Umarex Heckler & Koch VP9 Part 2

Umarex Heckler & Koch VP9 Part 2

More Bonding

By Dennis Adler


It’s not that unusual for the bad guy’s gun to become the good guy’s gun in a movie, but certain guns have more infamous histories (mostly tied to their use during wars) that have led to them being typecast as a villain’s gun, or in more literary terms, the antagonist’s weapon. With German guns, the Broomhandle Mauser is often found in that role, along with Lugers, and Walther P.38s; however, there are occasions where a gun long associated with bad guys is suddenly recast by placing it into the hands of the story’s hero. A P.38 briefly ended up in Bond’s shoulder holster in Goldfinger but only in a few scenes, and in nearly all the Bond films 007 has ended up shooting guns other than the PPK.

Wondering what the Umarex Broomhandle Mauser has to do with the HK VP9? It’s all about the image of a gun and how it is regarded in films. The Umarex CO2 model is paired up with a real Mauser C96 in the background to pose the question, “Is this a gun for the good guys or the bad guys?

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My favorite example of this juxtaposition of guns between antagonists and protagonists in a story comes to mind with the aforementioned Broomhandle Mauser. It’s a notorious gun in cinema, even in Bond movies like From Russia with Love, where Spectre assassin Red Grant (Robert Shaw) used a Broomhandle Mauser. But if you ever saw an old 1965 spy movie called The Second Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World the Mauser was seen in a much different light. The British film introduced the U.S. to a swashbuckling, Bond-like secret agent named Charles Vine, played by British actor Tom Adams. Known in the U.K. for multiple TV series roles and supporting parts in films like The Great Escape, playing Charles Vine was a role Adams seemed to inhabit, much like Michael Caine did in the Ipcress File as British agent Harry Palmer.

How many of you remember 002, Charles Vine, The Second Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World and his Mauser Broomhandle?

Anyone who saw The Second Best Secret Agent remembers that Vine didn’t pack a PPK like 007, he preferred a vintage C96 Mauser Broomhandle (not that the PPK was a modern gun either). Second to the gun was Vine’s unique behind the back holster rig, which got its introduction when he reached around, turned his side to an attacker and shot him with the Mauser still in the holster. Up to that point no one would have considered a Broomhandle a proper concealed carry gun!

Kindred spirits, the new HK VP9 and Walther P99 Q (or PPQ) share a lot in common with grip design and contours, triggerguard shapes, and slide serration styles. Both, based on their centerfire counterparts have correct polymer frames. The VP9 does not go all the way and the removable backstrap panel from the 9mm guns is molded in with the grip frame, so one size has to fit all.

I’m obviously going to some lengths to set this up, but it is interesting to cast the VP9 as both the bad guy’s gun in Spectre as well as Bond’s gun. This is different than other random handguns picked up, shot, and tossed aside in past Bond films, in this instance when 007 grabs the H&K VP9 from a Spectre agent it becomes Bond’s gun throughout the rest of the film. That’s never happened in previous films and no matter how you look at it, after Spectre the VP9 will always be associated with James Bond.

On the right side of the VP9 you see the molded-in ambidextrous slide release; the trigger finger actuated manual sliding safety, and a good view of the ambidextrous magazine release at the back of the triggerguard.

Modern ties

The VP9 is state of the art for the 21st century, whereas the C96 was antiquated for the 20th century, even back in 1965, but that was a different world than the one we live in today. In the last few years Umarex has given us vintage CO2 firearms like the Broomhandle Mauser, Walther P.38, a PPK/S, as well as P99 variations, and now a new gun that is modern in all the best ways as an affordable blowback action pistol based on a comparatively new centerfire handgun.

A little twist here, another angle there and you create identical CO2 BB magazines that fit each respective gun. This two-piece mag uses plastics for the majority of its construction with a cast alloy upper that fits into the firing mechanism like the Glock 17. The VP9 magazine is just as easy to load, too.

At first glance there is something very familiar about the VP9’s looks, and that’s because it resembles the Walther PPQ. Where the CO2 VP9 differs from Walther’s polymer-framed PPQ (P99 Q) air pistol is mostly in small details; the basic look of both guns is similar, though the PPQ model is a pellet pistol with a rotary magazine. The gun that is actually closest to the VP9 internally is the Umarex Glock 17 which shares similar operating systems right down to the magazine designs which, though almost identical, are not interchangeable.

With slides locked back you can see the similarity of magazine firing mechanisms in both air pistols. The Glock slide exposes more of the mechanism than the VP9 which has a longer length of travel in operation than when it is locked open. Both are short, short recoil mechanisms with fixed barrels.

On the outside the Umarex Glock 17 shares almost nothing with the HK VP9 other than having a blade safety trigger design. While the centerfire models these two are based upon are striker-fired guns, the CO2 pistols use a small internal hammer to duplicate the striker-fired operation. Both have closed systems and neither gun can be field stripped. The takedown lever on the VP9, like the G17, is a non-functional piece. The Glock keeps its lines and features as close to the centerfire model as possible, and that’s one of its strengths, whereas the VP9 brings some additional non-functional baggage with its molded-in right side extended slide release. This is the most disappointing feature on the gun. That and Umarex and H&K took the low road for the mandatory manual safety by placing it on the right side of the frame. I’ll give you that it is far easier to operate, set and release with the trigger finger (if you are right handed) than it is to fiddle with the hidden manual safety on the underside of the Glock’s dustcover, but it screams air pistol. In fact, the safety is my biggest issue with this HK CO2 model, and since the VP9 has nearly the same firing system as the Glock, the safety could have been discretely hidden in the same way. Not a deal breaker, it just takes away from the authenticity of the gun overall.

The barrel lug interface with the slide looks like the actual centerfire pistol, as does the trigger and magazine release paddle spanning the rear of the triggerguard. I have always liked this design for a magazine release over a push button on the grip frame. The disassembly lever is well made but doesn’t work since the gun cannot be field stripped.

What Umarex did follow from the Glock 17 to VP9 is hiding all the distracting verbiage under the triggerguard to give this air pistol a clean appearance on both sides. And the VP9 has all of the correct factory markings from the centerfire model. It even bears HK 9mm x 19 on the side of the barrel lug that is exposed in the slide ejection port, and 9mm x 19 on the left side of the slide, going the Glock one better on authentic details, since the G17 has no caliber stamping on the slide.

The VP9 slide design and deep slide serrations at the rear and front, but the rear also has the side extensions which make it easier to pull the slide back. Of course on the CO2 model it is not hard to do no matter where you grasp the slide, but this design pays off when you have a heavy recoil spring working against you.

The VP9 gets another plus for keeping the early-style ambidextrous magazine release, which, if you are comfortable with paddle-style releases, is an advantage for quickly dropping an empty magazine whether you are right or left-handed. Honestly, the VP9 has all the working features one can expect for a blowback action air pistol selling for under $80.

The combat style white dot rear and white dot front sight make this gun easy to get on target just like the centerfire model. No corners cut on this.

Saturday the VP9 gets evaluated for trigger pull, sighting, velocity, and accuracy. The question to be answered is “will it match the Umarex Glock 17?”

1 thought on “Umarex Heckler & Koch VP9 Part 2”

  1. Off Topic, Dennis can you start a Forum within your Airgun Experience Parameters ?? or would you even want to ??

    I am a Pistol guy that shoots for Accuracy at 21ft and 33ft…Accuracy and ease of operation…recently bought a Crosman 2300T and have discovered that it is perfect for my requirements FWIW…
    I have researched and my next pistol will be the HW75 and eventually the Sig Super Target if it ever comes out….

    I’m shooting 5 shot groups of One Ragged Hole at 21ft, 2 hands sitting, love the 2300T…


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