After four years in development by Heckler & Koch engineers, the HK VP9 is now ready to be placed in your hands. The question is: Are you ready?
The Heckler & Koch VP9 9mm pistol is the first striker-fired handgun manufactured by H&K since their P7 series was introduced in the 1980s. While it retains the groundbreaking design of that family, the VP9 offers many new features integrated into a system that offers accuracy, dependability and easy customization to match an individual shooter’s needs. The theme of this HK VP9 review is that, while the pistol shares the same genes as its predecessors, this handgun shows a great leap forward in the evolution of shooting.
With a length of 7.34″ and a slide width of 1.32″, a 4.1″ barrel and a weight (with empty magazine) of 25.56 ounces, the HK VP9 is small enough and light enough for concealed carry, but just as capable for law enforcement and military use. As a striker-fired pistol, there is no external hammer to snag and no fewer than four safety features allows it to be carried in a variety of positions. The steel magazines are interchangeable with the HK P30 pistol (two 15-round magazines come with the HK VP9, but 10-round HK magazines are available). Reinforced polyamide material, pioneered by Heckler & Koch, provides a strong, light frame.
As with all of Heckler & Koch firearms, the barrel has the pioneering cold hammer-forged polygonal bore used in all H&K handguns. This system, developed by Hecker & Koch, overcomes the inherent problem with standard round groove-and-land bores, which allow propellant gasses to escape around the projectile; the H&K polygon bore traps more of the gasses and increases velocity. The HK VP9 polygonal barrel is 4.1 inches long and has 6 grooves with a 1 in 9.8 inch right-hand twist.
Safety is paramount, particularly for a concealed carry pistol. The HK VP9 has the trigger safety latch and firing pin block you would expect from a striker-fired pistol, but the Heckler & Koch engineers went two steps further. A cocking indicator, located on the rear end of the slide, shows a red dot when the pistol is ready to be fired. In addition, the extraction port has been enlarged, not only to provide greater reliability but also to function as an easy-to-verify loaded chamber indicator. All of these features, taken together, give the shooter the ability to quickly verify the condition of the pistol and positive control over its operation.
A charging support system, developed and patented by Heckler & Koch, is located at the rear of the slide, just below the rear sights. Two flat steel tabs provide an easy-to-grip surface when charging the slide to chamber a round. This feature not only allows for an effortless action with the off hand, but it can also be used to charge the slide against a surface, such as a table edge or tire. The profile of the tabs is low, to avoid interference with operation of the handgun. The release lever has also been enlarged, while still maintaining a low profile, and is located on the right side.
The ergonomics of the grip make the HK VP9 especially comfortable to shoot. The fore-edge of the grip has molded finger grooves to give the shooter an instinctive position for a stable hold for accurate shooting. To accommodate different hand sizes, Heckler & Koch has developed a customizable system of grip elements – a system that is unique to H&K handguns. A total of six different thicknesses of side panels and three different side panels can be ordered, to allow the operator to find the right combination for optimal grip. The side panels and back strap can be mixed and matched and are very easy to swap in and out.
Customization is also carried to pistol accessories. The HK VP9 has a Picatinny MIL-STD-1913 rail molded into the forward frame, below the muzzle. This allows easy the operator to easily mount lights, lasers, aimers and other accessories. This system can support up to 5.6 ounces of accessories without impact on shooting performance.
The HK VP9 (M700009-A5) is also offered in a night shooting package, the HK VP9-LE (M700009LE-A5). The LE version has titanium 3-dot night sights and comes with three 15-round HK magazines.