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Heckler & Koch VP70

VP 70M - Military version

Other Pictures:
VP 70Z - Civilian version

VP 70M with holster/stock attached

close view on fire selector built into holster/stock of the VP 70M

(FILM) VP 70 Presentation (.MOV)

The VP70
is a 9×19mm, 18-round, double action only, semi-automatic/three-round burst capable polymer frame pistol manufactured by German arms firm Heckler & Koch GmbH. VP stands for Volkspistole (literally "People`s Pistol"), and the designation 70 was for the first year of production: 1970.

The VP 70 pistol is quite unique, being well ahead of its time in some respects, and while it did not catch the military or civilian market, it set the marks for the many more sucessful followers. The VP-70 (Volks Pistole model 70) had been developed by HK around 1968, and the production began in 1970. Production of the military / law enforcement version, VP-70M, had been ceased fithin few years. Civilian version, VP-70Z, had been manufactured untill 1989.

The VP-70 is a blowback operated, striker fired, double action only pistol. In military version, VP-70M, it can be used along with detachable shoulder stock - holster, which has built in fire selector device, that allows to fire single shots or three rounds bursts. Withouth the stock attached, only single shots can be fired. Another then-unique feature was the polymer frame. In fact, the VP-70 was the FIRST EVER productional pisol with polymer frame. The DAO trigger with no manual safeties was alo not so common in the early 1970s. Despite the simply blowback operation, not so common in 9mm Luger/Para handguns, the VP-70 had modest felt recoil, but heavy and long trigger pull does not helped to improve accuracy.

It was the first polymer-framed pistol and predates the Glock 17 by 12 years. The weapon weighed 820 g (28.9 oz) unloaded, lighter than most other metal framed pistols of the time. Although the VP70 was the first polymer-framed handgun, the Remington Nylon 66 rifle introduced in 1959 was the first polymer-framed firearm in production.

One unique feature of this weapon involved the combination stock/holster for the military version of the VP70. The stock incorporates a selector switch that, when mounted, allows selective fire. Cyclic rate of fire for the three-round burst is 2200 rounds per minute. When not mounted, the stock acts as a holster. The VP70 uses a spring-loaded striker like a Glock, instead of a conventional firing pin. It is double action only so the trigger pull is relatively heavy. In lieu of a blade front sight, the VP70 uses a polished ramp with a central notch in the middle to provide the illusion of a dark front post. Contrary to a common misconception, the VP70 does indeed have a manual safety. It is the circular button located immediately behind the trigger and is a common crossblock safety.

The handgun comes in two varieties. The "M" (Militär, military) variant is selective-fire (semi-auto/three-round bursts). The "Z" (Zivil, civilian) variant is a semi-automatic only version, and although it has no provision to mount the stock, it can be fitted after minor alterations to the handgrip. Four hundred VP70Zs were made in 9×21mm IMI; these samples were made primarily for the civilian market of Italy, where the use of the 9×19mm Parabellum is permitted only to military and law enforcement agencies. All of the VP70Z pistols sold to Italy had the provision to mount the stock, although it would still not allow the use of the three-round burst firing mode.

Used by
- Morocco
- Paraguay: VP70Z variant.
- Portugal: VP70M variant.

HK VP70z: The Original Plastic Wondernine

H&K VP70Z - Disassembly and shooting

Machine pistol

Heckler & Koch GmbH P.O. Box 1329 D-78722 Oberndorf, Germany

blowback, Double Action Only

9×19mm Parabellum, 9×21mm IMI (VP70Z only)

820 grams (28.9 oz) empty

204 mm (8.0 in)

116 mm (4.6 in)

4 grooves, rh

Magazine Capacity:

Feed system:
Detachable box magazine

In Production:

Rate of fire:
2200 rounds/min (3-round burst mode)

Effective range:
50 meters (54.7 yards)


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