Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Smart Bombs: Military, Defense and National Security

HK VP70 Pistol: A Good Gun For James Bond Only?

Getting a VP70 with the 3-shot burst capability is gonna be a major pain thanks to the BATFE Class 3 license paperwork involved.


“Bond, James Bond.” When one thinks of the world’s most famous secret agent, the gun most people associate him with is the Walther PPK .32 ACP (7.65mm), and understandably so. Yet in the movies and especially the novels, Agent 007 actually wielded a good variety of handguns in his illustrious service with the Double-0 section of Britain’s MI6, including the Walther P5 and the Heckler & Koch (HK) P7.

One HK that Bond brandishes, and falls into the machine pistol category of handguns, along with the Glock 18 and RoboCop’s Beretta 93R is the HK VP70 9mm pistol. 

HK VP70Z History and Specifications

The VP70 debuted in 1970, hence the digits within its alphanumeric designation. Besides being a machine pistol and one of the Bond guns, the VP70 made firearms history insofar as being the first production service pistol to use a polymer frame, plus it came with double-stack, double-feed 18-round magazines; the highest standard capacity of the day. It was also striker-fired. It actually beat the Glock 17 – which didn’t debut until 1982 – to the punch in three different aspects. 

What made the VP70 a machine pistol was a specially fitted shoulder stock – which precluded concealability – that doubled as a holster.

Specifications included an empty weight of 820 grams (28.9 ounces), a barrel length of 116 millimeters (4.6 inches), an overall length of 204 millimeters (8.0 inches), and a height of 142 millimeters (5.6 inches). The cyclic rate of fire in burst mode was 2,200 rounds per minute. 

Fact vs. Fiction: Experts’ Assessments On VP70

The HK VP70 was in “For Special Services,” John Gardner’s second novel in the series when he picked up the mantle, first published in 1983, that Commander Bond wields the VP70. Mr. Bond being Mr. Bond, with his fancy weaponry from Q-Branch, naturally has the 3-shot burst option available at his disposal.

In the real world, however, reviews of the VP70Z have been less than stellar. The ever-savvy Travis Pike, in an article for GunMag Warehouse titled (fittingly) “James Bond’s Sidearms (Besides the PPK),” puts it quite bluntly: “The VP70 was short-lived as one of Bond’s sidearms and honestly wasn’t a great gun. It used a blowback operation that created excessive recoil, and the double-action-only trigger sucked. The direct blowback action necessitated it be larger than necessary and the deeply cut rifling vented gas past the bullet. This lowered the velocity of the 9mm to roughly that of a 380 ACP. It was a modern but crappy gun.”

Just how short-lived? Well, actually, it was in production until 1989, as its adoption by military and/or police forces in Brazil – specifically the 1º Batalhão de Forças Especiais (1st Special Forces Battalion) – Lebanon, Morocco, Paraguay, and Portugal kept it alive for several years. But it never truly caught on in popularity to the extent that HK’s other autopistols such as the USP (Universal Self-loading Pistol), P2000, and P7. 

Want Your Own?

Getting a VP70 with the 3-shot burst capability is gonna be a major pain thanks to the BATFE Class 3 license paperwork involved. If, on the other hand, you’re willing to settle for semiauto-only, i.e. the VP70Z, the gun becomes a good bit easier to obtain in terms of both monetary costs and bureaucratic hoops to jump through.

According to True Gun Value, “An HK VP70Z pistol is currently worth an average price of $1,096.37 new and $1,040.90 used. The 12-month average price is $1,096.37 new and $1,040.90 used.” GunsAmerica.Com recently sold one at the bargain price of $650.00 (lucky that schmoe, whoever he/she is who scored that deal). Meanwhile, at the opposite end of the price scale, the Firearms Deals website lists one at $1,127.99.

Christian D. Orr has 33 years of shooting experience, starting at the tender age of 14. His marksmanship accomplishments include: the Air Force Small Arms Ribbon w/one device (for M16A2 rifle and M9 pistol); Pistol Expert Ratings from U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP); multiple medals and trophies via the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF) and the Nevada Police & Fires Games (NPAF). Chris has been an NRA Certified Basic Pistol Instructor since 2011.

Written By

Christian D. Orr is a former Air Force officer, Federal law enforcement officer, and private military contractor (with assignments worked in Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Kosovo, Japan, Germany, and the Pentagon).