Today, we’re going to compare the FN 509 vs VP9 to see which gun is better for you. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but we can provide the best information possible when making your decision. Our goal in this comparison is to pit the FN 509 vs the FN VP9 and expose all the pros and cons of each gun.
This is an opinion piece, but I always aim to eliminate bias. Look, we’ve all read them before. Gun reviews that claim to be helpful, but they’re really thinly veiled hit pieces trying to get you to buy something before you’ve even started your research. Or, even worse, a review put together by a content writer who has never even held a gun.
I’ve trained with some of the best in the business to learn various shooting styles and ideologies to better serve our customers. I’ve purchased guns of all price points, calibers, and action types to build the best products for the market. I want you to walk away knowing you have the information you need to make a sound purchasing decision.
Table of Contents
- FN 509 vs VP9 Concealed Carry
- Ergonomics overall
- FN 509 vs VP9 Quality
- FN 509 vs VP9 Aesthetics
- FN 509 vs VP9 Price/Value
|Metrics||FN 509||FN 509 MRD/Compact||HK VP9|
|Weight w/ no mag (Oz)||23.8||23.5||22.6|
|Weight w/ empty mag (Oz)||26.8||26.5||25.6|
|Weight w/ full mag (Oz)||33.3||32||33|
|Height (top of slide to bottom of magazine baseplate) (Inches)||5.30||4.89||5.34|
|Width of grip (Inches)||1.23||1.23||1.26|
|Width of slide (Inches)||1.06||1.06||1.13|
|Width across controls (Inches)||1.32||1.32||1.28|
FN 509 vs VP9 Concealed Carry
In comparing the FN 509 vs. the HK VP9, we’re going to look at two different 509 variants as opposed to the one HK VP9. The FN 509 is a normal size with a 17-round magazine, but the MRD( compact-length) variant of the gun holds a 15-round magazine. The HK VP9 was originally introduced with a 15-round magazine as well, but HK has managed to fit two extra rounds into the same magazine since the VP9’s original release.
Since the magazine size was retained between capacities, it didn’t change the overall height of the gun. When you look at the lengths and widths of these firearms and their grips with the 17-round capacities, the HK VP9 and FN 509 are nearly identical. You’re not going to see a difference with concealment.
Now, the FN 509 MRD, thanks to its compact nature, is significantly shorter (about three-eighths of an inch) than the HK VP9 or regular FN 509. That’s going to make a big difference for concealment, but you’re going to get fewer rounds in the gun, so take that into account.
All of these guns are going to be good for inside-the-waistband carry or even OWB carry, but if you’re carrying these guns OWB, you’re going to want to make sure that you have a really tight holster that fits to the body and has an adjustable can so you can optimize the angle and grip. Proper concealment will have the gun sit close to your body in a way that isn’t going to stick out.
This is a very important feature so we’ll break it down in detail.
The biggest difference between the HK VP9 vs the FN 509 right off the bat is going to be frame set up. The modularity is much greater in the HK VP9. This is due to the ability to change out the grip panels on the side of the gun as well as the backstraps.
On the FN 509, it comes with two different backstraps. One with a slight hump and another that is flat in the back of the gun. You can also order a large backstrap for the FN 509 directly from FN. Unfortunately, they do not come with the gun.
The HK VP9, on the other hand, has three different sizes of backstraps as well as side panels. You can adjust the grip to fit exactly how you want. Personally, I don’t think the side panels are a necessary feature. If you really want to be able to adjust every little aspect of the gun, it’s nice to have.
The overall feeling of the HK VP9 is a little bit better than the FN 509. It just feels better in the hand. That said, the FN 509 is still a very ergonomic handgun. For me, I seem to be able to grip it a little bit tighter than the HK VP9. I don’t have to work as hard to grip the HK VP9.
I know that seems really counterintuitive, but if you’re going to grip the gun really hard, the FN 509 will probably work best. If you don’t have as hard of a grip on the gun, then you’re probably going to be better suited with the HK VP9. Regardless, the grip length on these guns is almost identical. My pinky falls to almost the exact same place on the HK VP9 vs the FN 509.
If you have larger hands, one thing to keep in mind is that the HK VP9 has finger grooves. The bottom finger groove actually stands down at the bottom, so if you have really large hands, it’s going to sit on that finger groove itself and be very uncomfortable for your grip. But for people with norma-l or smaller-sized hands, they’re not going to see a difference in ergonomics. I do wish HK had taken the finger grooves off the HK VP9.
The texture of these two guns is quite a bit different. They both have similar aggressiveness, with the FN 509 being slightly more aggressive, but the HK VP9 texturing is almost slick when you gloss over it slightly.
As soon as you put your full hand on the grip and get a good grip, though, it stays well-placed in the hand. It doesn’t move around a lot. The texture on the HK VP9 looks like a bunch of bananas thrown out on a floor and it’s quite effective, not slippery like you’d expect banana peels to be.
The FN 509, on the other hand, has two different types of texturing: one on the side that’s just standard square checkering, and then some rectangles that are raised on both the front- and backstrap of the firearm. Both straps do a good job of keeping your hand in place and solid. I don’t see a reason to do aftermarket stippling on either of these firearms.
The slides on both of these guns are absolutely excellent. These serrations on the HK VP9 are not as aggressive as I would like, but the finish on the slide itself is not as slick as the FN 509. When it comes to racking the slide, the recoil spring seems just a little bit lighter on the HK VP9 and the serrations do a good enough job when racking the slide from the front.
There are also cocking bars that are mounted underneath the rear sight. These polymer cocking bars work to help you cock the firearm if you have weaker hands. I think it’s a nice feature to have, and they’re easily removable as long as you take off your rear sight.
The FN 509, on the other hand, definitely has better serrations. However, the recoil spring is a lot heavier and it’s a little harder to rack the slide. So, it’s kind of a wash on which one of these has the better slides set up when it comes to manipulations.
I think for people that don’t have a problem with aggressive serrations, the FN 509 is going to be a little bit better just because of the more aggressive slide serrations while the VP9 is going to be better for people with weaker hands.
There are a lot of different factory sight options for the FN 509 depending on the variant you get, while there are really only three or four sight variants for the HK VP9. The four sight variants you can get for the HK VP9 are factory suppressor-height night sights that will come on the HK VP9 2020 with a threaded barrel. If you get the HK VP9 standard models, you can get either three-dot luminescent sights or three-dot night sights. Those sights are really outdated and they just don’t have that great of a sight picture.
The HK VP9 2020 without the threaded barrel comes with a really large luminescent front sight and a blacked-out rear. That is going to be my preferred sight picture on the HK VP9 series. When it comes to the FN 509, you can get the gun and a standard configuration with three-dot luminescent sights, which have one of the better three-dot luminescent sight pictures, in my opinion.
It’s still not great, but it’s better than most of the other options out there. The FN 509 red dot variants come with either suppressor-height black night sights with the MRD or they come with three-dot night sights for the FN 509 Tactical. Again, it really just depends on the variant that you’re looking at. It might be worth actually getting one of the red dot mounting options even if you don’t play them on a red dot to the gun just to get the upgraded sights.
The HK VP9 doesn’t have a ton of aftermarket sight options. There are definitely sufficient options out there since Trijicon, Heinie, Dawson Precision and a couple of other companies make sights for them, but there are not as many options as you have for the FN 509. The FN 509 uses Sig night sight cuts, which really opens up your options.
There are a lot of guns out there that use the Sig sight cuts, including the FN 509, the Springfield XD Series, and obviously Sigs. There’s a much larger aftermarket for that sight cut vs what’s on the HK VP9.
Red Dot Option
Mounting red dots to either one of these guns is easy from the factory. The FN 509 has the MRD variant, mini red dot, and the FN 509 Tactical, while the HK VP9 only has the HK VP9 2020. All these have red dot offerings, and they’re pretty solid mounting solutions. With the FN, you’re going to get all the items you need to mount a red dot to the gun. But the HK VP9 does not include any mounting plates. You’ll have to purchase those on the aftermarket.
All of these are really good, solid mounting systems and I don’t think you’ll have any problems with them. But, as stated before, the HK VP9 series will require you to upgrade the sights unless you get the threaded barrel model that has suppressor-height sights. Alternatively, you could run an optic like a Shield RMSc or Sig Romeo Zero if you want something that will co-witness with the factory VP9 2020 sights.
We’re going to go over both of these triggers. You have to be somewhat objective here when you look at the triggers themselves, because this is really going to come down to personal preference. I think ergonomics play a larger role in how a gun shoots than the triggers do, but people always like to know how the triggers behave.
FN 509 Trigger
We’ll start with the FN 509. The FN 509 has a hinged trigger, which I’m not a big fan of system-wise. I really disliked them in the Smith & Wesson M&P series. I will say that FN seems to have done as good of a job as you can do in building a hinged trigger and putting it in a gun, but it’s still a hinged trigger.
When you look at the 509’s trigger pull, you’re going to feel some light take-up as you disengage the trigger safety. From there, you’re going to feel some buildup that I would describe as slight creep, but it’s somewhat smooth before the trigger actually breaks. It’s a slightly heavy trigger and feels a little bit plastic-y, which is not great. But honestly, my sights don’t move and dry fire, and I shoot it really well.
HK VP9 Trigger
With HK VP9 triggers, the trigger is a standard safety-style trigger like what you’d see on a Glock. When you go to pull that trigger, you’re going to get some very light take-up, but that amount of take-up time is very short. The trigger seems farther forward than most other triggers on the market.
From there, you’re going to reach a wall. Once you reach that wall, you’re going to continue to apply pressure before you get a pretty clean break. This trigger is also much cleaner in its description, but it seems to be lacking something in the way you can actually describe the feel and the way I can describe that feeling.
The trigger is good, but it’s still plastic or something you feel like you’d find on a staple gun and not a high-end German pistol. I think most people say the trigger on the HK VP9 series is a little bit better. Personally, I find them both to be on par with each other. They’re both acceptable, but they’re nothing special.
The slide lock on the HK VP9 series is slightly recessed on the left-hand side of the gun while on the right-hand side of the gun, it is somewhat normal. It’s actually easier to use for a left-handed shooter than a right-handed one. That said, the design is still pretty good and easy to access.
The FN 509, on the other hand, is slightly sharp on the top of the slide lock. Because of that, I’m going to have to penalize the design. Now if you get the FN 509 Tactical with an extended slide lock, it’s going to be a lot more comfortable and easier to use. The FN 509 Tactical would probably win out over the standard FN 509 and the HK VP9, but when comparing standard models of each gun, the HK VP9 slide stop is a little better than that of the regular FN 509.
Magazine Release FN 509 vs VP9
My biggest design complaint on the FN 509 is its magazine release. The extended-release on the FN 509 Tactical is a little bit better than the regular 509, but it’s downright hard to get that magazine out of the 509 with the push-button release. Part of that is due to a protective ridge built above the magazine release so you don’t inadvertently press it, but another part is just the fully-ambidextrous design itself. It just doesn’t work that well.
You never have to worry about a magazine accidentally being unseated due to the magazine release being depressed, so it’s very reliable, but it’s just not that easy to drop the magazine.
The HK VP9 has its famous paddle-style release, which is absolutely amazing. You can use it equally with wells for right- or left-handed shooters and you can drop the magazine using your trigger finger, middle finger, or even your primary hand thumb. There are lots of options for how you want to use this gun.
Both guns are going to require you to break your grip to drop the magazine, but I’m still going to give a definite win to the HK VP9 for this category.
There’s no magazine well to speak of on the HK VP9; it’s just a straight shot into the magazine. On the FN 509, you do have a slight bevel on the side of the magazine well, but it’s not much. These guns are fairly similar as far as that feature goes.
FN 509 vs VP9 Quality
Both of these guns seem to be pretty good quality, but I’m going to have to give a slight edge to the HK VP9 in this instance. The gun just seems to be of higher quality with the polymer feeling better and the slide finish itself being superior than that of the FN 509. Now, there’s not a huge difference between these two and I’m really nitpicking here. In my opinion, the HK just does seem to be a slightly higher-quality gun.
Aftermarket on both of these models aren’t great. It really just depends on what you’re looking for. You only have one aftermarket trigger option for the FN 509, but a lot more options when it comes to sights. There aren’t a ton of extended magazine options for either firearm, but you can get 24-round extended magazines for the FN 509 direct from FN or 21-round extended mags from XTech for the HK VP9 or look at the few companies making extensions for the standard FN, for the standard VP9 magazines.
You might be able to give a slight advantage to the FN 509 if you want to upgrade the trigger, but the HK VP9 has all of the other features of the FN as well.
FN 509 vs VP9 Aesthetics
Aesthetically, I think I’m going to have to give these guns a tie. It just depends on what you’re looking for. There’s a certain elegance to the HK VP9 that the FN 509 doesn’t have, but the 509 is still an attractive gun. I honestly go back and forth pointing to which one is more attractive. I can’t make up my mind.
There is, like I said, more elegance with the HK VP9, but I’m not sure that that elegance is timeless. The shapeliness of the grip might look outdated in a couple of years’ time. I think the FN 509 is always going to be one of those guns that look good, but it’s never the trendiest style on the market.
Shooting both of these guns is a joy. I’ve talked to more people who seem to have a pleasant experience with the HK VP9 vs. the FN 509. If you have average to medium-sized hands as I do, the FN 509 is a great shooting gun. Otn the other hand, when I’ve talked to people with smaller hands or much larger hands, they seem to have trouble with the 509 series.
The HK VP9 seems to work better for everyone all around. I personally find both guns to track really well and flat and be very smooth-shooting. The VP9 is not as oversprung as the 509 so it does shoot a little bit smoother, but recoil control on both is very easy. I’m going to give a slight edge to the HK VP9 when it comes to shooting.
FN 509 vs VP9 Price/Value
Depending on the model of HK VP you’re looking at, the MSRP ranges from $749 to $999 while the FN 509 has a spread of $649 to $1049. All of the guns tend to cost around $100 under MSRP at your average gun store.
With basic iron sights, the FN 509 tends to be the better value and comes in cheaper than a similar HK VP9, but when you’re comparing the optics-ready models, the HK tends to be priced around $50 cheaper than an FN 509 with similar features.
You will still have to add suppressor-height sights and buy an optics plate for the VP9 while the optics-ready FN 509s come with suppressor-height sights and mounting plates, giving the FN an edge in value.
FN 509 Pros
- Suppressor sights out of the box
- Slide serrations
FN 509 Cons
- Magazine release
HK VP9 Pros
- Magazine release
HK VP9 Cons
- Need suppressor sights to co-witness with optic