Under development at the time of his death, many people claim that the Hi Power was John Moses Browning’s ultimate handgun design. While Browning’s name is most often associated with the 1911 pistol, the Hi Power was an evolution beyond that gun.
Browning died in 1926, but Belgian manufacturer Fabrique Nationale (FN) continued the development of the gun. In 1935, the Hi Power went into production and is still being made today. The guns are available in the United States, from the Browning Company, but they are imported from FN.
The Hi Power is believed by many to be unmatched in design and quality. By some counts, the Hi Power has been in the military service of more than 50 countries. It has seen action around the world and has been used in the past by elite military and law enforcement units such as the FBI Hostage Rescue Team and Israeli Yamam.
Ergonomics and Recoil
You will find the ergonomics of the Hi Power are some of the best of any full-size, metal-framed pistol. Even though the gun uses a double stack magazine, the grip is surprisingly thin. This allows shooters of all hand sizes to obtain a good grip on the device. The gun is also exceptionally well balanced.
The traditional caliber for the Hi Power is 9mm. With this cartridge, recoil is easy and only the most recoil-sensitive shooter will be bothered by it. Modern Hi Power pistols are also chambered in .40 Smith & Wesson. You will find these guns have a bit more recoil but are still very pleasant to shoot.
Trigger and Accuracy
The Browning Hi Power has a single action trigger that is light and crisp. The trigger pull helps to enhance accuracy, which is excellent in this pistol. The Hi Power has long been praised for precise shooting. Current models are worthy of the same respect.
Reloading and Disassembly
Shooters will soon realize that reloading the Hi Power is typical: press the magazine release button and the magazine will drop free.
Disassembly is not difficult, but it is more complicated than some other pistol designs. The shooter locks the slide to the rear using the safety, not the slide stop. Then the user pushes the slide stop up while pressing the pin from the right side of the pistol. Once loose, the operator can pull the slide stop free and pull the slide assembly off of the pistol.
The recoil spring is not captive, so you have to be careful when reassembling in order to get the spring and guide rod back in the correct alignment.
Reliability and Durability
The durability of the Hi Power is exceptional. Many of the original guns are still being shot today without any loss in accuracy or reliability.
It really seems Browning got this pistol design right. It is a great balance of power, accuracy and reliability. Add in the pistol’s great lines, and it is a winner by anyone’s definition.