HK devotees and other shooters looking for an exceptional polymer frame striker fired pistol celebrated the arrival of HK’s VP9 in June of 2014. I first had hands on at Shot Show 2015 in Las Vegas. Made in Germany, this pistol is through and true EU in its design, right down to the paddle style magazine release. It took HK about 5 years to recognize that the U.S. market doesn’t paddle, American shooters like their pushbutton magazine release. Why?
Using myself as typical, I use a large glove size, so I’ll describe my hand size as average to medium; even with a small backstrap installed on the VP9’s highly configurable grip, I could not reach the paddle with my shooting hand thumb or index finger. Using a paddle meant having to break my grip whether I used my thumb or index finger, but breaking your grip is a no-go that reduces speed, accuracy and compromises weapon retention. Apparently, I was not the only consumer facing those issues because in 2019 HK snapped out of it and introduced the HK VP9-B (B for button) to the U.S. market. Shazam, problem solved, and VP9-B sales went through the roof.
So, how do you live with your VP9 paddle? Do what you currently do when you’re being annoyed, give it the finger. Your shooting hand’s middle finger does much more than express a sentiment.
Using your middle finger to actuate the paddle preserves your grip, your magazine change speed and shooting accuracy. But keep in mind that old habits die hard so you’ll want to practice the technique and internalize it. Having done that, I guarantee that you’ll be doing magazine changes smoother and generally slicker than cat poop on linoleum. – SP