I first started handgun shooting in the early 1980s, and back then there was a wonderfully varied selection of semi-auto pistol designs. I could only afford a CZ75 at the time but I’ve recently been able to acquire some of the models that I could only read about back then. The classic Heckler & Koch line always appealed to me, and I’ve been able to pick up a P7 and P9S. The missing one from the classic 1970s trio was the VP70z. They are not common around here, and what I read online about the heavy trigger pull dissuaded me from picking one up. However, one popped up for sale online recently and I thought it was time to complete the set. The VP70z, from what I’ve read online, was designed to be used by relatively untrained German citizens in the event of a Cold War invasion (the “VP” stands for “Volkspistole”, or “People’s Pistol”). It’s a striker-fired blowback pistol with a double-action only trigger, no slide stop, and minimal external controls so for sure it would be easy to get someone unfamiliar with the pistol up and shooting quickly. It’s got a polymer frame—and, upon its launch in 1970, the first pistol ever to have one, and an unusually large for its time capacity of 18 rounds (well, pre-mag laws here). It is quite a large pistol, even though it only has a 4.6” barrel. Here is it compared with a Glock 22: I can see a bit of a family resemblance with the H&K P9S, which dates from the same era. Other than the superficial similarity in looks, though, they are very different pistols. The polymer grip has a light pebbly texture and is comfortably-sized for its original capacity. The texture looks similar to that on the Gen 1 Glock 17, although I’ve never seen one of those). The trigger pulls straight back with no pivoting at all. Mine has an after-market Wolff trigger spring that reduces the very stiff factory trigger pull. There is a defined stop right before the break, so its fairly easy to “stage” the trigger pull. You can see the disassembly lever above the trigger. It’s quite reminiscent of the trigger on my FN FS2000. The button behind the trigger is actually a cross-bolt safety, not a magazine release. The magazine release is a heel-clip type: While the magazine is quite an interesting design—its width tapers at two different points: and it’s dual-feed, too, like the Steyr GB: The pistol disassembles like most other blowback pistols I’ve owned—pull down the disassembly lever, retract the slide and lift up at the rear of the slide’s travel. You can see the fixed barrel here. Here’s the sear area—it’s a much simpler design than the P7 or P9S. There is a generous feed ramp and the chamber’s edges are chamfered. The slide rails are only on the rear portion of the slide: The slide walls are quite thin, especially for a blowback pistol—only about 2.5mm. This reduces the recoil effect of the reciprocating mass as well as the overall weight of the pistol. You can see the striker in the picture above. It’s easily removed from the slide by rotating the slide end cap 90° and removing it. Here is the striker and firing pin spring removed from the pistol: and they just pull apart. The part on the right is the firing pin spring (that’s the Wolff spring) and the striker/firing pin is on the left. The spring on that assembly is to prevent accidental discharges if the pistol is dropped. As I mentioned above, the slide is not as heavy as you’d expect for a blowback pistol, nor is the recoil spring as stout. There’s an unexpected reason for that. The rifling is very deep—so deep that propellant gasses actually blow past the bullet on its way out the barrel to keep chamber pressures low. This supposedly lowers muzzle velocity, though. The rear sight is a straightforward fixed blade. But the front sight is quite unique. It’s ramped, but the middle portion machined out and the top polished. What that does is give an illusion of a blade front sight while having a sturdy snag-free sight. Here’s the sight picture: So that’s it for the overview. The trigger pull is not as bad as I expected (likely due to the Wolff spring) and its comfortable in the hand. The odd sighting arrangement looks to work pretty well, too. I’ll add more once I’ve had it out to the range.