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HK VP9 vs Glock 17

Today, we’re comparing the Heckler & Koch (HK) VP9 vs the Glock 17 to help you decide which gun is best for you. There is no such thing as the best gun or a one-size-fits-all solution. So we’ll take a look at the grip, recoil impulse, sights, price, and more so you can decide which gun fits your individual needs.

An image of HK VP9 vs Glock 17 side-by-side.

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.

Size

MetricsGlock 17HK VP9
Weight w/ no mag (Oz)22.222.6
Weight w/ empty mag (Oz)2525.6
Weight w/ full mag (Oz)32.433
Height (top of slide to bottom of magazine baseplate) (Inches)5.315.34
Length (Inches)7.447.29
Width of grip (Inches)1.181.26
Width of slide (Inches)1.011.13
Width across controls (Inches)1.331.28

HK VP9 vs Glock 17 Concealed Carry

From a size standpoint, the HK VP9 and the Glock 17 are nearly identical, including their respective weights. They both hold 17 rounds, even though the HK VP9 originally shipped with 15-round magazines. You can now get 17-round flush-fit magazines for both guns.

From a concealment standpoint, you’re not going to see an advantage for one gun over the other. I will say with certain types of clothing, the grip shape on the HK VP9 vs Glock 17 will be more concealable. 

HK VP9

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I know this sounds counterintuitive, but the shapelier grip on the HK VP9 will act somewhat like a revolver grip with some clothing. Meanwhile, the blocky grip of the Glock 17 will somehow do the same thing. Different types of materials will hang to the grip differently and cause you to print while others will not. Both of these guns can be used for any kind of IWB or OWB carry. 

If you plan to carry these guns concealed, realize you will definitely need a reliable holster. And always make sure your clothing and the size of your body are appropriate for these guns. If you’re a very small individual, you’ll likely have printing issues with these firearms. If not, they’ll conceal just fine.

Overall Ergonomics

A side-by-side photo of the HK VP9 vs Glock 17

Frame

Right off the bat, you’ll see that the biggest difference between the HK VP9 vs the Glock 17 is going to be in the frames. The Glock 17 comes in three generations: Gen 3, Gen 4, and Gen 5. There are also Gen 1 and 2 guns, but they have been out of production for a while. The Gen 3 guns have a fairly large grip with no modularity. However, the Gen 4 and Gen 5 variations have a small grip with the ability to add extra back straps onto the gun to make it larger.

Two of these backstrap options that ship with the gun include beavertails. The Glock 17 Gen 4 and Gen 5 ship with medium and large back straps as well as medium and large backstraps with beavertails, so you will receive 4 total with those generations.

Glock 17

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A difference between the Gen 4 and Gen 5 Glock 17s involves their finger grooves. Specifically, that the Gen 4 guns have finger grooves while Gen5s do not. The HK VP9 has finger grooves with more modularity built into the grip, three sides of removal backstraps, and side panels. The side panels are unique to the HK guns. The only guns that I am aware of that have moved the side panels are the HK VP9, VP9SK, and P30 series.

The grip on both guns is almost identical, so you’re not going to see a difference there. As far as feel in the hand goes, the HK VP9 definitely feels more ergonomic in spite of a lip at the bottom of the grip where one of the finger grooves extends. If you have longer or larger hands, then the HK VP9 may not be as comfortable for you compared to the Glock 17. That extended finger groove will likely dig into your pinky. Personally, I should note that I’m able to get a very solid grip with the Glock 17 vs the HK VP9 due to the blocky ergonomics. Blocky ergonomics work in some cases, and this is one of them.

Texture

The texture on the Glock, again, is going to depend on what generation of gun you have. The Gen 3 texturing is very slick unless you have the RTF2 texturing, which was produced in very limited numbers. Comparatively, the Gen 4 texturing is a little (but not very) aggressive. Lastly, the Gen 5 texturing is much more aggressive, but not so much that it’ll chafe your skin when you’re carrying the gun.

In my opinion, the HK VP9 has slightly better texturing than the Gen 3 and Gen 4 guns. It looks like a little banana thrown out on a floor, but believe it or not, it still has a pretty good grip. If you just lightly rub your finger over the texture, it doesn’t feel aggressive at all. Once you get your hand on the gun and lock it in place, the texturing does a good job of keeping your hands still on the gun. 

HK VP9

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Now, the Glock 17 Gen 5 texturing is slightly more aggressive. So if you like aggressive texturing, you’re going to want to go with the Glock 17. But if the texturing on the Glock 17 is just a little too aggressive for you, then you’ll probably prefer the HK VP9.

Slide

A photo of HK VP9

There’s no competition here. The Glock slide has a very slick finish and the serrations really aren’t that aggressive. Depending on the model you get, it may or may not have serrations and they’ll work, but they’re not great. The HK VP9 serrations, on the other hand, are not quite as aggressive as I would like, but they still work very well. With the finish on the slide not being as slick as the Glocks’, I’m going to have to give the win here to the HK.

A photo of Glock 17

Sights

Stock

HK comes with four different sighting options depending on the variation of the gun you get. If you get the HK VP9 2020 standard model, it will have a black-dot rear sight and a large luminescent front dot. This sighting picture’s my preferred sight picture for the HK VP9 series. It’s good, but it’s still not great.

The other options are 3-dot luminescent and 3-dot night sights. These sights all tend to have an outdated sight picture that is not that great and you’ll probably want to replace them. You also have the suppressor-height night sights for the HK VP9 2020, which are a good option if you plan to add an optic and want sights that will co-witness.

Glock 17

Glock 17s In-Stock
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On the other hand, the Glock has multiple sight options with their famous plastic slot fillers, which you’re likely familiar with. Those are easily replaced, but they also ship from the factory with AmeriGlo night sights. These AmeriGlo night sights have a blacked-out rear with two tritium vials, a square notch, and a front sight with a bright orange ring around a tritium vial. These work great in both the daylight and at nighttime. I’m going to have to give the advantage here to the Glock 17 as far as factory sight options.

Aftermarket

There are sufficient aftermarket offerings for the HK VP9, but there are a lot more for the Glock 17. It’s a no-brainer that the Glock 17 is the winner vs. the HK VP9 when it comes to aftermarket sights.

Red-Dot Optics

Buying a red-dot for your pistol is going to be easy with either the HK VP9 or Glock 17. The HK VP9 has the 2020 series that offers you the ability to mount a red-dot optic. Now, this optic setup doesn’t include any mounting plates, so you’ll have to purchase your mounting plate separately. The Glock 17 MOS does include mounting plates, but a lot of people prefer to go with aftermarket plates anyway that fixed some engineering flaws in the Glock design.

HK VP9

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HK VP9s In Stock

Either way, you’ll likely be buying a mounting plate, which will add to the expense of either pistol. Both the Glock 17 MOS and HK VP9 2020 normally come with a plastic slot for their sights. This means you’ll have to upgrade the suppressor-height sights as well to co-witness the optic. Most optics you’ll likely run on the gun (e.g. a Holosun 507k or Trijicon RMR) will not co-witness with the sights installed on the gun.

Controls

Trigger

The trigger on the HK VP9 is very consistent. It has a light, short take-up and then you reach a wall fairly far forward in the trigger pull. Once you reach that wall, you can feel a little bit of pressure build before the trigger breaks. It’s a clean break, and from the reset, it goes a little more than a millimeter or two in front of the wall. Again, from that wall, you build the constant buildup before the trigger breaks cleanly.

Now, when it comes to the Glocks, there’s going to be a different trigger feel for each generation, but overall they will have some similarities. Those similarities are that you’re going to feel light take-up before you reach a heavier portion and that after the trigger breaks, you’re going to have a fairly short reset. We’ll describe each generation at the wall and lead-up to the break below.

Gen3 Glock Trigger

The difference between the Glock Gen 3 trigger and the rest of the triggers is that the Gen 3 has a very hard and stiff wall with a very heavy trigger as well.

Gen4 Glock Trigger

The Glock Gen 4 is a hybrid between the Gen 3 and Gen 5. It’s somewhere between a hard stiff wall and a rolling break but doesn’t quite fit into either category.

Gen5 Glock Trigger

The Glock Gen 5 trigger has a little more creep than the other variants, but it also has a very nice rolling break. A lot of people that don’t like Glock triggers normally will upgrade them to aftermarket parts, but I haven’t seen as many people doing it with the Gen 5 trigger as it just seems to be a little more shootable than the other trigger variants.

Glock 17

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Slide Lock

Again, the Glock Gen 3 through 5 has different slide lock variations. Your Gen 4 and Gen 5 slide locks sit on the left-hand side of the gun set up for right-handed shooters only while the Gen5 slide locks are ambidextrous. You can also switch these out to Glock factory OEM extended slide locks, whereas with the HK, you’re stuck with what comes on the gun. 

In the factory format, I’m going to say the Glock is pretty equal to the HK VP9, making this a tie. The design on the HK VP9 seems better, but the slide locks themselves are recessed into the slide, so it’s not quite as easy to reach as the Glock slide locks.

Magazine Release

The HK VP9 comes with two different mag release options: you have the standard HK paddle (which I really like), and then you have the HK VP9-B variant, which is a push-button-style release. In my opinion, the HK having a button-style release is counterintuitive and not a great choice. The company is known for excellent paddle-style releases, and the HK VP9 is no exception. It offers a lot of options and seems like a classier set up than a push-button style release.

HK VP9

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HK VP9s In Stock

I like the fact that I can use multiple techniques to drop the magazine and, despite what some people say, it’s just as fast as a push-button-style release. Most of the time you spend reloading the firearm is going to be getting the new mag up and into the gun, not dropping your magazine. The paddle release will work just fine.

The Glock has a standard push-button style release and is reversible for left-handed shooters. It works, but it feels like every other Glock release and depending on the variation you get, you may want to upgrade it to an aftermarket mag release. I think that’s a must with the Gen 3, as the Gen 3 magazine release is very small and sharp while the Gen 4 and Gen 5 releases are a little bit better.

Quality

Overall, the quality of the HK VP9 just seems better. The slide finish and polymer on the frame seems better, but that’s not to say that the Glock is any slouch when it comes to quality. Both these guns are well-made firearms. I think the HK just has a slight edge.

Aftermarket

There are limitless aftermarket options for the Glock 17 while there aren’t as many for the HK VP9. Because of that, there’s no contest the Glock wins the aftermarket section hands-down.

Aesthetics

Both of these guns are fairly attractive firearms, but I think the HK VP9 has a slight edge. The texturing and the slide serrations really match well together and HK did a good job of being detail-oriented without being too busy. 

The Glock 17, on the other hand, just looks kind of plain. Neither are bad-looking firearms, though, and neither are exactly exquisite. The HK seems to have a polish that the Glock does not. At the end of the day, it’s your gun, your preference, and this is something you can easily pick out by looking at photos.

Shooting

Shooting these guns is really the test to see which one is better, and I’m going to have to say the HK VP9 seems to shoot just a little bit better — but differently — than the Glock 17. The slide has a little more up-and-down movement during firing, but it has less felt recoil than the Glock. The Glock has a slightly faster cyclic rate, but the HK VP9’s just a little smoother on the recoil impulse. It’s going to depend on what type of gun you prefer. 

I personally really like the way a Glock shoots. It seems a little bit faster and snappier to me, which I like, whereas the HK VP9 has more of a slower push. I think newer, more inexperienced shooters will be better served with the HK VP9 while more-experienced shooters might be able to get a little slight edge on performance out of the Glock series.

Glock 17

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Price/Value

Street price on the Glock 17 ranges from $500 to $620 while the HK VP9 ranges from $650 to $800. If you’re looking for a function that comes with a good set of sights, buying a mid-end Glock with Ameriglo sights from the factory is going to be the best value since it’ll be between $80 and $100 less than an HK VP9 before you buy a decent set of sights for the HK VP9. 

If you want an optics-ready version, then you’ll still have to spend less money on the Glock. It’s cheaper, and both the HK VP9 and Glock 17 require you to purchase suppressor-height sights, so that’s a wash financially. The Glock 17 MOS does come with mounting plates, but a CHPWS mounting plate is still suggested for the Glock, so you’ll need to take that into account.

HK VP9

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HK VP9s In Stock

Despite the Glock 17 offering similar capabilities for less money, the HK offers a certain amount of refinement that the Glock 17 lacks. Not everyone is willing to spend the money on that refinement, but if you are, it’ll be worth it to you.

Related Articles

Pros/Cons

Glock 17 Pros

  • Sight options
  • Magazine cost
  • Magazine options

Glock 17 Cons

  • Ergonomics 

HK VP9 Pros

  • Ergonomics
  • Slide serrations

HK VP9 Cons

  • Cost
  • Sight options

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