[Review] Hi-Point .45 ACP : Clunky But Runs

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.

There’s plenty of that in our video review:

But it’s also surprisingly not bad…

funny hi point
Hi-Point starter kit

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 JHP

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.

Vienna hi point

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.

145
at Sportsman's Guide

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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…

Can you disassemble it?

Yes, but it isn’t easy.

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.

chainsaw hi point

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.

Reliability

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.

good pic hi point

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.

Safety?

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.

manual safety hi point
Note the manual safety

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.

By The Numbers…

Reliability 5/5

Say what you want about the Hi-Point, it shoots every time you pull the trigger. Bad ammo, good ammo, doesn’t matter – this thing RUNS.

Accuracy 3/5

Loss of accuracy is mostly due to how poorly it fits in your hand and how top heavy it is. Plus, the trigger is literally worse than a Nerf gun’s. Not kidding, we tested them side by side and Nerf won every time.

better than a hi point
Better trigger than a Hi-Point

Ergonomics 1/5

Top heavy, totally unbalanced, thick grip, there really isn’t much in the way of ergonomics that was designed into this pistol.

Looks 1/5

The wraps are fun, you can get a Hi-Point in “100-Dolla” wrap, digital camo, and a couple of other options. But the wraps are just lipstick on a pig.

100 dollar hi-point
This is a real thing. Honest.

Customization 1/5

There is nothing you can do to improve this gun. But really, this isn’t designed for the DIY market.

Bang for the Buck/Value 3/5

Even with the shortcomings of the Hi-Point, it’s cheap and it works. If that is what you need from a pistol – then this is a good value. But if you can scrap together more than a pair of C-notes, you’re better off with almost any other handgun you can find. That said – it works.

Overall Rating 3/5

Parting Thoughts

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.

Want to see what we think is the Best Beginner Handgun?

Do you have a Hi-Point? Tell us about it in the comments!

45 Leave a Reply

  • Don

    I have a Hi-point in 45acp. I am a large man with large hands and the pistol fits me well. I sprayed the slide and grips with textured paint. The pistol is now 2 tone, looks OK, and I hit what I am shooting at. I agree she is not the prettiest girl at the dance, but she is faithfull.

    1 second ago
  • Chet Lockwood

    I have a diverse selection of firearms, three of them are Hi Points. A 4095TS Carbine, a 1095TS Carbine and a JCP 40 S&W, All reliable, all fun and didn’t cost an arm and a leg. They are among the funnest guns I own and YES, they are customizable to a degree. I have re-profiled the trigger on the two 40 S&W’s, as well as tweaked the springs and they have a decent trigger now. The 40 JCP started life as a poor black pistol, I bought the accessory Digital Desert Camo grips and sprayed the frame and slide in Krylon FDE. It’s capital P Purty. They may be inexpensive, but they are guaranteed smile makers, and YES, I would trust one with my life. Hi-Point was a curiosity project, I had to see for myself if they’re as bad as what the Haters say they are, I have been pleasantly surprised by what I found.

    1 week ago
  • Johnnie davis

    I have the Hipoint 45 40 9mm and 380, they are great guns for the price.

    1 week ago
  • vic crawford

    nobody likes to admit they lost a gun or had one stolen, which is why I bought my 45. I carry this in my pickup and motorcycle because it's a sturdy gun! and if I do lose it or if it is stolen I'm out 150.00 bucks instead of 800.00. It is an ugly gun but I've become pretty fond it. It has never failed me,

    1 month ago
  • matt

    Bought my Hi Point about a year ago, 45 cal. Love this gun, never has misfired. Yeah it's not the most attractive gun out there, but guarantee this gun won't let me down in a pinch.

    1 month ago
  • Brad Senne

    The wife and I shoot the Hi Point 380 and we both are very pleased in the recoil for shot after shot to control accurate hits. I will be purchasing the 45 next for my toy - Happy Shooting !!!

    2 months ago
  • Jamesanthony Wells

    Hi Point c9 is the 9mm the best pistol I've ever owned. For a low price almost zero upkeep costs. The extra heavy slide keeps recoil to a minimum, bad mags are a problem but not really. Broken parts are common but are usually due to a bad mags, and with a lifetime warranty is awesome if you can't fix it yourself. The only real problem is using too low or too high grain ammo, will shoot anything but loves round and flat tips. A little hard on cocking but you'll get used to it, it's good as a daily carry or just plinking targets on the weekend. One problem is that they aren't customizable. Would love a steel trigger and harder internals. All that said, it works when you need it to work. Cheap pistol means you can afford good ammo. It'll run like a Chevy.

    2 months ago
    • Justin Haydock

      Google search thingmeister. He has grips and a few other customizable options. Hi-Point jhp 45 owner!! Love the gun it has never failed me.

      1 month ago
  • Alaska Gun Dad

    I am shooting one of those in my local ranges 10 week long shooting league. I normally shoot Glocks, revolvers, 1911’s, PCC’s, or rim fire guns but for 10 weeks this spring it is all Hi-Point jhp 45. My entire competition setup cost me $380.00 not counting ammunition.

    2 months ago
  • Ronald Dunne

    Sounds like HiPo is getting it's act together... I bought a .40 @ 20 years ago and it malfed right out of the box.. took it back to the dealer and never looked back. I like the grip safety and the ability to mount a laser or light.. and AMERICAN-made is a big plus, all other things being equal. AND if, God forbid... one is involved in a self-defense issue, it wouldnt hurt so much if the authorities take it as evidence- and then forget to return it when the case is closed. Not that it should be an issue- just sayin, it has happened. And still under $200? That in itself is incredible. And a lifetime fix-or-replace policy? One wonders how they stay in business! Says a LOT about the confidence they have in their product... I've considered a 9mm carbine for some time, I think it would be a good idea to look into one now, with the improvements. Have been told on good authority that some local police find them useful "trunk guns"... which is a pretty good recommendation here in rural Colorado.

    2 months ago
    • Jamesanthony Wells

      Hold on bro, you do know that a police trunk gun is the one in a ziplock bag that you put in suspects and say I found his gun

      2 months ago
  • John

    I do have ... well quite a few Hi-points. I have bought all of them used, usually in the not working category. Most were minor or NTF fixes. Those I felt non-repairable, I sent back to Hi-point. They either fixed them or sent me a new gun.

    2 months ago
  • Nicholas J Hunt

    Its a heavy gun I'll agree on that! I own the .40 caliber carbine and pistol as well. Interchangeable magazines along with low price is a no brainer! Carbine has almost no kick. Unlike its big boned sibling of a sister that just throws her weight around! The pair was under $500 new and came with a red dot sight also. Plus made in America! I mean who does Big and Ugly better then U.S.A.? Nobody.....we got that on lock!

    3 months ago
  • Norman Copeland

    bought a 380 at a pawn shop for 100 bucks spent 35 dollars and got a C9 slide, barrel, and recoil spring about 5 minutes to swap calibers (yes they interchange) so what ammo is on sale and i'm banging.... put the glock springs in the mags and no misfeeds at all love it.... don't like the color paint it it will not care...

    3 months ago
  • Thomas Stephen Lewis

    Dear Gun Snob, I have this gun and I doubt the person I shoot will ever see this gun ... it DC oes what I bought it for and after working with the magazines, never had a jam ... at 25 ft can keep all rounds in a 6",pattern, center body mass ... I carry it daily in a M7 shoulder rig from my tanker days ... hides under a Wranger work shirt and no one has ever detected it ... carry loaded, 1 in chamber and magazine full with extra mag ... I know people with high dollar guns that can't hit squat ... seen one of these guns fire after being run over in mud by a truck ... best thing that you did not mention is the warranty ... they fix it for free or replace it ... who else does that ...

    3 months ago
  • James Withee

    I run and carry the Hi-Point 9mm. After taking care of the mag issues, the gun runs great. I like it better than the larger 40 or 45. Just got hands better. Give it a try and maybe be surprised.

    3 months ago
  • Maury Alston

    I love my 45! I don't care about looks or accessories. It goes bang every time! Don't give a shit about the gun snobs opinions. I am big so a big heavy gun is OK with me. Love it!

    3 months ago
  • James

    Sold them for a time when I worked at a Gun Store. After some increadable customer service and a "no holds barred" warranty I have always had one....look at it this way want to have fun at the range shoot it all day long don't bother cleaning it,toss it in the box until next time (repeat endlessly)

    3 months ago
  • Steve

    My first gun was a Whalter. My second gun is a Sig, my thrid is a Mossberg. My fourth gun was a Ruger. My fifth gun is a Hi-point. My sixth gun is a Hi-point. My seventh gun is a Merlin. My eighth gun and my newest is a Hi-point. What more can I say?

    3 months ago
  • Jon Burton

    Love mine! I have the 45 and a 380 and they are great guns. Going to purchase their 10 mm Carbine in the near future, it is one of the few low budget 10mm options out there and is the usual high quality you expect of them. Last but not least is the fact this is a great Ohio made product and I am proud to be a native Ohioan!!

    3 months ago
  • DJ Weston

    This is great! I can leave it in my cash box & no one will ever notice it!

    3 months ago
  • Steve

    Great guns. Had a C9 9MM and the carbine in .45 ACP. I didn't care much for the C9, but the carbine was awesome. I am debating picking up the .45 carbine again, now that there are reliable 20 round after market extended magazines. And the accessorization options are pretty cool. The purpose of the carbine for me is as a home defense weapon or maybe in the truck storage under the back seat. I am also debating the .45 pistol, because again a 20 round magazine of .45 whoop ass on an economical and reliable handgun makes a lot of sense. For about the same as i'd spend on a higher cost option, I can get a few 20 round magazines, a bunch of cheap practice ammo, and defense ammunition.

    4 months ago
  • Mike

    I have a hi point .45. It is ugly, heavy, & durable. I have put 400 rounds through it; a mixture of high quality ammo & reload rubbish. 3 misfires out of 400. I wish they had more accessories. Great weapon for the money!!!

    4 months ago
  • Scott N

    The C9 was my first pistol, and when I went to my CCW class, there was another guy there who had one, and guess who's guns didn't jam or malfunction? That's right, the Hi-Point guys. Later I bought the 45 and had fun with it too. Good starter gun, I only recently switched to the Ruger Security 9 for my carry piece. I did carry the 45 on occasion, just don't expect to be able to do any Barishnikov dancing while wearing it.

    4 months ago
  • Ron

    Thank you so much, I just purchase a Hi-point .45 and .380 after examining them at the store was thinking and surprised for the price these seem like decent pistols for (as you say) bed side protection. Thank you for your review and reasurance of my thoughts and purchase.

    6 months ago
  • Norm Youngblood

    I have a jhp 45 ACP, Colt and Springfield .45 ACP.I modified it with a 1911 clip and release and put wood grips on it. I did this because it was an ugly pistol. I've taken all three of my 45s to the range and the hi point is just as dependable as the others..goes bang everytime and I actually have a better group with it than the others probably because of the weight..it's a gun I don't want to carry but for the price it's an excellent home defense gun for someone on a budget. To make mine un_ugly I paid more for the mods than I did for the gun.

    7 months ago
  • Robert

    I agree. I think a lot of the disparaging comments are from those who are simply of the mindset that if it's not fluffy gun, it's no good. As a career shooter and ( soldier ), I'd rather be in a gunfight with a poorly ( non-tactically) trained guy with a "high end" weapon than a good gun-hand with a Hi-Point.

    10 months ago
  • Adam Johns

    I have the highpoint jhp 45 I have only put about 150 rounds through it with no problems I luv this gun and use it as my carry gun

    1 year ago
  • Ted Ottinger

    I’ve had two Hi-points, one in 380 and one in 9mm. Ugly and heavy but darn near indestructible. A Hinpoint will never be my main gun, but I’m planning to get one in 45, as a fun range shooter and truck gun.

    1 year ago
    • Matthew Collins

      I also wouldn't carry one unless something went "bad wrong" to quote an old instructor, but I'd certainly take it over nothing, and for a beater gun it's hard to top it for the price.

      1 year ago
  • David Dyal

    I bought a 45 pistol and shot 500 rounds through it. It got really dirty but kept on firing. No problems at all. I like the 45 over the 9. Less kick. I am a combat vet and just wanted something to defend life.and property with. Couldn't ask for better than this ugly, heavy, 9+1 shot weapon. I have shot many weapons because of military and federal law enforcement. This Hi-Point 45 is definitely my favorite. I plan on getting more of them. My girlfriend has a Hi-Point 9. The only thing I don't like about it is that the hand trip is not long enough for my hands. Other than that, I love it too. Highly recommend these heavy, bulky, ugly ass guns...lol

    1 year ago
  • Sterling Wrencher

    I'll buy it from sumbody right now for two hundred

    1 year ago
    • Jill

      Wen yu want one

      3 months ago
  • Mark Barnwell

    I purchased a hi point 45 acp, and thought to increase the looks of it, but wound up ruining the gun. I sent it back to Hi point, and just as they claim, no questions. in replacing the gun, I only had to pay shipping. That to me is standing by your product. I have better pistols, but I wanted a cheap 45, I believe you can't go wrong in owning one..

    1 year ago
  • dave

    After carrying a S&W 1911 for 10years in the military (pre 9mm) I shot 40 out of 40 every time, my point is I know how to shoot. for kicks I picked up a Hi-point 45 I will tell you one thing that thing is a tac driver the most accurate 45 I have ever fired. You are correct it's bad to break down.

    1 year ago
  • Travis Ramsey

    Definitely finicky with the aftermarket magazines. My buddy had a Hi Point 9mm and the cartridges were very loose in the mag so you had to kind of push up on the first one or it wouldn't feed. I only shot it about 5 times and had a failure to feed and a failure to eject.

    1 year ago
  • estel r rose

    love these hi/points my wife,, daughter, and two sons own one ,,they work all the time easy to clean/up..not pretty a bit on the plain side but who cares i dont..with a life gurantee as well...the price is reasonable shoot good to..

    2 years ago
  • Dave

    Well I was a sniper in the Marine corps and own a lot of weapons, I bought the C9 more less out of curiosity just to try it and I have fired around 5 boxes & not one misfire it is just like my Glock, Browning, Smith, Beretta, it fires every time it might not be as pretty but it doesn't matter when your ass is on the line. The weight is great for low recoil, the little lady likes that. If you are looking for something just to look at go spend 6 to 8 hundred, if you're look for something to protect your self try one.

    2 years ago
  • Al

    Glad to see a decent product get an objective if tongue-in-cheek review. It's not THAT ugly. If it goes bang when needed its good to go at that price.

    2 years ago
    • ehung

      Thanks Al!

      2 years ago
  • Lester

    The Hi-Point customers are not worried about accessories- it's a good heavy ugly gun for night stand or truck. Less likely to be keeper from law & if stolen it's not expensive.

    2 years ago
  • Andrew Miller

    I agree with the other guy that this is like the perfect gun for people who just wants a gun that will shoot when they need to shoot. Its like buying those cheap Korean cars, it may be ugly but they do the job and for some that is quite enough.

    2 years ago
  • Haney

    The highpoint 380 is the only gun my wife will even shoot! I bought her a taurus pt738 it mine now. The 380 has almost no recoil and is very accurate. You can purchase pink camouflage grips from highpoint for 17 dollars no shipping!

    3 years ago
    • ehung

      Nice, Cray! Haven't tried out the 380 version but it seems to be a blast.

      3 years ago
  • 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 ...

    4 years ago
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