Is 2022 the year of the Hi-Power? It certainly seems that way, with new guns from EAA, the Springfield SA-35, and the new and improved FN High Power. However, while the EAA and Springfield entries are largely faithful clones, the FN High Power is a new design that incorporates elements of the classic BHP. I got hands on with the High Power recently at The Gathering.
The FN High Power has Many Improvements Over Clones
The original Browning Hi-Power was no doubt a good gun, but the BHP had problems from the get go. For starters, the gun would give pretty much everyone a wicked case of hammer bite. Then there was the magazine disconnect safety, which is awful, and also gave the gun a horrid trigger pull. Furthermore, it wasn’t very easy to take apart for maintenance. Last, because it was developed in the age of “FMJ or nothing” some of them wouldn’t feed modern JHP ammo.
FN America took a look at all that and went “okay, what if we keep the legendarily nice ergonomics but fix all that other stuff. Which is exactly what they set out to do.
The New and Improved High Power
Alright, so all that stuff I said that wasn’t cool on the original BHP? FN fixed that with the FN High Power. It uses a small but significant beavertail while also moving the hammer position higher. No more hammer bite! Deleting the magazine disconnect safety was a no brainer, so that’s gone too. FN also tweaked the design so end users can easily field strip the pistol for maintenance. It’s also designed to feed modern JHP ammo.
But that wasn’t enough, because the when they were designing the FN High Power, the engineers said “I guess 13 rounds was okay in 1935, but it’s 2022, let’s put 17 in these magazines.” So they did, and it’s awesome. Plus, the new gun has multiple finishes, interchangeable grip panels in plastic or G10, fully ambidextrous controls, and most importantly, my favorite feature of all: good sights.
Shooting the FN High Power
I didn’t get that much trigger time on the new gun, maybe 75 rounds or so, but that was enough to know I want to get one for a full 500 round review. The new new trigger is great, especially for a stock gun. But the sights, the sights are so nice. So many factory pistols come with sights that are too small, or too narrow, but the High Power’s rear sight is wide, nicely serrated, and doesn’t have any distracting dots or nonsense on it. It allows your eye to focus clearly and immediately on the dot on the front sight post. Plus, the dovetails are compatible with common aftermarket sights, so you could easily swap in a fiber optic front for competition shooting.
Speaking of competition shooting, this gun would straight up slap for the International Defensive Pistol Association’s Enhanced Service Pistol division, or for Steel Challenge in Limited. It doesn’t really fit anywhere in USPSA, but that doesn’t matter because it’s awesome anyway.
I understand that first impressions and 75 rounds aren’t really a proper review. But you have to understand how rare it is for a gun like the FN High Power to come out. Usually, guns like this are either too-true to the original design and kind of weak, or try too hard to be cool and new and get it wrong. To my eye, the new High Power is like the re-issue of the Dodge Challenger: it gets the styling right but the guts are all new, and all better.