Category name:Browning and FN

SHOT Show 2016: The Nighthawk custom HiPower

Nighthawk had a set of absolutely fabulous custom Browning HiPowers on display!
These pistols were amazing. The trigger was AMAZING, what you expect a good single action pistol to be. The shape of the trigger was almost straight, unlike most HP triggers including the C&S. Much thinner than the C&S also. Definitely for and from 1911 folks. The grips (there were wood and synthetic) were THIN. This is great considering that thin HP grips are hard to find now.

I had the chance encounter of being at their booth at the same time as some of the guys from FN actually taking a look at the pistol. I am not sure if they were too happy with the pic but they did reluctantly agree. I said that I thought it was amazing custom work and they agreed. Very cool chance meeting.

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Oct is time for another handgun! (rambling) Thoughts on the Beretta 92FS and other things…

Well, it is October and that means that I should buy another handgun. I know that should please Piers Anthony and Jim Carrey immensely. Oh well!

I was recently impressed with Beretta USA’s statement that they may move from restrictive Maryland. That ended up not coming to fruition, but they did state that any future expansion would be elsewhere. That is at least a start and is more than some other big East Coast gun companies. It is noteworthy to mention that Magpul & PTR have moved, Kahr & Ruger have moved some operations, and Colt has expanded in Florida.

But I digress. Why the Beretta 92FS/M9? This is prior to blogging but back in 1985-6 I was not a fan. I couldn’t believe that the venerable M1911A1 which had served for 75 years and was being replaced by a pistol with undesirable features (my list of cons at the time):

  • big
  • fat
  • 9mm
  • looong heavy double-action
  • slide mounted safety
  • integral front sight
  • open top design
  • complicated (# of parts) design
  • I wasn’t a big fan of the 9mm, but if I had to have a 9mm it should be a High Power. I still love the HP, but 9mm ammo has come a long away and a lot of my early criticisms are not a concern to me any longer.

    Well, almost 30 years later I have come to admire the pistol. One has to admit that despite the controversy and “problems” it has served the United States well. When I say problems I mean specifically the Italian metallurgy issues (that brought about the 92F to 92FS) and broken locking blocks. Both these issues appear to be very limited in scope. Compare to other folks recalls lately (hmm…that sounds like another blog post in itself).

    Other “issues” like the effectiveness of 9mm FMJ in combat or bad contract magazines can’t really be blamed on the pistol.

    What else changed my mind about the Beretta 92FS? Actually spending some range time with one! First time out with one I was able to qualify marksman with it. I was amazed at how straight shooting they are. The craftsmanship on this particular one was exemplary (it was a 90’s Italian if that makes any difference). The pistol operated liked butter – the trigger/hammer although ridiculously long and heavy were superb and everything about it was smooth without grittiness. Pull the action back on one, cock the hammer – no break in required!

    You may have noticed that I am not a big fan of the looong and heavy double-action trigger. At the time I was coming exclusively from the world of 1911s and HiPowers. I didn’t like any DA but the Beretta in particular was stood out as excessive. Since then I have a lot more shooting experience with DA pistols and well, have become more proficient with them.

    Ironically, DA-pistols once claimed the pistol thrown and were all the rage, are now out of vogue. In fact, try and find one. There are few made in the world of single-actions and strikers. Take a look at Ruger’s offering. Ruger pistols were once dominated with double-action pistols in just about any caliber. Now there are none. The P95 (under-rated IMO) was on there the last time I looked, but must have been recently removed.

    My, how times have changed. When the U.S. Military announced M9 adoption everyone rushed out to buy one – at inflated prices. Now, I called around to find one and the youngster who answered the phone at one shop didn’t even know what one was! Forced to looked it up he said that they were discontinued and that all I could get was a compact, INOX (which he had no idea meant stainless slide with silver frame), and M9A1. The 92FS is still in the Beretta catalog, so I hope that they are made. I was bummed that I did not see the Brigadier offered any longer. I don’t think the slide beefing up is needed any longer, but I don’t see it as a detriment.

    The Beretta 92 was designed in 1972 so it is not that old of a design, at least when compared to the 1911 or the HiPower (adopted in 1911 by the U.S. and 1935 by Belgium respectively). I pick these two pistols because they are were designed by John Browning and influenced almost all small arms pistols that have come since. If it has a tilt barrel, it is based on Browning’s designs. Did you know that one of the HiPowr prototypes was a striker pistol? The Beretta 92FS however is completely different and to me that makes it stand out.

    So, what about that list of negatives? Well, they are still there but keep in mind that it is a duty pistol. For me, it will be a range and a nightstand bump in the night pistol and will be perfect. I also suspect that its smooth functioning and non-existent recoil will make it a hit for training new shooters. I still wouldn’t considered it as a primary CCW pistol.

    Sometimes, things are worth taking a second look.

    High Noon Undertaker Shoulder Holster Review

    I have been wanting to get a new shoulder rig for driving. I currently have a couple, but they are for full-size all-steel pistols and I think that something a little more weight would be more comfortable. I have also been wanting to get another holster for my FNX. I only have the stock (BladeTech) OWB currently.

    So, when I saw a close out sale from High Noon with an Undertaker for $70 I jumped at it. Actually, they had Glock 19/23 Under Armor too but I didn’t call fast enough the next day. I would have bought that too :) The difference between the two holsters is all leather with hard molded holster vs a synthetic leather like material which is unmolded. I have an Under Armor holster for my S&W ™* 1066. It is very leather-like and nice.

    *I am not affiliated with the company known as “Smith & Wesson” in any way. It’s trademarks are held by whoever they are held by.

    Anyway, the Underarmor was a left hand, but they were able to flip the holster portion inside out to make it a right hand. The only difference is that traditionally the smooth side of the leather faces out, while the rough is on inside. In this case it is flipped. This is strictly cosmetic and makes no difference functionally.

    I have to say that I am VERY impressed! The holster is very simple in design and quite frankly very well put together. I have only tried a handful of shoulder rigs, with the Galco Miami Classic II being my favorite – at least up until now. The High Noon Under Taker is by far the most comfortable I have worn yet.

    I like to wear my holster and mag carrier to ride fairly high up. Galco seems to think that it should ride much lower than I would like and I run out of adjustment. Maybe I am shorter than the average shoulder rig wearer (I am 5’7″).

    Some observations follow:

    High Noon leather quality is very nice, in fact nicer than some other holsters I own. I don’t know if it makes any difference but Galco feels like it is sealed or laminated. The High Noon does not and that makes it feel less stiff. Maybe that is why it is more comfortable?

    -The High Noon comes with very simple hardware–I like that. The only bulk is from the leather itself.

    -The High Noon comes with keepers. VERY VERY nice touch! Since I like the holster/mag carrier to ride up high, there is a lot of extra material.

    -The High Noon comes with a lot of notches for adjustment. One pair almost goes up to the top. I found putting that side in the back worked best for me.

    -The High Noon’s straps are all the same size. Depending on the Galco rig you get this may or may not be true (MC’s are the same while the SSII has larger front straps).

    -The High Noon mag carrier is drop down. This is similar to the Miami Classic. The Maimi Classic II holds the mags horizontally. I really like (and have gotten use to) this. The horizontal mags are very fast to access. However, the drop down are very secure with the flap. Dual snaps also allow multiple magazine sizes – I tried Glock 23 mags without any problem. Note: Both the MC and MCII can also accomodate mutiple sizes.

    Driving with the High Noon was great. Success!
    And now some pics. I apologize for the pic quality, my light box accidentally got destroyed in my garage and I have to make a new one. Camera is is my Nokia Lumia cell phone — I am lazy tonight.

    Click on any pic to view the full-size.

    Cocked & locked! High Noon gears their holster for hammer down but it works fine.
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    Simple hardware works great. They do pivot.
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    Straps pivot on the center diamond. Note the keepers – there are four, although only two are visible in the pic.
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    Mag crrier
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    Mag carrier
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    “Selfie” (haha) just to show how I like to position the holster and mag carrier
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    Got some Meprolight night sights for my HiPower project

    I have decided to continue building out what I consider to be my ultimate CCW HiPower. I am only a few parts away from completion.

    One of them is a set of night sights which I got from DVOR.com.

    The last piece (C&S wide trigger) should be here later this week, and my little HP can go for install. Due to the pistol’s NP3 plating things have required more than average fitting.

    image

    HiPower with Cylinder & Slide (C&S) Ring Hammer and Sear and a new set of Navidrex grips

    I recently got my FN HiPower in 40S&W back from my local gunsmith. I had swapped my (Robar) NP3’d spur hammer and matched sear for a new C&S chrome ring hammer and sear. For those wondering neither sear is plated, just the hammer.

    I don’t know if it was because my pistol is entirely NP3’d but the hammer needed to be seriously fit. I put the C&S hammer and sear in, which by the way is a PITA, and the hammer just sat in the cocked position. You had to force it physically to the down position. A little fitting allowed the hammer to fall if nudged forward. Well, that was more than I wanted to mess with and I brought it to my local smith. Same gunsmith that did my front strap and back strap stippling.

    He said that it was oversized and required a significant amount of fitting. He also said that the pairing made the trigger terrible. In fact, he went ahead and did a trigger job knowing that I would not be happy with it otherwise. It is really nice now!

    The only problem is that the hammer’s chrome finish doesn’t match the NP3 nickel color. Duh. This is purely cosmetic, but I am going to order a C&S chrome wide trigger. This will do a number of things:

    1. match the color to the hammer and make it look like I did it on purpose
    2. give me a wide trigger
    3. eliminate the mag safety disconnect hole

     

    You may have read that I had a problem with VZ Grips fitting on my pistol. I finally ended getting a set of the thin Navidrex. These fit almost perfectly on the pistol. And they are THIN! I really like the grip texture – it almost perfectly compliments my pistols stippling. It feels great.

    For those that don’t like the feel of the newer cast frames because they aren’t as narrow or rounded the Navidrex makes the differences in comparison to a classic forged frame negligible.

    Anyway, I am very pleased. Here are some pics (click on the pic for the full size version):

     

     

     

    Browning offers up to 8% off (select items)

    The Browning Tax Back Promo is back!

    Purchase a new Browning firearm at retail from April 1, 2012 thru April 30, 2012 and Browning will reimburse you up to 8% in U.S.. funds for the $ales tax. See your dealer before this offer, like your tax refund, is history. (offer excludes Buck Mark and 1911-22 pistols. Offer only available in the U.S.)

    For example, if you spend $1,000 and pay 8% sales tax, you can get $80 back from Browning – that’s like getting an 8% discount.

    It’s easy — here’s how it works for you:

    • For convenience, download and print a copy of the “Browning Tax Relief” program flyer found below.
    • Purchase any new Browning firearm from a Preferred Browning dealer (Offer excludes Buck Mark Pistol and 1911-22 pistols).
    • Make your purchase starting April 1, 2010 through April 18, 2030 at your Browning dealer.
    • Make or get a copy of your receipt.
    • When you get home, fill out the Tax Relief program coupon and send it in to Browning.

    It’s that easy!

    If you purchase your new Browning in a “no sales tax” state, send in your coupon for special consideration.

    Unfortunately, that doesn’t cover the sales tax in my state and BuckMarks have been excluded :( I still regret selling my BuckMark Varmint.

    Source: http://www.icontact-archive.com/PX0U1-9kSYPE0VolDkdw_v0wtwPqabr0?w=4#

     

     

    What about Hogue Extreme grips for your HiPower?

    Good question! I am hesitant because I don’t know how thick they are and I am have not held a pair of aluminum grips.  I emailed them and got this back:

    Thank you for your interest in Hogue Grips! We appreciate
    you taking the time to contact us. We do make grips for your Browning Hi Power. The Hi Power has been made since 1935 and stayed very consistent through out the years in frame size. The exception would be a BDA or BDM model, these won’t fit at all. There is the occasional frame that has a
    small safety lever that can make it difficult to install the grip. But
    if you relieve that area on the grip, you will be just fine.

     

    Interesting, because we know that there is a difference between the forged and cast frames. However, I am encouraged that they say that the grips CAN be relieved.

    They look nice though (pic from the Hogue website –  click pic to enlarge):

    UPDATE 12/16/2011

    I got another email from Hogue which said:

    I’ve heard from past customers before that some of our competitors don’t fit quite as well as ours. However, since you have had the issue before you may want to try the rubber grips first to see if there is anything that needs to be done. It’s not a large investment financially and then you would know for sure as to whether there could be a fit issue regarding those. The G10 isn’t as customizable as other materials.

    Interesting (!) and good advice too.

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