The Long and Short of HK’s New Pistols

The Long and Short of HK's New Pistols

The Heckler & Koch VP9 has rapidly become one of the most sought after pistols on the market just a few short years after its introduction. The striker fired polymer frame handgun – something HK knows well, having introduced the world’s first such pistol, the HK VP70 in 1970 – was more affordable than previous HK offerings without sacrificing any of the quality or reliability that the company’s firearms have become known for.

What was lacking from their lineup, though, were pistols of different sizes and for different purposes. Competition shooters yearned for a longslide version and police officers and civilians alike clamored for a subcompact for concealed carry to match the manual of arms offered by the full size VP9.

HK Does Not Hate You, HK Loves You

HK listened to their customers and has introduced the VP9L, known outside the US as the SFP9 L, and VP9SK (SFP9 SK) alongside Maritime (VP9M / SFP9 M) and Optical Ready (VP9 OR / SFP9 OR) variants. Because this wasn’t enough, HK also made a big change to the pistol – it’s now available with a push button mag release in place of the polarizing paddle mag release hated by some and loathed by others.

Barrel length of the VP9L increases to nearly 5 inches or 127mm from just over 4 inches, or 104mm, on the standard VP9. The VP9 SK sees a decrease to 86mm, or approximately 3.5 inches. Both of the new variants are almost identical in size, respectively, to the P30L and P30SK, HK’s polymer frame hammer fired long slide and subcompact pistols. Of course, grip size remains nearly identical as well given that magazines are interchangeable between the P30 and VP9.

Your VP9 Needs a Red Dot

If the standard VP9 is the right size for you, HK now offers VP9 M (Maritime) and VP9 OR (Optical Ready) versions. The Maritime version has additional cocking serrations, different cocking assist tabs, an engraved anchor logo, and presumably internal modifications for corrosion resistance and/or firing while or immediately after being submerged in water. The Optical Ready variant has a removable plate for the mounting of a mini red dot sight (MRDS) in addition to iron sights which have a flatter profile at the rear. Because the red dot reduces the need for a long slide which would sight radius, the Optical Ready VP9 has a standard length slide.

Rounding out the upgrades and improvements, HK also states that the VP9 will soon be available with an optional manual safety and new 20 round magazines.

HK fans, never shy about their love for the brand, are surely thrilled with all the new announcements. Time will tell, though, if the new VP9 variants can win over buyers of other pistols the same way the original VP9 did just a few years ago.