The last gun John Browning designed became the P-35 or more commonly known as the "Hi-Power". For some the linkage of the Browning name with the Hi-Power is lost in the brand name of the Browning Gun Company and thus, the Browning Hi-Power. I had for years seen these grand ole guns with their distinctive pinched in front slides and their elegant designs, but it wasn't until this year that my son called my attention to the fact that Fabrique Nationale (FN) the Belgium company that has built the original Hi-Powers, and who owns Browning Guns, was dropping their own FAN brand in favor of the higher priced Browning name. So I was able to buy a Browning's Hi-Power for $417 rather than a Browning Hi-Power for $850.
Many will argue that the 1911 is the King of John M. Browning's designs, but the Browning Hi-Power then must be the queen. To pick up the weapon is to feel the grace of the lines and the thinner and more elegant curves. The cam locking system that John Browning developed for the Hi-Power has become the standard for the industry and is at the heart of most Taurus designs.
The Hi-Power off the shelf is a bit fussy and exercises a mind of her own. The French government required the inclusion of a magazine disconnect, just as the US government was the author of the grip safety on the 1911. The firing linkages of the Hi-Power tend to gravitate against the most perfect trigger. However, loving attention to this old Lady will turn her into a delight. Either the removal or modification of the magazine disconnect, replacing the heavy hammer spring and tweaking and polishing the linkages will yield a 4.5 lb trigger which breaks crisp.
The first impression on shooting the Hi-Power was that this gun was capable of more accuracy than I was. It tended to hit what I shot at with delightful consistency. It seems to have almost a natural point to it. The gun is still steel throughout, so it is a bit heavier than the current Wonder 9's but in it's day the 13 round staggered capacity verses the 7 round 1911 standard made it the high capacity giant of it's day.
I bought the .40 S&W since FN had redesigned the standard slide for the heavier round, not just boring out the additional dimensions for the "shorty 40". The Hi-Power in the .40 is an exquisite combination... a very hard hitting round in the almost 5" barrel, but recoil was tamed by the length and weight of the slide.
Stephen Camp and his website on the Hi-Power (http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/index.html) will give much more information that I can here. But if you should happen to see a nice FN Hi-Power at a ridiculously low price when compared the gun counter prices of the Browning, then stop and consider the elegant lines of this classic lady. Some guns come and go, but I can't imagine why I would ever part with this one pistol!