A few simple modifications any gun owner can perform will make a better gun out of the Hi-Power.
by Ray Ordorica
Some time back I did a report for Gun Tests magazine on two Hi-Power clones by FÉG and Kareen. They had a few characteristics I didn’t like, such as not being able to drop their magazines freely and too-heavy trigger pulls. After I filed the report I looked at my own Hi-Power clone from Charles Daly. It has some great features, such as a neat set of express sights consisting of a wide-angle “V” rear and a big round bead in front, a really good two-tone shiny-and-dull blued finish, and a set of Ahrends fancy wood grips that dress up the gun nicely.
However, like the two test pistols, my gun didn’t let its magazine fall freely and it had a too-stout trigger. It also had a few sharp corners here and there that annoyed me. I wanted to take care of those things but had never been inside a Hi-Power before. However, in the course of my report on those two old guns I had to completely disassemble the FÉG Hi-Power to clean out some nasty grit with which it was infused. In so doing I learned all I needed to know about Hi-Powers, specifically how to disable the magazine disconnect safety “feature”, which I badly wanted to do to my Daly HP. I knew this modification would permit the magazine to drop free just like 1911-type pistols. It would also allow the gun to be fired with the magazine removed, which I believe is mandatory for any self-defense gun.
Before I go any farther I’ll let myself out of arguments by stating that I will not tolerate any handgun that does not let me shoot it with the magazine removed. You might like that feature, but not I. Doing this sort of modification will surely void any warranty on your gun and may not endear you to some future owner because the gun will no longer be original. That’s just tough, I say. The future owner will end up with a better gun, whether or not he realizes it. Just be sure to let anyone who handles your modified gun know it’ll fire without the magazine.
Disclaimer: A gunsmith who defeats a safety could be held civilly liable if an accident/negligent incident was to occur with a modified firearm. It is up every gunsmith to decide what modifications best serve them, their clients, and their business. American Gunsmith does not dictate policy. We publish the experiences and procedures used from a variety of gunsmiths. It is up to individual gunsmiths to choose what work and modifications are best for them, their clients, and their business.
Read more in the August 2016 issue.
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Rather presumptuous of you to think that you know better than John Moses Browning. You should never, EVER, remove or disable a safety, on a gun. this website has lost all credibility in my eyes.
Thanks for reading!
Most handguns lack a magazine safety, including most of Browning’s other designs. Regardless, individual gunsmiths will have to choose what modifications they will or won’t make for personal and client firearms and then deal with any ramifications of that decision. The author made his decision, even if that decision is different than yours.
I understand this, but defeating safeties on firearms is a dangerious place to be in. If it is your personal gun, ok, but suggesting it is a good practice for gunsmtihs, without a disclaimer is somewhat reckless in my opinion. I was taught in gunsmithing school, to NEVER defeat a safety, and now that is what I teach my gunsmithing students.
Disclaimer: “Doing this sort of modification will surely void any warranty on your gun and may not endear you to some future owner because the gun will no longer be original… Just be sure to let anyone who handles your modified gun know it’ll fire without the magazine.”
In the abstract on the website. This goes into further detail in the print article.
Dear Mr. Herring,
While I applaud your concern, I made it clear in my report that one needs to know how to handle firearms and needs to know something about personal-defense training in order to understand what I did to the gun. I also made it clear this is a personal gun, never to be sold, and anyone who handles it must be told of its alteration. What you don’t know is I have over 50 years of working with all kinds of guns behind me, including training with the best in the world. My old friend Jeff Cooper would applaud what I did to this gun, as would anyone who understands gunfighting. Rather than “defeating” the safety, I actually made it a better gun for the knowledgeable gunfighter.