Heckler & Koch VP9

Heckler Koch VP9 left front photoEditor’s Rating: 9.0/10

Users’ Rating (Click a star to rate this gun.)

No votes yet.
Please wait...
Summary: Jed Henson’s review of and rating for the Heckler & Koch VP9 pistol, including a description, range report, photos, pricing, specs and user ratings. (Click here to see all of Henson’s handgun reviews, handgun roundups and best-of articles.)

Editor’s Review

The VP9 from the left.
The VP9 from the left.

In mid-2014, Heckler & Koch (H&K) unveiled a new full-size, striker-fired pistol, the VP9. The gun received rave reviews among many in the United States, and I’ve been bummed I couldn’t get my hands on one to check it out myself.

I’m happy to report that over the holidays, I lucked into a shooting session with a VP9 when my father-in-law brought his friend’s VP9 for our day at a local indoor range. I was able to fire a bunch of rounds through this VP9, and my review follows.

The Details

The semi-auto VP9 is built on a polymer frame and chambered in 9mm (note: H&K now offers a .40 SW version as well, the VP40). It employs a Browning-type recoil-operated action with a captive flat recoil spring, and the aforementioned striker-fired trigger system with a safety bar in the trigger. H&K molds an extended picatinny MIL-STD-1913 accessory rail into the frame.

Heckler Koch VP9 left rear photo
The VP9 from the rear, with the interchangeable backstraps and side panels.

The pistol sports a cold hammer forged barrel (H&K says it’s made from cannon-grade steel) with a polygonal bore, and a machined steel slide with diagonal grasping grooves front and rear, plus additional grip tabs (H&K calls them “charging supports”) mounted on the slide’s rear.

The ergonomic, finger-groove grip includes three changeable backstraps and six changeable side panels to allow you to really dial the gun into your specific hand. The VP9 also features ambidextrous controls, including paddle-style magazine releases located alongside the trigger guard.

The VP9 carries three-dot, luminous sights, and you can get it with 15-round or 10-round magazines.

Range Report

The VP9’s owner had reportedly fired a couple hundred rounds through it previously, and my father-in-law and I fired another 60 rounds with it. We used Freedom Munitions ammunition—specifically, 124-grain round nose (RN), a target/cheap full metal jacket round—and we suffered zero malfunctions. Every case ejected briskly away up and to the right.

I slow-fired the VP9 off-hand at roughly 7 yards with five rounds of the Freedom ammo, with the following results:

  • Freedom Munitions 124-grain RN: 1.375″ group

As you can see in the target photo, the VP9 shot slightly high and right for me. But a 1.375″ off-hand group is plenty good, in my opinion. If I don’t count the flier, the group measures 1.0″

HK VP9 target results photo
The author’s VP9 target results.

During this shooting session, I also had my Glock 19 Gen3 and my father-in-law’s SIG Sauer P226 MK25 on hand, so I was able to compare/contrast the three pistols. I really liked the VP9’s trigger pull, which was smooth and not squashy (unlike my Glock’s), with a crisp break. The gun felt good in my hand (better than my Glock) and pointed well for me. I picked the sights up well, significantly better than the factory sights on the P226 Navy (my Glock wears aftermarket sights because I disliked the factory sights). Recoil was a non-issue, allowing me to easily deliver follow-up shots.

The paddle-style magazine release lever took a little getting used to, but ultimately I liked it. With a little more experience with it, I could see myself possibly preferring it to button-style releases.

Final Thoughts

Heckler Koch VP9 right side
The VP9 from the right.

I couldn’t find anything to dislike about the VP9, not even of the nit-pick variety. I think it’s a fabulous pistol, and I don’t say that lightly. I admit I don’t have first-hand shooting range experience with a huge amount of pistols, but I do have lots of experience with my Glock 19 Gen3. I think the 19 Gen3 is a really good gun, and I’m pretty sure a majority of my fellow Americans would agree. So consider this: I like the VP9 better than my Glock.

Oh, and the kicker? H&K has managed to hold the VP9’s price down to a level near that of other mainstream full-size striker-fired polymer pistols, such as the Glocks, Springfields, etc.

If I were in the market for a full-size pistol, the VP9 would be among my finalists. If you’re in that market, I recommend taking a hard look at it.

Jed Henson photoJed Henson is an author, editor and publisher.

The Specs

Caliber Capacity BBL OAL Width Height Weight
9mm 15+1, 10+1 4.09″ 7.34″ 1.32″ 5.41″ 25.56 oz. w/empty mag


MSRP: $719

No votes yet.
Please wait...

5 thoughts on “Heckler & Koch VP9”

  1. Great pistol.

    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
  2. I agree, near perfect, price excellent. At 500 rds. not a problem. RMC threaded barrel works well, UM Tactical UM3 optic mount works great. This is accurate, easy to take down & reassemble, love the “ears” for my old hands. Eats any ammo I’ve tried (24 brands). Accurate, glow sights very good. Grip options weren’t needed by me, but are nice to have. Trigger is right in my “excellent” zone. Slight increase in flip over my FNS-9 is barely noticeable (higher bore), but accuracy doesn’t suffer with my old eyes/hands. Best full-size 9mm I’ve shot (12 brands).

    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
  3. I own the VP9. Bought it about the middle of last year. I like to collect guns and I shoot what I collect. This is the best striker fired nine that I own. Did not need to adjust the grip in any way. Fit my hand perfectly. It came with the factory night sights. Accurate and reliable. I own a Beretta FS Compact also which is of course hammer fired. These are two nines that I never intend to part with. They are both that good. Thanks for the fine review.

    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
  4. Interesting info here on the origins of the VP9’s name: http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2016/06/09/why-no-volkspistole-political-correctness-or-trademark-dispute/

    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
  5. Richard Overall

    Follow-up 6 months later: The VP9 has served admirably, and after over 1000 rds, is still working with no issues. I did add Trijicon HD night sights (orange front dot for my old eyes) which make the gun shoot about 1/2″ lower due to the front sight’s height. Nevertheless, it remains accurate and easy to shoot. Blackhawk! Serpa CQC holster works well with it. Having found the “perfect” (for me) combination of grip panels, I decided to put a Talon grip on it, and that improved an already excellent grip. The “ears” that help my old hands rack the slide now have an Arachnigrip decal on the rear quarter of the slide, and further help me grip the slide to work it. Have had no problems with the RMC threaded barrel at all, cleans just fine. I don’t have a can, just liked the threaded barrel (w/crown cap). Keep the original barrel as a spare (unthreaded). This volkspistole is just plain great in my old hands, and is in my permanent collection. Also added a 30-rd mag, and an H&K 5-rd extension, both of which feed with no issues. I love my FNS9 and 9c, but admit this VP9 is just that little bit better for me.

    No votes yet.
    Please wait...

Comments are closed.