When I originally got the idea to test a Hi-Point pistol, I figured I would be able to make a bunch of clever jokes about the poor performance of a cheap and horribly ugly pistol. It would be an entertaining and a borderline “fluff” piece.
I’m going to let you know right off the bat that this gun was very surprising.
Read on to find out why…
The Hi-Point .45
First, a little bit about the Hi-Point line.
This pistol is designed around a particular concept: being an inexpensive and decent pistol.
Everything from the design to the materials is to keep costs down and they certainly did a good job of that.
The most expensive Hi-Point pistol has an MSRP of $199 and can be found in stores for around $150 and under. This doesn’t mean it’s some flimsy NERF gun, though. This gun is sturdy and even rated for +P ammunition (something that turns out to be rare among inexpensive guns).
Even though the slide is made of a zinc-like alloy, it is very heavy and strong enough that I feel like I could probably build a deck using this thing as a hammer.
Functionality wise, these guns use a blowback system.
This is rather unique in the handgun world.
The slide is very heavy and this holds the slide in place until the pressure of the expanding gases moves the slide back to cycle the next cartridge in. It’s a subtle difference from an inertia based system but it’s still notable because there’s another advantage to having that big, top-heavy slide: recoil. That heavy, ugly slide counters some of the muzzle flips from the shot.
Now, there’s a bit of an elephant in the gun range here.
I’ve mentioned it in passing a couple of times but it needs to be said in a bit more detail: this is an ugly freaking gun. This gun is so ugly that you’ll find yourself looking around at the range to make sure no one is watching before you take it out of its case.
You’ll find it difficult to shoot because you want to keep your eyes closed while shooting in order to keep from looking at it.
Again, this is because of a necessity for the blowback system as well as saving money for trying to improve the design. Ultimately, though, this isn’t a beauty contest.
Yes, it’s nice having a pretty gun.
When your life is on the line, it won’t matter how your gun looks but how it works.
So with that in mind, how does it work? Time for the tests…
Ease to Break Down 2.5/5
Pull the slide back and lock it in place with the safety, use a punch and a hammer to push out a pin, let the slide go all the way forward then slide it back a little bit and then lift.
First and foremost, I really, really dislike that you need tools to take this thing apart.
Thankfully, I had the right sized punch, gunsmith block, and a soft hammer from building my AR. I still had to beat on this thing like a lunatic to get the pin out. Just before the pin gave, I was seriously wondering if I had misread the instructions.
Nope, it’s just that crazy.
Let’s put it this way: if something goes wrong at the range, you’re done for the day unless you’re willing to carry a toolbox with you.
Because you need extra tools…and some brute force to break it down, the Hi-Point gets a 2.5 out of 5
Once the Herculean task of breaking it down is done, it’s pretty easy to clean. The barrel is fixed to the frame and the slide is pretty simple in design. There weren’t any crazy nooks and/or crannies to navigate.
Nothing really remarkable here in either direction, to be honest. 4 out of 5.
I’ve spoken at length of my tendencies to buy the cheapest junk ammo I can find.
I literally skip to that counter at gun shows that sells those super-discounted reloaded ammo packs.
This thing ate them all.
That’s kind of a benefit of this design, it’s pretty forgiving when it comes to what it eats. I have heard some reports of faulty magazines causing some issues but I can’t really blame the gun for that.
This thing eats (and looks) like a warthog and it gets a Hakuna Matata 5 out of 5. Somehow, that sounded funnier before I typed it out.
There’s a frame mounted safety that’s easy to manipulate with your thumb. There’s also a magazine disconnect that keeps it from being able to shoot unless the magazine is inserted.
It also has a last round hold open feature BUT it doesn’t have a slide release lever. When you’ve reloaded, you just pull the slide back a bit then let go. Many shooters (myself included) prefer this method to use the slide release anyway.
It also has a viewing port to see if the gun is loaded or not and a couple of safeties specifically for keeping people safe if the gun is dropped.
Beyond that, you don’t get much else.
There’s no safety on the trigger like other pistols so trigger discipline is a must. I’ve also noticed some grumbling about the lack of a firing pin block. If I ever planned on carrying this gun, that would be a big issue for me as well BUT with the sheer mass of this pistol, I don’t see many people carrying it around.
This is, for the most part, a nightstand gun.
Still, it’s something to keep in mind and you might not want to carry it with one in the tube.
3.5 out of 5 for safety.
Poor technique 4/5
Let me start out with a very interesting point: You can’t hold this gun like your 1911 or Glock or any other pistol I’ve found.
You have to modify your thumbs forward grip a bit.
If you hold your thumbs like you normally would, they’re going to be right up against the slide…which will sting a bit when you pull the trigger (and by “sting a bit” I mean “freaking hurt like hell”). Beyond that, limp wristing caused no failures and no slide bite. The trigger is a bit stiff but not overly gritty and the pull isn’t very long.
The weight and the blowback design makes this gun surprisingly forgiving enough to warrant a 4 out of 5 hats.
Starter kit 1/5
It comes with a cardboard box, a gun, a single magazine and some tools. Yeah, they’re keeping costs down everywhere.
Because there isn’t much else to say on that, the starter kit earns a 1 out of 5
There is an accessory rail on the gun for flashlights and lasers but they don’t work with anything but Hi-Point’s own lasers and flashlights. ProMag makes some magazines for it. Other than that, the toy selection is a bit…sparse.
Let’s face it: this isn’t a gun you’re going to fiddle with. 1 out of 5 hats.
Final Word 3/5
So there you go. The gun itself is surprisingly good for its price.
I’ve owned other $150 guns and they have been junk to the highest degree. They were all fragile and completely unreliable. These, however, are the exception to the rule.
Now, I’m not going to load up this Hi-Point and head off to my local IDPA competition.
Let’s think for a moment about who this gun would be best for. Some person just got their apartment broken into. They feel unsafe there and being on a budget, can’t afford a Glock or the likes. They have no intention of turning shooting into a hobby or spending hours at a range perfecting their technique. They’re only going to go to a range once, if at all.
They’re not going to carry it as a concealed weapon because there is no way in hell someone is going to carry this thing in their IWB holster. They just want something that they can load, put in their nightstand and make it go “boom” if the need arises.
This is the firearm equivalent of a teddy bear or security blanket. It makes you feel better at night. The fact that, if you do shoot it, it’s a good and very shootable gun is a bonus.
In the end, the price of Hi-Points mean that they’re a lot of people’s first guns. Some people stick with their one, cheap pistol while others get the bug and will expand their collection later. Either way, if you feel you absolutely need a gun but can’t justify the price of a Taurus or Glock, then this isn’t a bad choice by any stretch.
Final Score for the Hi-Point is 3 out of 5. That lack of accessories and such had the biggest impact. If you don’t care about that then go for it. You could do better, but you could also do way worse.
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