Well, it’s been very difficult keeping my mouth shut the last couple of years with this project in development, and an NDA was required to keep me quiet, but now with the official release, I can talk about the pistol.
First things first—I wasn’t involved in the development. The credit for the end product goes to the HK design team, and Jason, the HK shooting team captain—he has a lot of time invested in the project. But I have shot the VP9 quite a bit, and can probably answer some of your questions. Now much of this will be subjective, as everyone perceives things differently, so most of this post is considered ‘in my opinion.’
Let me preface all of the following by saying this: I like GLOCKs. My duty gun is a G21. My EDC was (was) a G19. I am not a ‘fan boy’ of anything, but I appreciate things that work.
The biggest thing: The trigger. Yes, it’s as good as the reports. I don’t have a ton of time behind a Walther trigger, but in my opinion, it’s as good as or possibly just a little bit better than the Walther. What I can reliably compare it to are stock and modified triggers in M&P and GLOCK handguns. It is easily better than stock offerings in the M&P and GLOCK line, and better than some of the aftermarket upgraded triggers found in the same.
The trigger in the VP9 has a light, short and smooth take-up, with no staging or gritty feel, a break that is very crisp and clean and is better than the SA portion of most DA/SA guns I have fired. It has a short and very positive reset. Compared to aftermarket triggers, I’d say the stock VP9 trigger gives many of them a run for their money. I have an M&P Pro 9 that my wife uses for 3-gun, and it has an APEX competition sear kit in it. Comparing the two, the APEX trigger pull is lighter than the stock VP9 trigger, but doesn’t break as clean, has more total travel, and has nowhere near the positive reset that the VP9 does. My G34s both have 3.5# connectors, and spring kits in them (GLOCKWORX, I think). Again, the actual trigger pull weight on the modified G34 is less than the VP9, but the break is cleaner, and you don’t have the staging that is often present in the GLOCK trigger.
Also, and this is one of the things I dislike about my P30 triggers, the VP9 trigger breaks much further forward and doesn’t travel nearly as far. I always disliked how the trigger on the P30 doesn’t break until the trigger is all the way back to the frame—I always felt like it was difficult to consistently pull my trigger finger straight to the rear, because the trigger had to move so far back. Not so with the VP9. All in all, I feel it’s the best stock striker trigger on the market.
The ‘trough’: Until a poster on AR15.com pointed it out, and voiced his dislike for it, I honestly didn’t even realize it was there. I never noticed the trough in the trigger guard when firing the VP9, but I also never felt it on my HK45 or P30s—so, YMMV, I guess.
Sights: The sights share the same dovetail as the P30 / HK45, so aftermarket sights for any of those guns should fit. I have a set of Dawson sights on order to find out if the same height front sight that the P30 uses will work for the VP9.
Charging Supports: The first time we all saw the prototype gun with the charging supports we were all like WTF? I didn’t think they really needed to be there, but HK liked them, and they weren’t going anywhere. But here’s the funny thing—when I actually got to shoot the gun, I used them every time without even thinking. They work as advertised, and I think they will be a huge plus for those with reduced hand strength who have trouble manipulating the slide—especially when their hands get wet. They really don’t get in the way of anything, and when CCing the VP9, they don’t protrude enough that you could feel them on your side. Plus, if you really don’t like them, you can drift the rear sight off and replace it with flat inserts that should be available from the web-shop.
Mags: It takes P30 mags, and works fine with the Taylor Freelance extensions, so a tight 20 + 1or an easy 19 + 1 is already available.
The magazine release paddles: The geometry of the VP9 is a little different than the P30, and the magazine sits further up in the gun. Because of this, the mag release paddles sit up slightly higher and further to the rear than the P30, making it a little easier to hit the magazine release paddles. It also makes it so that the paddles don’t rest below the trigger guard when there isn’t a magazine inserted, which can irritate the hand.
Holsters: This is a brand new gun, and I’m sure samples are at holster makers as we speak getting holster blanks made up. I tried the VP9 in a leather holster made for a P30, and it fit fine, but the nose hung out a quarter inch or so. I think a leather holster for a P30L should work just fine. But a word of caution on kydex holsters—during the video shoot, I made a couple of draws and the magazine fell out as I presented the gun. It took two iterations of this to figure out that because the magazine release paddles sit further up on the grip that the indented portion (where the trigger guard is) of the holster (which was molded for a P30) was touching the mag release paddles. So when I was driving my hand down on the grip, I was activating the paddles and ejecting the magazine. I make my own kydex holsters, so I just made my own, but companies are going to have make VP9-specific kydex holsters—a P30 holster may not work.
The grip: The VP9 grip is very similar to, and is just as ridiculously comfortable as, the P30 grip. Even more so, though—since the slide is a hair longer in the back than a P30, there is a little more ‘beavertail’ than a P30, and it feels like your hand ‘locks in’ to the grip. The panels come off and go back on the same way as a P30—although I’m not sure if they are identical to and interchangeable with the P30 panels. I’ll check on that as soon as I can. Also, the bore axis of the VP9 is a little lower than the P30, so it should theoretically recoil softer than a P30. The bore axis thing never bothered me too much with other guns, however, so again—YMMV. Felt recoil is a pretty subjective thing. Bottom line is that the VP9 is very easy to shoot well.
To the best of my knowledge, the VP9 uses the same recoil spring (not guide rod) as the P30. As such, you can probably expect to shoot some warm 124grn ammo for the first hundred or so rounds to break the gun in.
Disassembly is easy, and requires no tools, and pulling the trigger is not required. There is no magazine safety (for firing) but there is a lever that prevents further disassembly of the gun unless the magazine is removed.
Well, that’s all I can think of off the top of my head. If you have any questions, fire away. Oh, and I hope you enjoyed the video. It was a lot of fun to make, and the HK marketing team, along with the videographers and photographers were very professional.
Oh, and difficult as it might be, cut the HK guys some slack. The VP9 was supposed to be secret (well, as secret as possible) until its 'unveiling' (tonight), and HK employees weren't supposed to discuss it. I can't tell you how many times over the past year I've had to say 'I don't know what you are talking about.' And also, Jason and the NRA guy were well aware of the VP70--in fact he and I discussed it not a week before the interview. They were referring to the modern HK line, and it came out sounding the way it did probably due to editing.