Belgian-based FN Herstal this week announced its all-new 9mm NATO handgun pitched to defense and security markets: the FN HiPer.

A clear play on words from the old Browning/FN Hi-Power, which was the most prolific handgun in the Free World for most of the last half of the 20th Century, the new HiPer was fully designed, developed, and manufactured in Belgium. This is a change from the Hi-Power, which was assembled in its final years in Portugal, and from the newly-announced FN High Power which is made in South Carolina by FN America. 

Basic specs of the polymer-framed striker-fired pistol are a 3.94-inch barrel with a 7.08-inch overall length and a 15+1 magazine capacity. Weight is 25.75 ounces, unloaded. This puts it about the size of a Glock 19, S&W M&P M2.0 Compact, or CZ P-10 C. For that matter, these specs read almost identical to the FN 509 Midsize.

Among the more advanced facets of the HiPer are what FNH says is a straighter, more optimized grip angle, which helps with the controllability of the pistol's low bore axis.

The surface controls are also curious, featuring an ambidextrous slide catch located where a frame-mounted safety normally is, thus, according to FNH "prevents any accidental activation by the user," and a rotary magazine catch rather than a push-button, paddle, or heel release. FNH contends the new-style release allows the user to "reliably change magazines in seconds without shifting grip while staying aligned on the target."


FN Herstal HiPer 9mm pistol
Although ambi, the rotary magazine catch works independently on either side of the grip. Also note the slide catch, which is to the rear of the frame (Photo: FN Herstal)
FN Herstal HiPer 9mm pistol
Shown in both FDE and black schemes, and with and without optics, the new FNH HiPer has a very different profile once you stare at it awhile. Further, note the rear slide assist handle on the optics-ready version. (Photo: FNH) 


FNH also points out that the gun is meant for rugged field conditions and has "unequaled sealing against ingress of dust and dirt, with all subassemblies perfectly assembled, with no gap between them."

While shown without a manual safety, the gun uses three different internal safeties and can be disassembled without pulling the trigger.


FN Herstal HiPer 9mm pistol
FN Herstal designed the HiPer to use a new fully polymer magazine. (Photo: FN Herstal)


No pricing information is available, and we talked to FN America in Houston last week about the possibility of the HiPer reaching our shores in coming months. They told us it is currently not on the radar, so it looks like that, for now at least, it is European unobtanium. Or as better known in the gun industry: one of the coolest new pistols introduced at SHOT 2024.