I am not a gun snob. Much like politicians, guns are tools for a job. If they do the job, they get my respect. Period. That said, while many members of TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia take the expression “beware of the man with one gun” to heart, there are times when a gunslinger doesn’t get to choose which one gun the bad guys are bewaring of. Gun props or not, a self-defense shooter should be able to pick up any gun and shoot with reasonable accuracy. Just like that. Unless . . . well, let’s just call this post on the $165-ish Hi Point C9 semi-automatic pistol a “Range Report” rather than a “Gun Review.” That’ll come later. For now, credit where credit’s due . . .
Pick up the Hi Point C9 for the first time and you know you’re holding a real gun, with decent ergonomics. The pistol’s got all the right ridges in all the right spaces (yeah, yeah, he’s going down). It fits my hand like a glove, although more like a gardening glove than a driving glove. Bringing the pistol to point of aim feels natural and easy.
The sight picture past the three-dot contrast sights was typical, though some would note that the contrast paint on the sights themselves appears to have been applied by hand . . . by my seven year old cousin. It’s mostly “in the lines,” but definitely not perfect. They get the job done. At the price, you can only remark, not complain.
I happen to have the great fortune of residing ~ 15 minutes away from the National Rifle Association’s headquarters, and their state-of-the-art indoor shooting facility. It really is a sight to behold, and behold you would, IF photography were permitted inside the range. Swing and a miss, strike one on Shotzberger! After taking the tripod, cameras, and hopes of raucous YouTubery back to the car, I stepped onto my lane and prepared the beefy C9 for a thorough evaluation.
Ryan and I now subject each pistol we test to a standard 50 round “qualifier”—which will be explained in the full review. It ranges in distance from three yards to 25 yards. The series of exercises tests accuracy, function and fun. Before launching into a full on review and qualifier, I set aside a few rounds of what RF calls “getting to know you” ammo. In this case, I found myself with 20 spare rounds of PMC 9mm just begging not to come home with me. I loaded three rounds, seated the magazine, racked the slide and took aim.
I’d set a standard “bulls-eye” target at three yards. It’s a fine distance for putting rounds on paper and concentrating on the function of the pistol. My sights were perfectly aligned on the bull.
As I took-up the trigger slack I felt a bit of side-to-side “wiggle.” Odd yet manageable. Squeeze … squeeze … squeeeeeeeze … SQUEEEEEEZE. And while we’re waiting fo something to happen, please note that arthritic shooters need not apply; the C9’s eight to nine-pound trigger pull will likely break your finger before a bullet comes out the other end. Eventually, the C9 trigger breaks and round one travels down range. The sights remain on target throughout the entire epic.
Lowering the pistol to low ready I peer downrange at my work. At three yards, I have failed to put the round anywhere on the paper.
Faced with the prospect of running the target “home” to confirm my suspicions of failure—and showing blank paper to the shooter’s to my left and right—I take aim again and turn my concentration inward. My first thought: the concussion I suffered five days previous has seriously distorted my shooting ability. Fine, let’s finish this magazine and see what happens.
Round two fails to hit paper with a proper sight picture. With round three, I ignored the sights and relied on muscle memory. Finally, a round lands on paper. Barely. Almost. Ok, I lied – all three rounds have disappeared.
Without making any changes to the fully-adjustable sights (gotta set a baseline first!), I progress through a brace-and-a-half of three round magazines, with much the same result.
Observation 1.: Out of the box, this Hi Point C9’s sights needs some ahem “minor” adjustment. I’ve placed three of 12 total rounds on the paper, none of which are in the scoring rings. Of the three lucky-strikes, two were fired in frustration using point-shooting techniques. The third resulted in a near giggle-fit since I aimed the sights six inches above the bull.
So I whipped out my trusty multi-tool and set about adjusting the sights to compensate for the drop over distance. I’m a might upset at this point, I haven’t shot so badly since, well, ever.
A total of 20 rounds exited the Hi Point in the general direction of the target. Five hit paper. One hit the 6 ring. “Oh, a scoring hit! How did THAT happen?” I’m downright fed-up at this point; no condition in which to continue on with a review.
I put the pistol back into my range bag and called it a day on the Hi Point. To ensure that I hadn’t hit my head THAT hard, I fired up my trusty 1911. JMB’s timeless classic to me is like Ben and Jerry’s with pickles to my pregnant co-worker; it’s comfort, pure and simple.
Duplicating my previous run with the C9, adding two more five-round magazines for good measure, and running the slow fire pistol target back out to the 7 yard line – I place one in the 6 ring, three in the 7 ring, five in the 8 ring, 11 in the 9 ring, and 10 in the red. In short, the bugger’s dead and I’m fit in the head. My hour’s up, and the Rangemaster is ushering me towards the exit.
In fairness to the Hi Point, in my flustered state, I adjusted the sights in the WRONG direction (a realization I came to after returning home). So, my bad. I repeat: I screwed up. Equally important, you can’t judge an inexpensive gun by what it does straight out of the box. You need to adjust the sights (if possible), feed it a variety of ammo to see what works, clean and lubricate it assiduously, and practice.
Which is exactly what I’m going to do. My initial impression? The Hi Point C9 shoots bullets. It’s a gun. With a bit of work, it might even be a reasonably accurate gun. Sometimes you choose the gun, sometime the gun chooses you. At the moment, the C9 is best used at point blank range. With a few twists of an multi-tool, that could change. Watch this space.