In this post, we will be comparing the HK P30 vs VP9. So you can see which will be the best firearm for you. The HK VP9 obviously gets a lot of its roots and design features from the P30, but there are many key differences between the two beyond their firing mechanisms.
The HK P30 is hammer-fired while the VP9 is striker-fired, but the differences go much deeper than that. These pistols are much more different than they appear on the surface, so we are going to dive into the pros and cons of all of these issues so you can decide which features work best for you.
Table of contents
- HK P30 vs. VP9 Concealed Carry: Buyer’s Preference
- HK P30 vs VP9 Controls
- Aftermarket HK P30 vs VP9
- Aesthetics HK P30 vs VP9
- HK P30 vs VP9 Price/Value: Buyer’s Preference
|Metrics||HK P30||HK VP9|
|Weight w/ no mag (Oz)||23.1||22.6|
|Weightw/ empty mag (Oz)||26.3||25.6|
|Weight w/ full mag (Oz)||32.8/33.7||33|
|Height (top of slide to bottom of magazine baseplate) (Inches)||5.34||5.34|
|Width of grip (Inches)||1.32||1.26|
|Width of slide (Inches)||1.13||1.13|
|Width across controls (Inches)||1.36||1.28|
HK P30 vs. VP9 Concealed Carry: Buyer’s Preference
When it comes to size and weight, these guns are as close to identical as it gets. The HK P30 is slightly heavier than the VP9, but not by much. If you have the same amount of ammunition in each one, then it will be the same.
Originally, both the HK P30 and VP9 shipped with 15-round magazines. Now, only some of the guns are shipping with 15-round magazines while others are shipping with 17-round mags. HK was able to fit two extra rounds by changing up some of the designs on the magazines.
Both of these guns are quite large and are roughly similar in size to a gun like the Glock 17. If you’re planning on carrying these IWB, then realize you are going to have to make sure you have the appropriate clothing (as well as a very good holster) and whether you’re carrying the gun at the appendix or at three to five o’clock.
If you’re carrying from three to five o’clock, these guns are going to work better than a lot of their counterparts due to the shapeliness of the grip. That means that if your shirt happens to hit the gun in the grip area, the shape of the grip itself might deflect from looking like a hard surface or a gun under your shirt. That is a real advantage to both of these firearms. Obviously, there is not going to be a difference there since the ergonomics of these guns are very similar, but it does come into play.
The frames on these firearms are very similar. When you look at them from an ergonomic standpoint, you might even say they are identical. However, there are a few key differences I will cover.
One feature that was unique to the HK P30 when it was introduced was that it had removable back and side straps. When this gun was introduced, I was not aware of any other model on the market that had removable backstraps, but the removable side straps were an incredibly new concept for sure. There still was not any other pistol to have that until the VP9 was introduced years later. Both of these guns have those features, so if you want to build up the grip to exactly fit your hand, you have a lot of options and both of these firearms will likely do so. I have not noticed any differences between the two when it comes to that area.
Now, one area of the gun that is slightly different is the tang or beavertail area of the firearm. Neither of these firearms has a beavertail, but the tang on the HK VP9 is less rounded than the HK P30. I personally think the HK P30 has a little more comfortable hold in that area of the gun and I seem to be able to get my hand up a bit higher without having any discomfort. If I want to flag my thumb high on the HK VP9, my knuckle bone is going to hit the frame of the pistol, which will not happen on the HK P30 due to how well they rounded that area of the tank.
The feel on these grips is a little bit different, partly due to that tank as well as the texturing, which we will cover later. I am going to say right off the bat that the HK P30 feels better than the HK VP9 in my hands. Your mileage may vary, but that is just what I have found to be the case.
The textures on these two guns are very different. The HK P30 has a sandpaper-like feel while the HK VP9 has texture in similar places over a similar pattern but it looks like little bananas and feels like plastic. It is actually very aggressive, looks quite good, and works well, but it does not seem to work quite as well as the texture on the P30.
The HK P30 texture really stays in there and you have to torque the gun with even a less-than-stellar grip to get it to move in the hand. On the other hand, the VP9 will move around a little bit unless you have a very solid grip on the gun. Once you have a good grip the texturing does its job, but the HK P30 texture is just a little more forgiving as well as higher-quality in my opinion.
The slides on these guns are virtually identical. There is really no difference in the way they feel or work. The serrations look a little bit deeper on HK VP9, but they feel the same. The contours and the slider are also the same. Note that these slides are easy to manipulate using either the front or rear serrations. The serrations do extend a little bit further down the front of the HK VP9, but I have not noticed that providing any advantage over the HK P30.
Your sight options are going to be the same on these two guns unless you get the VP9 in the 2020 series where you will have two different sighting options.
Just stocked, the guns usually come with 3-dot luminescent sights. The sight picture on these is somewhat outdated and is the same picture that they use on the guns with night sights. Your night sights are again going to be basic 3-dot night sites. They work, but they are not great. I would definitely suggest replacing the sites on these guns with an aftermarket option.
Now, if you get the HK VP9 2020, a gun will come with a blacked-out rear and a bright white front site that is very wide and large. It is a pretty decent sight picture for a factory gun and works quite well. One thing you will need to note is if you decide to mount an optic on the HK VP9 2020 as it is cut for an optic, then the sights will probably not be tall enough to co-witness with an optic you would mount on this gun.
HK also has the HK VP9 2020 with suppressor-height sights and a threaded barrel. That model comes with 3-dot night sites, and it has a good sight picture, but it is still not great. They’re somewhat outdated. I would suggest replacing them with something that has been improved.
The aftermarket sights for these guns are the same. Basically, VP9 except for the same sites as the HK P30, so your offerings are identical. There are not a ton of sites out there on the market, but there are enough. Trijicon 10-8, Heinie, and a couple of others do make sites for these pistols. So there are usually enough options to keep you happy, although they may not be the perfect sites you were hoping for.
Red Dot Optics
Unfortunately, there is no red dot mounting option for the HK P30, but there is the option to mount a red dot to the VP9 from the factory. HK has the VP9 2020 series that is cut for the red dot. One thing to note is that it does not ship with any adapter plates, so you will need to purchase a plate before mounting your optic to the pistol. That is going to add to the overall cost of the system, but if you were to have an HK P30 milled for the red dot, it would be milled just for that red dot specifically and the cost is going to be significant as well.
That is something I would definitely consider doing to my P30, but realize there are not a ton of shops out there that do that due to the design of the slide and rear profile. There are roll pins in the rear of the slide that will interfere with installing a red dot. You’re going to want to be really careful and make sure you get an experienced shop that knows how to work around that when they are milling your pistol for an optic.
HK P30 vs VP9 Controls
There is no safety on the HK VP9, but the HK P30 is offered in multiple trigger variants. Depending on the variant you get, you can have a safety that will work to allow you to carry the gun cocked and locked, or you will even have just a de-cocker option on the gun. There are all types of variants, which I will cover in-depth below in the trigger section.
Trigger HK P30 vs VP9
The trigger on the HK VP9 is a pretty typical striker-fired trigger. It’s nothing special. It has a light take-up before you reach a wall. It has a plastic break and a negative reset just in front of that wall. The turnaround on the VP9 is decent but not great, but it’s a structural-fire trigger that’s relatively easy to use. The HK P30, on the other hand, is offered in multiple trigger variants. My own gun has the LEM light trigger in it.
The LEM light trigger has very light take-up, almost to the complete rear of the traveler. This is going to feel a little more pressure and then even to fill the hammer release. From the reset, it is going to reset very far forward with a decent amount of take-up, and then you are going to reach that wall again where the trigger breaks. The HK P30 LEM trigger takes some getting used to and is probably unlike anything you have felt before. The way I am describing it really does not do justice to just how different it is.
The HK P30 LEM trigger in particular is somewhat unique in that it is a pre-cocked double-action trigger. It acts as a double-action but it’s pre-cocked feature means that you’re going to partially move back the hammer with the light take-up, pull, and then finally break so the hammer drops. The HK P30 LEM is very safe for a holster because you can place your hand over the rear of the slide and keep the hammer from going back. There is no way you could have an accidental discharge while in the holster. It is a very cool system, and if you like unique, very safe triggers, this is probably one of them. This trigger has such a long trigger reach that I find it to be a little bit safer than many other triggers as well.
The slide lock on both of these guns are similarly positioned, but there is going to be a major advantage for the HK P30. The P30 slide locks are truly ambidextrous and are pretty much mirrored, so you can’t really tell a difference if you are using them as a right- or left-handed shooter.
The HK VP9, on the other hand, has a nearly-recessed slide lock on the left-hand side of the pistol set up for a right-hand, while the right-hand side of the pistol has a slightly extended slide lock. It’s a little bit easier to reach, but there is not as much real estate to grab on the HK VP9.
The magazine release on these two guns is identical as far as I can tell. They are excellent because of the HK paddle-style releases. I really like the way it is designed: very ergonomic and can be used from multiple techniques. I personally liked using my trigger finger drop, but you can also use your middle finger, or even your thumb. All methods will likely require you to break your grip on the pistol, but they still work fairly well. I really enjoy these as they class the pistol up and make them seem to be a little set apart from the other options on the market.
Magazine Well HK P30 vs VP9
The magazine well on these pistols is also nearly, if not identical. I really don’t care for it. It could be flared a little bit more, there is no real bevel on the one side, and what it has is very small so it’s easy to miss when reloading. If you have a good technique, that will not be an issue but it is something to take into account. The sides of the grip do have indentations though that will help you strip out a magazine if the pistol malfunctions and you need to clear the magazine from the gun.
That said, these HKs are very reliable pistols. If you are feeding them good quality ammo, that is likely not going to be an issue. I would rather have the ability to load the gun a little bit faster. You might like having a bombproof feature. It just depends on what features you’re looking for.
Quality-wise, there is a difference between these pistols. When you look at the slides themselves, there probably is not much of a difference between the two. Although the finish on the HK P30 does seem just slightly nicer, in my opinion, it’s not by much. You might not even be able to tell a difference when holding them side-by-side in the store. Although I can just tell a slight difference, it might be mental. There is a definite difference in the quality of the frame, however: the P30 polymer just seems to be of a much higher quality alongside the texture.
Overall, the HK P30 just seems like a much, much higher-quality pistol. It really sets it above the rest. The HK VP9, on the other hand, seems like just a slightly higher-quality pistol than your typical $500 polymer choice. The frame on the P30 is just excellent and the polymer quality cannot be beaten.
Aftermarket HK P30 vs VP9
There is really no aftermarket for the HK P30. The HK P30 and VP9 use the same magazines so you can get magazine extensions. There are some trigger parts as well, but there are also trigger parts for the HK VP9. There is not a lot offered for the HK VP9, but there is slightly more than the HK P30.
Due to that alone, I am going to have to say the winner of the HK P30 vs. VP9 aftermarket is the HK VP9, but not by much. These pistols come very well set up out of the box and do not need a lot of aftermarket components.
Aesthetics HK P30 vs VP9
Aesthetically, in my opinion, the HK P30 is definitely the winner vs. the VP9. The VP9 just looks a little busy and not as proportional as its counterpart either. It is a somewhat elegant firearm or it is on its way to being elegant, but it seems to fall a little bit short.
The HK P30 is probably one of the best-looking polymer frame pistols out there. If you want a real tactical-looking firearm that makes you think of German counter-terrorist units, then the HK P30 is probably the gun you will want to take a look at. It’s a gun of movie fantasies and just an excellent-looking firearm.
My answer might surprise you here. You’ve seen up to this point that there are definitely a couple of areas where I prefer the HK P30 to the HK VP9. While I have to say the HK P30 is definitely the gun I would buy and definitely the gun I enjoy shooting the most, I do shoot the HK VP9 better. If I was buying these guns for carry, I would definitely say the VP9 is the one for me.
They both have a pretty decent recoil impulse, although I think the impulse on the VP9 is slightly better. The HK P30 trigger is just odd and hard to get used to. The gun feels great when shooting it, but I can’t print as good of a group with the P30 as I can with the VP9. I think that would change if I spent a lot of time with the P30, but as long as I am shooting a variety of other pistols like SIGs, Glock, MNPs, and even double-action single-action CZs, the HK P30 LEM trigger is just very different to get used to when I am shooting it. I don’t really care for HK’s non-LEM triggers, so I don’t have any desire to get one of those.
HK P30 vs VP9 Price/Value: Buyer’s Preference
Despite their drastically different MSRPs, you can normally find the price on the HK VP9 vs HK P30 to be identical, so price won’t be a deciding factor.
HK P30 Pros
- Build quality
HK P30 Cons
- Less traditional trigger
HK VP9 Pros
- More traditional trigger
HK VP9 Cons
- Build quality
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.