H&K Goes West with American-Style Push-Button VP9 Pistol

Heckler & Koch decided it’s time to push buttons. (Photo: H&K)

Heckler & Koch has adapted their very popular VP9 pistol directly for the American market with the new VP9-B. The updated B model has a reversible push-button magazine release along with all the features that make the VP9 the success it’s been.

The original VP9 and its variants have a paddle-style magazine release. The pistols have levers along the trigger guard that press down to release the magazine. While the setup is ambidextrous, some people prefer more standard magazine-release buttons.

Although the paddle release system has its proponents, push buttons are more traditional, conventional and share a manual of arms with many other handguns. Like other contemporary push-button mag releases, the VP9-B safety is reversible for right- and left-handed users.

Swapping the button from the left side to the right requires no special tools and can be done in a couple of minutes. Heckler & Koch put together a video with simple instructions.

Apart from the new safety everything else is pure VP9. Like the original, the model B is a mid-size polymer-framed, striker-fired service pistol with a lot of modern touches.

The main feature that separates the VP9 from its competitors is that it has a completely modular grip assembly. The frame has both interchangeable side panels as well as a backstrap system for total customization of the grip shape.

The VP9-B also has a cocked striker indicator in the striker locking plate as well as a loaded chamber indicator along the extractor. It has a standard passive trigger safety lever in addition to its internal and drop safeties.

The magazine release sports the same texture as the grip. (Photo: H&K)

Chambered for 9mm Luger the VP9-B has a standard capacity of 15+1 rounds and lots of magazine extension options on the aftermarket. Reduced-capacity magazines are an option as well.

The VP9-B has the same 4.1-inch barrel and full-size grip as the original and maintains the ambidextrous slide release levers. The barrel has polygonal rifling for better performance at the muzzle and extended service life.

The slide also has forward serrations for things like press checks and other slide manipulation techniques. And the rear of the slide has extended tabs for ease of use – the tabs are removable for concealed-carry.

It’s possible that some existing holsters may not work with the slightly different frame profile. If you plan to carry the VP9-B be sure to check your holster compatibility.

While many VP9 fans have wholeheartedly adopted the magazine paddle, the VP9-B gives people more options, and that’s always a good thing. Heckler & Koch has been busy tweaking and altering the VP series to accommodate a wide variety of shooter wants and needs and this is a welcome addition.

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About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. Like Thomas Paine, he’s a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • kvn xcoe October 28, 2018, 8:48 am

    I was disappointed after learning no buttons for paddles….

  • Scott Aston October 26, 2018, 8:50 am

    I have the VP9 and my VP9Sk is my EDC. I have always thought the paddles wee more effective and efficient whether using thumb or finger and no need to change shooting strong or weak hand.

    I will keep the paddles and pass on the “B” model

  • Adam October 26, 2018, 8:20 am

    i like the paddle. it’s one of the many things that sets HK apart from the pack. so, Hk. if you want to make headlines. bring the P7 back and i’ll probably faint with joy. thanks.

  • Mike A October 26, 2018, 7:13 am

    Oh man, please let the P30/SK LEM be next.

  • Joe October 26, 2018, 5:53 am

    So my question….. Do these new VP9B take the same magazine as the standard VP9? There was no mention of this in the article.

  • Michael Villers October 26, 2018, 5:26 am

    Mr. Slowik:

    Is it me, or did you have to break out the ole Thesaurus to accomplish “due diligence” in making this article longer than a couple sentence? I mean, the Vp9 is the VP9, is the… Wait – The mag release paddle is now a button just like all the Johnsons, the Millers, the blah blah’s, etc. ? It seems NOTHING happened. I do enjoy the language involved in your articles and like how you’ve always been in control with the adjectives and saying the same damn thing over and over like a “detent” pin is something to talk about because of its multiple sides and was invented by John spring across the room Doe. And then dragging on with again, a pocket thesaurus and the same story.

    Do you think (or maybe you know?) HK is looking for honorable mentioning with such a minor change to a well-respected gun or that it isn’t seeing the level of sales it would like having spent the time to make another piece of art only to share the field with so many room temperature IQ’d creations so to speak? Or was this purely your idea to bring up the “Button” so as to segway into another umpteen repeats of what we know otherwise about the gun already? Not trying to “call you out”, I’m just wondering if the HK folks at the think tank settled on or said….”Ok, screw it, we’ll change the Mag Release because of the sales we lose by all the canaries who just like to repeat what they heard about a part being sub-par (always attacking amazing engineers like HK’s)? “Let’s shut them up”, we’ll make’em use their thumb instead of the genius placed ambidextrous and trigger finger operated tab style that is the fastest by far if you want that mag out on the last round in competitions ergo (simply letting your index slide off the trigger in the rear position and it will hit the mag release lighting fast (of COURSE no change in your grip like the button type can and do cause) and if THAT is a problem (releasing the mag in one motion) because ??? because “Ehmm I’m used to everybody else’s way and just don’t like it for that and for what heeee said!” Then you merely put a drop in extended mag paddle that sits in the same place at the bottom of the trigger guard (right exactly where you shooting index finger ends up at the end of a trigger pull (I hope people are seeing the light here that was just snuffed by “joining the masses” as the same think tank said “Wait and see how much Talk and Hype and disturbances caused by this “button” as we release another version of the same thing”. Well, bring attention again to the hard-earned build and physics of our VP9 and jump-start the sales again in AMERICA with their demands for ALL BUTTON STYLE mag releases”.

    I doubt any of this remotely took place. I am at odds as to why they did it when they are innovators and while not a blanket statement, they do pretty much set the pace and standard, even being the first to put a polymer framed SA out well before Glock and others (I think 12 years before Glock but it’s still a world where the same complainers of their totally proven mag release that probably also are quick with the “Glock was the FIRRRRRST with a polymer and rail, and blah blah blah”. It’s like this witch hunt if you bought something else and you subscribe automatically to trying to “Down” other manufacturers of the same type of gun. Though no one hardly EVER talks about the INSIDES of guns. It’s always those same people that talk but leave out functionality, truths, dates, claim to fame to take the room out to speak about internal operating systems, a titanium firing pin being standard vs Chinese made metal stamped with the name of the gun instead of letting you know. Those who will now say “it’s about time HK got there heads straight and rid of the weird European or some other weird country’s fantasy that a paddle could perform like a button. Let’s talk more about the operating systems, the materials the springs are made of, the spec room for error, the proprietary (once again, an innovator) recoil reduction spring set up. The fact that the rail on the Mark 23 and USP’s being different in size and not being able to accommodate all the aftermarket lights and lasers…Why? because when they came out, they were pioneers of these things and there weren’t stores laden with lasers/lights etc for specifically sized rails on the front of guns. So yeah, HK made theirs fit THEIR parts, their lights, their lasers. That’s what you do when you bring something to market and have nothing to compare it to and find out later that the Picatinny rail is sized different and you accommodate by making a part to add on for use with all the newer parts that these guns are now made to fit.

    I get tired of the people that bring things like the rail up without information of the history of the railgun or the polymer gun “having to be made by Glock first because look how many things they keep making?” HK, the new B model 9mm is a mystery to me as far as media re-introducing it like it’s being “introduced” for the first time. It’s a button, I don’t like it myself as I quickly because about twice as fast using my index finger in it’s natural and continual path on the last round (traveling about 1/4 inch at most) and releasing that mag a split second of a split after the gun spits out its last bullet towards the plate in a Steel Challenge match.

    I had different intentions when I started writing this. And it’s probably one of the many reasons why Max Slowik’s title of position makes me but a mere pinecone in his forest of staying on topic and creating clear lines to the points in half the words I’ve used on a bad day. I think I really just have been hearing about HK and their wavy past with the U.S. compared to their total market where they are much more popular such as in their tactical rifles AND the USP’s and newer pistols made today. Did they REALLY change this release to a button (now only half the function unless you take it out and reverse it), to “IMPRESS THE WEST”? I know that’s probably just a statement or hook line but it has been a sore spot and a topic constantly (HK and it’s catering to others rather than caring about America’s private sector for sales. We already know they are plenty good enough to have secured many more contracts without military and would probably have made some changes for our soldiers should there be a consensus and demand, but I like them because they aren’t sellouts and wouldn’t ever meet the price demands the U.S. military requires for any type of massive purchasing for regular use in any line of our forces. So why the “BUTTON”?

    That’s it, I’m getting on Google and turning on the google voice that converts language and calling the German location tomorrow in an effort to speak to them in their native tongue to show that I’m not a stuck up Westerner who’s demands made them reconsider and change a perfectly made gun. I’ll get all my German sentences in a row, lol and ask the question about WHY they took one of the most loved differences between their units and other manufacturer’s mag releases. $100 for the person who can tell me know what the answer will be and I’m sure that “We’re superior in the firearm industry as civilians and will only deal with your overpriced guns if you cater to our ignorant needs” IS ALREADY TAKEN, lol.

    PS: For anyone who has an issue with the paddle style mag releases attached to the bottom rear of the trigger guard area, I say before you dismiss that set up for no good reason other than your buddy doesn’t like it or you’ve read that it is stupid to have that set up, try or PRACTICE (as that’s what almost everyone with these fowl tempers against HK’s line needs and so do I to continue to climb up and place in the nationals in Steel Challenge shooting etc (to get my Master, and finally my Grand Master status)…. Again practice or just TRY using the shooting index finger on this platform (the paddle style ambidextrous mag release) where you simply (because it IS simple to do, but requires practice to get out of the normal realm and to speeds much faster than the button style method (my opinion). The slide off your trigger, be it flat or curved doesn’t matter, straight past the little paddle that’s again a tiny increment away from your finger in the fired position. Just keep traveling with your finger and you’ll not have time to think about catching that mag before it hits the desert floor if your out plinking or practicing. I KNOW there are very fast actioned button using mag release operators, but you have to make a FORWARD and deliberate movement to that button and you’ll want to do so without affecting your grip at all less you want to lose more time repositioning your hand(s). I have to say no way can a person mover their shooting hand thumb forward after pulling a shot off from a stopped position up toward the top of the gun (about a couple inches, hit the button and reload ehmmmmmmmm maybe at best 50% as fast. (That’s pretty large of a statement but I’m not meaning against me or another person. I’m meaning your time against yourself, once you’ve done it a few times.

    Bad bad HK for kissing our Western arses and doing that (so it is said in the title) and then putting the gun back out on the shelves in basically the same way it was before. What’s the prerogative? I’ll lol, if I do get a chance, call HK tomorrow and find out more than just why the button, but maybe I can get out of them their view of the Western market and its demands vs what they are planning or willing to do? BTW, I own Glocks and many other guns in the same category in both 9 and 45 and I have my favorites that are usually the HK’s but not always. I’m open-minded and lol HOPE HK keeps being the Porsche of SA tactical offensive and defensive high-end pistols but the Sig’s, 226 and the 320 for me, the Springfields (the 1911 style custom champion I’ve had forever, the 1911’s my STI, and on are all great guns. I just wanted to close without sounding to prejudiced lol. I LOVE HK! I love that I put over 25K rounds through my USP Tactical before deciding to change to a new threaded barrel, not because I had any FTF’s, but because I wanted to spend a couple thousand on turning it into a true competition handgun for USPSA and IPSC that was also close to performing like my STI race gun. Never ever have any troubles with HK’s that I have. They will shoot rounds rotting in a river bed left years ago by mistake and shoot fine!

    Please tell me what you think about a button mag release and then a paddle release (Hk’s) that’s millimeters away from your finger with the trigger at the rear position and why or why you do or do not like one or the other. Please tell me what your advantage is of removing your thumb from your grip position, bringing it down and forward (if it reaches on all guns you shoot) and pressing it in and what your movement is AFTER you’ve disengaged the magazine and are using your (?) hand (s) to throw a new one in, with or without a widened magwell to catch a fast hand with no eyes on the gun etc. Everyone talks about NOT losing their grip position when they reach for the button that is perfectly close enough (not a stretch like most of them I find are and I have large hands) and what your right-hand does after to assume it’s original position? Not being sarcastic here. I am mostly trying to say that with an open mind and no bias, I took the “Pepsi” challenge (the change to using the other way and it was so much better it couldn’t believe it could be a preference any longer and that’s why the USP is now my comp gun besides the love for it. What about thumb rests in competition? So many use them. I do and use 2 on the rimfire division on my Mark4 that I’ve transformed into a race gun. I have a rear and forward (2 thumb rests) and they are a great help in steadiness etc. Ya can’t use the thumb button mag release very well with those installed unless it comes with time and practice but I already switched out the button to a Valquartsen extended paddle in the same hole which while isn’t the same, helps a lot.
    I haven’t ever written this much on a subject before Mr. Slowik. I think something finally hit a sore spot with me and my seeming unhealthy attachment to HK (as I don’t work for them or profit lol). It is definitely NOT you but your write up did spur the question of WHAT THE HECK IS THE VP9 BEING TALKED ABOUT LIKE IT’S THE LATEST KID ON THE BLOCK WHEN IT’S ONLY GOT A BUTTON NOW? MAYBE I’m WRONG AND THERE’S MUCH MORE THAT’S MORE THAN COLORS AND STICKERS SO TO SPEAK. BACK TO WORK FOR ME AND THEN THE CALL TO THEM: I’ll POST WHAT I GET IF I EVEN CAN GET THEM ON THE PHONE IN DEUTSCHLAND. GOTTA CHECK THE TIME DIFFERENCE FIRST. THANKS FOR READING IF YOU GOT ALL THE WAY HERE. Tear me apart, call me out on inconsistencies, etc. That’s ok. That’s what I want usually as that’s how I learn. Not from making mistakes constantly but those times are the ones that it sticks with me much more. Also, we all like different things for different reasons. I do not have anything against that NOR do I think it’s wrong whether it’s a fact one thing is better than another. I just am set back by this.
    Have a great day. Hope you live in a state that is pro-gun like AZ for me.

  • Mark Anderson October 24, 2018, 11:59 am

    I am a cross dominant shooter and carry the VP9SK. I find the reversable mag release interesting. I will stay with the paddle release because I can shoot with either strong side or weak side without having to change my grip should one hand become incapacitated.
    I find the H&K well engineered and well thought out.

  • James Shartel October 24, 2018, 7:13 am

    One of 4 best handguns in the world, no questions, no debate, and proven to be in the serious category, a piece which you can stake your life on!!!

  • Mike October 23, 2018, 11:40 pm

    Vp9 new mag release button. You talk about a new safety button in your article. Is this something new or are you confused calling the mag release button a safety. I own a VP9 and the safety is on the trigger like a Glock.

    • Chopins11th October 26, 2018, 3:37 am

      Yeah, I think it was just a mistake because he was speaking of the mag release being moved and made as a button but only on the right side… Then he talks about moving the safety. He meant mag release because that’s the first subject ergo that despite it being right handed you can easily switch it to the other side. (and also because HK’s have always had the PADDLE safeties which were by design, ambidextrous. Every onece in a while ya catch some grammatical error or wrong name etc. “Where’s the proof writers?” You should get paid for that call out as there are plenty who are just confused now lol.

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