as much as possible so I can make the right choice. Thanks!

Westibone
 

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Without getting too technical, the .45 round is a heavier, slower moving round but is has tremendous stopping power. I have found it to be good up to maybe 20-25 yards (not that you'll ever really need that range with a handgun).

The .40 is a slightly lighter, faster and more accurate round. Additionally you can get more rounds in your mag. I can hit the "kill" zone with my USP 40 or Sig 226 .40 at up to 50 yards (again not that you'd ever shoot that far).

For all practical defense, either round will be good, just your matter of preference on recoil, weight and mag capacity.

My advice would be to shoot the gun you're interested in side-by-side at the range in both calibers and see what YOU personally are more comfortable with.

I generally never keep more than 5 rounds in a magazine at a time so capacity wasn't a huge factory for me. I went with the .40 more based on weight and recoil... let's face it, if you're buying a handgun for personal defense, chances are should you ever have to use, .40 or .45 will kill just the same and if you're ever in a situation where you need more than 2-3 rounds (assuming you're not LE) then you probably need more practice at the range :)
 

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I like the .45 and shoot it better than the .40. Probably because the grip in the .45 is a little bit bigger. Also as Chopstix Kid said, the .45 is a little bit more of a slow push compaired to the .40 being a little snappier. These are not big differences, but if you shoot both a little while it is noticable.
Ammo is a little bit cheeper for the .40
The advice to try before you buy... best advice out there.
and welcome to the forum.
good safe shooting
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys, I appreciate the input. I guess what I'll do is head down to the range and see if they have any that I can take for a spin. Also, if a round is "snappier", does that mean it produces more recoil? Maybe I should just get one in each caliber :)
 

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Thanks guys, I appreciate the input. I guess what I'll do is head down to the range and see if they have any that I can take for a spin. Also, if a round is "snappier", does that mean it produces more recoil? Maybe I should just get one in each caliber :)
I wouldn't say the .40 produces more or less recoil but it produces it faster whereas the .45 is more of a long push then a quick jab. I can personally get my .40 on target much faster because of this.
 

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For a beginner, I would recomend the 45. The recoil is less snappy and folow up shots are quicker. I just got rid of my USPc 40 and got a tactical 45. I'll get a USPc in 45 to keep it company soon too!
 

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for someone new to shooting I would also suggest the 45acp
+1

.40 in a lightweight polymer pistol can be very, very "snappy." I know it took me a long time to get really proficient with follow up shots with mine.
 

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Wait for the HK45C to release, get it in your hand. Then compare it to the USPC 45 and see what fits/feels better...then go with that.

My 0.2
 

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Well for me the cost to shoot was always a factor when purchasing a certain caliber. I know for sure .45acp is a lot more expensive to plink at the range. My opinion would be buy the biggest caliber that you can shoot accurately and practice the most with.
 

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It has been said before and I will say it again just to drive home the point. Go to a range and rent the guns you are interested in. Whatever you shoot best, well there is your answer. Also rent a 9mm as well, you may like it better. When it is all said and done, dead is dead, no matter if the bg has 9mm hole or .45 hole in his head.
 

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It has been said before and I will say it again just to drive home the point. Go to a range and rent the guns you are interested in. Whatever you shoot best, well there is your answer. Also rent a 9mm as well, you may like it better. When it is all said and done, dead is dead, no matter if the bg has 9mm hole or .45 hole in his head.
Try them all, but especially for a beginner, give careful consideration to a 9mm. The ammo is cheaper so you can practice more for less money, they typically hold more rounds in the magazines, the recoil is a little less so you will be less likely to develop flinching bad habits, and like the last sentence above says - if you hit in the right spot, it's just as effective. A poorly placed shot in any handgun caliber will be less effective than a well-placed one in a small caliber.
 

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It has been said before and I will say it again just to drive home the point. Go to a range and rent the guns you are interested in. Whatever you shoot best, well there is your answer. Also rent a 9mm as well, you may like it better. When it is all said and done, dead is dead, no matter if the bg has 9mm hole or .45 hole in his head.
+1 Enough said! I personally like the .40... others like the .45... It doesn't matter what WE like, it's what YOU like. Rent and try them all.
 

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I carry the Compact 40 in the USP myself and love it. Out of about a dozen guns I own, this one faithfully leaves the house with me, while the others have a party in the safe. For a first time shooter, I agree with the 45 having softer recoil even though the bullet is bigger, but you will get less round count in this weapon and a larger size versus a 40 caliber compact. HK has a good recoil management system, they tame even the 40 caliber down pretty good (with their stock spring system) versus some other brands where it can be a bother to shoot. In the USP versus the new HK releases, I would go with the USP series, personally because you will find leather gear to fit it now, and may have to wait for the makers to get tooled up for the new HK rigs.

I also highly recommend going with a 9mm Compact, they're fun, easy to shoot, cost less ammo-wise, are inherently accurate with little user input, and loaded with a mid-weight range +P or +P+ round will more than get the job done defensively. I like the +P+ 127 Grain Ranger by Winchester and the +P 124 Grain offering from Speer Gold Dot.

Don't fall prey to bigger is better when maybe you can start smaller, build your confidence and experience then work up at a later time. I'd be more afraid of a 9mm in the hands of a competent/skilled shooter than a 45 being held by someone who is unsure. The last thing we want as experienced shooters is for a new shooter to get scared off by a big bang. We're here to help, let us know if you have any other questions.
 

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For a first time buyer I would go with a 9mm. But it really comes down to shooters preference.
 

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I also highly recommend checking out the 9mm. It is cheaper to shoot (40 S&W and 45acp are comparable in price in my neck of the woods) and I think 9mm is easier to shoot. I have found that in a compact gun, follow-up shots are slower for me with 40s and 45s when compared to 9mm so I carry a 9mm when I go out. If it has to start with a "4", I prefer 45acp to 40S&W, especially in a polymer framed handgun.

I must admit, that USPc 45 is a mighty attractive package though...
 

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My personal opinion is that the USPc .40 is a better pistol than the USPc .45.

A lot of people read that as me saying the .40 round is better than the .45 round, but that's not what I'm saying at all.

A full-size USP .45 holds 12 shots, the compact holds 8.
A full-size USP .40 holds 13 shots, the compact holds 12.

Point being, to get the compact frame on the .45 you give up 4 shots of .45 compared to one shot of .40 for the USPc .40.

Regardless of what you think about .40 vs .45, it's hard to justify accepting 4 fewer shots of an arguably equivalent performing round in a pistol of the same size/dimensions.

As a concealed-carry weapon I personally think the P7 is superior, which is what I replaced my USPc .40 with.

My USPc .40 is for sale if you want a deal, link is in the sig... :D
 
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