What if I told you Glock did not make the first striker-fired pistol?
If you’re not too upset, keep reading and I’ll explain. In a way you can call it foreshadowing, but today I will be reviewing the HK VP9-B.
H&K VP-9B BACKGROUND
For the longest time, I assumed Glock held the title of “First Striker Fired Pistol” but that simply isn’t the case. Actually the first striker fired pistol dates back to 1970, and as you have probably gathered, HK made it. It was called the HK VP70. It 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 the P7. Just go research that if you’re interested.
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 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 VP9 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.
H&K VP9-B SPECS
|Host Platform||H&K VP9-B|
|Barrel Length||4.09 inches|
|Sight Radius||6.38 inches|
|Magazine Capacity||15/17 depending on model year|
|Trigger Pull||5.4 pounds|
|Return Travel||.12″ (reset)|
K VP9-B FEATURES
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.
3INTERCHANGEABLE GRIP PANELS
A near custom fit is possible with all the different combinations.
4PUSH BUTTON MAGAZINE RELEASE
This feature truly differentiates the VP9-B from the standard HK VP9.
HK VP9 MODELS
Paddle Release Magazine
Push Button Release
H&K VP9-B REVIEW – OUR TAKE
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…) Second, 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. 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, 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. 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.
HK VP9-B PROS AND CONS
- 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.
- Holster availability – a handful of “Fudd” options (meaning leather and OWB) and not much else. ANR Design makes custom kydex IWB options for this gun and would be my pick.
- 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.
|400 rounds quickly with no cleaning and zero malfunctions.|| |
|2.5” group at 10 yards seems decent.|| |
|The grip, sights, trigger and soft 9mm recoil make this a joy to shoot.|| |
|Plethora of grip panels allows for near custom fit.|| |
|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.|| |
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:
With the basics outta the way, let’s jump into some cool accessories you might want to consider when purchasing your HK VP9-B.
BEST ACCESSORIES FOR THE HK VP9-B
There’s a bunch of different options available to accessorize the HK VP9-B. However, if we had to choose only three different options… Here’s our picks.
VAULTEK VT20I BIOMETRIC HANDGUN SAFE
Owning a handgun is a big responsibility. You need to not only protect your firearm from harm but yourself and others as well.
This is why it’s so important to have proper storage. And there’s nothing we like better for a single handgun safe than the Vaultek VT20i. Seriously, it’s our number one pick on our list of best biometric handgun safes.
Do yourself and your weapon a favor. Go and get one of these.
A handheld or weapon-mounted light is always a good option if you plan to use the pistol for self defense. The TLR-7 is a great candidate for that. Its low profile design helps to minimize any snags and malfunctions.
OTHER DUTY PISTOLS OF ITS CLASS TO CHECK OUT
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.
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
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
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
HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR HK VP9-B
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.
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