Handguns Reviews

Heckler & Koch VP9 Match

The VP9 Match is like a VP9 that's taken advantage of performance enhancing drugs. It's a magnificent shooter, but it's not perfect out of the box and could use better market support.

I suppose one could say that my obsession with the Heckler & Koch VP9 started a little over two years ago when I first got my hands on one and gave it a fair shake. Some might go so far as to call it a love affair. I can’t deny that I have yet to be impressed more by a polymer-frame striker-fired 9mm pistol than I have been by the the H&K VP9. There is something about the way it fits in my hands and about it’s trigger that is seems like it speaks to me and it just wants me to run it fast.

In fact, I liked the VP9 so much that I started carrying one regularly and even competing with it in local IDPA matches. Not much later, I got my hands on another to dip my toes into pistol mounted red dot sights (RDS) and started carrying that one and competing with it regularly. I’m not saying that it’s the best thing since sliced bread, but it’s certainly had my undivided attention for quite some time.

A couple of months ago, as I was getting ready to leave my local indoor range and gun store, a gun in a display case caught my eye. It looked like a VP9, but different. So I wandered over to get a closer look. At first, I thought I was looking at a long slide variant of the VP9. But it wasn’t quite right. As such, I called one of the employees over and asked to take a closer look. What I had found was a VP9 Match, which I didn’t even know existed. I did exactly what I suspect any other VP9 fan would do, I purchased it and took it home with me.

For about $1,100, I got:

  • the optics ready pistol itself,
  • four (4) twenty (20) round magazines,
  • a magazine loader,
  • small and large grip panels and grip back straps in addition to the medium sized ones already on the pistol,
  • a second recoil spring,
  • a user manual,
  • a plastic bag with extra o-rings,
  • a cable lock,
  • and a pistol case.

That’s a few hundred dollars more than one can expect to spend on a standard optics ready VP9, but it’s everything one needs to take it to the range and only a holster short of being able to carry it.

The pistol has the fantastic ergonomics and fabulous trigger that are commonplace on the VP9, but there are a few differences from the standard VP9.

Before I get into the differences, I will point out that I was less than thrilled with the included factory sights. In fact, I’ll say that the basic three white dot post and notch sights were quite disappointing. The sights are functional, but at the price point I expected more. Tritium night sights would have been better. Sights with a high visibility front sight and blacked out rear sights would have been better still. Truth is that I can’t wrap my head around why not all of the optics ready VP9 variants, like this VP9 Match, come with factory installed suppressor height sights like the optics ready VP9L (long slide) or the optics ready VP9 Tactical. Nevertheless, this disappointment can be and will be remedied by installing a set of XS Sights Minimalist Tritium Night Sights.

The first most obvious difference between the standard VP9 and the VP9 match is the barrel length. The barrel length on the VP9 Match measures 5.51″ which is 1.42″ inches longer than the 4.09″ barrel on the standard VP9 and 0.51″ longer than the 5″ barrel on the VP9L. In theory, the longer barrel allows 9mm cartridges to gain more speed and therefore shoot flatter. Additionally, it allows for a longer sight radius which should make it easier for precision shooting.

A little less obvious difference is the o-ring that is found at the front of the barrel which is supposed to create a more stable slide and barrel lock up and make precision shots even easier. The fact is that I was unable to determine how much of a difference that little o-ring made with my handgun shooting skill level. I was able to shoot tighter groups with the VP9 Match compared to the standard VP9, but I don’t know what was a larger contributor between the longer sight radius, flatter trajectory, or the o-ring.

Another visible difference between the standard VP9 and the VP9 Match is the ported slide. The ported slide on the VP9 Match is reminiscent of the ported slide on the VP9L with a couple of extra ports near the muzzle. I find the porting to look good, but I didn’t find it to do anything more than reduce the slide weight.

In terms of how the gun feels when shooting it, it feels like a finely tuned VP9. What do I mean by that? In a lot of ways, it’s like the difference between driving a standard trim level sports car and a sports car that’s been tuned by the factory. Somewhat like the difference between a Ford Mustang (with a V8) and Ford Mustang GT. In other words, it felt like it wanted to be run faster than it’s standard brethren. At first, I thought this was a side effect of additional weight from the longer barrel and slide. However, the VP9 Match weighs in at 24.16oz which is lighter than the 25.56oz of the standard VP9 and the 27.16oz of the VP9L. Perhaps the feeling was purely psychological or maybe there is some other engineering magic as to why it felt like a finely tuned VP9 that I can’t explain. All I can say is that it felt like I wanted to run faster and I felt like I could shoot it faster and more accurately than the standard VP9. This is especially true after I mounted a Trijicon SRO on it which I will review in a future post.

The only downside that I can mention about the VP9 Match is that I’ve been unable to find a custom holster maker that can make a holster specifically for this gun. From discussions I’ve had with holster makers, a mold for this gun is still not available yet. That said, there are some holsters that can work. For example, I’ve been able to holster the VP9 Match in the Incog Eclipse holster I use for the standard VP9, but that’s only because it has an open muzzle design that it sticks out of. I’m hoping to see more holster support for this gun in the future, but only time will tell if that happens or not.

While I’m absolutely ecstatic about the VP9 Match, I can’t, at this point in time, recommend it to folks as anything more than a recreational gun purely on the lack of holster options for it. It’s a fantastic pistol. However, without holster support it’s likely to end up as an enthusiast’s range gun or safe queen. Again, I hope the holster market for this gun grows because it’s an absolutely magnificent pistol.

Update 1 (3/1/2022): I recently found out that Weber Tactical makes a holster for the VP9 Match. More specifically, their Gamer USPSA/IDPA holster is available for the VP9 Match. As a result, I now think that VP9 Match might be a good option as a competition gun.

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