Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Why Do Some Hi Powers Have Serial Numbers in Multiple Places?

As most know, Fabrique Nationale manufactures the Hi Power pistol. Commonly known in the United States as the "Browning Hi Power", it is imported by Browning and while it bears the their logo, it is manufactured by FN.

FN is a large manufacturer of firearms from handguns to heavy machineguns and has customers worldwide.

There is no universal law decreeing where a firearm's serial number must be. In the US, the frame is the firearm and must be serial numbered. In South Africa, it is the barrel. You get the idea: FN must produce firearms meeting legal requirements of their individual customers all over the world.. There may be countries in which it is required that all three major components of the Hi Power have serial numbers, but I do not know that for a fact. I suspect also that having the barrels, slides and frames of individual Hi Powers numbered make it easier for military units maintaining multiple Hi Powers keep the pistols assembled as they came from the factory after routine field-stripping, cleaning, etc.

Some of my Browning-marked Hi Powers came with the serial numbers only on the frame while others bear them on both the frame and barrel. I have seen them marked on the slide, barrel and frame as well. There doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to why unless from possible military overruns or pistols initially intended for purchase in countries other than the US.

The major difference in serial number locations I've seen in more recent times involves the frame. On Browning-marked pistols, it remains on the front grip strap while FN-marked Hi Powers are serial numbered on the side of the frame.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Initial Shots: 9mm Beretta PX4 Storm...

Hello. For roughly 4 decades now, my autoloader of choice has been a single-action such as the Browning Hi Power or 1911. In the '80's I coughed up the then high tariff for a CZ-75 since it appeared interesting, had gained the blessing of Col. Cooper and allowed for Condition One Carry (cocked-and-locked) if desired.

During roughly this same time-frame, I became a police firearm instructor, which necessitated my being very familiar and competent with other than single-action autoloaders or double-action revolvers.

So, I began rigorously working to improve my skills with SIG-Sauers' P220 and P226 DA/SA pistols as they were very well-represented within the law enforcement community as well as Glock's line of handguns. I found that at least with some of the DA/SA automatics, the transition from DA to SA just was not the "monster" described by some scribes, which prompted me to try other than single-action automatics; with the money spent over the years, I'm not sure if that was a blessing or a curse...

The most recent of this seemingly never-ending line of pistols to shoot is the 9mm PX Storm from Beretta. Mine is the "Type F", IE: conventional DA/SA with the slide-mounted thumb safety. The pistol is locked breech, but uses a rotating barrel system to accomplish this. It seems to work well at least in my initial range session. The gun functioned flawlessly with the 435 rounds fired.

Here is a picture of it next to the very common Glock 17. Hopefully, this gives folks at least an approximate idea of its size.

I tried this pistol with a six different loads. From left to right: DAG 124-gr. FMJ, Winchester Ranger 127-gr. +P+, handload using Speer 124-gr. Gold Dot, a discontinued Corbon +P load using the Hornady 124-gr. XTP, Speer 147-gr. Gold Dot, and Remington 147-gr. Golden Saber. These all fed smoothly and flawlessly.

I fired no further than 15 yards in the initial range session. It was windy and the 25-yard pistol range was occupied. I fired this group while seated and with wrists braced on sandbags. I was trying to gauge the pistol's inherent mechanical accuracy...and was very pleasantly surprised.

In short, I found the pistol to be extremely comfortable, 100% least so far, and surprisingly accurate.

If interested in a considerably more detailed review, look here:


Thursday, April 01, 2010

"9mm Hi Powers Won't Feed JHP's"...

...without special work being done.

This statement was sometimes true enough with the classic style Hi Powers predating the Mk II, which debuted in 1982. At that time, FN "throated" the old "humped" feed ramp. This change took the Hi Power pistol from being potentially "picky" about which JHP's it would feed to one that has proven not to be particular at all. In other words, Hi Powers in the Mk II or current Mk III designs are very reliable with expanding ammunition having blunt bullet shapes.

Can there be the individual Hi Power that fails to feed? Probaby so; individual specimens that are not up to snuff occassionally seem to slip past the QC personnel of more than one manufacturer. I have shot more than a few Hi Powers over the past 4 decades. From my very first Mk II to my current Mk III's, I have yet to see a single one that wouldn't feed FMJ or JHP's in bullet weights of about 90 grains to 158 grains (heavy Israeli subsonic loads).

Current 9mm Hi Powers feed reliably and the old saying that they are "jamamatics" with other than FMJ ammunition just is no longer true...and and hasn't been for 28 years!

The Hi Power may or may not be a 9mm pistol that curries your favor, but if weighing factors in making that decision, don't buy into to the outdated "facts" that Hi Powers won't feed other than ball rounds. 9mm Hi Powers made from '82 onward will...and those made before 1982 can be made to without much difficulty! (Having said that, I fully understand that some shooters will simply prefer other designs to the Hi Power; there are many quality 9mm autoloaders to choose from; go with what works for you in my view.)