Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Montie Gear Y-Shot Billet Slingshot Review

Montie Gear Y-Shot Billet Slingshot Review

As a kid, I was singly responsible for launching a metric ton of steel ball bearings around our yard to dispatch junk birds, rodents, and cans throughout my childhood. For me that was time well spent with one of the wrist rocket slingshots from Daisy or Crossman. I am still into slingshots and still am dispatching junk birds, critters, and cans with slingshots, however I wanted something a bit more upscale and high class than what the kid down the street is using to knock out street lights… I wanted billet.

After a bit of searching, I believe I found the Ultimate Slingshot for the slingshot lover. The Montie Gear Y-Shot is a high tech billet slingshot which will deliver a 3/8" bearing at speeds of up to 150 feet per second with impressive accuracy.

The fit and finish of the Montie Gear Y-Shot is exceptional as it should be for a $130 slingshot.  The ½ thick aluminum billet 6061 frame is precision cut with water jet. The skeletonized frame is extremely rigid and provides a simple chassis to attach a variety of bands to. A multitude of power bands can be mounted to the chassis from flat to round bands. All that is needed to make the swap is to just loosen the band braces with screwdriver slip on the new bands and re-tighten. If you want more power, Montie Gear even offers high power double bands which deliver 35lb pull weight and triple bands which deliver over 45lb pull weight if you are strong enough.  

The beauty of the band mounting design is that even if you were in a pinch to use surgical tubing or inner tubes for power bands the Y-Shot is build to handle the stress. The heli-coil inserts are used to strengthen the threads for the side plate stainless steel screws, allowing for easy band replacement throughout the life of the slingshot, without worry of stripping the threads.

Montie Gear offers the Y-Shot in either clear anodized or in a variety of powder coat finishes including hot pink if you want.  Montie has delivered a true survivalist slingshot with a 550 paracord handle in a number of color options. The paracord handle wraps approximately 10 feet of mil-spec paracord around the handle in the event you need a little of the handiest cord on earth.

You may think that this is interesting, neat, and cool that someone would offer a high end slignshot, however what is more interesting is the science behind the design and the effort put into the Monties Gear Slingshot. Many of the mass produced slingshot lines would have you believe that tapered tubing delivers more power, however all the serious slingshot shooters use flat tapered bands made from TheraBand Gold / Max elastic material with leather ammo sling/pouches. In this case, the Y-Shot delivers very high energy without the need for an arm brace.

That brings up the next point on Monties Gear Y-Shot. They have a ton of accessories. It delivers the most expansive capabilities of any slingshot on the market. They offer everything from wrist braces to red dot mounts, pouches, ammo, power bands, and even arrow rests and take down slingshot arrows.  The Y-Shot is not a slingshot, but a slingshot system and the AR15 equivalent in the slingshot world.

Just like any slingshot, hitting your target and readjusting your point of aim takes a little getting used to, however once I was dialed in I was very impressed with the accuracy. The more noticeable accuracy improvements of the Y-Shot design is the rigidity and lack of flex and the flat power bands. If you use quality precision round steel shot, hitting a can over 20-yards away is not a hard task at all with some practice.

As a general rule with slingshots, the heavier the projectile the more power you will deliver. I know a lot of shooters who swap ammo depending on what distance and game they shot, however I tend to just go for standard ⅜” steel ball bearings or .38 cast lead balls.  They hit hard and deliver a smooth predictable arch over longer distances. I have taken up to raccoon sized pests with .38 cast lead balls, however ½” steel and lead ball ammo works extremely well also.

If your kid wants a slingshot to use and abuse, this $120 slingshot would not be my first choice, however for the more experienced slingshot shooter this is the ultimate slingshot on the market. The price is up there, however when you start looking at the various higher end slingshots, most will push the $50 range and still not offer the rigidity of this design.

There are some misconceptions out there around slingshots. You don’t need an arm brace to deliver high levels of energy on target, flat power bands deliver more consistent power from shot to shot and over time and longer time durability, and larger heavier ammo usually delivers more power onto the target.

I love this simple and light design and I am not unfamiliar with the design. A few years ago I made the DIY billet version from billet ¼” thick 7075 aluminum pictured next to the Monties Gear. My homemade slingshot has been well used and proved itself a very worthy little shooter with both flat and tube type power bands. The Monties Gear design is even better, lighter, more precise, and with a higher grade finish than what I was able to achieve in my workshop.

This is the ultimate slingshot and I cannot wait to try out whether a red dot sight could improve accuracy - the idea sounds gadgety, however it could be an awesome idea.

1/2" water jet cut aluminum frame
16 lbs pull weight with 28" draw tapered Thera-Band Gold band with leather pouch assembly
550 paracord wrapped handle
Easy band replacement with removable side plates
Fires up to 1/2" ball bearings
Rugged powder coat or anodize finish
Stainless steel fittings
Available with brass thumbscrews for tool-less replacement of bands
Made in USA

6 ounces
6.75" x 3.625" x .5" (L x W @ forks x D)
3.5" handle length
2.25" inside fork width at center
Paracord Options
Digital Desert Camo
Digital Woodland Camo
Safety Orange
Zombie Green
MSRP $129.99

Montie Gear - www.montiegear.com

Monday, September 29, 2014

Magnum Research Desert Eagle Mark XIX Titanium Gold .357 Magnum Pistol Review

Magnum Research Desert Eagle Mark XIX Titanium Gold .357 Magnum Pistol Review

Almost every review of the Magnum Research Desert Eagle will start with something like... The Desert Eagle is probably one of the most iconic semi-auto firearms in cinematic history which started and has maintained cult status since its introduction and probably sold more units to the film prop industry than to actual shooters… and then blather on and on for paragraphs. Yeah no kidding. What a stunningly obvious revelation which any twelve year old movie and TV watcher could make. My 14-year old could tell me what gun I had picked up from my FFL dealer just because I told him it was gold. Of course its an firearm icon, I mean look at the damn thing; its twice the size and three times the weight of almost any typical gun.

I will take a different editorial angle rarely noted on this beast of a gun which is that the Magnum Research Desert Eagle is the quintessential Diva of the gun industry.  It features “f**k you and the horse you rode in on” ergonomics, size, and weight which demands a significant amount of shooting compromises from the shooter to actually operate the gun. The unique gas piston driven semi-automatic action created a physically sized XXXL grip sized firearm for the hands of giant greek gods more than mere human hands. Combine the enormous hunting power of the .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum and .50 AE chambered models with the stunning showy finish options and you have a gun which has bling'tastically voided its only valid hunting purpose.

If those features and design barriers are not enough to dissuade you from ownership, maybe its scarcity will. On top of being a divo of a handgun, the Magnum Research Desert Eagle XIX rarely even makes an appearance in gun stores. I can count on one hand the number of gun shops who have had more than two of these pistols in their case at any time and even more rare is seeing any of the premium nickel, cerakote, stainless, 24K gold, and titanium gold models. Maybe you have been lucky to see a couple, but I can assure you that it is rare. The .44 Magnum models are by far the most common, however if you happen to want one of the more rare .357 or .50 AE  models, you get the opportunity to wait, and wait, and wait. In the last 10 years, I have only seen one .357 Desert Eagle XIX in a dealer case and it was used in the standard black finish.  In fact Magnum Research was nice enough to contact me after nearly a year to let me know the it was unlikely my originally ordered Titanium Gold Tiger Stripe finish in .357 Magnum would be made in the foreseeable future and offered me the Titanium Gold version instead, but there was still another six month wait.

Of course let's not forget the price tag which is a retardedly expensive custom price of nearly $2100; a price which would buy you a set of three-four Glocks in almost any caliber including 10mm, seven of the new value price Kahr CT9 or CT45s, or a really nice set of insanely expensive H&K P30 pistols. Even the Desert Eagle magazines are not cheap at $45 a piece. Sure the quality of this precision masterpiece is stunning, in the same way you would admire a fine timepiece, however it is not inexpensive by any stretch of the imagination. During the OMG they are coming to take our guns times of the last three to four years, Desert Eagles were actually going for up to twice thier full MSRP price and they were selling.

The Magnum Research Desert Eagle XIX delivers a practicality which defies any legitimate rationale for ownership other than a superstar cool factor which no other gun can match. If that is not the definition of a diva'esk gun, I really do not know what else you could ask a shooter to overcome with the exception of chambering it in .45-70 and mounting spikes on the back of the grip, and adding a note that the gun could only be shot a dozen times before it explodes.

It absolutely stuns me that Magnum Research has a constant backorder of a$2100 handgun which barely anyone under 6' 6' can ergonomically operate, requires two hands to securely shoot for almost all shooters, is one of the heaviest production handguns at 4.5lbs (excluding rifle caliber pistols) in existence, and fires rounds which on average deliver around 2-5 times the ft/lbs of energy of  most typical defensive handgun cartridges. In the case of the .50 AE 1800 ft/lb energy round, this behemoth of a gun is still punishing to shoot. There are loads of YouTube videos out there with shooter sledgehammering themselves in the forehead with the barrel due to the 50 AE's recoil.

All these features and design attributes are illogically all the reasons why everyone wants to own a Magnum Research Desert Eagle XIX and if you are to buy one why not go all the freaking way with the premium finish models. The Desert Eagle is the epitome of gluttony and excess wrapped up in a Diva’esk design which had little forethought to shooter comfort, hand size or ergonomics. Its the gun that says "stop whining and man-up/girl-up and shoot".

Beyond the "that is the coolest f**king pistol on earth justification", we all want this pistol because it is a very exclusive and rare pistol. After all if everyone had them, they would not be that cool.

From an exclusivity perspective, Not everyone has a Desert Eagle and those that do likely will have it chambered in .44 Magnum and not .50 AE and fewer own the .357 Magnum versions, and even fewer a premium finish model. Some folks may even have the optional 8" or 10" barrels. 

Desert Eagle XIX vs Walther PPQ
Owning this pistol makes the same statement as a $10,000 watch with an oversized 2” bezel just to see what time it is, signing your grocery receipt with a $2000 limited edition Montblanc fountain pen, or owning a $125K Porsche so you have something to get back and forth to golf. The Desert Eagle makes the simultaneous statement that I am sophisticated enough to appreciate the art of design and style while still being a rich Gangsta Mother Shucker. The gun defies logic and is owned by people who would walk up and press a strange out of place lighted button on the wall that says “press me for a surprise”.

I of course ordered mine in a very showy Titanium Gold in my favorite caliber of .357 Magnum before the 2013 Shot Show.  Even living the life of privilege as an industry writer with a decent amount of street credibility editorially, I still waited about two years for my order to be filled for this polished Titanium Gold .357 Magnum Desert Eagle model simply because they were that backordered. It had been so long that I had actually given up that I would ever actually get one... but then came the txt from my FFL dealer

Even as someone who has not yet taken possession of the “iconic” Desert Eagle XIX, you still take a lot of crap. My FFL dealer/friend texted me and said:
FFL Dealer - “Your giant gold plated substitution of a penis had arrived”.
Me - “I didn’t know they had to transfer it via FFL, must be a Magnum Caliber from Magnum Research.”

I literally dropped everything I was doing and was at his store in under 15 minutes.
Stunningly I had no idea that the gun had shipped. After dropping a gun porn picture of my new Desert Eagle XIX .357 in Titanium Gold on social media, comments rained into my email: “Really...really?”, “Did Adrian Peterson have a sale?”, “Ahh.. did you beat up a drug kingpin… again?”, “Which setting will you use for home defense, Safe or Vaporize?”, “New CCW gun?”, and in a recent discussion with a few industry gun writers while visiting Timney, one noted that "he had lost all respect for me" and another said "...and yet you are the guy who loathes 300 Blackout". Foghorn from The Truth About Guns was the only writer who giggled and blurted out "Cool".

Every comment was followed by a “When are we going to go shoot it?” You do make friends fast simply because everyone wants to shoot a Desert Eagle… everyone. Even my overly skeptical wife said the gun was insanely badass and can’t wait to shoot it. She did get a little annoyed when I joked that I had bought a matched set.

Although the Desert Eagle XIX is a diva'esk playboy's fun gun, it has all the capabilities to put rounds on target with accuracy most handguns lust for and with truly unique levels of Magnum firepower. There are more than a few serious handgun hunters using scoped Desert Eagles to take some really big game. I am thinking mine needs either a red dot or reflex sight mounted up on that Picatinny rail.

For those with chiropractic fetishes, the Desert Eagle can be carried as a CCW gun, but not in the same ways as a Typical handgun.  Crossbreed holsters does offer a CCW Super Tuck Deluxe, however it was offered originally as a joke. Insiders say they have sold more than a few. The pistol fits perfectly in my CCW 511 Moab Rush and Drago Ipad Sentry packs as a legit CCW carry gun. Yeah it weighs 5 lbs loaded, but you can actually get some use out of the gun if you really feel the need. My luck will be that the one time I will need a defensive handgun, I will be on national news because I defended myself with a 5lb golden auto-loading .357 Magnum handgun. So I guess we can add the inconveniences of owning a Desert Eagle XIX is that it also not the easiest gun to carry without the use of luggage.

The pice may scare some, however the reality is that the Desert Eagle is essentially a custom pistol. On top of the required manufacturing sophistication the premium finishs and stainless models are literally only made when there enough orders in the system to justify the batch plating and finishing process. With all the variations of calibers, finishes, and barrel lengths, there are not 10s of thousands of each individual configuration out there in the market probably more like 500-1000. From my perspective the pistol is legitimately a semi-custom museum piece for my collection which I can still shoot. The fit and finish is stunning premium grade. Each gun and barrel's gas system is hand tuned and test fired before it leaves Magnum Research. My only significant complaint it that after spending $2100 on a pistol, it really should come with more than one magazine - I mean, come on, how am I supposed to work on my speed loads with a 5lb gun which is too big for my hands that I can't even reach the mag release without using my support hand.

It is a big gun, however the ergonomics are a little too supersized for my hands. I can barely reach the not particularly light to switch safety with my thumb, however that safety disengagement maneuver is not what I would term as a tactically sound. The magazine release is basically the same situation, but impossible for me to reach unless I jog my primary hand halfway around the grip. That said I really don't care. This is a gun which puts smiles on faces at the range or on the hunt where all the above maneuvers are not particularly time critical.

Feature wise, the Desert Eagle is one of the most unique pistols on the planet with more going on than what most people know about. Most know that the Desert Eagle has a brutally tough rotating bolt lug design nearly identical to the AR15 platform, but there is so much more. Though its a Diva, its a complex Diva.

Did you know it is the first production gas powered pistol driven pistol? Yep, once a round is fired a gas port at the start of the rifling blows gas pressure down to the muzzle end of the frame where the barrel attached piston is blown back to cycle the action.

Originally, I had been mis-informed that the Desert Eagle had an adjustable gas system - Sorry to mis-inform, however MRI noted the correction and I have updated the article.

Are you surprised to learn that the Desert Eagle XIX features the fastest barrel changing system on the market? The Desert Eagle XIX are designed to allow the shooter to swap optional barrels nearly instantly from a 6" to an 8" to a 10' and back again. Have a gun fashion crisis which requires that all gold pistol be toned down with a black barrel or that deer just trotted out of your 6" barrel's effective iron sight range and need your 10" barrel with the scope? No problem. Hit the takedown button on the left side of the frame and flip down the barrel release switch and lift off the barrel and drop in the other barrel, flip the switch, charge and shoot. Of all the non-ergonomic attributes of this pistol aside, this barrel swap feature is slick as hell and crazy fast. A caliber change from .44 Magnum to .50 AE is just a barrel and mag swap away in less than seconds.

Caliber Interchangeability is also a feature of the Desert Eagle. The 50AE cartridge features the same rim dimensions as the .44 Magnum model so it can be converted to shoot .44 Magnum with just a barrel and magazine swap. If you have a .357 Magnum model and want to go up to the .44 Magnum/50 AE interchangeability, it requires a few extra minutes to swap out the bolt swap in addition to the the magazine and barrel. Buy one Desert Eagle XIX and you have the ability to convert and shoot any of the three offered calibers. A barrel and magazine runs around $550-$650 depending on barrel options and an extra bolt for the .357 to .44 Mag rim size swap is $200.

All these hidden features are far cooler aspects of the pistol than its looks. It was these features unique to the Desert Eagle design which forced the rather unorthodox ergonomics and size.  Even the trigger was designed to deliver a very high grade match grade feel to enhance accuracy. Most would expect a gun this size to have a 100lb trigger pull, however in reality it is a exceptionally light 4lb trigger pull. Most of your match grade bench AR15 target rifles have triggers the same weight.

Many of my friends have already asked why .357 Magnum versus the .44 Magnum or 50AE caliber. Well to be honest I am at the age where I am  not particularly interested in getting beat to death. The .357 Magnum version is a smooth shooting dream of a gun to shoot fast and accurately. Feeding this fun gun .357 Magnum rounds is about 30%-50% less expensive than .44 Magnum rounds and about 1/4 the cost of 50AE rounds. Simply put, I can financially justify the savings round by round and make the shooting experience a lot of fun. The beauty of the design is that I can always convert it to .44 Magnum to use in hunting... in fact that might be a great follow up article down the road.

The Desert Eagle does deliver a velocity advantage over revolvers with similar sized barrel chambered in the same .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum calibers simply because the Desert Eagle does not lose pressure like revolvers do at the cylinder gap. The velocity increase is not double, however it can be around 20% which is not un-noticed.

Out of the factory, the Desert Eagle XIX are function tested with SAAMI spec .357 Magnum rounds to assure proper feeding and functioning however being a long time .357 Magnum shooter, I can attest that there are is a wide spectrum of loads for the .357 Magnum rounds of which some may work and some may not. Choose really hot.

Notably, I have a few  functioning issues with some of my lighter (under spec) hand loaded .357 Magnum rounds and some lower powered factory rounds. Most of these issues were just short cycles, however I did have a few failure to feeds due to the short stroking with the under powered rounds.  The Desert Eagle likes the rounds hot, so bring the heat.

Probably the most awesome part of of this amazing looking Diva'esk gun is that it allows the shooter to actually hit things very accurately. The Desert Eagle's have a long and very established history of delivering 1" 25-yard group with quality ammo and I happily experienced bit better. Even 50 and 100 yard shots on 6" steel was doable. It would have been easier with a scope attached which the Desert Eagle XIX is ready for with the integrated picatinny rail. One thing to note is that when a scope is mounted it is mounted directly to the barrel which greatly enhances shot to shot accuracy and since the optic will travel with the barrel, it allows a perfect zero to be maintained no matter how many times you remove the barrel. The barrel does not reciprocate, just the slide which allows the optic to less of a beating and much faster shooting with optics on the near recoil-less shooting .357 Magnum caliber.
Gas Pressure Adjustment? Unfortunately I was misinformed
This is the gas tube plug.

The .357 Magnum is so easy shooting even with to extremely hot heavy grain'ed rounds. One of the reasons I did want the .357 Magnum round is that with just FMJ rounds, I can take rabbits and similar edible critters without turning a meal into a bloody smudge but jump over to a soft tip round for deer. Likely I will never use this gun for personal defense, however it would send a really interesting message to an attacker.

Everyone asks “Why”? The answer is "Why not?". We as shooters need to loosen up and have some fun. I think we sometimes, or a lot, get all wrapped up in features which really do not mean a thing. I think it says a lot that you can take a grossly over priced, oversized, and overweight gun with questionable ergonomics which demands a lot from the shooter to just use and it is never set down for three hours at the range with a line of friends waiting for their turn. This is probably the most fun I have had since buying a Henry Big Boy or my Ruger SASS Single Action Revolver set of which neither of those guns have any real tactically practical purpose either. My only regrets are not ordering three extra magazines with the gun and not going ahead and ordering the bolt, magazine and barrel for the .44 Magnum conversion, because I am betting those are backordered.

As it turns out, Diva's are a blast to hang around with. They bring character, un-anticipated fun which makes us drawn to such a free uninhibited design... maybe that is the real reason we all love this pistol.

All models feature a full Weaver style accessory rail on the barrel from the end of the chamber to right behind the front sight and standard ambidextrous safeties.

Model .357 Magnum Models
Type Gas-operated, rotating bolt semi automatic
Caliber .357 MAGNUM
Barrel Length 6” / 152 mm
Overall Length 10.75” / 27.3 cm
Groove Diameter .357” / 9.1 mm
Height 6.25” / 15.9 cm
Slide Width 1.25” / 32 mm
Construction High quality carbon steel barrel, frame and slide w/ full Weaver style accessory rail
Finish Black oxide and various custom finishes
Trigger Single action, approx. 4 lb. pull
Trigger Reach 2.75” / 70 mm
Sight Radius 8.5” / 215 mm
Sights Combat type, fixed
Polygonal Rifling w / Right Hand Twist, 6 lands & grooves 1 turn in 14” / 355 mm
Weight (Empty Magazine) 4 lbs. 8.4 oz.
Magazine Capacity 9 rounds
MSRP $ 2070

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Heckler & Koch H&K VP9 9mm Pistol Review

Heckler & Koch H&K VP9 9mm Pistol Review

Recently I reviewed the H&K P30L and frankly am in love with the pistol, the quality and the features are all top of the line. As a defensive pistol it has a level of refinement that can competitively only be seen on Sig Sauers, but with features unique to H&K. 

The P30 line has been one of H&K's most popular pistol lines and is the reference benchmark for quality in a defensive polmyer handgun. That said, H&K fans have been demanding a modern production H&K striker fired option built on the popular P30 ergonomics and magazine and now H&K has delivered the VP9. What really sets the VP9 apart from other Heckler & Koch pistols is the common man's price tag and is the company's first sub-$600 priced gun in recent history.  

I want to apologize to Glock to the continued comparisons to their G19 model throughout this article, however I do this because the Glock 19 is the most respected industry benchmade polymer pistol in this category. Additionally, with the H&K VP9’s affordable price and features, it represents one of the most significant competitive threats to Glock's control of its polymer pistol empire, so I think it is a relevant comparison.


The P30 is a single-action/double-action hammer fired pistol and the VP9 is striker fired, so you can expect differences. If you put the VP9 and P30 next to each other you can see similar levels of quality and refinement. From my perspective the P30 still rains from a fit and finish perspective covering H&K's top of the line quality handgun slot, however the VP9 is still exceptional, with just a tiny bit less refinement. 

Some will argur with me on this, however the P30 “feels” marginally higher grade. The grips are very similar in feel with the swappable side grips and back straps as are the overall H&K design profile. After a bit of grip swapping, I still find the P30's grip just a bit more comfortable for my hand. Of note, the grips contours are similar but not the same between the models with just a bit of difference with the P30 being a tad more comfortable.

The sights on the VP90 are similar luminous (Glow in the dark) style as on the P30, however the VP9's seem a little lower quality and are ramped compared to the P30.  If  want the ability to charge the firearm off the belt the rear VP9 ramped sights will prevent that. The two pistols are definately design siblings which can share magazines while delivering almost identical features including ambidextrous controls.

Let me put the VP9 in perspective for potential buyers compared to a Glock 19. Let's say BMW started selling a 5 Series sport sedans just a bit more than the price of the extremely popular, highly dependable and very good quality Toyota Camry. Even if you had a bias toward Toyota's you would take a very long hard look at the new BMW. Predictably, in this anecdote you could replace Toyota's Camry with Glock's G19 and BMW’s 5 Series with H&K's VP9. With options like the Walther PPQ and this H&K VP9 available, it begs the question why would anyone buy a Glock G19. Barring any unexpected recalls or problems, if H&K plays its cards right from a consumer advertising perspective, it could start eating a huge piece of Glock's G19 and G17 market share... the H&K VP9 is that good.

The Glock is just a tiny bit shorter by both length and width, however it actually feels smaller in the hands and in the pants. I would like to have the butt a little rounded on the VP9 to prevent just a bit more printing when carrying concealed.

From a fit perspective the VP9 delivers a premium quality polymer pistol with exceptional fit and finish. I am a Glock lover to the point of being a whore about their, however the H&K VP9 pretty much just blows my Glock 19s away on every point with the exception of known reliability. 

The polymer lower receiver on the VP9 is actually perfectly straight and not ever so slightly warped like my Glock, the slide is contoured with a bit of style with front and rear serrations instead of a rounded square, the sights, looks, ergonomics, ambi-controls, magazines, operation, accuracy, finish, and trigger are all better.  
Even as a guy wrapped up in a long time love affair with Glocks, I have to ask myself why am I still carrying around a squared off  pistol with the style of a piece of tupperware.  The only answer I can come up with is confidence. I have run tens of thousands of rounds through Glocks with very very few problems. Those problems I have had were all ammo related. Years down the road, I am sure we will ask why we did not have more faith in the VP9 design earlier on. If I see the same long-term reliability as my Glocks, I may end up with just as many H&K VP9s and variants as I have a Glocks.

Looking closer at those VP9 features makes me immediately pull out my Walther PPQ for comparison. From the outside anyway, the very awesome Walther PPQ and the equally awesome H&K VP9 look like they literally had the same designer such as: fully ambidextrous operational capabilities, ergonomic insert swappable grips, extended picatinny rail, front and rear slide serrations, heavy duty extractor which also pulls double duty as a loaded-chamber indicator, high quality German 15-round magazines, contoured slide, an ejection port designed to prevent any stovepipe/failure to eject jams, accuracy which easily edges out most other production defensive pistols and sight which are very good. Actually the VP9 and PPQ look more similar than the VP9 and P30 do.

If you love the PPQ, then you will have no issues jumping in bed with the H&K VP9 with only the feel of a magazine release being moved to H&K’s trigger guard release.

As much as I in love with the Walther PPQ as a Glock 19 replacement, the VP9 is even a bit more refined. The front picatinny rail is extended to allow all the normal larger sized tactical lights to mount and index to a picatinny rail fully. The trigger guard is even larger on the VP9 and once you get used to the ambidextrous H&K style paddle mag release, you start to wonder if you were wrong all those years pressing a left handed button to release mags.

Internally is where the H&K VP9 breaks away and looks like a different animal completely from all the other striker fired competition. The internal receiver/frame rails are much thicker than any polymer pistol I have seen which would indicate the gun could take a bit more beating than other pistols around. The striker fire system is also a bit unique, but in the end accomplishes the same point in the end of unlocking the firing pin safety, finishing cocking the gun, and fires the gun with a trigger just a hair under the crisp break of the renowned Walther PPQ’s trigger.

I love the fact that H&K took the stance to provide magazine interoperability between the P30 and the new VP9 line. For law enforcement and military this makes for a much simpler and less expensive gun swap if you happen to have a load of P30 mags stacked around.

The charging ears on the back of the slide are an amazingly ingenious innovation. If I could somehow bolt these onto every pistol I own, I would. These ears deliver just that extra bit of grip you need to charge the pistol when you get a bit sloppy. Awesome idea which has been elegantly executed.

I have a little over 1000 rounds of a mixed bag of 9mm ammo through the H&K VP9 and it has run flawlessly… you know, like a Glock. It even feeds some of the rather poorly reloaded 9mm rounds which are marginally out of spec… you know, like a Glock.  After some practice and some rather informal iPhone Shot Timer App logged tests, I may actually be a little faster on the reload with the H&K paddle mag release than with my Glock which surprised me.

Accuracy is where the H&K pistols seem to pull away from the Glock but was nearly identical to the accuracy I see from my Walther PPQ which is around 1” 25-yard groups. The H&K VP9 was also able to replicate my PPQ’s 50-yard hits on golf balls off the sand bags. The VP9 is not a pistol lacking from an accuracy perspective. In most cases, groups were around ¼” smaller than those typically shot with Glocks.

At a recent media tour of Timney’s triggers, I had an opportunity to talk with a number of other writers and all who had shot the VP9 pistol were very impressed. 

The pistol represents everything we have asked for and whined about on our Glocks with a level of striker fired pistol refinement which that has only previously been represented in the Walther PPQ. The VP9 though is not a Walther or a Glock or a Sig Sauer, it is a Heckler & Koch which have a legacy of extremely high quality, infallible durability and reliability, with leading edge innovations. H&K did not only hit a home run with this pistol, but we are still waiting to see how far the ball is going. My expectation is that this will be the hottest pistol of 2014 and 2015…. and the kicker is that it rides perfectly in my Glock format Crossbreed Holster so I don’t even need to change holsters.

Caliber 9mm
Length 7.34"
Width 1.32"
Height 5.41"
Barrel Length  4.09"
Sight Radius  6.38"
Weight (with empty magazine)  25.56 oz.
Weight (empty magazine)   3.28 oz.
Weight (without magazine) 22.28oz
Magazine Capacity 15+1
Trigger Pull 5.4lbs
Trigger Travel   .24"
Return Travel    .12"
Barrel Profile/Twist    Polygonal, 6 grooves, right-hand twist, 1 in 9.8 inches

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