Thursday, July 17, 2008

Does My Hi Power Have a Forged or Cast Frame?

None of the classic style Hi Powers have cast frames. None of the Mk II 9mm's have cast frames. Early 9mm Mk III pistols didn't have them either. All had forged frames. With the advent of the .40 Hi Power, FN went to cast frames and a different heat treatment that resulted in "harder" frames. This kept the slide rails from warping or breaking after as few as 2500 shots. I have never seen a 40-caliber Hi Power that didn't have a cast frame. Current Hi Powers, be they 9mm or .40, have cast frames.

Here's the easiest way to tell.

Look at the bottom of the pistol frame at the magazine well. If the surface appears smooth (left), the frame is probably forged. Since this was written, I have learned that some early cast frames did not have the ripples. This IS apparently the case with an "NX" ('93) Mk III I have seen pictures of It does not have the grooves shown above. If it has the longitudenal grooves or "ripples" (right), it is cast.

Purists will opt for the forged frame every time...and in my view, there's nothing wrong with that.

If my intention was to shoot thousands of hot-loaded 9mm rounds, I'd personally go with the cast frame. I do believe that they handle the warmish ammunition a little better in the long run. With standard pressure, it doesn't make me any difference.


PS: An updated article on this is here: