The Canadian government is reportedly moving forward with a plan to replace its military’s downright vintage Browning Hi-Power pistols.
Local media in Ottawa, the country’s capital, are advising that a contract for as many as 20,000 “modular pistols” will be issued later this year for the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Air Force, and military police. The guns will replace Canadian-produced Inglis Brownings made during World War II.
Yup, as in 1944-45 production.
Canadian-made No. 2 Mk1* Inglis Hi-Powers, produced between 1944 and 1945, are distinctive period BHP clones with the “thumbprint” slide, high rear sight, and internal extractor, features that FN discontinued by the early 1950s. (Photo: Canadian Forces Combat Camera)
More in my column at Guns.com.
As a guy who has a few FN/Browning Hi-Powers, ranging from a circa 1943 Pistole 640b to a downright wonky circa 2005 SFS, I had fun examining a wide range of BHPs recently.
Browning’s original 1923 concept, as patented in 1927.
This rare late 1940s-produced Hi-Power is a very early model featuring the “dimple” on the right side of the slide to help with take down for maintenance and the “thumbprint” style internal extractor. Marked “LGK OO”: Landes Gendarmerie Kommando für Oberösterreich (Provincial Gendarmerie Command for Upper Austria), it is a former Austrian police-issue handgun.
This circa-1969 commercial Browning Hi-Power still features the original wooden grips that the model first entered production with but shows the updated external extractor. Also gone is the slide/frame dimple.
More detail in my column at Guns.com.
During the darkest days of WWII, with Belgium overrun along with most of Europe in 1940, the FN factory in Liege went with it. There, the brand new top of the line military sidearm, FN’s Grande Puissance GP-35, had its production line taken over by the Germans as the new Pistole 640(b) for Hitler’s special units. Of the gun’s inventors, John Moses Browning was long since shuffled off to the great gun shop in the sky, but the man who finished the design on Browning’s demise– Dieudonné Joseph Saive– was free in the West and ready to work.
He soon recreated production drawings for the Hi-Power and set up shop in John Inglis’ factory in Toronto where he began making the very slightly modded HP in Canada for the Nationalist Chinese, the Free Greek forces, and British Commonwealth forces, eventually making 153,480 pistols before the end of the War.
Terry Edwards over at Small Arms Defense Journal has a great piece on the 100,000th, which is still in circulation.
Designed just before the outbreak of World War II by FN in Belgium, the factory that made the Hi-Power was repurposed in 1940 after the Germans occupied the country and production started back up to provide the handy 9mm pistols to Hitler’s legions.
However, the Allies soon started making the 13-shot semi-auto in Canada, manufactured in Toronto, by John Inglis and Company with a little help from Dieudonné Saive, the Belgian firearms engineer who helped design the gun in the first place.
The Canadian-made Browning-Inglis 9mm has been iconic to the country’s military since World War II, but they may soon get a much-needed replacement.
The Canadian forces have just 13,981 Hi-Powers left–of which 1,243 are parts guns, and are looking to replace the design by 2026.
More in my column at Guns.com