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Holding 18 rounds of 9×19 in its tapered magazine, HK’s radical VP70 was a revolutionary design. It’s the first polymer framed handgun, although not the first polymer firearm— that honor falls to Remington and their Nylon 66 rifle of 1959. The VP70 came later, in 1970, but it incorporated several unique new features. The buttstock was also its holster, like the Broomhandle Mauser, but the stock also served as a selector for the fire control system, allowing for a three-round burst. The cyclic rate was an astonishing 2,200 rpm (compared to about 650 rpm for a Tommy gun). The stock only came with the military version VP70-M; the civilian version VP70-Z could accept a stock, but not with the three-round burst feature. The front sight was unusual too, with polished steel “ramps” with a “black line” in between to appear as a solid black front sight. Only the Germans! The gun was striker fired with a DA-only trigger that was not exactly smooth. The VP70 was discontinued in 1989, shortly after another polymer pistol, this one from Austria, hit the scene.


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