Right side view of a Hi-Power pistol as produced by FN.
Source: ATF - © Public domain
The Hi-Power is a pre-World War 2 era pistol of Belgian / US origin. It was developed by Belgian engineer Dieudonné Saive to meet a French military requirement. The design is based on many Browning design elements, including the M1911. The Hi-Power, also known as Grande Puissance model of 1935, was the first successful locked breech service pistol with significant magazine size.
The Browning Hi-Power incorporates many design features by John Browning. It is a single action short recoil operated pistol. It uses a tilting barrel as locking mechanism. A staggered single feed magazine is used, making the Hi-Power one of the first pistols chambered for a full pressure round with a magazine of more than 10 rounds. Early models had a tangent sight, replaced by more conventional post and notch sights in updated models.
The Hi-Power fires the 9x19mm Parabellum from a 13 round magazine. It is a semi-automatic pistol with an effective range of a few dozen meters. Most variants of the Hi-Power perform very similar. A notable exception are some recent models chambered in .40 Smith & Wesson. The larger caliber results in a lower magazine capacity of 10 rounds.
The Hi-Power was used by both Allies and Axis during World War 2, with production for Commonwealth nations moved to Canada since Belgium was occupied. During the Cold War the Hi-Power was the standard service pistol of most Western nations, with the notable exceptions being France and the USA. Nowadays the Hi-Power remains in limited use in many nations around the world. Pistols such as the Glock 17 and Beretta 92 have replaced most of the Hi-Powers in military and police service.
The Hi-Power contains many John Browning design elements and at a glance looks quite similar to the M1911.
In many nations the Hi-Power was replaced by newer generation pistols such as the Glock 17. These offer a higher magazine capacity at reduced weight.
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