Browning Hi-Power

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The Browning Hi-Power is a single-action, 9mm semi-automatic handgun. It is based on a design by American firearms inventor John Browning, and later improved by Dieudonné Saive at Fabrique Nationale (FN) of Herstal, Belgium. Browning died in 1926, several years before the design was finalized. The Hi-Power is one of the most widely used military pistols of all time,[3] having been used by the armed forces of over 50 countries.[1]

The Hi-Power name alluded to the 13-round magazine capacity; almost twice that of contemporary designs such as the Luger or Mauser 1910. The pistol is often referred to as an HP (for "Hi-Power" or "High-Power"[4]) or as a GP (for the French term, "Grande Puissance"). The term P-35 is also used, based on the introduction of the pistol in 1935. It is most often called the "Hi-Power", even in Belgium. It is also known as the BAP (Browning Automatic Pistol), particularly in Irish service.

Contents

Development

The Hi-Power was designed in response to a French military requirement for a new service pistol, the Grand Rendement (French for "High Yield"), or alternatively Grande Puissance (literally "high power"). The French military's requirements were that the arm should be compact, have a capacity of at least 10 rounds, a magazine disconnect device, an external hammer, a positive safety, be robust and simple to disassemble and re-assemble, and be capable of killing a man at 50 meters; this last criterion was seen to demand a caliber of 9 mm or larger, a bullet mass of around 8 grams, and a muzzle velocity of 350 m/s. It was to accomplish all of this at a weight not exceeding 1 kg (2.2 lb).

FN commissioned John Browning to design a new military sidearm conforming to this specification. Browning had previously sold the rights to his successful M1911 U.S. Army automatic pistol to Colt's Patent Firearms, and was therefore forced to design an entirely new pistol while working around the M1911 patents. Browning built two different prototypes for the project in Utah and filed the patent for this pistol in the United States on June 28, 1923 and granted on February 22, 1927.[5][6] One was a simple blowback design, while the other was operated with a locked-breech recoil system. Both prototypes utilized the new staggered magazine design (by designer Dieudonné Saive) to increase capacity without unduly increasing the pistol's grip size or magazine length.

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