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H&K P8A1: The Bundeswehr’s USP

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Thanks to my friends at Bear Arms in Scottsdale, we have an H&K P8A1 to take a look at today – the current Bundeswehr issue version of the USP. Chambered for 9x19mm and adopted in 1994, only a few things differentiate the P8/P8A1 from the standard commercial USP. Most notably is the safety, which operates in the opposite direction as the commercial guns – up is fire and down is safe. This was specified by the German government to duplicate the operation of the pistol the P8 replaced – the P1. In addition, the P8 uses translucent magazine bodies (15 rounds capacity), allowing one to see how much ammunition is in the magazine from a glance.

A few further changes distinguish the P8A1 form the original P8. Most noticeable are the sights, which were plain white dots on the P8 and were replaced with luminous painted dots on the A1. The slide finish was changed to a more durable type on the A1, and a few places on the inside of the slides were beefed up as well. This was in response to reports of slide cracking with extended use of very hot ammunition.

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