Initial Impressions Review: Heckler & Koch’s VP9 and the FNH’s FNS-9 Long Slide

Initial Impressions of the H&K VP9 and the FNS-9 Long Slide



Looks like all the major firearms manufacturers are getting into the striker fired game, just like they’ve got into the long slide, red-dot sight cut competition pistol game. Earlier this month, I had an opportunity to put some rounds downrange with the VP9 and the FNS-9 Long Slide.  Neither of these pistols are that new, but they are new to me.

Earlier in January, I made plans with my buddy Chuck to head out to the range. I periodically need to sling some 357 mag in order to keep up my skills in controlling that little hand grenade exploding in my hands. Chuck had just got a membership to a local range that just opened to strong liberal opposition. This joint was nice, and quite costly (their strategy must have been to make it so expensive that it prices all the riffraff out.)

The target carrier system was pretty sweet, the place was clean and state-of-the-art, and their rental guns were brand new! After the 357 mag over pressure made it rain pieces of sound deadening tile, we ran through a couple of mags of 300 blackout and then grabbed some rentals.

First Up: H&K VP9

The fit and finish of the H&K VP9 certainly lives up to its billing for being an H&K, even at an affordable price. I have both a USP and a USP compact, so I felt at home with the grip angle.

Controls were ambidextrous and familiar to those who own H&K’s, otherwise the mag release may confuse you a little at first.  The slide had two little rubber “charging supports” (per H&K) and the sights were phosphorescent, why bother?

Now onto trigger; it was sublime.  Smooth take-up, 1911-esque break, but a fairly long reset for my liking.  Dead nuts accurate right out of the box, and you can shoot it that way because of the ridiculously smooth & crisp trigger.  The rental gun probably didn’t have enough rounds through it to properly break it in, so I’d imagine that trigger will get even better with time.  This one is a keeper, but I’ll hold off to see if there’s a VP9SK.

Next Up: FNS-9 Long Slide

The FNS-9 also had a great fit and finish.  I mean, after all, we’re not talking about a couple of Kel-Tecs here.   The grip angle is similar to the H&K’s, but the texture is borderline rough, although you won’t complaining about sweaty hands slipping off.

The typical front cocking serrations adorn the slide (the fad now-a-days) along with white 3-dot sights, meh.  Although it’s a long slide, it’s not pre-cut for a red-dot slight.  Similar to the H&K, the controls are ambidextrous.

The trigger was disappointing.  It was gritty and spongy.  The pistol was as clean as a whistle, the high-end range certainly saw to that, so it wasn’t because the pistol was dirty.  Maybe because it was new?  A few hundred rounds to break it in would help, but the H&K was a champ out of the box.

The Verdict?

This isn’t a comparison, so I won’t compare the two.  Personally, I wouldn’t buy either one.  If I were in the market for a long slide competition pistol, I’d probably get one of the new Glock MOS pistols, already pre-cut for a red dot, comes stock with the “-” disconnector for a trigger that’s up there with the best of them.  The M&P CORE looks pretty, but requires an APEX trigger kit (=more $$$) in order not to completely suck.  The Glock is also reasonably priced, so it would make for a great range toy in addition to being beginner’s comp gun.  As far as the H&K goes, I’d wait for an SK variant before buying, because it doesn’t fit my criteria for concealed carry.

Not enough pictures?  You can drool all you want at H&K’s website or FHN’s Website.

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