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.)

Small Limits

Via Insty, I see this trend, and I’m not happy about it:

While data from 2019 to date shows the compact category has consistently had the greatest sales performance, hovering around 40%, the biggest changes have occurred in the micro-compact category. From 2019 to date, the micro-compact market has grown from an 18% to 25% share, making them a quarter of the 9mm semi-automatic handguns sold. Also notable is the fact that micro-compacts have taken a majority share in the combined sub-compact/micro segment.

Almost all, of course, in the 9mm Europellet chambering.

I’ve tried quite a few of these belly guns in the past, and never found one that suits me — unless in a smaller caliber like .32 ACP.  And frankly, if you’re going to use a belly gun (thus named because its use is to stick it into your target’s belly before pulling the trigger), I think the actual difference between calibers is irrelevant because a 1.5″ barrel develops no muzzle velocity past that created by the powder charge itself.

I understand that some people may find a large frame carry pistol to be too heavy and cumbersome and all that.  While I don’t have a problem carrying a 1911 myself, I can see that someone else might want something smaller but still retaining more oomph than a 1.5″ barrel throwing out [sic]  a 9mm bullet.

Allow me, then, to suggest something like Colt’s excellent Combat Commander, which differs from the full sized 1911 only insofar as it has a 4.5″ barrel, an inch or so shorter.

Longtime Readers will know that I dislike the “extended” grip safety which seems to be what all the cool kids are asking for these days:

…but which is easily swapped out for a normal one, the only irritant being to add about $50 to the cost of ownership.

The Commander-sized 1911 is pretty much the only compromise I’d be willing to make in the “ease of carry” argument, so forget those teeny lil’ pocket guns.  Especially in 9mmP.

If I wanted a real belly gun, I’d get a Bond Arms Derringer in .45 Colt / .410ga:

Now that’s going to leave a mark in some goblin’s belly, you betcha.  And it fits nicely into a pocket, too.

Gratuitous Gun Pic: Lee-Enfield No.4 Mk I

As much as I always loved my old Smelly:

…I have to admit that the sights are not the best.  That teeny little V at the rear makes quick acquisition of the target a little problematic.

Such is not the case with the SMLE’s successor, the Rifle No.4 Mk I:

With the exception of the semi-automatic Garand, the No.4 was probably the best battle rifle of its era, because with its aperture sight and 10-round magazine, it combined firepower with combat-level accuracy, and its silky-smooth bolt action made for a fearsome weapon.

I’ve fired many a No.4, and never had a bad time with any of them.  My only regret is that I’ve never actually owned one.

Which makes this article all the more painful.

Early on a Sunday morning in June, a tractor-trailer backed into the rear parking lot of the Navy Arms warehouse north of Martinsburg, W.V. Inside the truck’s shipping container were four huge wooden crates containing a long-forgotten batch of British No. 4 Lee-Enfield rifles with a unique history. Two green, military-style chests, each brimming with plastic-wrapped bolts, accompanied the wooden containers. Inside the warehouse sat cardboard boxes filled with newly made No. 4 rifle magazines, waiting for their recipients to be offloaded. Valmore Forgett, III, president and CEO of Navy Arms, had shepherded these guns from their storage spot in France to this final point on a long journey that first started on C-47s, B-24s and B-17s flying over war-torn France.

As the crates were forklifted out of the shipping container, eager hands pried nails and loosened screws securing the plywood lids in place. Finally, the crate cover slid off, revealing a sea of bubble-wrapped rifles filling each box to the brim. It took the team at Navy Arms about a week just to unpack the carefully cocooned guns, while Val’s sons unwrapped each individual bolt from its plastic packaging, recorded its serial number and matched it to its rifle, wherever possible. After a brief wipe-down, quick swab of the bore and import-marking, the rifles were moved to a rack, where they awaited their moment under the camera lights.

Aahhhh… have mercy.

I don’t wanna talk about it no more because it just hurts too much;  you’ll have to follow the link for details, and more pics to drool over.

I’ll just go over to the corner and pout.

New 9mm Or Old 7.65mm?

Browsing through the “new arrivals” at Collectors, I stumbled across not one but two older Lugers.  If you haven’t watched Othias and Mae’s take on this splendid old piece — and shame on you if you haven’t — go there now and spend a worthwhile hour learning about the Pistole 08.

The first one that caught my eye is a “Swiss”-type Model 1900 Luger, issued to the Swiss police, and was the first Luger to be adopted by anyone.

What interests me is that firstly, we know that this little beauty was well-looked after for at least the first 50 years of its life because it was used by a 1.) Swiss 2.) policeman, and I bet that since its arrival in the U.S. some fifty-odd years ago, it’s been just as carefully maintained.  As its price (just under $3,000) would indicate, this is like to be a cherry, and scarce withal because the Swiss ordered only a few thousand of them.  Only later did those 1900 Police models (chambered in 7.65x21mm Parabellum / .30 Luger) get replaced by the P.08 in 9mm Parabellum, which means that this particular model spent most of its life in Switzerland locked in a cabinet somewhere as surplus (the Swiss never sold off their older-model Lugers to civilians until they opened them up for export in 1959).

The second of the Lugers is a “commercial” (i.e. private) piece:

Note that the Swiss model can be distinguished from the commercial one by the added grip safety (which was part of the Swiss list of requirements).  As with all such guns, we can’t be sure of this one’s condition because we don’t know how owners have handled the thing (and its price, under $2,000, reflects both that and its non-rarity, as they were produced in the tens of thousands).  Unlike most of the Lugers out there today, this particular one is also chambered in 7.65mm Parabellum.

…which of course is going to raise the question:  “Hey Kim, if you think the 115gr 9mmP  is a useless Europellet, why do you like the smaller 93g .30 Luger cartridge so much?”  and it’s a valid question.

Simple answer:  it’s more fun to shoot, and makes no claim to being an effective self-defense cartridge. It used to be thought of that way, back in the very early 1900s when the cartridge was first released, but the Euros hadn’t yet been exposed to the .357 Magnum or even the .45 ACP.  (For some reason, Euros have always preferred inadequate cartridges in their handguns.  No, I don’t know why either.)

More importantly, I actually used to own a Luger chambered in 7.65mm, sold it under extreme duress, and I can truthfully say that of the many hundreds of centerfire pistols I’ve fired in my lifetime, that Luger ranks #3 in the “fun gun” category.  (#1 is the 1905 Colt in .32 ACP, and #2 is the SIG Sauer P230, also in .32 ACP.)  I still wish I’d kept it.

Fun guns are those that you do not shoot for practice, e.g. self-defense or competition, but on those occasions when you just shoot at cans or something, and you don’t want to shoot .22 LR (it can happen), or you just feel like shooting a different gun.

And boy, is that Luger ever different.

Ammo cost is surprisingly low.  Prvi Partizan (bless their little Balkan hearts) make the .30 Luger, and the retail thereof is about 60 cents/round.  Sellier&Bellot 9mmP compares at 35 cents, but then again you’re going to shoot your Europellets in the thousands versus the .30 Lugers by the dozen.

Another point of query might be shooting a pistol with the severe grip angle/rake of the Luger (and Ruger .22 pistols) compared to my favorite style of the 1911:

The Luger grip doesn’t require familiarity — it is, after all, more of a curio than a “functional” gun.

All that said, if I had the dough right now I’d be talking about that Swiss beauty as a recent acquisition rather than as an object of desire.

This Just In

…from Collectors:

It’s not often that Collectors offers a real price bargain — they’re not a discount outlet, by definition — but this most certainly is.

Of all the .22 pistols ever made, the Trailside is the one I’ve lusted after the most.  I’ve fired a couple, and each one left me speechless with its match trigger and astounding accuracy.  Add Swiss-watch mechanical action and you have, I think, quite possibly the best .22 pistol you can get.  And yes, I offered to buy each one from its owner, and both just laughed merrily as they pried their guns from my envious fingers and put them away.

And here’s the point:  yeah, $650 is a lot for a .22 — but have you seen the price of .22 pistols recently?  Others, of considerably less quality, are selling for about the same nowadays, which makes this a steal at the price.

Aaaargh.  Want.