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Introducing the HK VP40

VP40

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…

Charging Supports

rear of the VP9 slide

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.

Grip Size

VP40 on the range

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.

Sights

VP 40 rear sight

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.

Trigger

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.

Magazines

HK VP40

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.

Holsters

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.

Holster Update

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.

LE Version

Police Officer with VP40

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.

Additional Features

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

Pricing

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.

The VP45

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.

By Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is a gun writer, amateur historian and - most importantly - a dad. He's done a lot of silly things in his life, but quitting police work to follow his passion of writing about guns was one of the smartest things he ever did. He founded this site and continues to manage its operation.

25 replies on “Introducing the HK VP40”

The VP40 will not fit in the VP9, there is too much of a size difference. The kydex just doesn’t allow that much give.

I own the HK VP9, and the VP40. Both are very easy to learn to shoot, very reliable, and totally ambidextrous. These 2 firearms are almost identical in form and function. Including the clips, they are interchangeable, you can load 9mm in the 40 clip, and 40’s in the 9mm clip. However you can see the inherent danger in this if you’re not paying attention. I know the VP9 will not chamber the 40, it will just jamb. However the VP40 WILL chamber a 9MM, I know it will, because I tried it. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you what may happen next if you pull that trigger. I caution anyone with both of these excellent firearms, DO NOT mix up your clips, and or ammo. Your firearm will jamb,or you may destroy your barrel, and very possibly injure yourself if you do. Most importantly, your firearm will fail you when seconds count.
PS. Ammo,,Buy it cheap,,stack it deep.

I think most people understand the point that I was attempting to convey. If all you have to offer to the discussion are vocabulary corrections, please go to a spelling bee blog.

It was a terminology correction, therefore a spelling bee blog wouldn’t be useful. If you’re a gun guy, use the correct damn terminology.

I’m attempting to warn people about a potential danger of owning these 2 firearms together, and you want to hassle me on terminology? I would appreciate it if you did not re post,,,because you’re terminology correction is completely irrelevant. And if I want to call them clips, I will, and if you don’t like it, TOO BAD, go TROLL somewhere else grammar Nazi.

Go people who own multiple caliber Glocks screw this up? Eat a bag of unwashed dicks.

A clip refers specifically to stripper clips such as ones used in the M1 Garand and WW2 era rifles. The name stuck around with some and is still used but technically is incorrect. Like calling a computer a typewriter. Same with gun. There’s pistols…then there’s rifles and your gun, one is for shooting and one is for fun. Any Marine knows that ditty I’m sure.

Yeah! I know, I typed it out fast and did not realize until after I posted it. Sorry, a common mistake Im sure.

Hey Steve, what they are trying to point out is there is a difference between clips and magazines just like there is a difference between 9mm and .40. What difference can one millimeter make anyways? 9mm…10mm not much difference really who cares right?

Yeah, magazines to clips, simple mistake, I typed it out fast, however it really is irrelavant to the information I was trying to pass on.
However, that 1 mm, will cause a 9mm handgun loaded with .40 to jamb. And the .40 handgun pushing the 9mm will probably ruin the barrel, and jamb/stove pipe after every shot. I care, because I demand my firearm to work every time I need it, or my life depends upon it.

You missed my sarcasm there Steve, of course it makes a difference which is why I pointed it out. You did make an excellent point though, two identical looking guns with the same magazine is a recepie for disaster. I was about to buy the new VP40 but I would probably shoot both guns together and eventually an accident could happen or somebody could talk to me as I am loading mags. Going to have to pass on that, don’t want to blow up a gun.

These are awesome hand guns! I have over 1.5k rounds through the VP9 now, and 600 through the VP40, I cannot tell much of a difference in drift, or accuracy, or recoil. I cannot wait till HK expands this to the .45,,,or .50? :-O
I used to carry VP9 all the time, even with basketball shorts, no one can tell. But now I’m starting to carry the VP40 more than the 9. I will never give either of them up, they are with me for life (maybe a couple new barrels are in order).

Yes, they are. Clip is a commonly used (even by gun guys) synonym for magazine. Easier to say, and means the same thing to everyone but those overly anal picky uptight types.

Just like many people use the term ‘rim’ interchangably with wheel, even though technically they are different.

Lighten up, and stop being so technical.

A clip and a magazine are two entirely different things. A clip is a device that is used to store multiple rounds of ammunition together as a unit, ready for insertion into the MAGAZINE or cylinder of a firearm. They are not interchangeable.

The defining difference between clips and magazines is the presence of a feed mechanism in a magazine, typically a spring-loaded follower, which a clip lacks.

No, you are wrong. What you are talking about is a STRIPPER clip.

Stop being so damn uptight, and get over yourself.

Clip and magazine are the same thing, in this context.

Hey you pretentious snob, did you know that a MAGAZINE is also a bound set of pages with that people read, with words and pictures???

Great review! I saw this gun at a gun show two days ago ($680) and it had a different rear sight. The rear sight had a raised edge so you could cycle the slide on your belt if needed…a very nice feature! I have a Walther PPQ and a HK VP9 and I prefer the HK VP9 for carry over the PPQ due to the shape of the slide. Sure the PPQ fits my hand slightly better and has a slightly better trigger but my hand slips while trying the cycle the slide at the range under perfect conditions and my hand has not slipped while trying to cycle the slide of the HK VP9. The only issue I have had with the HK VP9 was wishing it was chambered in .40 or .45acp. Looks like my problem has been solved and there may be a HK VP45 also in my near future. Time to go sell my M&P in .40!

For those of you who are more concerned about the 9m/m in a .40SW, fear not. I work at an indoor range and if ANY thing can happen, it pretty much has! One deputy comes in introducing his grandson to pistols. Buys a box of 9m/m. Comes back to the counter after shooting a few rounds complaining about his Glock being “inaccurate” with “that brand ammo”! When I went to check his “accuracy” problem… Yup, 9m/ms in that Glock 22 (.40SW) of his. He actually owned both a Glock 17 and a 22, but grabbed the 22 instead of the 17. Those first few rounds with split cases, bullet bouncing through the bore, key holing, etc. were no clue to him! No matter HOW much experience we have, those of us who work in a dedicated gun business (been a gunsmith for almost 50 years), we just don’t know enough to keep some one from being STUPID. Once I cleared his pistol, took all the 9m/m rounds off the table/bench, showed him the issue, he still managed to insert a 9m/m round in the mag in between two .40SW rounds. First round, bang, slide cycles, clicks when he pulls trigger for second shot, he hand cycles slide, pulls trigger, KA-BOOM!!! Slide goes back about â…œ” – ½” inch, locks up. Found out that he had “cleared” another magazine and had put some of those rounds in his pocket. When he was loading up to start shooting again, he took the ammo out of his pocket to load another mag and used IT instead of the one I loaded for him. He never checked to see if he had mixed ammo.

Glock’s are tough and I was able to get the gun apart, but the barrel was toast!!! Replaced the barrel, no problems!

Love my VP9. Toss up between it and my SIG P-320 (9m/m). I also have the P-320 in .40SW with a .357SIG barrel. Now with the release of the VP40… DAMN IT GUMBY!!! Naw, I’m cutting back. To old to try to keep up with the new stuff. If my 9m/m’s won’t do it, I’m somewhere I shouldn’t be anyway!!!

When will Level III Holsters with Light capabilities be available? My department wants the gun, but no holsters exisist on the market, very disapointing that no partnership has been made

I wish I had an answer for you. I sent an e-mail to my contact at Safariland to see if she can give us any insight. I hope they are rolling something out soon, as it is a huge hole in the market.

Best,

Richard

A quick follow up – I spoke to my contact at Safariland this morning. She advised the company has nothing in the works for a VP40 duty holster. Likewise, I checked some of the other companies and could not find anyone with anything for this pistol either.

Considering the gun has been on the market for a year, this is pretty disappointing. It may also be a good indication about how few departments have picked up these pistols, which is too bad. I really like the VP9, and imagine I would feel the same about the VP40.

-Richard

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