Another Take On The New High Power

Some time back I looked at the new replacements for the John Moses Browning/Dieudonné Saive P35 High Power from Springfield and EAA Girsan.

At the time, I was unaware that FN Herstal had made plans for their own replacement for the older P35, which, as Ian McCollum pointed out in his latest video on the topic, makes all sorts of sense for FN, in that it makes manufacturing less costly and more modern, and gives FN a platform for future generations of their 9mm handgun.  (It would help if you watched Ian’s as-always immensely knowledgeable analysis of the new High Power compared to the older P35.)

Here’s my take after watching Ian’s video:  I hate the new gun with a passion.  Here’s why.  (To avoid confusion, I’m going to refer to the new FN gun as the High Power, and the older version as the P35.)

The new High Power is big and blocky, with an oversized grip and all sorts of changes to the P35’s disassembly process.  Myself, I have never had a problem in taking the P35 apart, mostly because the process is a lot less fiddly than the (also-Browning-designed) Colt 1911.  The P35’s appeal to me has always been its sexiness — that slim profile is gorgeous, it prints less in a carry holster, and mine works very well — admittedly, after a fair amount of improvement by a master gunsmith (and a reworked hammer to avoid the infamous P35 hammer bite).

I don’t care that the High Power now has a larger ammo capacity (18 vs. 13/15 rounds), because 13 rounds has always served me just fine;  I’m not some SpecOps or SWAT guy, just a civilian who has always loved the P35 for all the reasons stated above.

And by the way:  the High Power now has a longer (plastic ???!!!) guide rod, which means that the once-closed front end of the slide now has an ugly great hole to accommodate the longer guide rod (and did I mention it’s made of plastic?).

My knock on the old P35 has always been that it should been built to handle the .45 ACP cartridge.  My suspicion is that the bigger High Power will easily do so — and mark my words, I bet that FN will soon release a .45 ACP version of the High Power.

Anyway, Ian takes the new gun for a spin, and it feeds all sorts of ammo flawlessly — although I note that he didn’t shoot any +P loads.  My guess is that the High Power should handle them with ease — not always the case with the P35, or at least my P35.

Now I want you all to know that my dislike for the new FN is not rooted in my well-documented dislike of modern stuff.  I just don’t think the new High Power is a proper Browning High Power, but rather a “re-imagining” (their word)  of JMB/DS’s 1935 design.  Which is fine, but they should have called it something else.  And did I already say that the new gun is fugly?


If I were to replace my P35 with a new-model 9mm pistol, I’d rather get a SIG 210-9:


…or else a new-manufacture CZ 75 B:

…or I’d just get a new Springfield SA-35 clone, and be satisfied:

I don’t just buy guns because they can shoot well.  If I did, I’d just buy a frigging fugly Glock.  No, a gun has to be beautiful, and sexy, and fit my hand, and… and… well, you should know the rest by now.

Your opinions, of course, may vary.  (I should point out that Ian, even though he likes the new HP, is quite sympathetic towards people of my ilk, as you can see in the first video.)


  1. I’m looking hard at the Girsan model because 1) it’s cheaper and 2) it comes with an ambi-safety (I’m a lefty). The Springfield would be my second choice if it either had a ambi-safety or a readily available aftermarket fix. Like you, I love my original Browning but would rather relegate it to range toy and spare it the rigors of everyday carry.

  2. PLASTIC! Cripes. I gotta believe that will eventually make for a non functional heirloom.

    My sole complaint with the original Hi Power; the first pistol I ever owned, was the factory version wouldn’t feed hollow point or Semi jacketed ammo without jamming. I couldn’t afford a gunsmith back then to try and tune it.

    Sadly I sold it back in the 90’s to scrape up the cash to buy a ’61 Springfield Rifled Musket.
    I’ve since bought several Euro pellet pistols , my two favorites being the Walter P38/P1 and the S&W P39.
    Sure, they don’t hold more than 8 rounds, but the way I see lots of people shoot they’ll need all 18 rounds to do what I can do with 3 or 4.

    But I still miss that Hi Power, and am seriously considering the Springfield knockoff just for auld lang syne.
    Anyone know if they changed the feed angle or will it act like my dear old Browning did when I give it anything but FMJ?

    1. I don’t know about the Springfield, but I do know that my stock 1982 Belgian BHP feeds Winchester Silvertips with no issues. (I started using them based on an article by Massad Ayoob in the early 80’s).

      It also does well with Federal 9BP rounds.

      I don’t know if that means FN changed the feed angle by then, or that the ammo manufacturers tweaked their bullets to function.

    1. Taurus does it better. Puts the safety on the frame where JMB intended it to go, and you don’t need Spider-man hands to reach it without changing your grip.

  3. “re-imagining”

    Lib speak for fucking up.

    Example: The girl on the left above is “re-imagined” on the right.

    Hard pass. I’ll keep my ’79 Belgian.

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