With new models featuring added capacity, the Heckler & Koch VP9 series pistols continue to grow on the success of the original platform. As the design continues to grow, HK has made 17-round retrofit kits for those with legacy 15-round magazines. As a current HK VP9 enthusiast with more than a few legacy 15-round magazines, I wanted to see just how well these kits worked in my VP9 Tactical.
Heckler & Koch VP9 @ TFB:
- TFB Review: H&K’s New and Improved VP9 Series Pistols
- [TFB GUNFEST] H&Ks New VP9 Upgrades and Accessories
- [SHOT 2020] Industry Day At The Range – H&K Optics Ready VP9 and SP5
- The VP9SK as a First Handgun
TFB Review: HK VP9 17-Round Magazine Retrofit Kit
I’ve accumulated ten 15-round magazines for my VP9 Tactical over the years. Heckler and Koch were kind enough to send over five of their 17-round retrofit kits for me to test during this review. The VP9 I’d be using would be my personal VP9 Tactical. As you can see from the wear on the magazines, it’s seen quite a bit of use over the years.
H&K currently offers a 17-round magazine, a 20-round magazine, and a 10-round magazine for the VP9. At launch (and depending on what state you live in) the original full-size VP9 magazines had a capacity of fifteen rounds (as you can see by the window markings in the picture above). It’s important to note that any magazines for the VP9 work in the P30 pistols as well.
Each retrofit kit from H&K comes with a set of step-by-step instructions to walk you through the process. Unless you speak German, you’ll want to flip to the back for the English instructions. Each kit also includes the following parts for the conversion.
- Magazine Housing
- Magazine Spring
- Magazine Locking Plate
- Magazine Floor Plate
The instructions are very simple, but it’s important to note that you’ll need a punch (or similar tool) in order to remove the magazine floor plate.
To remove the floor plate, push the magazine locking plate in slightly, and then push the floor plate forward. With the tool out of the way, use one thumb to push the floor plate forward away from the magazine, and the other to support the locking plate. This way your magazine internals won’t come flying out.
With the floor plate removed, it’s important to note the forward direction of the tab on the legacy locking plate. This tab should always be forward, and you can easily mix up the direction if you’re going too fast.
Internals have changed slightly between the 17-round (pictured above left) and the original 15-round magazines (pictured above right).
The floor plate on the 17-round retrofit kits is just slightly larger, but side by side they’re almost indistinguishable from each other. Luckily, there are a few things (like the cut on the back of the floor plate, and the dot on the bottom of the locking plate) that help you to tell them apart.
I found it was easiest to install the new internals with the old internals set off to the side for reference. Make sure your spring is facing the right direction before attaching the follower and locking plate. Once those are attached, simply press them into the magazine with one thumb, and push the floor plate on with the other. The whole process should only take a couple of minutes.
Note: Make sure to test that your magazines fit 17 rounds after installing the kit. If all 17-rounds don’t fit, remove your internals and make sure they were installed correctly.
At The Range
For testing, I took my VP9 Tactical up to Park City Gun Club, located in Park City, Utah. They were kind enough to let me use their range to test these magazines while firing from various positions.
During testing, I used a variety of 124, 135, and 147-grain ammo that frequently shoot through this VP9 Tactical. I tested the five 17-round converted mags against my five 15-round legacy mags. Aside from function, I wanted to see if the magazines seated just as easily in the gun and if the last round slide hold open still functioned reliably.
Throughout testing, I couldn’t find any performance difference between the two magazines. They seated just as easily and ran flawlessly while still maintaining a consistent slide hold open. Other than capacity and weight fully loaded, it’s impossible to tell the two apart.
Pros and Cons
The 17-round retrofit kit from Heckler & Koch just makes sense. Rather than making an entirely different magazine, you can retrofit your existing magazine housing with updated internals from the factory. It’s simple, easy to do, and adds just that little extra capacity we all enjoy.
During testing, the only way I was able to tell the concerted magazines apart from my original magazines was by looking at the little dot on the magazine locking plate. It’s a minor annoyance you might encounter if you have other legacy magazines that you haven’t converted.
17-round retrofit kits can be purchased directly from H&K for just $14.99. They’re a much cheaper alternative when you consider that new magazines have an MSRP of $49. The only downside is not having 17-round window markings on the back of your magazines. If you have legacy magazines that you’re looking to retrofit, I’d suggest purchasing enough of these to convert all your magazines at once.
Thank you to Heckler & Koch for sending over these retrofit kits, and to Park City Gun Club for the use of their facilities.
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