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H&K was founded by engineers , , and in 1949 from the remnants of the company. The company was registered in 1950 and Initially manufactured machine tools, parts, gauges and other precision parts, but this changed in 1956 when the company proposed the for the German Federal Army. Since then H&K has designed and manufactured more than one hundred different types of firearms and devices for the world's military and law enforcement organizations. H&K now produces various , for example the , and the more recent , the , series of and the high-precision . All firearms made by H&K are named by a prefix and the official designation, with suffixes used for variants.

The first USP (Universal Self-loading Pistol) Compact models appeared in 1994. These are scaled-down USP's, and are available in all the same cartridges as the full size version and additionally the . Due to the smaller size of the frame, the magazines for the compact variant may have a handgrip extension to better accommodate the shooter's hand size.

The USP Tactical incorporates a fully adjustable rear sight and a higher-profile front sight (as to be visible above the ), an extended threaded barrel and . Sound suppressors designed for the USP Tactical are available. A unique feature of the USP Tactical is that the barrel is (counter-clockwise to tighten), which makes the pistol incompatible with suppressors designed for the MK23 modal.