Since its introduction, the Heckler & Koch VP9 has been one of the most-popular offerings in the company's line, and H&K built on this popularity with a number of additional models, like the VP9 Tactical and the compact VP9SK reviewed here. Now, with the launch of the Heckler & Koch VP9-B, the company addresses one of the most-divisive aspects of the gun: its paddle-style magazine release.
Having come from a German company, the VP9 launched with the quintessentially European-style paddle magazine release, a feature that fueled debate among the American shooting community. Now, with the VP9-B on the market, H&K fans can pick their preferred magazine release, since this new model features a push button located just to the rear of the trigger guard.
This allows for the same manual-of-arms as many other popular semi-automatic pistols on the market today, making the gun more accessible to those who prefer their push-button release. Much of the split between the two sides of the mag-release issue lies with the training and familiarity among American handgunners. Those used to push-button releases find it preferable to stay with a release style they've used for years, whether in a hobbyist, competitive or professional capacity. This all-new model allows them to take advantage of the ergonomics of the VP9 without having to adjust their shooting style.
Ambidexterity is one of the highlights of the new magazine release, since the setup allows owners to reverse the push button for either left- or right-handed shooters. One other benefit of the new release is its cross-compatibility with the company's original magazines. Whether using a paddle-style or push-button release, the same magazines will work in either gun. However, consumers must choose between one release style or the other before buying. The two different release latches are not interchangeable.
In addition to the new magazine release, the Heckler & Koch VP9-B still retains all of the same features found in the company's original design, including interchangeable backstraps and grip panels that allow for 27 different ergonomic configurations. This allows the grip to fit comfortably in any shooter's hand, and the VP's trigger also contributes to a comfortable shooting experience by providing a short, crisp trigger pull followed by a short, tactile reset.
Each Heckler & Koch VP9-B measures 7.34 inches long, 5.41 inches high and 1.32 inches wide. Barrel length measures 4.09 inches and is outfitted with polygonal, six-groove rifling with a 1:9.8-inch rate of twist. With an unloaded magazine installed, the pistol weighs 25.56 ounces and features a magazine capacity of 15 rounds. The company's striker-fired trigger features a pull weight of 5.4 pounds, along with a 0.24-inch travel distance and a 0.12-inch reset. The suggested retail price on the gun is $719.