For the past few weeks; most everyone has been raving about the new striker-fired pistol from Germany’s Heckler and Koch (HK), the VP9. Most of the comments, as usual, were from people that had yet to lay hands on one of the guns were generally people basing comments on a picture seen online or something they heard from a friend who knows a guy in a boat that has a VP9. I must admit though; the hype surrounding the VP9 caused me to do a bit of personal research on the gun and I eventually decided to get one for myself.
When I picked my VP9 up; I immediately opened the case and took stock of the contents. If you get the non-Law Enforcement variant (which is what I bought) you’ll get the pistol (obviously), 2 15 round metal magazines, 3 backstraps, 6 side panels, paperwork, and spent casing.
The gun comes with the standard Novak style sights with 3 non-radioactive, luminescent dots. For people unfamiliar with these, it basically means that the dots have to be exposed to light for a short period of time in order for them to glow in the dark. While I don’t care for this when it comes to sights for a carry gun, I do plan on changing the sights out to a tritium version in the near future.
While we are talking about sights; the Law Enforcement version comes with standard 3 dot tritium sights. If shopping for aftermarket sights; any P30 sight should fit in the VP9 dovetails as well.
The VP9 features front and rear cocking serrations in addition to plastic “charging assists” on the rear of the gun. The charging assists do seem useful though I havent had a chance to take the gun to the range yet. If you dont like the assists, they can be removed though you have to remove the rear sight in order to do so.
Next on the gun are the slide stops. The VP9 features ambidextrous slide stops for locking the slide to the rear or sending the slide forward when the slide is locked to the rear. The levers are on the smaller side, but are perfectly functional.
Now lets move down to the trigger. This will easily be one of the most talked, and debated, about aspects of the VP9 with numerous comparisons being made. I’ll say upfront that the trigger feels different than any other striker fired gun I’ve handled over the years. It certainly isnt gritty or heavy, but it simply feels different. The trigger does display noticeable reset. The rest point is slightly longer than the standard Glock trigger, but its not like you have to let the trigger move a country mile before it resets. If you look at many of the videos popping up online about the VP9, you’ll see that the gun can be shot fast and accurately.
The VP9 does feature trough at the bottom of the trigger guard for the trigger to travel through. This trough is present on the HK45 and P30 and has been a source of problems for shooters in the past. I’ve been pinched by it while shooting the HK45, but it appears that it may not be an issue for me with the VP9. However I wont know for sure until I get a chance to get the gun on the range and do some work with it.
The next feature we see on the pistol is the ambi magazine release. The release on the VP9, and most HK pistols, is a set of ambi paddles. The paddles are designed to be depressed with the trigger, or middle, finger on the hand holding the pistol. If you’re used to push button releases, using a paddle may require some training time. However, once you get used to it, you’ll see that the paddle release is lightening fast and is a huge positive feature for me.
Talking about magazine release; the VP9 practically projectile vomits empty magazines when the release is depressed. It has some of the most positive magazine release I’ve ever seen in a handgun. Again; a huge plus.
As with the P30; the VP9 features interchangeable side panels and backstraps. There are numerous combinations of side panels and backstraps that you can use in order to get the gun to the perfect point for each shooter. This is a great feature since it allows the shooter to fine tune the gun to his grip versus having to shoe horn himself into the grip that manufacturer decides to stick you with if no customization is built into the design.
The gun comes from the factory with the medium backstrap and side panels installed. If you decide to change the backstrap or side panels, a roll pin at the bottom of the frame needs to be removed before either the backstrap or side panels can be removed.
Another feature of the VP9 is the 1913 style accessory rail. The rail allows the mounting of lights such as the X300 or TLR-1 in addition to lasers or even a pistol bayonet (for the mall ninjas out there). Its a huge improvement over the rail that HK used on the USP series and should be functional with most accessories on the market today. I havent had a chance to see if the standard universal key on the X300 and TLR-1 will fit or if you need to go with one of the other inserts.
One last note for those of you that wish to use a VP9 in IDPA. The VP9 features a fully cocked striker, like the Springfield Army XD. This means that you will have to compete in the ESP division due to the gun being viewed as a single action. Not a big deal but something you may want to take into consideration.
Well; I think that about sums things up for now. As I mentioned earlier, I need to get this thing on the range and shake it out. But for now; I’m really liking what I see.