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 move 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 flip 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
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 using 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 dunce hats.
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 blow back design makes this gun surprisingly forgiving enough to warrant a 4 out of 5 hats.
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.
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 hats. 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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Posted @ 9/6/2012 4:21 PM by Blasterbear
I agree 100%. I have sold lots of Hi Points and they are perfect that needs a home defense gun on a budget. I call it the AK-47 of the hand gun world. It’s simple, ugly, cheap, and totally reliable. The only thing I would add is to stay away from after market mags. The Hi Point line functions flawlessly with Hi Point mags, not so much with other peoples. I learned that with a 9mm carbine and it has been re-enforced with several handguns.
Posted @ 9/10/2012 5:21 PM by Wolffman
I recently got rid of my Hi-Point .380 yes it doesnt look pretty but it was fun to shoot at the range and if you ran out of ammo you could beat someone to death with it for sure. I ended up trading the pistol away for something else but for a cheap reliable gun for someone I would recommend it. There are some more after market clips out there I have seen online I hope you review there .45 carbine as well in the furture I always wanted one of them and they have tons of toys you can attach to it. Great Site.
Posted @ 10/1/2012 2:48 AM by Gun
Posted @ 4/11/2013 8:26 AM by JD
I had both the 40 and 45 flavor of this gun. Sold the 40, kept the 45, decided I only wanted to keep 1 caliber of ammo. They both functioned about the same, pretty reliable shooting FMJ, a bit picky shooting hollow points. Lots of failure to feed.
Other than that, can’t beat the price.
I’m the person described in the article…just started shooting, not sure what I wanted. This was a cheap way to get into it. Now I have the bug, and am looking at either a Glock or some kind of 1911. Thanks for getting me started on an expensive hobby, hipoint!
Posted @ 4/23/2013 11:35 PM by jimmy
Nice review. I just learned about Hi-Point. Trying to decide if I want to add a 9mm to my collection. A cheap gun might help. Or maybe get the 45 for the wife, since I have one already, and lower recoil might do the trick.
BTW, did the sonic screwdriver come in the box, 😉
Posted @ 8/12/2013 5:09 PM by Doug
I have a 9mm Hi-Point, owned it for just over a year. Perfect gun to get started in the hobby. This is a weapon the everyone in the family can use and enjoy. I, my wife, and my youngest son all shoot with the Hi-Point. We then bought a Taurus .38 Special for my wife as a conceal-carry weapon.
Posted @ 4/17/2014 12:04 AM by techrecycle4u
I’ve watched alot of video reviews on Youtube about Hi-Points. My conclusion is the gun isn’t as pretty as more expensive guns, but with easy tweaks, like polishing the feed ramp to remove the paint, Hi-Points are reliable, and you can depend on it firing when you pull the trigger. Also, I think giving a gun a low grade in this price range because you don’t get a box of ‘accessories’ with it is unfair. The gun does what it was designed to do, put rounds out accurately and dependably.
Posted @ 6/3/2014 9:09 PM by Rivegauche610
I just bought a C9 and two of their mags (one 8 rd and one 10 rd), cleaned it, and took it to our range a few days later. Encountered a bunch of FTFs. Was quite annoyed, too. Used the Remington white box 9mm ammo, 115 grains I believe. Looked up the problem on YouTube and discovered the painted feed ramp issue. I will try the fix on my own and take it to the gunsmith for the OK before shooting it again. Since it is my first pistol I can’t compare or contrast. It fits in my hand and goes bang when I pull the trigger….most of the time.
Posted @ 7/28/2014 8:01 PM by BiteMe
No offense to the gentleman writing this review, but I have a Hi-Point 45 and while yes, this is my first handgun, I set out to get it. People may think it is not a pretty weapon, but I would not trade mine for anything. My dad has a 1911 that is has all tricked out, but I have always been a no frills kind of girl and this gun fits great with my boots and my blue jeans.
I have shot about 2500 rounds out of my gun and it will shoot anything and everything I feed it. No feeding failures or any other issues. These guns are the greatest in my opinion. I am thinking I will get another one. Although, I kind of have the bug now too, but I can’t see going to anything other than a 45.
Thanks for the review.
Posted @ 11/30/2014 12:19 PM by wolf
Curious about the hi point, bought a c9 and a box of ammo, took it to the range shooting good groups at bulls eye @30′. Took it home disassembled and cleaned, polished the feed ramp, good shooter. It was shooting good right out of the box but I read about the feed ramp etc. I will keep it, now will look at 45 cal. to buy, would like green, but will settle for black.
Posted @ 12/17/2014 4:55 PM by moose
Bought the Hipoint 45 and now after 2 boxes of ammo with no problem I will call this weespon very reliable. To those who think it ugly I was able to buy new grips for under $20.00 which dress it up nicely. The grips come I n all dort of colors and fit precisely.. You will like the improvement
Posted @ 1/17/2015 5:41 AM by Mikeed
I just picked up my C9 and haven’t fired it yet. I loaded he magazine and let it lay to loosen the spring. People say it’s ugly but I kind of think its perfect. Let you know later how it fires.
Posted @ 1/29/2015 1:03 AM by undeRGRound
The handguns are pretty nice, all 100% reliable so far, but the Carbines are really Great!
I have one of each, except now they just introduced the 3895, or 380 carbine. Not sure if I want this one, more pricey ammo than 9mm and lots less power. But maybe to complete the set 😉
My 995TS was perfect all theway around, but my KelTec Sub2000 had a few FTL and a couple stovepipes in the first mag or 2… then it ran fine! The Sub2K is lighter and has a bigger magazine lineup, but is usually ~$100 more. Love them both, but the 4095 and 4595 share mags with the JCP and JHP respectively. Gotta love that!
Posted @ 1/29/2015 11:30 AM by eldarbeast
I purchased a Hi-Point Model C9 used along with 175 rounds of assorted 9mm ball ammo back in August 2011.
This pistol has performed very well with all brands of ammunition (except WWB) and handles all types of bullets (Ball, Flatnose, HP’s). I have put more than 5000 rounds through it since I bought it. I like this pistol so much that I bought a new JHP .45ACP.
I love my C9!
Posted @ 2/16/2015 10:33 PM by zenith
The highpoint line of firearms …are grrrrrrrreat !!!! Price , reliability , built like a tank , will eat any ammo you feed it … I’m buying the whole dam line of highpoints …
Posted @ 9/13/2015 7:08 AM by stan
use my gandermountain credit card, had 140 bucks to spend in rewards had no 40cal pistol so thought what the hell, for 31 dollars now have a 40 cal hi point have shot this gun the day I picked it up put 60 rounds thru it no problems. this item is well well worth the money.