The Hi-Point C-9 is a 9 mm, blowback-operated, eight-round, mid-size pistol. It’s among what some call the “entry-level,” “budget” or perhaps even “value-oriented” market. This is an inexpensive firearm—the MSRP for the pistol alone is less than $200, meaning the off-the-shelf price is well below two bills. In other words, this is a firearm that can be obtained for about the same price as three or four magazines for a Coonan, Heckler & Koch or SIG Sauer. While the C-9 is less polished than such fine firearms, it’s also well within the means of any citizen wishing to arm him or herself with a handgun in a caliber ideal for self-defense.
As is to be expected, there are certain trade-offs made for the price level. The finish is powder coat, not blued or parkerized. The frame is polymer, like many other handguns, but the Hi-Point curiously has removable grip panels, also of polymer construction. The slide is a zinc alloy and heavy to account for the pistol’s blowback operation. It gives the pistol a top-heavy feel that can make it slightly unwieldy for some shooters. The sights are rudimentary yet functional, the trigger heavy and somewhat gritty, and the slide is stiff until broken in.
During testing, the C-9 consistently fired and ejected all rounds fed into it, but had initial difficulty getting all rounds to chamber. Over time, this problem smoothed itself out; however, I observed several failures of the slide to go completely into battery. As the C-9 ships with only one magazine, it was not possible to determine whether the problem was firearm- or magazine-related.
Part of the difficulty in shooting at longer ranges resulted from inconsistencies in the trigger— trigger pull measurements gave a range from 8 to 12 pounds. It did not appear to break at the same pull weight with every trigger pull, and in initial testing, group sizes were a testament to the variations in the pull weight. At close range, though, the trigger pull was less of a factor and the C-9 delivered solid, reliable and repeatable center-of-mass hits well within defensive parameters.
The Hi-Point C-9 isn’t going to win any beauty contests. It’s weighty for a handgun with a 3.5-inch barrel, and the trigger pull is long and heavy. There aren’t a lot of accessories available for the C-9, and the magazines are low-capacity, single-stack and proprietary. It may take some breaking in before it runs to its fullest potential, but as with any firearm chosen for defense purposes, this should be standard-operating procedure.
An MSRP of just a bit more than $200 for the Home Security Pack, however, makes it possible for anyone to obey rule No. 1 of gunfighting: Have a gun.