The Browning Hi-Power – A Gun Ahead of Its Time

Browning Hi-Power

A 1988 Browning Mark III modified with Trijicon night sights, checkered rubber grip panels, Cylinder & Slide trigger, sear and no-bite hammer. Magazine disconnect is removed to improve trigger feel and deliberately fire gun with magazine removed. Speer Gold Dot ammunition fills the 15-round magazine. Photo courtesy the author

Reader Ben T. Jimenez writes:

The Browning Hi-Power — also known as BHP or GP-35 — was the last project firearms design genius John Moses Browning worked on. He didn’t live to see the project completed, but he laid the groundwork for the pistol that addressed many of the shortcomings of his classic 1911. The High-Power would go on to be manufactured by Browning until 2017, an 82-year run that few designs can equal.

The Basics

The BHP is a locked-breech semiautomatic pistol similar to the 1911. Unlike the 1911’s toggle link, the BHP uses a cam to unlock the barrel, similar to those in use on modern designs. The operating controls are in the same position as a 1911, although there is no grip safety.

A significant first was the double-stack magazine that held 13 rounds of 9mm. Many people think that “high-capacity” pistols are a relatively new thing, but JMB had them back in the 1920s. This was double the firepower of the 1911; however, the smaller round would prove to be a comparative drawback well into the 1990s.

The BHP is also easier to disassemble than the 1911, with a convenient take-down notch on the slide to hold it to the rear while the slide stop is removed. No barrel bushing meant no bushing wrench.

The Hi-Power has few downsides — primarily bite from the round, Commander-style hammer and the heavy trigger pull caused by the magazine safety. When the BHP was being designed for a French military contract, it was required to have a magazine disconnect that would prevent the gun from firing with the magazine removed. Aside from being a bad idea on a military sidearm, this creates issues with the trigger pull that are usually resolved by removing the disconnector.

Overall, the BHP was a slim, lightweight (by 1935 standards) powerhouse that had an unmatched capacity. It was eventually adopted by 50 nations as a military sidearm and manufactured under license or bootlegged on every continent not covered by an ice cap.

Prince Harry Afghanistan British Army Browning Hi Power

courtesy Press Association

It was used by both sides during World War II, as the Germans continued production at the FN Herstal plant in Belgium after it was captured. When the Germans showed up at the front door, FN management ran out the back with the plans to build the Hi-Power and got them to England for use by the Allies. The Inglis Company in Canada made good use of the plans, with the BHP serving in British and Commonwealth forces well until 2017.

The BHP in America

Unlike the rest of the world, the U.S. gave a lukewarm reception to the FN Hi-Power, as it was known in Britain. The first examples were imported in 1954 and had to contend with a cornucopia of surplus military leftovers from The Big One. Not helping the situation was America’s disdain for the 9×19 round, which was 1) the cartridge of the enemy even though the British also used it and 2) not a .45ACP. The U.S. was still locked in the grips of the revolver vs. automatic debate that didn’t really end until the late ‘80s.

Another obstacle was the lack of a decent 9mm carry round, which also wasn’t resolved for many decades. The big .45 didn’t need a fancy projectile to be effective — it was the ballistic equivalent of running someone over with a truck. Even after the U.S. military switched to the 9mm in 1985, it took years for the 9 to gain the respect it has today.

Tried and True

FN and Browning didn’t do much to help the plight of the BHP. They limited catalog offerings to a few SKUs per year, adding and dropping models at will.

courtesy Wikimedia commons and Mikoyan21

Browning Double Action courtesy Wikimedia Commons and Mikoyan21

In the 1980s, the Browning Double Action (BDA) was offered, which was largely a double-action version of the BHP. Mostly.

Toward the end, you could have fixed or adjustable sights and a blued, phosphate or two-tone black/silver version. There was not a whole lot of product development going on.

Custom gunsmiths would take a BHP and work their magic, creating awesome versions that fixed the factory issues and brought the Hi-Power to its full potential. That was great if you had a few grand to plunk down and a year or so to wait.

Browning was prohibited from developing an updated combat version of the BHP under the terms of its agreement with FN, and FN was pushing its new polymer police and military guns and had no interest in muddying the waters with an alloy-frame BHP with an integrated accessory rail and night sights. As a result, the Hi-Power was officially laid to rest in 2017.

Chinese Inglis Hi-Power

Chinese Inglis Hi-Power courtesy Joe Grine

Prices continue to climb on original FN or Browning guns. The Inglis pistols have become prized collectibles from World War II, and even licensed copies made in China, South America or Turkey command a premium.

Modern CCW

Educated shooters looking for a good CCW pistol to keep in their IWB holster would do well with the Hi-Power Mark III version. These are usually the most affordable, coming with a matte military-type finish and black plastic grips. The sights are easily replaced with tritium night sights, as are the grips with a rubber or G10 gripping surface.

A few companies make replacement fire control components and no-bite hammers for shooters with meaty hands. Magazines of 17 rounds will keep pace with any modern plastic-fantastic.

The Future

The Browning Hi-Power faced an uphill battle in the U.S. since its introduction here. Much of that was from preconceived notions about the caliber it was chambered in. The rest of the world didn’t operate under the shadow of the 1911 and .45ACP, so they bought Hi-Powers as fast as they could. It was the GLOCK 19 of the free world until the GLOCK 19 replaced it.

Today the .45 round is showing its age in terms of performance against body armor, and the current generation of shooters have grown up with the 9×19 as our nation’s service cartridge. The FBI re-adopted it last year, and major police departments are dumping their .40 S&W guns in favor of parbellums. The 9 is king.

Browning Hi Power Mk1

Browning Hi Power Mk1 courtesy John Wayne Taylor

In an age of plastic pistols, the Hi-Power offers comparable reliability and firepower in a classic design that’s as effective today as it was in pre-war Europe. Grab one if you can.

comments

  1. avatar GS650G says:

    Always wanted one. I’ll keep an eye out for a vintage used one near me.

  2. avatar Marcus says:

    It would be nice if it wasn’t a 1k dollar gun! CZ 75s or even clone Turk or Arcus variants are a better buy.

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      It’s hard to put a price on a piece of history. And since they’re no longer being produced they are likely to go up in value.

      At least, that’s what I told my wife when I bought mine.
      🙂

    2. avatar Timothy says:

      I have a Canik clone of the CZ-75 Compact as my EDC. It was nice from the getgo and then I sent it to Cajun Gun Works. It’s the same cost as a new CZ-75, but has a trigger like a factory revolver.

    3. avatar Corey M Lynch says:

      I literally just bought two Hi-Powers (FN manufacture, Israeli army service arms) in very nice condition for $650 a piece. You can find deals on them if you keep an eye out.

  3. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    Ammunition capacity is the number one consideration now. Kel Tek PMR 30 round mag standard in 22 magnum. Full size 9mm guns are all 15 round minimum standard. My Hi Point 45 has equal or more capacity than the 1911. And it only cost $140.
    I carry a ruger P89. I keep a 33 round magazine handy if I need it in the car. I don’t see a reason to buy a new 15 round capacity hand gun.

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      I don’t think you buy a Hi-Power today for self-defense. If you have a nice one, you want to keep it looking pretty and hand it down to your kids. With the magazine disconnect removed, it’s a sweet-shooting single action tack driver that eats low-cost ammo and is just the ticket for punching paper and ringing steel, by novice shooters and seasoned gun lovers alike.

      All-steel classics like the Hi-Power and modern plastic fantastics both have a place in my inventory, for completely different reasons.

      1. avatar jwtaylor says:

        Here in about two more weeks my Mk I Hi Power will be back from the gunsmith, ready to be my EDC. It’s a fairly compact, fast shooting double stack that’s more accurate than any Glock I own. Why wouldn’t I carry it?

        1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

          Carry what makes you feel good, man.

          Today’s polymer wonders allow us to carry less weight, or trade a heavy frame for more ammo capacity. I also would rather not have to deal with a safety lever.

          It’s good to have choices.

        2. avatar tdiinva says:

          A BHP weighs 32 oz. A Glock 19 weighs 23.5 oz. That is an 8.5 oz difference. BFD.

        3. avatar Curtis in IL says:

          It’s a big deal for some. When I switched from a Glock 26 to a S&W Shield I saved only a few ounces but it’s so noticeable I wouldn’t consider going back.

          Whatever your tolerance, if you’re going to strap on two pounds, why not less hardware and more ammo? I love my Hi-Power but I also understand that polymer frames dominate today’s pistol market for a reason.

        4. avatar tdiinva says:

          Seriously? Are you expecting the zombie apocolypse that you think you will need more than 27 rounds in a DGU? You will only be saving a couple of ozs if you are carrying an equivalent amount of ammo. There are many reasons to carry a subcompact but the amount of weight savings is negligable in the grand sceme of things. Perhaps you should be hitting the gym regardless of what pistol you are carrying.

        5. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          for me it comes down to the barrel length. for iwb the full size is always poking it’s snout out. the 75compact alleviates this.
          perhaps a cross draw arrangement…

      2. avatar Mike says:

        Many people have carried a Hi power into harms way, both open and concealed. My reason for not carrying it nowadays are the hammer hitting my rolls of fat that I carry around my middle. A glock 19 or 26 fits better.
        The weight of the gun does not concern me or ammo capacity.
        I still own mine and would feel comfortable carrying it. But there are slightly better alternatives.
        MecGar make nice 20 round magazines

  4. avatar TommyJay says:

    I thought all the Hi-Powers were single action. Almost bought a new Browning version 1.5 years ago. Got a CZ instead and saved some bucks. The Browning probably would have been a good investment.

    1. avatar John in AK says:

      All of the ‘real’ ones are single-action; The original Browning ‘HP’ BDA was merely ‘based’ upon the GP35, using some of its basic tooling and its overall shape, but had different internal parts and extra bits hung on the outside including great horking levers on either side to give it a ‘decocking’ feature. It wasn’t a good seller.
      Later BDAs were made by SIG-Sauer, and based upon their P220/225/226 series.

    2. avatar Marcus says:

      The Bulgarian Arcus is SA/DA and cheap as hell too

      1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

        I love mine (Arcus 98 dac) and really want a 2nd but can’t find another online (except GunBroker) or local that hasn’t been beat to hell

  5. The Winchester Model 97 (1897-1957) “hammer” pump action shotgun was likewise
    designed by John M. Browning. As were many other firearms by Winchester, Remington,
    Savage, and Ithaca: the Ithaca Model 37 was a revamped version of Remington’s Model
    17, another Browning design.

  6. avatar Nanashi says:

    “an 82-year run that few designs can equal.”

    And the ones that can are also JMB’s. The 1911, the M2, M1919, and the Auto-5 (MOST of his stuff is still made if you count third party reproductions)

    1. avatar J says:

      They will still be making 1911s long after the Glock Production Lines stop.

      1. avatar John in AK says:

        That’s probably true. Glocks don’t wear out, being sloppy rattling things right out of the box that are only held together with hope and some tenuous metallic connections but just keep on working in spite of how badly they’re made; Once market saturation is achieved, and everyone HAS one, there will be no market for new ones and thus no reason to make anything but the occasional new spring or slide-stop lever.
        1911s, on the other hand, DO wear out, and rust, and become unsafe due to exceeding their sloppiness limits, so a fresh supply of 1911s will always be required for those that dote on antiquities.
        Of course, the future may hold the threat of Polyestermites, nasty little bugs that eat plastic; In that case, older Glocks may simply crumble into dust at some point, and more will have to be made.

        1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

          There will always need to be Glocks in the supply chain to replace the ones that end up in police evidence lockers.

    2. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

      And the Browning SA-22 Takedown. Wonderful .22

  7. avatar Rokurota says:

    Rub it in. Sold my Nazi-proofed HP a few years ago. Made almost 100% profit, and it didn’t shoot great, but it was something to look at. Sniff.

  8. avatar bontai joe says:

    Another gun that I wish I had bought back in the day. I remember when they were almost affordable vs. the golly gee whizz prices of today.

  9. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    i see nice feg clones on line for <5bills. nicely blued, great trigger, crap sights. 99% parts swap w/ belgian models (safety lever hole is smaller on brownings). also, the hungarian slide has a weird barrel shroud.
    you can find nice fn models for under a grand. i like the old round hammer models. the load ramps need some profiling for them to cycle hp.

    1. avatar Xanderbach says:

      Picked up my FEG clone at a gun show for $400. It shoots great- so long as the ammo is standard round nose. No HP in this gun! I haven’t removed the magazine disconnect yet, but I hope it improves the long, gritty, spongey trigger. Still love the pistol, though.

      1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        it changes the trigger geometry some, and can rarely cause issues. it will almost certainly improve otherwise. you only have to drift the one pin.
        and i misstated above i/ r to the browning safety lever shaft: the clones have the smaller slide hole.

  10. avatar J says:

    I picked up a browning mk.iii practical (factory tu-tone) with pachmyr grips and target sights about 8 years ago for 550 from a lady selling her deceased Dad’s guns. Good Shooter, never had issues with hammer bite and had quite a few people ask me to call them 1st if I decided to sell it. They are in for a long wait.

  11. avatar el Possum Guapo Standartenfuher " they think we're making pizza's Oberst von Burn says:

    When JMB found out the hi power was going to be 9 mm it just killed him

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      I’m pretty sure it was the compulsory magazine disconnect that did him in.
      The trigger on those things sucks until you remove that part.

    2. avatar John in AK says:

      Well, that, and the massive coronary. He WAS in Belgium at the time.

    3. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

      Actually John Browning knew what a lot of people still do not know today and that is that the 9mm was and still is the better caliber. His proto type 1911 was actually designed for a 9mm cartridge (not the 45 acp). He only was forced to make it in .45 acp by the U.S. Military who was hoodwinked by the charlatan Col.Thompson whose stock yard tests on steers supposedly showed that a 44 or 45 cal revolver was superior to the smaller caliber auto pistols he tested that included the .30 Luger and 9×19 Luger. The real truth was that his own testing showed that the smaller calibers killed the 1,200 lb cattle every bit as well as the big revolvers did but he lied to the ordinance board about the actual results of his own testing. The Military never bothered to do their own testing and it was not until 1945 that they conducted some of their own testing and found the .45 acp actually bounced off of a WWII helmet at 35 yards while the 9×19 penetrated it at an astonishing 125 yards. Col. Thompson was finally exposed at least in a way.

      1. avatar Scoutino says:

        Hey, it’s been a while. Same old story, new name – Dracula these days, huh?

      2. avatar Ad Astra says:

        Ya, because head shots at 100 yards with a pistol is such a common thing. Do you strap on a helmet everyday in case a meteorite may hit you?

        1. avatar Ad Astra says:

          Also why do you think that steel and living tissue are somehow analogous?

      3. avatar jwtaylor says:

        Still spouting your made up bullshit, but this time under a new name. My favorite one from you is where you talked about the overwhelming recoil of the .380ACP. That was tragic comedy gold.

        For folks that actually want to know real history, the development of the .45ACP is an easy one to look up. Any search, even just Wikipedia, will dispute pretty much everything this guy wrote. You’ll find there were no fewer than 6 different military trials of the .45ACP prior to the end of WWII. You’ll find that no 9mm/355/357 caliber was considered in the original development of the 1911, but a .41 was. You’ll find that the military extensively tried 9mm/355/357 bullets in other weapons and their poor performance is exactly why the larger caliber rounds for the automatic were developed.
        Don’t take my word for it. Do any real research at all.

  12. avatar tdiinva says:

    I retired my BHP this summer because of the end of the production run. It was my go to 9mm carry pistol. It was easily the most accurate pistol in my safe even with the crappy magazine disconnect impaired trigger so I never felt a need to do anything about it. I replaced it with a Springfield EMP 4″ model for 10 months of the year and it has proven to be as accurate as my BHP. I will carry an APX or an XD 45 Tactical in the depths of winter where heavy gloves make fumbling with a safety impractical.

  13. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

    The High Power has been discontinued. The end of a great gun. Hopefully others will continue to produce it. Dan Wesson was importing one from the Philippians at one time. Bulgaria made a clone at one time. Argentina made a clone at one time and it was a very good one as it was made on FN machinery. There was even the shorty detective model now highly sought after and like a fool I never got one when they were selling for not much more than a song and dance. The biggest mistake in buying handguns I ever made.

    The High Power went through many changes as time went along and not all of them for the good. After 1989 they installed a passive firing pin safety that was a mechanical disaster that made the rear end of the slide only about 1/16 inch thick to accommodate the passive firing pin arm. The result was the slide often broke from repeated hammering of the hammer against the firing pin stop plate. Underneath the plate the slide was only 1/16 inch thick.

    After 1984 FN went over the bulbous oversize cast frame and cast internal parts. The HP no longer felt like a High Power when in the hand as its circumference was now larger even for people with long fingers.

    Sometime in the 2000 or later they eliminated the barrel hood extension which helped stabilize the barrel when it locked up and helped increase accuracy and unfortunately as a cheap cost saving measure they eliminated it.

    The older High Powers were not without flaws either. Never mentioned was that some early High Powers did not have the slide take down notch and the slide release notch heat treated which resulted in them getting rounded off and then of course they no longer worked. If you look closely at some of the later blued models (circa 1968 and later) you will see the bluing around those two notches is much darker and those are the ones that had heat treated notches. Also the original extractors were of the internal 1911 type and even most 1911 people do not know that both pistols have problems when you chamber a round by dropping it first by hand right into the chamber and then slam the slide closed which springs the extractor and then causes jamming. The Later High Powers made in the 60’s went to an external extractor that was cheaper and faster to make but it did eliminate this problem but the external extractor was not as strong an extractor. It was a double edge sword.

    High Powers had a long trigger reset and people who attempt to fire them fast all of a sudden have the gun stop working because they short stroked the trigger and did not let it reset. Then they relax and stop shooting trying to figure out what happened and then they let the trigger go forward and reset and now the pistol is armed again. I have seen accidents happen because of this. This problem can be somewhat alleviated by shortening the trigger stroke but you can only shorten it a bit and not as much as most people would like. This modification is usually beyond the back yard hammer and chisel gunsmith which seems to comprise most people in this trade today.

    High Powers had steep feed ramps and early model guns should have the ramp polished and chamber throated to work with truncated expanding bullets but its no big deal and if one is careful you can do this with a dremel tool in a few minutes. Again if you are the average hammer and chisel man leave this to a skilled gunsmith providing you can even find one these days.

    Most High Commercial Powers had fantastic blued finishes that rusted while you stood there looking at them so a hard chrome job or electrolysis nickle plating is in order here if you are the typical gun owner that never bought or will ever buy even a bottle of cheap 3 in 1 oil or rig gun grease.

    The High Power did have very good accuracy and it pointed naturally almost like pointing your finger but people with short fingers cannot get their fingers to reach the trigger at all but the High Power had much less reach than other wonder nines like the CZ75 being even far worse.

    I do not have overweight fat hands so hammer bit does not exist for me in any pistol I have ever shot. If you do have fat hands then maybe the High Power would be a problem for you.

    On some early 1960’s guns, (I currently own 6 of them) when the magazine safety is removed I have got as light as a 3 lb pull out of the factory unmodified trigger as it came straight from the FN factory. Later model High Powers were about 6lb even after removing the magazine safety but I have one made in 1993 that has a trigger pull so crisp you would never believe it actually trips off at 6 lbs. I have had many people complain about High Power trigger pulls but it must be because they have never removed the magazine safety which can also make the trigger pull gritty as well as heavy.

    The magazine safety is both a blessing and a curse. Removing the magazine first will eliminate accidental shootings when one forgets to take a round out of the chamber and if a kid would find the gun its useless if you have the magazine in your pocket but the magazine safety affected the trigger pull by adding at least a 1 1/2 lbs to the trigger pull. FN did come out with another type of magazine safety on their target long barrel Competition High Power but they never made it standard in all of the other basic models.

    The slide on the High Power was rugged but is not the equal in longevity of some of the more modern guns like the Glock whose massive slide can indeed take a lot of rounds put through it. Now you see I have actually praised a plastic pistol even though you know I hate them with a passion. But fair is fair and the Glock wins out when comparing the longevity of the slide.

    Now that I have dashed the fantasies of people contemplating getting a used one these days now that they are no longer being made I must confess the High Power still is my all time favorite high cap 9mm. It was the first high cap and not many guns have come even close to equaling it in fit and finish and accuracy. If I could only have one pistol no question it would be a High Power.

    The first two pistols I ever encountered as a starry eyed kid were my dad’s FN 1906 .25 acp, his FN High Power with German Proof marks and a Roth Steyr 9mm, all war trophies, he had 3 other pistols including a Luger which alas he sold before I was born.

    Tupperware belongs to the ladies in the kitchen not as part of a real mans weapons. There is no pride in owning tupperware weapons if we can even call them weapons.

    And by the way I knew men in WWII who threw their 1911 guns away and carried a captured High Power. I asked them “when you shot a German with a 9mm what happened’? They all said, “they fell down dead”. I have shot a few deer with the High Power and the same thing happened, they fell down dead. So much for the myth about the 9mm being inferior to the .45 acp. I have also gotten way more penetration with the 9×19 as compared to the .45 acp in actual testing.

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      “The magazine safety is both a blessing and a curse.”

      Sorry, no. It was a bad idea, which is why few firearms are designed that way.

      Thankfully, there are yootoobe videos to demonstrate how to remove the bad idea and make the gun a whole lot more shootable.

    2. avatar Ad Astra says:

      They must have died from those oh so common 100+ yard pistol headshots.

      1. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

        Wrong. The last one I shot was the usual hit area, right behind the shoulder. But I did shoot one in the ass end while it was running away and the bullet went all the way through him and out his chest. I have never been able to do this when using the .45acp as it lacks the penetration to do so.

        1. avatar jwtaylor says:

          Your stories get more fantastic with every new name you come up with.
          Try and remember what decade you were born in with this one. It must be hard when you have to take notes to keep up with your own lies.

  14. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    When I got my Hi Power Practical in 40 S&W alot of my friends thought I was nuttz. A Hi-Power in 40 S&W????
    Its my favorite and most prized gun I own. Ive since had the disconnect removed and changed the hammer and trigger. My Gold colored hammer was the price of an accurizing job back in 1996 by one of the NYPD armourers. Its got a 5lb glass rod for a trigger with adjustable rear sights. Its still MY gun and I will never sell it.

  15. avatar Matt o says:

    JMB was a genius at firearms design but his obsession with putting semi rims on his pistol cartridges has always bothered me. With the exception of 45 acp and it’s scaled to 80% little bother 380 acp, his other creations all suffered with that semi rim. Can you imagine a rimless 32 acp+p? You could probably cram 25 of them in a duty size handgun.

  16. I have a pair. One is either a 70’s or 80’s vintage Mk III, in perfect blue, and the other is an 80’s version MK II in enamel. I plan to get the enamel gun refinished, possibly in nickel.chrome. These are truly wonderful guns, fit the hand great, look good, shoot well, and have a sufficient of no longer impressive magazine capacity.

  17. avatar Kendahl says:

    I considered a Hi-Power when I was shopping for a 9 mm. Two things argued in favor of an S&W Performance Center M&P. They were four more rounds in the magazine (to cut down on time lost reloading during matches) and the heavy trigger due to the magazine disconnector. (I was warned that, should I need the gun for self defense, removing the disconnector would look bad in court.)

    I did come across a 50 year old example at a gun show. It had adjustable sights, the original safety and a good trigger (no disconnector). I passed on it because I didn’t know how much to pay (or not pay) and I didn’t trust my ability to distinguish between a gun that would work well and one that just looked nice. I still think about that gun and wonder if I should have grabbed it when I had the chance.

    Some custom shops are building Hi-Powers out of clones. Cylinder and Slide, in Fremont, Nebraska, starts with Tisas Regent BR9s. Bring money. Lots of money.

  18. avatar Rokurota says:

    I’m surprised this article didn’t mention the Tisas Regent BR-9. Has anyone tried one?

  19. avatar tmm says:

    I pulled the trigger on a BHP that was “used”, and came with a couple of “practical” magazines. [“Practical” magazines have a spring that positively ejects the magazine when the mag release is deployed]

    It’s a pretty basic model, but the quality is top notch, and when I took it out for a spin, I felt like Barney Gumble drinking his first beer (“Where have you been all my life?”).

  20. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

    I think that the sadist story about the High Power is the myth that John Browning invented it. This is dead wrong. Browning’s creation was a much bigger pistol and it was striker fired. Dieudonné Joseph Saive actually invented and developed the High Power and about all he copied from Browning was the staggered magazine idea incorporated from a rifle magazine box into a pistol magazine. Of course patriotic fanaticism has deliberately concealed the true story about the development of the High Power but its no secret in Belgium at all. I fear I would be attacked if I said Browning invented it while touring the FN factory today in Belgium.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Are you high? Literally everything you wrote there is wrong.

      “Browning’s creation was a much bigger pistol and it was striker fired. ”
      One of the designs was striker fired, one was not. In the end, it was the barrel bushing, frame shape, takedown sequence, and slide assembly that started with the 1911 that was chosen, not the striker fired version of Hi Power. The only thing from that striker fired version that was kept was the locking breech, designed by Browning.

      “about all he copies from Browning was the staggered magazine…”
      You have it entirely backwards. Browning copied the magazine from Saive. It was integral to both original Hi-Power designs. Saive was Browning’s employee.

      “I fear I would be attacked if I said Browning invented it while touring the FN factory today”..
      Pretty doubtful, since, to quote their website “The Hi-Power is one of John Moses Browning’s finest designs.”

      Please, for once, get something right.

      1. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

        Your wrong as usual. Browning died while working on the High Power and he had only one that he was working on not two.

      2. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

        I will refer you to Steven’s book on the development of the High Power. Browning’s first attempt to market a gun to the French was a striker fired blow back pistol. He then modified this same pistol into a lock breach rotating bolt mechanism. He was not working on another locked breech 1911 type pistol. He was granted a patent for his locked breach rotating bolt pistol and then he passed away.

        Yes the locking breech of the High Power was borrowed from the 1911 but the High Power was not designed by Browning at all. There is some controversy about the staggered column magazine because it was not mentioned in the patent application that was granted to Browning. So the question is which came first the chicken or the egg. Steven implies with no proof that Browning did indeed use the idea of the staggered column pistol magazine for this pistol but deliberately did not put it into the patent drawings so his competitors would not get wind of this new idea because it was not able to be patented because of its prior existence in other firearms which were not invented by Browning. So to be technically correct neither Browning nor Saive invented the staggered column magazine but Saive kept the idea for his new pistol that he invented. All we know for sure because there is no real documentation is that Saive’s pistol had the staggered column magazine and that Browning probably added it to his striker fired gun after he got his patent. If this is so and according to Stevens probably is, Saive simply kept a good idea after Browning died and used it in his new pistol.

      3. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

        And your philosophy is skewered as well. If we say that just because Saive used the locked breach of the 1911 therefore Browning invented the High Power then every other pistol that incorporated this locking mechanism like say the Polish Radom would therefore have been invented by Browning, which he had nothing to do with when it was designed, only that the Radom factory borrowed his locking mechanism along with other design features of the 1911. I think the people at Radom would not want you on their property even today. They call their pistol the FB VIS Radom, not a Browning and rightfully so. The same can be said for Saive’s High Power as he borrowed the locking mechanism from the 1911 loosely, very loosely, as the High Power has a tipping and caming barrel not one that uses a swinging link like the 1911 so to call Saive’s High Power a Browning is only what a person would do if his thinking was blinded by fanatical patriotism, simple mechanics dictate otherwise.

      4. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

        quote—————-“I fear I would be attacked if I said Browning invented it while touring the FN factory today”..
        Pretty doubtful, since, to quote their website “The Hi-Power is one of John Moses Browning’s finest designs.”

        Please, for once, get something right.—————-quote

        Answer: Please educate yourself.

        There is nothing on FN Herstel or FN America’s Website stating that. You probably are remembering what is on the Browning Web site which is a different company and always was, Browning Arms is not FN. Any educated person would have known this. Browning for many years was only an importer and still is, their guns were made for them by many companies including FN and the Japanese company called Miroku and another company located in Texas which I do not remember their name but they made the Browning double action pistol and some of their .22 Pistols were also made in the U.S..

  21. avatar Mikial says:

    Browning High Powers were the handgun of choice for the Iraqi army, so when I went into Iraq on a couple of DoD contracts there were plenty of them in the hands of private military contractors. Consequently I was issued one a couple of times while on contract in the 2 1/2 years I was there. I was also issued a G17 and a Kimber 1911 while there, and had a couple of occasions to use a CZ. Of all the guns I used there I liked the High Power the least. I found it clunky with a difficult trigger pull, and I hated the magazine safety. I was glad on both occasions when I could trade it in for something else. No offense to what is clearly an iconic handgun, but it just isn’t what I would choose to carry in combat or as an EDC.

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