Why Did I Stop Using the HK VP9? [2023]

Disclaimer: The VP9s featured in this article were ones that I purchased using my own funds.

VP9 Featured Image

For longtime readers of Primer Peak, you might remember my “HK Era". When I first started writing for the site in 2018, I had a lot of HK-related content from the start. I reviewed aftermarket P30/VP9 magazines, had a "Fauxland Speshul" project, and eventually did write ups for my milling work that I had done to a gun in 2019. At the start of 2023, we published my last VP9 related review, in the form of a compensator review. Well, I ended up selling both of my VP9s in January of this year, and I wanna discuss why.

My Time With the VP9

The Heckler & Koch VP9 hit the market in 2014. It was HK's entry into the striker fired 9mm market, releasing around the same time as the SIG P320. I picked up my first VP9 in 2016, and a second one in 2018. I was carrying a Glock in 2016, but I found that I liked the VP9 so much that I switched to using it instead. There was some dabbling with the P30L from 2017-2019, however, the VP9 had been my most consistent carry gun over the last 7 years.

VP9 Pocket Dump 2020
An EDC dump from late 2020.

While I had two VP9s, they were a bit different. After my time with them, one wore a compensator and milling work for an RMR by ATEi. The second gun was also milled, but by Primary Machine, and for the Aimpoint ACRO. As a quick aside, I'd easily recommend both companies for milling work. Over the years, I put about 33,000 rounds of 9mm through those two guns. From stock configuration to being more tricked out, they were extremely reliable, and great shooting guns.

So why did I decide to sell them? Well, like most things in life, it all comes full circle. Glock happened (again).

Return To Glock

In April of 2022, I stumbled upon a stellar deal on a Glock 17 MOS at a local pawn shop. I decided to pick it up as an optic testbed, however, the gun grew on me. As I started to test out the RM05 last year, I found that the Glock just seemed like an easier gun for me to perform with, when compared to the VP9. Scores on drills got better, and shooting got flatter.

Gen 2 and P80
While not that 17 MOS, the 17 was the platform that I returned to.

Fast forward a few months, and I'm carrying that 17, albeit with a different RMR. I'm shooting that gun at competitions, and it's becoming the nightstand gun. Move up to early 2023, and I've realized that the VP9s haven't been in my carry rotation for about 8 months. At this point, I've realized that I've got no need to retain my VP9s. I've had my time with them, and they've served me well. It was time to let them go.

The Wilson Combat EDC X9 that I've been testing was procured via trade, with the VP9s being a large part of the exchange. While the EDC X9 has not become a constant part of my carry rotation, I've thoroughly enjoyed testing it. Do I regret the trade? No, not at all. Do I think that the VP9 is a bad gun? Nope, I still think it is excellent. However, I'm an extremely practical guy, and I don't keep guns if I don't use them.

What did I like about the VP9?

The Good of the VP9

Whenever the VP9 comes up in conversation, you'll likely hear about the trigger. The VP9 is known for its high quality, crisp trigger. Well, yeah, it's got a good trigger. I don't know if it lives up to the hype that it gets, but it is certainly good. I'm not afraid to do trigger work on my guns, however, I found the VP9s to be good enough that I didn't feel the need to monkey with them.

VP9 P2 Right Side
The trigger in the VP9 is certainly a selling point.

The ergonomics on the VP9 are stellar. From the excellent frame texture, the good finger grooves, and the excellent slide serrations, the VP9 is easy to operate. Some folks didn't like the cocking ears, but I certainly found them great. While I've got a lot of gripes with HK guns, the quality of the ergos are generally not on that list.

For me, the VP9s were extremely reliable. Over years and years of use, I only really had a handful of malfunctions. Most of those were incurred during some mud testing in 2019, but the guns were otherwise very reliable.

Muddy VP9
The VP9 can get dirty, and still do fairly well.

Now, nearly all modern handguns are accurate. The VP9 is very accurate, but I never benched either of my guns for groups (aside from optic zeroing). The lockup is tight, and the barrels are well made, so shooting past normal handgun distances was something that was all shooter related, rather than the gun being a factor.

While I'm still a fan of the gun, there are some middling things about it.

The Bad of the VP9

While I generally love the VP9 ergos, the slide releases are too big. They are easy to slide override, and there's no mechanical solution to this (unless you chop down your slide releases). While not as bad as on the P30L, this is something I really didn't like about the VP9.

VP9 PMM Compensator
This is a journey into money....

The VP9 is an expensive gun to support. While the guns themselves aren't exceedingly expensive, getting components for them is. Want more magazines? Get ready to spend $45-$50 for new OEM ones. Want new irons on the gun? Shell out the big bucks. Want to mill your VP9? Well, that's gonna cost more than most handguns, and be more limited in who will do it. I think you get the point, the VP9 is not an inexpensive gun to support.

When it comes to the aftermarket, the VP9 is rather limited. Where there are tons of companies that make parts for Glocks, SIGs, and M&Ps, the VP9 is generally left with only one or two options per part. Want magazine extensions? You've got three choices. Want OWB active retention holsters? Well, either you get something custom, or you modify a Safariland. With limited aftermarket also comes increased cost. It's a cycle that makes it hard to support the VP9 long term, especially if you like to support your guns like I do.

VP9 P2 Left Side
.... Loads of Money.

The "bad" of the VP9 isn't horrible, but it certainly played a factor in why I got rid of mine. Why'd I switch to Glock?

Glock Gang (Again)

I already described that I shot Glocks better. This was the major factor as to my move from the VP9 to the Glock. However, the increased aftermarket, and decreased cost of parts for the Glock really helped to push me too. OEM Glock magazines are half the cost of VP9 mags. Aftermarket sights and cost of milling is much cheaper. There are more holster options out there, along with more aftermarket parts too. All of these elements combined to make the Glock my current primary carry gun.

Glock 48 & Reload & OC
Home, home again. I like to be here when I can.

Do I think that the Glock (as a platform) is a better gun than the VP9? Well, I don't know. I do know that it is a better gun for me, and that's all that matters for me. If I find something that I feel better suits my needs, I'll move to it. But for now, we're riding with Glock again.

The Verdict

Well, this isn't really a review of the VP9, but it's kind of a review of the VP9. I think it is a superb gun, but it is not without downsides. If you are fine with the increased cost of spare parts and magazines, you might not have any issues with it. However, I realized that I shot a cheaper gun better, so I changed.

I was recently asked by a reader as to why I left the VP9, which spurred my decision to write this piece. Sure, the guns are long gone now, but the years with them are still fresh in my memory.

What's your opinion on the VP9?

Further Reading & Patreon Link

Wanna read more about HK guns that I've already covered? Well, that'll be linked down below:

If you'd like to support me on Patreon, I've got the link for that here. Nearly everything that I do on Primer Peak is paid for out of my own pocket, and my content is not shilled or driven by manufacturers or companies. If you decide to donate, I'd really appreciate it, as it would allow for me to continue to bring you quality work.

About Paul Whaley 196 Articles
Paul Whaley is a guy with an interest in practical and defensive pistol shooting techniques with an eye for quality gear. He has received training from Holistic Solutions Group, John Johnston of Citizens Defense Research, Darryl Bolke, Cecil Birch, and Chuck Haggard. When not trying to become a better shooter, he can be found enjoying a Resident Evil game or listening to Warren Zevon.


  1. Great article with a lot of good points. While I do like variety, I do find if I shoot one gun better, I have less interest in a very similar gun that I don't shoot as well. In the end if I wanted something different, then getting out of the polymer striker world to scratch that itch might make more sense.

    • Well, I don't tend to hold onto things that I'm not using, especially when they are practical things. Whether it be guns, knives, or other EDC tools, if it doesn't get carried, it doesn't stay around. As such, the VP9s went away when I realized that they'd be better used in someone else's hands.

      In regards to the article, making it was something that was quite spur of the moment. I had a few readers ask where the VP9s had gone, and I thought that an overview article would be a good finale to my time with the guns on Primer Peak.

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