Building America’s Largest Online Gun Deals Platform. Start Your Search Today! clean search

  1. Home
  2. Reviews
  3. Pistols & Revolvers
  4. Heckler & Koch VP9SK: Compact Concealed Carry Excellence
Heckler & Koch VP9SK: Compact Concealed Carry Excellence preview image
Aug 21 2023
11 min read

Heckler & Koch VP9SK: Compact Concealed Carry Excellence


In June 2014, Heckler & Koch (HK) introduced the VP9. The VP9 is a full-size polymer-framed handgun that was an instant hit. It took on the role of a duty gun and home defense gun for many. However, some complained it was rather large for EDC.

Listening to consumers, HK rolled out a new model within the VP line in 2017…the HK VP9SK.

The VP stands for Volkspistole or “people’s pistol,” and the SK designates the subcompact size of the firearm.

The VP9SK is loaded with features that make it a solid choice for self-defense: interchangeable grip panels, ambidextrous controls, patented ‘charging supports’, and a trigger that feels more like a single-action auto than a striker-fired gun.

We’ll get into the details below, but suffice it to say the engineers at HK did an excellent job on this handgun.

HK VP9SK Review

HK VP9SK For Sale

eurooptic.comCHECK PRICE
shootingsurplus.comCHECK PRICE

In the world of compact and subcompact carry guns, the buyer needs to consider the overall size of the gun, the magazine capacity, and the shootability of the gun, among other things, to help make it as close to perfect as possible for the shooter.

The VP9SK is available in several variants. All come standard with three sets of backstraps and grip side panels to customize the grip size and shape for a wide variety of shooters. Some variants even come with night sights and optic-ready slides.


Capacity10, 13, and 15 Rounds
Weight 23.07 Ounces
Overall Length6.61 Inches
Overall Width1.31 Inches
Overall Height4.57 Inches
Barrel Length3.39 Inches
FramePolymer; Includes three sets of backstraps and lateral grip panel
SlideMachined Steel w/ hostile environment finish
BarrelCold Hammer Forged Cannon Steel; Polygonal Rifling
TriggerPrecision Strike Trigger

Pros & Cons

  • Customizable grip configuration with backstraps and side panels
  • Excellent HK polygonal rifled barrel
  • Optic ready and night sight options
  • Excellent trigger – feels more like a single action than a striker-fired gun
  • Ambidextrous controls
  • Reliable and accurate
  • The VP9SK may be a little pricey for some
  • Snappy recoil – for me, the recoil was pretty sharp

Going Hot With the VP9SK

hk vp9sk hands on review

I had spent some time with the full-size VP9 after my local range brought one in for the rental fleet, and really liked how the gun handled. I was intrigued when I saw the VP9SK come out a few years back, given my prior experience with the VP9.

I was finally able to shoot the VP9SK at SHOT Show earlier this year. Picking it up, the gun immediately felt good in my hand.

The paddle-style magazine release at the rear of the trigger was easy to manipulate, and the supplied magazines easily dropped free when the paddle was depressed. Likewise, the magazines fed into the mag well with no issues and seated securely every time.

hk vp9sk close up
The paddle-style magazine release can be seen at the rear of the trigger guard.

The gun I shot had a pretty pronounced bulge in the backstrap, and although it felt OK, the recoil was a bit sharp in the palm of my hand. I believe swapping out the backstrap for a flatter version would have helped with the felt recoil.

That said, the gun was easy to control and ran pretty flat when shooting faster strings. The trigger was very smooth and had a very short reset.

I don’t shoot much with red dot optics, but the grip angle and low-mounted Holosun sight let me pick up the dot quickly and keep it on target with no issues.


The several magazines I fired all functioned flawlessly. The slide release was easy to reach, and the gun locked open on an empty magazine every time. There were no failures on the part of the gun, magazines, or ammo in my short time with the gun.

Although time on the range at SHOT Show is pretty limited, the guns get a workout in less-than-perfect conditions, and the HK ran like you expect an HK to run – without a single issue.


I was shooting primarily at about seven yards and had no problem consistently placing my shots close to one another in the center of the target(s). I had an opportunity to transition between two steel plates, and the gun/sight combination allowed me to hit center mass on both with no problem.

Overall Feel

The gun feels good in the hand and with the included backstraps and side panels, the shooter can perfectly make this gun fit them. As mentioned earlier, the recoil was a little sharp, but I believe that partially resulted from how the backstrap fits my hand. All the controls were easy to reach and functioned perfectly each time.


hk vp9sk ambidextrous controls

Patented Charging Supports

One of the interesting features HK included from the full-size VP9 is the patented charging supports.

The charging supports consist of small ‘ears’ at the slide’s rear, providing a very sturdy platform to push/pull against when racking the slide. For those with compromised grip strength or smaller hands, these supports make racking the slide much easier.

hk vp9sk close up slide with holosun red dot
Right below the rear sight, you’ll notice the charging support.

Customizable Grips

hk vp9sk grip review

All of the VP9SK models come with three backstraps and three side grip panels. Mixing and matching backstrap and side panel modules allows the shooter to custom fit the gun to their hand and grip style.

The grip also has molded finger grooves and is moderately textured for a secure grip.

hk vp9sk hands on at shot show
There is texturing over the majority of the grip to assist with control.

Cold-Forged, Polygonal Rifled Barrel

HK has used polygonal rifling in many of its over the years. This means there is no traditional lands-and-grooves rifling and helps to lengthen the barrel life. Every HK pistol I have had the opportunity to shoot exhibited exceptional accuracy, which I would imagine is partly due to the quality barrel.

Ambidextrous Controls

hk vp9sk hands on testing and review

With fully ambidextrous controls, the VP9SK is an excellent option for the left-handed shooter. I like the paddle-style magazine release that sits behind and below the trigger guard. With this style of magazine release, the shooter can choose to drop the magazine with their index finger or thumb.

The downward stroke on the paddle is very easy to learn and get used to. It’s nice not to have to change your grip to drop a magazine.

You can also see in the picture below the slide stop lever is also ambidextrous.

hk vp9sk

Optic Ready and Night Sight Versions

hk vp9sk front and rear sights

The HK website shows 18 VP9SK variants. Several variants are optic-ready, some have night sights installed, and two come with Holosun optics installed. Being able to order the gun you want with the sighting option you prefer saves you time and money instead of having to add aftermarket options.

Score Card

Reliability (10/10)

HK’s are known for reliability. The guns are torture tested and designed for the harshest environments. With no failures in the gun I tested, and as the owner of a first-generation HK USP in 40 S&W that has never malfunctioned, I would go out on a limb and say the VP9SK will likely serve you well for a lifetime.

Ergonomics (10/10)

With the included grip modules and the ambidextrous controls, the VP9SK can easily be customized for most shooters. The gun is comfortable and easy to shoot.

Accuracy (7.5/10)

One can’t make a definitive statement about accuracy without shooting from a rested position. Suffice it to say this gun is a subcompact carry or EDC gun, not a match gun. For defensive purposes, it is more than accurate enough.

Value (10/10)

Although the list and street price might be a little higher than other subcompact guns currently on the market, the VP9SK offers a lot of gun for the money. After all, you are getting a Heckler and Koch gun designed and manufactured in Germany with a reputation for quality earned by military, law enforcement, and civilians worldwide.


Falco Hybrid Concealment Set

Falco Hybrid Concealment Set

With a great gun like the VP9SK, you need a great way to carry it concealed, and the Falco set has everything you need, just like your new gun. With a very comfortable hybrid leather/kydex IWB holster, you will be sure never to leave the house without your gun. The holster can also be ordered to accommodate a weapon-mounted light.

Streamlight TLR-7A

Streamlight TLR-7A

The VP9SK has a mil-spec Picatinny rail section to mount lights or lasers. The TLR-7A is a compact, 500-lumen light that is a perfect companion for your new HK. It also features high and low activation switches to match your grip style. The light runs on a single CR123A battery with a 1.5-hour run time.

Snakestaff Systems Tourniquet

Snakestaff Systems Tourniquet

For many folks who carry a gun for their profession or to protect their family, finding quality first aid gear that is readily accessible can be a challenge.

The Snakestaff Systems compact tourniquet is a great solution. The fully functional tourniquet will easily fit in a magazine pouch for double-stack 9mm mags. Now you can easily carry your firearm, an extra mag, and critical lifesaving gear without leaving something behind.


CZ P-10 S

palmettostatearmory.comCHECK PRICE

The subcompact model in CZ’s P-10 line is an excellent option for those looking for a quality carry gun at a very affordable price. With a 12+1 capacity, rugged fixed sights, an aggressively textured grip, and a very crisp trigger, this gun offers many features for an MSRP of just $399.

The slide has enough material that it can be cut for an optic like the Holosun 507K. With CZ’s reputation for quality and accuracy, the P-10 S is sure to become a favorite for concealed carry.

Sig Sauer P365 XL

gunprime.comCHECK PRICE
grabagun.comCHECK PRICE

The P365 series pistols are among the most popular in the concealed carry marketplace today. They come with a reputation for accuracy and dependability. The 365 XL is optic-ready, has a 12+1 standard capacity, a decent trigger, and night sights installed.

sig sauer p365xl ejection port

With the option to use higher-capacity magazines in states that permit such things, the P365XL is a very capable handgun. With a retail price in the $600 range, it sits between the CZ and the HK pricewise. It’s worthy of your consideration if you are looking for a great carry gun.

sig sauer p365xl with magazine

See our Sig Sauer P365 XL review for more information.


The HK VP9SK offers many out-of-the-box features that many shooters seek in a carry gun.

Excellent reliability, accuracy and the ability to customize the gun to the shooter make this a very appealing package – kind of a one-stop shop.

There is no need to add a bunch of aftermarket parts or accessories to get the gun configured the way you want it. When you look at the cost savings alone, the price point begins to make sense with the VP9SK.

Overall, HK’s VP9SK is a fine subcompact pistol that should provide a lifetime of service and quality shooting experiences. You can not go wrong considering the VP9SK as an option for your concealed carry tool.

If you have experience with the VP9SK, we’d love to hear your feedback and what you love or hate about your pistol!

Additional Resources

Disassembling And Reassembling Your HK VP9SK

To keep your HK VP9SK in good condition, you should clean and lubricate it regularly. But before you do that, you need to know how to safely and correctly disassemble and reassemble your pistol. You can watch some helpful videos on YouTube that show you how to do that step by step.

Resources From Heckler & Koch

In addition, here are some useful links from Heckler & Koch about the VP9SK:

VP9SK – Heckler & Koch: This is the official product page for the VP9SK, where you can find information about the features and specifications of the pistol, as well as the available models and accessories.

OPERATOR’S MANUAL VP SERIES – Heckler & Koch: This is the operator’s manual for the VP series pistols, including the VP9SK. The manual contains important safety rules, instructions on how to load, unload, fire, and maintain your pistol, as well as a parts list and a warranty information.

Finding The Best Price For The HK VP9SK

If you are looking for the best deal on the HK VP9SK online, you can use Gun Made’s advanced search engine to find the lowest prices from various sellers. is the largest online search engine for guns.

By simply entering your desired product, in this case, the HK VP9SK, the search engine quickly presents a list of options from various sellers. This allows you to compare prices and find the best deal for your budget.

Written by Randy Bauman
Randy Bauman photo Randy Bauman is a firearm, shooting, hunting, and outdoor enthusiast.  Randy has been an NRA Certified Rifle and Shotgun Instructor since 1992 and for 7 years was the lead instructor for the BSA's Western Region National Camping Schools Shooting Sports Section. He is now a USCCA Handgun Instructor at The Range LLC in Yakima and focuses on those who are new to shooting. When not out on the range or in the classroom Randy can be found enticing local trout with a fly rod, hiking, camping, or chasing big game in Washington state.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Explore more