The G1935 Hi Power (or HP) pistol was initially designed by American legend John Mosses Browning, who brought us such iconic firearms as the Winchester 1892,Colt 1911, Browning machinegun and Browning Automatic Rifle. After Browning’s death, the design was further developed and then produced by FN of Belgium with production beginning in 1935. To this day, all Browning Hi Powers are produced by FN, though assembly has recently been moved to Portugal. It remains one of the most widely used sidearms in military history. Both allies and axis forces fielded the Hi Power in the Second World War. To this day it remains a classic, perhaps eclipsing the much-loved 1911A1 with a world-wide following of devotees. It has a beauty and martial elegance that you will not find in today’s crop of plastic ‘wonder nines’. But make no mistake, it is not simply a collectable relic, it is still a fine pistol for any avid shooter to own and enjoy and remains the standard firearm for many police departments and defense forces across the globe.
The HP provides an excellent single action trigger pull that can be further enhanced by a competent gunsmith and the removal of the magazine disconnect safety, should you wish. It remains perhaps the most accurate production military sidearm every produced. Though not light by modern standards, it is still slim and easy to conceal with a good holster. The grip angle and ergonomics give you a feel and intuitive ‘pointablity’ that makes snap shooting a pleasure. It just feels ‘right’ to most people the minute they pick it up. The factory 13rd magazine can be supplemented with reliable 15rd versions should you require 9mm bullets ready to go. A few people with wookie-sized monster hands find the grip too slim and some choose to replace the hammer with an after-market version in order to cure ‘hammer bite’ on the web of their shooting hands. The sights have improved over time, though I still encourage their replacement with Novaks low-viz aftermarket sights.
I would recommend the HP for anyone who appreciates modern military firearms, wants an accurate and fun range pistol. It is also very well-suited to home defense. However, I hesitate to recommend this handgun for concealed carry for anyone not already well accustomed to single action automatics. For me, the added risk of handling and carrying in the ‘cocked and locked’ position just isn’t justifiable given the minimal risks of my lifestyle. As well as over 75 years worth of FN production models, there are also some affordable clones on the market. Both the surplus Argentine FM90 and Hungarian FEG offer high-quality affordable alternatives for those not concerned about the ‘brand’ on the slide. The Bulgarians also have some rather ugly variants including a SA/DA version which has been adopted by the Iraqi national police force.