New to forum and shooting and looking for advice.
I'm looking at both the VP9 and VP9 Tactical. I have a Glock 19 Gen 4 and it has a 4.02" barrel. The VP9 has a 4.09" barrel. I'm looking to use the gun at the range and home defense and thought I should go for a longer barrel (I live in NJ so I have no carry considerations) since all else being equal, it should be a bit more accurate. The Tactical has a 4.7" barrel so on paper it would seem that would be the gun to get. But HK customer support said the sight radius is the same in both guns. Is there a functional difference in the barrels of the VP9 and the VP9 Tactical?
Sorry for the potentially stupid question.
Barrel length basically doesn't matter for accuracy - but sight radius does, and how well you can pull the trigger on any particular gun without disrupting your sight picture. If you shoot the VP9 more accurately than the Glock, it will mostly be due to the better trigger on the VP9. Also, Glocks are known for having 'looser tolerances', and the HK will be a little bit more mechanically accurate - but this will be hard to see unless you are a high-level competitive bullseye shooter.
The longer barrel of the Tactical model is mainly to give you the option for adding a suppressor (or not, if you're in NJ?), but will also have very slightly increased bullet velocity due to the added length, and I believe also different/raised sights. The barrels are otherwise functionally the same. The Tactical model is less commonly seen, only comes in black, and costs about 100-200 more, depending where you buy it.
Welcome to the forum!
Barrel length between TB and non-TB is negligible in accuracy. Suppressors are illegal in NJ (sorry for your loss) so you would get a TB option for 3 reasons. You can add a compensator, it looks cool, and more resale options for people out of state that do use suppressors- if you ever decide to sell.
Get the TB option IMO
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It is best to try them all side by side if possible before buying it. Shoot 10 rounds at 5 yards for each handgun and check your grouping, if all are equal, go shoot another 10 at 6 yards, etc. until you think you found your first love. Go to a gun range in Philly or Pennsylvania as you'll probably have more choices than NJ. In an HK forum everyone here will tell you to get HK, other recommendations are borderline considered heresy.
Other handguns worth trying are USP9, USPc, P2000, P30 [all are hammer but they do have the LEM option to consider].
As an owner of a tactical and an sk, the only thing i would recommend is night sights, you can always buy a barrel later if you dont like the tactical threaded barrel, the other difference that im shocked no one has said is that the slide has the word tactical milled into it, that alone is worth the price of admission/tacticool points! All kidding aside, I like the tactical for another reason, the threaded barrel keeps the lens on my light clean.
One more thought to add what has already been said. You said "all else being equal" - there are a lot of little differences between different gun models, like the style of grip, grip angle, trigger pull weight and more - so things will very rarely be equal (especially comparing across different brands). A lot of that comes down to personal preference and how well you, personally, interface with the gun and that will have a lot more impact on how well you shoot it than minor differences in barrel length (or sight radius for that matter, especially for a new shooter). So, I wouldn't worry about barrel length at all and think about optimizing other things that will matter more to achieving your goal.
I have both standard and tactical VP9 . No difference until I mount a suppressor . Night sights are a good addition. Standard sights are really better for me, especially in daylight , until very low light conditions , then I wish for night sights. A flashlight or ambient light is necessary with both types of sights for target ID. I have both types of sights as well. But you asked about barrels.