Friday, April 21, 2017

Happy Belated Birthday to me.

It was that time of year again, so I treated myself.
Yep--another Browning Hi-Power...because you can never have too many of them.

But this one is a bit more interesting. It's a No. 2 Mk1 * made by the John Inglis Company of Toronto, Canada.

Serial number suggests October of 1944 manufacture, so there's a chance that maybe it saw a bit of the war. After that...who knows where it went or what it did. This ex-Canadian service pistol is mine now though, courtesy of another ex-Canadian, Aaron.

Back story to these guns is that when Belgium, home to Fabrique Nationale, fell to the Nazis in 1940, many FN employees fled to Britain, and they brought with them the designs for this then-new sidearm. This did not, however, stop the Germans from using the FN plant to make this pistol for their own troops, and they did, issuing some 300,000 of them as the Pistole 640. But the Allied Command turned the job of making these over to the John Inglis Company, a maker of boilers and heavy machinery, along with a contract for Bren guns. Production was held up for a little bit because FN was demanding royalties despite a World War in progress, but eventually it all got ironed out and Inglis knocked out a bunch of these. The first production run was the No. 1 and it had tangent sights and a slotted grip for a shoulder stock. Those were meant for China but many were diverted to Allied troops. If you find one like that today, look for a serial number that begins with the letters CH--that's a Chinese contract gun.

Mine is a simplified No. 2, meaning a design change. The slot for the stock was omitted and the rear tangent sight was replaced with a simple fixed rear. This was the main service pistol produced.

Over 100 countries used the Hi-Power at one time or another due to it's great design and reliability. The Canadians still use the Hi-Power today--Inglis guns, naturally, even though the last one was made in 1945--and there are photos of Canadian troopers in Afghanistan carrying these right now.

I'm thinking that this one will be a nice companion for my Long Branch Enfield #4 MK1...and maybe my FAL, too. Only things missing on this one are the lanyard ring and the Canadian military instruction manual. But I found a copy of the latter and as a service, I'm reprinting it here.

How to use the Hi-Power, eh?

1. Center sights on enemy. Aim center mass.
2. Depress trigger.
3. Profusely and sincerely apologize to enemy.
4. Go shoot another one.


  1. It's a nice pistol, and you can never have too many of them.

    My high school graduation present was a Browning Hi-Power.

    One heck of a nice present to yourself. Happy belated birthday. (any excuse is a good excuse)

  2. Anonymous3:28 PM

    Sweet pistol
    Happy Belated Birthday

  3. Happy belated birthday!

  4. This is the pistol where JMB corrected everything he goy wrong on the 1911. In a just world, there would be a million Hi-Power manufacturers, instead of a million 1911 manufacturers.

  5. Very nice!

    I need to break out my Mk.III and go have some fun.

  6. She's a beauty alright. Happy Belated Birthday and carry it in good health.

  7. While the 1911A1 was THE pistol in WW2 as far as I'm concerned still those on the sharp end of the stick, especially those alone like fighter pilots or Alamo Scouts, would have been well equipped if they had a Inglis! Very well equipped.

    I have a MK III myself. Excellent condition with case an papers. Just cost me $500 a few years ago. Yes I pack a Glock but still the HP, almost 80 years later, is still a good pick.

  8. You DOG!

    Good for you!
    One cannot have too many.



  9. Nice! Belated Happy Birthday!

  10. Hey happy birthday! :)

  11. I love me some BHP's, too. Have three of them - One of them was the first semi auto pistol I ever bought, back in the late 70's. It was a Belgian model, and I kept it stock for quite a while. A 'friend' used it for a bit, and when I got it back, it was pretty abused. Hence the person is no longer a friend. But I used the condition of it as an excuse to get it customized with ambi safety, Novak sights, stippling on front and back straps, trigger job, and polished feed ramp, besides a 'Black T' finish (this was about 1993 or so). Mike LaRocca in MA did the work on it. I also have one customized by Novak's shop in WV, pretty much the same work done as with the other one. The third one is a stock Mark III. They all just feel right in my relatively big paws, and I find they conceal pretty well in an IWB holster (Mitch Rosen ARG holds the gun pretty tight to the body for me). Every time I see one at a gun shop or gun show I am tempted to buy it, but unless it's a special one, I think three is enough for now. Although I have more than three 1911's, so maybe I ought to gain parity with the number of BHP's! Give your cur's a scratch for me, I am also quite fond of GSD's, and yours seem like good 'uns.

  12. A local rental range had one, although it spent most of it's life at the gunsmith, apparently. Evey time I went to shoot, I'd check on it, and it would be red tagged. Only once was it available, and it didn't last a box before it quit working. Don't remember why, now. I do recall them not being surprised.
    Felt really good while it ran, though. The clerks told me it was a very popular rental.

    A lemon from the start, or those working on it were clueless? No idea.

  13. Off topic but I don't think any one reading this blog will mind;
    From James Wesley, Rawles just added on
    Breaking News: The BATFE has reversed part of its notorious Open Letter on mis-use of arm braces on pistols, now making it clear that “incidental, sporadic, or situational ‘use’” of an arm brace wherein it contacts the shooter’s shoulder does NOT constitute a redesign and hence it would not make the owner subject to prosecution. Thankfully, common sense has prevailed. Hopefully President Trump will announce far more gun law reforms at the upcoming NRA meeting in Atlanta!