Ever since Heckler & Koch introduced the VP9 in 2014, many in the shooting world have been wondering when a .40 caliber version would hit the shelves. Well, it is now here.
Say hello to the HK VP40.
The VP40 is a striker-fired pistol with a polymer frame. Closely resembling the original VP9, the VP40 shares many of the same features and innovations of the original handgun. Lets go over a few of these, plus talk about some of the differences…
Like on the VP9, the rear of the VP40 has a pair of removable ledges on the slide called charging supports. When I first saw these supports on the original pistol, I was unsure if I would like them. Frankly, I thought it was a bit of a marketing gimmick. However, I quickly discovered that they can help when working the slide. And, even if you don’t like them, they do not get in the way.
I think people who use the pinch method of working the slide get the largest benefit from them. However, I still found them to be useful using my preferred method of wrapping my entire support hand over the top of the slide.
The grip is fully adjustable with replaceable backstraps and side palm swell grips. In my review of the VP9, I found this system to be very good for making the gun nearly perfect at adapting to the shooter. The swappable backstraps offered by other companies work well, but by adding the adjustable side panels, HK takes things to a much more precise level.
As with the original, the VP40 uses three-dot photo luminescent sights. Law enforcement pistols will ship with night sights. Although I have not confirmed this, I believe HK is using Meprolight night sights on the law enforcement versions.
Stock rear sights are ramped on their leading edge. Personally, I prefer a flat edge to use for one-handed slide manipulation. Others don’t see this as a likely need. Regardless, you should be aware of the configuration so you can make an informed decision when buying.
The VP40 sights are interchangeable with the VP9 sights (and the P30, etc. for that matter.) So, the existing supply of aftermarket VP9 sights will be good to go on these pistols.
On this gun, HK is using the same trigger type that is used on the VP9. The system is a double-action only mechanism with a pleasantly smooth trigger pull. I found the VP9 had a light pull with a releatively clean break. The reset was short and obvious.
Like the Glock and many other striker fired pistols, HK uses a trigger safety lever in the center of the trigger face. I did not find this to be troublesome whatsoever.
The guns ship with two 13-round magazines. Guns sold to law enforcement agencies ship with three magazines.
HK will offer versions of these handguns with reduced capacity magazines (10 rounds) for the less free states in the union. As has been noted elsewhere, these pistols have already been approved for Maryland.
At this time, it appears that closely fitted holsters for the VP9 will not work for the VP40. According to HK, the two guns are nearly identical in size – except for the slide width. The slide is wider on the VP40, though the exact difference has not yet been provided by the company. Therefore, I strongly suspect that the VP40 will not fit many Kydex or other polymer rigs designed for the 9mm version of the gun.
According to the data provided by HK, the VP40 is also 0.04″ taller than the 9mm gun. I don’t expect that to be large enough to affect holster fit, but I could be wrong.
When the guns hit the dealer shelves, we will see what will and will not fit. I will keep you updated as we learn more information.
Since I originally wrote this article, I have confirmed that VP40 pistols will not fit in many VP9 holsters. This is because of the slide width difference. Any rig made of Kydex or other polymer is not likely to fit. Leather probably won’t work for you either. However, nylon rigs, such as those made by Uncle Mike’s, probably will work. I’ve put together a list of VP40 holsters here. Let me know if I missed any.
The VP-series of pistols are excellent choices for law enforcement use. HK hopes to expand its footprint in the police market with this .40-caliber handgun. The VP40 will be sold to law enforcement agencies with night sights and three magazines.
The VP40 has additional features beyond those already mentioned. These include:
- cocking serrations on the forward part of the slide
- accessory rail that has been tested with a wide variety of weapon lights
- ambidextrous magazine release (paddle style – not push button)
- magazine well cut to allow for easier access by the shooter to strip mags from the gun if needed
- enlarged extractor for enhanced reliability
- ambidextrous slide release
- 4.1″ cold hammer forged barrel
- lifetime warranty
HK is keeping pricing reasonable in the VP line of pistols. The standard VP40 carries a suggested retail price of $719. After the initial buying frenzy, I expect to see the guns selling for around $550 – $600.
The law enforcement version of the gun will sell for $100 more. As stated earlier in this article, the extra money buys the night sights and extra magazine.
One of the remaining questions for HK is when will we see a .45 ACP version of this pistol? While I do not have any official word from Heckler & Koch, rumors suggest the gun may be introduced later this year or at the 2016 SHOT Show.
Curiously, the VP45 is listed on the approved handgun roster of the Maryland State Police. Perhaps the gun will be at the local dealer much sooner than we realize.