Preview – Hi-Point C9
Photography by Henry Z. DeKuyper
You Want Cheap? We Got Cheap.
I just checked the text of the Second Amendment. Sure enough, there’s nothing about duck hunting, nor is there anything about $5,000 1911s. The Second Amendment is a fundamental human right. So, what if you need a handgun for personal or home defense, but your current finances won’t stretch to more than a couple of C notes? Should 2A rights only extend to those with fat bank accounts or who are willing to go into debt if they need a weapon RFN? Is there a gun that won’t break the bank, yet will still offer reasonable accuracy and reliability?
Hi-Point Firearms has been making low-budget handguns and carbines for almost two decades now, so we decided to see if their C9 pistol would fit the bill for an affordable house gun that could be relied on to defend the hearth from nefarious individuals.
Almost every other 9mm handgun on the market today utilizes a locked breech, where the barrel and slide are mechanically joined together at the moment of firing, creating a wall of steel around the cartridge. Once the bullet has left the barrel and pressures have dropped to safe levels, the two components unlock and start the cycle of ejection and reloading. Instead of locking the slide to the barrel, the Hi-Point’s breechface is held against the cartridge head using nothing but spring pressure, relying mainly on inertia to keep the breech closed long enough for the bullet to head downrange. Normally seen in older sub-machinegun designs, this blowback system requires a comparatively heavy slide in order to provide enough resistance to the force generated by a 9mm Luger round.
You immediately notice all of this slide weight when first picking up the pistol. Due to the combination of a heavy slide and polymer frame, it feels much like a brick balanced on top of a Styrofoam cup — making you wonder if the gun is going to flip upside down at any moment. The grip panels are contoured to fit the hand and surprisingly comfortable, but it lack any checkering or stippling to improve traction.
There’s a low-profile, manual safety catch located on the left side, operable with the thumb if you’re a right-handed shooter. But if you’re a lefty, you’re pretty much SOL if you need to get to it in a hurry. And you’ll need to use the manual safety if you plan on running the pistol with a round in the chamber. Although it’s striker-fired, unlike a Glock or M&P, there’s no passive safety built into the trigger itself, and it lacks a grip safety found on, say, an XDm. The trigger itself is weirdly inconsistent, requiring a lot of force to get it moving over a comparatively long arc, but once it’s in motion it breaks with a mushy feel as the striker slips off the sear. Reset is indistinct and occurs about halfway through the stroke — if you’re lucky enough to find it, rejoice! You’ve just cut the original 10-pound trigger pull roughly in half.
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