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HK VP9 Striker Fired Pistol — Back to the Future

Heckler & Koch has gone back to the future with its new HK VP9 striker-fired pistol.

HK fans may have been wondering when the German maker would finally throw its hat into the striker-fired ring…but firearm history buffs know that HK actually led the way with its space-age VP70 and the squeeze-cocking P7 from the ’70s and ’80s, both of which were striker-fired. Not to mention that the VP70 had the distinction of being the first polymer-framed pistol.

HK VP9 Striker Fired Pistol — Back to the Future photo  HK VP9 Striker Fired Pistol — Back to the Future photo

The new VP9 brings these features back together, essentially combining a P30 frame with a striker-fired design, and the VP designation is a nod to its heritage. It is chambered in 9mm and features a cold hammer-forged barrel with polygonal bore, machined steel slide and polymer frame. It utilizes proven P30 steel magazines, available in 15- and 10-round capacities. The polymer frame has a Picatinny rail on its dust cover as well as small, medium, and large interchangeable backstraps and side grip panels to customize the grip to the shooter’s hand. The front strap has finger grooves, surely to the delight of some and consternation of others.

HK VP9 Striker Fired Pistol — Back to the Future photo HK VP9 Striker Fired Pistol — Back to the Future photo

The overall look of the VP9 may seem rather familiar to those who are fond of another well-regarded striker-fired pistol introduced several years ago. But there are certain unmistakably HK styling cues and ergonomics on the VP9. HK users will find the ambidextrous paddle magazine release that they’ve grown accustomed to, and there are relatively long slide-release levers on both sides of the weapon. One unusual new feature are small wings on the rear of the slide designed to make it easier to grasp — HK calls them “charging supports.” Our understanding is that they can be detached but require the removal of the rear sight to do so. The gun comes with three dot sights; tritium night sights are optional.

HK VP9 Striker Fired Pistol — Back to the Future photo HK VP9 Striker Fired Pistol — Back to the Future photo

The VP9 can be field stripped by simply rotating the take-down lever; unlike a Glock, you don’t need to release the striker first (i.e. pull the trigger). Then it easily disassembles to the frame, slide assembly, barrel, and captive recoil spring assembly. HK is also touting the VP9′s trigger feel, promising that it is more reminiscent of a single-action trigger. The bore axis is certainly lower than other HK pistols, helping with recoil management, but it’s not as low as some of the competition.

HK VP9 Striker Fired Pistol — Back to the Future photo

Time and rounds downrange will tell, but we’re happy to see the VP9 hitting the market. It’s projected to start appearing on store shelves in July 2014 with a suggested retail price of $719.