Owning these in various calibers and triggers configs - my take:
USP Compact: size and dimension almost same as G19/G23 to a tee. Actually a tiny bit smaller in some measurements.
P2000: a smidge bigger (I mean a smidge) than USPc 9/40 not enough to make any carry difference.
P2000SK:the smallest. Hair bigger than G26, especially comparable if using flat mag base plates.
USP Compact .45: Lil bit bigger than the USPc 9/40/357 but still well within reasonable and easy carry size. Flat mag base plates avail for it also.
P30: odd size, P2000 size in slide length, grip height about like G17. Grip height little too tall for me for CC. YMMV.
P30L: pretty much same size as G17. Too big for me to CC but maybe not you. Sure shoots sweet.
Note: for me I define my personal max thresholds for carry size as height about 5.0 inches or less, length 7.0 inches or less, width 1.2 inches or less, give or take a .10 here and there. Me: 6'1" 220 - not fat. I can and do pocket carry G26/P2000SK no problem. Can pocket carry and conceal G19/USPc but that's kind of going full retard and as you know, never go full retard.
Who cares. Everytime someone complains about their polymer pistol being too heavy for carry Jeff Cooper turns in his grave. Leave Col. Cooper rest in peace.
USP Compact: 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 (sometimes .357 SIG-somewhat rare)
P2000: 9mm, 40 S&W, .357 SIG - when you can find them.
P2000SK: 9mm, 40 S&W, .357 SIG - when you can find them.
P30/P30L(P30S, P30LS): 9mm, 40 S&W
Note: You can buy an HK .357 SIG barrel or .40 S&W barrel and swap into your USPc 40/357, P2000 40/357 or SK 40/357. (Like putting a G32 barrel in a G23.) You might have a hard time finding a .357 barrel for sale.
Note: Barrels between USPc and P2000 are NOT interchangeable. Model specific.
Why the goofy lengths? Blame it on the metric system. All have polygonal rifling. Not supposed to shoot lead. All barrels are made cold hammer forged out of the same kind of steel used to make artillery tubes. H&K-F-Yeah! USP acceptance and design testing consisted of loding a bullet in the barrel, shooting it out and continuing the test. Yes it kept right on going. Note: not something to try on purpose. Do not do this with your Glock. No this does not mean if you get a squib on the range you can just shoot it clear. Remember, never go full retard.
Capacity: (all have 10 rounders if required by your local law)
USP Compact 9mm: 13+1
USP Compact .40 S&W 12+1
USP Compact .357 SIG 12+1
USP Compact .45 8+1 (will accept 10 round mags from HK45- not USP .45!) [Note: HK45, HK45C, USP .45 and USPc .45 are four different pistols - don't get confused]
P2000: 9mm 13+1
P2000: .40 S&W 12+1
P2000: .357 SIG 12+1
P2000SK 9mm: 10+1 (will accept USPc 9mm 13 round mags. x-grip avail)
P2000SK .40S&W 9+1 (will accept USPc .40 12 round mags. x-grip avail)
P2000SK .357 SIG 9+1 (will accept USPc .357 SIG 12 round mags. x-grip avail)
P30/P30L 9mm: 15+1
P30/P30L .40S&W 13+1 (mags were hard to find, see them out for sale online more now)
NOTE: USPc, P2000 .357/40S&W mags and P2000SK .357/.40S&W mags are identical in all respects (for their model) except the label on them. If you have one of those calibers and need extra mags you can interchange them 100%. Fun fact: I bought some .357 SIG mags for my P2000SK and they came from factory with flat base plates. The P2000SK .40 mags came with the regular ones. Who knows why, not me.
NOTE: USPc, P2000, P2000SK flat magazine base pads can be purchased and swapped in to further reduce height / printing. Makes big difference in carry. See Top Gun Supply, they almost always have them, sometimes on Midway too.
NOTE: the fmagazine base plates for 9mm models are different from .40/.357.
NOTE: USPc and P2000 mags are the same thing. Only the bottom baseplate says P2000 on it or USPc on it. Buy whatever is available and on sale. Generally USPc/P2000/P2000sk mags are about $6-8 dollars more than a Glock mag, except the USPc .45 which run $45-$61 depending on where you find them. Check CDNN they have sales all the time.
NOTE: USPc, P2000 9/40/357 baseplates are the same and interchangeable.
NOTE: A USPc .45 and HK45C magazine is the same thing. Get whichever is on sale.
Trigger Control Groups:
USPc: a lot of options, some popular ones: - DA/SA w Safety Decocker - good ole Variant 1, DA/SA, Safety Only, DA/SA Decock Only, LEM, LEM with Safety, and more.
P2000/P2000SK: DA/SA decock only - no safety, LEM with various trigger weights - no safety option. If you can get one imported from Europe you can get a LEM with decocker version. I believe the genesis of that was an agency requirement over there.
P30/P30L: DA/SA decocker only, DA/SA decocker with safety, LEM in various trigger weights, There are also a couple hundred P30L in country with LEM and safety. Might be able to add a safety to a regular LEM by sending down to HK for factory change. Dunno. Would have to call H&K.
USPc: Worst DA/SA in lineup. Best LEM.
P2000/P2000SK: DA/SA best in lineup, LEM good.
P30/P30L: DA/SA better than USPc, LEM not as good as P2000.
Note: All H&K firearms (except some of the higher end specialized models) are kind of notorious for a crummy heavy DA pull but the SA is usually good. Just their thing I guess.
Note: - the trigger is not made of plastic. It is metal with a polymer over coat.
What is this LEM trigger option?
OK here is the somewhat quick and dirty explanation. Now if you're new to DA/SA and everything let's start with that. DA/SA pistols have a hammer that when decocked in DA (Double Action) mode, will be in the forward position. Your first trigger pull will be heavy and long, because the trigger pull is cocking and then releasing the hammer, hence double action. After the slide cycles the pistol (or if you racked the slide and only applied the safety) will be in SA [single action] mode with the hammer back, mainspring compressed and the trigger noticeably further to the rear with a much lighter and shorter pull. The trigger will be performing a single action, releasing the hammer to strike the firing pin. All following shots will be SA until you decock the pistol with the decocking lever. Some love DA/SA, some don't. Some are philosophically opposed to it. I won't get into all that. You like what you like.
Now, a lot of agencies, due to perceived liability reasons, training budgets, etc. etc. mandate that officers carry DAO or double action only pistols. In a revolver this would be epitomized by something like the S&W Centennial series like the J-Frame 442, 642. The user cannot cock the hammer and the pistol always fires in double action mode, like a Glock technically does. The theory being that DAO is less likely to suffer from a stressed based unintentional discharge or an accidental discharge during training because of the generally longer and heavier trigger pull DAO pistols traditionally have. Plus the end user does not need to remember to decock before holstering and generally the firearm will have have less buttons, knobs and levers on it so training is simplified. Imagine if you had to teach and qualify 5-10 thousand officers annually that maybe had never handled a firearm until they attended the academy. DAO would start to look pretty good from a training perspective. But I digress...
History Lesson: A certain major metropolitan PD in Florida wanted to switch from revolvers to semiautomatic pistols, chief said sure if you can get one that is DAO, thinking that that would be the end of the matter. Smith, SIG, etc. told the PD that it was a silly idea and no one would want them. They refused. Guess what pistol from Austria arrived stateside and was classified by BATF as DAO? Yep Glock. I'm certain there were many sh%T eating grins as they adopted the G17. Guess who started making DAO semiautomatic pistols? Everyone.
In order to meet these DAO requirements (once everyone realized that Glock was selling like gang busters to agencies that had adopted the DAO policy) H&K had/has a variant of the USP and USPc that is DAO. This is not the LEM, the problem was it stunk as far as a trigger goes. It was long, with a long reset and a really heavy trigger pull weight. Then genius struck. The H&K engineers devised a DAO trigger unlike any other. The LEM or Law Enforcement Modification trigger system. In brief it uses a very strong main spring that gets pre-cocked when the slide is cycled (like when you load your pistol). The pre-cock mechanism removes almost all the felt tension from the heavy mainspring and there is no need to decock the pistol, it's ready to go but in a very safe state. The first pull will be long but extremely light, like about 2-3 pounds and then you hit a 7-8 pound resistance for the final bit of pull before the hammer trips and the round fires. Slide cycles, and you only need to let the trigger out a little bit to hit the reset point and you may now fire again.
Some have described it as having the feel of a well tuned Colt Python. I describe it as great. The pros of this system are: uses a very heavy mainspring which results in your hammer contacting the firing pin with a lot of force, thereby virtually eliminating failure to fire from hard primers, if for some reason the slide does not cycle and you wish to just pull the trigger again you can albeit with a heavy pull because the mainspring is not under pretension but you do have second strike capability (as you do on all H&K) if that is important to you, you do not need to decock the weapon. It's always decocked. Now you can get the LEM in different pull weights depending on the model pistol. They are factory standard variants and some end users have created their own personal variants by mixing and matching various springs. I like the plain factory standard LEM.
Each of the model's, UPSc, P2000, P2000SK, P30/L LEM feel a bit different from each other. Not radically different but maybe the pull weight is a touch different or the reset a touch longer or shorter, etc. A USPc with LEM is generally felt to have the best LEM. I don't notice enough difference between them to quibble or worry about it. You really need to try it if at all possible when deciding which H&K to get. If you are doing a dry fire at the gun shop and you have not cycled the slide on a LEM pistol first, you are not experiencing LEM, just plain DAO. Now recall that if you get a P2000/SK/P30 in DA/SA you can't go LEM later or vice-versa. USPc can go from DA/SA to LEM and back again if you change your mind.
Oh and LEM is also sometimes referred to by H&K as CDA or Combat Defense Action trigger.
USPc: HE (Hostile Environment/NitroCarburized), Blued (rare) Stainless Steel Slide (somewhat rare but you can find them - usually limited runs they do on occasion, then they say they are never going to release them in SS again, until the next time they do, you can also find some with gray [looks kind of blue to me], tan, OD frames)
To me the finish on the USPc seems "tougher".
USPc: left side only slide stop release but way big enough for a lefty if you use it, can have ambidextrous or left or right side control levers for the safety/decocker installed as you like. Grip is what it is but is pretty much 1911'ish in angle and feels great to my large size hand. Checkering is good and not too much. Provides very positive grip. I have glove size large hands and find the USPc great, the USPc .45 perfect. Has the HK style mag release, which I love. Once you learn it and use it a bit you'll realize how fast it is and how it is pretty resistant to accidental mag releases. Tip: try using your strong hand middle or trigger finger, or if your fingers are long like me, I use my strong hand thumb and middle finger simultaneously.
P2000: 4 interchangeable back straps S,M (installed from factory), L, XL. M feels like a standard USPc grip, L has a bit of a hump and is somewhere between a 1911 and Glock to me. L and XL are made out of tough rubber material. I use L. Ambidextrous slide release levers. If you have a DA/SA version Decocker button is on left rear of slide. Checkering is less aggressive than USPc but feels and holds great. Same mag release lever style as USPc.
P2000SK: two backstraps S, M. I like S on this one. Ambidextrous slide release levers. If you have a DA/SA version Decocker button is on left rear of slide. Checkering is less aggressive than USPc but feels and holds great. Same mag release lever style as USPc.
Very rarely HK imports low profile slide release levers for P2000/SK. Sign up for the two year waiting list.
P30/P30L: The grip king. Interchangeable backstraps and side panels. Some 27 different combinations. Truly the nicest grip on any polymer out there. Tailor to suit yourself. Ambidextrous slide release, if safety equipped it is ambidextrous also. If equipped with Decocker it is on left rear of slide like P2000/SK. For some, the checkering pattern on the grip panels is too abrasive for their taste. You'll have to hold and see. Might only bother you if you carry it under a shirt with no t-shirt against bare skin. Has larger size mag release levers. They feel good and are an improvement for those with shorter fingers.
USPc: 3 dot, they are good. (Another H&K innovation, along with first polymer frame pistols) Enough space in sight picture. Can also get factory 3 dot green night sights. Various aftermarket.
P2000/SK: 3 dot, factory night sights or various aftermarket.
P30/P30L: 3 dot low profile (Novak-ish) Luminova fake night sights. There are now models on the shelves that come with Trijicon tritium night sights. Reason for Luminova (as on some Beretta, can't use radioactive tritium to manufacture things in Europa-********). Various aftermarket tritium available.
I found the USPc has the best variety of aftermarket sight options at this time. P30 seems to be coming along, P2000/SK options are not as numerous as USPc. Trijicon, Ameriglo, Meprolight, XS, Heine, all have something on offer.
Note: P2000/P2000SK sights are interchangeable but P2000/SK are not interchangeable with USPc - the dovetails are different.
USPc: non-standard rail. Why? H&K invented adding a rail light to pistol but the USPc was made before the industry standardized so it has it's own type. No biggie, Streamlight makes TLR-3 in USPc version or you can get an adapter to convert to standard rail from GG&G. Couple other companies make USPc compatible lights.
P2000: Standard Glock like rail setup.
P2000SK: Has standard rail but not much real estate. Will need something small if you want to put something on there.
P30/P30L: Standard picatinny rail. Plenty of real estate for lights and fuzzy dice.
All of above: No Crimson Trace for you. Rail mounted laser or laser/light combo is in your future if you intend to battle the death star.
USPc: factory equipped with bobbed hammer on all model. DA/SA or LEM.
P2000: bobbed hammer on LEM model, spurred hammer on DA/DA
P2000SK: bobbed hammer on LEM model, spurred hammer on DA/DA
P30/P30L: bobbed hammer on LEM model, spurred hammer on DA/SA
P2000/SK can be equipped with magazine safety if so desired but no manual safety.
USPc: can have a manual safety but no magazine safety.
P30/P30L: can have manual safety but I do not believe magazine safety is available.
Convert my current USPc variant to?...Yes. A USPc can be converted from any variant to another trigger/control variant USPc.
Convert my P2000 DA/SA to LEM? Sorta - you could do it yourself or have your smith. I don't think H&K will do it or support it under warranty but you can call and ask. Removal of the decocker button can allow the hammer to float.
Convert my P2000/SK LEM to DA/SA?: No. Not without a new slide. The DA/SA slide has a cutout in the back for the decocker. The LEM variant slide does not have this.
Convert my P30 DA/SA to LEM?: same as P2000.
Convert my P30/P30L LEM to DA/SA: Nein.
Put the shorter length slide release levers from a P30S on my regular P30? Yes. Call H&K to order.
Get my trigger worked on if I really need to/want to? Yes. Bruce Gray at Gray Guns, Bowie Tactical or Bill Springfield, or you can have factory or armorer change certain springs to go from standard LEM to "light" LEM etc.
Get bigger mag release levers on my P2000, SK or USPc? Why yes you can. Call H&K and order a mag release lever, roll pin and spring for HK45C. It will fit just fine on your P2000, SK or USPc. Only caveat: if you have a super form-molded Kydex holster like a Raven Concealment it might take some sorting out. Part is cheap though so no harm trying if you really like it.
Are They/Is They/I Heard/I'm/What is?
Soft shooting? Yes. They have a very beefy steel captured recoil system with polymer buffer ring. If you have always hated .40 S&W try to fire it out of an H&K (or SIG P229) and see if you don't give it a second look. You know you want to.
Tough? Yes. The USPc was built from the ground up around the .40 S&W.
What about the P2000/SK and P30: The "guts" of them are almost identical to USPc, slide shape, barrel length, and grip frame shape/options are the main diffs.
Chamber fully supported? No such thing, but in comparison to many other makes it is excellent and about as close as you can get.
Hard to find mags? No. Midway, CDNN, Top Gun Supply. Only sometimes .45 mags might be sold out in one place or another.
Easy to field strip? Yes. Clear Pistol, Retract Slide, Remove Slide Release Lever, Remove Slide, Remove Barrel and Rod. No need to pull trigger.
Run wet or dry:? Lube slightly more than Glock, less than SIG. Grease not necessary. H&K techs will tell you not to use grease on rails. CLP is fine. Runs dirty just fine.
The finish as tough as a Glock? Mmmm...no and yes IMHO. Hostile Environment coating is very tough finish and under that black coating the metal is treated to a nitro carbeurizing process like Glock slides. The surface finish is very tough but comes in behind Glock. The underlying treatment of the metal is as good as Glock so even if the black wears off the metal is protected. Note that internal parts are also treated with the Hostile Environment coating . In my personal experience it goes: Glock, H&K, M&P, Kahr (a ringer), SIG as far as surface and underlying slide metal treatment.
20 Years from now will H&K refinish my slide? No, but there is a guy on the web (forget his name right now) who does the factory refinishing for H&K and he will.
I'm afraid to get holster wear. A: It's a pistol, yes I know it costs some dough and you don't want to abuse it and drag it behind your truck, but carrying it for duty or CCW is not abusing it. I never turned my nose up at a used pistol that is clean and well maintained except for honest holster wear. All carried pistols, even my Glocks have holster wear.
Ammo Sensitive? No. The 9MM models like 124 grain (or ye ole Winchester NATO white box) for breaking in the springs about the first 200-400 rounds, since 9mm range/target ammo is loaded so weak anyway. After that eats anything. Other cals, eat anything.
Can I use lead bullets, steel case ammo, reloads? You can but you shouldn't, I don't care what pistol you have. If you blow it up with a dirty gun show reload don't expect the factory to give you a new one under warranty. Read your warranty.
Why does the trigger guard have a hump inside it? As you pull the trigger back the bottom of the trigger comes right to the top of the hump (but does not touch), it's to keep any material from your gloves from getting trapped in/under/behind the trigger and freezing up the action. Spiffy.
I heard their service stinks: Bull. The technical guys are great and know their stuff. I had a question about something and the head armorer for H&K responded to me personally. I was looking for a certain SKU one time to order a new pistol and the manager of commercial sales for H&K USA, got back to me. Every one of my contacts with H&K staff has been prompt, polite and informed and I'm just John Q.
Pretty much all the Kydex dudes: Comptac, Crossbreed, Raven Concealment have you covered, Raven will also make light compatible holsters. I have Comptac MTAC, Infidel IWBs, Raven OWB. I like them all.
For leather, off the shelf Don Hume, Galco, Desantis have you covered. I like the Glaco Fletch personally. I don't use any all leather IWB. Just me. Almost all the custom guys have you covered.
The only pistol that seems to have some trouble in finding an available off the shelf is the USP Compact .45. They are there but maybe not in all styles a manufacturer offers.
For duty Safariland has what you need.
Yes you can get a SERPA for the USPc, yes it will also fit the USPc .45, yes there is a different SERPA for the P2000 series. I know you can jam them in each other's model but NO they are not the same. I have both sitting in my drawer. Last SERPAs I bought. Why? Put your SERPA on your strong side. Now, pretend your strong hand arm is useless and immobile. Take your weak arm hand, try to draw from your SERPA. Eye-opener. Now imagine having to do that with a guy coming at you with a baseball bat. Sorry - tangent...
I like the grip size of the USPc .45 best right our the box. Suits me to a tee.
I like the checkering on the P2000 the best.
I like the slide release lever on USPc the best. Works best for me and my grip.
I like the mag release levers on P30/P30L the best.
I like the slide contouring on the P2000/P30 the best.
I like LEM.
If you want a safety - you are looking at USPc or P30/P30L [P30S], if not it's all up to you.
If someone tells you H&K cost too much. Think of it this way, they cost about as much as a SIG or about as much as a Glock plus a case or half case of ammo. Big deal in the long run. You can usually find a used one in excellent shape if you keep your eye out for about $100-$200 less than new. Sometimes really good deals on police trades.
I own and very much like 4 Glocks and 4 SIGS so I'm not a hater. I just like the features of the H&K's the best.
Good Luck. The only way you can really go wrong with any of the above is if you get one that is too big for you to CC routinely. If that happens, don't worry just go get a P2000SK to go with whatever your first H&K was. Eventually you will add more to your collection. Oh and if you are interested in .45,, don't forget to take a look at the HK45C. You might just like it. ;-) It's like a P2000 but in .45.
Yes, if you write a book be sure to let use know. I enjoyed reading your reference to Col. Cooper. People who think a polymer pistol is to heavy have never carried a steel frame 1911 or other steel frame pistol.