When Heckler and Koch announced that they were releasing a striker fire pistol back in 2014, I was like “it’s about time!“. After all, the only pistols that I currently have been using were all hammer fired double-action/single-action system. And unlike my former ownership of the XD-S, I was never quite bothered about rushing out getting a replacement. However, I will admit though, since I’ve ditched the XD-S, I’ve been evaluating the Smith and Wesson M&P9 as a replacement. But never really committed to buying one; no matter how much of a sale I saw and passed on time after time. I just didn’t want go to the hassle of buying a new gun, then forking out additional money for extra mags and hoping for a left handed holster to fit my needs.
Also to note, whenever I buy a new pistol – it’s a guarantee that I usually buy at least 3 more magazines for training. And the prices for my HK mags weren’t cheap!
With that being said, I was really looking forward to seeing the new VP9 (Volkspistole) known as the “People’s Pistol”. Of course, I had the opportunity to see and touch an early HK striker pistols, the VP70, and the squeeze cocker P7. From what I remember, both of these pistols felt a little small in my hand (which is surprising!). For some reason, I can definitely tell a big difference between these older guns versus my daily carry pistol; and all which were 9mm. These older pistols actually felt decently pleasant in my hands. Maybe it’s because I’ve been shooting 45ACP for so long that these pistols just seem “different” in terms of comfort. The trigger, surprisingly or not, is actually quite reminiscent of my HK45. Long ass pull and long ass reset. I mean really really… really long ass pull; which is actually quite worst than my stock 45.
Chopping for the VP9
So when the first VP9 review came out, I was waiting to hear about the trigger. Truth be told, I personally didn’t care for anything about it other than the trigger. If you’ve been shooting stock DA pistols for as long as I have, surely you can imagine my anticipation for this striker fire gun. The XD-S was a total disappointment for me so I am really hoping HK would deliver on this one in terms of trigger pull and trigger reset. While I do have some what of a love for Heckler and Koch, I can’t really say that I’m a true fan boy. Ask me for my opinion about my HK and I will tell you that the trigger really suck. But ergonomically, I love that damn pistol.
With the new VP9, I’m hoping that it will do two things for me. First, giving me a stock trigger that will be to my liking. I mean I want a short pull and clean break. The reset has to be audible but more importantly, I want to feel that reset. Secondly, I wanted that higher capacity magazine. That’s right, while 15 rounds is ok for carry; I was little disappointed that they couldn’t deliver an 18 round mag like that of the VP70. Either way, it’s still more than what my 45 can hold; which in any event, I shouldn’t be complaining if I do end up getting the VP9.
Over the remaining months of 2014, I saw a bunch of video reviews. The majority really gave good reviews on the trigger. Of course, there were a few that totally hated it. But to be fair, those that were hating on the VP9 were die hard Glock fanboys. Then I saw a range buddy of mine who was running the Walther CCP. He graciously let me shoot a mag through it and I was like… “eh, whatever. I’ll just stick to my 45”. That gun didn’t make much of an impression on me so I never put much thought into purchasing one. Although, the P99 was on my list at one time but eventually was taken off the list due to the fact that I really didn’t like the way it felt as an IWB carry. Never was that comfortable really. Overall, it was ok. I really liked that way it looked and I was really looking at it more as a James Bond gun.
When I told my friend earlier this year that I was looking to get the VP9, he told me to get the PPQ M1 instead. I asked why…??? He said the VP9 was a ripoff from the PPQ and the trigger is 100% better. (If you asked me, I say the PPQ is a rip off of the P30!) I asked him if he ever shot the VP9. He said no. So his answer was nothing more than bias. Still, I had to go find out for myself. Because there was (still is) a debate on the web about which gun was better.
VP9 vs PPQ
I had to research the PPQ a little bit more since I honestly don’t know much about them. However, I found out that if I wanted the same ergonomics of the HK system – the mag release by the trigger guard and not the button, then I need to consider the PPQ M1 and not the M2. (The M2 uses the same setup mag release like the M&P, but better!) Lucky for me, a couple of gun stores had the M1 in stock and I was able to check it out. Unfortunately, there was no VP9 in stock at any store. Either way, they let me dry fired it. And when I when I did, holy shit did my chinky slanted eyes lit up brightly making me look caucasian for a brief moment.
I was really surprise how crisp the trigger break was and the reset was like music ringing in my ears. The ergonomics on the gun itself was fantastic. Both the ambi levers were thick enough for me to manipulate on either hands, like my HK45. At this point, this became a little worrisome for me cause I knew the levers on the VP9 were a little flatter. However, once again, there was no VP9 for me to evaluate.
It took a while, but I finally got my hands on a VP9. Unfortunately I didn’t get more than 5 minutes to play with it. The range that had it, did allow me to compare both guns side by side. Obviously my first comparison was the trigger. The VP9 trigger was a lot better than my 45. The reset seems short, however, it was nothing like the PPQ M1. At this point, I was taken by complete surprise. I couldn’t believe that the VP9 reset was not as strong as the PPQ. In complete dismay, holding both guns in my hand, I realized something else.
The PPQ M1 actually fits and feels so much better in my hand than the VP9. WTF…!?!?!? For real? At this point, I had to put one gun down and just really hold each of them separately with my weapon hand, reaction hand, and both hands. The VP9 definitely did not feel so manly at this point. It felt a lot smaller. But not that noticeably different when I compared it to my carry gun or my HK45. But then I remembered that the VP9 grip is adjustable! So while it might not feel right at the time, I’m pretty sure that I should be able to find a good fit combination based on swapping out the panels.
So the big question at this point would be:
Would I be fool to buy the HK VP9 because it’s a Heckler and Koch name brand?
However, what’s been nagging in my mind was that horrible mistake I made with the XD-S. And I wasn’t sure if I should get the VP9 over the PPQ M1. It was at this point, I decided to hand both guns back to the dealer and not bother renting it just yet. I had to let this sit with me for a while to really think about it.
Let’s face it, we all know the smart shopper would buy it for functionality over brand name; right? I laughed at that logic all the time. However, the PPQ M1 has a better price point. The mags are a little cheaper. Plus there are aftermarkets mags that I can get for training purposes only; which HK does not! And the PPQ M1 fits just so right in my hands. The VP9 well, to be honest, I don’t know what to say about it really. It’s definitely a much better trigger improvement on any of the stock HK pistols I have. And the higher capacity rounds (15+1); like the PPQ M1, does meet my requirements. Still, I can’t help but to feel a little disappointed that the PPQ M1 was already weighing in my mind that it just seems like it’s a better gun.
So the real question next would be: How does these guns shoot in comparison?
This will be the question that I will answer in the upcoming weeks as I plan to put through 1000 rounds on each gun. I find it absurd that people can fully evaluate a gun’s potential and function just by shooting through it one mag. Really not a fair assessment in my opinion. Either way, my test comparison these will be done indoor (unfortunately) since none of my other friends owns any of these guns for me to take to a training class or run in a 3 Gun competition. Still, it will be interesting to see how I do with my dot drills on both of these striker fire guns. Just for shits and giggles, I will also run my training HK guns as well as the M&P9 that I’ve been evaluating off and on for a while now.
Either way, I think this will more than likely be the deciding factor. And to be honest, I’m hoping it’s the VP9. But we shall see.