The Hi-Point pistols have two defining characteristics- they are cheap and they work. Mostly. The broad consensus is that they are a turd, and best used as a boat-anchor. As I stated previously I never anticipated owning one, but $75 (used) for a service-caliber handgun with a lifetime guarantee? Why not?
Owning one has changed my perspective. The manufacturer’s started with a question- how can we manufacture a service-caliber handgun that anyone can afford? They weren’t the first to try, but they were first to succeed on a large scale. The key to that success is twofold- the guns are reliable and they have an excellent guarantee and customer service. The guns typically have an MSRP of $199, but if you can’t find one quite a bit cheaper you aren’t trying.
So, my change of perspective- am I a HiPoint fan-boy? Not really- but after having and examining it thoroughly and firing a few hundred rounds I have come to respect them. They are cheap and made of cheap materials but they are thoughtfully designed for the role they are intended to fill. They are big, heavy, ugly, low-capacity, basic handguns that work and with a little shopping around pretty much anyone can afford one. Mission accomplished.
It goes without saying that they aren’t perfect out of the box- they were never intended to be perfect and nothing you can do will make them so. But there are some issues that are easy to address and take nothing but a little time. Over the holidays I had some time and thought, ‘What the hell.’
The first and foremost is the grips. Out of the box they are slippery, with a somewhat greasy feel. This actually exaggerates the weight of the gun because a firm grip takes a lot of pressure and never feels really secure. The simplest and easiest solution is a Pachymer grip-sleeve, but why spend money on a HiPoint? I actually have one lying around that came on a used gun, but it only partially solves the problem, and it adds size to what is already a fairly large grip.
I mounted a 2mm carbide ball in my engraver and stippled the grips. With the burr spinning at 450,000 rpm you touch the plastic and there is an instant divot. It took maybe a half-hour to do both grips. I cut in deeply all around the safety, which made it much easier to operate. There are some panels of cast lines on the polymer frame which are pretty ineffective, so I invested another 15 minutes stippling those as well.
It certainly looks a lot better, and the feel of the gun is remarkably improved, Somehow not needing to have a death-grip on the gun makes it feel less top-heavy. It looks better, too. I also stippled small sections of the frame at the top of the trigger-guard as a secure place to rest the trigger finger. Totally needed, but I was a bit stipple-happy by then…
While I had the grip panel off I followed the advice of YouTubers and removed the magazine disconnect safety. This prevents the gun from firing when there is no magazine inserted, and I loathe them. With the grip panel off there is a bar of metal exposed and you simply lift it out. Dead easy, and it improved the trigger-pull significantly. Mind you there is still a ton of creep, but it’s a bit lighter and less crunchy. I could see that there were places I could smooth out the trigger-parts but I just didn’t bother. Maybe another time.
Next was the magazine. The only functional issue with this- and other HiPoints from what I have seen online- is for the first round out of the magazine to nose-dive in the magazine on feeding. Being a 1911 guy from way-back tweaking feed lips on magazines is second nature, so I did. Problem solved.
Last I took off the slide (pretty easy, but requires a punch) and polished the feed ramp. It’s not badly shaped but it’s covered in the same powder-coating as the exterior of the gun. Smooth and clean now. As a note- when you remove the slide everything falls out. Springs, striker, the retaining thingy etc. Make sure you do this in a place where all the bits can easily be found. Reassembly is a bit tricky, but not too bad once you figure out where everything goes.
I took it (and several other guns) to the range yesterday and it functioned flawlessly. Fr a blow-back gun in a snappy caliber (.40 S&W) it surprisingly soft-shooting. The adjustable sights are OK. Nothing to write home about, but they are easy to pick up and use. Accuracy was dead-on. Here’s a rapid-fire group on a 3/4″-size IDPA practice target at 7 yards. Not too shabby.
So the HiPoint- still heavy, clunky and ugly, but better. Weird as it is to say it, while it would not be my first (or second or third…) choice I would actually bet my life on this gun. It’s accurate, reliable and does the job.
II might even splurge on another magazine for it…
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