A few months ago, I published a video and article stating why I switched from a Glock 19 Gen 5 to an FN 509 Compact as my go-to handgun. A number of our readers commented that if I liked the FN, I should check out the HK VP9SK.
One viewer, Armed Prophet, posted on our YouTube page, "You should really try the HK VP9SK. If you have the cash available I promise you won’t leave the gun store without it. After you put the right combination of grip inserts on it and shoot it you will be in love. It is a bit pricey but well worth every penny."
As a fan of Heckler & Koch, I decided to take up that offer and get a closer look at the VP9SK.
In order to borrow a HK VP9SK for testing, I browsed the Certified Used Guns page at Guns.com and found a nice sample. The HK arrived a few days later in excellent condition. The first thing I noticed was how similar it was to the FN. Both are considered compact handguns. They are almost identical in terms of size, weight, and features. See the comparison chart above.
I was pleased to see that the HK shared the same grip length modularity that I loved about the FN. Depending on what magazine you insert, you can change the length of the grip. Since most of your printing when carrying comes from the grip sticking out over your waistband, this feature makes it more concealable. Both guns ship with different-capacity magazines that allow you to do this.
Although both guns are very similar, there are some differences that really set them apart. First off, the HK is made in Germany while the FN, which was originally a Belgian company, is made in the U.S. Both companies have been in business for a long time and are renowned for making high-quality firearms. Consumers and militaries around the world trust their lives to their products. Let's dig in a bit more on what sets them apart.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the two guns are the ambidextrous magazine releases. The FN features release buttons on both sides of the grip. This is similar to Glock and SIG. The HK system is unique to HK. It features a paddle release at the bottom of the trigger guard. It works well, but it does take some time to get used to it. I've heard some people love it while others hate it. It's really a matter of preference.
The grip texture on the FN is hands down the best grip texture out there in my own personal opinion. Even with sweaty hands, I can maintain a good grip on it. The HK is better than Glock in terms of grip texture, but I would add stippling or grip tape to the HK to boost grip texture.
The HK does offer a wider variety of grip inserts, including side inserts to make the grip wider and back inserts to make it longer. There are also finger grooves on the HK. The FN only offers back inserts and the grip is straight. I personally prefer the grip on FN, but if you like a highly customizable grip, you should check out the HK.
Triggers on both guns are very similar. However, I found the HK trigger to be a little bit crisper. The FN trigger is not bad at all, but it does have a little bit of what I call grittiness before it breaks. Again, there are plenty of aftermarket triggers available for both guns if you want to trick them out.
LOADED-CHAMBER & COCKED INDICATORS
I love the cocked-striker indicator on the HK. When cocked, red is visible through a small hole directly on the back of the slide. I prefer this to the FN, which only has the extractor as a tab that slightly protrudes from the side of the firearm when a round is chambered. However, offers that and the cocked indicator to make it very easy to know the gun is ready to fire.
Since the FN is my own personal gun, I've put over 500 rounds through it, and it has gone bang every single time. Since the HK is on loan to me, I’ve only put just over 200 rounds through it. But it too worked flawlessly. I found both guns to have very similar shooting characteristics. The HK perhaps had a touch more muzzle flip, possibly because it's slightly lighter, but that was negligible. I found both guns to be equally accurate at 25 yards.
In conclusion, I don't think you can go wrong with either the FN 509 Compact or HK VP9SK. Both are manufactured by two of the most decorated gun companies in the world. They are top-notch picks when it comes to compact 9mm handguns. The HK is a bit more expensive than the FN.
It really comes down to which one you prefer. Hopefully, this article helped. My advice would be to visit a gun range where you can rent them both. Put a few magazines through both and see which one you prefer. Guns.com always has plenty of either, both new and used available for you once you've made up your mind.