HK VP9 Review: A Glock guy shoots the HK

I have a love/hate thing with HK.  I love HK, HK hates me.  One look at their SAS Iranian Embassy Raid poster and I immediately drank the Kool-Aid.  Who didn’t want an MP5, MK23, and P7M13 pistol?  I did but couldn’t afford one.

I turned 18 in the mid-90s while the 89 import ban was in full swing and 94 AWB was adopted.  HK rifle prices were through the roof and the P7 pistols were exceedingly expensive.  That just made me want them more.  Over the years I saved my money and eventually owned a HK94, P7K3 in 380 ACP, 32 ACP and 22LR, and a USP Compact 40.

The USP Compact 40 was the worst pistol I ever owned.  With a high bore axis, odd controls and a weird feel, it soured me for HK pistols for years to come.  I felt like I could stand 1 foot away from a full size IPSC target and miss it entirely.

A few of my shooting buddies recently started shooting the HK VP9 and suggested I give it a try.  I mocked their offers but finally gave in.

The VP9 is a polymer frame striker fired pistol that looks like a cross between a Glock, Walther P99, Smith and Wesson M&P and HK USP.  It has a sleek modern look, with front cocking serrations, removable rear cocking wings, firing pin indicator, interchangeable grip panels and low profile ambidextrous controls.  Size wise, the VP9 is falls somewhere between a Glock 17 and 19.

For a striker fired pistol, the trigger on the VP9 is fantastic.  The trigger has a positive reset which is a feature I prefer.  The controls are in the right place, and as configured from the factory, is a solid, workable service pistol.  The VP9 uses the same steel magazines as the P30.

Heading to the range I ran a 5-circle drill.  Even though I was new to the pistol, I shot it nearly as well as my Glock 19.  The biggest perceived differences between the VP9 and Glock 19 were the VP9 had a better trigger and slightly higher bore axis (I felt there was slightly more muzzle flip).

Moving to a 30-round combat style course that is shot from the 25 yard line into point blank range from a variety of positions, the pistol continued to perform well, offering results similar to those with my Glock 19.

The only problem I encountered with the VP9 was the slide not always locking to the rear on the last shot from a magazine.  I suspect this was user induced.  I shoot high thumbs with my hands very high.  I suspect I was interfering with the slide stop.  When I fired the VP9 one handed, the slide did lock open.  Using the same gun, ammunition and magazines, 3 other shooters all had the slide remain locked after the last shot.

Perhaps the oddest part of the VP9, is the braided wire trigger return spring inside the frame (above).  Look at this thing, reminds me of an AK.

The VP9 offers shooters another polymer framed pistol option.  It is priced similarly to other guns on the market.  Spare magazines will set you back nearly $40 (twice as much as a Glock), but since they are steel, I would think they might last longer.

If you get a chance to shoot a VP9, give it a shot.  I think you’ll like it.

To learn more about the HK VP9, click here.