Every quarter we offer our customers an opportunity to come in and try out a product we carry in our store and write a review about it. The Customer Product Reviews are a great way for you to try out a product for free and give us your feedback! Keep an eye out for the next quarterly product review in our newsletters to volunteer. If there is a product you are interested in reviewing, please email Brandie@myshootingrange.com to submit a request!
First Quarter 2015: HK VP9
The VP9 is an absolute blast to shoot. It has some of the best ergonomics you can find on a pistol with the ability to customize the grips to fit larger/smaller hands, so no matter what size your hands are, you’ll feel right at home. It has super-controlled recoil in 9mm with sights that realign fast shot after shot. As a lefty, I’m a big fan of the fully ambidextrous controls (both magazine release and slide release). My only gripe with the pistol is that their unconventional magazine release design rubbed/pinched the tip of my trigger finger with every pull of the trigger, which became annoying really quickly. Honestly, this one “con” would prevent me from buying one myself, but don’t let that keep you from trying one yourself as it’s a fantastic gun!
I shot the VP9 alongside my personal competition M&P (with an aftermarket trigger). H&K did a great job designing the grip and ergonomics. The gun points very naturally in my hand with the standard inserts provided by the range. Recoil using standard 9mm ammunition was noticeably more controllable in the VP9 than my M&P giving me faster follow up shots without readjusting my grip.
I will admit that the magazine release takes some getting used to, but I love that I can actuate it with my trigger finger and not have to break my grip to drop a magazine. Much has been written about the VP9’s trigger – I think this is all true. The pull and break are excellent, and I found it easy to ride the trigger reset for fast follow-up shots. I also liked the “ears” on the back of the slide – I thought these were nicely integrated and helped give a very positive grip for quick reloads.
In short, I feel like the H&K is born to run. It is clearly made to shoot quickly and effectively. I’ve heard a lot of hype about this gun – much thanks to SSGC for giving me the opportunity to shoot it. I’m seriously considering picking one up.
Today I had the opportunity to test the VP9. What an incredible weapon! It looks great but beyond good looks is a 9mm weapon to which the designers truly gave a lot of thought. It is light and very comfortable. For a shooter with small hands (and I am one of them) the fit is great.
The slide racks easily and smoothly. The ambidextrous slide release is a nice feature but one of the best features is the ambidextrous magazine release that is built into the rear of the trigger guard. It was a bit awkward to reach and operate with my right thumb but extremely easy to reach and operate with my trigger finger. In fact, that’s a nice safety feature as it forces you to remove your finger from the trigger in order to operate the release. The trigger pull was very smooth and not too light. The reset is fairly short and also very smooth.
I was surprised by the accuracy of the gun. The first time I shot it I put 5 rounds in a tight two-inch circle in the X ring at about 10 yards.
The H&K VP9 gets a huge thumbs-up from me!
Last Quarter 2014: FN Herstal SCAR 17S
The Definitive .308 Rifle
I have been really fortunate; not only have I had an opportunity to shoot the Sig716 and DPMS Oracle, I have also been granted time with the FN Herstal, SCAR 17S. While all three shoot the .308 round, each is very different in how they translate that experience. The .308 Winchester (or 7.62x51mm NATO if you speak metric) is a serious cartridge. Long used for hunting and precision shooting, the .308 is heavy, powerful and shoots flat for 200 or so yards. The SCAR 17S takes the the .308 to the next level. Using a totally new design, the SCAR (Special operations forces Combat Assault Rifle), tames the recoil by using a short stroke gas piston system on a heavy bolt assembly. The short stroke piston only gets the bolt started and relies on the mass of the bolt assembly to provide the needed momentum to cycle the rifle effectively. At the business end of the barrel resides a muzzle brake designed by Primary Weapons Systems (PWS). Does it work? You bet your ass it does! The impulse from the SCAR 17S is like that of a 5.56mm AR-15. The rifle looks heavy and bulky, but after a few minutes behind the trigger, the ergonomics of the design just make sense. If I sound a bit like a fanboy for the SCAR 17, then I suppose I am guilty as charged. After shooting other .308s, I felt battered and beaten, but I feel like I can stand behind the SCAR all day and send hot lead downrange. It only took 5 shots to convince me that this was the .308 I was looking for.
As I walked into The Sandy Springs Gun Club and Range to review the FN SCAR 17 I was skeptical. There was no way it was everything they said it was. There was no way it could all be true, everyone had to be paid off or lying. It couldn’t be the best all around rifle, it’s new, it’s plastic, Hell it was Belgian. But then they handed it to me and the first thing I thought picking it up to begin my admittedly amateur review was “Damn, she’s sexy.”
Loading up the .308 rounds and shouldering the SCAR 17 the balance is strong but not exceptional. I didn’t feel like I would be able to comfortably clear a jam while maintaining a sight line. The forward grip was an aftermarket addition that felt slippery and if it was mine I would swap for a full fore grip but that’s just me. The magazine release and safety can be operated ambidextrously and the charging handle can be swapped to either side based on the shooter’s desire. A lot of people have taken issue with the charging handle reciprocating like the AK as it has the ability to injure the shooter. Here’s a helpful hint; don’t stick your hands near moving objects. Also, your coffee is hot. I could see this being an issue in a combat situation where cover is your best friend and the reciprocation could get caught on a rock, door jam, wall, etc. and fail to cycle the next round but for the rest of us I see no issue with it.
Some may also argue that the reciprocation creates a decrease in accuracy but I have no idea how that can happen when this beast is driving nails down range with more accuracy than I’ve had on anything else firing that large of a caliber. The trigger is deliberate but doesn’t slap and follow up shots come up quick after the initial shot. Here, the factory muzzle break lends itself to the higher accuracy but it will let your neighbors at the range know that you are dancing with the baddest girl at the ball and I had a couple people look over while I was firing it.
So here I am having blasted through my rounds and trying to come up with a reason not to love the SCAR 17. The truth is it’s a light, accurate, solid, multi-use rifle that could be leveraged for any need at any time. The only reason I can’t find a place for it in my collection is the cost. At $3,000 it’s not exactly a swap meet steal and you have to ask yourself if it’s two times, or three times or six times better than the next best addition to your collection. Either that or you have a few thousand dollars to throw around in which case there is no reason not to add this to your collection.
I love this rifle. I already own an FAL and I still might save up for a SCAR. The recoil is nothing in a .308 rifle that weighs about 8lbs. My FAL has move recoil and I know it weighs at least 4 lbs more. Controls are simple. Got to keep your hand away from the reciprocating charging handle. If you can shoot an AR-15, you can shoot this rifle. There’s not that much more recoil from an AR to the SCAR amd this made follow up shots easy. The SCAR to me is a do anything rifle. If someone was going to put 2K into an AR, I’d tell them to save up a little more and get the SCAR. There is nothing this rifle won’t do that an AR will.
Keep an eye out for our next Customer Product Review in our Newsletters! If you have a suggestion for a product you’d like to see a review for, please contact Brandie.