In 2014 Heckler & Koch (HK) introduced their HK VP9 striker-fired pistol. Chambered in 9mm, and offering advancements in striker-fired polymer pistol designs and features, the HK VP9 has become one of HK’s most popular pistols. Richard did an outstanding review at GunsHolstersandGear.com. The HK VP9 has acquired a wide reputation as having one of the best striker-fired trigger pulls on the market, and is also widely viewed as one of the most comfortable pistols to hold and shoot.
Heckler & Koch has just announced the introduction of the HK VP40, chambered in very popular law enforcement .40 S&W caliber. The VP40 brings all of the same advancements and features as the VP9 in the larger caliber, and accomplishes this with the addition of only (1) ounce to the overall weight.
The Heckler & Koch VP line of pistols was in production for more than 4 years before last year’s release of the VP9. The VP line is HK’s first striker-fired pistol designs since the P7 series in the 1980’s. Though Glock took the world by storm, and has established a strong foot hold in the striker-fired polymer pistol market, HK has arguably produced the most refined striker-fired polymer pistol.
One thing that shooters can be confident with, is that HK takes their time in producing new firearms so that the end-user receives only the best.
Heckler & Koch VP40 Specifications
- Caliber – .40 S&W
- Capacity – 13 rounds (optional 10 round magazines)
- Overall Length – 7.34″
- Barrel Length – 4.09″
- Width – 1.32″
- Height – 5.45″
- Weight – 26.56 oz. (with empty magazine); 3.28 oz. (empty magazine)
- Sight Radius – 6.38″
- Warranty – HK Limited Lifetime
- MSRP – $719.00
- LE Model MSRP – $819.00 (with tritium night sights and 3 magazines)
The HK VP40 Trigger
The VP pistols take much of the advancements learned by HK in the P30 line of pistols, and adds the innovative HK “light pull” trigger. The trigger advancement alone has many reviewers calling the HK VP pistols the new king in striker-fired polymer pistols. The trigger has a short, light take-up with a solid, single action type break followed by a short positive reset.
The Heckler & Koch VP trigger has a consistent pre-travel pull with a “positive wall/crisp break“. Where some striker fired guns have a pre-travel pull that increases in weight as you go through the trigger stroke, the VP trigger has a less than noticeable pre-travel pull until the trigger reaches the engagement point of the fire control parts prior to trigger break.
The trigger comes with a trigger safety latch, which like the Glock, acts as a drop safety and trigger safety. In essence, the trigger will not depress causing the pistol to fire unless the trigger safety latch is depressed first. These initial trigger bars allow shooters to make positive contact with the trigger, without the fear of a negligent discharge. There is a distinct tactile difference between the trigger safety latch alone, and when the safety latch is disengaged and the the shooter’s finger has engaged the entire trigger.
Having shot the HK VP9 at SHOT Show I have to admit that it is one of the best handguns I have ever shot, and most definitely the best striker-fired trigger pull. In fact, the VP series has one of the best triggers on any pistol.
HK VP40 Most Adjustable Grip
During the Media Day shoot at SHOT Show I also found the VP9’s grip was more comfortable and tailored to my hand than even the S&W M&P, that had been my favorite polymer grip before the introduction of the HK VP9.
To help accomplish this great grip fit, the VP40 uses HK’s ergonomic handgun grip design. In addition to including (3) changeable backstraps, the VP pistols also come with (6) adjustable grip side panels. This is an incredible improvement in fit, and should provide a near perfect fit for almost any shooter. The grip is completed with molded finger grooves in the front of the pistol’s grip that are designed to instinctively bring the operator’s hand into an optimal shooting position.
The Ambidextrous HK VP40 Controls
All controls on the HK VP40 are completely ambidextrous. There are slide release levers present on both sides of the frame, as well as the paddle style magazine release levers. These improvements make the controls easily activated by left or right-handed shooters.
A new feature found on VP pistols is HK’s patented charging supports. These are mounted on each side of the rear of the slide to provide better gripping leverage for racking the slide rearward. The charging supports are slight vertical bar extensions on the slide that are intended to make operating the VP easier for shooters with reduced hand strength, or in less than ideal situations like rain, sweat or blood.
HK VP40 Accessory Rail
Like most modern polymer framed pistols, the VP40 has a series of extended MIL-STD 1913 Picatinny rails on the bottom of the frame in front of the trigger guard. These accessory rails are perfect for the addition of tactical lights or lasers.
The rail has been tested and certified to handle mounted accessories up to 5.6 ounces (160 grams). Any more, a modern pistol without an accessory rail can almost be taken off the list of serious contenders for a duty pistol.
HK VP40 Features
Heckler & Koch VP40 pistols use a proprietary captive flat recoil spring helping to reduce felt recoil, and in turn improving the shooter’s control during rapid fire situations. HK’s famous cold hammer forged barrel is made from cannon grade steel. Similar HK barrels on 9 mm P30 models have fired more than 90,000 rounds in endurance tests in 2010.
- Front and rear slide serrations
- Rear of the striker/firing pin is colored red for visible identification when cocked
- Trigger safety latch
- Low profile right side disassembly lever
- Enlarged, heavy-duty extractor functions as a loaded chamber indicator
- Large recurved trigger guard allows shooting when wearing gloves
- Proven HK P30 steel magazines.
The polygonal bore profile, with no traditional lands-and-grooves rifling, contributes to longer service life as well as a slight increase in muzzle velocity. This type of modern rifling is also believed to improve accuracy, due to the curvature rifling making more contact with the bullet and allowing less gas to escape during firing. This provides better spin, allowing for more accurate bullet flight.
The VP40’s machined steel slide is applied with HK’s hostile environment finish to protect from corrosion and wear. All metal components, including springs and pins have been made with superior metallurgy.
I have become a huge fan of the Heckler & Koch VP series handguns, and I believe that their popularity and acceptance in law enforcement will only continue to rise. I remember very fondly the time I was issued an HK MP-5 with Navy trigger group. Still one of my favorite firearms of all time. The quality of HK products are world renown, and VP pistols are very comfortable and accurate to shoot. The HK VP pistols are going to make a definite run on the striker-fired polymer pistol market.
If there is one thing that I would call a negative feature it is the paddle, or lever-style magazine releases on the VP series of pistols. Almost every other pistol on the market has the thumb button magazine release, and that type of magazine release has been ingrained into American law enforcement for decades.
The paddle, or lever-style releases are tight to the trigger guard and shouldn’t be inadvertently activated or snagged. While on the range I was able to manipulate the lever just fine, and the steel magazines easily fall free. It’s just that the totally different activation would definitely take some time to get used to.
Otherwise the Heckler & Koch VP series pistols are outstanding, and I’m very glad to see they’ve added a .40 S&W version.