Five Stars for the Browning Hi-Power 9mm.
To review something, like the Browning Hi Power, or the latest car model on the market, one needs to have something to compare it with. I’ve read lots of reviews on guns and cars in car & gun magazines, but they always seem so biased. They rarely say anything bad about a product. Of course if they did, the product manufacturers would quit sending complimentary goodies (such as guns to test etc. …& keep).
I’ve owned a Browning Hi Power for close to twenty-three years now. I recently acquired one made in 1983. It’s brand new in the sense that it hadn’t been fired when I bought it. It doesn’t have a firing pin safety however (that came out some years later). As such, I cannot use it as a service pistol. While the type is approved, that particular version isn’t. So I bought the highly recommended Sig Sauer P226 9mm. I’ve used it on the range enough to be able to form an opinion. Also, I could hardly help comparing it to the Browning so here goes:
The Browning Hi Power has seen a few changes over the years but in my opinion the 1935 design, after 64 years in the field, still comes out the best of the best. Every company I can think of has made radical changes in gun design but I don’t really see anything that would be an improvement over the Browning.
It seems most modern pistols come in the “extra large” size, composites, alloys and a lot of pressed steel parts. They come in two tones, camouflage and numerous shades of black, gray, slate etc.
The Browning and the Sig P226 both weigh the same (within about ½ oz. of each other). They both have a similar type of barrel-slide lock and well, except for both being 9mm, that’s about where the comparison ends.
The Sig has an alloy frame, the Browning’s is steel. The Sig’s frame, to have the necessary strength is quite a bit larger than the Browning frame. As such, so is the Sig slide. Both guns are the same overall length, give or take.
The Sig grip, because of the larger frame, is also a good deal larger than the Browning’s. Someone said Browning was doing the ergonomics thing before the word was even invented. The Browning’s grip is small and comfortable, the Sig’s is large and well…it feels large.
Overall, the Sig is a much larger gun than the Browning. It’s really beyond a size I would want to try to carry concealed. I do carry the Browning concealed (with bulkier winter clothing). Usually I carry a Walther PPK in summer with clothing.
Here’s what I really like about the Browning Hi Power: I has a high enough capacity, it has a light recoil which allows for quick target re-acquisition after each shot, The grip is small and comfortable, even for my wife, who has quite small hands. Finally it has the strength of steel throughout. It’s incredibly accurate and always feeds flawlessly.
Some folks don’t like the magazine safety. Because of it the magazine doesn’t “pop” out crisply as do most other autos. I’ve personally never found that to a hindrance when it comes to switching magazines quickly. Some don’t like single action weapons. Personally I do. That critical first shot might have to be made “off-hand” and is likely to be less accurately placed if it’s a double action shot (most modern weapons don’t have any way of being put on safety while cocked). Is the Browning a safe gun? You bet, you can carry it cocked on safety and when it comes to un-cocking it, just drop the magazine, take it off safety, and eject the round in the chamber. Reinsert the magazine and lower the hammer. If it should slip, no harm has been done. The point is it can’t fire accidentally with the magazine removed…unless you have had the magazine shoe safety removed. Not advisable!
Here’s what really turned me off the Sig P226: Also, I don’t like how it shoots. It’s big, and it is alloy, and it has a plastic trigger and plastic slide return spring guide. Because the frame is large so is the slide, The slide is only slightly heavier but sits above the grip (pivot point) higher than the Browning slide does so when it is fired the recoil tends apply a little more leverage feels like it rolls the gun up more than the Browning does. That means getting onto the target for that second shot might happen a little more slowly.
Anyway, no more plastic, Tupperware or Mattie-Mattel guns for me. I’m staying away from Toys R Us and sticking with Browning Hi-Power...