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How about a well-made, reliable, accurate 9mm pistol for less than $200? That's what you get with the Hi-Point C9. The "C" is for "Compact," and in length and height, it qualifies. Those dimensions are 6.75" and 5.25", the latter figure including the nice finger-extension on the magazine floorplate. The magazine holds eight rounds, and a 10-round is available.

For a pistol of this size, the weight and width are a little more than you'd expect. There's a good reason for these figures. Empty weight is 32 ounces, width is 1.1" and most of the weight is in the slide, an essential in this unlocked action. To complete the numbers, barrel length is 3.5".

Materials are polymer for the grip-frame, a heavy alloy for the slide, and good steel where it matters. For example, the breech-block is a steel insert in the slide. The barrel and all of the internal firing system parts are steel, of course. Except for its floorplate, the magazine is all-steel, including the follower.

Design Elements

Its size and shape fit all but the smallest hands. The front and back are cross-grooved, and the front has shallow finger-recesses. There's room on the front-strap for all three fingers, and the upper rear has a deep incurve, a good feature.

The lower front of the trigger-guard has a hook. If you have a brand-new file that has never been used on any metal, you can remove the hook and round the guard, solving that problem.

The manual safety is in the right place, at top center of the left grip. "On-safe" is upward, covering the red dot and exposing an "S". Internally, there's direct blockage of the sear. Even with its minimal protrusion, it's easy to operate, and clicks neatly into place in both positions.

Inside, there's a "magazine safety." Also, internally, there are two "drop safety" systems. Never mind how it lands, it's not going to go off. Another safety feature is an "observation port" at the rear edge of the barrel. You can see a chambered round.

The sights are actually excellent. The front has a large white rectangle, and the rear two red dots. Image is a square-picture, with plenty of room in the rear notch. And, the rear sight is fully adjustable, vertically and horizontally. Even with this, there's minimal protrusion. They won't snag on anything.

The trigger of the C9 is smooth-faced and wide, and there is no "flipper" safety in it. On my Lyman electronic scale, the initial pull was just over six pounds, but after some shooting it leveled off at 5.5 pounds. Let-off was good, no creep. In this single-action system, there's obviously good sear engagement, a sort of "safety-plus."

Does It Shoot?

Trying out the C9 at the range, I used mostly the Winchester full-jacket "white box" load. However, I did shoot one magazine of hollow-points, to see if serious defensive rounds would have any problem. The Hi-Point just ate them, without a hitch. With the unlocked action and heavy slide, felt recoil was substantial, but it was a push, not a slap.

At 15 yards, I shot the C9 standing, with a two-hand hold. My usual MTM target stand was in another vehicle, so I rummaged in the van and found a new, unused spinner-type target from Champion, with paddles about 5" in diameter. My first four shots put two in each paddle, about 2" apart. It kept on doing this, so we can conclude that it's accurate enough.

The design of the Hi-Point pistol began in the mid-1980s with Tom Deeb. There were later modifications by Mike Strassell of Strassell's Machine in Ohio, a current maker of the Hi-Point line. Back at the start, there were several makers in the same area--Beemiller, Stallard, and others. When you see those names, note those guns don't have all the neat stuff of the current Hi-Points.

The Hi-Point name arrived in 1993, with all of the marketing by MKS Supply of Dayton, Ohio. There are now offered pistols in several sizes and chamberings. For the C9, suggested retail is $199, but it can be found for even less. Considering the features and reliability, it's a steal if you're on a budget. In the "affordable" category, the Hi-Point pistols qualify, and you get a lot for your money from this often misunderstood design.

For more info: www.americanhandgunner. com/index; MKS Supply Ph: (877) 425-4867

Caption: J.B. says the gun has good ergonomics. Safety is placed above the grip, Recoil is brisk but a shove rather than abrupt, due to the gun's weight.

The rear sight is adjustable, which is good, to take advantage of the C9's surprising accuracy.

The C9 locks open after the last shot. At $199 it's affordable "defense" if you're on a tight budget.
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Title Annotation:AFFORDABLES
Publication:American Handgunner
Date:Jan 1, 2019

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