Gun Review: Heirloom Precision SRT Browning Hi-Power

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(This is a reader gun review contest entry, click here for more details.)

By LB

It seems like everyday there is a new pistol announced. New polymer this, titanium that, silly “grip zones,” (is that where my hand goes?) and so forth. But what about one of the greatest handguns ever designed — one of the classics — that has effectively been used in some way or another by over 90 nations? No, I’m not talking about the fussy and malfunction-prone 1911. I’m talking about the beautiful, sleek, and reliable successor to the 1911 that has more finesse than a world-class Russian ice-skater: the Browning Hi-Power. Of course, turning one over to the hands of pistolsmith Ted Yost yields the most fabulous example of a Hi-Power – or perhaps any pistol at all . . .

The Hi-Power was originally designed by John Browning in the early 20th century, though he passed away before he was able to finish the gun. It incorporated the first staggered magazine design as well as a linkless barrel, both of which have inspired a century of handgun designs.

After the design was completed and the gun was produced, it was adopted by Belgium as the official sidearm of the Belgian military. Since then, many other countries have also chosen the Hi-Power, including Great Britain. This effectively opened the flood gates for military adoption.

I’m surrounded by a lot of gun-enthusiasts on a day-to-day basis. But, surprisingly, most of them have never handled a Hi-Power, let alone shot one. I attribute this to the fact that perhaps it’s considered the step-child to the 1911 for no other reason than the US adopted the Colt. However, I grew up with them. My father loved his Hi-Powers and it was the first center-fire pistol I ever shot.

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I remember shooting a GP (the long barrel competition model) for hours at a time, listening to the steel ring and rarely incurring a miss. The narrow frame fit my small hands so well and yet it’s still comfortable today. The trigger broke perfectly and consistently. And most of all the pistol just looks damn good.

For years I’ve wanted another. But, most of the Hi-Powers one finds are either generic, modern production guns or are collector models. Sure, one can shoot them, but you’ll take a loss every time the gun goes “bang” and generic just isn’t my style. I thought if I were to get one I’d want a custom job.

I came across a new Hi-Power, built on 1972 gun with a St. Louis roll-mark, that was taken nearly to the max by Ted Yost of Heirloom Precision – one of the most talented people to ever touch a Hi-Power. From the moment I laid my eyes on this gun I knew it was unique. The graceful lines of the original design were somehow improved, though details like this might go unnoticed by most.

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The slide is blended beautifully with the frame and everything is fitted perfectly, from the sights to the safety to the hand fitted stocks. The gun’s frame has been improved with cutouts and Yost’s signature “sharkskin” stippling on the front and back to increase grip. The top of the slide is flattened and cut with serrations to reduce glare.

Naturally, Yost goes through the gun to ensure everything will result in flawless dependability as this gun is made to be shot. One of the typical complaints regarding the Hi-Power is the hammer bite. Yost has attended to this with another signature attribute, a high cut and shortened hammer spur. Of course, there are a host of other improvements, mechanically and aesthetically, that are made to the gun. The list is exhaustive.

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I loaded this gun at the range and the action’s buttery-smooth operation was a clear indication this wasn’t a run-of-the-mill Hi-Power. This gun is a natural pointer. I didn’t even have to try to place it on the X ring. The sights aligned perfectly as if the gun were truly an extension of my arms. The front sight bead was bold – but not obtrusive – and mated perfectly to the finely serrated rear sight.

I slowly began to squeeze the wide, polished trigger and Yost’s promise of a 4.5 lb. trigger is spot on. The trigger is without creep and only minimal over-travel is present. The reset is short and definitive. The gun recoiled in a gentle manner, typical of an all-metal 9mm.

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I fired a variety of ammunition through the gun to test its accuracy using the requested 21 foot distance; typically firing five rounds per target. I used an NRA 50-foot slow-fire pistol target. I believe I could’ve tightened the groups with a contrasted target, as the large black bullseye of the target started to blend itself with the sights after a bit in addition to the somewhat dim interior range lighting.

I did fire a couple 13-round groups using the American Eagle and Aguila ammunition and their group sizes were slightly larger than what is detailed below. But to keep things consistent, I’ll use a five-round group for comparison purposes:

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In addition, I took the top performers which seemed to be the lighter bullets and pushed things out to 50 feet:

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This gun comes apart for field stripping in an incrdibly easy manner. Drop the magazine, pull the slide back and lock it in place using the safety, then push the slide release through from the right side. Release the safety and slide moves forward to be removed. The non-captive recoil spring and barrel come out in a traditional manner. Assembly is the reverse.

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Overall, the gun performed exceptionally well without a malfunction of any type. The gun handles very well, is a pleasure to shoot, and makes a fantastic full-size carry gun – if one is so inclined. The accuracy is at the top of the field when compared to most guns. The price point is a bit up there – starting at around $3000 including the base gun – as well as the 24-36 month wait needed to procure one direct from the source. But, these can be found once in a while on the second hand market, so you needn’t wait all that long to go shooting.

Ratings (out of five stars):

Accuracy: * * * * *
Excellent accuracy across the board. Well below 1” at 20ft and less than 2” at 50ft.

Ergonomics: * * * * *
Fits most hands perfectly. Thin, well balanced, and most won’t need to change their grip position to reach the controls.

Reliability: * * * * *
Not one failure within 550 rounds of testing this gun.

Customize This: * * * *
It’s not a 1911 when it comes to accessories, but it doesn’t need them. However, there’s plenty of after-market to suit your fancy.

Overall: * * * * *
When it comes to Hi-Powers, it doesn’t get much better than this. It could also be argued that when it comes to most handguns, it doesn’t get much better than this.

comments

  1. avatar Tex300BLK says:

    “No, I’m not talking about the fussy and malfunction-prone 1911.”…

    Aaannndd, stopped reading there, any review that starts with nearly the entire first paragraph composed of personal opinion and generally trashing other makes/models is not likely to be worth the time to read, clicked on the comments link to skip down to the bottom.

    1. avatar Brian from Texas says:

      Clearly you are a strong fan of the 1911… and I have a feeling you kept reading and found that the article was so full of fact, that it infuriated you. Which led to you bashing the author.

      Great article, I would love to have a nice HP some day.

      1. avatar tdiinva says:

        It was a great review but the gratuitous swipe at the 1911 detracted from it. If the 1911 is so finicky and unreliable why is it still in service in the USMC and the FBI HRT? A 1911 built ti GI 45 specs is very reliable as any soldier who carried one will tell you. And despite what some say they were not hand fitted by master gunsmiths. They were even made by Singer Sewing Machine Co..

        Are you so insecure in your choice of firearms that you have to vallidate your preference by denigrating an alternative? And by the way my first choice for a carry 9mm is my Hi Power.

        1. avatar Jeremy S says:

          “They were even made by Singer Sewing Machine Co..”

          …and by railroad sign companies. I have a 1911 manufactured by Union Switch & Signal that was issued to my grandfather in WWII.

        2. avatar Hannibal says:

          “If the 1911 is so finicky and unreliable why is it still in service in the USMC and the FBI HRT?”

          I’m not bashing the 1911… but being issued by the US military and government is not the ringing endorsement you seem to think it is.

        3. avatar Geoff PR says:

          The Steinway & Sons piano company’s woodshop made plywood glider parts for the war effort.

        4. avatar cmeat says:

          read “glidermen of neptune.”

        5. avatar tdiinva says:

          Unlike the Army the Marine Corps does not stick with stuff that doesn’t work as advertised if there is something better around..

        6. avatar H.T.V. Blu says:

          Reply to “tdiinva”:

          I, like others commenting here, have never been convinced that because a government agency uses a firearm that it is some way proof of it’s worth.

          But more notably is your comment:
          “A 1911 built ti GI 45 specs is very reliable as any soldier who carried one will tell you.”

          Horsehockey – read any immediately post WW2 accounts by returning GIs and the prevailing attitude was one of thorough dislike and distrust of the 1911… (perhaps unfairly so but still)

    2. avatar Drew says:

      Soooo is he wrong? Everything I have read historically says he is not. Even today with all the issues well known and addressed a $500 1911 is considered junk without being “worked” compared to a host of out of the box dead reliable alternatives for about the same price. It’s like I told a friend who considered the small block Chevy superior to all because of its aftermarket support, yeah you can replace every part with an aftermarket piece. And you probably have to.

      1. avatar Tex300BLK says:

        An Heirloom Custom Hi Power is not anywhere close to $500 so Im not sure what you are trying to accomplish?

        1. avatar Drew says:

          A $500 hipower or clone tends to be perfectly reliable. a $500 1911 is not.

        2. avatar El Mac says:

          @Drew, uhm, not so much.

      2. avatar General Zod says:

        “Even today with all the issues well known and addressed a $500 1911 is considered junk without being “worked” compared to a host of out of the box dead reliable alternatives for about the same price. ”

        Wow. I must be doing something wrong, then. Mine works just fine and has shot all the cheap ammo I’ve fed it.

      3. avatar Koh says:

        The problem is that today a $500 1911 is 99% sure to be an aftermarket (not 1911A1 spec) hack job. $500 will not even touch an old Colt, military 1911 of any make, 1927 Argentine, or any real original mil-spec 1911.

    3. avatar Anner says:

      Not to start another reliability debate, but to inform potential new gun buyers reading TTAG: I’ve never had a single malfunction with 6 different Kimber 1911s, of barrel lengths 3, 4, and 5″, and about 6000rd total. I have had multiple malfunctions with 2 Glock’s, a Sig 1911, an XD, and an M&P. Just one date point…

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        All at about 1/3 the price of this gun, available everywhere. And, of course, .45 acp….

    4. avatar Joe Grine says:

      It takes a really closed minded person to stop reading just because the author is challenging your worldview. How do expect to grow as a person if you only read things that sound like an echo chamber?

      1. avatar Tex300BLK says:

        I politely suggest that you know nothing of my worldview other than that I simply challenged an “author” who is writing a “review” that spends nearly the entire first paragraph laying on his own personal opinion and running down other types of guns, probably just trying to funny, I get it he spent a lot of money on his handgun and is probably really proud of it, and honestly for as much money as Heirloom guns cost I would hope it is more reliable than your average out of the box 1911.

        I own lots of different guns, they all serve a purpose. I do in fact own a 1911 but it isn’t my only pistol. I will not it cost a whole lot less than this gun and still has had only one failure in about 1100 or so rounds (120ish that were hollow-points that I ran through it right when I bought it to make sure it could be used to defend myself if necessary), does that mean it is the best gun in the whole world? NO.

        And for the others who responded to me(I don’t feel a need to go through and write multiple responses) believe it or not I did stop reading and clicked straight down to the comments, and it has nothing to do with the type of gun that was being review or the fact that it is different from the guns I own. In fact the pictures and the Heirloom website make it look like a pretty nice gun. I didn’t read the review because it came off as poorly written and more of “I bought this because it is what I like and I am now going to write a review that I feel justifies this purchase” Which I might add is one of the better reasons I know of to buy something, but then dont try and pass it off as a “review”.

      2. avatar Mike White says:

        Good point.

    5. “…any review that starts with nearly the entire first paragraph composed of personal opinion…”

      That’s kinda the definition of a review.

      1. avatar RandallOfLegend says:

        Ding Ding Ding!

      2. avatar Tex300BLK says:

        Nice selective copy there Dan, leaving off the one part that gives context to the whole comment. What do you moonlight as an op-ed writer for CNN when you arent on TTAG?

        Starting a review by trashing the models and types of guns you aren’t reviewing is mor like highschool research paper material than a legitimate review, reminds me more of all the James Yeager “_________ Sucks!” videos out there.

        1. avatar Drew says:

          A useful review MUST contain references to competitive products or it is useless. Plain fact, the 1911 is known for being problematic. It is so well known for being problematic that an entire industry grew out of the need for them to be worked on to function well. So well known that most manufacturers sell factory upgraded semi customs as their entry level or mid level 1911 since selling a basic as designed and manufactured 1911 WILL be considered a low end gun. These are facts, not opinions.

        2. avatar tdiinva says:

          @Drew:

          That entire industry that grew up to “fix and upgrade” 1911 did not spring into being to fix problems with a GI speced, i.e., perfectly functional, 1911. It started to fix and super-tune 1911s for competition. A $500 RIA GI 45 works just fine for the purpose it was intended.

    6. avatar Accur81 says:

      The 1911 is a great design. The Hi-Power is a great design. GLOCKs, XDs, and M&Ps are reliable and offer a lot of value. The AR is a relatively good design. The .45, .40, and 9mm are all useful calibers. If someone “bashes” something that I own and works, it doesn’t bother me all that much. Well, usually. That can change if I’m overworked or low on sleep. Today I’m just pleasantly hungover. Anyways, just do an Aaron Rodgers R-E-L-A-X.

      Heck, James Yeager even told me to chill when I “bashed” one of his YouTube vids. Imagine that.

    7. avatar Chris says:

      I’ve been teaching on the range for 23 years. Without question, 1911s are the most finicky of handguns I’ve seen. I saw the same student break 3 different 1911s in 3 days, including a $3K semi-custom. I’ve personally owned 6; 4 didn’t work, including a $1K Kimber that wouldn’t chamber the very first round. It is well known in the industry that the 1911 is not as reliable out of the box as more modern designs. Ask Hilton Yam, Tom Givens, and Larry Vickers. They state it routinely and it’s probably a safe bet that they know more about the 1911 than any of us. It’s just a fact and the author pointed it out in his article. I’m sorry that it offended you, but you really should lighten up.

  2. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Very nice. I’ve always liked the BHP.
    Was the magazine disconnect removed?

    1. avatar LB says:

      Yes, the magazine safety was removed.

  3. avatar LC Judas says:

    I held a new production Hi – Power and the contour fit my 3X hands. Yet is small enough for most women to point. I’ve been looking for a reason to get one. This…may be a goal worth setting.

    Above a Cabot to be sure…for half the price.

  4. avatar jake from detroit says:

    Get that fire suit on, how dare you blast the 1911! It was just Jesus’s birthday and you know damn well he brought that gun down from upon high! Last time I shot mine, I had zero issues! Only a few failure to feeds!

  5. avatar jwm says:

    The Hi-Power, along with the cz75 fit my hand just about perfectly. If not for the 10 round mag limit in CA I would own at least one of them. But an all steel duty size semi limited to 11 total rounds in 9mm doesn’t make a lot of sense.

    1. avatar Accur81 says:

      Arizona and Nevada have lots of standard capacity mags. Just sayin’.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        It’s starting to sound like entrapment, ossifer! 🙂

        Honestly, tho, I’m the schlub that would get busted. I was lucky as hell when the cop let me walk on the no permit carry thing. Not gonna push my luck further. At least not until the zombies rise.

        1. avatar Accur81 says:

          There are lots of grandfathered Glock and AR mags out there with useful capacities. I can’t imagine it’d be different for the venerable Hi-Power.

          Or you could just say it’s a stolen handgun worth less than $950 and it’d be a non-arrest able misdemeanor. Not too bad.

        2. avatar jwm says:

          LOL! The Stolen Gun Defense. 🙂 Now valid in CA. You can’t make shite like this up. And since we live in CA we don’t have to.

        3. avatar Julian says:

          OK, I don’t give a damn about a permit/license, but how did you get busted for carrying?

        4. avatar jwm says:

          Observant cop and sloppy concealed carry. A j frame in a threadbare pair of khaki cargo shorts without a pocket holster. Just flat ignorant on my part.

          Cops were heavy in my area because of recent home invasions, that were violent, and some street crimes.

          And I didn’t try to place shite house lawyer with the cop. He asked if I had a gun in my pocket and I fessed up. Legally registered, clean record and not in a school zone. It would have been a slap on the wrist in court.

    2. avatar FTA says:

      CA law does not ban the ownership and usage of “high capacity” magazines. You can’t buy, sell, import, or manufacture them. Burden of proof is on the state to prove you acquired them illegally. Go to a USPSA match and you will see plenty of 20-29rd magazines. Lots of guys here walk around with them in their CCW pieces as well. Take a road trip.

      1. avatar PubliusS says:

        Best not to discuss gray areas in CA law on a public internet forum as people can take it the wrong way, or impugn the site host, especially one like TTAG, which is blowing up the myths and lies of gun-grabbers,
        Including the dishonest Brady bunch, or the lying sockpuppets and Bloomberg operatives at Moms Demand Attention, Everytown and
        MAIG, and the newest fake citizen grassroots initiatives for UBC.

        Here’s a good resource, talking about new CA gun laws going into effect today, mostly long-gun registration:
        https://www.nraila.org/articles/20140101/california-new-anti-gun-laws-take-effect-today-january-1

        Scroll down to a reference to this book, updated and the best for up-to-date info on CA specific laws, by Chuck Michelle, lead lawyers on Peruta:
        http://www.calgunlawsbook.com/

        1. avatar Accur81 says:

          There’s a cold beer or scotch if you ever make it down to Brea, CA.

          accur8@mac.com

        2. avatar FTA says:

          Um, we’ve had long gun registration for the last year. That page is a year old. Also, the more people that know the law and its limits, the better. The only thing sadder than terrible laws is people following non existent terrible laws. You would be surprised at how many people think you can only have 10rd mags in California.

        3. avatar PubliusS says:

          FTA, thanks good catch, and my bad, too quick to make my point, to double check the details.

          Here is a better one for 2015, as a laymans explanation,
          http://www.guns.com/2014/12/31/new-california-gun-law-to-close-single-shot-exemption-loophole-goes-into-effect/

          and as always, I find Calguns to be especially useful, as a starting point,
          http://wiki.calgunsfoundation.org/Main_Page

          And lots more opinions here,
          http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?p=15359117

          Again, my point is to carefully research the laws, especially in a state like CA, where they are so complicated, and change so often,
          …that you ( the responsible gun owner ) can get yourself in trouble going by what some anon guy (like me!) says on the innertubez.

          One of these days I will have to write an article about the bad and wrong advice I’ve gotten from various sworn officers, forest to urban, muni to fed, on where and how to open carry while hunting, ….which is no reflection on them, but on the State of CA, for confusion of its own Democrat nitwit generated bad legislation.

        4. avatar PubliusS says:

          A81, I would be honored, and second round on me.

      2. avatar jwm says:

        Per CA law my handguns are all registered. They know when and where I bought my pistols. The 10 round mag limit was already in place at that time. If that same gun suddenly has 16 round mags in it, how do I explain that?

        1. avatar FTA says:

          You don’t need to explain it, that is the point. If you are especially paranoid, get a model that had bigger mags available before 2000, when the CA law took effect. Examples: perhaps you in inherited some magazines from a relative in 1997 and ten years later bought a pistol that uses them, maybe you saw the writing on the wall and stocked up on magazines at a gun show in 1998. Also, the law doesn’t say anything about finding a magazine after 2000. Finding something is not buying, importing, or manufacturing. When asked about your magazines the only thing said should be, “I own these legally.” PubliusS has solid advice, check the laws yourself and don’t take word of mouth from anyone as gospel, including my advice. 95% of cops I know don’t even know the firearms laws in this state. Calguns is definitely your friend.

        2. avatar Punknil says:

          You’ve had a couple of 16rd mags since you were a child, and finally bought the gun they go to?

        3. avatar Yellow Devil says:

          @Punknil

          It’s possible. I had quite a few M16 mags for a couple of years before I actually bought an AR15. Not since I was 16 mind you.

    3. avatar SteveInCO says:

      The CZ-75 in .40 cal comes standard with a ten rounder (should be more, but that’s what it is). Also CZs in “restricted” mag cap jurisdictions do ship with weenie-cap mags.

  6. avatar ready,fire,aim says:

    my browning HP is going strong after 35 years…still my favorite of all my children..

  7. avatar An English Person says:

    I thought the FN Herstal factory still made these?!

    1. avatar cmeat says:

      they still catalog them… which is different.

    2. avatar tdiinva says:

      And I can confirm that my Hi Power that purchased two years ago was indeed manufactured at FN Herstal in Belgium.

    3. avatar int19h says:

      Given that there’s still several dozen militaries all over the world that still use Hi-Power as the standard service pistol, why wouldn’t they be?

  8. avatar El Mac says:

    @LB, aside from the ridiculous, untrue and unnecessary 1911 bash, a nice post. Other than Garthwaite, I couldn’t think of anyone besides Ted Yost to perfect a damn fine handgun. It certainly harkens to a time of hardier men….although, I saw more BHPs in Afghanistan than any other pistol aside from the M9.

    1. avatar Drew says:

      Buy a 1911 as designed by browning and as manufactured by Colt. Is it a reliable firearm by modern standards? No, it is not. A reliable 1911 is a modern firearm based on the original that integrates several improvements originated by the aftermarket. those may be custom additions or assembly line standard but they are non original design traits rooted in the fact that the original gun was unreliable by modern standards. Considering that the reliable 1911 variants list at well over what a reliable hi power glock Smith etc lists at I would say the argument that the design in finicky is a fair one.

      1. avatar El Mac says:

        @Drew, guys like you make me chuckle.

        1. avatar Drew says:

          Chuckle away, in the mean time please list a $500-600 1911 you would consider as reliable as similarly priced modern pistols with modern ammo like the ubiquitous Glock. Out of the box reliable without silly breakin periods excessive lubrication or parts swapping. I like the gun just fine, I just wouldn’t trust my life to one that retails for less than a grand and at that price I would rather have a better gun and a couple hundred bucks worth of ammo and kit.

        2. avatar El Mac says:

          @Drew, like I said, chuckle. Now…..go slurp down some more Cory and Erica videos. Or Yeager.

        3. avatar B says:

          The cheap rattly GI style 1911’s are the ones that work right out of the box. Its when you start tightening stuff up that things start to go pear shaped. I would personally never buy a Kimber due to its reputation as finicky, but I am very fond of my Sig C3 which had a similar reputation when it first came out. Mine eats SWC’s all day.

      2. avatar General Zod says:

        “Buy a 1911 as designed by browning and as manufactured by Colt. Is it a reliable firearm by modern standards? ”

        Yes. Yes it is.

        It’s the over-engineered super-modernized 1911 clones that have the problems and require the 1000 round break-in periods and aftermarket tuning. The Cabot 1911 that was recently reviewed here is a prime example of this. My relatively inexpensive “entry level” 1911A1 works just fine and has given me no problems at all right out of the box. All I’ve done to “tune” it is an occasional field strip and cleaning. I haven’t even changed out the grips.

        1. avatar tdiinva says:

          Here is what happens. A guy buys a 1911 and immediately goes and has it “competition tuned.” He may have put a few rounds through it out of the box but probably not. So, he gets it back from the custom shop and then it is finicky and unreliable. He returns it to the shop and it comes back finicky and unreliable. At this point he decides it’s a piece of junk and declares all 1911s to be finicky and unreliable. if he used it right out of the box it would have been just fine but he thinks that tuning it will make it more accurate. It’s Post Hoc ergo Propter hoc. Example: I had a perfectly reliable SIG/GSG 1911-22 until the slide fractured after 25K+ rounds of mostly high velocity 22lr. I would have been happy just to have SIG send me a new slide assembly but no, they though it should be hand fitted. Guess what? It’s not reliable any more. It’s not a self-defense pistol so I don’t care but it is annoying to put up with the light strikes, the FTEs and FTFs that I never had before. That’s what happens when you customize a 1911. My advice is buy a RIA, Springfield MILSPEC or similar pistol and just shoot it. If you built a precision finally tuned AK-47 it would work about as well as the Cabot 1911.

  9. avatar PubliusS says:

    Great review, LB. I did not know much about HPs but sort of assumed they were the poor man’s 1911 from general impressions of comments over the years, having never read about them specifically.

    This is a piece of art, of the gunsmith variety. And of course your connection to your Dad, and the fit and accuracy, makes it a personal choice, thats understandable, an a good read, as a human interest story.

    Assuming one can search for a range of past years of used guns, with the reliability that made BHPs the choice of LEOs overseas, what is it about the design that makes it different, or better, than a similar standard production to milspec 1911, of about the same time?

    And does each platform work well enough out of the box, for the average shooter looking for a solid reliable keep forever as HD + range gun?

    Whats the price vs value on something like that, vs new all metal modern dead reliable handgun?

    This is like buying a used F150, vs a new truck. Why pay three times as much, for same basic job done, if you dont need the frills, just point a to b reliability at best price, and parts for next twenty years, from just about any good mech.

    1. avatar LC Judas says:

      The HP isn’t a poor man’s solution better than any of the current combat “plastic fantastic” Glock/MP/XD and clones. All of those are hard for $500 or so with metal parts nitrided or melonited and will last forever.

      The HP takes a love of a more complex manual of arms and more care for blued steel. They work well but not under the same levels of punishment as a striker fired miracle piece. The HP is a taste and preference thing not strictly functional. Much like a Lexus works well but a Toyota works as good or better for less.

      When form is a part of the function you want this gun, especially the 3000 dollar version, is what I got from the review.

  10. avatar Russ Bixby says:

    I gotta admit, that’s a pretty gun. However, all the practical things he did are what really appeal to me.

    Thanks.

  11. avatar Nick says:

    I just wish Hi Powers came in a .45 flavor. It’s a great gun as is though.

  12. avatar Tom says:

    I have a original 1911 US Army issue and in the 32 years I have taken it to the range and fired it, never had a single malfunction. I also have a late 1940s era Browning Hi Power that has never had a failure to feed issue. Its pretty accurate in its stock form. Would love to find a FBI HRT Browning HP

    1. avatar El Mac says:

      @Tom, you wont find an original one as they were destroyed. But you can have Novak make you one….exactly as he made em for HRT.

  13. avatar Sixpack70 says:

    I wish I was able to jump on those Hi-Powers aim surplus had a few months ago. They were affordably priced. I like the gun reviewed, but that price is a bit steep!

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      You and I both.

      I think I need to have a chat with management and convince her that buying “at least one of every type extant” is a moral and intellectual imperative for a gunsmith.

  14. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    The High Power is a “stepchild” to the 1911 only in that Browning’s assignment of his 1911 patents to Colt forced JMB to work around his own ideas on the 1911. When one looks at Browning’s early ideas for the Hi-Power, we can see that there were some significant changes to the design between his death in ’26 and the introduction of the BHP and see some fairly significant changes – some of which happened after the expiration of the 1911 Colt patents in ’28. In the end, I’m not certain how much blame or credit I could assign JMB for what ultimately came out of FN as the original Hi-Power.

    Part of the increased reliability of 9×19 feeding vs. .45 ACP is the shape of the 115gr ball bullet for 9’s. It is longer relative to the diameter, and has a more gradual curvature to the shape.

    The Hi-Power didn’t start appearing in the US until the 1950’s, and by that point, the US market was already starting down the road to higher power handgun cartridges than the 9×19, which used to be seen as a fairly low power cartridge until the +P variants starting coming along. When everyone is hankering after the “power” of a V-8, it gets difficult to sell inline-6’s, even at the same horsepower and torque ratings, and that sort of thing is one of the reasons why the 9×19 didn’t really take off until the cheez-whiz pistols of the 80’s came along and started offering 15 to 17 rounds in a magazine.

    The triggers I’ve met on the factory Hi-Powers were pretty to really poor and I’ve seen a wide range of trigger pull weights. I reckon it used to need a gunsmith to work on it more than a 1911 would to achieve an acceptable trigger, but that’s my opinion from only a few BHP instances. Some of the non-Belgian licensees had worse triggers. Most all pistol triggers back in the 30’s to 50’s were pretty poor in comparison to today’s refined taste(s) in trigger pulls, and that’s one of the reasons why, IMO, revolvers ruled the roost for so long: When you feel the SA factory trigger on a Colt or S&W revolver from the 30s’ to the 60’s, and then you feel the factory trigger on a 1911, BHP or some other pistol from the 30’s to the 60’s,… the revolvers usually won, every time, hands down, without any doubt by anyone who had any shooting experience.

    I look at the BHP and see in the originals (and some licensed copies) a quality double-stack 9. They’re nice, they’re reliable, but they, like many pistols of their era, they need work right out of the box. With a lot of work, they can look like a really high class gun.

    My only comment on the pistol above is that I think the rear sight is too large and blocky for the trim lines of a BHP. I’d find a way to try to trim up the sides of that sight and blend the lines into the slide, but that’s me. The rest of the pistol looks very, very nice.

    1. avatar SteveInCO says:

      the cheez-whiz pistols of the 80’s

      I have to take exception to that, it’s horribly unjust. They were made out of velveeta, a much more stout material.

    2. avatar Will says:

      Bought an FEG Hi-Power clone for about $250 nearly 20 years ago, it has been 100% reliable for uncounted thousands of rounds. Bought a Springfield Armory “Loaded” 1911 in 2001, it and I have found ways to fail each other ever since.

      1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        The SA pistols from the early 2000’s on are some of the early examples of what I’m talking about with the spec-manship.

        I have a SA 1911 “Factory Comp” from about 1992 that I can feed just about anything into, pull the trigger and it goes “bang.” It even eats the round that gives more 1911’s fits than any other – semi-wadcutters – with ease. When I’ve tried feeding 185gr SWC’s into post-2000 SA’s, Kimbers, etc… they choke, every magazine, every time on the first & second rounds.

        Recent SA 1911’s leave me underwhelmed, and it is unfortunate, because in the early/mid 1990’s, they worked like clocks. A little trigger job and you were pretty much good to go on those pistols…

  15. avatar jwm says:

    The older mil-spec 1911s that I had experience with were rattilly and reliable. With 230 grain fmj. Which was OK cause back then nobody had hollow points in their .45. The Hi-Powers that I had experience with didn’t rattle like the 1911. And they were also reliable with fmj. Which was all you could get in 9mm back then.

    My opinion, and it’s just that as I’m no xspert, The mil-spec 1911 design works just fine as it was intended. Service spec fmj loads. If you want to launch other bullet shapes and weights from a mil-spec 1911 you need to not buy the mil-spec and get a more modern design. That or be prepared to pay a lot more money for a 1911 design that will work reliabely with a wide variety of loads.

    You are indeed blessed if you buy a bone stock mil-spec 1911 and it feeds all types of bullets reliably.

    If I ever get the urge to buy another .45 acp it will be a Glock 21. Reliable cheezewizz on the cheap.

    1. avatar Accur81 says:

      All this talk about GLOCKs and cheese whiz makes me think I’m going to open my safe and experience the smell of nasty cheese. It’s really a mix of Ultra bore 085, Break Free CLP, WD-40 on the hinges, and a touch of #9.

  16. avatar PeterK says:

    I would love to own a hi power.

  17. avatar PubliusS says:

    Thanks, Dys, LC, and jwm. Exactly the info I hoped for from the informed and experienced POTG perspectives I needed, amongst the many here who know their stuff.

    Which, again, is 50 % or more of the value of TTAG, so thanks, RF and staff for creating and curating the “place” where newbs can learn and grow wise from the generosity of others.

    Many thanks, and Wishing all a happy, healthy, and successful 2015.

  18. avatar Chris says:

    I had a Kimber Custom grand raptor 2 jam on me day before yesterday. Failure to eject. That being said I have only had it jam once in a few years. Budget 1911 like the Rock Island defenitly have a break in period and might need some tuning. Nothing against the 1911. Just my observation.
    Nothing beats a CZ 75….

    1. avatar General Zod says:

      My RIA 1911 has given me no problems from the get-go. No break-in period necessary. From what I understand it’s the high-end 1911s with super-tight tolerances that were never intended in the original design that are finicky.

  19. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    Nice review. I have no particular opinion either on 1911’s. Happy New year

  20. avatar MarkP says:

    Anybody can make a good pistol great for $3000. You are very passionate about this pistol but also clueless. If I could use an analogy dealing with automobiles: Yes the new Porsche 911 is more refined and desirable than a new Mustang GT. Any idiot knows that. Cars and guns however are categorized by price AND purpose. You sound like the ignorant Queen Marie-Antoinette who, upon hearing that her people were starving declared “Let them eat cake”. FLAME DELETED

  21. avatar Charles Henry says:

    The CZ 75 or SP-O1 are fine examples of what a modern Hi-Power could be. At a fourth of the cost. With total reliability.

    1. avatar int19h says:

      CZ-75, Beretta etc are the modern Hi-Power. Hi-Power is a daddy to all the “wonder nines”, and through them, to pretty much all the modern service pistols other than the 1911 family.

    2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      The CZ’s (or pistols derived from the CZ-75 action) are pretty nice guns. My 9×21 IPSC race gun was a highly tricked-up variant of the CZ-75 action. Ran like a sewing machine. I don’t shoot it much any more because when you load up a 9×21 hot enough to light up a four-port comp, it starts to bark pretty loud and it gets my tinnitus ringing pretty badly. But it’s a fun pistol to shoot, accurate enough for IPSC/practical shooting, and it will make major with the right loads.

      I think more people should look at CZ’s if they’re looking for a solid 9×19 or .40 pistol that has classic features (external hammer, decocker/safety) with classic alloy steel construction. CZ as a company has quietly been putting out some of the best bang:buck firearms for a while now; if someone is looking for a solid bolt-action .22LR rifle at a reasonable price, the CZ line of .22 rifles is what I recommend.

      1. avatar cmeat says:

        having trouble posting from mdt.

    1. avatar cmeat says:

      the hungarian feg’s that were imported by kassnar are nice pistols. only the kbi “pjk- 9hp” is a true single action clone. parts are 99% interchangeable. if you want to replace the tiny safety, a belgian one will need to be turned down slightly. the other obvious difference is the slide extending beyond the barrel crown a tad.
      internally they are not finished as well, with cz like tool marks obvious. externally they have a deep blue and look very nice.
      the combat sights are diminutive, the front only pinned, not dovetailed. i like the early style round hammer. and some of the trigger grit can diminish with the removal of the mag safety. (on the other hand, trigger function may be impaired by this). i’ll leave it to dg to explain why the trigger is different here with the double stack than in the earlier browning designs.
      there was an informative website that has been deleted which pertained to the hungarian hi- powers. i remember reading that “pjk” was for pamela- jean kassnar, maybe a daughter. also that the later variations were da/ sa and dao, some in .40 and some in .45. and some with vent ribs.
      certainly not a fabrique nacional, patience could yield a nice example for 400ish.
      i like them.

  22. avatar Geoff PR says:

    Good. We have some folks here that know Brownings.

    Back in 1996 I had a Browning that was oddly spelled.

    Not “Hi-Power”, It was one letter short. I think it was “Hi-Powr”

    FN marks if memory serves. Butter-soft shooter.

    Anyone recall what that was?

    1. avatar cmeat says:

      did it read “and- how” on the flipside?

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        One side had what looked like a coat of arms type emblem.

    2. avatar jwm says:

      If memory serves there were no FN or Browning made p35s with Hi-power actually marked on them. Could you have one of the Argentine clones?

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        Perhaps. Sold it 15 years back…

  23. avatar jwm says:

    I’m old enough to remember when you could go into any surplus store in America and buy new, in the brown wrapper mil spec 1911 mags for 2 bucks each.

    Course, gas was less than 30 cent a gallon then, too.

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