Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Browning Hi-Power (nicknamed King of Nines) is a semi-automatic 9 mm pistol designed in part by American John Browning during the last years of his life in Belgium, working for the Fabrique Nationale de Herstal Arms Company. This pistol was noted for having the first functional double-column magazine of 9 mm Parabellum rounds, capable of holding 13 bullets (a 14th was often inserted into the chamber).
The P-35 Models were first produced in 1935 as the "Grand Puissant",  it is considered by many to be his finest pistol, and by some even the finest pistol ever. It operates, like many other of his designs, on the short-recoil principle, with the barrel being cammed down and away from the locking lugs in the slide (which surrounds the barrel)—unlike his earlier Colt M1911 (the famous Colt .45 automatic), the barrel is not cammed by a link, but by a bar, which contacts a portion of the barrel and forces it down as it is moved rear with the slide by the recoil force.
It was the first successful pistol design to utilize a double-stack magazine, meaning that the cartridges did not ride directly on top of each other, but instead were housed staggered, so that more could be fit within the length of a pistol grip. This necessitated an increase in the width of the pistol grip, but this is a small detail for all but those with the tiniest of hands. The grip of the Hi-Power is ergonomically balanced and comfortable in most hands. It is renowned for its accuracy and reliability, and also its penchant for "biting" its user in the web of their hand, between the thumb and first fingers, with its hammer.
Browning Hi-Power pistols were used during WWII by both the Allies and the Axis powers. The pistols the Allies used were produced in Canada by John Inglis & Co. The pistols used by the Germans were produced by FN in Belgium under German occupation. After WWII, the design was modified to replace the internal extractor with an external extractor for an incremental reliability improvement. The Hi-Power was the pistol of choice for the British Special Air Service (Special Forces), throughout the Cold War era. It remains popular among militaries for both overt and covert usage.
Genuine Browning Hi-Power P-35s are still manufactured by FN Herstal (imported to North America by Browning) of Belgium and Portugal, and by FM (licensed to Fabricaciones Militares) of Argentina; remaining one of the most influential pistols in the history of small arms. The Hi-Power has inspired a number of clones (including Charles Daly of the Phillipines & FEG of Hungary), copies (including Arcus of Bulgaria), and other firearms that borrow features from it (chiefly the linkless cam system).
A wide variety of options and features are available on the P-35 models. FM also offers a short slide model called the "Detective". The Detective slide group is also available without the frame, and is interchangeable with other FM and FN Hi-Power P-35s. Recently, Hi-Power pistols have become available in the .40 S&W and 357 Sig loadings. However, the use of these calibers in guns designed and built for 9mm Parabellum has created cases of broken or warped frames. Only Hi-Powers specifically built for these rounds should be used.
The DA & DAO Models were first produced in the 1990s by FN. The DA model is double action, and the DAO model is "double action only," differing from the single action operation of the P-35. The DA and DAO models retain many features of the P-35, and both are available in full size and compact versions. Performance of these models is consistent with FN's high standards. These models resemble the P-35, but the most distinguishing feature is the extended Sig Sauer style trigger guard. Many parts are interchangable with the P-35, but the magazines (although similar) are not. The compact versions also utilize shorter magazines.
The BDM Model was first produced in the late 1990s by FN. The Browning Double Mode pistol incorporates many features of the DA model, but can be switched from double action to single action at the flip of a lever. These models do not strongly resemble the classic design of the P-35, lacking its sleek lines. The performance of this model is excellent though. Magazines are usually interchangeable between the full size DA, DAO and BDM models.
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