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Between these two, which is better engineered?

  • 1911

    Votes: 8 19.0%
  • Hi-power

    Votes: 13 31.0%
  • Equally genius designs by JMB

    Votes: 17 40.5%
  • Moot; surpassed by HK, Sig, Glock, S&W, Ruger, Walther, et al....

    Votes: 4 9.5%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I did a couple searches, but didn't find a comparative thread between the Hi-Power and the 1911 designs / performance. I was hoping to generate a friendly debate about the virtues of these two platforms. By way of background, I've had BHP for 20+ years, but am new to 1911's. Ireally don't have a dog in this fight, just trying to use the Socratic method to increase my learnin'. So, school me.



I am struck with how many people love the 1911, and in many ways it has become the benchmark by which other combat pistol are measured. However, I think the P-35 (BHP) is better designed. Here's why:

1. Fewer parts -- fewer parts means that tolerance stacking is minimized, and the gun is more likely to perform better out of the box
2. Fewer moving parts -- no barrel bushing, no barrel link, no recoil spring cap. Moving parts wear and break.
3. Easier take down -- no recoil spring cap to keep from flying across the room. The safety on the BHP engages a notch that enables the slide release to be removed and the slide is free of the frame in one smooth move. The BHP is easier to take down than a Glock (for me).
4. External extractor -- Later model BHP's were made with external extractors. I think the external extractor is more reliable. I might take some heat for this statement and would like to hear contrary opinions.
5. Erogonomics -- tough call here, I like the 1911 trigger better, but the BHP points better than any pistol I've held, second only to the Colt SAA. This is largely personal preference, but is a design factor.
6. Ammo -- here's where this thread will fall apart. I prefer the .45 ACP, but with a few extra rounds in a smaller package, I give the nod to the BHP.
7. (?) Feed ramp -- I like the feed ramp on the 1911 a little better than the set up on the BHP, but I've never had a problem with my BHP. The feed ramp on the 1911 needs to be aligned properly, again making it subject to tolerance stacking issues. Nod, my opinion obviously, to the BHP.

I've always liked the 1911, and am really enjoying owning one. Maybe with more experience I'd choose the 1911, but, for overall elegance of engineering, I have to pick the Hi-Power. The 1911 may be a better combat pistol, but the number of LE and Military units that have used, and still use the BHP would seem to be telling.

Tell me why I'm wrong. :twak:
 

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Lots of votes, but no comments. I am not very familiar with the BHP, but what I do know is that I much prefer the look of the 1911. I think anything JMB built is genius so I chose both, figuring I'd error on the side of trusting the greatest gun maker ever.
 

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Perhaps .45 ACP is for men with equipment envy.
You are probably right, my favorite caliber is the .44 magnum in my Colt Anaconda with an eight inch barrel or my Ruger Super Blackhawk with a ten and one-half inch barrel. I was issued and carried both 1911s and 9mm Berettas during my twenty-two years in the military. I own seven handguns in .45 ACP and zero in 9mm.
 

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Hah, the fact that the Hi-Power doesn't come in .45 ACP is why you're wrong!

Only kidding.

The Hi-Power does get the nod for a more advanced design to my admittedly less than scholarly mind however the 1911's design works perfectly well for the purpose of flinging projectiles toward targets. The 1911 would seem to have more potential for breakage with it's barrel link but in actual use that doesn't seem to manifest itself. The average 1911 possesses a better trigger than the average Hi-Power though steps may be taken to rectify the difference. Removal of the magazine disconnect for a start.

I have the notion that the 1911 design is actually a little more robust for holding up to heavy loadings than is the Hi-Power and would stand more abusive loads over a longer period of time. Of course the .45 ACP operates at significantly lower pressures than the cartridges for which the Hi-Power is chambered. One reads of Hi-Powers barrels developing cracks around the locking cams. Locking lug set-back is also supposed to have bedeviled the Hi-Power when used with high-intensity ammunition ( read that +P, +P+, and NATO). Slides are said to have developed cracks at the rear of the ejection port and even the frame rails would develop cracks.

To be fair, I once traded into a 1911 military mongrel, likely made up of parts in someone's garage, consisting of an Ithaca 1911A1 frame with a World War I era Colt 1911 slide on it. Not long after acquiring this pistol I noticed a crack at the left rear of the ejection port that was beginning to travel down the top of the slide. Sold it at a whipping of a loss. I'd shot it a bit and don't know if it was there before I began shooting it or not.

I've gone to great lengths to abuse a World War I Colt 1911 in my younger days, experimenting with heavy handloads in the gun over several years time with no obvious issues developing. Only care taken with the pistol was to insure that a proper standard weight recoil spring was kept in it and that it was properly cleaned and lubricated. I know better now and have retired the old thing.

I have a friend in West Yorkshire, England who was a member of the Royal Marines in the mid-1970s to early 1980s. He said the Hi-Powers they were issued were pretty well clapped-out. He said they all still revered the pistol and were delighted with a good one.

The Hi-Power's minor reputation for parts breakage may be from changes in NATO spec. that amounted to more powerful ammunition, coupled with well-worn pistols in military inventories. Also, the advent of the 9mm +P and +P+ ammunition and it's introduction to commercial Hi-Powers may have contributed to more parts breakage. The Hi-Power has undergone some various minor internal revisions since it's introduction in 1935, the external extractor being a significant one. Perhaps if the current Hi-Power is produced of modern steel alloys and properly heat treated it will give a reasonable service life.

I know that for me personally, the Hi-Power still reigns supreme over all other 9mm pistols and is the 9mm that I like the very best. I intend to get a .40 S&W Hi-Power one of these days just to play with and carry some. I think I'd enjoy the .40 best in the Hi-Power.

Problem is I admire the .45 ACP best of all for use in automatics and, since it doesn't come in the Hi-Power, it's the Colt 1911 that's King of them all in my mind.

The only Hi-Power I have. This early Post-War FN Hi-Power has only seen a dab of +P ammunition, test-fired over the chronograph screens. I don't make a habit of shooting it with heavy loads.


This is the first 1911 pistol I ever acquired. Four currently live here though I'm always open to the idea of another.
 

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Why didn't anyone make a .45 ACP P-35? Or did someone?
The NAACO Brigadier was a Hi-Power clone (with slide mounted safety) chambered in .45 Winchester Magnum. I can't think of one right now chambered strictly for the .45acp.

 

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Revisiting this, OD*. What a cannon that is! Considering the size of the cartridge and the depth of the grip frame, the topside of the pistol is gargantuan.

NAACO Brigadier - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I had almost forgotten about the Brigadier. Seems like I read an article on the Brigadier in an old gun magazine from a batch of late 1950s to early 1970s gun magazines I got from a friend. Still have the magazines but have no clue how to start looking for the article. The Brigadier may have had a mention in articles back when the .45 Winchester Magnum and the Wildey pistol was introduced. I never realized before that the slide was made of aluminum in order to save weight (if Wikipedia is to be believed). That's a bit bizarre. I wouldn't much be interested.
 
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I have to cast my lot with the Hi-Power. It's as close to perfect as I have ever seen in one gun. To me, if you made the grip about 1/4" longer/taller and added a beavertail to it like the 1911 (to eliminate hammer bite) you'd have pretty much the perfect (steel) gun.
 

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I like 1911s.
I like Hi-Powers.
I like Tokarevs.
I like my FEG GKK-45, which looks pretty much like a Hi-Power, except it's a .45.

Matter of fact, I like pistols in general...
 

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Hammer bite and lack of .45 is the only thing I see wrong with the BHP.
A well built 1911 is still a thing of beauty.

Love them both.
 

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We are an island of .45 in a vast sea of 9mm. That is why The P-35 AKA Hi Power was never chambered for the .45.
Altho in my book the CZ-75 is just as good a gun as a P-35. The CZ incorporated the best of the P-35 and the Sig P-210 in it"s design.

I have had one Hi Power and several 1911's over the years. I never have liked the feel of the 1911 grip and I didn't like the magazine
lock in the Hi Power. That is why I carry a CZ-75 pre B model.

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Although I hold both of Browning's creations in high regard, I must admit a little soft spot exists in me for the Hi-Power. At one point, before the transition to auto-loaders began, the FBI issued these to their Hostage Rescue Teams. I believe I first saw one used in law enforcement in my area around the late 1980's. I also remember seeing it often in the Middle East, generally in the form of its many clones. Not long after I had the opportunity to shoot one and really took a liking to it. It has a certain eliquence and feel that are unique to its specific design, in my own opinion.
 

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I prefer five inch government size 1911s for concealed carry. I own more revolvers than pistols. If I could only keep one of my handguns, it would be my Glock G20 SF 10mm.
 
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