In a shooting world where the word "polymer" brings quick images of "Glock," it's easy to forget that the first viable commercial polymer pistol was actually made by Heckler and Koch (HK). Well now it seems like they have moved on to their fourth gen offering in combat tupperware, and you may just be able to buy this one.
HK plastic gun legacy
In the late 1960s, firearms engineers at HK came up with a gun that was to be a cheap Volks Pistole (or People's Pistol) that could be issued to West German police and military. A simple blowback gun, it used high impact advanced plastics for its frame and was known as the VP70 when placed into production. (However, in an installment of good-old-fashioned American know-how, keep in mind that the first polymer framed firearm was the Remington Nylon 66, designed in 1959, but it was a .22 rifle, not a 9mm pistol).
However the striker-fired VP70 never really caught on and, when that gun went out of production in 1989, HK started its design on a gun called the USP (Universale Selbstladepistole or "universal self-loading pistol"), which is still in production today as the company's principal hammer-fired polymer framed gun, augmented by their P2000 variant which could be considered HKs gen 2.5 model.
The third gen of HK polymer is the super-advanced P30, which is arguably at the top of the food chain as far as these types of guns go-- but it's kinda expensive at around $1200.
Now it seems that the company has produced its 4th generation of polymer pistols-- and they are going back to being striker-fired.
The new VP9
"Heckler & Koch's reputation for producing superior quality, innovative, and reliable products is well established in the U.S. and international markets. The new VP9 is just such a product. It's been through just about every test possible - NATO and U.S. NIJ drop tests, extreme environment testing, durability shooting, and the most comprehensive ammunition testing with the widest variety of 9 mm imaginable. It came through those trials with flying colors," said Wayne Weber, President of HK-USA in a release this week.
It should be noted that the polygonally rifled P30 barrels in tests have gone 90k rounds without noticeable change in accuracy.
Michael Holley, HK-USA Vice President for Commercial and Law Enforcement Sales, added: "We are truly excited to bring such a superior quality and innovative product to civilian shooters and law enforcement agencies alike - and to do it in the USA first. It highlights our commitment to the U.S. market and with a truly groundbreaking product like the VP9."
"The VP9 has an excellent trigger with a short, light take-up and solid break followed by a short positive reset. Almost like a single-action trigger in its precision. The VP9 grip can be customized to fit any shooter by using a mix of three interchangeable backstraps and six grip panels - allowing for 27 unique grip configurations. A new feature that all shooters will love is small "charging support" inserts that make manipulating the slide much easier. The pistol also has a safer and easier disassembly process than our competitors. And the VP9 is one accurate pistol."
Some other things we like about it are the similarity in ergonomics and appearance to the current generation of polymers including the SIG P320, Walther PPQ, and Bersa BP9/BP40/BPCC series.
Caliber: 9mm currently with .45 and .40S&W coming.
Fun guns review of the HKVP9
This gun seems like a good offering from HK who seems to finally be looking towards its customer base as not just only guys jumping out of helicopters in a war zone somewhere. While special ops commandos may have an unlimited budget, shooters here in the states have to juggle car notes, mortgages and an ever-growing need from the youth in their lives for upgraded electronics. The good news here is that this gun is MSRPd at $719.
Retailers are already starting to run adds in the $550-$650 range for pre-orders, so you can bet "street price" will be somewhere around that. Coincidentally, the fourth Gen Glock, XD(M), and Walther PPQ series all live that same neighborhood.
I wonder if they will send out the welcome wagon to the new kid on the block.