The KSC Heckler & Koch P10 isn’t a particularly handsome pistol. In fact, it’s kind of plain. Not that you can blame KSC for this, because it’s a very good visual replica of the original handgun. Maybe that shouldn’t matter: after all, this is a replica handgun, not a fashion accessory. But the truth is that those of us who shoot and collect replicas are often influenced by how a pistol looks. I know that I am generally drawn to a replica in the first instance by its visual appeal (or lack of it) or the history behind the original. Which might lead you to overlook the P10.
And that would be a pity, because the KSC P10 sort of reminds me of BMW 5 Series saloons from the 70s. Huge, ugly, boxy things that sat on the road like a shed on wheels and made no concessions to looking “nice“. However, I owned a couple of those 5 Series Beemers in the late 70s and early 80s and despite looking plain, they were very good indeed. No frills or flounces, no pretty styling elements, just fast, competent and well made cars. And the KSC H&K P10 is a little like that. Not much to look at perhaps, but beautifully made and finished, efficient and reliable.
Real steel background
In the 1970s Heckler & Koch produced some innovative handguns. The VP70 from 1970 was the first polymer framed handgun and featured a DAO trigger (unusual at the time) and a combined holster/shoulder stock. The P7 from 1976 was a more conventional design but it was cocked, not by thumbing back a hammer or racking the slide, but by squeezing a cocking handle at the front of the grip. However, when H&K began work on a replacement for the P7 in the late 1980s, they returned to a much more traditional design.
In 1993, the USP (Universale Selbstladepistole) was released. The USP is a short recoil operated, locked breech, semi-automatic pistol which uses a conventional Browning locking system (the functional design is actually similar to the Colt 1911). Most models feature a combined manual safety/de-cocker on the left side of the frame. However, moving the manual safety from “fire” to “safe” does not automatically de-cock the USP – the lever must be depressed to a lower position to de-cock. This means that the USP can be carried “cocked and locked”, like the 1911. The USP also incorporates a novel recoil reducing captive coil spring on the guide rod and provides extremely good corrosion resistance through the use of a hard, nitro-gas carburized black oxide finish, which gives the USP a distinctive matt black/dark grey appearance. Original USPs were chambered for 9x19mm and .40″ S&W rounds.
The USP quickly gained an enviable reputation for durability and reliability. It was subjected to a range of tests including exposure to extreme temperatures, use in hostile environments including mud, sand and salt spray and endurance tests which involved firing up to 24,000 rounds with no component failures. By the end of the 1990s the USP and derivatives had been adopted by military and law enforcement agencies in a number of countries including the US, Australia, Denmark, France, Spain and Greece. A slightly modified version of the USP (the P8) was also adopted as the main service pistol of the German Armed Forces (the Bundeswehr).
H&K USP Compact
In 1994 the USP Compact was introduced, a scaled-down version of the full size USP which was not equipped with the recoil-reduction system. The USP Compact has a bobbed hammer and a 3.58″ barrel (compared to the 4.25″ barrel on the full-size version). A slightly modified version of the USP Compact with a spurred hammer was adopted as the sidearm of a number of German state police forces as the P10. The P10 is available chambered for the 9x19mm round only.
The KSC H&K P10
I have talked about KWA and KSC before, in the review of the KWA HK45 (you’ll find a link at the end of this review). KSC is Japanese and KWA is Taiwanese and though they sell what appear to be almost identical replicas, nobody seems to be certain what the commercial relationship between the two companies is. Most people assume that KWA manufacture replicas in Taiwan and these are sold by both KSC and KWA but I don’t know if that’s actually the case. The review here is of a KSC product, but I think you are safe to assume that KWA products based on the USP Compact will be very similar if not identical.
In addition to replicas based on the full-size USP and the HK45, KWA and KSC also produce several replicas based on the compact version of the USP. These include the USP Compact, the USP Compact Tactical and the P10. All appear to be mechanically identical and differ only in markings, hammer, outer barrel and sights. The original version of the USP Compact produced by KSC featured a plastic slide but around four years ago a new version was introduced featuring a metal slide and the improved System 7 gas feed system (KWA versions have NS2, which appears to be identical). KSC claim that System 7 incorporates a new, advanced lightweight piston which increases the speed of slide movement and provides a harder kick as well as improved power and accuracy compared to older models.
The KSC H&K P10 reviewed here is the newer version with a metal slide the System 7 gas feed system. This version also has a metal trigger, hammer and controls and the magazine is also of mainly metal construction.
Magazine capacity: 22 BBs
Propellant: Green gas
Barrel length: 90mm (3.54″)
Weight: 726g (1.6lbs)
Overall length: 185mm (7.3″)
Sights: Notch and post, three white dots, rear sight has windage adjustment only.
Packaging and presentation 3/5
The KSC H&K P10 is provided in a sturdy card box with a polystyrene interior with cut-outs to house the pistol and accessories. It is supplied with a tool to adjust hop-up, a locking key and a small bag of unidentified BBs. It also comes with what appears to be a comprehensive user manual which includes some background to the USP series. Unfortunately the manual is wholly in Japanese without translation of the text to any other language.
An alternative magazine baseplate is also provided which does not incorporate a “pinky-grip” extension.
Visual accuracy 10/10
H&K P10 (left), KSC H&K P10 (right)
The KSC P10 is a very good visual replica of the original though it incorporates features more commonly seen on “tactical” versions of the USP and USP Compact including a threaded extension to the barrel for mounting a suppressor and high level sights (to maintain a good sight picture with a suppressor fitted). The P10 is more commonly seen with the standard barrel and sights though it’s certainly possible that some may have been modified in this way.
Some of the markings of the KSC P10
Markings on the KSC are very good indeed. On the left of the slide you have the Bundesadler (Federal Eagle), “KH” (indicating a pistol manufactured in 1997) the “stag horn” proof mark from Ulm and a (non-unique) serial number. Markings on the left side of the slide are laser etched in white – all other markings are engraved. The serial number is repeated on the outer barrel and on a metal plate under the accessory rail. The pistol also features assorted “Heckler & Koch GmbH” and “GE/Polizei” markings. There are no markings referencing KSC or Taiwan as the country of manufacture nothing noting indicating that this is a 6mm replica. Even the “WARNING REFER TO OWNER’S MANUAL” text engraved under the trigger guard is an accurate reproduction of what’s on the original. There are no markings here that you wouldn’t find on the original and nothing from the original has been omitted.
The finish of the slide is a good match to the non-reflective nitride finish on the original and finish on the polymer frame and metal slide match well. There are no prominent moulding seams and generally, it’s difficult to see how you could have a more accurate visual replica.
Functional accuracy 14/15
Some KWA/KSC pistols are intended as training aids for the cartridge versions, and the functional accuracy of the KSC H&K P10 is extremely close to that of the original. The hammer, trigger, slide release, magazine release and safety/de-cocker lever all operate here precisely as they do on the original.
The only thing that I can see which doesn’t work on this replica is the ejector pin. On the real weapon, the ejector pin projects slightly when a round is in the chamber and the upper surface of the pin is painted red, acting as an external visual loading indicator. The red paint is present on the replica, but the ejector pin is fixed in place, though this hardly a criticism given that I’m not aware of any replica which currently includes this function.
The KSC P10 field strips as per the original – the magazine is removed, the slide is moved back until a cut-out is aligned with the combined slide release/locking pin on the left. The pin is then pushed out from the right side and removed, and the slide can then be pushed forward off the frame.
The KSC H&K P10 magazine is filled with gas in the usual way, though it does seem sensitive to different nozzle types on gas cannisters. While most filled without leaks or issues, one can of green gas (which works without problems on my other replicas) produced a noticeable loss of gas while filling. There do not appear to be any leaks from the magazine, and the follower locks down to allow up to 22 BBs to be loaded from the top.
When inserted in to the grip, the magazine locks positively and cleanly though I did notice on a couple of occasions that inserting a loaded magazine caused the slide lock to release, causing the slide to move partly forward. This doesn’t happen with an empty mag, and it seemed to happen more often while the pistol was very new.
With the magazine in place and the slide racked, you’re good to shoot. The sights are a simple notch and post design and the white dots allow a clear sight picture against any background. The rear sight is adjustable for windage only. The KSC P10 doesn’t offer anything in the way of alternative backstraps, but the grip is a reasonable size and should comfortably fit most average sized hands. The “pinky-grip” extension on the magazine does help to give a positive grip, though an alternative flat version is also supplied. Although the magazine release is ambidextrous, the slide release and safety/de-cocker are left side only, so this isn’t a particularly lefty-friendly replica. The slide operates through a full range of movement, releases with a satisfying clank and moves positively and with authority.
In single action mode, the trigger pull is short, light, creep-free and precise. In double action it’s obviously longer and a little heavier, but still precise and pleasant to use. Blowback is snappy and strong, but despite KSCs claims for System 7, I didn’t find it to provide notably more recoil effect than most other 6mm replicas I own. The P10 isn’t particularly loud, but it does shoot with a sharp crack that’s quite distinctive.
Ten shots, six yards, rested, 0.25g BBs. All but one of the shots is inside or touching the 1½” diameter black centre circle.
Accuracy and consistency are good both with the recommended 0.20g BBs and with heavier 0.25g BBs. Groupings at six yards are generally around 2″ or less with very few flyers. After adjusting hop-up, the point of impact is around ½” below the point of aim at six yards. Adjusting the hop-up is very easy on the P10 due to the use of the KSC tool which allows adjustment without removing the slide. With the slide locked back and the magazine removed, the tool engages with a toothed wheel on the outer barrel, which allows quick and very fine adjustment.
Gas consumption is good with 50 – 60 shots from a single fill of the magazine. Overall, the most notable thing about shooting the KSC P10 is it’s consistency and reliability. I haven’t experienced a single double feed or other loading problem, the trigger pull is predictable and good, the slide locks back on empty every time and I can confidently place BBs on target time after time. As a shooter, this is up there with the very best 6mm semi-auto replicas.
Quality and reliability 13/15
I have shot around 500 BBs of various weights with the P10 so far, and to date I have had precisely no misfeeds or failures to fire. None. That’s pretty impressive, certainly better than most 6mm replicas I have tested and it suggests that the feed and gas system the P10 is carefully designed and well engineered. The KSC P10 just seems to go on reliably and relentlessly pumping out BBs with a minimum of fuss.
Mine did have a couple of very minor issues out of the box. The front sight was loose where it is drifted into the slide, and it moved from-side-to-side due to the effects of blowback. However, this was easily fixed with a thin layer of packing under the sight to wedge it into position. I also occasionally found that the slide would unlock and move partly forward as a loaded magazine was inserted, though this mainly happened when the P10 replica was very new. Otherwise it has functioned flawlessly, finish and overall quality seem very good and there is no obvious internal or external wear on my P10 at all.
Overall Impression 12/15
If you have read this far, you’ll know that the KSC P10 doesn’t appeal to me in the way that some other replicas do. On one level I know that shouldn’t matter, but then I’m shooting these replicas purely for pleasure and I do like a replica that looks good. Consider the Umarex Walther PPQ for example, or the Cybergun S&W M&P 9c. Both are similar polymer framed replicas of modern semi-auto pistols. However, the originals they’re based on have (for me, at least) far more visual appeal than the P10 and both can be configured for left-hand use. And yet, when I want to put some fuss-free BBs on-target, the P10 is often the replica I reach for. It has been completely reliable and I never have to fiddle to get it to shoot as it should. Overall, this one has grown on me. It just does what it says on the box and gives the impression that it will continue to do so for some time to come.
So, the KSC H&K P10 – as ugly as a sack of frogs, but as reliable as if it was carved out of a solid block of granite. It also shoots with good power and accuracy, has nice, strong blowback and a fairly loud report and from previous experience of KSC/KWA products, I anticipate good long-term reliability. And you know, I’m kind of getting used to the way it looks. Perhaps calling it “ugly” is unfair. Maybe “functional” or “utilitarian” would be a fairer description. It may not be a replica you’d choose to display on the wall, but as a shooter it’s very good indeed.
I still don’t care for the extended outer barrel or the raised sights, and I’d like it even better if I could use it in my left hand, but you just have to respect something that’s made and finished as well as this. If you want a replica that has the “wow” factor, you may want to look elsewhere. But, if you want a reliable, well made, well engineered pistol that also shoots very nicely, the KSC H&K P10 could be the one for you. A 1970s BMW 5 series of the replica world.
Total score: 86/100
Pros and cons
Well engineered and finished
Reliable, consistent and accurate shooter
More expensive than some comparable airsoft pistols
Not much of a looker
You can buy the KWA USP Compact at Pyramid Air here.