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Thread: HK VP70...The "First" Glock...

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    HK VP70...The "First" Glock...

    Ok, what do you think of when somebody says "High capacity, plastic wonder 9 with questionable sights and a crappy trigger"? Did you say "Glock"? If so you might be correct but they weren't the first to produce such a handgun.

    HK came out with this one around 1970. This one was just given to me by my wife for our 10th year anniversary after she noticed it was conspicuously absent from my collection. She actually pulled a few of my HK reference books and went through them looking for guns I didn't yet have and then consulted with my friends about which ones would be best for my collection and the best places to find them. I think I married pretty well.



    It was christened the Volks Pistole model 70 (people's pistol - kinda like that car for hippies) though some sources (not HK) claim it stands for Vollautomatische Pistole or "Fully automatic pistol." And this is based upon the fact that there are two VP70 models (the M which is a military select fire version and the Z (Zivil, civilian) version.

    Despite being a "pistol for the masses" this one never really caught on, especially in America. And despite being the "first" polymer, high capacity (18+1) on the market it still left a lot to be desired. In addition to having some typical Euro features Americans hate such as the heel mag release and no slide lock (which even most Euro handguns have even if their SMGs do not) it has an abysmal DAO trigger pull similar to many revolver weights. I'm sure HK believed they were making a simple gun at the time.

    30 years ago those who regularly carried DA revolvers didn't see too much wrong with the trigger but those who carried 1911s, P38s and Hi Powers generally considered them "god awful." In addition to the trigger (which I think most agree is the main reason the handgun never caught on) it had ridiculously absurd or fantastically advanced sights depending upon who you asked.



    It was basically two polished ramps which created a "shadow" front sight and while interesting I don't think it is something I'd want to toy with in any kind of nighttime defensive shooting scenario. This is one of the few times when I think I'd actually prefer a standard plastic Glock front sight.

    And on top of that the whole thing looked and felt kinda like a Hi Point with a big, clunky slide on a small frame. It is about as disproportionally out of balance as a P7M13 only in reverse. If only they could have somehow combined those two pistols they might have really had something.

    Criticisms aside, it didn't shoot poorly, especially if the shooter was used to a long pull DA trigger. And it did look interesting in a way, almost futuristic (and it did make it's way into many films such as Aliens as a result). But I don't know a single person who made one their carry gun or a HD weapon. The HKP9S and the later P7 were far more popular.

    Now certainly the military "M" version was far more useful in a limited James Bond capacity as a "handgun" SMG which becomes select fire by attaching the stock (which doubles as a holster like old Lugers and P35s). Certainly we made sillier things during the Cold War. And it is probably that pseudo military application which resulted in any of the civilian sales which were made at all.

    Other than that the VP70s was far more successful as a concept firearm rather than a production model. In a lot of ways it was sort of like the old Borchardt C-93 where it laid the groundwork for the following successful firearms which borrowed and refined many ideas. Lord only knows what the Glock might have looked like if Gaston had to come up with all those concepts himself for the first time.
    Last edited by SteyrAUG; 06-11-11 at 13:49.
    It's hard to be a ACLU hating, philosophically Libertarian, socially liberal, fiscally conservative, scientifically grounded, agnostic, porn admiring gun owner who believes in self determination.

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    Interesting historical score there. I've thought off and on about adding one to my museum (safe). I've just never gotten around to it.

    I wound up trading for a P7 PSP this past week and have been thinking that with so many of the current offerings turning to dismal guessing games of reliability that maybe it's time to pick up a few things from the past that I've been wanting.
    "Colts and Kimbers are what you show your friends. Glocks and HK's are what you show your enemies."

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    I shot several of those back in the 80's and early 90's.

    They were indeed revolutionary/evolutionary at the time.....a good example of the original HK folks who came from Mauser and adapted the late war designs to post war use....the StG-45 became the G3, the Volkspistole became the VP-70Z.

    I believe the largest contract HK ever got on those was with the Swiss gov't for pistols to stockpile in the Alpen bunkers.

    Best use of a VP-70........Colonial Marine issue sidearm in Aliens....


    *edited to add.....yeah, you married well.
    Employee of colonialshooting.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Templar View Post

    Best use of a VP-70........Colonial Marine issue sidearm in Aliens....
    That's when I first paid attention to one, when I wasn't checking out Cpl. Ferro.
    It's hard to be a ACLU hating, philosophically Libertarian, socially liberal, fiscally conservative, scientifically grounded, agnostic, porn admiring gun owner who believes in self determination.

    Chuck, we miss ya man.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteyrAUG View Post
    Now certainly the military "M" version was far more useful in a limited James Bond capacity as a "handgun" SMG which becomes select fire by attaching the stock (which doubles as a holster like old Lugers and P35s). Certainly we made sillier things during the Cold War. And it is probably that pseudo military application which resulted in any of the civilian sales which were made at all.
    It is funny you make the James Bond reference. My first introduction to the VP70 was in a 1980s James Bond novel by John Gardner, who was one of the first authors asked to continue Ian Fleming's line of books. Like Fleming, Gardner didn't really know guns, and chose to arm his 'updated' Bond with the high-tech VP70, replacing the venerable Walther PPK.
    Last edited by JSGlock34; 06-11-11 at 18:43.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteyrAUG View Post
    That's when I first paid attention to one, when I wasn't checking out Cpl. Ferro.
    YES, I knew I wasn't the only one!


    OK, now OT.

    Fantastic anniversary gift, I've always wanted one. It's on my bucket list.
    "Warriors"

    Out of every 100 men, ten shouldn't even be there, eighty are just targets. Nine are the real fighters and we are lucky to have them for they make the battle. Ah, but the one...one is a Warrior, and he will bring all the others back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ap1220 View Post
    YES, I knew I wasn't the only one!

    She had me at "We're in the pipe, five by five."
    It's hard to be a ACLU hating, philosophically Libertarian, socially liberal, fiscally conservative, scientifically grounded, agnostic, porn admiring gun owner who believes in self determination.

    Chuck, we miss ya man.

    كافر

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    Quote Originally Posted by ap1220 View Post
    YES, I knew I wasn't the only one!
    http://cheezburger.com/Asset/View/4047464448

    I had no idea the VP70 was in Aliens till I read the OP. Then I went here and checked out the great shots of that gun:
    http://www.imfdb.org/wiki/Aliens

    Classic gun in a classic movie!

    "Why don't you put her in charge?!"

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    Dang Styer, you beat me to it! I was thinking of posting my "review" of my older H&K models (HK4, VP70Z, P7PSP, P9S) For a few years I thought everyone who owned or tried a VP70 was just a wimp of some kind because they all commented on the crappy, heavy trigger. While mine isn't exactly custom-1911 grade, it certainly wasn't as bad as everyone seemed to be belly aching about...until I tried another one. Wow! I got a good one! The previous owner must have streched the firing pin spring just slightly to get a better trigger pull.

    While the VP70 was the first polymer frame pistol, the Glock was the first commercially successful polymer frame pistol.

    The VP70 really is the Rodney Dangerfield of the H&K handguns. But damn it, if it don't deserve some respect for some of the forward thinking, ahead of it's time features such as the front sight, easily removable firing pin and 18+1 capacity.
    -VERITAS VINCIT-

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    Thou didst marry well, indeed.

    Congrats on the anniversary, and the new pistol. I hope you found something just as nice for your better half.

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    I forgot to ask in my other post, but didn't it have a really high trigger pull, like 12+ lbs or something like that...I can't remember for sure
    "Warriors"

    Out of every 100 men, ten shouldn't even be there, eighty are just targets. Nine are the real fighters and we are lucky to have them for they make the battle. Ah, but the one...one is a Warrior, and he will bring all the others back.

    -Heraclitis

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    I owned one for several years, even used it as a car gun for awhile.

    I liked the small size of the grip, and the compact size of the 18 round mags.

    Never found a holster for it outside of the bullshit gun show type generic nylon stuff.

    I hated the sights and the cross-bolt safety.

    I could live with the heel mag release, not a big deal.

    The take-down latch would get rather hot if you put many rounds through it at all.


    The trigger did in fact suck, and was worse than any DA revolver I have ever shot other than the Nagant M1895

    I liked how simple the parts and construction was. I think if it had been built with a semi pre-cocked striker like a Glock, thus giving a lighter/better trigger pull, it would have been a better pistol.

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    Good review, SteyrAUG.

    What turned me off about the trigger was reading Wiley Clapp's book where he reviewed about 50 9X19mm handguns and listed all the 25 yard groups with 6 different loads.

    The VP70 possessed some of the worst groups of all, which (surprise, surprise) was attributed to the trigger.

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    HK could have dominated the market with that gun if they would have spent more time thinking about it as a pistol that could be converted to a machinepistol rather than the opposite. All the elements of the modern pistol are there (other than the light rail, which they invented later).

    HK is still (obviously) a leading innovator, but they were really up to some wild stuff in the 60s, 70s and 80s. Of course, crazy crap like this drove them into the red, but look at all the cool toys!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Bell View Post
    HK could have dominated the market with that gun if they would have spent more time thinking about it as a pistol that could be converted to a machinepistol rather than the opposite. All the elements of the modern pistol are there (other than the light rail, which they invented later).

    HK is still (obviously) a leading innovator, but they were really up to some wild stuff in the 60s, 70s and 80s. Of course, crazy crap like this drove them into the red, but look at all the cool toys!

    Yup, those were the days when HK was being run by the same generation that was at Mauser during WWII and the spirit of innovation and No Compromise really held true.
    Employee of colonialshooting.com

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    God did you ever pic a good woman very nice gift. I asked my wife for an IPOD touch to run my ballistic software on for my 31st BDAY she said it was to much money and went out 2 weeks later and bought another horse for 5k your a lucky man. Im a horse owner
    "After I shot myself, my training took over and I called my parents..." Texas Grebner

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    Quote Originally Posted by ICANHITHIMMAN View Post
    God did you ever pic a good woman very nice gift. I asked my wife for an IPOD touch to run my ballistic software on for my 31st BDAY she said it was to much money and went out 2 weeks later and bought another horse for 5k your a lucky man. Im a horse owner
    I'd name it Sarah Jessica Parker!
    If she can drop 5k on a damn horse but can't (won't) loosen the purse strings for an iPod for your birthday, you should at least get to name it!

    This only further supports my observation that horse people are weird!

    But, I digress...

    It's interesting how deep the lands & grooves are in the barrel of the VP70. Looking at the muzzle on mine (safely, not the Buford Tune way!), I've never seen more pronounced rifling...except maybe in barrels mounted on tanks or A-10s.
    -VERITAS VINCIT-

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    Quote Originally Posted by halo2304 View Post
    I'd name it Sarah Jessica Parker!
    I've never seen more pronounced rifling...except maybe in barrels mounted on tanks or A-10s.
    I know you are kidding, but barrels on modern US tanks are smooth, not rifled. But if I wasn't a former tred hed I might have $5K to my name to spend on a horse... err... gun, I mean gun!

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    Oops, my bad! Could've sworn I saw a picture of a tank's muzzle that had, at least to my eyes, "rifling" that looked like a gear would engage.

    $5k would buy a hell of a Colt!
    -VERITAS VINCIT-

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    Quote Originally Posted by halo2304 View Post
    Oops, my bad! Could've sworn I saw a picture of a tank's muzzle that had, at least to my eyes, "rifling" that looked like a gear would engage.

    $5k would buy a hell of a Colt!
    Probably an older tank, back when they used rifled bores.

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