THIS HK IS

THE NEW HECK­LER & KOCH VP9SK SUB-COM­PACT 9MM HAS WHAT IT TAKES WHEN YOU TAKE IT WITH YOU

Concealed Carry Hand Guns - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - By Steven Paul Bar­low

The new Heck­ler & Koch VP9SK sub-com­pact 9mm has what it takes when you take it with you.

Some­times be­ing a hand­ful is a good thing.

The new VP9SK from Heck­ler & Koch is a double-stack 9mm that gives you a lit­tle some­thing ex­tra to grasp and once you get your hands on this pistol, you won’t want to let go.

NOT A SKINNY GUN

I know. Slim, sin­gle-stack 9mm pis­tols are all the rage these days. That’s be­cause peo­ple seem to be more con­cerned with carry con­ve­nience than ac­tual self-de­fense ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

A pistol de­signed with a stag­gered (com­monly called “double-stack”) magazine has some ad­van­tages, how­ever. For one, there’s the higher ca­pac­ity. In­stead of 6+1 rounds, a typ­i­cal double-stack gives you 10+1. Carry a spare magazine and those 21 rounds can be com­fort­ing travel com­pan­ions. An­other ad­van­tage is that be­cause a double-stack is a bit wider, it’s nor­mally eas­ier to man­age the re­coil be­cause the im­pact is spread across a larger sur­face. And, as I men­tioned, there’s more to hold. Skinny guns can have a ten­dency to torque side­ways in your hand, es­pe­cially if your grip isn’t the most firm or steady. When would that be? That might hap­pen when fir­ing from awk­ward po­si­tions or one-handed dur­ing a de­fen­sive sit­u­a­tion when you’re fend­ing off an at­tack or div­ing for cover.

OK, so what’s so spe­cial about this HK pistol specif­i­cally?

VP9SK FEA­TURES

The VP9SK is the sub-com­pact model in HK’s striker-fired VP se­ries. It has a 3.39-inch bar­rel with polyg­o­nal ri­fling that is sup­posed to ben­e­fit both ac­cu­racy and ve­loc­ity.

It fea­tures a ma­chined steel slide fin­ished in matte black. It has cock­ing ser­ra­tions front and rear as well as charg­ing sup­ports—slight pro­tru­sions on both sides at the rear of the slide that allow for a pos­i­tive grip when ma­nip­u­lat­ing the slide. The for­ward ser­ra­tions I could live with­out—I find them wholly un­nec­es­sary—but adding these small grasp­ing wings at the rear

“FOR ANY­ONE IN THE MAR­KET FOR A TOP­NOTCH CARRY GUN IN 9MM, IT WOULD BE HARD TO FIND A BET­TER ONE THAN THIS HK VP9SK.”

is a great idea. They pro­vide a solid hold so there’s no fum­bling the slide when cham­ber­ing a round.

Red marks on the top of ex­ter­nal ex­trac­tor and at the rear of the striker give vis­ual in­di­ca­tors that a round is cham­bered and the striker is cocked.

There is no man­ual safety on the slide or frame. There is the usual blade safety in the trig­ger it­self. In­ter­nally, there’s a fir­ing pin block, but it piv­ots out of the way when the trig­ger is pulled rather than be­ing de­pressed as with the plunger sys­tems found on other pis­tols.

ALL IS AMBI

Right­ies or lefties will feel equally at home with this pistol. All of the con­trols are am­bidex­trous. Slide lock re­lease levers are on each side of the poly­mer frame. The magazine re­leases con­sist of levers on each side of the trig­ger guard. This setup, dif­fer­ent than the usual push-but­ton mag re­leases found on most semi-auto pis­tols, shouldn’t con­cern you.

While you want con­sis­tency in the way your firearms op­er­ate, I find these re­leases are ac­tu­ally bet­ter po­si­tioned. You are less likely to de­press this type of re­lease ac­ci­den­tally, which could mean drop­ping your magazine and leav­ing you with a sin­gle-shot pistol with which to sur­vive an en­counter—not a good thing.

Of any of the dif­fer­ences in pistol con­trols, this style of magazine re­lease is per­haps the eas­i­est when it comes to mak­ing the ad­just­ment. It sim­ply takes very lit­tle train­ing to get used to it. Af­ter a few speed reload drills, it’s sec­ond na­ture.

Two 10-round mag­a­zines come with the VP9SK. One is flush-fit­ting with the grip. The other has an ex­tended floor­plate that al­lows you to get a full grip on the pistol, fur­ther en­hanc­ing your abil­ity to con­trol the pistol. You can pur­chase the longer, 15-round mag­a­zines de­signed for the full-size VP pis­tols.

These will work fine, es­pe­cially with the avail­able sleeves that fit over the mag­a­zines to fill in the gap be­low the SK’s grip and the magazine floor­plates.

GLOW­ING SIGHTS

The VP9SK comes stan­dard with fixed metal sights mounted in dove­tails. These three-dot sights ap­pear to be painted on with phos­pho­res­cent paint. Af­ter be­ing ex­posed to light for a short time, the sights glow green in the dark. The sights work well in day­light and would pro­vide an ad­van­tage if you walked into a dark room from out­side.

True tri­tium night sights are also avail­able. A third magazine (one with an ex­tended base­plate) is in­cluded with the model equipped with night sights.

EASY DISASSEMBLY

Field-strip­ping the VP9SK is eas­ily ac­com­plished with­out tools or the need to pull the trig­ger first. Lock the slide the rear, re­move the magazine and check to en­sure the gun is com­pletely empty. Then, ro­tate the take­down lever—lo­cated on the left side of the frame—to the down po­si­tion. From there, you can un­lock the slide and slip it off the frame. The cap­tured re­coil spring/guide rod as­sem­bly and bar­rel are then eas­ily re­moved.

RANGE TIME

This HK pistol is not blocky like

“THE GOOD GRIP, TO­GETHER WITH ITS VERY GOOD TRIG­GER ... MADE THE PISTOL EASY TO SHOOT WELL.”

some other double-stack de­signs. It was con­toured to fit my hand well as-is. But the pistol comes with two ad­di­tional sets of back­straps and side pan­els that allow you to cus­tom­ize the grip to your lik­ing.

The good grip, to­gether with its very good trig­ger—mea­sur­ing 5.25 pounds on my gauge—made the pistol easy to shoot well. The trig­ger seemed more crisp than on many other striker-fired guns and the re­set was short and easy to dis­cern. Fif­teen-yard groups were in the 1.5-inch range with all ammo tested. More im­por­tant than the abil­ity to shoot tiny groups from the bench, a de­fen­sive hand­gun must per­form well when han­dled quickly from the hol­ster. The sights must be easy to ac­quire, the gun must be con­trol­lable shot to shot and tar­get to tar­get, hits must be close to point of aim and reloads have to be fast and sure. The HK VP9SK ex­cels in all of these ar­eas.

Just as im­por­tant, too, is that there were no mal­func­tions of any kind through­out my work with this gun.

Most of my time with the VP9SK was spent in in­for­mal plink­ing at soup cans and a 5-inch plas­tic ball. I also did some tran­si­tion and speed reload drills, load­ing the mag­a­zines with two rounds each, draw­ing, en­gag­ing two tar­gets with one round each, reload­ing and re­peat­ing.

Shooting the gun was fun due in large part to the re­coil be­ing con­trol­lable, thanks to the wider grip of the HK com­bined with the rel­a­tively mild 9mm rounds.

CARRY OP­TIONS

HK is a ma­jor hand­gun man­u­fac­turer, so the hol­ster mak­ers are quick to get on board with prod­ucts com­pat­i­ble with their new pistol mod­els. For the test, I went with the ver­sa­tile DeSan­tis Van­quisher, which is a one-size-fits-most type of rig. But the company also makes its Tuck This II and Sof-Tuck in­side-the-waist­band hol­sters specif­i­cally for the VP9SK. Cross­breed Hol­sters also has mod­els avail­able for the pistol, in­clud­ing the ex­cel­lent Founder’s Se­ries Free­dom IWB hol­ster.

I WANT ONE

For any­one in the mar­ket for a top­notch carry gun in 9mm, it would be hard to find a bet­ter one than this HK VP9SK. It’s an ex­cel­lent pistol from an ex­cel­lent man­u­fac­turer. It has a feel of qual­ity about it that gives you the feel­ing that this could be your pri­mary self-de­fense weapon for many years to come.

The prob­lem for me is that, even though I love this HK pistol, I al­ready have pis­tols in this size range that fit the same role. So, do I trade away one of my older guns and go with this HK or should I just face the un­for­tu­nate fact that I can’t buy ev­ery gun that I want? De­ci­sions, de­ci­sions…CC

“RIGHT­IES AND LEFTIES WILL FEEL EQUALLY AT HOME WITH THIS PISTOL.”

STORY AND PHO­TOS BY STEVEN PAUL BAR­LOW

Be­low: The small “wings” at the rear of the slide pro­vide a sure grip when cham­ber­ing a round.

Above: The VP9SK bar­rel fea­tures polyg­o­nal ri­fling, which is be­lieved to pro­mote greater ac­cu­racy and ve­loc­ity.

Be­low: The fir­ing pin safety in­side the slide of the VP9SK ro­tates aside rather than de­presses when the trig­ger is pulled.

Above: Ex­tra back­straps and side pan­els allow the owner to cus­tom­ize the grip of the VP9SK. Be­low: The three­dot sights fea­ture phos­pho­res­cent paint that glows in the dark af­ter ex­po­sure to light. True tri­tium night sights are also avail­able.

Take­down of the VP9SK is eas­ily ac­com­plished with­out the need to pull the trig­ger first, elim­i­nat­ing one more route to a neg­li­gent dis­charge by those less dis­ci­plined in gun han­dling pro­ce­dures.

Above: Find­ing a hol­ster that will ac­cept the VP9SK should be no prob­lem. In this case, the au­thor used a DeSan­tis Van­quisher.

Right: The VP9SK comes in a padded hard case, but this is a gun you will carry more than store.

Be­low: The VP9SK comes with two mag­a­zines, one with a flat floor­plate and one with an ex­tended floor­plate. The ca­pac­ity of each is 10 rounds.

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