KSC H&K P10

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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.

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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).

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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

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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.

Spec;

Calibre: 6mm

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.

Action: SA/DA

Packaging and presentation 3/5

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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.

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An alternative magazine baseplate is also provided which does not incorporate a “pinky-grip” extension.

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Visual accuracy 10/10

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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.

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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.

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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.

p1017The 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.

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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.

Shooting 34/40

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.

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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.

p101With 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.

p1011In 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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

Conclusion

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.

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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

Pros

Well engineered and finished

Reliable, consistent and accurate shooter

Extremely realistic

Cons

More expensive than some comparable airsoft pistols

Not ambidextrous

Not much of a looker

Related pages:

KWA H&K 45 review

Umarex Walther PPQ M2 review

Cybergun S&W M&P 9c review

Buy

You can buy the KWA USP Compact at Pyramid Air here.

Video review

 

Which is the best replica pistol? Part 1

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One of the most common questions I’m asked is “What’s the best replica pistol?”. Problem is, there isn’t really a single “best” replica. There will always be a trade-off between performance and functionality. Some replicas are good shooters, some are good functional replicas and some look and handle well. None (as far as I’m aware) excel at all three. The best replica for you will depend on what you’re looking for. So, having answered my own question in the second sentence, the rest of this article will be a meander through products from some well-known manufacturers, assessing which particular boxes each tick and whether any could be considered the best replica. The list is in alphabetical rather than in order of preference and it isn’t intended to be comprehensive or encyclopaedic, it’s just based on my own experiences. Having said all this, I’ll do my best at the end of Part 2 to select my candidate for the best replica. Probably.

And as ever, feel free to disagree.   Or even better, send me an article explaining your own ideas on the perfect replica…

ASG (Action Sport Games)

Action Sport Games A/S (ASG) is a Danish distributor of air and airsoft weapons and accessories. Most products are manufactured by OEM companies in Taiwan. ASG have license agreements with several well-known firearms manufacturers including Dan Wesson, STI International and Ceska Zbrojovka ( CZ) though they also provide unlicensed replicas of Glocks and Berettas. ASG market a range of spring, CO2 and green gas powered replicas including automatic rifles, sniper rifles and SMGs in addition to a range of semi auto pistols and revolvers.   Most ASG pistols are available in 6mm and 4.5mm versions, though I only have experience of the 4.5mm, CO2 range.

The Dan Wesson revolvers are well-known but ASG also produce a very nice range of CO2 powered blowback semi-auto pistols including the CZ75D Compact and the STI International Duty One. These are very nicely made and finished replicas, and pretty fair shooters too. The trigger action on the semi-auto replicas is a bit quirky though – the blowback action just cocks the hammer – it doesn’t queue up the next BB. So the first part of the long single action trigger pull pushes the BB into the chamber. Squeezing the trigger slowly or tentatively can lead to a BB falling out of the barrel or, if you pull the trigger back without firing and release, can lead to more than one BB being fired. That apart, these are very nice mid-priced replicas, and ASG recently announced the release of a pellet-shooting version of the Dan Wesson revolvers with a rifled barrel, which could be very nice indeed.

Best things about ASG replicas: Reasonable cost, blowback versions are good replicas, fair shooters.

Worst things about ASG replicas: Single action trigger action on blowback replicas, some questions about quality control/long-term reliability.

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My favourite ASG replica: Would probably be the 4.5mm, CO2, CZ 75D Compact blowback. Good replica, nice weight, well finished and as far as I know, the only 4.5mm licensed version of this chunky and attractive handgun. Nice shooter too – powerful, consistent and reasonably accurate.

Related pages:

Dan Wesson revolvers review

Website: http://www.actionsportgames.com/products-210.aspx

Crosman

Crosman Corporation is a US manufacturer and retailer of air pistols and rifles. The current range includes a number of (generally unlicensed) replicas of real world handguns. These are mostly fairly low cost replicas, and I can’t say that I find many of them (with the possible exception of the 357 revolver) very exciting. However, in the sixties and seventies, Crosman sold a range of replicas based on the iconic Colt Single Action Army, and it’s those I want to include here. Prompted by rising interest in all things cowboy, in 1959 Crosman introduced their first pellet firing, CO2 powered SAA replica – the Single Action 6 (SA6) which sold from 1959 – 1969.  In 1970 it was superseded by the Peacemaker 44.  Both the SA6 and the Peacemaker 44 were available in .22 calibre only and were all metal replicas, though from 1976 – 1981 a Peacemaker 44 in .177 calibre with a plastic outer cylinder was also produced. All production of Crosman SAA replicas had ended by 1982.

Very large numbers of both the SA6 and the Peacemaker 44 were produced, and these replicas are readily available in used condition. These are basic, crude, loud, fiddly to load, not terribly accurate and they gobble CO2. And I absolutely love them. If you have any interest in replica guns, you need to try shooting one of these SAA replicas. Personally, I wouldn’t bother with one of the later plastic cylinder models (or the Crosman Shiloh – a replica of the 1861 Remington revolver) as the build quality of these doesn’t seem quite so good. But if you can find a decent SA6 with its imitation stag-horn grips or a good original Peacemaker 44, grab it with both hands and don’t let go.

Best things about Crosman replicas: Low cost, Colt SAA replicas from the 60s and 70s are great fun.

Worst things about Crosman replicas: Just about everything else they currently make is of low quality with limited functionality and most are indifferent shooters.

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My favourite Crosman replica: Would be my very own Crosman Peacemaker 44. It’s super loud and I’m lucky to get 30 full power shots per CO2 but it’s nevertheless one of my favourite replicas to shoot. Weighty but with good balance and one of the best single-action triggers I have come across, it never fails to put a smile on my face. Why, oh why doesn’t someone introduce a new Colt SAA replica?

Related pages:

Refurbishing a Crosman Peacemaker 44

Website: http://www.crosman.com/

Cybergun

Cybergun is a French distribution company which markets a range of branded CO2 and green gas powered replicas including automatic rifles, sniper rifles and SMGs in addition to a range of semi auto pistols. Most are from Taiwanese OEM companies including KWC.   Cybergun pistols are available in 6mm and 4.5mm versions, though I only have experience of the 4.5mm, CO2 range.

Many Cybergun replicas have odd licensing agreements – their Taurus PT92B replica is branded as a GSG92/Swiss Arms P92, their Colt 1911 is the Tanfoglio Witness and the Mini Uzi sometimes appears as the Swiss Arms Protector. If markings are important to you, this may be an issue, but these are generally very good replicas indeed. Heavy and fully functional, they really are close to the feel of operating the real weapon. However, finish isn’t always the best: some Cybergun replicas seem to have a very thin coat of paint indeed which wears quickly and some folk report rapid wear of internal components. As shooters, they do seem to vary – I have owned three Cybergun Tanfoglio Witnesses and one was very accurate indeed while the other two weren’t quite so good. I also owned a GSG92 which had relatively poor accuracy and power and a Sig X5 which was very good indeed in both respects. Buy with fingers crossed.

Best things about Cybergun replicas: Low cost, good functionality and weight, good visual replicas.

Worst things about Cybergun replicas: Finish isn’t always of the best quality, some questions about long-term reliability, variable shooters.

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My favourite Cybergun replica: Is the 4.5mm, CO2, Mini Uzi blowback. I’m not sure this qualifies as a pistol at all, but it’s a very good functional replica with nice weight (it’s pretty much all-metal). The bolt is heavy, which gives a strong recoil. Not particularly accurate and it gobbles CO2, but in full auto mode (not available in the UK) it’s as subtle as a baseball bat with nails in it, but pure mad fun. It’s unlike any other replica I have owned – You really need to try one of these.

Related pages:

Cybergun GSG92/Swiss Arms P92 review

Cybergun Tanfoglio Witness review

Website: http://www.cybergun.com/en/home/

KWA/KSC

KWA and KSC are separate companies (KWA is a Taiwanese manufacturer and KSC is a Japanese R&D company). However, though both companies are very coy about explaining, there is obviously a close relationship between the two. Products branded KSC and KWA appear to be identical, though KWA products are generally a little cheaper. Both companies provide a range of electric and green gas powered rifles, SMGs and pistols in 6mm. All recent KWA/KSC replicas are high quality and visually and functionally very accurate: some are sold as PTP (Practical Training Pistol) training weapons. Some KSC/KWA replicas are licensed, but many are unlicensed but accurate replicas of real weapons – the KWA KZ75 for example, is a very good replica of the CZ75 but includes no CZ markings.

The KWA pistols I have owned have also been very accurate and consistent shooters, especially those featuring System 7/NS2 internals. Unfortunately, many airgun enthusiasts still regard airsoft pistols as toys. I’d recommend anyone who feels this way to try a KSC/KWA pistol – these are not only well made, well finished and accurate replicas, they’re satisfactory target-shooting air pistols too.

Best things about KWA/KSC replicas: Extremely accurate visual and functional replicas, good finish and overall quality, fair shooters.

Worst things about KWA/KSC replicas: High cost (especially KSC versions).

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My favourite KWA replica: Is the M226 PTP.It may not feature Sig Sauer licensing or markings, but you simply won’t find a better replica of the Sig P226. It has good weight at 1.8 pounds and every aspect of the function of the original, including field stripping, is replicated. It’s a handy shooter too, using the NS2 shooting system, and has a reputation for quality and reliability.

Related pages:

KWA HK45 review

Website: http://www.kwausa.com/

Coming soon: Part 2 – Tanaka, Tokyo Marui, Umarex and others. And possibly even a decision on the best replica…

KWA HK45

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There is an on-going debate amongst replica air gun enthusiasts about airsoft weapons versus “real” air pistols.  Many airgun fans regard airsofts as little more than inaccurate, underpowered and expensive toys.  While in the past there may have been some truth in this, improved designs and advances in technology mean that newer airsoft pistols handle and shoot very well indeed.  Personally, I feel that many modern airsoft pistols should be regarded as air weapons which simply happen to use a different calibre of BB.

So, I’m going to review here the KWA/Umarex HK45 which, IMHO, is a very fine replica air pistol which stands comparison to other replicas of any calibre.

Real steel background

For some background to Heckler and Koch, please see the Umarex HK P30 review (link at the bottom of this article).

The HK45 is an evolutionary development of the Heckler and Koch USP (Universale Selbstladepistole:  “Universal Self-loading Pistol”) and is functionally very similar to that weapon.  Chambered for the .45 ACP round, the HK45 has a distinctive polygonal O-ring barrel, replaceable grip backstraps, improved ambidextrous controls and a standard picatinny accessory rail.  To keep the grip within comfortable ergonomic limits, the HK45 magazine holds just ten of the fat .45 ACP rounds (compared to 15 rounds in the 9mm variant of the USP).

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The HK45 was originally developed for the U.S. Military Joint Combat Pistol (JCP) and Combat Pistol (CP) programs which were intended to find a replacement for the ageing Beretta M9.  Both programs were cancelled in 2006 before a new pistol could be selected but HK continued with commercial development of the HK45, targeting the military, law enforcement and personal defence markets.  The HK45 was released in 2007.

The HK45 is the first HK pistol to be assembled (from U.S. and German made components) at the Heckler and Koch manufacturing facility in Newington, New Hampshire, USA.

The KWA/Umarex HK45

KWA is a Taiwanese airsoft manufacturing company which began as the Original Equipment Manufacturer for several well-known airsoft companies before starting to offer their own products in 2006.  KWA has a long association with Japanese design and R&D company KSC.  KWA also manufacture pistols which are branded as KSC products in some countries.  KWA have a reputation for producing very high quality airsoft pistols which are also used as training weapons by some law enforcement agencies.

Umarex holds the worldwide exclusive rights to the HK trademark and the exterior design copy license for the HK45.  On the packaging for this pistol “Powered by Umarex” is prominently featured, though my understanding is that Umarex have no involvement in design or manufacture beyond granting a license for this replica.

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The KWA HK45 is a gas powered, blowback replica with a metal slide and fittings and polymer frame and grip.  It is a fully licensed replica featuring accurate trademarks and markings.  The KWA HK45 features the NS2 internal gas delivery system, a KWA patented design. NS2 utilizes an advanced lightweight composite gas piston with a two-stage internal expansion chamber that delivers gas more efficiently.  KWA claim that this increases cycle rate and provides a crisp, powerful blow back action as well as increasing muzzle velocity and providing more consistent shooting.  The magazine is an integral part of the system and is a one-piece construction milled from solid alloy billet.  NS2 is functionally identical to System7 which is used on some KSC branded pistols.

Spec;

Calibre: 6mm

Capacity: 28 round magazine

Propellant: Green Gas

Barrel length: 4″

Weight: 1.9 pounds

Length: 7.9″

Sights: Fixed, white dot

Action: SA/DA

Packaging and presentation  3/5

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The HK45 is provided in a rather nice cardboard box with HK and Umarex markings on the top.  The only KWA marking you’ll find here is a discreet logo on one of the end panels, and even there it shares space with HK and Umarex trademarks.  The box features hard foam with cut outs to fit the pistol and accessories.  The box is sturdy, but not suitable for display.

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Backstrap, hop up tool (top) and lock-out key

The KWA K45 comes with a small bag of BBs, a replacement backstrap, a hop-up adjustment tool and a lock-out key.  The lock-out key engages with an opening in the mag well.  With the hammer down, turning the key through 90° disengages the hammer.  KWA claim this allows “safe storage” – not sure about that, but the key and lock-out system are identical to those used on the real HK45.

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Using the lock-out key

Visual accuracy  10/10

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Real HK45 (left), KWA HK45 (right).  Probably.

The KWA HK45 is visually identical to the real weapon.  Every contour of the frame , slide and grip are accurately modelled and all controls are accurately placed and modelled.  All markings on the real weapon are replicated.  Even the tiny green O-ring on the barrel of the original is present on the replica.  The replica has “Licensed Trademark of Heckler & Koch Gmbh” in white lettering on the lower right front of the slide which doesn’t appear on the original.  Other than this, it’s virtually impossible to tell the original from the replica.

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Barrel O-ring

In terms of visual accuracy, this is about as good as it gets for replica pistols.

Functional accuracy  14/15

Many recent KWA pistols are intended as training aids for law enforcement operatives, so it’s no surprise to find that the functional accuracy of the KWA HK45 is extremely close to that of the original.  All controls here work as per the original.  The slide release and magazine release are ambidextrous as per the original.  The safety/decocker lever  is provided on the left side of the fame only (again, as per the original) though markings are provided on the frame to allow fitting a right-side lever.  Looking at how closely the KWA HK45 matches the real weapon (both internally and externally) I wouldn’t be surprised if the HK parts which can be used to convert the lever to the right side of the frame would fit on the replica, which would make it one of the very few replicas to be truly ambidextrous.

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The only thing that I can see which doesn’t work on the 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.  This acts as an external visual loading indicator.  The red paint is present on the replica, but the ejector pin is fixed in place.

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The KWA field strips as per the original – the magazine is removed, the slide is moved back until a cutout 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 be pushed forward off the frame.  It’s a very similar setup to that used on the venerable Colt 1911.

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Removing the slide locking pin

This replica loads, shoots and strips in precisely the same way as the original.  Other than for the addition of a moving ejector pin, it’s difficult to see how a replica could be more functionally accurate.

Shooting  32/40

The KWA HK45 is loaded by filling the full size magazine with gas and BBs.  Filling is done without drama or leaks.  The magazine follower locks down and the mag double stacks to hold up to 28 BBs.  I found the pistol worked well with 0.2g BBs.  The slide is racked for the first shot, which pushes a BB into the chamber and cocks the hammer for single action.  The HK45 feels particularly good in the hand – balance is very good and it points naturally.  Heckler and Koch spent a great deal of time perfecting the ergonomics of the original weapon and this is apparent when using the replica.

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Hop-up is adjusted using the supplied tool which engages with a toothed adjustment wheel.  Adjustment is precise, but the slide has to be held half-way back while this is done – with the slide locked back, the tool can’t reach the adjustment wheel.

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Using the hop-up adjustment tool

The trigger pull in single action is crisp, light and consistent.  In double action it is longer, but still fairly light and consistent.  The three white dots on the non-adjustable sights make lining up the target simple.  The pistol has adjustable hop up, though shooting 0.2g BBs at six yards I found that no adjustment was required.  Blowback is particularly crisp and strong and the pistol fires with a satisfying crack.  I have had no misfeeds or failures to fire though I have seen other owners reporting occasional double feeding of BBs.  The magazine holds gas for more two weeks without appreciable leaks.  It’s possible to fire two full magazines from a single fill, though power drops noticeably for the last few shots.  The slide locks back when the mag is empty.

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Six shots, six yards, 0.2g BBs, note flyer at lower edge of green circle

0.2g BBs hit the target hard at 6 yards and penetration is good – this knocks chunks out of a backstop which some other airsoft pistols just dent.  Accuracy is good.  I regularly get groupings around 1″ – 1¼”at 6yds though with occasional flyers which hit up to 2½” from the point of aim.  At 6yds, best accuracy seems to be obtained using 0.2g BBs.

Overall, this is one of my favourite airsoft pistols for target shooting.  It feels good and shoots well and reliably.  Groupings are generally good, though as noted with flyers approximately every ten shots.  My HK 45 is still fairly new, so it’s possible that this may improve with further use.  In terms of accuracy and consistency at six yards, this is comparable with many pellet shooting replicas and better than most steel BB shooters.

Quality and reliability  13/15

The weight of the KWA HK45 is good and is very close to the weight of the real weapon.  One slight disappointment is that a fair portion of this weight comes from the magazine, and with the magazine removed the pistol feels notably light.  However, most of the time you’re using this pistol the magazine will be in place, so this isn’t a major problem and the KWA HK45 does feel very well balanced.  The slide fits well with no side-to-side movement and no rattles.  The hammer, trigger and all other controls work well without play or slop.  The magazine locks and releases cleanly.

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The finish on the metal parts of the KWA HK45 seems well applied and durable – my pistol is showing no signs of wear.  The polymer parts seem robust and the textured finish feels good.

The only slightly suspect area is the outer barrel.  This is made of lightweight plastic, and some owners have reported that this can crack with extended use.  The pistol will still shoot if this happens, but it’s a surprising flaw in what otherwise seems to be a very well made replica.  I have read reports of premature wear on the slide locking catch, but my pistol seems unaffected.

Overall Impression  13/15

This a high quality, nicely finished replica which handles and shoots well.  Like the original, it’s ergonomically very good indeed with fine balance and a slim, contoured grip.  Visually it’s almost indistinguishable from the original weapon.  It has good weight, feels good to shoot and the crisp blowback helps to replicate the recoil of the real weapon.  It’s accurate enough for satisfying target shooting, though the occasional flyer BBs are something of a mystery.

Overall, this feels like a quality replica.  No surprise that it’s also more expensive than some other Taiwanese offerings.

Conclusion

This is a hefty and accurate replica pistol which shoots as well as it looks.  Forget that it uses green gas and shoots plastic BBs – this is as satisfying as any replica air gun I have tried.  I’d recommend anyone who thinks that airsoft pistols are toys to try one of these.  Don’t think of it as an airsoft – it’s simply a very fine air pistol indeed.

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For readers in the UK who may be put off owning one of these because of the convoluted laws regarding airsofts: have a look at the article on this site on UK airgun law – it provides suggestions on how you can legally buy airsoft pistols without being a skirmisher.

Total score: 85/100

Related pages:

Umarex HK P30 review

WE Bulldog (Beretta PX4 replica) review

UK Airgun law

Buy:

You can buy this pistol at Pyramid Air here.