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H&K VP9 Review: Initial Impressions

Product Review September 20, 2014

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Initial impressions of H&K’s new striker fired pistol, the VP9: (Purchased and tested at The Gun Vault in South Jordan, UT. Stop by, say hi.) Or purchase one on sale for a killer price at (direct link>>Tooele Shooting Supply Chad will ship to a closer FFL if you can’t make the drive)

First things first, THE TRIGGER! It is pleasantly wide, has a short uptake, but then the break is moderately heavy, straight to the rear and crisp! In contrast to the comparable Walther PPQ trigger which has a longer uptake, but lighter break. The reset is short, and has a little “pop” to it–this gun practically begs you to send a second round down range immediately after the first. It shoots very fast–it feels like it wants to race.

Sights are hi-vis, glow in the dark three dot–they are big and clunky. There is very little empty space on either side of the front sight, so they need to be replaced ASAP for competition shooting, but for just plinking, they are bright and work great when time is not a factor.

The European style mag release buttons (previously found on the Walther PPS, but not on the new PPQ unless you get the M1 version) on both sides of the trigger guard take some getting used to, but now I love it. I could use my trigger finger on the right side of the trigger guard or my strong hand thumb on the left side to drop the mag, and I found that pushing downward on the release, as opposed to pushing a button into the grip, felt much more natural and very intuitive.

I didn’t have a single malfunction, it ran beautifully, and is very accurate–I only ran personal reloads (200+ rounds of 124gr. round nose Xtreme Bullets, 5.2gn of Unique with OAL of 1.135) through it, but I can only imagine what factory, performance ammo would be able to do! Several times I was able to put hole in hole, standing at 10 yards with a two handed grip.
The barrel length is more akin to the Glock 19 than the 17, and when shooting the 19 and the VP9 side-by-side, the recoil of the 19 felt initially less but lasted longer?, the VP9 was snappy and quick but felt smoother overall.  (Sorry, best I can do to describe it)

Size comparison to the Glock 17

Size comparison to the Glock 17–image courtesy of kammeret.no

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VP9 spare mags and replacement sights are sold out everywhere online so I borrowed an H&K P30 (the VP9’s double/single action predecessor) there at the shop, put those mags in the gun to see if they fit, and they are identical. The sights also looked identical, but don’t quote me on that just yet. So if you buy this gun, and can’t find spare mags, just Google search “P30 mags”, they are the same.  (Note: the manager of the Gun Vault later told me that he too had learned this and therefore had ordered a bunch of P30 mags for new VP9 owners–they had a healthy supply of them there on Saturday, 09/20)

Swapping the grip panels is a dream compared to the Glock! There is no requirement of tension on the backstrap to slide the pin in and out. Not only that, but it comes with three different sizes of side panels as well. One pin at the bottom of the grip removes the back strap, then the side panels can then be slid to the rear and swapped.  It’s really nice to be able to mix & match and test the sizes BEFORE being forced to put the pin in to make it permanent, only to find out you don’t want that size and have to pound it back out.

While at the range, I left the grip in the stock config. with the medium sized backstrap and side panels on, but once I got home I found that the most comfortable arrangement was to use the large backstrap, the smallest side panel on the left, and the large side panel on the right. Using the large backstrap forces my hand higher on the grip and my natural point of aim feels really good with the imbalanced side straps. (Maybe this will help prevent my shots from always leaning to the left!) The factory “stippling” while visually only looks moderately aggressive, does a great job of letting your skin sink into the polymer, allowing you to maintain a “crush grip” even as your hands gets sweaty.

Only complaint is how ergonomically friendly it is, at the expense of not being able to get a higher grip on the bore axis, but again, using the large backstrap does help my hands remedy that a little bit. Will I be shooting this in the State IDPA match this weekend? I’ll probably stick with my Glock 17 that I’ve shot all season, but this could end up replacing it next year. It’s a great gun so far and I’m a fan.
(While I bought the last one in stock at The Gun Vault, (more on the way) one of our other site sponsors currently has THREE of these in stock for a great price. Check ’em out at Tooele Shooting Supply)

Nick Moyes
UGE Co-Founder
NRA Basic Pistol Instructor & RSO
Utah CFP Instructor
MAG40 Graduate

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