...with Browning Hi Powers began for me in '71.
I shot my first one a few years earlier and FINALLY wound up with one of my very own courtesy of a gentleman who has long passed. He was a gunshop owner and man of the highest order named Wilford Pierce.
Mr. Pierce allowed trusted people (which included almost all his customers) to owe "on the book." Essentially, it was a layaway plan, but you got to take the gun with you that day! Most every peace officer in the '60's and '70's had purchased at least one firearm on the book.
I got the Hi Power by trading a 9mm Colt Combat Commander I'd bought from him and some "boot." I don't even have a clue how much it was; probably $20 or so.
You didn't have to take the next Hi Power in line. He let you look at ALL of them he might have in the shop.
I did and I picked what I thought was the best one.
It was a new '71 commercial model with adjustable sights.
They were the type where you loosen one screw on one side and tighten on the opposite to get horizontal changes. It never would hold zero. Eventually, I had Lou Williamson install S&W K-frame revolver sights and a new front sight, make an extended thumb safety, do a trigger job, and have the whole gun hard chromed. He fitted a Barsto bbl as well. (The early Hi Power Barsto's were longer than the standard bbl. I don't know why.)
PETA would put a bounty on this little thing if they had any idea how many critters it's been used on from bullfrogs to deer. This Hi Power is affectionately called "Number 1". (If interested, on my site under "Browning Hi Powers" there is a more detailed history of the little dumpling.)
Like sex, once is seldom enough, and I wound up with another Hi Power during the next year or two. It, too, received the attentions of Mr. Williamson.
Instead of S&W sights, this one has Bomars low-mounted. It had the same treatment as Number 1, but has a blue slide. This pistol also has a Barsto bbl fitted to it.Yes, it got named as well: "Number 2."
In the years to follow, I bought and swapped in and out of Hi Powers. I had a few customized, but have wound up with but two done by Mr. Williamson.
These days, I shoot and enjoy them, but am pretty satisfied with the Mk III or Standard as it comes from the box...with but a few little changes here or there.
This Mk III had Novak sights added as well as a C&S Type I ring hammer and sear. Spegel blk delrin stocks are on the gun. It rode in my duty holster for a number of years.
This Mk III has had a few little things done and it is quite satisfactory. The fixed factory sights are "on" and the hammer spur's been bobbed and it shoots very well with the factory bbl. Despite it's being nearly stock, it is a favorite.
...and there are others, but you get the idea.
The Hi Power in 9mm has been a consistently trustworthy performer for me for years. I like the feel; I like the looks; I like its handling qualities, and I even like the 9mm cartridge.
While current Hi Powers are capable of VERY good groups as they come from the factory, stellar trigger pulls are usually not
part of the package. Sometimes they are at least "useable", but on some, the trigger pull is tough as it can be....sort of reminds me of trying to break a weasle's neck by squeezing it with the trigger finger!
I suggest the following:
If you handle a Hi Power and LIKE it, put it down and run away. They can sort of sneak up on you and then you are sunk.
If you're serious about the pistol and accept that it will not have as clean a trigger pull as a tuned 1911 nor will the reset be as short, be prepared to pay for a trigger job. You may
have to bob the hammer or go to a C&S hammer and sear, but for me, it was well worth it.
Then be prepared for decades of enjoyable shooting with it.
I love 'em.