This discussion inspired me to track down new grips for my old Hi-Power (the corner was broken off one of the originals) and take it out to the range yesterday for the first time in probably a decade. I may have posted about this pistol here years ago when I was trying to identify the markings, but I think it was on another forum. I picked it up at a pawn shop outside Fort Knox back in 2003 for somewhere around $350, I think - I didn't know much about them but just wanted a plain-Jane example of this classic pistol. It's definitely seen some use and has a few dings, pitting, etc, but I still enjoy having it around. Hopefully the photos work...
It has a 6-digit serial number that doesn't seem to fit in any listings I've found, so I'm guessing that it was originally part of a police or military production batch. The markings are very basic, more so than commercial examples I've seen, and it has an interesting candlestick (I think) stamping on the barrel and trigger guard:
It also has this small "T*" marking on the slide:
I believe this is an import marking? I recall reading when I originally bought the pistol that this was the authorized importer in Savannah, GA:
Simple Browning slide marking:
This is the one serious ding on the pistol - not sure how someone did this to the rear sights, but it looks like they dropped it perfectly on some kind of hard edge, or maybe banged into something while the pistol was holstered. It doesn't really affect my sight picture - it's just kind of unsightly:
I'm curious if anyone has ever seen these types of markings and can offer a rough guess as to where it was made and the timeframe. I've always figured it was a '60s / '70s era police pistol, but I haven't been able to find any information about it.
Now for the brief range report: I fired 50 rounds of Federal Champion 115 gr FMJ through it yesterday, using the original 13-round magazine that came with it. I can't report too much on its accuracy - I was just test firing it on a used target, and I've been struggling with the bad habit of overcompensating for recoil (pulling down and left) which I developed in the last couple years. I had two malfunctions that I'm thinking are extractor related. The first was a failure to extract the spent casing, and the slide jammed the next round in behind the empty casing. I was unable to drop the magazine and had to lock the slide back first. The second malfunction happened on the last round of the day: the slide locked back on the empty magazine, but the casing was left sitting loose on top of the follower - it had extracted but not ejected properly. I'm guessing this old pistol could use a new extractor and/or spring. One thing I'd forgotten about the Hi-Power is how small the ejection port is; it's a real contrast between this classic pistol and contemporary designs.
A few final thoughts:
The slide is really narrow compared to today's pistols - it feels strange, but kind of sleek, to have the fat double-stacked grip combined with narrow upper part of the frame and the slide. It's very comfortable to point and shoot, and I'm amazed by how smooth the trigger feels compared to the Glock 17 and USP Compact I shot prior to the Hi-Power yesterday. Maybe this is due to its age and the many rounds that probably went through it over the years (this is the only Hi-Power I have any experience with). The safety has to be replaced - it works but needs a lot of effort to manipulate it. I may go with the Browning ambidextrous version as Mark discussed above. I doubt I'll use this pistol very often, but as I said, I like having an example of this classic handgun in the collection.