Dressed for Sup­pressed



Heck­ler & Koch’s next-gen VP40 Tac­ti­cal, out-of-the-box sup­pres­sion in a strik­er­fired semi­auto.

Heck­ler & Koch has added the VP40 Tac­ti­cal model to its line of VP9/40 striker-fired poly­mer frame pis­tols. Re­leased just prior to the 2017 SHOT Show, the VP40 Tac­ti­cal ex­tends the line to in­clude a sup­pres­sor-ready tac­ti­cal pis­tol cham­bered in .40 S&W.

HK is cred­ited with in­tro­duc­ing the first com­mer­cially avail­able, poly­mer-frame, striker-fired pis­tol in the VP70(Z). Many be­lieve that this hand­gun was ahead of its time and was there­fore des­tined to be less than a great suc­cess. The VP70’S trig­ger pull and high price were also in­stru­men­tal in its fail­ure to be­come widely ac­cepted. The last HK striker-fired pis­tol prior to the VP9/40 was the ven­er­a­ble P7 squeeze-cocker pis­tol

man­u­fac­tured from 1979 to 2008. Un­like the VP70(Z), we be­lieve the VP9/40 se­ries is des­tined to be ma­jor suc­cess. HK has made sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments in many ar­eas, but the trig­ger, er­gonomics and safety fea­tures stand out in the VP9/40 line. It took some time, but HK has cre­ated an out­stand­ing pis­tol in the VP9/40 se­ries.


The VP40 Tac­ti­cal is a striker-fired poly­mer frame which uses a mod­i­fied Brown­ing lin­k­less short re­coil op­er­at­ing sys­tem. It fea­tures a light, con­stant trig­ger pull for each shot. The striker is fully cocked by the slide so the trig­ger only op­er­ates the fir­ing pin safety and re­leases the sear, pro­vid­ing a lighter and more lin­ear feel than some striker-fired pis­tols.

The VP40 Tac­ti­cal and its sib­lings share fea­tures from the P30 line while us­ing the new striker fir­ing sys­tem, in­clud­ing the “pre­cise pull” trig­ger. P30-style mag­a­zines are used in the VP40 Tac­ti­cal and other VP9/40 ver­sions.

The one down­side in the VP40 Tac­ti­cal’s de­sign is its com­plex­ity. A Gen 4 Glock 22 has 34 parts ac­cord­ing to Glock, whereas the VP 40 Tac­ti­cal has 53 parts by our es­ti­ma­tion (not in­clud­ing the mag­a­zine, grip pan­els, back strap, charg­ing sup­ports and sights).


The heart of any gun is its bar­rel. The bar­rel used in the VP40 Tac­ti­cal is man­u­fac­tured from a pro­pri­etary canon-grade steel in HK’S Obern­dorf fac­tory in Ger­many us­ing a cold ham­mer-forg­ing process. Sim­i­lar bar­rels used in HK’S P30 mod­els have been known to last for 90,000 rounds or more. The VP40 Tac­ti­cal bar­rel uses polyg­o­nal ri­fling rather than the tra­di­tional land-and-groove ri­fling. An O-ring-as­sisted lockup as is found on other HK tac­ti­cal hand­guns is not used on the VP40 Tac­ti­cal. Met­ric 14.5x1 threads are used on the bar­rel end for sup­pres­sor at­tach­ment. A thread pro­tec­tor is in­cluded.

A ma­chined high-car­bon steel slide is used on the VP40 Tac­ti­cal. It is pro­tected from cor­ro­sion and wear by HK’S hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment black, ni­tro-car­bur­ized fin­ish. HK in­stalls what they call “charg­ing sup­ports” on the rear sides of the slide be­low the rear sight. These al­low a bet­ter pur­chase when ma­nip­u­lat­ing the slide. They do not work well as con­tact points dur­ing a one-handed slide rack. The front of the steel rear sight is bet­ter suited for that task. Deep ser­ra­tions are also milled into front and rear sides of the slide to pro­vide a good grip sur­face for slide ma­nip­u­la­tion.

The re­coil rod uses a cap­tive re­coil spring. A cocked striker in­di­ca­tor is lo­cated in the rear

“The VP40 Tac­ti­cal is well de­signed and solidly built… It would be an ex­cel­lent choice for any­one who is look­ing for a striker-fired .40 S&W pis­tol to run sup­pressed.”

slide plate and the ex­trac­tor acts as a loaded cham­ber in­di­ca­tor. Sights are steel tri­tium night sights; they are not high “sup­pres­sor” sights. You might as­sume that since the gun has a threaded bar­rel for a sup­pres­sor and night sights that HK would have used sup­pres­sor sights. The rear sight is drift-ad­justable for windage. El­e­va­tion is changed by in­stalling a dif­fer­ent height front sight. No sight changes were nec­es­sary on the pis­tol that we eval­u­ated.

The VP40 Tac­ti­cal’s frame is made of high­strength poly­mer. It fea­tures an er­gonomic grip de­sign with molded fin­ger grooves and in­cor­po­rates in­ter­change­able grip pan­els (3 sets) and back straps (3). The Grip pan­els and back straps fit ex­tremely well. When in­stalled, it’s hard to tell that they are not part of the frame. The grip tex­ture pro­vides good fric­tion with the hand yet is not so rough that it abrades cloth­ing and car seats. A MIL-STD 1913 rail is molded into the dust cover to al­low ac­ces­sories weight­ing up to 5.6 ounces to be mounted un­der­neath the bar­rel.

The rails on the HK VP40 Tac­ti­cal are not molded into the poly­mer frame as they are in many sim­i­lar hand­guns. In­stead, they are part of the lock­ing block (for­ward rails) and the trig­ger hous­ing (rear rails). Since they are sep­a­rate from the poly­mer frame, they could be re­placed if they are worn down, cracked or bro­ken with­out hav­ing to re­place the whole frame, which is the se­ri­al­ized part of the pis­tol.

All con­trols on the frame are am­bidex­trous. The mag­a­zine re­lease is a pad­dle lo­cated on each side at the rear of the trig­ger guard, rather than the push but­ton style found on most U.s.-man­u­fac­tured semi-auto pis­tols. HK has used this on ev­ery hand­gun since 1993 when it was in­tro­duced on the USP and Mark 23 hand­guns and it works quite well once you get used to it. This de­sign also al­lows the use of stan­dard P30 mag­a­zines. Re­lief notches are molded into both sides at the bot­tom of the grip to al­low easy

ac­cess to the mag­a­zine’s base­plate in the event a mag­a­zine fails to drop free dur­ing reload­ing.

If the heart of a pis­tol is its bar­rel, then the trig­ger is its soul. HK worked hard to de­liver in the VP line a trig­ger that they be­lieve is the best avail­able in a striker-fired pis­tol.

It is a true sin­gle-ac­tion trig­ger in that the striker is com­pletely cocked by the rear­ward mo­tion of the slide. The trig­ger has ap­prox­i­mately 0.18 inches of take-up at 2.5 pounds, then breaks cleanly with­out stack­ing and al­most no over-travel. The re­set is ap­prox­i­mately 0.08 inches and very tac­tile. There is none of the “squishi­ness” (a very tech­ni­cal term) as­so­ci­ated with the trig­gers on many striker-fired pis­tols. A wide trig­ger face helps dis­trib­ute the load on your trig­ger fin­ger, mak­ing the trig­ger pull feel lighter than it ac­tu­ally is.

There is no ex­ter­nal safety, but there are three safeties on the VP40 Tac­ti­cal. The first is a piv­ot­ing trig­ger safety tog­gle. This keeps the trig­ger from mov­ing rear­ward un­less it is de­pressed while the trig­ger is pressed. It also op­er­ates as a drop safety. A fir­ing pin safety blocks the for­ward travel of the fir­ing pin un­less the trig­ger is de­pressed, thereby

HK’S VP40 Tac­ti­cal comes with an am­bidex­trous mag­a­zine re­lease and slide catch, MIL-STD 1913 rail, charg­ing sup­ports and a threaded bar­rel.

The VP40 Tac­ti­cal has a feed ramp in­te­gral with the bar­rel and a loaded cham­ber in­di­ca­tor (red) on the ex­trac­tor.

The pis­tol comes pack­aged in an in­jec­tion-molded case with three mag­a­zines, three back straps and three sets of grip pan­els.

The HK VP40 Tac­ti­cal comes stan­dard with a threaded bar­rel for in­stal­la­tion of a sup­pres­sor

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