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. 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.
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 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.
Our 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.