Earlier this year, I stumbled across a Hipower for sale. The seller lived close to me, and a deal was made.
I took the following pictures, and put her in the safe.
Not too long after, I acquired an M&P 9mm, which I shot suppressed, and started carrying. But every time I retrieved it from the safe, I’d hear a weeping sound coming from the back. Upon further investigating, I found the Hipower again.
Realizing a steel handgun is much more to my liking, I immediately dumped the M&P and picked up some grips for the Hipower. I went with VZ Simonich grips. Very aggressive, but also a very positive grip. Next up was the magazine safety and thumb safety.
The magazine safety has a great effect on the trigger, and after removing mine, I noticed a vast improvement. The safety removal is a simple process, and can be done in under an hour easily.
The thumb safety on these things are “vague” and not as positive as the 1911’s thumb safeties. It bothered me enough that I decided to order the Cylinder & Slide extended safety. A nice piece of work, and with some minor fitting it was just about a drop-in fit. Again, a huge improvement over stock. I now carry it “Condition One”, hammer back, safety on, round in the chamber.
On carrying, I found that the gun fits perfectly in my Milt Sparks VMII for a 4″ 1911.
Next up on the to-do list is a set of Warner sights. Chuck is famous for his 1911 TRS True Radius Sear jigs, and offers a sight set and TRS Sear for the Hipower as well.
(Image from Chuck Warner’s site WarnerPistols.com)
I intend to send him my gun in January for sight installation and barrel crowning.
Lastly, she’ll get his TRS sear and a C&S ring style hammer.
The FN P35 “Hi-Power” had been in production since 1935. Designed by John Moses Browning, and completed by Dieudonne Saive, the pistol was chambered in 9mm and had a 13 round capacity, and was a desirable military firearm. For comparison, the German issued P.08 Luger and P.38 held 8 rounds of 9mm each. When the German forces invaded and occupied Belgium in 1940, they also took over the FN (Fabrique Nationale, in Herstal Belgium) plant.
The Hi-Power was immediately liked by the Germans, and reassigned the designation Pistole 640(b)
The pre-war inventories of parts at the FN were used to produce more of the Pistole 640(b), all bearing Nazi Waffenamts and the typical swastika-eagle stamps.
When in early ’42 the pre-war inventories ran out, the German led war-production was started up, and most Hi-Powers after that had wooden grips, unlike the synthetic grips used on prior production guns.
My friend Jason owns one of these war-production Hi-Powers. His pistol has a WaA140 waffenamt in it, which indicates it was produced in Belgium between 1942 and 1944 and inspected by the Wehrmacht inspectors in Luttich, Belgium.
His grandfather brought the pistol with him when he returned home from fighting WWII, along with a holster and loaded magazine.
Jason was kind enough to let me photograph this interesting pistol. Unfortunately I forgot to photograph the headstamps on the ammunition it came with. Perhaps another time.