Comparing the H&K VP9 vs Glock 19 is not quite comparing chalk and cheese. Both are compact-ish striker-fired pistols that work as service pistols and carry pistols. Both are used by police in the line of duty, both are used by competitive shooters. You could bet your life on either gun and have no worries.
What’s going to set them apart? There are a few different things that could tilt the table in one or the other gun’s favor.
The VP9 has the better trigger, and at that by miles. It’s the best striker trigger there is, full-stop. Only the Walther PPQ rivals it.
The VP9 is considered to be more comfortable, though there are some people that prefer Glocks to other pistols on the basis of ergonomics.
In favor of the Glock 19 is the aftermarket support. No pistol besides the 1911 enjoys as much aftermarket support as Glock pistols and the 19 in particular. It is the standard by which most guns are judged, and as a result you can do almost anything you want with one in terms of upgrades. The VP9? Well, there is aftermarket stuff out there…but not nearly as much.
Another potential point in favor of the Glock 19 is the magazines. Not so much the magazine design, but more the fact that Glock 19 magazines are easily found and are generally affordable. Factory units go for less than $30 online; some aftermarket models for less than $20. H&K, however, wants you to shell out $50 per.
Granted, you can actually keep magazines running perfectly if you change springs every now and again. Springs for H&K magazines will run you more like $5, but still.
What about for daily carry? The selling point of the Glock 19 has always been that it’s compact enough to carry every day, but big enough to be a service pistol. The VP9 is about the same size, just a bit taller and a bit wider and at that barely, but enough for some people to consider it too large to be a daily carry gun. Gen 3 and Gen 4 G19s are definitely a bit slimmer, no doubt, and the Glock is also a few ounces lighter.
Both are easy to shoot. In fact, the Glock is one of the easiest pistols to pick up and hit the range with. They are accurate, they do not recoil harshly and they run forever. The VP9 is equally (if not more so) accurate, reliable and easy on the shooter.
If you asked me? I’d buy the VP9. It’s more comfortable. It has more and better features. It’s better made. Frankly, the VP9’s reputation as the best factory striker pistol is, I think, richly deserved. I’ve shot a few Glock 19s in my day, and they don’t really do anything for me. I don’t feel a connection to them; they feel like a tool that I used and put back. The VP9 has that X factor, the je ne sais quoi that just makes you like something and that makes it worth the hassle, in my opinion.
But if you really were weighing whether or not the extra cash was worth it, get out there and handle both. Shoot both, if you can. The one that feels better, that you run better, is the one to get. Both are excellent pistols.