Nighthawk takes the Hi-Power the 1911 Clone route... - Gun Hub
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Old 10-07-2016, 07:16 PM   #1
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Nighthawk takes the Hi-Power the 1911 Clone route...

I was looking over one of those NRA "Buy raffle tickets for guns!" ads in the mail, and what should grab my eye but a Nighthawk Custom version of the venerable Browning Hi-Power.

Being a Hi-Power enthusiast, I have often wondered if someone would clone it at a high level, similar to the 1911 clone movement which brought the 1911 to a new level over the past 30 or so years. In a similar fashion to the Computer cloners who made their own versions of and eventually supplanted the IBM personal computer in the 1980s and 1990s, the 1911 "cloners" bumped up the handgun with numerous variants at numerous price points and targeted to different markets of handgun enthusiasts. From AMT to Detonics to Kimber to Les Baer, and many others across the board, they all helped elevate the 1911 to new levels and continue the lineage of the venerable Colt .45 automatic.

It looks like Nighthawk Custom is, dare I say, taking a shot at it in their own way. With the Browning Hi-Power. Something I heartily endorse. I already own a Browning Hi-Power, but I am probably going to send in that raffle ticket. If this pistol takes root out there, there may be other versions, and other manufacturers, who get on board with Hi-Power variants of their own.

If another famous Browning-designed handgun is any indication, there is massive potential out there for the Hi-Power.

Browning Hi Power - Pistols
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Old 10-08-2016, 07:22 AM   #2
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It's the prettiest Hi-Power I've ever seen...I'll give them that.
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Old 10-08-2016, 05:00 PM   #3
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Just from appearance, they screwed up the sights. On my HP MkIII, you look through the sights, not over them. 0.1" front sight, rear sight with a 0.145" notch. When I first got it, I decided right away that when I got the money, those sights were going to change. The ones on the HP stayed the same, I put the slide of my 1911s and other autos in the milling machine and hogged out the rear sights. Made a world of difference.
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Old 04-27-2018, 10:10 PM   #4
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For a quick update: There is a Hi-Power Owners' Facebook page out there, and I thought I would post a link to this thread, which may be of interest to Gunhubbers.

By the way, with the current "9mm 1911 carry gun" thing going strong, there has to be a market for similarly configured full size, officers' and commander sized Hi-Powers. The double stack magazine would be an advantage over most 1911 type handguns chambered in 9mm. There is a natural potential there to work .40 caliber & .357 Sig guns up on common frames, if one desired.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/5507...eply&ref=notif
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Old 04-28-2018, 04:22 AM   #5
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Anyone hiding a Devel Browning HP mini deep in the double secure gun safe? It could make the basis for a heck of a clone.

Geoff
Who notes if S&W can copy Devel....
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Old 04-28-2018, 08:52 AM   #6
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I knew I'd seen pics of a chopped P35, but couldn't remember who did it. Was thinking it was Swenson but maybe it was Devel.
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Old 04-28-2018, 09:29 AM   #7
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Nice gun, but $3100.00. Ouch. As I recall they brought some compact FM Hi Powers out of Argentina a few years back. I do like Hi Powers.
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Old 04-28-2018, 09:38 AM   #8
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As far as I can tell it's a customization, not a clone. Custom Hi-Powers have been around for a long time.
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Old 04-28-2018, 02:55 PM   #9
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SpecialEd,

TRUE.

yours, sw
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Old 04-30-2018, 03:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snake45 View Post
I knew I'd seen pics of a chopped P35, but couldn't remember who did it. Was thinking it was Swenson but maybe it was Devel.
There were a few of the old masters who did chopped Hi Powers, but the best of them were by Austin Behlert







Always wondered why Charlie Kelsey never did any Hi Power's (or if he did, I've never seen one), because he was absolutely amazing, and you know that would have been the coolest Hi Power of all. IMO Charlie Kelsey was the absolute best of the best of the best. My all time favorite of the old school master pistolsmith's is Jim Hoag (recently deceased), but I will say that Charlie Kelsey had more talent than any of the old masters. Kelsey was better than Hoag, better than Swenson, Heinie, Wilson; etc.

But when it comes to old school Hi Powers, Austin Behlert was a straight up bad-ass!
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Old 04-30-2018, 04:28 PM   #11
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When doing a custom Hi Power, there are two things that require a nuanced touch, and IMO they kinda blew it on both. First is the safety...

They didn't blow it, they got it mostly right, but for the price paid, they should have done much better. The FN ambi-safety for the Hi Power is an abomination and even a poor attempt for an '80's investment cast effort. The safety levers are investment cast, and then crimped onto the post that runs between the two.

For a single action, it's best to rest your thumb on top of the safety. This both gets your hand in the right position, and ensures that during shooting you never inadvertently bump the safety on. The problem is, when resting your thumb on top, the "hump" at the rear of the safety digs into the base of your thumb, and kinda hurts after more than a single magazine.

So Nighthawk does what most do, they rounded off the back of the safety lever, then welded it back to the stud; which completely removes all the pain associated with shooting with thumb resting on the safety. But their mistake (IMO) is that they stopped right there. They did nothing to address what is otherwise a very marginal safety lever. Now many will weld a paddle to the lever, clean it all up and end up with a very nice safety.

Now many rather over-due the paddle, such as Ted Yost.

However, Yost gets the rest of the safety pretty much perfect.

A near perfect paddle by Garthwaite


And sadly, he fails to get the rest of the safety right. The "hump" that digs into the base of your thumb is sill mostly there.

The second thing is just purely an aesthetic and COMPLETELY subjective. It's how they do their beavertail. First of all, I have never been bit by a Hi Power and as such, I really dislike beavertails. But if you're going to do a beavertail, which is a LOT of work to do on a Hi Power, you might as well go all in and do one as nice as possible. Their work is first rate, but aesthetically in my book, it leaves much to be desired.

Just my unqualified criticism of what I'm sure is a first rate pistol.
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Old 04-30-2018, 05:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GunGeek View Post
There were a few of the old masters who did chopped Hi Powers, but the best of them were by Austin Behlert







Always wondered why Charlie Kelsey never did any Hi Power's (or if he did, I've never seen one), because he was absolutely amazing, and you know that would have been the coolest Hi Power of all. IMO Charlie Kelsey was the absolute best of the best of the best. My all time favorite of the old school master pistolsmith's is Jim Hoag (recently deceased), but I will say that Charlie Kelsey had more talent than any of the old masters. Kelsey was better than Hoag, better than Swenson, Heinie, Wilson; etc.

But when it comes to old school Hi Powers, Austin Behlert was a straight up bad-ass!
THAT'S the name I was trying to think of! I knew Armand Swenson didn't sound right, but that was as close as I could get. Thanks!
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Old 04-30-2018, 05:58 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GunGeek View Post
When doing a custom Hi Power, there are two things that require a nuanced touch, and IMO they kinda blew it on both. First is the safety...

They didn't blow it, they got it mostly right, but for the price paid, they should have done much better. The FN ambi-safety for the Hi Power is an abomination and even a poor attempt for an '80's investment cast effort. The safety levers are investment cast, and then crimped onto the post that runs between the two.

For a single action, it's best to rest your thumb on top of the safety. This both gets your hand in the right position, and ensures that during shooting you never inadvertently bump the safety on. The problem is, when resting your thumb on top, the "hump" at the rear of the safety digs into the base of your thumb, and kinda hurts after more than a single magazine.

So Nighthawk does what most do, they rounded off the back of the safety lever, then welded it back to the stud; which completely removes all the pain associated with shooting with thumb resting on the safety. But their mistake (IMO) is that they stopped right there. They did nothing to address what is otherwise a very marginal safety lever. Now many will weld a paddle to the lever, clean it all up and end up with a very nice safety.

Now many rather over-due the paddle, such as Ted Yost.

However, Yost gets the rest of the safety pretty much perfect.

A near perfect paddle by Garthwaite


And sadly, he fails to get the rest of the safety right. The "hump" that digs into the base of your thumb is sill mostly there.

The second thing is just purely an aesthetic and COMPLETELY subjective. It's how they do their beavertail. First of all, I have never been bit by a Hi Power and as such, I really dislike beavertails. But if you're going to do a beavertail, which is a LOT of work to do on a Hi Power, you might as well go all in and do one as nice as possible. Their work is first rate, but aesthetically in my book, it leaves much to be desired.

Just my unqualified criticism of what I'm sure is a first rate pistol.
Nicely done!

You're 100% right about the safety.

As to the tang, the tang itself doesn't hurt my hand at all, but a round hammer will pinch my hand between hammer and tang, which hurts a lot. I had to put a spur hammer on mine, which solves the problem completely without an unsightly duck-butt, but it's not as pretty to me as the original round hammer.

Ah shucks oh well. Life is full of little tradeoffs.
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Old 05-02-2018, 06:04 AM   #14
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The Argentine HPs were very interesting, but they were imported for about a week, the last one I saw was the factory set with the long and short slides, the bid was at $3K and rising.

Geoff
Who really doesn't like the size and shape of the HPs grip, I traded mine for a .45 which I still have.
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Old 05-08-2018, 02:32 PM   #15
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The Argie HPs were pretty common back in the '90s, as surplused pistols were shipped in. I have one, and it's a good gun. There have been a number of copies made over the decades, and as the Hi-Power Legend grows through unavailability and nostalgia, I expect clones will come onto the market.
Oddly, the only other variant I have any real interest in is the WWII-era Inglis.
For nostalgia:
Hi Powers and Handguns
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Old 05-08-2018, 03:08 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeptic49 View Post
Geoff
Who really doesn't like the size and shape of the HPs grip.
I suppose next I'll run across someone who doesn't like spaghetti, or pizza.
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Old 05-08-2018, 03:26 PM   #17
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Geoff is the first person I've come across who didn't like the HP grip, but hands are infinitely, subtly unique. The HP (and CZ75) grips are about the most comfortable I've ever handled--and that includes the 1911!
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Old 05-08-2018, 04:27 PM   #18
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The ergonomics of the BHP are probably its most praised feature, but you can't please everyone.
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Old 05-08-2018, 05:14 PM   #19
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The two guns EVERYONE seems to like the feel of are the P35 and the round-butt Smith K, but I guess that's no longer true.
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Old 05-08-2018, 05:21 PM   #20
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Even a tiny bit makes a difference. My PT92 has Hogues and my more recent PT92C has factory wooden panels. Though the wood is just a bit thicker, the difference is really noticeable. I still shoot the compact just fine, but I can tell the difference.
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