H&K VP9 Review: How Does It Hold Up?

by Joel Wise

January 29, 2024



What if I told you Glock did not make the first striker-fired pistol? If you’re not too upset, keep reading this HK VP9 review and I’ll explain. In a way you can call it foreshadowing, but today I will be reviewing a Heckler Koch pistol, the HK VP9-B.

I originally reviewed this gun back in 2023 but after a few hundred more rounds with it, my opinions have slightly changed. Here’s an updated HK VP9 review.

An Americanized take on the HK VP9 with a push-button magazine release.

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  • Host Platform H&K VP9-B
  • Caliber 9 mm
  • Length 7.3 inches
  • Width 1.32 inches
  • Height 5.41 inches
  • Barrel Length 4.09 inches
  • Sight Radius 6.38 inches
  • Weight 25.56 ounces
  • Magazine Capacity 15/17 depending on model year
  • Trigger Pull 5.4 pounds
  • Trigger Travel .24″
  • Return Travel .12″ (reset)


For the longest time, I assumed Glock held the title of “First Striker Fired Pistol” but that simply isn’t the case. Actually the striker fired guns dates back to 1970, and as you have probably gathered, HK made it. It was called the Heckler Koch VP70. The HK VP70 was an 18+1 double stack, polymer framed, striker-fired, compact pistol…that sucked! Only twenty thousand units were ever made, and they had issues, not the least of which was a 20 pound double action trigger pull!

Then there was another HK pistol, the P7. Just go research that if you’re interested – Dave Chesson, one of the writers here at Gun University lists it as his favorite handgun and carries a 1984 P7 with wooden panels.

So, you might be saying, where is Glock in all of this? Well, Glock followed suit approximately a decade later with the Glock 17, and the pistol world was forever changed at that point. Obviously they were on to something, with the modern striker fired pistol bringing reliability, greater capacity, and lighter weight than their predecessor. Some would say that HK learned from their mistake and from Glock.

Maybe that’s why they waited so long to produce another striker fired HK handgun?

In 2014, the HK VP9-B enters the scene. The VP9 and VP9-B are HK’s first modern striker fired pistols since the VP70 and P7. The HK VP9 pistol has the European style paddle magazine release (seen in many Walther pistols) while the VP9-B has the more American style, and I would say, “standard” push button magazine release. Today I’m reviewing the VP9-B variation.



Important due to the inherent reliability of the platform.


5.4 pound pull, crisp break, and a short reset make this one of the better pistol triggers I’ve ever felt.


A near custom fit is possible with all the different combinations.


This feature truly differentiates the VP9-B from the standard HK VP9.


If you’re looking for a versatile handgun that can be used for both self-defense and competition shooting, then the H&K VP9 is a great option. It’s available in three different models to suit your needs. The H&K VP9 is the original model and is a full-size handgun. In late 2018, HK introduced the VP9 B (B for “button”), equipped with a push-button mag release, this was in response to the preferences of the American market. The HK VP9SK is a subcompact version of the original VP9 and is one of the ranking champs for best CCW options.


Paddle Release Magazine


Push Button Release


In this HK VP9 review, we are going to get into accuracy, reliability, and value in this section, but let’s talk about ergonomics first. With a ton of different grip configurations, you can pretty much make this thing fit like a glove. You get 6 different grip panels and 3 different backstraps in the box. That’s like 18 different combinations if my math is correct, and it’s probably not – fair warning. Historically, I have found myself just having to deal with improper grip due to gun manufacturers lack of hiring normal sized hand models.

Seriously, who did they get as a hand model for Glock, Andre The Giant?

I have learned through thousands of repetitions with a Glock to turn the gun slightly in my hand during a reload. It’s more of a slight rotation (counter-clockwise from 12 to 10 o-clock) in order to be able to reach the magazine release button. I’m telling you that you don’t have to deal with that crap anymore. Kidding aside, the ergonomics of the HK VP9-B are excellent. You can make it fit well, and it naturally points well so in theory, you should be able to shoot it well.

Every single new gun that I buy has to pass my own reliability test. The test consists of 200 rounds of your basic plinking ammo fired as quickly as possible in one continuous range session. If the firearm experiences a malfunction of any kind, I sell it immediately. Let me qualify a few things since I know that sounds harsh.

First, this disqualifies any and all 1911’s! (comments section broken in 3, 2, 1…) Secondly, I only use reputable brands of brass cased cartridges. I don’t put cheap steel cased ammo through any of my guns. Third, by malfunction I mean a failure to feed, failure to eject, failure to fire, etc. Basically I’m talking about any complete stoppage of the firing sequence.

If the gun passes my test for range ammo, I will deem it worthy of ‘safe queen’ status and there it will remain until such time that I might consider carrying it concealed for personal protection. At that point it’s back to the range with 100 rounds of personal defense ammo, where it must pass a similar test as before.

Only then will I trust my life to it and call it “reliable.”

In the case of the HK VP9-B gun review, I don’t plan on carrying this gun concealed due to the size. It’s not huge, I just prefer smaller guns like the Sig P365 for concealed carry. I have fired approximately 400 rounds of target ammunition through the HK, at the time of writing this article, and experienced zero malfunctions. My gut-level feeling is that this pistol would be utterly reliable.

Accuracy with a pistol is a difficult thing to quantify in my opinion. It’s just so subjective. The USPSA Grand Master might shoot one ragged hole with his hand loaded ammo, while the weekend warrior will get closer to a basketball sized group at ten yards with the same gun. Shooter skill and experience plays into this, as does quality ammunition, and the proper application of fundamentals. I have no idea where I (or you) fall on the scale between a weekend warrior and a USPSA Grand Master, but I’m not even close to either of those extremes.

I fired five rounds with the HK VP9-B at a distance of ten yards. My target was a painted circle that measured approximately three inches. I was able to keep all shots inside of 2.5 inches while standing and unsupported. The longer sight radius, and crisp trigger of this pistol certainly helped me achieve those results.

In terms of value, the HK VP9-B can be found anywhere from $550.00 to $700.00 depending on where you live and where you shop in the United States. Value is another somewhat subjective term. Is it worth $550 to me? Yes it is. All day long. Is it worth $700.00 to you? Only you can decide. I think for the impressive list of features, HK reputation, and the results of my personal testing, the HK VP9-B is worth what they are asking for it, whether that’s $550.00 or $700.00. I can highly recommend this gun to you and feel like you would not regret spending your hard earned coin on it.

So, as you can see in this HK VP9 review, I think it’s a great pistol. Excellent trigger, and a great level quality. To me, it’s worth the price. Of course, I’d love it more if it were cheaper, but I don’t think that the quality doesn’t at least match the price point. Because of this, I recently listed in our best 9mm pistol article – however, as you can probably tell, I didn’t list it #1. So, if you want to see which ones beat it, or perhaps find one that is cheaper but just as good, then check out that article.

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  • That push button magazine release obviously! (compared to the paddle style)
  • Striker fired reliability. PMC Bronze 115 grain ammo. 400 rounds, no malfunctions.
  • The trigger is pretty nice. I personally like it better than my Glock 19 or 17. Less creep, shorter reset, and lighter weight overall.
  • Longer sight radius and better sights lead to increased accuracy in my comparison with the Glock 19.
  • So many grip options. A near custom fit to the shooter’s hand is possible.
  • Price – As much as $700 could be an issue for the average buyer.
  • Grip texture is not quite aggressive enough for my liking.
  • Weapon light issue. My Streamlight TLR2 paddle switch rubbed on the bottom corner of the trigger guard, causing the light to occasionally remain turned on during “momentary” mode.

Report Card


The grip, sights, trigger and soft 9mm recoil make this a joy to shoot.


400 rounds quickly with no cleaning and zero malfunctions.


Plethora of grip panels allows for near custom fit.


2.5” group at 10 yards seems decent.


You will always pay more for the HK name, but the features are there and the price is not that far off other pistols in this category.


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Reviewed by Joel Wise

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Is it easy to adapt to the ambidextrous paddle magazine release of the VP9?

Yes, adapting to the euro paddle magazine release is surprisingly straightforward. Users can operate it without adjusting their grip significantly, making it an accessible feature even for those accustomed to other magazine release designs.

Can the grip of the VP9 be customized to fit different hand sizes?

Yes, the VP9 comes with various back straps and interchangeable side panels, allowing users to customize the grip according to their hand size and preferences. This modular design ensures a comfortable and secure fit for a wide range of users.

What accessories can be attached to the VP9?

The VP9 is equipped with forward slide serrations and a full-size pick rail at the front, providing ample space for attaching accessories such as lights, lasers, or other tactical gear.

HK VP9-B Ammo

Range Rounds


MagTech 9mm 115 GR FMJ Ammo

Best Defense Rounds

Box of Hornady 9mm pistol ammunition

Hornady Critical Defense 115 GR

Cost Per Round
Gun Deals $0.84
Firearms Depot $0.95
Sportsman’s Guide $1.03
Guns.com $1.07
Gritr Sports $1.16

H&K VP9 Starter Pack

So what’s next? Well, if you decide to get the HK VP9-B , you’re going to need to pick up some must-have basics. Here’s our recommendation for what you need to get started.

  • Gun Cleaning Kit: Otis All Caliber Elite Range Box on Amazon or build your own personalized cleaning kit with premium components.
  • Shooting Glasses: All it takes is one piece of rogue hot brass, and you’ll learn the importance of shooting glasses. But not all glasses are built the same. See our recommendations for the Best Shooting Glasses.
  • Hearing Protection: Firing a gun without wearing proper ear pro can be very dangerous and detrimental to your hearing. Find out the best hearing protection for you in our full length review.
  • Storage: Check our our article on the Best Biometric Gun Safes
  • Targets – If you’re wanting a great resource for shooting practice or zeroing your optics on your optics rifle or pistol, download our FREE Sighting in Targets below.

With the basics outta the way, let’s jump into some cool accessories you might want to consider when purchasing your HK VP9

HK VP9 Upgrades and Accessories

There’s a bunch of different options available to accessorize the HK VP9. However, if we had to choose only a few options… Here’s our picks.

HK VP9 Accessories

Streamlight TLR-7 Weapon Light
  • White LED produces 500 lumens
  • IPX7 Waterproof
  • Low Profile
Check Amazon
Pro Mag H&K VP9 Steel Magazine
  • Suits 9mm Rounds
  • High-capacity magazine restriction 17 rounds
  • Suits Koch VP9
Check Price
Pineworld Biometric Gun Safe
  • Reliable Biometric Scanner
  • Sturdy and Well Built
  • Cheaper Than Most Biometrics
Check Amazon
Decibullz Custom Molded Earplugs
  • Great In-Ear option
  • Custom molded – super easy and comfortable
  • NRR: 31
Check Amazon


Maybe you’re just not sold on the VP9-B. Or you’re looking for a more budget friendly option. Either way, we’ve got 3 more options you might want to check out.

#1 Canik TP9SF


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  • Shootability A
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonmics B+
  • Accuracy A-
  • Value A

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Based on 122 Reviews

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Like the HK VP9-B but it’s just out of your price range? Then you should seriously consider looking at the Canik TP9SF. From what we’ve encountered is an amazing budget gun entry into duty pistols. At an affordable price of…. READ MORE

#2 Glock 48

Glock 48

Glock 48

At its core, the Glock 48 is essentially a Glock 19 with a single stack magazine.

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  • Shootability A
  • Reliability B+
  • Ergonmics A
  • Accuracy A+
  • Value A+

Our Grade


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Based on 59 Reviews

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I get it. You’re a Glock loyalist. Not to fear…there’s an option for you. Check out the Glock 48! It’s a slimmed down version of the Glock 19. A unique hybrid that’s able to act as a full sized pistol that’s slim enough for CCW purposes… READ MORE

3 Sig Sauer P320 X-Five Legion

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  • Shootability A+
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics A+
  • Accuracy A+
  • Value A+

Our Grade


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Based on 54 Reviews

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We all have favorites. And this is by far one of the most favorite guns to ever hit Gun University. The Sig Sauer P320 X-Five Legion is – dare I say it – as close to perfection we’ve seen in a long, long time. Our biggest turnoff is that we can’t shoot three at once… READ MORE


You’ve probably heard that if you’re going to own a gun, you’re going to need how to take care of it. And while scouring the internet, we came across this excellent video by sootch00.

He does a pretty neat review on the HK VP9-B–including how to take it apart for cleaning and maintenance.

Heckler Koch VP9 Problems

There’s the odd person that may come across problems with the HK VP9, but this pistol doesn’t have any major problems that we’re aware of as a whole. The VP9 has been found to be extremely reliable pistol.

For more info regarding the HK VP9-B and other VP9 platforms, check out the following resources:


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About Joel Wise

Joel Wise has a law enforcement background which later turned into security consultant for non-profit organizations. He spent the better part of a decade as a firearms instructor. Currently, he is a writer, videographer, and competitor in the precision rifle industry. He owns the Precision Rifle Network.

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  1. Glad yours has a good trigger because mine definitely doesn’t. It is gritty with a definite “bump” halfway before the trigger wall. Reviewing HK forum conversations, you apparently have a 50/50 chance of getting a good trigger. My PPQ and PDP triggers are light years better. Considering sending it to Lazy Wolf Guns to see if they can improve it.

  2. I’ve never had the chance to shoot the VP9 but I did own a VP40 and a VP9SK for a little while and both had very little recoil and shot well better than what I had expected.

  3. Purchased the VP9, not the B model, and it is amazing! Sold my Glocks (17 and 43). I shoot it better than any striker fired pistol I had previously fired……and I have shot many! Excellent trigger, easily concealed and fantastic ergonomics. It has about 800 rounds thru it now and never missed a beat will various 9mm brands of ammo. Great article, thanks!

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