January 18, 2022
By Guns & Ammo Staff
The all-new-for-2022 FN High Power carries forward the most iconic features, but it was modernized for today’s sport shooter.
“The High Power is such an iconic design, and synonymous with ‘FN,’” said Mark Cherpes, president and CEO of FN America. “We recognized the gravity of reintroducing this newly redesigned pistol with such a storied history. Rather than introduce a clone of the original, we had to deliver much more than other brands, knowing the FN High Power would be held to a higher standard. FN paid homage to the prolific design, while modernizing the ergonomics, functionality and operation. We respect what this pistol means to generations of collectors and feel the new FN High Power dovetails perfectly with the rest of the company’s pistol line, carrying a future-forward design to the next generation of shooting enthusiasts.”
Fact vs. Fiction
Prototyped in 1922 by John M. Browning at the urging of FN for a French service pistol contract, the pistol that became the “P.35” was patented in 1923. The final design for the P.35 was completed for production nine years following Browning’s death by Dieudonné Saive. The U.S. stock-market collapse in 1929 resulted in the delay of international sales, but Saive continued its development. Production began in 1934, and the Belgian army adopted it first as the Model 1935, marking it “P.35.” The French did not place a military order, but Saive continued refining the design through 1940. Its final form differs considerably from Browning’s prototype, but due to the sales magic of Browning’s name, the P.35 High Power was incorrectly advertised as “John Browning’s last pistol design.”
Saive was a protégé of Browning’s at FN in Liége, Belgium, and responsible for the invention of the pistol’s double-stack, 9mm magazine — first for 15 rounds and then 13 rounds. The magazine was prototyped by Saive and sent to Browning in Utah where the latter designed a pistol around it. Its magazine capacity is why the pistol was nicknamed in 1927 as Grand Rendement, meaning “High Capacity.” The moniker was officially modified by FN and Browning marketers as “High Power” and “Hi-Power” during post-war production.
Homage to a Legend
The FN High Power is one of the most distinct and recognizable designs in the metal-frame pistol category. Its keyhole-muzzle profile, tapered slide, long-arm slide release, and rounded hammer are signature details. These features are ubiquitous with High Power pistols and were integrated into this new design.
“FN conducted a thorough historical design study into the classic High Power to identify what truly makes the pistol what it is,” said John Ryan, director of product management for FN America. “These features set the design apart from other pistols in the market, and were extremely important for us to include in the modern evolution of the new FN High Power. It pays respect to the significance of Browning’s original design.”
A Pistol Modernized
While the FN High Power is inspired by the original FN aesthetically, the new gun features improvements to ergonomics and fire-control design, as well as accuracy improvements and increased magazine capacity. In fact, the new 17-round magazine bests every clone of the original.
“The original High Power pistols were prolific. More than 1 million were produced and sold during its 80-year history,” said Chris Cole, vice president of sales and marketing for FN America. “We’ve done our due diligence to include the unique features that set this pistol apart while modernizing the design with features we expect in today’s market. Through current manufacturing and design expertise, the all-new FN High Power addresses everything from trigger pull to feel, ergonomics, and reliability with modern 9mm loads. All of this was accomplished to appeal to a modern gun buyer looking to expand their gun collection with timeless style and superior performance.”
Sport shooters desire more magazine capacity, so FN engineers upped the ante by increasing capacity to 17-plus-one rounds. Ambidextrous controls aid in overall operability, and the elimination of the magazine disconnect makes for a single-action trigger that is crisp and clean.
Ergonomics now feature a new grip and frame texturing to improve control during fire. This includes an extension of the beavertail to address the often-remarked “High Power hammer and slide bite.” Taking the design further, FN engineers resolved the complex disassembly procedure of the original and updated it to current expectations. Now, fieldstripping the FN High Power for cleaning and maintenance is as simple as any modern polymer pistol. Simply rotate the takedown lever.
Return to Service
From NATO’s trusted sidearm for more than 80 years to a modern pistol qualified to serve sport shooters, the FN High Power was enhanced to exceed our expectations. Each new gun ships with two pairs of polymer grips. Three new frame colors and seven accessory grips means “options.” Perfecting and personalizing the FN High Power has never been easier.
The new FN High Power is also capable of printing small groups or protecting what matters. It points naturally with drift-adjustable steel sights, thanks in part to the smooth, single-action trigger. At 40 ounces, it maintains the signature rake of the dust cover and the long-arm slide release added to Browning’s design by Saive. There are also ambidextrous controls that make its operation instinctive for any pair of hands.
To learn more about the all-new FN High Power, visit: fnamerica.com/highpower.
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