Featured Image: A German soldier with MG-42, Stielhandgranate, and Browning Hi-Power (Image courtesy of Pinterest).
If pistols were a family, then the Browning Hi-Power would be the uncle who has lived a long and wild life. The Hi-Power was one of an incredible number of highly-successful firearms designed by the legendary John Moses Browning, and was his last mass-produced design. When John Browning was discovered dead on November 26, 1926 at his design shop the design he had on his work desk was that of the legendary pistol. Adopted in 1935 by the Belgian army it was remarkable in its day for its notable thirteen round magazine, magazine safety, and muzzle safety. Its action was built around the short-recoil principal that was a staple of the designs of John Moses. The short-recoil principal is based around utilizing the power of the weapon’s recoil to cycle the action, further examples of this are the M2 Browning Machine Gun, as well as the Auto-5 shotgun.
The Browning Hi-Power was indeed such a popular and robust design that it is notable for having had served in both the Axis and Allies. Hi-Powers produced in the FN plant in occupied Belgium were widely utilized in the German military by units of the Waffen-SS and Fallschirmjäger. I personally own a Browning Hi-Power made in occupied Belgium in 1942. It is complete with inspection marks and comes with the original wooden grips. I personally like it more than modern production Browning Hi-Powers because due to wartime constraints it was manufactured without a magazine safety, which increases the historical value of the sidearm.
The users of the Hi-Power reads like a feature from National Geographic with over fifty countries having the pistol in service at some point since its introduction. The Canadian Army still utilizes it as it’s standard sidearm, all of which produced in the John Inglis Co factory, and all were produced in the mid-fifties. The Hi-Power was also Eddie Murphy’s sidearm of choice in the 1984 classic film Beverly Hills Cop, and was also recently featured in both Mad Max: Fury Road as Tom Hardy’s pistol, as well as in the Netflix film The SIege of Jadotville.