When I think of the Browning Arms Company I think of history and innovation, and the Hi-Power is the perfect blend of both. The HP was John Browning’s final invention, which he, unfortunately, wasn’t able to complete before his death. His designs were taken over by Fabrique Nationale (FN), who finished the gun in 1935. The HP’s story began when Browning was commissioned to create a new pistol to meet the new requirements of the French Military; little did he know that his handgun would become of the most widely used in military history.

The Hi-Power was so successful that dozens of countries around the globe have been relying on it for years. In fact, the HP has seen action in numerous wars and conflicts, including WWII and the War on Terror. This is one of those rare handguns that took the world by storm when it first came out and has continued to find success even to this day. If you’re interested in the history of the company or to read more about their full line of weapons, check out our Browning Arms Company feature!

Browning Hi-Power Specs

  • Model: Hi-Power.
  • Action: Single-Action Semi-auto.
  • Caliber: 9mm and .40 S&W.
  • Barrel Length: 4-□(5/8)”.
  • Overall length: 7 ¾”.
  • Weight: 32 Oz.
  • Sights: Front white dot – Rear fixed white dot.
  • Magazine: Double stack.
  • Grip: Walnut/composite.
  • Capacity: 13+1.
  • MSRP: $1,109.99.

Browning Hi-Power Build

Browning Hi-Power Standard

The outstanding characteristic of the Browning Hi-Power’s build is its impeccable strength. The HP gets its durability from its high-grade steel barrel, receiver, and trigger. Nevertheless, this semi-auto is the epitome of balance; it’s lightweight yet rugged, simple yet elegant, and large yet ergonomic. However, there are some problems with its design. The short tang and long hammer have a tendency to bite the shooter’s hand, which can be a real pain in the ass. Another issue with the HP’s build is its ambidextrous safety. Although some people would consider this a great feature to have, I’ve found that it does more harm than good.

For a righty, the end of the safety will dig into your hand, and it’ll hurt after a while. One of the best features of this gun is how simply it’s take down is. A gun like this needs to be cleaned regularly, and it’s never been easier. Overall, Browning designed this gun a lot like the 1911, but made several key adjustments. The build isn’t perfect, but the benefits definitely outweigh its shortcomings.

Browning Hi-Power Shooting & Performance

Browning Hi-Power Shooting

The slim and balanced build of the Hi-Power makes it a great choice for carrying, and makes it one of the easiest 9mms to shoot and control. Like most other Brownings, if kept clean, you may never experience jamming or malfunctioning with your HP. It’s also surprisingly accurate for a short barrel. However the gun certainly packs a heavy punch, especially when chambered with .40 S&W, but the recoil shouldn’t be too overwhelming. Even considering the double-column magazine, the narrow grip can accommodate nearly every hand size. Over the years I’ve heard a lot of negative reviews about the Hi-Power’s trigger, but in my experience, I’ve found the single-action trigger to provide a smooth, consistent pull every time. Browning made this gun as reliable, accurate and easy to shoot as ever.

Browning Hi-Power 9mm vs. .40 S&W

1When the Browning Hi-Power was initially released, it was the most advanced 9mm on the market. There weren’t many others like it which had the perfect balance of size, comfort, and firepower. However, in true Browning fashion, eventually it came time to upgrade the HP. To accommodate more types of shooters, the company made the HP available in .40 S&W. With every update, the Hi-Power became more and more effective. Currently, it’s capable of effortlessly cycling all types of 9mm and .40 S&W cartridges.

Browning Hi-Power Magazine Review

Browning Hi-Power Magazine

Most complaints about the Hi-Power are about its mag system – I’ve heard tons of criticisms about the magazine disconnect: The HP won’t fire unless the mag is firmly inserted. Now this was designed to act as an added safety feature, but some argue that it has the opposite effect.

Whatever your opinion is on the HP’s mag system, the Hi-Power’s name comes from its tremendous mag capacity. While most similar guns will chamber around 7 rounds, the HP has a 13-round capacity. Most people tend to think that name comes from its durable build or stopping ability, but those are just ramblings. Another nice feature is that Browning throws in an extra mag with every HP.

Browning Hi-Power Holsters Overview

Holstered Browning Hi-Power

When you buy a Browning Hi-Power, especially if you’re considering carrying, you must consider investing in a good holster. Finding the right holster can be tricky, but we here at Gunivore are here to help. For those looking for an inexpensive option, the Fobus Standard Holster is a great choice. Its high density polymer makeup gives it a lightweight low profile design without compromising any durability. For a mid-range holster, I highly recommend the Bianchi Model 7000 Sporting Holster. The custom molded design will keep your gun firmly in place while its 10 degree forward slant makes for an easy draw.

Last but certainly not least, is the Bianchi Model 19L Thumbsnap Suede Lined Belt Slide Holster. This thing of beauty will cost you, but it’s worth every penny. Its slim design works wonders for concealability and its inner lining is designed to protect your firearm. Additionally, its traditional thumb break design provides for a smooth as silk draw. If you can afford it, this is the holster for you!

Browning Hi-Power vs. Browning M1911

Browning 1911-22 A1 Compact

To tell the story of the Browning HP, we have to begin with the M1911. FN charged John Browning to come up with the next military sidearm conforming to some pretty tough specs. Having previously sold the rights to his successful M1911 to Colt, Browning had to start from scratch. Already we can sense how close the M1911 and the HP are. Once the patent for the Colt Model 1911 expired in 1928, FN was free to incorporate some of the favorite specs into their new firearm. Although these two guns are eerily similar, there are several key differences that set them apart.

The main difference is that the M1911 was designed to fire .45 ACP while the Hi-Power was built to chamber 9mm and then adapted for .40 S&W. Furthermore, the HP is distinct in that it won’t drop the hammer without a magazine in place, whereas the 1911 will. Also, while the disassembly of the Browning HP is a breeze, the takedown of the 1911 can be a little tricky. When it comes down to it, they are both great and accurate single-action pistols –the choice is yours.

Browning Mark I, II, and III Review

Within this great line of handguns, there are several different models to choose from.

  • Mark I: This classic model of the famous HP lacks the provision of the lanyard ring. These have essentially been phased out by the newer models. Nevertheless, these guns featured either a ring or spur hammer and usually had a checkered walnut stock.
  • Mark II: This was the flagship HP for a long time, and reasonably so. This upgraded version of the original Hi-Power came out in the early 1980’s and featured ambidextrous thumb safeties, nylon grips, a throated barrel, and 3-dot sights.
  • Mark III: This model eventually became the standard HP when it was released in 1988. Its specs are incredible: a Belgian steel receiver with a black epoxy finish, high profile fixed sights, and a 4 5/8″ barrel. The Mark III’s exceptional build boasts a locked breech design, single-action trigger, ambidextrous thumb safety and composite grip panels.


The Hi-Power semi-auto handguns were one of John Browning’s finest creations which have managed to impact the entire world ever since its debut in 1935. To get a glimpse of its influence, you should know that the HPs are used professionally in Argentina, Zimbabwe, and nearly everywhere in between. In fact, there may not even be another handgun with as much experience in war and law enforcement as these Brownings. They are among the most trusted pistols out there, and after getting my hands on one, I understand why. These incredible guns also have an incredible price tag, but if the price doesn’t scare you, then I highly recommend picking up your Hi-Power ASAP!

While you’re here at Gunivore, check out our Buck Mark 22, Smith & Wesson 1911 and SIG P290 features!

Sam M

Sam is an avid firearms enthusiast who loves sharing his knowledge and experience with fellow gunivores.

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