After I posted a picture of my Hi-Power a month ago, I was gently prodded by Brigid to make a range report. Life, such at it is, has prevented me from making the trek out to the range for quite some time. I finally motivated myself to make it out today.
First, an introduction to the gun.
It is a Fabricaciones Militares (FM of Argentina) FM-90 Hi-Power. While these guns are sometimes mislabeled as clones, Argentina has licensed the design and tooling from FN-Herstal in Belgium for domestic production - making the FM guns true Browning Hi-Powers. The FM-90 is Argentina's MkII version. An interesting distinction of Argentina's Hi-Powers is that the MkII and later models lack the slide beveling seen in the FN guns. This is sometimes known as a "Colt-style" slide, as it gives the gun a more 1911-like appearance.
The stock magazine utilizes a metal follower unique to Argentine Hi-Powers, which increases magazine capacity to 14 rounds from the normal 13-round capacity of FN magazines. Mec-Gar, the OEM manufacturer of FN Hi-Power mags, produces a flush-fit 15-round magazine for the Hi-Power utilizing a special plastic follower. I have found them to be utterly reliable, and have transitioned to these as my primary magazines.
The FM-90 also comes standard with Pachmayr-type wraparound grips with finger grooves on the frontstrap. I absolutely love these grips, as they provide a very positive grip surface for shooting stability.
While later model FN Hi-Powers come standard with spur hammers, FM production guns are equipped with a commander hammer from the factory. I greatly prefer this configuration for concealed-carry purposes.
I purchased my Hi-Power new in the box from the good friend who first introduced me to shooting. Dissatisfied with the FEG PA-63 that was my first handgun, I was looking for something more tasked for concealed carry. Despite being a full-sized double-stack service pistol, the Hi-Power is quite slender. This makes it well-suited for concealment. Many decades of service have proven the reliability of the Hi-Power, John Moses Browning's final handgun design.
All these characteristics make the FM Hi-Power an ideal everyday carry for me. Its matte-black finish aids in concealment. Single-action carry in Condition 1 appeals to my sense of efficiency for rapid deployment. Perhaps it is my German heritage, but polymer-framed guns have never really appealed to me. A solidly-built metal-framed pistol just has a certain aesthetic attraction that plastic can't match.
On to the range report.
It's been about 3 months since I last visited the range, and it showed. I found myself re-training myself to keep my aim steady. I remembered something in someone's blog about "squeezing the gun 20% tighter!". Quite a difference that squeeze makes. It didn't help that my internal clock is all out of whack. To try and remedy this, I decided to reset my sleep schedule by skipping a night with the aid of coffee. Sleep deprivation + caffeine does not a steady hand make. After about 150 rounds, I finally got myself straightened out. Oof.
As mentioned above, the Hi-Power is a single action pistol. Without going into excessive detail, the functional advantages of this kind of action (for me) are that trigger pull is relatively light - making a steady grip during trigger pull generally easier to attain than with a double-action pistol. When compared to a double-action/single-action pistol, trigger pull requires the same effort every time, making shot placement more consistent. Speed and ease of deployment are important to me, and I have found that a single-action pistol meets my needs best. Practice has made deactivation of the safety an intrinsic part of my drawing action - something I can do at speed without specific conscious effort.
The Hi-Power manual-of-arms is essentially identical to that of the 1911. Internal workings are somewhat different in the trigger and safety mechanisms, but overall mechanical operation is essentially the same. The Hi-Power lacks the grip safety feature of the 1911, while the Hi-Power design includes a magazine disconnect "feature" that disables the trigger mechanism when a magazine is not inserted. This feature is widely regarded as a detractor in that the trigger pull is less smooth than its 1911 counterpart, and that it impedes a magazine from falling freely from the gun when released. Many people remove this feature from their guns to eliminate these problems. Were I concerned with competition performance, I might be compelled to remove the disconnect from my gun, but for a defensive pistol I don't believe it to be necessary.
From my own experience, the Hi-Power is well-balanced and lends itself to instinctive "point" shooting. In practice drills, I find that my instinctive aim matches up well to sighted aim at speed, meaning that rapid-transition multiple target drills are natural for me. Balance is a beneficial contributing factor here also, as I have found sight picture reset is quick for me when compared to other pistols in my experience - even guns in the 1911 platform.
It was rainy and windy (and therefore muddy) today, so I didn't do much moving and shooting. While I did not run any multiple target transition drills, I did to some rapid-fire follow-up shot drills to practice sight picture reset. The target to your left (or above, depending on how your screen renders) is from one of these drills - 10 shots of controlled rapid fire at a range of 7 yards. You can click the image to enlarge.
All-in-all it was a good range trip. It started out rough, but as always, range time becomes an exercise in self-control and mental discipline. Going to the range is always like that for me. I can always count on a good range session to clear my head and soothe my mind and body of the accumulated stresses of life. Once I do my part, I know my gun will do its own.
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