Today the concealed carry market is flooded with options. These are mostly SIG's, Glock's, and Smith & Wesson M&P's but what about Heckler & Koch's pistols? Let's look at five pistols that Heckler & Koch offers to see which are good for concealed carry and which is the best option.
When selecting a pistol for concealed carry we always have to keep a few considerations in mind. These considerations are the role the pistol will play, its overall quality, its up keep, its aftermarket support, and its performance.
When it comes to Heckler & Koch, quality is expected, but that quality comes at a price. Their firearms are on the higher end of the price scale. Not necessarily the custom 1911 price range but most new production Heckler & Koch pistols sit in the $700 to $900 range with private sales ranging from roughly $600 to almost $1000 depending on the seller and modifications.
So if price is not an issue we now have a few other considerations. Magazines, aftermarket parts, and replacement parts will be expensive. But if you're buying Heckler & Koch products this is to be expected. Other considerations are magazine capacity and caliber.
Since the role of the pistol is concealed carry we will focus on 9mm options as it is becoming the most standardized semi-auto round. This is from the better capacity and standard performance (with modern hollow point ammunition) that this caliber offers. The following list goes from most to least viable.
Lets Compare the Heckler & Koch Product Line:
Heckler & Koch (H&K) VP9
Starting off our list is the H&K VP9. This is the full sized version of their VP striker-fired series and it comes in a number of configurations. Its standard sighting system is the three white dot front and rear sight combination that was introduced by H&K in the 1970s (although VP9s in 2020 will have a clean blacked out rear sight). While these sights will be more than sufficient for most shooters, tritium sights are available with some tactical models featuring them as standard. Additionally modern production H&K VP9s are optics ready, featuring a pre-machined mounting plate for modern red dot sights. You will have to purchase the corresponding bottom plate for your specific red dot, and there are five different plates that cover several different brands ranging from Leupold to Holosun.
The VP9 features capacities of 10, 15, and 17 round magazines which is on par with most other handguns in this category. Its official length is 7.34 inches with 5.41 inches of height weighing in at 25.56 ounces with an empty magazine (As per H&K's official site). It features roughly a 5lb trigger pull as its standard configuration. There are two types of magazine releases, a paddle and a button, with the paddle changing the reloading technique slightly. Most VP9s are extremely reliable when maintained, although care should be had in extremely sandy and dirty environments. Some of this can be mitigated with a quality holster especially for appendix carry.
Heckler & Koch (H&K) VP9SK
The next pistol is the subcompact version of the H&K VP9, the H&K VP9SK. Slightly smaller in most dimensions, the VP9SK features the modifiable grip and other features found on the larger VP9. If you're uncomfortable with the thought of carrying a full sized pistol, the H&K VP9SK might be a little more palatable. It features a similar capacity with 10, 13, and 15 round options, with the 13/15 round magazines extending the grip.
The drawbacks of a subcompact are less gun to hold on to and possible problems of getting control of the gun itself. Most of the problems with control can be solved with practice, which means dedication to the platform is required rather than swapping out pistols regularly.
Heckler & Koch (H&K) P30SK
Next on our list is the H&K P30SK. This subcompact hammered pistol is roughly the same as the VP9SK. Sights and magazine capacity are the same, with the greatest difference being the external hammer and external safety configurations. It comes in two hammer configurations. A standard double action/single action (DA/SA) configuration with textured hammer and optional ambidextrous safety. While the second configuration is double action only (DAO) which H&K calls their “Law Enforcement Modification” (LEM). The LEM allows for multiple trigger pulls without racking the slide, which means potential soft strikes or failures to fire can be remediated by pulling the trigger again.
As the market begins to pull father away from external hammers on pistols, the LEM version of this pistol allows for less potential snagging as the hammer projects less than the DA/SA models. There is also the added decocking function of the safety on the DA/SA models which would require additional practice to added to one's regimen
Heckler & Koch (H&K) P30
If a subcompact isn't for you but you like hammered designs, the H&K P30 is another good option. Many of H&K's pistols feature ambidextrous controls and the P30 line is no different. It also comes in the LEM configuration but comes with lowlight sights standard.
The drawbacks to the P30 is that is a larger, heavier design than the VP9. This means it will be harder to conceal. However holster, holster positioning and dress will determine how much it prints. It is recommend that an inside-the-waistband holster be used with this pistol for best concealment.
Heckler & Koch (H&K) P2000SK
The last and least recommended pistol is the H&K P2000SK. Yet another subcompact it is probably one of the smallest pistols on this list. This again brings up the problems of subcompact handguns for people with larger hands, controls are harder to reach and the hand hangs off the gun more. If you have smaller hands, this subcompact might be the option for you.
Primarily featuring the LEM configuration there is a DA/SA option with decocker. It also feature a rather heavy trigger pull that can be lowered by the appropriate H&K gunsmith, but expect a 7- 8lb trigger pull out of the box. It features a 10 round magazine capacity and standard sights.
In the modern world most handguns are going to perform as well as any other quality brand. The training and preferences of the individual user is going to make the most impact on the performance of the pistol.
Heckler & Koch is not the common man's pistol company, and if you are set on having one then you are definitely going to have the money to afford any of the products needed to support the use of the gun. All of these options offer rails to mount lights and other accessories to improve the ability that it offers.
The most forward thinking of all these options is the H&K VP9. This is because they have an optics ready version. Red dots and lights are force multipliers that augment the shooters skill by increasing the acceptable margin of error. If you purchase a VP9 you have to dedicate yourself to the platform to avoid control mix ups from other pistols.
*(All photos are property of their respective copyright holders and are used for illustrative purposes)