First, a few words. When I got my Hi-Point JCP 40, I paid $200 for it at a gun show and it had a scratch in the slide that turned into a crack. I got it not because I wanted to do a review or test its durability, I got it because I had very little money and the dealer had a silver tongue.
Seriously, he could have sold ice to an eskimo. I overpaid for an underperforming semi-automatic handgun. However, since the gun show moved on and I was stuck with it, I kept it. My only other gun was chambered in .22 Long Rifle. I thought that, like many times before, I’d been duped. What I didn’t know was that I’d actually gotten a decent gun for a good price.
Eventually, the crack began to widen with more and more use. I found that the firing pin was weak, sometimes not striking with enough force to even dent the primer, let alone touch it off. Not only that, but it was picky with ammunition.
Eventually my worry about the crack spreading and the slide sending bits of itself into my hands and face outweighed my concerns of having just a .22 LR pistol for defense. I went to the local UPS store, got redirected to the main UPS center, spent a good bit of money to ship it back to the factory, and then waited.
I thought they would simply replace the slide and that would be that. However, much to my surprise, Hi-Point replaced the slide, springs, firing pin, and threw in a peep sight, gun lock, and extra 10-round magazine, all for free! (Thank you Hi-Point lifetime warranty!) There weren’t even any charges waiting for me at my local FFL when I went to pick it up! Granted, this was back in 2016, but I doubt their customer service has changed much.
Since then, I’ve put many, many rounds through the gun. It doesn’t care at all what I feed it. Even handloads with round nosed, all lead bullets that I purchased from a gun show operated just fine.
The reason I got .40 S&W was because I believed that it was more powerful than 9mm and had more capacity than .45 ACP. It’s still my reason for keeping it.
As for a specific brand of ammo it might prefer? It doesn’t. It will shoot anything from expensive hollow points to TulAmmo and not care at all. Naturally, because of this, I practice with the cheap stuff. It gets a little dirtier than if I use factory ammunition from places that don’t write in Cyrillic, but the JCP 40SW doesn’t care, and neither do I.
This is not a very accurate gun. I’ll just come out and say it. I can’t get good groups with it. It will put holes in paper at bad guy distances, but don’t get one expecting it to compete with a buddy at 50 yards at the range. Of course, it might be because I practice with cheap ammunition, or maybe I just suck. However, I believe it never was intended to be a trophy-winning firearm. It was intended to be a reliable, functioning firearm. American-made Hi-Point firearms are cheap to buy, cheap to make, cheap to maintain.
A previous review by Benjamin Shotzberger compared the Hi-Point C9 to a mason’s brick. The JCP 40 is basically a bigger brick. It fits my big paws, but I can imagine smaller hands having difficulty holding it. There are custom aftermarket grips you can purchase, to give it a bit flair. Click here for some possible grips.
As you can see, I went with a Dark Wood Grain. Or maybe you can’t see it. The pattern would have worked very well, had the grips not been textured, or maybe the lines darker. New Hi-Point JCP 40s come in a black powder coat or hydro-dipped depending on the model. According to the website, Hi-Point pistols have coatings similar to those found on cars, to give you many years of service. Unfortunately, a car door doesn’t see holsters on a daily basis.
Something I was most annoyed with was the fact the grips they used on the black high-impact polymer frame had been painted to look like wood. Why not just use brown plastic? That way, when the coating and the paint wears through, it would look more normal.
Again, I am just basing this off their website of things I know will fit the JCP .40 and from what I can see, it’s not a lot. You can get a case for it, you can change the grips, you can put a LaserLyte laser sight trainer on it, though that front accessory rail in front of the trigger guard (is that a rail?) looks to be proprietary.
All new JCPs come with a free trigger lock.
This isn’t a gun you accessorize, though I tried my best with the magazines, just so I could tell which mag was which. There is an aftermarket extended magazine available for the JCP 40, but I won’t link to it and I wouldn’t advise you to search for it. I did, and I still have nightmares to this day.
Shooting the JCP40
As I stated above, it’s not accurate. A blowback design, coupled with a very heavy slide slamming back and forth, means you will definitely know when you’ve pulled the trigger. I’d tell you how much the trigger pull weighs, but I don’t have a way of measuring it. I will say, it’s smooth on my gun.
It isn’t double action, however. The slide must cycle to reset the trigger. Cycling the slide manually using the row of ridges near the back is difficult. I usually just wrap my hand around the whole back end and pull. If this is to reset the trigger after either a dud or a dry fire, I can hear and feel various springs rubbing against each other.
Of note, if you put a round in the chamber and then close the slide, you must be sure the slide has closed fully. I believe the extractor gets hung up on the edge of the round, instead of sliding over it to engage the groove. All that said, however, it will go bang reliably. It has the last-round-lock-open feature. The mag releases cleanly.
Cleaning the gun is fairly easy. Spray your favorite aerosol cleaner into it, and you are good to go. At least, that’s what you’re supposed to do with it.
Personally, I’m a bit more meticulous. Getting into the chamber with Q-tips and running patches down the bore usually is good enough. However, if you are intent on taking it down fully, the process gets a bit more complicated.
After going through the obvious safety checks, one must pull the slide back so that the notch for the safety is in line with a hidden pin.
That pin needs to be drifted out with a punch or some other thin object that can withstand hammering. In my case, a suitably sized drill bit worked well.
Once the pin is out, simply allow the slide to ease forward, applying gentle upward pressure on it until it slips up and free of the frame of the gun.
Now inside the gun, you will see that the firearm is just as ugly on the inside as it is on the outside. Still, nothing that is present on the inside hinders the firearm in any way.
All the internal bits can be serviced and cleaned appropriately. To put everything back together, however, requires a bit more finesse. The spring up front is capped with a plastic thingy that loves to slip and slide everywhere. It does this usually when you really would like it to stay still. The slide doesn’t have a corresponding marking on the frame to tell you where it slips in and down, or up and out. A little bit more time in development to solve minor issues such as this would be worth a few more dollars on the end price.
I haven’t drop tested it, nor do I plan to. However, the quick on-off thumb safety on my model is easy to work. A simple flick up to engage it, down to disengage. For whatever reason, Hi-Point decided that a magazine disconnect safety was required. If you worry about shooting powerful +P loads through the gun, you shouldn’t. The JCP 40 is +P rated.
This is not a gun for everyone, but at the same time, anyone can afford it. It’s reliable, if a bit ugly. It’s made in the U.S.A. Not much on the gun will rust, but what can rust is +P rated. It’s got a few problems, but nothing that would keep it from being functional. Add in Hi-Point’s excellent customer service, and you have a great gun, for not much money. It could be improved on, so I hope Hi-Point comes out with a newer model that addresses some of the issues facing the current one.
Specifications: Hi-Point Model JCP 40
Caliber: .40 S&W rated +P
Barrel Length: 4.5”
Overall length: 7.75″
Weight: 2.5 lbs. (empty)
Sights: Three dot adjustable rear sight
Ratings (out of five stars):
Accuracy: * * *
Decent enough for plinking and for home defense, but don’t go hunting with it.
Ergonomics: * * *
There are plenty of semi-automatic pistols less comfortable to shoot. There are plenty that are more comfortable to shoot, as well. Recoil is noticeable.
Reliability: * * * * 1/2
Springs may be an issue. Mine are bent somewhat. I also haven’t torture tested mine. However, it doesn’t seem to mind cheap steel or aluminum cased ammunition. It takes a beating and will shoot anything I give it.
Customize This: * *
You can get a laser sight for it, and different styles of grips, but that’s about it. There’s no real aftermarket for the JCP.
Fun Factor: * * *
I want to give it a higher score. I want to say it’s a wonderful gun if you just give it a chance. Unfortunately, it’s just not a “Fun Gun” to shoot. It’s functional, cheap, no frills and basic, but a basic gun can only go so far. Single-stack magazines, poor aesthetics, and a difficult takedown and assembly that requires separate tools, keep me from giving it more than a three.
Overall: * * * 1/2
It’s a functioning gun for not much money. It’s not really a fun gun to shoot, but it’s reliable and when it does break, Hi-Point will stand by their product with a lifetime guarantee. It has a number of minor issues, but for someone on a budget who doesn’t have lots of money to blow on a gun and training ammunition, this might be a good choice.
More on .40 S&Ws from The Truth About Guns: