FN one-upped the now resurgent Browning Hi-Power race by distancing itself from the clone wars to deliver an improved and modern take on the pistol, the High Power.

We have been looking at this gun over the past few months and, with 500 rounds and lots of careful evaluation and testing, have a lot to talk about. 

Table of Contents

Comparison to the "old" Hi-Power
Shooting & Accuracy
Pros & Cons
Final Thoughts



In what could be considered the swansong of the famed John Moses Browning, father of the M1911 and dozens of other timeless designs, and the introductory concert of Dieudonne Saive, who would go on to design the FN FAL, the original Browning Hi-Power went through decades of interwar development before it hit the market in 1935. Eventually falling out of production (with FN at least) in early 2018 after a run that saw it become a solid hit on the military, commercial, and law enforcement markets in its heyday. The new High Power (note the difference in spelling) is, for all purposes, an improved 21st Century salute to that old warrior.

The new FN High Power is a full-sized all-American-made pistol that is a single-action-only hammer-fired 9mm using a double-stack magazine. It uses a steel slide, barrel, and frame with interchangeable grip panels and dovetailed sights in FN's 509 pattern. It is available in Flat Dark Earth (because FN), black, and stainless. 

So naturally, we went FDE...


The new FN High Power
With a 4.7-inch barrel, the overall length is a satisfying 8 inches. (All photos: Chris Eger/Guns.com)
The new FN High Power
Weight, with an empty magazine inserted, is 40 ounces because we are talking about a full-sized gun with lots of steel. 


Specs (via FN)


  • Overall length: 8 inches
  • Barrel length: 4.7 inches
  • Sight radius: 6.37 inches
  • Height: 5.62 inches
  • Width: 1.35 inches over manual safety (thickest point)
  • Weight: 40 ounces (unloaded)
  • Frame & Slide: Steel with corrosion-resistant PVD finish
  • Barrel: 1:10 twist, stainless steel, target-crowned, and cold hammer forged
  • Magazine capacity: 17+1 


Comparison to the "old" Hi-Power


While styled in the shadow of and with an aesthetic that instantly recalls the Hi-Power of old, the new High Power is not compatible in any way with each other than the fact that they use the same ammunition (without getting into the .40S&W and 7.65x21mm BHP models, you nerds.) The new gun has better ergonomics, a simple and modern firing pin safety that is much more drop safe than the old BHP, a 17+1 capacity rather than the original 13+1 capacity of the older gun, and fully ambi controls that you can actually use while still retaining the classic good looks of its circa 1935 grandpa. 

Let us compare the two, just to get that out of the way, putting our new test FN High Power and a circa 1943 Hi Power made in Belgium side-by-side.


FN High power vs Browning Hi Power
If you note the new High Power has a higher undercut to the grip with a 360-degree texture, larger and better-arranged surface controls, and a better design shape to the hammer that eliminates hammer bite on the web of the user's hand. Remaining is the same general layout and the spirit of the design. In short, if you know how to run a BHP made 80 years ago, you can figure out a new FN High Power in the dark in about ten seconds.
FN High power vs Browning Hi Power
Flipping them over, you see again the higher undercut, the "bite free" hammer the fact that the controls are now ambi (the magazine release is reversible), and there is now a simple rotary take-down lever rather than a cross pin you must punch out. The sights and ejection port are much larger. Enduring is the thin trigger arrangement, internal ejector, and the iconic "thumbprint" which, as in the old days, comes into play during take-down and field stripping. 




FN High power
To disassemble, lock back the slide on an empty and fully unloaded pistol using the slide stop, rotate the take-down lever 90 degrees, release the slide stop, and push the slide assembly forward. 
FN High power field stripped
Looking on the inside, you notice the new High Power ditches the old circular locking lugs on the barrel instead of a more contemporary block-style lock up, deletes the center link on the barrel assembly as the take-down doesn't need it, and now uses a one-piece fluted full-length guide rod. Also, it has no internal magazine safety, leaving the trigger pull much improved. This means it will fire without a magazine inserted. 
The FN High Power in FDE
The FDE model ships with two sets of thin (too thin in my opinion) plastic grip panels, in a matching tan and a dissimilar olive drab. FN also offers seven better G10 (black, black cherry, black-blue, Hyena brown, and Dirty Olive) or wood (oak or walnut) grips with prices ranging up to $99, so there are customization options at the ready. Also, as the pattern isn't too difficult, you can expect aftermarket grip makers to soon jump in with their panels. Note the backstrap and beavertail are modular and can be replaced, so you might one day see, for instance, a flat housing in the future rather than the arched one. 
The FN High Power variants
Besides Flat Dark Earth, FN also ships the High Power in black and stainless, with corresponding grip panel options. 
The FN High Power in FDE
Stoked with 17+1 rounds of Federal Hydra Shok Deep 135-grain JHPs in condition one, the High Power hit the scales at 43.5 ounces. While a hefty carry, for those who are fine with a full-sized pistol, you could do much worse than the High Power.
The FN High Power in FDE
The High Power ships in a nice FN-branded zipper bag that is lockable and has plenty of room for accessories.


Shooting & Accuracy 


After a field strip for inspection followed by a reassembly and function check, we headed out to the range with the new FN and went to work. Without any additional lube or prep than what the gun was shipped with, we ran a mix of some 500 rounds without issue including Blazer Brass and Federal American Eagle 115-grain target loads, Speer Gold Dot 124-grain GDHPs, and Federal Hydra Shok Deep 135-grain JHPs. We had no stoppages in live fire.

It was rock solid and reliable.


The FN High Power in FDE
While on the range, we leaned heavily on American Eagle 115-grain 115gr TSJRN, then threw in some Speer Gold Dot and Federal Hydra Shok Deep self-protection ammo. 
The FN High Power in FDE
Federal's Syntech ammunition is tipped with a polymer encapsulated projectile which reduces metal-on-metal contact and eliminates barrel fouling and proved pretty accurate for a "practice" load. No surprise that Federal matched them to offer the same velocity, trajectory, and point of impact as equivalent Federal Premium Personal Defense HST and Tactical HST duty ammunition.
The FN High Power in FDE
The new High Power is built for reliability, with a massive ejection port that looks large enough to kick out a .50DE and a polished chamber and feed ramp with some impressive geometry that fully supports the case. We had zero issues feeding any sort of ammo, even with a heavy carbon build-up after 400+ rounds. 


The trigger on the FN High Power, without the old BHP's hideous magazine safety plunger to activate, is otherwise similar in profile to that of old. It is velvety-smooth for a factory trigger and only needs about a quarter-inch rock to pull through the wall with a corresponding short reset. We found it to break at about 4.7 pounds on average at the beginning of our tests, lightening just a skosh to the 4.2 mark after 500 rounds. 

Check out that trigger: 



The FN High Power in FDE
The draftable steel blackout sights, using FN's 509 pattern dovetail, work without issue but should you want to upgrade them with night sights or a different pattern, they should be easy to swap out. 


The High Power is very light recoiling and shoots flat. Seen below with some spicy personal protection rounds.



Pros & Cons 



  • Accurate
  • Dependable
  • Great trigger
  • Uses commonly available 509-pattern sights dovetails
  • Classic styling from an iconic brand
  • 17+1 magazine capacity


  • Non-compatible with any legacy BHP parts or accessories
  • Cheap-feeling OE plastic grip panels
  • Proprietary mags that cost $50
  • Kind of expensive at $1,200+


Final Thoughts 


One of my very first everyday carry guns back in the 1980s was a beat-up BHP MKIII as it was dependable, steel, slim, and had a 13+1 capacity. I could hit anything I ever aimed it at and loved range time except for the "slide bite" I would nurse for the following week. I never felt underserved with the old Browning. 

This new High Power is dependable, not quite as slim, has a 17+1 capacity, I can hit anything I aimed at with it, and never once carried home a slide bite after shooting it. 

The styling is spot on and, while at first, I was shattered and let down that it wasn't just an MK IV BHP that would fit all my existing BHP stuff, I kind of like the new High Power and think that FN made the right call after firing it. For what it's worth, FN sent this gun to me on loan, and I'm going to buy it. They aren't getting this one back and I am almost to the 1K mark on it already, simply because it is fun to shoot and a joy to take to the range. 


The FN High Power in FDE
The FN High Power in FDE has an MSRP of $1,269.


Read More On:
revolver barrel loading graphic