HiPower (9)

I am very excited that my HiPower 40 to 9mm conversion is now complete! I am also very pleased to say that it runs all 9mm ammo without a hiccup and without changing a thing! That took some work.
It will now run the weakest of off-the-shelf cheap ammo (which I can't say the same for my Glock 19c) all the way up to +P+!! Shooting 9BPLE out of it is like shooting 380! 

It is interesting to note that when I started the project 9BPLE was about $10/box. It shot up to $20 and $30 when it disappeared. It, however, can be had again for as low as $14.95. A bargain I think!



I will detail what was involved getting it to run and redo the whole project in a later post (it's sporadically spread throughout the blog now) but for now, here is the pic of the final pistol which I spent about 10 years to actually complete. 
I also want to thank and say RIP Stephen Camp whose advice and help on the project was indispensable -- who also, continued to ask me "But, why?" the whole time LOL.


Here is an obligatory pic. I think it turned out nice! 


Thursday, 27 September 2012 12:41

Last HiPower part to finish is here!

Written by


I have decided to continue building out what I consider to be my ultimate CCW HiPower. I am only a few parts away from completion.

One of them is a set of night sights which I got from DVOR.com.

The last piece (C&S wide trigger) should be here later this week, and my little HP can go for install. Due to the pistol's NP3 plating things have required more than average fitting.


I recently got my FN HiPower in 40S&W back from my local gunsmith. I had swapped my (Robar) NP3'd spur hammer and matched sear for a new C&S chrome ring hammer and sear. For those wondering neither sear is plated, just the hammer.

I don't know if it was because my pistol is entirely NP3'd but the hammer needed to be seriously fit. I put the C&S hammer and sear in, which by the way is a PITA, and the hammer just sat in the cocked position. You had to force it physically to the down position. A little fitting allowed the hammer to fall if nudged forward. Well, that was more than I wanted to mess with and I brought it to my local smith. Same gunsmith that did my front strap and back strap stippling.

He said that it was oversized and required a significant amount of fitting. He also said that the pairing made the trigger terrible. In fact, he went ahead and did a trigger job knowing that I would not be happy with it otherwise. It is really nice now!

The only problem is that the hammer's chrome finish doesn't match the NP3 nickel color. Duh. This is purely cosmetic, but I am going to order a C&S chrome wide trigger. This will do a number of things:

  1. match the color to the hammer and make it look like I did it on purpose
  2. give me a wide trigger
  3. eliminate the mag safety disconnect hole


You may have read that I had a problem with VZ Grips fitting on my pistol. I finally ended getting a set of the thin Navidrex. These fit almost perfectly on the pistol. And they are THIN! I really like the grip texture - it almost perfectly compliments my pistols stippling. It feels great.

For those that don't like the feel of the newer cast frames because they aren't as narrow or rounded the Navidrex makes the differences in comparison to a classic forged frame negligible.

Anyway, I am very pleased. Here are some pics (click on the pic for the full size version):




Friday, 16 December 2011 13:44

What about Hogue Extreme grips for your HiPower?

Written by

Good question! I am hesitant because I don't know how thick they are and I am have not held a pair of aluminum grips.  I emailed them and got this back:

Thank you for your interest in Hogue Grips! We appreciate
you taking the time to contact us. We do make grips for your Browning Hi Power. The Hi Power has been made since 1935 and stayed very consistent through out the years in frame size. The exception would be a BDA or BDM model, these won't fit at all. There is the occasional frame that has a
small safety lever that can make it difficult to install the grip. But
if you relieve that area on the grip, you will be just fine.


Interesting, because we know that there is a difference between the forged and cast frames. However, I am encouraged that they say that the grips CAN be relieved.

They look nice though (pic from the Hogue website -  click pic to enlarge):

UPDATE 12/16/2011

I got another email from Hogue which said:

I've heard from past customers before that some of our competitors don't fit quite as well as ours. However, since you have had the issue before you may want to try the rubber grips first to see if there is anything that needs to be done. It's not a large investment financially and then you would know for sure as to whether there could be a fit issue regarding those. The G10 isn't as customizable as other materials.

Interesting (!) and good advice too.

Monday, 30 May 2011 05:16

Stephen Camp Memorial

Written by

The firearms community will truly miss one of its experts that was always willing to help. His knowledge of the HiPower is unmatched.


"06:43 AM CDT on Monday, May 30, 2011
Stephen Allen Camp, 59, of Krum passed away on Friday, May 27, 2011.Steve was born on June 18, 1951, in Fort Worth, TX to Cecil and Taloma Camp. He married Sandy Bailey on August 26, 1999.As a young man Steve became a believer in Jesus Christ at Birdville Baptist Church in Haltom City, Texas.

Steve retired in 1998 from the Denton Police Department after 25 years of loyal and very dedicated service. He left a special legacy at the PD, and many of the people there remember him with love and respect. He left a piece of himself at the Police Department that will remain forever in the hearts of all who knew him. He definitely touched their lives in a very special way.

He had a passion for guns that was legendary. Target practice was a part of his daily life, and he was known as the premier expert on the Browning Hi Power. Many people sought his advice and he was always willing to give of himself to explain anything asked of him, answering emails from perfect strangers on a daily basis. Steve was an accomplished writer who could always express himself very eloquently on paper. After he retired, he started writing manuals about his beloved firearms. He was a self-published author who wrote four gun-related books that were very well received in the gun community. He even wrote one novel that impresses everyone who reads it. He was a very talented man.

Steve lived his life by a strict moral code and expected others to do the same. He could be rigid and uncompromising at times, but he was the most giving, loving, decent man who ever lived. You always knew where you stood with Steve because he would tell you. Everyone who knew him loved him and wanted to be his friend, because Steve was true-blue and always there for those he cared about.

He is survived by his wife, Sandy Camp; mother, Taloma Camp; mother-in-law, Florence Boehnemann; sister, Jan Clifton and husband Tommy; sister-in-law Kathie Boehnemann; niece, Kim Bolton and husband J J; nephew, Clint Jarrett and wife Jinelle; nephew, Stephen Boehnemann and wife Eve; niece, Lauren Hadley and husband Josh; and many other aunts, uncles, cousins and loyal friends.

He was preceded in death by his father, Cecil Camp; father-in-law, Delphine Boehnemann; and brother-in-law, Larry Boehnemann.

Visitation will be in Denton at DeBerry Funeral Directors, 2025 W University, on Tuesday, May 31, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.

Services will be held at 10:30 am on Wednesday, June 1, at the First United Methodist Church of Denton located at 201 S Locust.

Memorials: Denton Police Officers Association, PO Box 5103, Denton, TX, 76205."

So, does a C&S hammer and sear lever replacement require modification of your HP?

From Cylinder & Slide:
"It is very wise in the BHP, that if you are going to change the hammer that you always change the sear,this way you will have a match set made of the very best materials,and will last a life time.

What you are also talking about is the improved sear lever. This has to have a different hole drilled in the slide to make it work like it should. This new sear lever changes the geometry of the angle, and will result in a better trigger pull weight. This hole has to be made on a milling machine as it has to be in the right place."

Saturday, 21 August 2010 04:27

Browning HiPower T-Series (1968)

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Here are a few pics of my Browning HiPower T-series (made in 1968, purchased in 1969 by my father).
It is all original (even with mag safety disconnect).

The pistol has one of the BEST triggers of all my pistols (even comparing to my much newer HiPower without mag disconnect safety) . I don't know what the difference is but a great trigger is definitely possible with a HiPower.

It's a shooter, not a safe queen. At the range:

Thursday, 15 July 2010 08:09

The HiPower Today (article repost)

Written by Reg Mathusz

REG> I am a huge fan of the Browning/FN HiPower. Here is a repost of a great article:

The browning hi-power today: dominant high-capacity pistol no longer, the hi-power offers other virtues
Guns Magazine, Feb, 2004 by Massad Ayoob

In November of 1926, John Moses Browning dropped dead while working in his office at Fabrique Nationale headquarters in Herstal, Belgium. The project in front of him when he collapsed was the finalization of his Superposed shotgun, but if you ask most students of firearms what his last design was, they will most likely reply, "The Hi-Power pistol!"

Well, not exactly. Browning was certainly responsible for the Hi-Power's little known predecessor, the Grand Rendement (loosely translated, "High Capacity") pistol, developed for the French military and tested by them in 1922. When one looks at Browning's last patent, which bears U.S. Patent Office Number 1,618,510, and was filed on June 28, 1923--it's clear that the pistol depleted is the Grand Rendement, complete with such fen lures as a breech bolt running through the slide from the rear, which never made it to the pistol we know today as the Hi-Power.

The 16 shot Grand Rendement 9mm Parabellum was a large gun with an ungainly appearance and overly long grip-frame. The man who brought the pistol down to a manageable size was Dieudonne Saive. Two years away from becoming head of all small arms production for FN, Salve was the company's most gifted gun designer in the absence of Browning, and was up to the task.

Making Of A Masterpiece

He shortened the pistol at the front and at the butt, streamlining the gun and reducing weight. He brought the magazine down to 13 rounds in a reasonably compact size, mad did away with the breech bolt design in favor a system that would allow a similar takedown to John Browning's already-proven 1911 .45. The older 9mm's manual safety, an awkward thing at the grip tang area, was replaced with one that worked similar to that of the Colt pistol.

It would not be too simplistic to say that John Moses certainly did create the concept, but Monsieur Salve was the one who most assuredly shaped it into what became its classic form. Pretty much finalized by 1930, the Grand Puissance ("High Power", known to Europeans later as the "GP" for short) was not formally introduced until 1935, creating its other famous synonym, P-35.

The gun was delayed by sluggish market conditions caused by the world-wide depression. Once announced, however, it was an instant hit. The GP was available with plain fixed sights or a tangent adjustable which, with wild optimism for a 9mm pistol, was graded for sighting distances up to 500 meters. It was also offered with wooden shoulder stock, a popular accessory among the military handgun purchasers of Europe.

Serial number 36,000 had been produced, says gun historian R. Blake Stevens, before Salve redesigned the barrel lug's cam slot to cure a spate of breakages that had occurred with early models after heavy shooting. (1)

Into The Crucible

Then came Hitler's invasion of the Low Countries. Belgium was quickly conquered, and the FN factory annexed to the Third Reich's cause. Salve and some of his colleagues managed to flee to free countries. Salve was instrumental in founding a production line at the John Inglis Company in Canada, where the Hi-Power would be produced throughout World War II for Canada, England, China, and other Allied nations.

Meanwhile, some 319,000 Belgian Hi-Powers were manufactured by the Nazis during their occupation. By the time the Allies liberated Herstal, the German occupying forces had had to resort to forced labor, and the guns they were producing were the worst Brownings of all time, with ugly finishes and often poor fit.

Time marched on. In the second half of the 20th Century, the Browning Hi-Power became the overwhelming choice of service pistol for most of the NATO nations and virtually all of the British Commonwealth countries. It was said that the Hi-Power was the only firearm in common use on both Allied and Axis sides in World War II. Nor would this be the last time men with Brownings would face other men with Brownings in battle. The P-35 was the standard sidearm of both sides in the Falklands intervention, and many were used by both Israeli and Arab forces in the Middle East.

Copies would be licensed by FN from factories in Canada and Argentina. Unlicensed copies would emerge from Hungary. Israel, and even Indonesia. (An agreement was in place for England to build them at Enfield during the war years, but the project never got off the ground.) Hi-Powers assembled in Portugal began earning a reputation for superior functionality in the 1980s. Stevens estimates that FN alone had produced 1.5 million of these pistols by the mid 1990s.

The P-35 has been produced in other calibers, notably .30 Luger and, in the 1990s, .40 S&W. Various double action models have been offered to the market, one designed by Monsieur Saive himself in 1952. The most mechanically intriguing of these options was the FA, or Fast Action design, which survives today as the SFS (Super Fast Safety) retrofit offered for both Hi-Powers and 191 Is by Bill Laughridge's Cylinder & Slide Shop (800-448-1713; www.cylinder-slide.com). A lightweight aluminum alloy frame, also designed by a then-aging Salve in the 1950s, was offered commercially but never caught on.

The quintessential Browning Hi-Power remains a steel-frame single action semiautomatic chambered for the 9mm Parabellum cartridge. It is today imported into the United States by FNUSA.

Beyond History: The P-35's Attributes

It is far more than a sense or" history that drives the continued fascination of the shooting world with rids oldest 9X19 pistol design currently in production. Some elements of the Browning's design make it irresistible to shooters.

"Aside from its less-than-optimum cartridge, it is an excellent weapon." Jeff Cooper said of the 9mm Browning. "If it is not quite right as issued, it is readily modified by a competent gunsmith into the best heavy duty 9mm auto in existence." (2)

Ask a dozen Hi-Power enthusiasts to name three things they like about the gun, and one word will almost certainly be common to all of them: "feel." John Browning was a master of ergonomics long before the word was coined. His design work on the Grand Rendement would have been roughly concurrent with the U.S. Army Ordnance Department's review of Model 1911 features that could stand improvement, and would result in the updated Model 1911A1.

During a study that ran from December 11, 1920 through October 22, 1923, new features were discussed including a shorter trigger easier for small lingers to reach. These were set in stone in the "-A1" modifications made official on June 15, 1926, well before Browning's death, (3) and would have been well known to him while working on the large capacity 9mm pistol lot FN. The trigger reach on the Grand Rendement appears to have been retained on the P-35, and in turn is functionally identical to that of the 1911A1.

This is probably why, in spite of its double stack magazine, the Browning Hi-Power seems to fit so well in even small hands, while still being comfortable in large hands. The glory for this must be shared with Salve, who did the final fine-tuning of the grip shape, which so many shooters with hands of all sizes describe as a perfect fit with natural pointability.

So much care was taken not to make the grip too fat that the trigger linkage of the P-35 actually extends up into the slide area. As we shall see, the Browning trigger pull is notoriously difficult to tune, largely because of this strange geometry of its design.

The Browning has an extremely slim slide, elegantly tapered toward the front. when compared to modern duty-type 9mm autos, This makes it extremely discreet to conceal and noticeably more comfortable to carry inside the waistband. The gracefully slim barrel combines with the light weight to enhance speed of draw and target acquisition. As a rule of thumb, the loaded Browning 9mm will be about the same weight as the unloaded 1911 A1 .45 auto.

However, there is indeed no free lunch. The Browning Hi-Power, when seen in light of the way we use handguns today, was a flawed gem. Fortunately, most of those flaws can be polished away, so to speak, at the hands of an appropriate artisan.

Fixing the Flaws

Many of the Hi-Power's flaws were cured over time by the industry, and particularly by FN/Browning. Until 1962, the GP had an internal extractor that was very small, and prone to breakage. Notes master Hi-Power custom gunsmith Bill Laughridge of the Cylinder & Slide Shop, "The fastest way to break one of the old extractors is to lock the slide back, drop a cartridge into the chamber, and then slam the slide on top of it. Always cycle the first round into the chamber out of the magazine!" In '62, however, the Browning was strengthened by a much more durable outside-mounted extractor.

For most of its existence, the thumb safety of the Browning was a flat little thing so palpably mushy that your sense of touch literally couldn't tell you whether it was on or off safe. The lever was also extremely difficult to manipulate. Browning changed that in the 1980s, with a great leap forward. The new safely catch was, just right in size, positive yet easy to operate both up or down, and-for the first time--ambidextrous. Another problem solved.

Restricted Diet

Most Hi-Powers, for most of the gun's epoch, were manufactured for military hard-ball. The tough jacketed, pointy nose rounds fed reliably, but hollowpoints were a different story. It was simply understood back then that if you wanted to carry your P-35 with effective ammunition, you would send it to a custom gunsmith to have it throated. Factory throating came with the Portuguese-assembled Brownings beginning in the Eighties. Quel difference! Now, they fed even wide-mouth JHP rounds out of the box, without a pistolsmith's attentions.

Serious shooters were never really satisfied with Hi-Power sights. The tiny front post and "U" notch rear were impossible to pick up in anything but the best light and conditions of calmness. Although the 500-meter tangent sight setting (listed as a thousand meters on the first few models, according to Stevens) was a joke, (4) shooters liked it if only because it gave a slightly larger, clearer sight picture than the fixed service sights. There were those who said that a 300 or 400 meter sight setting would actually put the 9mm bullets pretty close to correct for elevation at perhaps 200 meters.

In the latter 20th Century, the manufacturers had spotty results with the adjustable sights they installed as factory options. One in particular, made of sheet metal, caused pistolsmiths to grind their teeth. Those 'smiths did a land office business, though, installing BoMars for the serious marksmen. A BoMar sight rib attached to a Hi-Power was the ticket for David Westerhout of South Africa, the first man to ever win the IPSC World Championship with a 9mm, back about a quarter century ago.

Today's pistolsmiths usually install Novak or Heinie fixed night sights on custom Brownings. Frankly, many thought that Browning solved the problem nicely with the big, blocky fixed sights they began putting on the guns in the 1980s.

If FN was optimistic about thousand-meter sights, Salve may have been optimistic about the 13-round magazine capacity. Each generation rediscovers the fact that the P-35 is most reliable when its magazines are downloaded by one round. Brit soldiers were taught to load only 12 per mag, and SAS troopies told me they were disciplined for having a thirteenth round in a magazine.

Less Than Refined Triggers

The Browning Hi-Power has always been infamous for a trigger pull that is mediocre at best. Sometimes creepy, sometimes "stagey," it is always heavy, though in the best examples it is heavy and smooth. Today's pulls are not truly bad, they're just not as forgiving of a frisky trigger finger as are the lighter-pulling guns that shooters currently seem to favor.

Except for some of the Nazi Hi-Powers, in which the device was deleted as a cost cutting measure, this gun has traditionally come with a magazine disconnector, which keeps the chambered round from firing if the magazine is not fully seated. This kept the magazine from falling free when the release button was pushed, a feature Americans like, and it also gets in the way of the trigger linkage and further worsens the trigger pull and makes it heavier. Much of this, too, has been fixed.

When Browning had to come up with a ten round magazine to satisfy the demands of Clinton's 1994 law, they put a little spring on the bottom. I don't mean to be uncomplimentary when I say it resembles a rat-trap. It doesn't seem to slow down reloading, and when the mag release button is pushed, this spring ejects the magazine with vigor.

This feature constituted one small silver lining in an otherwise dark cloud. A ten round magazine is all you need in IDPA shooting, for example, and indeed, that's all the rounds you're allowed to have in the magazine in Enhanced Service Pistol class, the category in which a Hi-Power would compete in that sport.

Laughridge's Cylinder and Slide Shop can alter your pistol and high capacity magazines to drop free. It involves judicious polishing of the contact surfaces on both the disconnector and the front faces of the magazines. The price is reasonable, and it gives you the best of both worlds. I say that because the common solution--I simply removing the disconnector--is unwise in today's times of unmeritorious lawsuits.

I know of one case in which the prosecutor made a big deal out of a Hi-Power with disconnector removed being proof that its owner was reckless with firearms. This despite the fact the Browning was not even the gun involved in the shooting in question. The burr or rowel type hammer that was so long the Browning's trademark tended to bite the web of many shooters' hands. For some years now, FN has been using a more conventional spur hammer, which for most people seems to solve the problem. It's an easy retrofit to older guns.

Shortcomings One Must Live With

Col. Cooper said the only problem with the Browning was its caliber. That has been solved in a couple of ways. Today's 9mm defense amino is not your father's 9mm Luger round. If modern 9mm P ammo had been available in Jeff's formative years, handgun history might have changed, because 115 grain JHPs at 1,300 fps or so produce autopsy results with phrases like "macerated heart," something you'll never see with a subsonic .45 Auto bullet. If you must have larger bore diameter, Browning brought out the Hi-Power in .40 S&W in the 1990s, and it can still be had. More on that shortly.

There is, however, one other shortcoming with the 9mm Browning. The P-35 is not the most rugged of 9mm pistols. It was designed back in the '20s, remember, before using submachine gun ammo in pistols became the military paradigm, and before today's high-pressure self-defense loads. The gun being slim, the parts are relatively small and therefore relatively fragile. In addition, many pistolsmiths consider the Browning's parts comparatively soft in virtually every incarnation of the gun.

From Venezuela to Great Britain, I've seen quantities of broken Brownings in government arsenals whose slides and frames were cracked by the brutal hammering of 9x19 NATO ammo. P and P loads also seem to be contraindicated. Listen to Bill Laughridge, who said to me, "Tell your readers in all caps, DON'T USE P IN HI-POWERS! It's been my experience that even a few magazines of P will upset the locking lugs."


A .22 conversion unit for the Hi-Power was considered by FIN, but never produced. (5) The vast majority were produced in 9mm Parabellum. A relative handful were made in .30 Luger. 9mm Para and the 7.65 nun Luger round are normally "interchangeable calibers" in the sense that all you need to swap is the barrel.

The .30 being a necked down 9mm (or the 9mm being a blown-out .30, depending how you look at it, though the case dimensions are actually a bit more complicated than that), the same extractor and ejector will work for both cartridges.

While pistolsmith Laughridge has seen .30 Luger P-35s run with as little as l0 pounds of recoil spring weight, the two calibers will usually both work with a standard 17-pound recoil spring. Today, the .30's only purpose is to give you a good gun in countries where you can't have a 9into; anything the .30 Luger cartridge can do, the 9mm Luger cartridge can do better.

In the 1990s, Browning announced a .40 S&W caliber version, but there was a long stutter between announcement and availability. The reason was that the very high pressure of the .40 cartridge and the high slide velocity it engendered gave reliability and durability problems. This writer had been dubious: if hot 9mm wrecked P-35s, what would .40 do to them?

It turns out that Browning did it right. The slide on the .40 version is much heavier, more like that of a Government .45 ACE That plus a stronger recoil spring seem to allow the .40 Browning to stand the gaff. Indeed, Laughridge says that the trick set-up is to get a .40 Hi-Power and convert it to 9mm. Now it will take the hottest 9mm without damage, have even less recoil than the original 9mm P-35, and be convertible to .40 S&W at will.

Bottom Line

Classics endure. The Browning Hi-Power is a classic. The ones made today by FN are better than ever. Throated to feed hollowpoints, "drop-safe" thanks to the Mark HI passive firing pin safety, and still with those graceful lines and that perfect fit in the hand, they are proof in steel that quality is timeless. There was a time not long ago when it looked as if they would become extinct, and I for one am glad this did not become the case. Best of all, their current suggested retail makes these prestigious handguns proportionally more affordable than at any time in the last 30 or 40 years.

(1) Stevens, R. Blake, The Browning High Power Automatic Pistol, Couberg, Ontario: Collector Grade Publications, 1996, P.70.

(2) Cooper, Jeff, Cooper on Handguns, Los Angeles: Petersen Publishing, 1974, P 186.

(3) Bady, Donald B., Colt Automatic Pistols, revised edition, Union City, TN: Pioneer Press, 2000, PP 255-258.

(4) Stevens, op.cit., P 53.

(5) Stevens, Ibid., P 238.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Publishers' Development Corporation
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

Massad Ayoob "The browning hi-power today: dominant high-capacity pistol no longer, the hi-power offers other virtues". Guns Magazine. FindArticles.com. 18 Jul, 2010. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BQY/is_2_50/ai_112128013/
COPYRIGHT 2004 Publishers' Development Corporation
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group