September 2009

Two Full-Size 9mms: Browning Hi-Power Loses to Bulky 90-Two

At first glance, we didn’t like the Beretta’s control layout, but our team eventually warmed to the polymer gun’s overall operation. The Hi-Power seems dated, and we’d pass on it.

In our ongoing examination of today’s 9mm handguns, we now take a look at two full-size autos. These are a recent entry from Beretta, the 90-Two, and one of the all-time classics, the Browning Hi-Power. While the latter is SA only and the other DA, both are big handguns, and the prospective gun buyer looking for a full-size nine might well want to consider comparing these two. We tested them with three types of ammunition, American Eagle 115-grain ball, Black Hills’ 147-grain ball, and the slightly hot Fiocchi 115-grain JHP. Here are our findings. Before we tried this handgun we changed its rather large grip for a slimmer one provided by Beretta ($21.50), following the excellent instructions in the owner’s manual. This reduced the largest grip circumference by about a quarter inch, which was significant and added greatly to the comfort of this large handgun. The magazine release could also be reversed. To call this a large handgun is an understatement. It was fully as large as a 1911, with more bulk above the hand as seen from the rear. Fully loaded it weighed nearly as much as a fully loaded 1911 (1.16 kg versus 1.19; 18 rounds versus 9.). The light rail in front of the trigger guard had a plastic cover that increased the bulky look. The grip angle was a good deal sharper than a 1911. Some would complain this gun points too low, but we didn’t find that to be a problem. Two 17-round magazines came with the gun in its padded hard case. Also in the case was the instruction manual and the one-year warranty statement. Here are our findings.

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