When Winchester produced its famous 1873 lever-action rifles and carbines, Colt wasted no time in chambering its single-action Army revolver in Winchester’s calibers from .44-40 down to .32-20. There are times when the quick handling and easy portability of a handgun is of paramount importance for self defense, but when faced with dire threats cowboys knew it was much better to have a repeating rifle. A handgun and longarm in the same caliber was a winner on the American frontier. From a self-defense standpoint, today’s shooters can find a practical, cost-effective, modern parallel to the 19th century Colt/Winchester pairing in Hi-Point carbines and pistols. Hi-Points are chambered in popular pistol cartridges such as .45 ACP, .40 S&W, 9mm Luger and soon .380 ACP, and the .40 S&W and .45 ACP model carbines and pistols even share a common magazine. I tested a model 995ts carbine and C9 pistol chambered in 9mm and was favorably impressed.
The author shooting a Zombie Shooters United course of fire located at the Knob Creek Range in West Point, Ky. You can visit them at zombieshootersunited.com
It is known that you can get a Colt Defender pistol and Model 6951 AR-15 type carbine in 9mm; however, this combination will cost you about $2,000. The Hi-Points I tested cost less than $500! That puts Hi-Points into a unique niche as the least expensive centerfire firearms on the market. There is a lot more to the differences between Colts and Hi-Points than price, so to narrow the focus of the discussion, I will evaluate the Hi-Points as personal home-defense firearms. In this respect, based on my testing, Hi-Points represent an exceptional value.
Hi-Point C9 Cutaway
Be careful not to make the mistake of assuming inexpensive means poor quality. Hi-Point firearms are engineered to be inexpensive. When I disassembled them, I was struck by the clever way parts were designed to serve multiple purposes and the use of highly efficient manufacturing techniques like metal stamping, zinc alloy casting, metal injection molding, button-rifled barrels, powder coating and injection-molded plastic. The martial spirit of the highly effective Soviet PPSH-41 submachine gun and the clandestine American FP-45 Liberator pistol of World War II are channeled through the Hi-Points. All of these firearms let the ease of manufacture and effective function dictate their form.
An important consumer byproduct of the care taken in designing the Hi-Points is that the production cost of parts is so low, the firearms are warranted forever. Not just for the original owner, but every owner (the instruction sheet with older production guns may still indicate the warranty is limited to the original purchaser, but the distributor at MKS assured me that is not the case). If any of Hi-Point’s firearms has a problem, it will be repaired by the factory free of charge. From my research, they are living up to their promise, and their reputation is excellent.
If Hi-Point’s design has a negative, I believe it is the trigger pull. The one I tested initially was heavy and erratic. Sometimes it let go crisply; other times it creeped one or two times before it released the sear. This trigger spoiled a lot of groups. I think the crux of problem is that by design, each pull of the trigger is doing a lot more than just releasing the sear. When you take the gun apart you’ll see what I mean. It is what it is, but take heart! If your trigger is stiff and creepy like a zombie, I found that dry firing the action a thousand times, like I did while I watched a TV show, improved mine significantly.
The 995ts carbine is a good choice for targets from 15 to 50 yards. It is probably effective at ranges greater than 50 yards, but if you are shooting at someone that far away, it may prove difficult to make a case for self defense in court. It comes with a 10-round magazine and mine had a very handy factory two-magazine clip. This clip attached to the web of the stock allowing me to carry 30 rounds total, in and on the gun. The buttstock had a recoil-absorbing butt pad that was probably more important with the .45 ACP version than it was with the 9mm I tested. The carbine was pleasant to shoot and the military aperture sights were easy to adjust and use. This model has plenty of surprisingly rugged polymer tactical rails to mount all of your accessories and they make a nice-looking vertical foregrip and muzzle-brake, which I did not test.
DEAD FOOT ARMS
The carbine used in this test had several hundred rounds through it before I formally evaluated it. I’ve been using it during our local Zombie Shooters United competitions in central Kentucky for over a year and it has never malfunctioned in competition. I do recall, when I first zeroed it for 25 yards, that the trigger pull was quite heavy. However, during my test for this story the trigger seemed a lot better.
As one would expect, ammo matters. The best of the three different loads I tested was remanufactured semi-target-grade, 124-grain, full-metal-jacket ammunition from AwesomeAmmunition.com. The average 50-yard, open-sight group from five separate five round strings was 2.25 inches, which is pretty darn good for a pistol cartridge at that range. The velocity through the carbine’s 16.5-inch barrel was 1,143 feet per second and was measured 12 feet from the muzzle.
Of the 115-grain full-metal-jacket factory ammo I tested, Winchester Target was clearly the better of the two. It was close behind Awesome Ammunition’s magic beans, with an average group size of 2.98 inches and 1,332 fps. The Winchester groups were more than an inch tighter than another popular low-cost factory ammo. This pattern of performance held for the C9 pistol too. Awesome Ammunition was the most accurate, this time a 124-grain, jacketed hollow point, followed by Winchester and the other famous brand, coming in at a distant third place.
Don’t expect the C9 pistol to shoot like a Colt Gold cup. It’s no target pistol, but it will be head-shot accurate at 7 yards and center-mass effective to 25 yards. I was able to easily put five shots through a green bean can at 7 yards with one hand after I broke in the trigger. When I bench tested at 7 yards, I found the same Winchester load I used in the carbine, printed groups averaging 1.62 inches and had a velocity of 1,104 fps. That cluster of 25 test rounds left a ragged hole in the target which you could cover with the bottom of a soda can. That’s pretty impressive for a $140 pistol. As a point of interest, I shot groups with this same load benched from 25 yards both before and after I broke in the trigger and the difference was dramatic. Breaking in the trigger shaved 2 inches off the group size, dropping it from an average of 9.74 inches to 7.75 inches.
The Hi-Points are heavy guns, but they are reliable, bargain priced, decent shooters and all American made. Without a doubt, they will be the best home-defense guns you will ever own for the money.
Hi-Point pistol has been known to take a beating anywhere from running it into the mud to having it run over by a truck and still keeps on running.
Will a Hi-Point pistol work if dropped from a helicopter? Well, this is what Edwin Sarkissian did. Check out this skydiving Hi-Point pistol that was “dropped once”.
Love them or hate them Hi-Point pistols are here to stay. Some people swear by them as an economical protection handgun while others swear at them. Are they that tough?
In this video we see a Hi-Point pistol get chucked out of a helicopter. It hits the ground and is found after some searching. Testing the pistol afterwards Edwin Sarkissian finds the trigger will not work and the pistol is done.
Is this a thing to consider when making a purchase? To some this may be a driving point if they’re looking for durability and reliability.
However, there has to be a line of which stress test is worth knowing about that is likely to happen in the real-world.
Chucking a pistol out of a helicopter at 1000 ft. and retrieving it to use may not be a realistic scenario. This is probably for the final fantasy groups.
If nothing else this video was quite fun to watch. When was the last time you’ve seen a flying Hi-Point pistol? This epic drop test is right up there with the Last American Hero show. (sorry, that was a nostalgia thought)
*The squats are paying off, I’m looking like a snack* thought Rebecca, as she grabbed the rear waistband area of her Alexo Athletica pants; lifting it upwards a couple inches, then letting go. “THIIIIIIIIIIICC” she said out loud, bursting into laughter while checking herself out in the full length bedroom mirror. She looked really good for 37, and wanted everyone to know it. Rebecca’s husband Mark was going to be home from work in an hour, and she still needed to take their young son Justin, to the park to play. “Mommy will be there in a second sweetie!” she yelled out while entering the code to the small gun safe in top of the bedroom closet. “Ugh Mark can never put shit back properly” she whispered under her breath through clenched teeth. Annoyed, taking his Hi-Point C9 out and setting it next to the safe by his tie rack, so she could properly get at her Glock 43. *Mark you’re an accountant with an MBA for God sake… have some dignity* she thought, and instantly felt bad as she closed the safe. The G43 slid smoothy into the Alexo waistband pocket, to the right of the pocket she permanently designated as snack storage.
As Justin played on the swings Rebecca’s eyes wandered across the park, noticing the usual cliques of young moms trying to “one-up” one another. Whether it be SUVs, handbags, or $2000 strollers… this place was for checking your social rank as much as it was for letting your kids burn off some energy. Being a good 5 years older than these women, Rebecca was glad to have nothing to prove to anyone. She knew this annoyed them, judging by the eyes she could always feel on her and the few comments in the past, that she was not supposed to (but supposed to) hear. “I’ll give you three more pushes then we gotta get home to see Dad” said Rebecca as they finished up.
Rebecca began making dinner while little Justin played with his LEGOs. They were having Greek salad, and chicken souvlaki tonight; Mark’s favorite. “Babe? I’m home!” Mark’s voice echoed through the foyer and into the kitchen. ” I’ll come say hi and help you in a second, I’m just going to change clothes.” he said as he briskly bounded up the stairs to the bedroom. Opening the bedroom closet to put his suit and tie away, he noticed the C9 out of the safe sitting next to his tie rack. *Hello old friend* Mark thought, interestingly enough feeling guilty for neglecting it for over a decade since graduating from school and buying several HKs and Glocks. As Mark touched the slide of the handgun, it was like a lightening bolt hit him. He blurted out at full volume “MY DIAMONDS CERTIFIED / MY TRIGGER WORKING / GOT IT OUT THE MUD BABY / THAT’S WHY MY CUP DIRTY”. Instantly recoiling in amazement and an excited terror, Mark’s heart rate and breath quickened. “Mark? What?” he heard faintly from downstairs. “Uh, nothing hunnie, I’ll be down in a minute”. Mark stared at the Hi-Point and the hairs on the back of his neck stood up. He reached out and grabbed the entire gun by the grip “I’M A MONSTER, EXORCISMS / TOTE TOOLS LIKE MECHANICS, MECHANISMS”. Rebecca had no idea what was going on, but at this point the vegetables Mark was supposed to help cut up were finished, and the chicken was almost ready. She took of her glasses, sighed and massaged the bridge of her nose with the thumb and index finger of her right hand. “I’m going to go check on daddy” Rebecca said to little Justin, before taking a generous sip of her Chardonnay and headed towards the stairs. She wasn’t ready for what she saw as she rounded the corner into the bedroom. Mark wearing only his boxers, C9 in hand and in a daze yelling stuff at himself in the mirror “YOU WALKING WITH YOUR HEAD DOWN, SCARED TO LOOK / YOU SHOOK / CAUSE AIN’T NO SUCH THINGS AS HALFWAY CROOKS / THEY NEVER AROUND WITH THE BEEF COOKS IN MY PART OF TOWN….”. Rebecca gasped, yelling out “MARK NO!”. Stopping mid sentence Mark looked over at her with a vacant expression. “I’VE BEEN OUT HERE GETTING BREAD. I DON’T NEED YOU ALL IN MY LOAF” he continued while fist pumping the gun at himself in the mirror. “Mark stop, this isn’t funny” pleaded Rebecca as she walked towards him. She could hear Justin crying downstairs, likely scared by what was going on. She knew what she had to do. Mark continued rapping into the mirror while Rebecca maneuvered stealthy behind him. “Mark, put the gun down or I’m going to call the police” she pleaded with him. This caught his attention. Knocking the proverbial wind out of his sails he spun around to face Rebecca, gun limp in hand at his side – “I’LL NEVER TALK TO THE COPS. I DON’T SPEAK PIG LATIN.” he obnoxiously yelled at her while standing there like a robot. She saw the opportunity so she went for it, smacking the gun out of his hand. The C9 hit the hardwood floor with a loud thud, as did Mark’s now limp exhausted body. Half in a stupor he saw Rebecca kneeling sideways propped up on one hand in front of him “Wha… what happened?”. “You just fainted. You need to drink more water during the day babe.” said Rebecca in a concerned voice as tears welled up in her eyes. She kissed him then cleared her throat loudly to cover for the sound, as she used one foot to kick the Hi-Point deep underneath the king size bed.
Thoughts? I don’t know how many of you guys follow me on Instagram, but I think this is like the 8 or 9th fan fiction I’ve done now if you care to read more like this. Most of the previous ones were heavily sheepdog related, so I thought I’d switch it up a bit. I do plan on compiling them in one place someday.
You want a knock around gun that you don’t have to worry about getting damaged?, Which may be a good choice for home or personal defense. The cheap Hi-Point might just be the ticket, but just how tough is it?
Commonly, when we think about what you usually look for in a pistol, you might think about fit, grip, capacity, size, or any other number of variables.
What we don’t usually think about is how tough a gun is; how much crap can you put it through and it just keep firing. To find out Matt from Demolition Ranch took a “cheap Hi-Point” pistol, the cheapest gun in the store, and put it through the ringer.
Here’s the Ringer:
Tie a string to the pistol and drag it around with a Ford truck.
Toss the pistol into a moss/mud pond.
Run over the pistol with a truck.
Shoot at it, takes a bullet.
After running it through this ringer, amazingly the Hi-Point still runs.
As much as there are probably quite a few things that we might not like about a cheap Hi-Point .40, the results speak for itself. This seems like the kind of weapon that you can literally store almost anywhere, throw around, or a truck gun and it still keeps on ticking.
That’s really all you can ask for in a pistol, and the fact that it’s affordable for pretty much anyone to purchase makes it even better. How about you what other pistol in the cheap category have you come across that can be this worthy?
Sources: Matt from Demolition Ranch, Chris Buckner