FN’s High Power is Much More Than Just a Remake

Having carried a 9mm High Power as my carry gun for many years before the invention of all the polymer guns, I jumped at the chance to do the review of the new FN High Power. When it arrived, I knew it was not just a remake of the legendary design, but a significant upgrade. Some of the differences were evident as soon as I opened the pistol case. The subtler changes revealed themselves as I handled the pistol on the range.

The most obvious change is that the new High Power looks a bit larger, and it is. Instead of the original 13 + 1 capacity, it now sports a 17-round magazine, so the grip is a bit longer. The added .35” doesn’t seem like much to add 4 rounds to the magazine. I tried the new magazine in my old High Power and unfortunately, it wouldn’t fit. The new 17-round magazine is a few thousands of an inch wider as well as longer.

Enlarged and flared ejection port

The slide also looked beefier to me so it warranted a little measuring. It was thicker, almost a tenth of an inch thicker on the rear of the slide, and about half that at the muzzle. I expected this to make the slide significantly heavier, but it didn’t due to machining on the underside of the slide and the large aggressive cocking serrations. It turned out it was only 1/8th of an ounce heavier.

Simple take down and field stripping

Specifications

Height              5.25”

Length             8”

Thickness         1.24”

Weight             40 Ounces

Caliber             9mm

Action              Single Action

Barrel               4.7” 1 in 10 twist

Capacity           17 + 1

Sights               Fixed High Profile

Safety               Ambidextrous

Slide Release    Ambidextrous

Finish               Black PVD (Flat Dark Earth or Stainless Steel ($1369)also available)

MSRP               $1269

The heft of the pistol is evident as soon as you pick it up. In a time of polymer pistols, the 2-pound weight of the new HP gives it a solid feel in your hand. It also makes the 9mm very easy to shoot. The weight tames the recoil and makes the pistol easy to keep on target. It was an absolute pleasure to shoot for a few hundred rounds at the range.

No more hammer bite

The best part of the entire FN HP package is that the updated grip design is outstanding. A huge issue with the old High Powers was that the hammer would pinch and bite the web of your hand when the slide cycled, and it hurt. I hate to question the venerable John Moses Browning design, but the beavertail area of the old guns was just a poor design. FN fixed all that and I never felt the first touch from the hammer or slide in hundreds of rounds of testing. Thank you, FN.

In addition to fixing the beaver tail FN also put a little checkering on the front and rear of the grip allowing a more secure hold while firing the pistol. One of the subtler touches is the generous undercut where the trigger guard meets the grip. That undercut allows a higher grip and more control on the gun.

Clean, classic lines, high undercut grip and ambidextrous controls

The new High Power also comes with fantastic ambidextrous safeties and slide releases that are large and easy to operate. It also comes with a new takedown lever system rather than removing the slide stop on the old styles. One welcome thing that is missing from the new design is the old magazine disconnect that would keep the pistol from firing without a magazine inserted.

Large, clean sight picture of the FN High Power

The high-profile sights are securely dovetailed into the slide and allow for windage adjustments but not elevation. The sights are bold and present a great sight picture for defensive/ practical shooting. The trigger breaks with a nice 4 lb 10 ounce press. It has a small amount of take up and a light trigger return. The good sights, solid weight and smooth trigger make the gun easy to shoot.

Range Time

Perfect reliability and function with everything from 100 to 147 grains

I ran the FN High Power through 100 rounds just to break it in a little and see how it functioned while it was new. I’ll cut straight to the chase: the FN High Power ran flawlessly from the first round to the last, not just the first 100 but through all the testing. It functioned with hollow points, flat tips, TMJ, ball ammo, everything I put in both of the 17-round magazines.

Hornady Critical Defense posted excellent groups

I did accuracy testing from a table at 15 yards with several types and manufacturers of ammunition. The good news is 4 different loads shot 5 round groups between 1.73“and 2”. Hornady Critical Defense shot the best 5 shot group, and Speer Lawman 147 TMJ the best 10 round group measuring 2.037”.

One constant besides the good groups, was that the High Power was hitting slightly low on the targets. Unfortunately, the sights have no provisions for elevation adjustment. The average with the ammunition I tested was about 1- 1.5 inches low at 15 yards. This was the only issue I found in the entire testing. A slightly shorter front sight would correct this.

10 rounds just a touch over 2 inches

After the recent shooting event at the Indiana shopping mall, the Dicken Drill has been making the rounds at the ranges, so I tried it with the FN High Power. The drill is 10 rounds in 15 seconds from 40 yards at a silhouette target. The passing score is 8 hits of the 10 rounds.

I shot the drill twice and got all 10 hits both times from the 40 yards in 12.3 and 12.4 seconds. Both drills had all the hits but the hits were low as expected from the previous group shooting.

Checkering everywhere you need it

Summary

So how does the FN High Power stack up against my original HP? FN did a great job on the new model. It is a fantastic upgrade to the old design that corrects several of the original design limitations. It functioned flawlessly, has great upgraded controls, increased magazine capacity, a much better-designed grip for control and comfort, and shot accurately with a wide variety of ammunition.

FN changed the battlefield in 1935 putting the high capacity High Power into service around the world, and the new model raises that design to modern standards. The icing on the cake is that it is made in the USA in Columbia SC.

FN High Power

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About the author: Jeff Cramblit is a world-class competitive shooter having won medals at both the 2012 IPSC World Shotgun Championship in Hungary and more recently the 2017 IPSC World Rifle Championship in Russia. He is passionate about shooting sports and the outdoors. He has followed that passion for over 30 years, hunting and competing in practical pistol, 3gun, precision rifle and sporting clays matches. Jeff is intimately familiar with the shooting industry – competitor, instructor, RO, range master, match director. Among his training credits include NRA Instructor, AR-15 armorer, FBI Rifle Instructor, and Officer Low Light Survival Instructor. As a sponsored shooter, Jeff has represented notable industry names such as: Benelli, 5.11 Tactical, Bushnell, Blackhawk, DoubleStar, and Hornady. He has been featured on several of Outdoor Channel’s Shooting Gallery episodes and on a Downrange TV series. Jeff’s current endeavors cover a broad spectrum and he can be found anywhere from local matches helping and encouraging new shooters as they develop their own love of the sport, to the dove field with his friends, a charity sporting clays shoot, backpack hunting public land in Montana, or the winners podium of a major championship.

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  • DENNY October 14, 2022, 9:43 pm

    I’m beginning to think the fn hipower is a figment of your imagination. I’ve had one on order for quite some time and haven’t seen or heard anything. When will you start shipping??
    Yeah, I probably have said this before, but still no answer!!!!

  • DENNY October 14, 2022, 9:42 pm

    I’m beginning to think the fn hipower is a figment of your imagination. I’ve had one on order for quite some time and haven’t seen or heard anything. When will you start shipping???

  • ej harbet August 26, 2022, 9:28 am

    I want a tangent sight bhp with a stock holster.
    that said I wouldn’t mind on of these new bhps. good steel frame and a single action trigger that could be made a little lighter and refined. I could work with it

  • Willie-O August 23, 2022, 10:45 am

    Most of the comments seem to stem from the new version being (“over”) priced. That my friends is relative to what it’s being compared to. I’ll gladly pay more for a (steel – my preference) pistol that’s made right here in the USA before I will a foreign made ANYTHING. I’ve got some of damn near all of ‘em – multiple Glocks, various 1911’s, a bunch of PRE-LOCK S&W wheel-guns…..a mix of aluminum, steel, fantastic plastic. There was (is) something I liked about all of them. I can’t speak to this “improved” version because I never owned the original, but certainly sounds like one I’d add to the line-up IF I was in the market for another 9. As for “too heavy” for EDC from someone who has carried religiously (always) for 35yrs, I call bs. It’s all a matter of get’n used to it and there are advantages to a heavier pistol.

  • David Boerboom August 23, 2022, 10:14 am

    That’s not how you write your retired name/rank, Top.

    It would be,

    1SG John Osborn, USA Retired

    That’s alright Top, your welcome.

    —Sound the Charge

    SSG David Boerboom, USA Retired

  • David August 23, 2022, 8:09 am

    Enjoy Jeff’s reviews. Having participated in 3-gun gun in NC & GA he shot, his skills shined. Bought BHP made in Belgium in ’69 for $91.50. Had rudimentary sights replaced with popular 3dots & slide top matte blackened along with thin checkered wood grips. Glad to see resurgence of this classic over just another plastic pistol. This said, admire FN & SA for their efforts. To my taste changes don’t enhance this fine pistol but newbes will be attracted.

  • Todd August 22, 2022, 5:03 pm

    3 full and some partial photos of the right side but not a single full photo of the left. Is there some hideous idustro-wart over there, or something?

    Too, one has to wonder at the – as far as a HI/HIGH POWER – is concerned, the almost Inglis-rough surface presentation.

    Still, once prices moderate from MSRP, it looks like a good buy for folk not concerned by – or, even ENJOYING – a bit of weight.

    I’m also curios as to the use of the goofy dot-based data thing aft of the serial number.

    As well, if they are going to sell a fairly rough looking service-grade pistol, a lanyard loop would have been nice. Though, that rounded heel will make carry better for some carry options.

  • Stanley Schleifer August 22, 2022, 4:32 pm

    This is not a High Power. It is just another one of the many ‘wonder nines’ now on sale. The only change they should have made is to leave out the magazine disconnect.
    I love High Powers, but I’ll pass on this one.

  • PilotBill August 22, 2022, 2:58 pm

    The SA-35 is a far better remake than FN’s. Still looks classy, addresses hammer bite, accepts original mags and grip panels, took care of the magazine disconnect, and costs less. Springfield knocked it out the park and this FN doesn’t remotely stack up to it IMO.

    • David Boerboom August 23, 2022, 10:04 am

      No, the icing on the cake would have been if it was actually made in Belgium.

      Just more crappiness, like the rest of the “new world”… Just like having females in a combat unit..in a CAV unit nonetheless… How you going to have a female supply sergeant that can’t even lift a 50?

      Just like modern day TV and movies…just asinine rhetoric, and unrealistic Dynamics/demographics…

      More crappiness.

      No don’t get me wrong, I would still accept this crappiness that someone gave it to me… Haha.

      But I’m with that other fella, it looks like the Springfield is a nicer remake. No it’s not made in belgium, but it’s not an FN though either.

  • Justin Tracy August 22, 2022, 1:27 pm

    I’m sure it’s a good shooting pistol but the change to the barrel lock-up, which wasn’t even mentioned in the article, ruins the aesthetics of the gun. It basically makes it a not-Hi Power. The finish doesn’t help either. And let’s face it, you get a gun like this because it’s cool and/or elegant. This gun is not that!

  • Kristopher Bernstein August 22, 2022, 11:49 am

    Factor in an extra (FN only…) magazine, tax, registration, a new Dawson Fibre Optic front site blade to correct the factory low printing POS..so you are up to about $1,500.00 or so…
    At 40oz. It’s too heavy for daily carry…sorry, in that price range their are way too many good options…
    and to call a 2.0″ five-shot-group anything other than mediocre is just bad reporting….
    CZ, Walther, or Canik can click all the boxes for my investment…

    • Mike in a Truck August 22, 2022, 12:22 pm

      Hahahaha! In an age when people jizz all over themselves for the privilege of buying the latest stupid phone for $1000.00 – now we are complaining about the cost of a genuine FN HP? Perspective lads.

  • Lon J Loren August 22, 2022, 11:19 am

    JMB. died before the High-power design was finalized.
    FN. completed the design.

  • James C Leone August 22, 2022, 9:38 am

    Personal preferences, I don’t think I would want one. I guess I am “Old School” and I love the original John Browning design. Sorry if this sounds like I am picking apart the author and his testing of the new FN High Power, I think the article was well written and presented, as I enjoyed reading it. Jeff keep testing and writing we need people like yourself who can produce interesting articles that are informative for us “gun guys”.

  • Charles Blaine August 22, 2022, 9:00 am

    To much $.

  • Jay Smith August 22, 2022, 8:33 am

    I agree, but you can get them cheaper. Wait a bit. I am clearing some less desirable pistols to make room ( money wise ) for one. Used to have one , loved it , but disliked the flaws they have fixed. Plus , it shot like a bobble head. But, i was young ( 21-ish) , maybe i had a less than perfect grip too ?

  • John Osborn August 22, 2022, 8:32 am

    You are the first fella that I have ever heard complain about a BHP? Having fired a BHP, countless times, second only to the million rounds that I fired through a 1911 and having had direct contact with the SAS, that used this weapon, without complaint, it just seems odd. It was to me, the most beautifully balanced handgun that I ever carried and carry it I did, in El Salvador.

    Respectfully,

    1SG(R) John Osborn

    US Army Special Forces (SFQC 3-83) 11B-S, 18B, 18F, 18Z TM SGT and 1SG / Delta Force (OTC-18) Sniper, Sniper ATL, Sniper TL, and unit Master Sniper.

  • Armed and Dangerous August 22, 2022, 8:31 am

    I agree with Steven. FN has always been overpriced. The five seven was selling for 12-13 hundred MSRP until Ruger came out with a five seven for several hundred less. Way too much for a plastic pistol.

  • N.H. Patriot August 22, 2022, 8:20 am

    Nice Practical Review… My question is How does the New Improved FN High Power Design stack up next to the Springfield Armory Design and the Sturm Ruger Design… Otherwise nice article. As another reader said, the price is Way Too High for Manufacturers list price.

  • Dan the man August 22, 2022, 7:56 am

    They might as well completely modernized it while they were at it with such features as putting a rail on it. I prefer the more svelte, old school version: it fits my hands better. I got the Girsan.

    • Jon August 25, 2022, 11:11 pm

      Well, I suppose the rail would have “ruined it” even more, in some peoples eyes, judging by the comments. However, it would’ve probably made me buy one…

  • Raymond Joiner August 22, 2022, 6:26 am

    I like it. FN did it right.

  • Steven August 22, 2022, 4:48 am

    Ridiculous price tag.

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