Browning Hi Power: Revisiting a 20th-Century Classic

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posted on September 15, 2018
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For the last nine months, or so, I’ve been getting reacquainted with the Browning Hi Power. Frankly, I had forgotten just how enjoyable this gun was to shoot. After testing it with modern defensive ammo and modern defensive drills, I find that I shoot it pretty well, too. Here, in no particular order, are a few tips that I would pass along to those of you who have an interest in this classic fighting pistol.

To begin with, the pistol that I am shooting is the Nighthawk Custom Hi Power. Prior to Browning’s discontinuation of the Hi Power, Nighthawk had acquired a number of the pistols and added some nice custom features.  The Nighthawk version consisted of Heinie fixed combat sights, a good trigger and a beavertail addition to the pistol’s frame. Now that Browning no longer offers the pistol, customers can send their existing Hi Power to Nighthawk for the custom work. 

Heinie sights are an excellent choice for the Hi Power, as are the Novak fixed sights. I like a plain, black sight and a front sight with a gold bead. Of course, a tritium bead on the front sight will work just as well. Of course, increasing the cool factor would be to have a set of Smith & Wesson adjustable revolver rear sights installed on the pistol. We used to see that a lot some years ago, and when installed properly, they are extremely sturdy. To be fair, some versions of Browning’s pistol came with very usable sights straight from the factory.

Those who feel they have to have a nice, clean-breaking triggeras found on a good 1911will not be quite as happy with the Hi Power. However, the Browning trigger can be nicely tuned up for defensive work if you get rid of the magazine disconnect that is part of the factory trigger system. Cylinder & Slide sells an aftermarket trigger that is just the ticket and also does away with the magazine disconnect safety.

Of course, removing any so-called safety device is a controversial move. I suggest that you give it some serious thought. Consult a liability attorne,y if you think it is wise. In the end, you should use your best judgment, which is what I have done.

The Browning Hi Power is one of those pistols that just shines when a little bit of custom work is applied. I suggest you consult the folks at Nighthawk Custom, Robar Guns, Novak Sights or Mr. Ted Yost of Estate Sporting Limited, to name just a few of those who know how to tune a Hi Power to perfection.

If you’re serious about the Browning Hi Power, I also suggest that you get a copy of “Shooter’s Guide to the Browning Hi Power” by Stephen A. Camp (www.hipowersandhandguns.com). Steve was a friend and co-worker at the Denton Police Department who probably forgot more than most will ever know about Browning Hi Powers. Steve stepped on a rainbow a few years ago, but his book is still available and well worth reading.

Although never quite as popular as the 1911 pistol, the Hi Power has developed a strong cult following in this country. Why don’t you take a minute and tell us about your Hi Power?

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