The HK VP9 is Heckler & Koch’s entry into the polymer striker-fired market. HK was previously known for its double-action single-action pistols. Though they did have the metal-frame HK P7 and the HK VP70.
The first polymer striker-fired handgun on the market. However, neither gun has reached the commercial success of the Glock 19. In today’s comparison, we’re going to look at the HK VP9 vs the Glock 19 and see which firearm might be the best for you.
There are going to be some obvious disadvantages to both guns, but there are many advantages as well that you can note in your decision for the gun that’s right for you.
Table of contents
- HK VP9 vs Glock 19 Concealed Carry
- HK VP9 vs Glock 19 Quality
- HK VP9 vs Glock 19 Aesthetics
- HK VP9 vs Glock 19 Price/Value
|Metrics||Glock 19||HK VP9|
|Weight w/ no mag (Oz)||21.4||22.6|
|Weight w/ an empty mag (Oz)||23.9||25.6|
|Weight w/ a full mag (Oz)||29.4||33|
|Height (top of slide to bottom of magazine baseplate) (Inches)||4.89||5.34|
|Width of grip (Inches)||1.18||1.26|
|Width of slide (Inches)||1.00||1.13|
|Width across controls (Inches)||1.33||1.28|
HK VP9 vs Glock 19 Concealed Carry
Right off the bat, you’re going to see there are some immediate differences in the size of the gun. Their respective weights are close to identical, although there is a bit of a weight penalty on the HK VP9 since you’re also going to get two extra rounds of ammo if you’re using the updated VP9 2020 magazines that hold 17 rounds with a flushed magazine. Regardless of magazine, you’re only going to get 15 rounds off of the Glock 19. Those extra three ounces on the VP9 might be worth it if you’re also going to have two more rounds of ammunition.
The biggest difference between these two guns when it comes to concealment is going to be the height from the bottom of the magazine baseplate to the top of the slide. You have almost three-eighths of an inch’s difference with the VP9 vs. the Glock 19. That ends up in the Glock 19’s favor since that grip is shorter, making it much easier to conceal the Glock 19 vs HK VP9.
Heckler & Koch
However, there are some areas where the VP9 may actually conceal better due to the shape of the grip. The grip of the Glock 19 is very square. If you’re carrying the gun at four o’clock where the shape of the grip might be more important than the grip length, the Glock 19 may not conceal as well as the HK VP9 based on what you’re wearing. In that case, even though the HK VP9’s grip is considerably longer, it might actually conceal better at four o’clock if you’re carrying either OWB or IWB with a holster that has plenty of cant.
If your holster does not have built-in cant, then the Glock 19 is going to conceal better on average. The width on the HK VP9 is also just a little bit more that that of the Glock 19, but as we’ve gone over earlier, the shapeliness of the grip makes up for that slight extra width. Generally, concealment is definitely going to be in the Glock 19’s favor vs HK VP9, but things aren’t as clear as they seem.
You’re likely familiar with the reputation of the Glock 19 feeling like a two-by-four whereas the HK VP9 has an excellent reputation for its ergonomics. Well, there’s a little more to this story and it’s going to depend on several factors including hand size and shooting style.
The frame of the HK VP9 is different from pretty much all other striker-fired handguns on the market. It also has not only removable backstraps but removable side straps as well, so you have a lot of options to configure the gun to fit your hand. Personally, I don’t find the side straps to be that much of an advantage, but it’s a cool feature nonetheless without any noticeable downsides.
The Glock 19, on the other hand, has three different generations in current production. The Glock 19 Gen3 does not have any removable backstraps or modularity built into the gun — what you see is what you get. The fourth- and fifth-generation Glocks both come with the ability to add extra backstraps to increase your trigger reach.
The only difference between the Glock Gen 4 and Gen 5 when it comes to the frame is going to be the finger grooves: the Gen 4 has the while the Glock Gen 5 does not. The HK VP9 also has finger grooves, and, for myself, they work but are just slightly out of place. I would prefer seeing this gun without the grooves, to be honest.
If you have really large hands, the grip point on the HK VP9 may not work for you as the last finger groove butts out. The grip is going to be very uncomfortable for your pinky if your hand extends down past that finger groove at all. If you have smaller hands, that’s not an issue, but for the larger-handed individuals, it will be.
The Glock 19 has a shorter grip in general, meaning you have less room for your fingers regardless of finger grooves. I have medium- to large-sized hands and I get all my fingers on the grip of the Glock 19.
Conversely, I do have a little more room for my fingers to hang off on the HK VP9. That little bit of extra room is going to make a big difference for shooters with hands just slightly larger than mine. But, as I said earlier, if their hand gets more than slightly larger, they’re going to have issues gripping the gun comfortably with their pinky.
Again, this is where the multiple generations of the Glock get complicated when comparing the HK VP9 vs Glock 19 with multiple generations.
Glock Gen3 Texture
The texture on Gen3 Glocks is very slick unless you get the RTF2 finish, which was only made in limited batches and therefore uncommon to find. Nevertheless, the slick finish doesn’t help and it’s my least preferred texturing on the Glock pistols.
Gen 4 Texturing
On the Gen4 guns, you have a slightly more aggressive texture than Gen3, but not as aggressive as the Gen5. It’s definitely not going to cause you discomfort when carrying, but it also might leave you wanting a little more texture when you’re shooting since it would be nice to have a more aggressive grip.
Glock Gen 5 Texturing
When it comes to Gen 5, this has to be my favorite Glock texturing. The texturing works great but isn’t overly aggressive. When you’re carrying the gun against your skin concealed, it’s not going to cause shaking or discomfort, but when you’re shooting the gun it’s definitely going to keep the grip in place as long as you’re holding it tight enough.
The HK has a different texture altogether that goes 360 degrees around the grip, but when you look closely, it looks like a bunch of bananas strung out on a floor. Funnily enough, the grip isn’t slippery like you would expect a banana peel to be.
The grip slides easily through your hand when you’re going to draw the gun or just handle it. The second you lock down and tighten up your grip, it does a really good job of staying in place. I’m really impressed with what HK did on this texturing.
Glock slides are blocky, boring, and some of them come with forward-cocking serrations while others do not. The cocking serrations work, but they’re not as aggressive as they should be. They actually feel slightly more aggressive and sharp than the VP9’s cocking serrations, but the HK slide is a little bit wider with a draft angle built into the side. It’s just a little bit easier to use the slide on the HK than it is on the Glock 19.
The HK slide has a slightly weaker recoil spring with polymer wings mounted underneath the rear sight on the HK that make it easier to cock the slide. They provide just a little more leverage for somebody with weaker hands and are easily removable by taking off the rear sight. I think it’s a great feature to have and a smart move on HK’s part.
Both of these guns come with different sight options, but when you’re comparing the Glock 19 vs. the HK VP9, it’s easier to talk about the sights separately.
Glock 19s come with three main sight options. You’re going to have the polymer slot-filler sights out of the box, which work but they’re not durable and should immediately be replaced with better aftermarket options. I like getting my guns with these sights because it reduces upfront cost and I can put a set of sights on the gun that I really like and enjoy soon after.
They’re also available with standard Glock night sights, which are just night sights made by Meprolight and are pretty common for what you’d find in the mid-2000s and early 2010s. They’re a very outdated design, but they work well.
My favorite is the AmeriGlo Sight available from the Glock factory. They have a bright orange front with a tritium vial while the rear has a tritium vial on each side of the square notch but is otherwise blacked out. It provides an excellent sight picture during the daylight but also works pretty well in low light. These are some of the best factory-installed night sights I’ve seen on any of the guns currently available on the market.
The HK VP9 has three sight options as well. You have standard three-dot luminescent sights, which shine very brightly when they’re exposed to light before bringing the gun into a low-light situation.
However, they don’t work that well during the daylight, and if you keep the gun in an OWB holster, your front sight (which is the sight you want to be the brightest) is not going to be exposed to light while the rear would be. In that situation, if you were to go into a dark room and draw your gun, your rear sights will be charged while your front sight would not. Those sights are less than ideal, and I would suggest replacing them immediately.
HK also offers the same sight picture but with three-dot night sights. They work well, but they’re not great and are similar to the Glock Meprolight sights that I mentioned earlier. The HK VP9 2020 comes with a blacked-out rear sight with no tritium and a front luminescent sight with a very large white dot. Those sights are my favorite of the HK VP9 offerings. They work pretty well. The only downside is that the HK VP9 2020 is an optic variant and the sights are not tall enough to co-witness with most of the red-dot optics on the market.
HK VP9 vs Glock 19 Aftermarket
There aren’t many aftermarket options for the VP9 while there is a ton for the Glock. Dawson Precision, Heneie, 10-8, and Trijicon are some of the only companies supporting the HK VP9 while there are more offerings for Glock 19s than any other gun.
Red Dot Optics
If you’re looking for a gun that accepts almost any optic out of the box, then the Glock 19 is going to be your go-to. The HK VP9 2020 optics-ready gun doesn’t include mounting plates, so you’ll have to purchase those separately. It’s very common for Glock users to do that as well, but you still have the option of using the included factory plates with the Glock 19 MOS.
Trigger HK VP9 vs Glock 19
We’re going to have to talk about all three generations of Glocks here as well. The Glock trigger overall is going to have a common style: light take-up before an area where you’re going to have to start to apply more pressure, and then it breaks. From that break, you’re going to have a very short and positive reset. The increased pressure area of the break is what’s going to differ from generation to generation, which I will cover below.
Glock Gen 3 Trigger
The break on the Glock Gen3 trigger is very stiff with a very hard and heavy wall. Some like it; some hate it. I personally can shoot it quite well, but it’s not my favorite, and I’ve come to dislike it a little bit the more I’ve learned about the shooting.
Gen 4 Trigger
The trigger on a Glock Gen4 is not quite as heavy or stiff as the wall on the Gen3, but it’s not as rolling as it is on the Gen5. This is somewhat of a hybrid trigger between a stiff wall and rolling break.
Glock Gen5 Trigger
This is the new current favorite of most consumers. The Glock Gen5 trigger has a nice rolling break. While it has a lot of grip in it, it’s just a very shootable trigger and works well for most people. The truth is, it’s predictable but at the same time, if you pull slow enough, it definitely has the ability to surprise you when it goes off.
HK VP9 Trigger
The HK VP9, on the other hand, is a very clean trigger. It has an extremely light take-up that hits a wall fairly far forward. From that wall, you’re going to feel the trigger snap like a carrot. It has a very clean break, but this trigger isn’t award-winning.
A lot of people have said great things about the HK VP9 trigger in the past and I just haven’t seen it with any of the VP9s I’ve handled. It’s a good, solid trigger, but it’s not markedly different than anything else currently on the market. All of the striker-fired triggers seem to be pretty good, but none are absolutely fantastic.
The HK VP9 trigger feels like plastic, which would be one of my main complaints. It doesn’t feel like a finely-engineered German pistol should. That being said, it works and a lot of people are going to like it. The trigger is really just going to come down to opinions and personal preference. I can’t see a major advantage for the HK VP9 vs. Glock 19 in any category.
Well, the Glock Gen3 and Gen4 guns do not have ambidextrous slide locks. That right there takes points off of them over the HK VP9, but the VP9 and Glock 19 Gen5 guns both have ambidextrous locks. Now, the slide lock on HK VP9 is very well-designed, but it’s somewhat recessed which makes it a little harder to use than the lock on the Glock 19.
For that reason, I’m going to actually say I prefer the Glock 19 slide stop. But the HK VP9’s slide lock are better engineered. The HK VP9 is just recessed slightly too much in my opinion. That said, there’s probably not more than a 3-percent difference between these two, so I’m really nitpicking when I say that.
HK VP9 vs Glock 19 Magazine Release
There are drastic differences between the magazine release on the HK VP9 and the Glock 19. Glock 19 magazine releases are going to vary again based on generation, but the Gen3 magazine release should be replaced with a Vickers Tactical TangoDown magazine release. That’s a major improvement over the original design.
The Glock Gen 4 and Gen 5 are much better and don’t need to be replaced out of the box. But they could use some improvement. They’re easy enough to reach and work with a standard push-up magazine release system.
I am a big fan of the magazine release on the HK VP9. It is a title-style release that HK is known for and you can use multiple techniques to drop your magazine. You can use your trigger finger, primary-hand middle finger, or your primary-hand thumb to drop the magazine. However, all of these require you to break your grip on the gun.
If you don’t want to break your grip on the gun, then you’re going to want to go with a Glock. I personally really liked the release on the HK VP9. It’s very secure and you never have to worry about inadvertently dropping a magazine. The magazine will not become unseated unless you purposely drop it. With the Glock 19, there are multiple situations where the button could somehow be slightly depressed and unseat the magazine.
The magazine well on the Glock 19 Gen5 is an absolute work of art. They use a massive bevel down the magazine well that makes it really easy to reload. Unfortunately, the Gen3 and Gen4 Glock 19s and HK VP9 do not have magwells that are that good.
HK VP9 vs Glock 19 Quality
The HK VP9 definitely seems to be a higher-quality pistol than the Glock 19. In my opinion, it is probably 10-percent higher in quality than the Glock 19 just from feel alone. Again, this is all opinion and there might not be an actual quality difference. It does seem and feel to be a high-quality handgun comparatively. However, it also comes with an increased price which we’ll cover below.
There’s not a big aftermarket for the HP VP9. That’s unfortunate, but it’s the truth — there just isn’t much out there. The Glock 19, on the other hand, has more than you could ever hope for. The Glock 19 definitely wins vs. the HK VP9 when it comes to aftermarket accessories.
HK VP9 vs Glock 19 Aesthetics
Aesthetically, I think I prefer the HK VP9 over the Glock 19. The Glock 19 is a very utilitarian-looking handgun while the HK VP9 has slightly more elegance.
One thing I could complain about is that the design details on the HK VP9. They make it look just a little bit busier. It’d be nice to add a slicker design with HK doing away with a lot of the markings on the gun to make features a little less detailed on the frame and slide. Again, this is a personal preference, and you can tell which one you like better just by looking at those.
Shooting these guns is quite different. The HK VP9 has more muzzle flip, but it’s also a softer-recoiling gun that tracks really well. It’s almost like shooting a polymer striker-fired CZ 75 solid. The Glock 19, on the other hand, has more recoil but less muzzle flip and it just shoots faster.
It’s a little more violent and a faster-cycling gun, but I tend to prefer the way the Glock 19 shoots. Ultimately, it’s just going to be based on personal preference depending on what shooting style you have. I think if you get used to either gun you’re going to be able to shoot it very well.
HK VP9 vs Glock 19 Price/Value
You’re going to pay around $150 more for the HK VP9 than you’ll pay for a comparable Glock 19. There is no doubt the VP9 is a higher-quality firearm. I don’t think that’s enough to make up for the price difference.
If you’re trying to stretch your dollar the furthest, then get the Glock 19. However, if you like the more refined features of the HK and don’t mind paying a premium, then that’s going to be the better gun for you. There is no clear winner in the value of Glock 19 vs. HK VP9, but you’ll likely be able to easily make this decision for yourself.
Glock 19 Pros
- Size for carry
Glock 19 Cons
HK VP9 Pros
HK VP9 Cons
- Size for carry
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.