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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not trying to start a war here and I'm not talking about cartridges. From seeing a history show on JM Browning it seems that the P35 had some real advances. The barrel is ramped, it is linkless, the bushing isn't an issue, the plunger isn't an issue. Even the trigger is more durable or less maintenance dependent.

My BHP has been fully reworked by Jim Stroh at Alpha Precision. The trigger is very crisp an as good as any 1911 that I've fired.

I own more 1911s by far than P35. But I have to wonder why the HP was designed. And I also have to think that JM Browning would have tried to take advantage of what he'd learned over more than a decade after releasing the 1911.

I'm no gunsmith and I'm eager to learn. I'd appreciate comments.
 

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The Hi-Power was considered by many to be an improvement over the basic 1911 design. John Browning was constrained by US Department of Ordnance requirements when he designed the 1911, but had more freedom to innovate when he began work on the pistol that after his death would be refined into the magnificent Hi-Power. Whether many of the P-35's features are regarded as improvements or not is really a matter of personal opinion. There's certainly nothing about the Hi-Power that makes it a superior fighting pistol in my view, but it does still nonetheless stand on its own merits. The trigger system was a step backwards in my opinion, but the fact is it had to be designed that way to eliminate the need to run a drawbar past the magazine, which would've fattened the grip. While I will always be a .45 1911 man, if I had to use a 9mm by circumstance my choice would be either a Glock 19 or a Browning Hi-Power.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I don't feel any advantage with a 1911 trigger compared to my BHP or my S&W 952. The latter two are hinged but not creep with crisp breaks. The 952 came that way from the company. My 1911s and HP required a very competent smith.

Disassembly is a bit easier with the HP, but not much.

My HP is a .40 cal. I prefer a .45 but am comfortable with the .40. I don't think you sacrifice much in the lighter round plus the mag carries a few more. But I'm really interested in the evolution of his pistol designs, not caliber disputes.

Some of the improvements must have be simply to make manufacturing cheaper, although I don't know any definite examples, but a linkless barrel probably is one.
 

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The Hi-Power as we know it is mostly thanks to D. Saive of FN.
The Hi-Power is a great design, ergonomically excellent (it is the only pistol I've ever handled on which I can drop the mag without turning the gun in my hand) and very reliable. It is somewhat handicapped against the 1911 by three factors:
1. The magazine safety. This is thankfully, easily defeated, but it's a misfeature. Probably not a big deal to the military thinking of 1930, but in modern handgun tactics it hurts the Hi-Power significantly. The tactical reload, for example, is very dangerous when you don't have that one shot if you need it.
2: The thumb safety. In military trim, it's tiny and very hard to manipulate. This has largely been solved in the MKIII.
3: Calibre. This is less of an issue with the .40 HP now available.
OTOH, it is smaller and lighter than the 1911, and is overall very svelte and easy to handle.
It is not as easily field-servicable as the 1911 past the field-strip level, with more driven pins and small parts, but then, few guns are as field servicable as the 1911. The flip side is it is easier to field-strip.
It's basically a balance. I like to think that if JMB had lived to see the P35 to fruition, he would have put on a better safety, and left out the mag unsafety, which would have pretty much left a .45 calibre version the only obstacle to overcome before it could well and truly be said the P35 was the better design.
 

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Personally speaking I dislike the .40 version. The slide is much heavier, making the whole thing feel top-heavy in my hands. The 9mm may not be the biggest dog on the porch, but with the right loads it is still very effective and certainly not the pipsqueak some big-bore diehards make it out to be. The Europeans certainly never had a problem with it!
 

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I agree with DSK on the extra weight in the .40; of the qualities of the 9mm P-35 it's superb balance and fast handling feel are about optimum coupled with it's doublestack mag capacity.

I think the longer trigger reset on the P-35 makes it alittle disconcerting at first to someone used to the 1911, but familiarity overcomes this for me.

The grip safety on the 1911 was wisely omitted with the P-35, whereas the 1911 had a more practically shaped thumb safety until the P-35 had some changes.

The P-35 magazine disconnect is easily removed; but the firing pin lock un-neccesarily breeches slide material, and is a great hindrance to expedient fieldstripping.
 

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I believe the 1911 to be JMB's better design. I just could never warm up to the High Power. When I carry a 9mm, it's a Glock 19.
 

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e'ville said:
I own more 1911s by far than P35. But I have to wonder why the HP was designed.
This is something of a no-brainer and it all comes down to money. JMB's work on the 1911 was through Colt and hence was Colt's product line to sell, not JMB's. The HP came after leaving Colt and was originally developed and marketed by the Browning company.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I haven't noticed the difference in trigger reset, but that may be due to having fired the HP some much and that it's a .40 with stouter recoil. The thumb safety on the original 1911 wasn't much compared to what is usually seen on today's versions. The same is true of the sights. Also, the original 1911 was altered to a curved mainspring housing, something JMB put into the BHP.

Both are excellent guns. The newer 1911s (SA, S&W, etc) are much better than those from WWI. And the semi-customs are even better. My CQB Spec Ops is as fine as it gets.

Here's some speculation. If JMB could have, he would have designed the Glock. Hell, I certainly would have. It doesn't do anything for pride of ownership. But in the trenches of WWI and subsequent wars, I would fit the needs of the average soldier, is easily cleaned and maintained, parts are fully interchangeable, and almost always goes bang. But I digress.

My understanding is that JMB was not for the grip safety and probably not for the magazine safety, either. He got rid of the barrel link. He also changed the trigger mechanism entirely for the BHP making it more trouble free for the masses. The caliber choice for the BHP was political, but recall the precedent for the 1911 was his .38 auto. The .45 wasn't JMB's idea at all.

If only he had polymer, what would we be shooting in 2004 (besides our mouths off)?
 

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DNS

Actually, Browning Arms didn't start selling the P-35 until the mid 50's. It was designed for the Belgian company FN and has always been made by them. Browning Arms began distributing them in the US as I said, in the mid 50's and that was the first time it was called a HiPower.

As to the differences in the designs, Colt held all the patents on the 1911 and so much of the design was simply ways to get around Colts patents.
 

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CastleBravo said:
The P35 is a better 9mm and the 1911 is a better .45.
Keep in mind that I do not know anything about a BHP. However, my question is this: If the BHP design is better- even comparable then why doesn't it come out in a 45ACP design?
 

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1holegrouper said:
Keep in mind that I do not know anything about a BHP. However, my question is this: If the BHP design is better- even comparable then why doesn't it come out in a 45ACP design?
Because .45 ACP wouldn't fit in the BHP. The cartridge is too long, and probably too fat too. Furthermore, to make it work in .45 ACP you'd have to alter the design to compensate (e.g. heavier springs, heavier slide, longer grip) to the point where most of the BHP's virtues would be gone anyway... you'd just be left with a fat gun that has less ergonomic grip and crappier trigger than a 1911.

The BHP is such a nice little gun in large part because it was optimized for a nice little cartridge, the 9x19.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Some of the BHP features have been incorporated into ones that fire the .45 ACP. The grip safety is unnecessary although probably a good idea. The barrel link is also not necessary. Para Ord has a barrel ramp.

Again, I'm no gun designer or even a smith, but I don't understand why the BHP design can't be adapted to the .45 ACP. The Colt Commander is about the same length. It must be possible. But who would want one?

Just to stir the pot more, I'd bet JMB would eliminate the hammer in favor of a striker fire. That might help keep some of the crud out.

There are many of you out there in the 1911 Forum much more knowledgeable on this topic than me. I'd like to get your thoughts. To me, the finest part of the 1911 design is the feel of the trigger. If that could be captured on a striker fired, linkless barrelled, accurate pistol with an integral ramp and an aggressive, robust extractor, what would be missing?
 

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Just a tid bit of information: the HP was designed to meet the requirements of a French military contract. They never bought any, but they certainly put some specifications on the design. Watch-Six
 

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e'ville said:
...I'd bet JMB would eliminate the hammer in favor of a striker fire. That might help keep some of the crud out..."
That's interesting - a 1911 with a striker instead of a hammer!
 

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That has already been done by Alchemy Arms. The gun is a polymer 1911ish design complete with a single action trigger, grip safety, and is striker fired. The gun made waves a couple of years ago in a few magazines, but has slipped into obscurity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I read some about the Alchemy Arms line of weapons. The thing that bothered me most was the 7 lb trigger pull. I would have liked to try one, but not enough to buy one unseen. They were not cheap either.
 

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I must be in a minority, but I hate the BHP. The 1911, though known to be a web biter in its original GI trim, is by no means the latter day web biter that the BHP is to this day. The micro tang on the BHP, especially when coupled with a spur hammer, is a death sentence for the skin between trigger finger and thumb of many shooters.

As the 1911 is infinitely more end user modifiable, a more "open" system if you will, it is the superior design in my mind.
 

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The 1911 seems much more robust than the Hi-Power. I've heard that the life of a Hi-Power is nowhere near the 1911, but I have never tested this myself.

The mag catch is easier to reach on the P35, but in my opinion the 1911 feels better to shoot.

The P35 is lighter, but to me the 1911 feels better to carry because of its slimness.

The high capacity of the BHP is nice, but I don't feel that the 1911 is inadequate as a carry gun.

Between the two, I like the simplicity of the 1911. Even with the barrel link.

--tdow
 
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