|Type Machine pistol|
Used by See Users
Manufacturer Heckler & Koch
|Place of origin West Germany|
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.
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.