H&K VP9 Review [2022]: How Does It Hold Up?

by Joel Wise

April 20, 2022

5 comments

4.7
(54)

What if I told you Glock did not make the first striker-fired pistol?

If you’re not too upset, keep reading this pistol 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.

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

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H&K VP9-B SPECS

  • 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)

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 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.

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.

HK VP9-B FEATURES

1 STRIKER FIRED

Important due to the inherent reliability of the platform.

2 EXCELLENT TRIGGER

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

3 INTERCHANGEABLE GRIP PANELS

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

4 PUSH BUTTON MAGAZINE RELEASE

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

HK VP9 MODELS

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 the CCW of choice for one of our other writers here at GU.

HK VP9

Paddle Release Magazine

H&K VP9-B

Push Button Release

H&K VP9-B REVIEW – OUR TAKE

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.

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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.

Report Card

SHOOTABILITY

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

A
RELIABILITY

400 rounds quickly with no cleaning and zero malfunctions.

A+
ERGONOMICS

Plethora of grip panels allows for near custom fit.

A+
ACCURACY

2.5” group at 10 yards seems decent.

A
VALUE

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.

B+

Our Grade

A

Reviewed by Joel Wise

Reader’s Grade

A

Based on 13 Reviews

Your Grade

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HK VP9-B Ammo

Range Rounds

MagTech-9mm-Ammo

MagTech 9mm 115 GR FMJ Ammo

Marketplace
Cost Per Round
Natchez Shooter’s Supply $0.24
Brownells $0.23
Palmetto State Armory $0.34

Best Defense Rounds

Box of Hornady 9mm pistol ammunition

Hornady Critical Defense 115 GR

Marketplace
Cost Per Round
Cabela’s $1.24
Midway USA $1.24

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

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.

#1 Canik TP9SF

Check Latest Price

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

Our Grade

A

Reviewed by Joel Wise

Reader’s Grade

A

Based on 64 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Gun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

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.

Check Latest Price

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

Our Grade

A

Reviewed by Joel Wise

Reader’s Grade

A-

Based on 21 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Gun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

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

Check Latest Price

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

Our Grade

A+

Reviewed by Joel Wise

Reader’s Grade

A

Based on 25 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Gun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

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.

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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5 COMMENTS

  1. 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!

  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.

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