Friday, September 21, 2007


Browning Hi Power or 1911 for Defense?

By Stephen Camp

It's not unusual to find fans of the single-action automatic at this crossroad somewhere down the shooting trail. Folks who are wedded to one or the other of these classic designs wouldn't change …and that's fine. There are some for whom it presents a "dilemma". Note that I did not say a serious dilemma. That doesn't mean that it's not worthy of discussion.

I'll present some long-term observations on carrying and defensive use of these two pistols.

Reliability: Contrary to the experiences cited by some, the 1911 and Hi Power are both capable of extreme reliability. The designs are time proven to be grand. Unfortunately, execution frequently is not. Every manufacturer will have a gun slip by quality control and results in a dissatisfied customer. Out of the box, it's been my observation that the Hi Power runs more reliably than the 1911. In other words, if we get 100 new Hi Power's and the same number of 1911 pistols, I believe a greater number of the Hi Powers will operate reliably.

That said, it often doesn't take much to turn a jamming 1911 into a paragon of virtue. Either pistol can run without stuttering when set up correctly. It is not true that hundreds of dollars are required to make the 1911 operate correctly. These guns often run fine right out of the box and when they don't the fix may cost nothing or but a few bucks. Fans often spend great amounts having their 1911's customized, but this is to obtain precisely what they want and not necessarily to make the gun "work."

If you have had reliability problems with either pistol and just cannot fully trust that design again, go with the one you trust. Faith in one's equipment is an overlooked quantity in my opinion.

Caliber: If you are absolutely convinced that 9mm is just not enough for self-defense, Hi Power options are limited to forty-caliber unless you opt for a .357 SIG conversion. Obviously you can with .40, 10mm, or .45 ACP in the 1911 pattern pistol. I purposely omitted .38 Super on the caliber discussion, as it offers no more than 9mm +P in most factory loads. That's sad as it's capable of considerably more. (There is a detailed article on 9mm vs. 38 Super via this link: for those interested.)

If you are confident in 9mm power levels and prefer the 1911 platform, the pistol can be had in either 9mm or .38 Super. (Ammunition for the latter will be considerably more expensive.)

Size: As can be seen on the home page of this site, the Hi Power is smaller than the 5" 1911, being about the same as the Commander. Weight is less unless one goes with an aluminum alloy frame 1911 or one of the 3" compacts. I do not care for the compact versions of the 1911 that are smaller than the Commander. This is probably a minority opinion as the little guns are quite popular. Options for compact Hi Power's are extremely limited. FM offers the "Detective" and some gunsmiths will convert a full-size into one for a hefty fee. Frankly, I don't see the point as the butt on the standard Hi Power is not all that difficult to conceal and the gun's handle is usually the hard part to hide. Folks using the cut-down Hi Powers are well advised to replace the recoil springs every few hundred rounds. It seems that these things go through recoil springs far more quickly than the regular size Hi Powers.

Tangentially related to "size" is thickness. The Hi Power slide is thinner than the 1911, but the grip is thicker. Using an IWB holster for either gun, I find either easy to conceal under a loose fitting shirt, jacket or sports coat. I do find the 1911 more comfortable when pressed against my side. The Hi Power magazine floor plate is not flush and the rear corners are at 90 degrees and sharp. This may not be a problem for you, but it has been a minor one for me over the years. Using an OWB holster, no such inconvenience has been noticed. I find spare 1911 single-stack magazines more comfortable in concealed carry also.

This 9mm Hi Power has been very lightly customized and can make a very satisfactory "carry gun" if desired.

Safety: Probably the two "safety" concerns most discussed in Hi Power/1911 comparisons is the lack of the grip safety and seemingly less positive thumb safety engagement on the Hi Power. The classic Hi Powers with the small thumb safety are not a concern, but on some people using some IWB holsters, it is possible to inadvertently wipe the larger thumb safeties into the "off" position. In a proper holster, the trigger is covered so the gun is almost certainly not going to be fired inadvertently but this can be disconcerting. I have not noticed it happening nearly so much in OWB holsters.

The Hi Power and 1911 thumb safeties are tensioned in exactly opposite ways:

· A spring-loaded plunger on the 1911 fits into a detent on the 1911 safety with tension being applied from the frame-mounted plunger tube to the safety.

· The Hi Power safety has a spring-loaded plunger within the safety itself. The frame has a dimple at both the "on" and "off" positions.

More positive thumb safety engagement can be had on the Hi Power. The slide detents can be made a tiny bit deeper and reshaped or one can use a safety from Cylinder & Slide. The detent is more pointed than that on the factory version.

If you really prefer having the additional grip safety, the 1911 is the only choice between the two guns. There is no such conversion made for the Hi Power.

The thumb safety on the Hi Power contains the plunger and spring that tensions the safety either "on" or "off." In the frame "ledge" immediately in front of the thumb safety are the two detents in which the plunger rides. In most instances this is not as positive an arrangement as the 1911 thumb safety. Most report that disengaging the Hi Power safety is more "mushy" than with the 1911. The Hi Power safety blocks sear movement.

The 1911 incorporates two external safeties. The thumb safety blocks the sear while the grip safety blocks rearward movement of the trigger until depressed. The tension for the 1911 safety is via a spring within the plunger tube that is attached to the frame just above the grip and forward of the safety.

Depending on the particular version of either pistol, there may or may not be an internal firing pin safety present.

Accuracy: In the vast majority of instances, either design is capable of greater intrinsic accuracy than the shooter, particularly under the stress of a life-or-death deadly force scenario. Either pistol will usually be capable of dropping their shots at least into a 3" circle at 25 yards. For more on "Hi Power Accuracy", here is a link that might be of interest:

Either gun can be accurized, but in most cases, this is simply not necessary. Match barrels are available and can be fitted by competent hands for a tighter shooting gun. Done correctly, this does not reduce reliability.

More aftermarket match barrels and accuracy work is done on the 1911 than the Hi Power. Most agree that when taken to the extreme, the 1911 can be made more mechanically accurate than the Hi Power.

The 1911 pattern pistol has been refined over decades and is capable of extremely fine accuracy. It can have far more than we can use in a terror-filled life or death situation when adrenaline is flowing and we realize that we will be dead or injured in the next few seconds unless we prevail. Where the Hi Power has a non-removable barrel bushing, the 1911 often comes with a loose one. These can be replaced with fitted bushings. Used in conjunction with a fitted match barrel and a slide that is mated to the frame, the 1911 will almost always have greater mechanical accuracy than the Hi Power. How much can actually be used is another question.

If concerns about either gun's potential accuracy are a problem, dismiss it. Either is has more than enough.

This group was fired with a 1911 .45 ACP at fifty yards. Most shots would be covered with a grown man's clenched fist.

Trigger Pull: Conventional wisdom has it that the defensive pistol's trigger pull should be no lighter than about 4.5 pounds. I agree and have no problem with slightly heavier trigger pulls for such purposes. Either design can be adjusted by a competent pistolsmith to clean-breaking pulls in this range.

There is one area in which the 1911 trigger is clearly superior to the Hi Power: reset. The Hi Power trigger simply cannot be made to reset in as short a distance, as can the 1911; it just ain't in the design geometry.

In slow-fire one will never notice the difference. In rapid-fire where at least a "flash sight picture" is obtained (as in shooting "controlled pairs"), the same holds true. The problem shows up with really quick 1911 shooters doing "double taps" or "hammers". In this shooting, one sight picture is obtained and the second shot is fired from muscle memory. Practiced shooters can fire extremely fast this way and the good ones can get pretty darned good "practical accuracy." When these folks try it with a Hi Power, they frequently do not release the trigger quite far enough and don't fire the second shot. I've observed this numerous times but only with really fast 1911 fans. This is not saying that extremely fast and accurate shooting cannot be done with the Hi Power, only that the required reset is slightly longer.

Magazine Capacity: Here the 9mm wins when compared to the "normal" single-stack 1911 magazine. The Hi Power's double-stack magazine simply holds more ammunition and is compact compared to many of the "high capacity" 9mm pistols. Even the forty-caliber version holds ten shots compared to the 1911's 7 or 8 in .45 ACP. Extended 1911 magazines are available, but I've experienced varying levels of reliability with them and they're a bit hard to conceal for me if carried in the pistol. I prefer 7-round .45 1911 magazines as these work in all my 1911 pistols. The 8-round magazines work in many of them.

Frankly, I believe that under the vast majority of circumstances both guns hold sufficient ammo. It's been my observation that the first few shots are the most important ones and that we will run out of time before ammunition unless our "problem" is quickly "solved."

The 9mm Hi Power holds a total of 14 rounds with standard capacity13-shot magazines. Some are available holding 15, 17, or more shots.

Sights: A pretty fair crop of aftermarket fixed and adjustable sights exists for the Hi Power and the 1911. I see no advantage here. Sights intended for use primarily on 1911 pistols often work fine on the more petite Hi Power. There are plenty of choices available in plain black-on-black, or three-dot, and most are available with tritium inserts as night sights.

These Mk III Hi Powers have been fitted with Novak fixed sights. The same sight style can be had for 1911 pistols as well. I like the Novak sights but in truth do no better or worse with them on the Hi Power than with the factory fixed sights.

This Commander has a "melted" King-Tappen rear sight. Not as often seen as the Novak or Heine rear sights, I've found King-Tappen to be a very serviceable and have used them on Hi Powers as well. The one shown on this 1911 replaced the smaller GI-type rear sight.

Customization: Both designs lend themselves to "personalization" if desired. There will be more gunsmiths specializing in the 1911 custom work than for the Hi Power, but owners should have little problem finding a competent 'smith to work over the pistol of their choice. For defensive arms I have found that "less is better". What I'm suggesting is that we go with only that we need:

· Reliability

· Sights that are useable at speed and set up so that POA = POI at a desired distance

· Clean trigger at 4 1/2 to 5 pounds

· Acceptable accuracy (Usually nothing need be done here.)

· A gun that is comfortable to use (This may mean new grips or a wide grip safety tang on the 1911, etc. Grip straps may be checkered or stippled, or skateboard tape can be used if desired.)

For most of us factory guns in near stock condition will serve about as well as high-dollar custom guns. I like to keep my carry guns (1911 or Hi Power) relatively close to factory trim, having every feature I think I need and none that I don't. Over the long term, these have been the ones I've kept.

Conclusion: The Hi Power and the 1911 are THE choices for single-action defensive handguns. Both have legions of fans, but in the US the 1911 is still most popular. Make your decision on which one you shoot better or trust most. Don't go with the Hi Power strictly for magazine capacity unless you have a specific need; go with it because it fits you better or you can get quick, accurate hits with it more easily than the 1911. Likewise, if carrying cocked-and-locked presents a problem without a grip safety, the 1911 is the obvious choice. If a shooter simply doesn't trust anything less than .45, the decision is made by default for the 1911 pattern gun.

This magazine holds "only" 7 shots. I suggest that for most of us this will be more than enough. We will be able to deal with our adversary effectively or be out of time before ammunition runs out. The 9mm Hi Power does hold more shots between reloads, but is this a marked advantage in the real world? Sometimes, yes, but a majority of the time I don't believe it really matters.

For strictly self-defense, I prefer the 1911 in .45 ACP…but only by a very slight margin to the 9mm Hi Power. In my situation the extra shots available from the Hi Power are nice but not a major factor. I like the feel of the Hi Power and the way it shoots for me. The 9mm Hi Power remains my favorite all around, general purpose automatic. The 1911 is ever so slightly easier for me to conceal. I believe that when using the best 9mm ammunition, difference in terminal effect will be very slight if any compared to the .45 using most loads. I also believe that in its best loads, .45 ACP is more potent than the best 9mm loads. I do not believe that there is much difference at all and that it's probably not going to make any real difference on the street.

I do not see using the 1911 or the Hi Power as an "either-or" situation. I use both and appreciate these fine handguns for their abilities to deliver quick and accurate shots. Each has its weaknesses as well as its strengths. Each of us places different priorities on these and thus, our decisions will differ as to which is best. If possible try both and make your decision on what works best for you.

Either gun is capable of serving very, very well as a defensive pistol.



Aliza Olmert... Ehud's dominatrix
Olmert, Aliza
Ehud Elmert's leftwing, Peace Now leftwing artist wife is openly critical of his policies - and had never voted for him until this year.

Dana Olmert, Judenrat lesbo daughter of King Ehud
Olmert, Dana
Far-left and gay (not that there's anything wrong with that) daughter of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud and his wife Aliza who, with her radical leftist friends, demonstrated outside IDF Chief of Staff, Dan Halutz's home on June 10, 2006, calling him a "murderer" and, according to news reports, sang "'The Intifada Shall Prevail."

Ehud Olmert ... pussy-whipped by his Peace Now Meretz wife
Olmert, Ehud
Is this acting Israeli Prime Minister pussy-whipped by his dominatrix wife, Aliza? We think so! In a speech last summer [2005] to a dovish American group, the Israel Policy Forum, Olmert claimed that Israelis long for peace because
"we are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies." This defeatist rhetoric reflects his leftist conversion... or, more specifically, his wife and daughter's. His Aliza wife is a supporter of the left-wing Meretz party and has taken part in numerous Peace Now demonstrations. One of his five children, a daughter, is an outspoken lesbian and active in Machsom Watch, a pain-in-the-ass group monitoring Israeli checkpoints in the territories. One of his sons is a deserter from the Israeli Army and is a member of the extreme leftist group called Yesh Gvul. Another son never bothered to serve in the Israeli Army and has already resides abroad. If Ehud Elmert cannot even stand up to his wife and children, how could he possibly stand up to Hamas! Now this here is some fantastic Zionist household!!!
Click Here for Michael Savage's take on Olmert!

Thursday, September 20, 2007



left click on picture of Jimmy Carter


News and Press Releases


Olin Corporation, through its Winchester Division, is recalling several lots of its WILDCAT® 22 (Symbol Number WW22LR) and XPERT® 22 (Symbol Number XPERT22) 22 Long Rifle rimfire ammunition.

Lot Numbers containing Letters: XN, YA, YB or YC

Through extensive evaluation Winchester has determined the above lots of WILDCAT® 22 and XPERT® 22 ammunition may contain double powder charges. Double powder charge weight ammunition may cause firearm damage, rendering the firearm inoperable, and subject the shooter to a risk of personal injury and/or death when fired.

DO NOT USE WINCHESTER® WILDCAT® 22 RIMFIRE AMMUNITION WITH LOT NUMBERS CONTAINING LETTERS XN, YA, YB or YC. The ammunition Lot Number is imprinted (stamped without ink) on the outside of the right tuck flap of the 50-round box, as indicated here:

DO NOT USE WINCHESTER® XPERT® 22 RIMFIRE AMMUNITION WITH LOT NUMBERS CONTAINING LETTERS XN, YA, YB or YC. The ammunition Lot Number is imprinted (stamped without ink) on the outside of the top tuck flap of the 500-round box, as indicated here:

To determine if your ammunition is subject to this notice, review the Lot Number. If the Lot Number contains the letters XN, YA, YB or YC return the ammunition to Winchester via United Parcel Service (UPS). Securely pack the ammunition into a corrugated cardboard box, write “CARTRIDGES, SMALL ARMS ORM-D” on the outside, and ship to:

USA Customers:
Canadian Customers:
Olin Corporation – Winchester Division
Olin Corporation - Winchester Division
Tile Warehouse
C/O HSL Warehousing
Powder Mill Road, Gate 4A
739 Monaghan Rd.
East Alton, IL 62024
Peterborough, ON. K9J 7S4
Attention: 22LR Recall
Attention: 22LR Recall

International customers, please contact Winchester via the web at

Please include your name, address, and phone number. Winchester will send you coupons good for replacement ammunition from your local Winchester dealer.

This notice applies only to WILDCAT® 22 and XPERT® 22 rimfire ammunition with Lot Numbers containing the letters XN, YA, YB or YC. Other Symbol Numbers or Lot Numbers are not subject to this recall and should not be returned to Winchester.

If you have any questions concerning this recall please call toll-free 866-423-5224 (U.S. & Canada), write to the above address, or visit our website at

We apologize for this inconvenience.


Related Links:
Recall FAQ


Discussion with vendors on the ammunition shortages and price increases
In the past year or so, most people involved in the shooting sports have noticed a growing "ammunition crisis" which has been marked by dramatic increases in ammunition prices, and in many cases, a corresponding shortage of ammunition stocks. It is not unusual to contact vendors and find the entire surplus ammunition stock sold out, and where there is ammunition in stock, to find prices have gone up by two times or more.

These shortages and price increases have been across the board, in all ammunition types, and they have been particularly noticeable for shooters who rely on surplus and military ammunition, such as factory loaded .223 for example. In the past year, the price of surplus .223 ammo has doubled or in some cases nearly tripled, to give just one example.

This forum is a discussion on these shortages and prices increases. I've invited a couple of ammunition vendors--Dave, from, and Kola, from comment on the following questions about the ammunition crisis. I thought their inside knowledge of the industry could be particularly informative and help us learn more about some possible causes for this crisis.

They have not spoken with each other, so their answers may be very different. Also, we should not expect them to have all the answers. But, they have both thought about these issues a lot, and they deal with them on a daily basis, so I thought it would be interesting and useful for us to hear their insights. And by the way, if you know of any other ammunition vendors that would like to contribute to this discussion, please invite them to join in and make a comment here as well. And it will be great to hear your questions and discussion, too.

I asked Dave and Kola to send me their responses to the following basic two questions. I'm posting their complete responses below (these have not been modified in any way), which will serve as a good way to kick off our discussion. By the way, I want to thank both of these guys in advance--and I hope some of you will too--for sharing their time and insights with us. I've invited them to join in the discussion and make further comments or answer questions if they are able to.

* What are the main causes of the rapid price increases, and shortages in the available supply, of ammunition over the past year?

* Should we expect that these prices will eventually stabilize or return to a lower level, or should we assume that they will probably never be lower than they are, and therefore stock up on ammunition now?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007



WND Exclusive
Port sparks NAFTA super-railway challenge
Another national line plans 'Asian gateway' to North America

Posted: September 19, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern

By Jerome R. Corsi
© 2007

Canadian National railway's North America logo
With the focused development of the port in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, as an official "Asian Gateway," Canadian National is positioned to compete with Canadian Pacific as the first truly continental NAFTA super-railroad, reaching from Canada to Mexico through the heart of the U.S. On Sept. 12, Canadian National used the opening of its new container terminal at Prince Rupert to declare the railroad the "Midwest Express," a reference to its ambition to move containers of good manufactured in China into the heartland of North America through distribution hubs in Chicago and Memphis.

James Foote, Canadian National's vice president of sales and marketing, boasted Canadian National could move containers from China into the U.S. Midwest more quickly through Prince Rupert than through any other West Coast port, including Los Angeles and Long Beach.

According to the Canadian National website, the now-completed Phase I development of the Canadian National Prince Rupert container terminal has a capacity to handle 500,000 20-foot containers per year, growing to a 2 million container capacity in 2010, when Phase II development of the 150-acre facility is completed.

(Story continues below)

A video on the Canadian National website bills Prince Rupert as "North America's Northwest Gateway," stressing the 54th parallel location as the closest connection with the Far East and China, "shaving 30 hours shipping time for the shortest, quickest route across the Pacific."

VIDEO: Prince Rupert as "North America's Northwest Gateway

"It's all in the numbers," Canadian National boasts, pointing out Prince Rupert is 5,286 miles from Hong Kong, while Los Angeles is 6,380 miles away. Also, Shanghai is 4,642 miles from Port Rupert but 5,810 miles from Los Angeles."

Protected by the Queen Charlotte Islands, Prince Rupert is a natural deep-water tidal harbor easily capable of handling the new class of 12,500 container-capacity post-Panamax ships now being built for China.

Canadian National railway network

The Canadian National route map can be conceptualized as a giant "T" that stretches across Canada from Prince Rupert and Vancouver in British Columbia to Halifax in Nova Scotia.

The Canadian National then crosses into the U.S. at Winnipeg and at Windsor, to complete the "T" through Detroit, Chicago and Memphis, ending up in the Louisiana Gulf Coast.

As WND reported, the route map of rival Canadian Pacific in the U.S. roughly parallels Interstate 35, while the Canadian National route map follows more the Mississippi River and roughly the proposed NAFTA superhighway route planned for Interstate 69.

A map on the Canadian National website shows containers from China will enter North America at Prince Rupert.

A secondary, southern route is shown on the Canadian National map, with Chinese containers traveling through the Panama Canal and linking up with Canadian National routes in Louisiana, or heading north into the Atlantic to connect with Canadian National in Halifax.

WND reported plans to build a deeper and wider Panama Canal are aimed at opening a route for Chinese post-Panamax container mega-ship from the Pacific to U.S. ports in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.

To complete its route map into Mexico, Canadian National has marketing agreements in place with Kansas City Southern, or KCS.

KCS's reach into Mexico qualifies it as a NAFTA railroad, but a combination between KCS and either Canadian National or Canadian Pacific is required before the configuration of a continental NAFTA super-railroad becomes apparent.

WND reported the Canadian Pacific acquisition of DM&E gives Canadian Pacific a connection with KCS at the Knoche Yard in Kansas City.

Thus, both Canadian National and rival Canadian Pacific rely on KCS to compete for the claim to be the first North American continental NAFTA railroad.

A route map on the Canadian National website shows the railroad connecting through KCS Mexican railroads down to the Mexican port Lazaro Cardenas, a port WND frequently has identified as another alternative to Los Angeles and Long Beach for containers from China to enter North America.

While the KCS marketing agreements give Canadian National the reach into Mexico, the Canadian National website emphasizes Prince Rupert as the railroad's primary gateway for containers from China to enter North America.

Through Prince Rupert, Canadian National can transport containers from China along 100 percent Canadian National lines, down into the heartland of the U.S., from Detroit and Chicago south to the Louisiana coast.

Yet, Canadian National would have to partner with KCS to reach into Mexico to transport containers from China north from Lázaro Cárdenas.

As WND previously reported, KCS operating alone can already bring Chinese containers from the Mexican ports of Manzanillo and Lazaro Cardenas to Kansas City where Kansas City SmartPort is planning to be an "inland port" for switching Chinese containers to destinations east and west on U.S. rail lines.

For a brief period, 1993-1995, Canadian National operated under a CN North America logo, even entering into negotiations to acquire the rival Canadian Pacific.

Monday, September 17, 2007


The Browning Hi Power and 9mm +P Ammunition

By Stephen Camp

A very frequent area of concern for Hi Power fans seems to be whether or not they "can shoot" +P or +P+ ammunition in their Hi Powers.

The answer is a qualified "yes." The use of hotter than standard ammunition will accelerate wear, but it will not make the Hi Power explode or instantly break.

Let's take a look a minute at pressure. What's being referred to is the amount of pressure being applied to the chamber of the pistol when a round is fired. Standard pressure rounds operate up to 35,000 PSI. The upper limit for +P is 38,500 PSI. There is no SAAMI rating for +P+. If buying ammo, look for either the case head stamp, the box, or both to be marked "+P". If it is not, you have standard pressure/standard velocity ammunition. Nato-marked ammunition might be thought of as being in the +P range. A cross within a circle on the case head stamp designates it and all that I've seen has been FMJ.

One of the Hi Power's endearing traits is its svelte, petite size compared to other 9mm service automatics.

This also works against it as a vehicle for hotrodding the caliber. Less steel and smaller size simply means less ability to take the punishment more tolerable to larger all-steel pistols in the same caliber. For an example, compare the size of a 9mm 1911 to a Hi Power.

As you probably know, there is a divergence of opinion concerning the older Hi Powers having forged frames vs. the new ones with cast frames. Some say that the gun's been ruined and is made of "cast iron" while others do not. Some don't know the difference and wouldn't care if they did. Pistols having the cast frame will be Mk III's and variants that have "ripples" around the magazine well. These are horizontal grooves that are clearly visible. If they do not, the frame is forged. Everything before the Mk III has a forged frame. The early Mk III pistols did as well. The advent of the forty-caliber Hi Power brought about the change and that is discussed elsewhere on this site.

This is an early Mk III that has been lightly customized. It has a forged frame. I do use it with +P ammunition, but with a Wolff 18.5-lb. conventional recoil spring and a buffer. The mainspring remains at the factory standard 32 pounds.

I own and regularly shoot both forged and cast frame Hi Powers. Contrary to what some had said, the slides on none are cast. It is my observation that the Hi Power is best suited for using heavier than normal loads by going from the factory 17-lb. recoil spring to a Wolff conventional 18.5-lb. recoil spring. I also use a buffer. These recommendations and why are also discussed elsewhere here. I've fired considerable amounts of ammunition in the 115-gr. @ 1277 ft/sec and 124-gr. @ 1250 ft/sec through both forged and cast frame Hi Powers for decades. Much has been in the form of handloads, but all of the pistols have held up well. There has been neitherI cannot say that this would be true had I been using the standard spring. small parts breakage nor catastrophic slide/frame failure.

When the Hi Power is fired and the bullet accelerates, momentum or a "push" is transmitted rearward to the slide. As it moves, the barrel moves rearward and begins dropping. The locking lugs begin to move out of their recesses in the slide. After but the briefest instant, they are only partially engaged. Ideally, chamber pressure will be the same as atmospheric when the barrel is completely unlocked, as the bullet should have left the barrel. If the slide were somehow welded in place, there would be no unlocking and no wear on the locking lugs. The faster the unlocking process takes place, the greater the potential for rounding of the locking lugs' edges. This has been a weak point in the Hi Power in the past. The barrel rides on the barrel cam and its guided movement is around this insert of steel via the cutout area on the bottom of the barrel that engages it. The cams can break if the recoil spring is too weak or lots of hot ammunition is used with too light a recoil spring. This does not happen often, but if it does, repair must be done by either Browning or possibly Cylinder & Slide. Browning does not sell cams to gunsmiths.

The pistol's frame is designed for the ability to withstanding the slide hitting it with a certain level of force. The same round being fired in a pistol with a 17-lb. recoil spring will cause the slide to hit that gun's frame harder than one with a heavier spring. This is another reason I use the 18.5-lb. springs besides helping reduce the odds of lug rounding. The pistol's mainspring is rated at 32-lbs. Overcoming this also slows the slide's rearward movement as well as slowing the unlocking process.

It becomes obvious that firing a bullet at 1300 ft/sec will impart more wear and tear to the pistol than one at 1100 ft/sec.

Current Mk III pistols have a more "squarish" ejection port, but close examination will show that at the bottom rear, there is more steel than on the Mk II and the classic Hi Powers. This is to reduce the chance of the slide cracking there after extended use. It seems that the British SAS experienced such problems with old, military issue, Hi Powers after firing extremely large amounts of high-pressure ammunition intended for submachine gun use. Nonetheless, the Mk III has addressed that problem.

It's been my observation that the cast frame Mk III is the better choice for shooters intending to use a steady diet of +P ammo. The cast frame is harder and tougher than the forged frame in the Hi Power. This has allowed the slides to be heat-treated to a higher level of toughness as well. Does this mean that one cannot use +P in his Mk II or classic? Certainly not, but I believe that wear will be more rapidly accelerated than in the cast frame pistol. I would definitely go with the heavier recoil spring in the older Hi Powers. The cast frame for the forty and the 9mm Hi Powers are the very same. The forty imparts much more force to the frame than does the nine, so the cast-frame 9mm Hi Power is quite tough for the caliber. Several years ago, The American Rifleman published a test on the Mk III Hi Power with +P ammunition. Their Mk III digested 5000 rounds of Remington 115-gr. JHP +P with no unusual or exaggerated wear.

This is a later manufacture Mk III and has the cast frame. The Corbon 115-gr. JHP +P is better-handled long term in these pistols in my experience. It is a maximum effort load as the velocity shown demonstrates. I suggest that the Hi Power is better suited to velocities with this weight bullet that are in the 1250 ft/sec range for extended use.

Some prefer to reduce the mainspring (hammer spring) from 32-lbs. to about 26-lbs. for a better trigger pull and to make the gun easier to cock. I do not. Very good triggers can be had with the full-strength mainspring. Reducing the hammer spring strength also allows the slide to unlock faster and strike the frame harder. If you opt for the reduced mainspring, I would sure go with the heavier recoil spring if I intended to shoot much +P.

The Hi Powers made before circa '75 had mainsprings in the 26-lb., but soon thereafter went with the heavier 32-lb. spring.

For decades, my two remaining classic, forged frame Hi Powers did not "know" that factory ammo existed and "thought" that all 9mm consisted of a 115-gr. JHP launched at about 1277 ft/sec. These pistols were initially shot using standard factory recoil springs and the 26-lb. recoil spring common to their manufacture. Later, I went with the 18.5-lb. spring and have never gone back. It works well with standard pressure ammo as well. These pistols have been in use since the early '70's and still shoot fine today. They have NOT worn so badly as to be a bucket of bolts as one writer implies will happen if warm ammo is used in the Hi Power. Neither have four Mk III pistols that have been shot primarily with the hotter stuff.

I find it interesting that the Mk III pistol handled 5000 rounds of 115-gr. JHP @ 1250 ft/sec fine for the staff at NRA. The handload I used for decade tossed the same weight bullet but a little faster and the guns have held up just fine. For these reasons, I do tend toward the idea that the best compromise for serious use in the Hi Power is something like Remington's 115-gr. JHP +P, 124-gr. +P Golden Saber, or Speer 124-gr. +P Gold Dot Hollow Points. The first of these truly averages in the 1250-ft/sec range from the Hi Power while the Golden Saber hits just under 1200 ft/sec. The Speer goes from about 1180 to 1220 ft/sec in my tests. These do not seem to stress the gun too much in extended use. I think Winchester's 127-gr. +P+ at about 1260 ft/sec from the Hi Power is well within its tolerance range.

While I like Corbon +P ammunition, but have found it to be a maximum effort, foot-to-the-firewall load in 9mm. With its 115-gr. JHP, I frequently get right at 1400 ft/sec from the Hi Power. I think this borders in the "too hot" region for this pistol. It would be fine in a 9mm 1911. I suggest that if this is one's choice for defense, shoot enough to be sure the pistol's reliable, but then just shoot modest amounts of it now and then. I will shoot it in my Mk III pistols, but no longer use it in my forged frame Hi Powers.

Most of us cannot afford to purchase the amount of factory +P ammo it would take to truly wear out a Hi Power. At the same time, none of us want to unduly stress the gun's frame/slide or create grossly accelerated wear. For this reason, my choices in +P ammo for the 9mm Hi Power would be:

· Remington 115-gr. JHP +P: (This load has been altered with a new JHP bullet. I have not tried it on any animals and cannot report on how well it does or does not work. I suspect strongly that it is an improvement over the older version. If your pistol ran fine with the older version, test this new stuff, as the bullet profile is different.) This load regularly hits around 1250 ft/sec from the Hi Power and seems to be a very accurate number as well.

· Remington 124-gr. Golden Saber +P: Usually averaging a bit under 1200 ft/sec, this ammunition generally feeds fine in the Hi Power and in recent years, has shown greater shot-to-shot consistency. I think the velocity is held to these levels to reduce the chance of the jacket separating from the lead bullet core as the brass jacket plays a big role in how this bullet wounds.

· Speer 124-gr. Gold Dot Hollow Point +P: I've found it to be accurate, reliable, and consistent. This seems to be a most popular high performance 9mm load for many shooters. I believe it is the NYPD duty load. Its velocity from the Hi Power is normally around the 1200 ft/sec level.

While all of these are "harder" on the Hi Power than standard pressure, I don't think that they grossly increase wear and tear, particularly on those Hi Powers sprung/buffered as suggested previously.

For those wanting to stick strictly with standard pressure loads for serious purposes, I suggest the following:

· Speer 124-gr. Gold Dot Hollow Point: This one seems to expand reliably at its 1100-ft/sec velocity and it's accurate.

· Federal 115-gr. JHP: A reliable feeder and a cartridge that has worked very well for me over the years. I've seen the velocity range from about 1130 to 1170 ft/sec, depending upon lot number. Later lots have been at the higher listed velocity.

· Remington 124-gr. Golden Saber: Moving only 60 to 80 ft/sec slower than the +P version, the load has performed well in formal tests I've seen as well as my own informal expansion testing.

The Hi Power, particularly the current Mk III pistols, can handle +P with no problems. The older guns can, too, but in more modest amounts. In my opinion, the use of +P is not a problem in any of the pistols if being used on for testing and then for protection or small game hunting. I do strongly suggest using the heavier recoil springs, a buffer, and not reducing the mainspring strength if you plan to shoot quite a bit of +P ammunition.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


SurvivalBlog is dedicated to family preparedness, survival, self-reliance, and self-sufficiency. Are you new to this blog? Be advised that you are jumping in to extant threads. Read "About" first. Then it is best to the start at the beginning of the archives and work your way up. Thanks! - JWR

Sunday September 16 2007

Note from JWR:

Congrats to John T. in California, the high bidder in the auction for the Hydro Photon UV Light SteriPen Water Sterilization System with solar charger and pre-filter. It was kindly donated by Safecastle, one of our most loyal advertisers.

Today we begin a new SurvivalBlog benefit auction, for a scarce pre-1899 antique Finnish M39 Mosin Nagant rifle from my personal collection. This rifle was rebarreled by Valmet during WWII, and is in excellent condition. It comes with a replica bayonet, original sling, and original muzzle cap. Since the receiver for this rifle was made in 1898, it can be mailed directly to the winning bidder's doorstep, with no FFL paperwork! The bidding starts at $200. The auction end son October 15th.. Just e-mail us your bid.

Letter Re: Surviving Major Changes in the Political Landscape

I'm a believer in being prepared for the worst. However, how do I (we) survive 4+ years of an extreme left wing political take over of our system? Right now it looks like Hillary or Obama will win the Presidential elections in '08. With either of those two in and a left wing house and senate, I have to believe that we're doomed. You have to know that firearms will probably be banned similar to Canada, Australia, and Great Britain. Are you going to give up your means of defense? When times get tough and food gets scarce, the government will ban "hoarding" and place stiff penalties on the same.

I view the coming elections with dread. I don't like having a target on my white male, conservative, Christian back. But, that's how it will be.
Sorry for such a gloomy note. Regards, Tom E.

JWR Replies: You have good reason for your gloominess. Quite frankly, I share it.

One of the great things that I have always loved about the United States is that if a state's laws (taxes, gun laws, homeschooling laws, or whatever) get too oppressive, you can always "vote with your feet" and move to another state that has preserved more individual liberty. This is exactly what I did when I left California in 1990.

I am a fourth-generation member of a pioneer California family that had arrived via covered wagon in the 1850s. But my wife and I decided that the political battle in California was lost. It is impossible to fight a demographic tidal shift. When the liberal do-gooders and their legions of welfare recipients that make up their voting bloc begin to out number the decent, hard-working conservative "bedrock culture", there comes a day that you realize that no matter how many well-reasoned letters your write to the newspapers and the state capitol, the battle is lost.

So I packed up my family and didn't look back. From what I've heard, this process continued and is ongoing. Some of the best and brightest are wisely still bailing out of California in considerable numbers. OBTW, the latest outrage I heard was that the City of San Francisco has instituted socialist universal health care for every resident of the city, all to be funded magically by tax dollars. Papa Fidel would be proud of his understudies. The Liberal Nanny Staters that rule California have totally lost touch with reality.

But you have raised an issue that involves the Federal government. There is no escaping Federal law, short of leaving the country altogether, which I generally do not advocate. Let's face it, America is called "The Land of the Free" for good reason. Nearly all of the alternatives are not very appealing. yes, the prospect of a liberal Democrat president working with a liberal Democrat-controlled house and Senate is a nightmare for those of us that love our liberty.

I expect that the First, second, Fourth, and Tenth Amendments will get tarnished if not outright trashed in the event of four to eight years of "enlightened" Nanny State government. All that we can hope and pray for is that there will be legislative gridlock in congress, with little erosion of our liberty during those years. And hopefully that will only last four years, a and the political pendulum will swing back the other direction. Pray hard.

I can't recommend any specific survival strategies or tactics, other than keeping a low profile, and scrupulously obeying all of the new laws and directives that will surely issue forth from the bowels of Washington, D.C. if the Democrats take control. You've probably noticed that the prices of many commodities have dramatically increased in the past year. Large diameter PVC pipe may very well be the next commodity to rise in price, due to scarcity.

Again, pray hard for God's guidance, providence and protection.

Letter Re: Counting the Potential EMP Attack Casualties

Dear Jim:
Your site is excellent. It is on my list of daily reading. Your book is also excellent. I've also taken the 10 Cent Challenge.

Under scenarios you mention minimal deaths in an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) attack. You posit the EMP would disable flight controls. Published information indicates that 3,624 domestic commercial flights were airborne during the attacks on 9/11/01. If that number is relatively accurate and it is multiplied by 267 (average) passengers per plane (not including flight crews) you get 967,608.

If a number of these aircraft are in/near terminal control areas (cities), wouldn't their ensuing impacts add to the death toll?

Newark Airport sits next to the New Jersey Turnpike and when the wind is out of the north the approach takes flights over the 12 lanes of a very busy highway. Any aircraft losing control and landing/crashing short of the runway would create a massive disaster. There are also rail yards and refineries nearby.

Using a base number of 967,608 and adding ground losses appear to produce a significant number of casualties in your scenario. Are these observations realistic? - JH

JWR Replies: When I referred to "minimal" casualties with high altitude EMP-tailored bombs, I meant that in comparison to ground bursts in cities, which could cause many millions of deaths.

Regarding your 967,608 figure, that would only be accurate if there were multiple devices detonated simultaneously at very high altitude and there were overlapping coast to coast "footprints" of EMP. The potential line-of-sight range of EMP--and coincident "coupling" through linear metal objects--has been previously discussed in SurvivalBlog.