Why No Volkspistole? POLITICAL CORRECTNESS, or Trademark dispute?

    H&K VP9

    Volkspistole translates into english as People’s Pistol. The term originated in Germany towards the end of WWII when the German government decided they needed cheap weapons to arm civilians as the Allied armies drew nearer. The Volkspistole project set out to develop a cheap, easily manufactured pistol, which could arm the masses.  Walther, Mauser and the Gustloff-Werke built prototypes but none ever went into production.

    H&K VP70. Photo © Samuli Silvennoinen

    H&K VP70. Photo © Samuli Silvennoinen

    Back in the 1970s Heckler & Koch manufactured a pistol called the H&K VP70. The “VP” stood for Volkspistole, the “70” for 1970. In 2014 H&K begun manufacturing a pistol sold in the USA called the VP9 (Volkspistole 9mm). This new VP is considered a spiritual successor to the original VP70.

    H&K VP9

    H&K VP9

    Strangely enough, in Europe the pistol was branded the SFP9, causing a lot of people to scratch their heads and wonder why the name change for just the European market. Most concluded the change was made because it was politically incorrect to reference a German WWII firearm concept.

    When I blogged a photo of the H&K SFP9 and called it “The Politically Correct VP9”, readers responded by saying NO the name was not Politically In-Correct, it was simply changed in Europe due to trademark issues. These readers said B&T probably had a trademark on the name. A few years ago B&T begun selling a fully suppressed pistol called the VP9, designed for Veterinary use.


    Our German friend Axel looked into this issue for us and discovered that H&K owns the trademark for “VP9” in both the USA and also in Europe.

    hk vp9

    So it appears H&K is marketing the VP9 as the SFP9 to avoid offending Europeans and in fact B&T may have had to license the trademark from H&K in order to sell their VP9 in Europe.

    Steve Johnson

    I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!