The VP70 is a double-action only, select-fire, polymer-framed pistol manufactured by German arms firm Heckler & Koch GmbH. VP stands for Volkspistole (literally "People's Pistol"), and the designation 70 was for the year of the first edition, which is 1970.
It was the first polymer-framed pistol and predates the Glock 17 by 12 years. The weapon weighed 820 g (28.9 oz) unloaded, lighter than most other metal framed pistols of the time. Although it was the first polymer pistol, the Remington Nylon 66 rifle introduced in 1959 was the first polymer-framed firearm in production.
One unique feature of this weapon involved the combination stock/holster unit for the military version of the VP70. The stock incorporates a selector switch that, when mounted, allows selective fire. Cyclic rate of fire for the three-round burst mode is 2200 rounds per minute. When not mounted, the stock acts as a holster. The VP70 uses a spring-loaded striker like a Glock, instead of a conventional firing pin. It is double-action only so the trigger pull is relatively heavy. In lieu of a blade front sight, the VP70 uses a polished ramp with a central notch in the middle to provide the illusion of a dark front post. Contrary to a common misconception about the weapon, the VP70 does indeed have a manual safety. It is the circular button located immediately behind the trigger and is a common crossblock safety.
The handgun comes in two models. The "VP70Z" (Zivil, civilian) variant is a semi-automatic only version, and although many have no provision to mount a stock, some of them can have a stock fitted after minor alterations to the hand grip (however, they remain semiautomatic only); the "VP70M" (Militär, military) variant is burst capable. The VP70 was produced from 1970 to 1989. Four hundred VP70Z pistols were made chambered in 9×21mm IMI; these samples were made primarily for the civilian market of Italy, where the use of the 9×19mm Parabellum is a sole privilege of military and law enforcement agencies. All of the VP70Z pistols sold in Italy can mount the stock-holster but are not select-fire firearms.