The VP9SK as a First Handgun

    In a bit of a break from my usual writing (covering ongoing court cases and weekly deals posts for the most part) today I’m tackling something a little different. I’m going to explain my choice of a first handgun, a VP9SK.

    An ultra-modern polymer-frame striker-fired handgun and a knife designed in 1964

    Why not a Glock?

    Let’s start with the elephant in the room, and get that out of the way first. Why didn’t I just get a Glock 19? First off, a little bit of background about me. I am, as of writing, a college student in Boston, Massachusetts. That means I have some pretty severe restrictions on what I can own. However, because I have kept my Virginia residency, I’ve acquired a Non-Resident permit in Massachusetts. So I’m not restricted to the infamous Massachusetts approved handguns roster (which includes the VP9, but not the VP9SK). I am, however, still restricted to 10-rounds per magazine. So if not a Glock 19 or 17, why not a Glock 26 or a Glock 43? As everyone’s favorite resident Glock fanboy, James Reeves, put it when I was sourcing opinions among the TFB Staff, “just get a Glock dumbass.”

    And for most people, that’s pretty solid advice. Especially for new shooters. I’m not trying to convert people away from recommending a Glock as people’s first handgun. In fact I’ve been known to recommend them from time to time. So why didn’t I get one?

    VP9SK in a Vedder LightTuck Holster

    First Reason: Ergonomics

    As I’ve said before and I’ve said again, Glock is one size fits most. If your hands, for whatever reason, don’t like the Glock grip angle? Sucks to be you, or as one of my friends put it “get better hands.” Unfortunately, K-Mart was fresh out of Glock-compatible hands when I went shopping, and I refuse to pay Walmart prices for hands. So I did what everybody should do when looking for a first handgun, or even a new gun. I went to the range. A lot. And I tried probably a dozen different handguns to find what fit my hands best, and that was the VP9SK. The finger grooves along the grip matched my hands, and the pinky extension on the magazines was the perfect size for me. It sat in my hand better than any of the other pistols I tried.

    Second Reason: The Trigger

    In my opinion, the VP9 has the best stock trigger for a striker-fired gun on the market. I don’t think many people will argue the point, in fact, this seems to be a reasonably popular opinion in the TFB Discord (shameless plug), so I won’t spend too much time on this. That being said, let me extol the virtues of the VP9 trigger for a bit. The take-up is long enough to make pulling the trigger a conscious decision. Once you reach the wall, there is just a hint of creep before reaching the break. The reset is crisp and very tactile, making for an overall very pleasant out of the box shooting experience.

    Third Reason: I Got a Good Deal

    As most people reading this probably know, H&K charges an arm and a leg for most of their handguns. Well as the resident Gun Deals guy, it’d be a crying shame if I didn’t get a good deal on my guns right? Rest assured, those few of you who cared, I did. I paid $600 for the VP9SK LE Package, which included factory night sights and 3 magazines. The vendor was also offering an H&K swag pack and a 25-round box of Hornady Critical Duty 135gr Flexlock for free.

    VP9SK field stripped

    First Impressions

    Since our Lord and Editor, Pete M., has already done an excellent review of the VP9SK here, and I’ve already fangirled over the trigger some, I’ll keep this section brief. To put it bluntly, I am neither overwhelmed or underwhelmed, the VP9SK has precisely met my expectations, and I look forward to owning it for many years to come.

    Not Overwhelmed? How can you recommend it then?

    An excellent question that I’m sure I would get in the comments if I didn’t address here. I’m not blown away by the VP9SK because I was already familiar with it before I bought it. So I suppose my very first impressions, back when I rented one at the range, might have been more wowed, but half an hour at the range isn’t helpful for a review. So with that out of the way:


    Partially because I am a poor college student, and somewhat out of curiosity, I dumped 300 rounds of assorted garbage-tier ammo through the VP9SK to see how it handled it. As I had expected, it ran all the aluminum and steel cased ammo I loaded into it like a champ. This is actually part of the “not overwhelmed, not underwhelmed” bit. Any modern polymer handgun should be able to handle any variety of ammo on the market. The only thing I will note is that after about 100 rounds of CCI aluminum-case the last-round hold open didn’t function on a few magazines. After switching to a higher-quality cartridge, it resumed complete functionality.


    I am a dirty south-paw, so ambidextrous operation is essential. In fact, this was something I particularly appreciated about the VP9SK, the left-handed controls are better, in my opinion, than the right-handed controls.

    The left-hand slide release

    The left-side slide release has a nice long lever leading to the actual control, making the force required much lighter than the right-side slide-release.

    The right-hand slide release – note the shorter control

    It is also incredibly easy to lock the slide back due to the front and rear slide serrations. I haven’t decided how I feel about H&K’s “patented charging supports” (the bit that sticks out under the rear sight) yet, but I haven’t found them bothersome, so they’re staying for now.

    Parting Thoughts

    So what’s the message here? Well for starters, before you buy a gun, go to the range and rent it (if you can). Secondly, while recommending every new shooter get a Glock brand Glock is not wrong, it also isn’t always the best advice. I’m much happier with my VP9SK than I ever was shooting a Glock. It was an excellent choice for a first handgun for me, and if there are any other left-handed shooters out there that just don’t like the feel of a Glock in their hands, it’s hard to go wrong with the VP9SK.

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    Benjamin is a recent graduate living in Virginia with a master’s degree in Criminology. He was introduced to firearms at summer camp when he was thirteen. Ever since his first shot with a .22LR bolt-action he has been in love with shooting sports. He is a moderator on the TFB Discord, which can be found at, and can occasionally be found on twitter @BFriedmanUSA.