The U.S. based branch of the well-known Heckler & Koch GmbH company first introduced the VP9 semiautomatic pistol in north America by July 2014: Heckler & Koch's first semiautomatic striker-fired pistol in decades, the VP9 was warmly greeted by the U.S. commercial and law enforcement market, selling widely and receiving positive reviews from civilian and law enforcement shooters alike − so much so that it earned the "2014 Handgun of the Year 2014" award by the prestigious Guns & Ammo magazine.
At the 2015 IWA OutdoorClassics expo − held last March in Nuremberg, Germany − the VP9 was introduced to the European markets in a specific version dubbed the SFP9, available with two different trigger types.
Ever since the VP9 was first introduced in the United States, readers and followers asked all4shooters.com whether or not the VP9 would be made available in calibers other than the standard 9x19mm.
Now, one full year after the initial launch of the VP9, we can answer "Yes": Heckler & Koch announced that the VP40 semiautomatic pistol is available for commercial sales in the United States of America, and shipping now to gun shops nationwide.
Heckler & Koch VP40 is basically identical to the 9x19mm caliber VP9 a.k.a. SFP9, save for the caliber: a semiautomatic, recoil-operated, striker-fired handgun with Browning type, modified linkless locking system, the VP40 is built around a black reinforced polymer frame with an extended MIL-STD-1913 "Picatinny" rail with four segments located under dust cover − rated to 160 grams (5.6 oz) for accessory light, lasers, and aimers with no impact on performance.
The pistol grip features front, rear and side slip-proof textures, front finger grooves and interchangeable side panels and backstrap to fit the hand dimensions of any shooter.
The takedown lever is located on the left side of the frame only, and that's the only non-ambidextrous control in the VP40; the hold-open/slide stop release lever is located on both sides, and the magazine release catch is a typically German design ambidextrous flat lever located on the rear lower portion of the trigger guard, providing out-of-the-box ambidextrous handling and shooting capabilities.
The three white-dot front and rear sights are dovetailed on the matte black machined stainless steel slide, treated with a carbon-nitride “hostile environment” corrosion resistant finish. The slide also sports front and rear serrations, allowing quick chamber checks and an easier handling, and patented HK "Charging Supports" tha help facilitate smoother and easier manipulation of the slide during clearing or reloading.
The very light double-action only trigger sports a 20 to 25 Newtons (4.50-5.62 pound-force) pull, a 6mm (.24") travel and a 3mm (.12") return travel. The rear tip of the striker assembly is painted bright red, and when the gun is cocked it will protrude slightly from a hole in the rear portion of the slide and serve as a both visual and tactile cocking status indicator.
Aside from a double-action only trigger, a firing pin block and a trigger latch safety, the VP40 sports no manual safety whatsoever.
The Heckler & Koch VP40 offers a capacity of 10+1 or 13-1 rounds of .40 Smith & Wesson, and uses double-stack metal magazine with a polymer end plate. Just like the VP9 (a.k.a. SFP9), the Heckler & Koch VP40 feeds from the same magazines used by the Heckler & Koch P30 pistol, meaning that shooters or professionals that already own or operate a .40-caliber P30 will enjoy magazine interoperability.
The Heckler & Koch VP40 semiautomatic pistol is 186,5mm/7.34" long overall, 33,5mm/1.32" wide, 138,5mm/5.45" high, and weighs barely 820 grams (28.93 ounces) with an empty magazine. Its 104mm/4.09" long barrel is polygon-rifled and sports six right-hand grooves with a 1 in 250mm (1:9.8") twist, more than enough to stabilize basically every existing .40 Smith & Wesson load.
The Heckler & Koch VP40, .40 Smith & Wesson caliber semiautomatic pistol is already available for purchase on the United States market, and sells at a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $719 (around 638€ at the current change rate); a Law Enforcement package of the VP40, offering tritium night sights and three magazines instead of two, and is priced $819 (approximately 727€ at the current change rate).
As of today, there is no word concerning availability and pricing of the .40 Smith & Wesson Heckler & Koch VP40 semiautomatic pistol outside of the U.S. market; but since the VP9 was made available in Europe (and not all of it, so far!) only early on this year, about six months after its debut in the United States, and with a different name, it is easy to assume that export customers will have to wait at least until early 2016.