May 15, 2013

Inglis Hi-Power w/stock 9mm, $1650

Long ago someone put a shoulder stock on a handgun so he could do a better job of shooting it without becoming a skilled pistolero. The shoulder stock holds the gun steadier than the hands alone can hold it, thus some immediate handgunning success was possible. Some early examples were the shoulder-stocked Third Model Colt Dragoons and 1860 Army Colts of the Civil War era, and there were some earlier uses. We’ve seen examples of percussion firearms dating to the mid 1830s, and would bet a nickel there exist examples of shoulder-stocked flintlock pistols going back a hundred years earlier.

For this test report the Gun Tests staff looked at a gun from the early 20th century which saw plenty of wartime and civilian use. The magazine’s test gun was an Inglis Hi-Power w/Stock 9mm, $1650, supplied by Collectors Firearms in Houston (www.collectorsfirearms.com). The Browning was a Hi-Power made by Inglis in Canada ($1650 with stock, also Collectors’s counter price). It had a walnut stock and tangent sights with a narrow V-notch combined with a sharpened post front blade, which gave relatively poor sight pictures. The GT staff tested the 9mm Hi-Power with Black Hills 147-gr and Winchester BEB 115-gr ammunition. Here is what the GT staff found.


Not quite a battered old war relic, the Inglis-made Hi-Power was an interesting study, we thought. Its Parkerizing finish was slightly worn, but intact enough to make this an excellent example of a WWII-era Hi-Power. The stock added to its aura, and we thought the price was reasonable for the package.

This gun appeared to have been a wartime manufacture. Its exterior surface had never been finely polished, and the Parkerizing showed blemishes here and there. The edges were all free of finish, yet still relatively sharp. The grip panels were black checkered plastic. The left side of the grip had a lanyard ring at the bottom. The tangent sight’s "ladder" had mottled bluing or Parkerizing on it, making it hard to read. The magazine had a spring clip formed into its bottom to make it easier to get it apart for cleaning. The GT staff had to clean out some grit and grease before loading it, and then found its spring was too weak to permit reliable feeding. They used a commercial magazine for the tests.

The Canadian-made stock for the Hi-Power was carved out of lovely figured walnut. It was dated 1945 and marked "Made in Canada." It also had a spring clip and a short strap for securing it to a pistol belt. The gun fit it perfectly, and the lid kept the gun from rattling by means of a spring that pressed against the rear grip strap. The stock fit the gun loosely. The gun could shake a degree or two sideways, though it was held very securely to the stock.

Takedown was just like any Hi-Power, though the recoil spring was a good deal stiffer than one on a commercial Hi-Power on hand. The barrel was in very good condition on the inside, as was the entire gun, they thought. The fit of the slide to the receiver was on the loose side, excellent for military reliability but not so good if you want a tack driver. The same was true of the fit of the barrel to the slide. They were not expecting outstanding accuracy, nor were they disappointed.

On reassembling the Hi-Power the GT staff gathered up the loose-fitting but gorgeous stock and took it and the gun to the range. They first tried 147-gr Black Hills FMJ and got mediocre groups, with and without the stock. The impact point didn’t change much with the addition of the stock. The shots landed 4 inches low and about 2 inches to the right with the tangent sight at its lowest setting. The GT staff then tried the Winchester BEB 115-gr fodder and it did about as well, which is to say groups in the 3- to 4-inch range at 15 yards. The best group was 2 inches with the 147-gr ball, without the stock. The GT shooters then tried pressing the gun to the side to minimize the looseness of the stock and fired one group of 1.7 inches with the 115-gr ammo, but then the GT shooters fired several more a good deal larger. They concluded the stock was not helpful to trained shooters at combat ranges, but might be valuable for area fire at extended ranges. The tangent sight had markings to 500 yards.


The Hi-Power fit its lovely walnut stock perfectly. The wood stock was dated 1945. It all worked, all fit, and was a nice package. As the stamping shows, the Inglis company in Canada produced this Hi-Power.

The GT shooters have seen many Hi-Powers, so there was not a lot new here. But for any student of firearms, there’s a lot of history contained in it. As one example of the early design of the Hi-Power, its extractor came through from the back of the slide, much like that on the 1911 45 auto. Later designs place the extractor into a notch on the side of the slide. Its front sight is dovetailed in, and staked in place. You may have thought that was a recent innovation. The little things make these older guns fascinating.


Disassembly of the Hi-Power was simple and easy. The recoil spring was a stout one. We’d replace the magazine’s spring if we owned it.

The GT Team Said: They concluded the Inglis was an excellent example of a war-issue Hi-Power, and its stock made it that much more desirable. The magazine spring could be replaced easily, which would fix the feeding problem. A commercial magazine worked perfectly. Despite its non-target accuracy, the GT shooters gave this Hi-Power collector’s setup an A grade. The price was reasonable for one of these increasingly scarce, wood-stocked Hi-Powers. If you want a gun that will make smaller groups there are better choices, but if you must have one of the stocked wartime Hi-Powers, in all original military condition, with matching numbers, this one was a fine example for a reasonable price.

Comments (8)

Ahh the memories! I bought a '67 Belgian HP with rowl hammer (still bit me) and nice wood grips. Had it shipped to me in 'Nam, so I could get rid of clapped out 1911....and it fit fine in GI flap holster. My personal weapon, along with a Swedish K. BHP saved my butt more often than the K. Still in my safe; but my old eyes can no longer handle those little sights; but will never get rid of this gun!

Posted by: ordnance outsellers | May 17, 2013 12:04 PM    Report this comment

I have an Inglis High-Power repatriated through the Chinese Communists. I had the same problem with the magazine spring. The stock I acquired had the ears ground off and would not function. I had a new Argentine High-Power which repeatedly jammed until I used a different magazine and then performed flawlessly. There seems to be a pattern and a lesson there.

Posted by: KLJamisonLaw | May 16, 2013 11:51 AM    Report this comment

For further reading see the book: "The Inglis Diamond" by Clive.

In the book it has a passage that tells of a secret U.S. Govt. test with the Inglis High Power v/s the Colt Govt. 1911. At 35 yards the anemic slow moving .45acp bullet bounced off a G.I. Helmet will the 9mm penetrated it at an astonishing 125 yards. Now you know the real truth about the .45 v/s the 9mm. That is why the Europeans roundly rejected the .45acp. It was a tired old anemic dog of a round.

I personally never buy any High Powers made after 1989. The passive firing pin safety models have a weakened rear slide that often cracks and the ones made after 1994 are made of cheap brittle castings. Don't ever accidentally drop one that was made of castings.

Posted by: wild romanian | June 17, 2011 11:40 AM    Report this comment

I have more than one Browning High Powers in 9 MM and 40 Cal and one Fabrique Nationale 9 MM made for the Israeli Police. All are completely reliable. I have had the triggers worked to give 4.5 lb pull. The High Power is a classic beautiful design that feels like it belongs in your hand and gives a natural point of aim. The High Power and Cold 45 1911 are the two best pistols that John Browning designed. They have been time proven under all circumstances and are arguably the two best pistols ever made. I personally prefer the High Power.PM 17 June 2011

Posted by: Phillip M | June 16, 2011 11:34 PM    Report this comment

I have more than one Browning High Powers in 9 MM and 40 Cal and one Fabrique Nationale 9 MM made for the Israeli Police. All are completely reliable. I have had the triggers worked to give 4.5 lb pull. The High Power is a classic beautiful design that feels like it belongs in your hand and gives a natural point of aim. The High Power and Cold 45 1911 are the two best pistols that John Browning designed. They have been time proven under all circumstances and are arguably the two best pistols ever made. I personally prefer the High Power.PM 17 June 2011

Posted by: Phillip M | June 16, 2011 11:34 PM    Report this comment

I have three Browning High Powers, two in 9mm and one in 40 caliber, all were bought for less than $800 each and all are tack drivers. I had the magazine safety taken out of all three of them and now the triggers are great. A classic old collectable gun, high capacity, great single action trigger, exceptional accuracy, a little on the heavy side, and not my carry gun, but the Browning High Power can hold it's own with any new model pistol, and is better looking and feels better in the hand than most. Magazines can be had from Mec Gar.

Posted by: PH/CIB | June 16, 2011 2:53 PM    Report this comment

When I was assigned as a liaison to the Thai Border Patrol Police, I asked our guys where I could get weapons. I was referred to a nondescript building at one end of the RTAFB in Udorn and was given, on loan, an Inglis HP with Chinese Nationalist acceptance and ordnance marks of some sort. I was told th weapon had been given or sold to the ChiNats in the '50s. It worked and was a fine pistol, although it did not have its stock. I also had an M-3 Grease Gun in 9mm with no markings. I wasn't able to find out its origin -- American made for OSS or the like? Locally made? It took Sten magazines and functioned decently.

Both guns were fired in a brief "mad moment" when our point man thought he saw some bandits near a palm tree. The palm tree suffered pretty badly. There was no return fire and no evidence of it like shell casings. And no blood. The guns worked fine.

Posted by: SFBearCop | June 16, 2011 10:50 AM    Report this comment

The High Power is a top rate gun and that is the reason the prices are moving up so fast. I think the 45 Colt 1911's prices are giving us all an opportunity to look at other great pistols, like the HP. Shoulder stocks make the guns even more valuable.

Posted by: ajh2201 | June 16, 2011 10:34 AM    Report this comment

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