BLUF: Do not waste your money on the Hi-Point unless you are looking for a cheap range toy. There are far better options for slightly higher prices.
Guns are expensive, and seriously getting into shooting–whether for sport or for defense–is an investment of time and money. I have been doing my best to find quality equipment that won’t break the bank. Enter the King of the bargain bin; the Hi-Point C9. For years I had read tales of the pot-metal boat anchor, the Glock 40 Problem Solver, the ultimate ghetto blaster. Having a pocket full of cash and a head full of curiosity, I dropped $150 and walked away with my new Hi-point, leaving everyone in the gun shop shaking their heads.
Initial Impressions: “ka-chunk”
The C9 comes in a cardboard box with one magazine, gun lock, manual, spare peep sight (3 dot sights installed) and a chamber flag. The Hi-Point series of guns have their own unique aesthetics. The grips are incredibly slick, with mild ribbing on the front and back straps. The slide has some shallow serrations to aid in manipulation, as the slingshot method will generally be your only way of chambering a round. The manual safety, which also acts as the slide lock, is a small metal bar, that activates and deactivates easily with no tactile response. When the slide locks open on empty the action isn’t actually locked as one would normally expect, as it can be drawn back slightly and then manually locked with the lever.
When firing the slide reciprocates with a sluggish “ka-chunk” as the massive brick atop the frame moves forward and back. The trigger is without a doubt the worst I’ve ever experienced; each pull being different from the last, with loads of take up, slack, stacking, and every other thing a good trigger shouldn’t have; Not to mention its heavy pull weight. The sights are adjustable for both windage and elevation (Lord knows why), with the rear sight having two bright orange squares and the front a bright yellow blade. The sights were easy to pick up and are sized well, but frequently lose their zero when firing. I did not try the included ghost ring rear sight. The magazine that comes with the gun holds eight rounds, which frequently nosedive. Supposedly doing some work with pliers will improve reliability, but I made no attempt. There is also a magazine disconnect, something that I find detestable on handguns.
Field Stripping: watch your eyes
To field strip this pistol–which Hi-Point advises owners not to do–you will need to draw the slide back and push out a pin using a punch. On my gun, the slide did not move far enough to allow the pin to be removed, so I took a screwdriver and scraped away at the metal until I formed a channel for the pin to move along. When I said pot metal earlier, I meant it. Additionally, the recoil spring and guide rod are not retained by anything; no slot, no hole, just resting on the smooth front of the slide, so be sure to watch your eyes. Hi-Point firearms have a lifetime warranty, something that I took advantage of when the recoil spring launched itself into the abyss upon disassembly. For something simple like this, all you have to do is call Hi-Point and give them your serial number and a mailing address. From here they will send the part free of charge and no questions asked. Two days later my new recoil spring and guide rod arrived, and I headed to the range.
Range Time : Hi-Point choked harder than Lord Vader himself
At the same time as I was putting my initial rounds through the C9 I was also testing out my brand new Glock 42. Imagine my shock when the Hi-Point was more reliable than the Glock within the first 100 rounds! The G42 was plagued with double feeds and failures to go into battery throughout every magazine; whereas the C9 was mostly reliable, occasionally locking open on a still loaded magazine. After the 100 round mark, the tables turned. The Glock began to run flawlessly, and the Hi-Point choked harder than Lord Vader himself. Across multiple ammunition brands, the C9 began to experience double feeds, failures to eject, failures to strip rounds from the magazine, failures to go into battery—nearly every malfunction in the book. In an attempt to remedy this, I field stripped, cleaned and lubed the gun. The issues would not go away.
Fixing Hot Garbage
I thought that maybe the rough and uneven powder coat finish on the metal parts was the culprit, so I decided to bust out some 2500 grit sandpaper, trying to polish the action (something I would never do on a nicer gun). Despite the mirror-like shine and significant improvement in smoothness, reliability remained the same: lacking. Another 150 rounds did nothing but train my ability to clear malfunctions. Accuracy throughout was minute-of-bad-guy, don’t plan on making your local bullseye team. Moral of the story: if you are planning on using this defensively, do not train with it. Your best reliability will come in the first few magazines, you are only putting your life at risk by firing more than a box through the C9.
Overall, I regard the Hi-Point as nothing more than a novelty. If you need a handgun to protect yourself or your loved ones, shop elsewhere (EAA, S&W, and Ruger have solid options at slightly higher price brackets), or consider a long gun such as the Maverick 88. Spending a few more dollars on your initial investment will save you money and heartache down the road; believe me, I own a Hi-Point.