H&K has been in the striker-fired pistol game for a long time. In 1970 Heckler and Koch produced the world’s first polymer framed pistol, the VP70, that also featured a striker rather than a hammer. The P7 series also featured a striker but with the advent of the USP and Mark 23, the company nearly went to making hammer fired guns exclusively (aside from small numbers of P7s being made until 2008). That all changed with the advent of the new VP9 pistol which is similar in appearance and fitment to the P30:
The VP9 accepts P30 magazines, and the interchangeable back and side straps are also included so that the user can configure the pistol in the most comfortable way (I run the right side strap a bit larger than the left).
Field stripping is very simple too. You simply pull the slide back until the takedown lever reaches the small relief in the slide and turn the lever down:
The first time I took the VP9 to the range, I shot about 3 magazines through it for a quick function test before doing a full review. I was very surprised at how well the VP9 shot that day, and I gathered a large bag of 9mm to take it out with a photographer to really run the gun hard.
I took two loaded mags out, as well as a bag of 200 rounds of loose miscellaneous 9mm ammunition.
My friend Patrick came along to help me with photos, and he brought along a Glock 23 to compare the size of the VP9 with. The VP9 is marginally larger than the Glock:
So how does it shoot? Well to test that I had to make a target. I grabbed a random poster I had at the shop and some stick-on targets to use as a bullet dumpster:
I eagerly loaded up the VP9 and got to work. One thing I really like are the “wings” on the rear of the slide that make charging the gun easier. I chambered a round and began firing:
Recoil is low on the VP9, and the trigger reset is quite good:
I blew through 15 rounds quickly and went to check the target. All in all I think I did well considering how quickly I was shooting:
However my second mag was much, much better:
My friend Patrick also gave the VP9 a go and got similar results:
So the VP9 worked well and shot as well as any other striker fired wondernine. But what about other features?
First and foremost I wanted to see if the pistol would feed backwards:
Unfortunately it didn’t. In fact, H&K seems to have put a countermeasure into the mags that make loading the bullets in backwards difficult. It really tries hard to pop a backwards round out, so maybe H&K is tired of that meme.
After that shenanigan, Patrick and I tried to see if the gun would function with extreme limp wristing:
It ate two magazines flawlessly when fired in this fashion.
But what about limp wristing while upside down?
It also ate a magazine this way.
But what about limp wristing with your off hand while upside down? Well here the gun struggled and resulted in a few malfunctions. One stovepipe, one failure to feed:
So all in all I have fired about 275 rounds or so and I feel that this gave me enough experience to adequately provide a review for you the readers. My final thoughts on the guns:
- Price (I see them going for $600 or so, and even less in pre-orders)
- Comfort (the P30 style back and side straps are amazingly pleasant)
- Accuracy (I am a poor shot with a pistol, but even I made this gun dance)
- Reliability as long as you are not upside down
- Simple to take down
- Mag release is long and easy to operate
- The trigger is quite good
- Easy to charge with the rear “wings”
- The slide release is a bit too low profile for me
- A bit larger than some compacts such as the Glock 19 or 23
- You cannot shoot this gun during a John Woo style inverted rolling dive without a jam
All in all I would say that the VP9 is a good buy should you see one for around $600. It is very refreshing to see the words “affordable” and “HK” in the same sentence and I hope that this little gun catches on. If you see one at your local gun store, check it out!