The VP9 is a striker-fired pistol that features a Picatinny rail, ambidextrous controls, a hammer forged polygonal barrel, and changeable back and side straps to make the pistol grip customizable for any shooter’s hand with 27 options of grip configuration.
It was in development for more than four years and is Heckler & Koch’s first striker-fired handgun since the P7 series pistols were introduced in the 1980s. The pistols are made in Heckler & Koch’s Oberndorf factory in southwest Germany.
Most striker-fired handguns have a pre-travel pull that increases in weight as the shooter squeezes it rearward. The VP9 trigger has a short, light take-up with a solid, single action type break followed by a short positive reset. The average weight of the stock trigger pull is 5.2 lbf (23 N). The VP9 trigger has a consistent pre-travel pull followed by a positive set with clean break. Disassembly does not involve releasing the striker by squeezing the trigger.
Both the VP9 and VP40 use Heckler & Koch’s ergonomic handgun grip design that includes three changeable backstraps and six side panels that allow the pistol’s to fit any and all hand sizes. Molded finger grooves in the front of the pistol’s grip also instinctively position the shooters hand for optimal shooting.
Although influenced by other HK models, the VP9 has a few innovations of its own. The controls are completely ambidextrous. A slide release is present on both sides of the frame and the magazine release can be easily activated by left- or right-handed shooters.
A new feature is HK’s patented charging supports. They are simple components that are mounted on each side of the rear of the slide and provide better gripping leverage for racking the slide rearward. The charging supports speed reloading and make operating the VP9 easier for shooters with reduced hand strength. The VP pistols use the same steel magazines as the Heckler & Koch P30 in both the 15 and 10-round capacity configurations.
The VP9 has an extended full size Picatinny MIL-STD-1913 rail molded into its polymer frame for mounting lights and accessories. The rail has been tested and certified to handle the heavier mounted accessories because of its full size which adds rigidity. This rigidity gives the VP9 superior capabilities compared to some of its polymer competitors whose frames flex under use and cannot handle the weight of some of the medium to larger mounted lights.
In the United States, the VP9 is available from retailers as a standard package (standard three-dot sights and two magazines included) or as a “LE” (Law Enforcement) package (factory-equipped tritium night sights and three magazines included). The night sights are Meprolight Tru-Dot. In late 2018, HK introduced the VP9-B (B for “button”), equipped with a push-button magazine release, in response to the preferences of the American market. In January 2020, HK updated the VP9 design with a slide cutout for mounting pistol red-dot optics, new higher-capacity 17-round magazines to replace the 15-round magazines, and iron sights with a blacked-out rear bladed sight, replacing the previous three-dot setup, all as new standard features for the pistol.
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