It’s been about half a year since I got my hands on a Heckler & Koch VP9 Match which I ended up slapping a Trijicon SRO on. It took a little while before I started sending lead downrange regularly with this fine piece of machinery for a couple reasons. However, that has changed and the set up is getting quite a bit of use at local matches. Given several thousand dry fire trigger presses and about a thousand projectiles have exited the muzzle, I figured it was about time to share my thoughts on the pistol and optic again with y’all.
The primary reason the VP9 Match didn’t see regular use early on was due to lack of support from custom holster makers. I’m not really certain why this was and continues to be the case. I suspect it’s mostly due to its popularity, or rather the lack thereof. I have yet to see another VP9 Match at a local match yet. Frankly, I have yet to see another VP9 Match in the wild period. Not at the local gun stores. Nor at the ranges I frequent. Needless to say, it took a while for me to procure a holster and as such the initial use of this pistol was relegated to shooting at the static range in order to get familiar enough with the pistol in order to publish an initial review of it.
I did eventually procure a Gamer USPSA/IDPA holster for the pistol from Weber Tactical and started taking out the pistol with the mounted red dot sight out to local IDPA, USPSA, and Steel Challenge matches regularly. Prior to that, I ordered a set of XS Sights Minimalist Tritium Night Sights which I’ve yet to install. Truth is I’ve been a bit lazy and I’ve had a few other projects I’ve also been working on.
The literature from H&K on this pistol is limited, but they do mention practical shooting matches in it. Additionally, the literature boasts about an O-ring supported extra-long 5.5 barrel that locks up better with the slide for extra accuracy and consistency. Heck, they even slapped “Match” on the variant name and engraved it on the side of the slide. That to me makes it pretty obvious that H&K’s intention was to enter the competitive shooting sports market, which is what I have been using it for and I have to say that it feels very much like a finely tuned VP9 which is already a fantastic shooter for a polymer-frame striker-fired pistol. The balance of the gun feels a little bit better and I really don’t have anything to complain about here.
VP9 triggers are fantastic. The trigger on the VP9 Match is no exception. In fact, pretty much every shooter that handles the VP9 Match at local matches asks what trigger I put in it or who did the trigger job on it. The same folks express disbelief when I tell them the trigger is stock. According to the specifications from H&K the trigger pull on the VP9 Match is identical to the pull on the standard VP9 with a pull weight of 5.4 lbs. However, the pull on the VP9 Match feels a little lighter to me and my trigger pull gauge confirmed this. The pull weight on the standard VP9 comes in right around the published 5.4 lbs specification. The pull weight on the VP9 Match comes in right around 4.8 lbs. I’m curious to learn what pull weight other VP9 Match owners are measuring.
So overall, in terms of fit and function, I have no complaints. The gun runs reliably and shoots great.
There are a couple of caveats that I’ve learned when it comes to competing with this pistol. The first is that the dimensions of the VP9 Match exceed the dimension limits of the stock service pistol (SSP) division in IDPA which is the division this gun would fall under without an optic installed. The length of the pistol is 8.78″ with the largest back strap installed and the length limit for SSP is 8.75″. Using the medium or small back straps should shorten up the length enough to meet the SSP length dimension limit. Additionally, the height of the pistol with the 20 round magazine installed is 6.5″ which exceeds the 6″ height limit for SSP. Using a flush fitting 15 or 17 round magazine should shorten up this dimension to meet SSP height limit, but it will require procuring additional magazines. I could be incorrect, but the same dimension limits are imposed on pistols outfitted with an optic that would compete in the carry optics (CO) division.
The next caveat deals with the size limit requirements for USPSA Production and Carry Optics divisions. While the length of the pistol isn’t an issue in USPSA, the height is also limited to 6″. As such, we are once again forced to procure and use 15 or 17 round flush fitting magazines to use this pistol in those two divisions. Otherwise, using the 20 round magazines forces us to compete in the Limited (without an optic) or Open (with an optic) divisions against the ultra fancy high-speed race guns. To make matters worse, the VP9 Match is not currently listed in the production gun list (as of writing and publishing this post). As such, until it is approved we are forced to compete in the Limited and Open divisions anyway.
These caveats are important to keep in mind for anyone who participates or plans on participating in sanctioned IDPA or USPSA matches. Perhaps there are other pistol competitions that this pistol is better suited for, I just don’t know what they are given my competitive exposure is limited to IDPA, USPSA, and Steel Challenge (which to my knowledge follows similar equipment rules to USPSA).
I’ve said enough about the pistol so let’s change gears and talk about the SRO.
Functionally, the SRO has been fantastic for competitive shooting, practice, and training. Pretty much everything I said in the initial review of the SRO continues to hold true. The only regret I have is opting to go with the 2.5 MOA dot size. Thing is I didn’t know what I didn’t know and I’ve recently started dabbling with larger dots on pistol mounted optics. Additionally, I have developed a strong preference for the larger dots as they are faster to acquire and easier to track. These characteristics make a lot of sense for both defensive and competitive applications. Again, this comes with the caveat that my competitive exposure is limited to IDPA, USPSA, and Steel Challenge where speed matters. Perhaps there are other pistol competitions where speed isn’t a factor, but that’s not where I’m spending my time. As such, I wish I would have opted for the 5 MOA variant of the SRO instead of the 2.5 MOA variant that’s mounted on the VP9.
The other thing I’ve noticed is that the front of the SRO lens gets sprayed with excess oil or grease from the VP9 when it’s used after a recent cleaning. This is not a big deal since front side obstructions are essentially benign, but it does mean I find myself cleaning the lens of the SRO more often than I would clean the lens of an optic that sat a little further behind the barrel hood. Again it’s not a big deal, but it can be a little annoying especially for folks who are keen on keeping optic lenses pristine.
After 1000 rounds and many more trigger pulls, I’m still a big fan of the VP9 Match and the SRO set up. There are certainly a few things I want to change and I plan to continue shooting this gun a lot because it is a lot of fun to shoot. However, given the caveats that I’ve learned regarding use of this pistol in IDPA and USPSA matches I’m no longer keen on suggesting the VP9 to folks for those specific competitive applications. That may change as the rules in those competitive doctrines evolve over time. Additionally given the limited custom holster market support for the VP9 Match, the overall size of this pistol, and durability of the SRO, this pistol and optic is not something I would suggest for personal defense applications. With all that said, I think the VP9 Match is well suited for VP9 aficionados, recreational shooting, and use at unsanctioned local matches where the rules are a bit more flexible. The SRO is still great for competitive application but I now tend to steer folks away from middle of the road sized dots to either smaller or larger dots depending on their intended use cases.