Saturday, February 4, 2017

Heckler & Koch H&K VP9 Tactical 9mm Pistol Review

Heckler & Koch H&K VP9 Tactical 9mm Pistol Review

Recently I reviewed the H&K VP9 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 is competitively only seen on Sig Sauers and the high tier Walthers, 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 polymer 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. H&K delivered the hugely popular VP9 and now is extending the line with this VP9 Tactical model featuring a threaded barrel. 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.  

Now with the popularity of suppressors on the rise, civilians are asking for suppressor ready firearms. The Tactical model is a bit more with a street price usually about $50-$75 more than the initial VP9 model.

Essentially the H&K VP9 Tactical is identical to the original VP9 model with the same supremely awesome trigger break and very fast short trigger reset. The VP9 continues to offer swappable rear backstrap and side grips to customize the grip and the notable charging notches to help with high speed weapon manipulation. Of course the completely ambidextrous design via ambi-slide and paddle mag release is carried over on the VP90 Tactical Model as well. Even the luminous (Glow in the dark) sights and ambidextrous controls are the same. The VP9 and Tactical model are the same guns for all practical purposes.


There was some early rumbling that the VP9 did have a spring which was too weak. I was informed at this year’s SHOT show that all models now feature the same more stiff spring I noticed on this VP9 Tactical. On the show room, you really would not notice, but put an early Gen 1 writers sample VP9 against this new VP9 Tactical and you can feel the recoil spring difference.

There are only two differences between the VP9 and VP9 Tactical. The H&K VP9 Tactical features a threaded barrel and according to H&K’s site the tactical models do not use an O-Ring assisted lockup like other H&K models. Allegedly the O-ring caused problems when a suppressor is attached and only marginally decreases the precision of the barrel-slide lock up. The barrel threading is the infuriating but well thought out 13.5x1 LH thread. Although the intent of was to not allow the suppressor or other muzzle accessory to loosen while shooting due to a right hand barrel twist. It works but irritates me that I need to buy a swap back and forth between 13.5x1 LH and ½-28 thread adapters for my Liberty Mystic X suppressor instead of being able to do an easy swap of the suppressor between other 9mm guns.

Though H&K is usually a little behind the curve in keeping up with the US market, they may actually be a bit ahead of the curve with the pending Hearing Protection Act now having a good chance of becoming law. This is a durable and well tested host that is ready to attach a suppressor whether buyers follow the current tax stamp registration and buying process or get the opportunity to buy suppressors off the shelves if the HPA passes.


I have found the VP9 line of pistols to be extremely accurate with 124gr ammo. At a recent tactical training we had a drill where we had to run from barricade to barricade and pop out and deliver two shots on a steel torso. After the first run and with my confidence instilled in the VP9 Tactical, I ran the course two more times and was delivering quick double tap head shots on the 15-yard steel target. The VP9s are very accurate and with the right ammo notably more accurate than my stock Glocks.

FINAL THOUGHTS
The VP9 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 Tactical though is not a Walther or a Glock or a Sig Sauer, it is a Heckler & Koch which has its own legacy of extremely high quality, infallible durability and reliability, with leading edge innovations. H&K did not only hit a homerun with this pistol, and the extension of this pistol to potentially capture a new suppressor market with the Hearing Protection Act pending is a very smart move for H&K.

SPECS
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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