The news that Browning was ceasing production of the Hi Power was to say the least depressing. I know the younger crowd prefers the latest polymer wonder nine that holds enough bullets for a movie gunfight scene. However there are still a diehard crowd of traditionalists. We like steel pistols, quality leather holsters, steak medium/medium rare and can get by with a flip phone. I knew this would not be the end of this iconic pistol.
To my delight my buddy Karl the chief pistol plumber at KGB Custom told me he had heard of this new “Hi Power” that was going to be imported. This helped raise my spirits news and the arrival KGB’s full custom Hi Power we previously reviewed here at GAT Daily made me feel better. I went in search of this new pistol and found that Regent was the importer. Further research showed that every shooters friend for “gun stuff”; Brownells was a distributor.
An email to sent to Brownells verify they had Regent SR9 ins stock and to ensure they had my FFL and other required information. Brownells has both the stainless and dark blue versions. Dark blue would be good for the project I had in mind.
A few days later the BR9 arrived. Fit and finish were typical of Turkish imports, flawless. When I put the BR9 next to any of my various Hi Powers it looked like a factory twin. All the lines were perfect, it even had that damnedable trigger disconnect safety and the blood drawing large ring hammer; yep a perfect P35 clone.
With the summer weather cooperating and the temperature not reading par boil, I took the BR9 out to the range. I wanted to see how it ran and how well regulated the three dot factory sights were. I was pleasantly surprised to see the sights were dead on at 25 yards. Even with the magazine disconnect the pistol fired a decent 5”, 10 shot group. I fired over 100 rounds without a hiccup. The one thing I did notice was the hammer bite. I suspected the large ring hammer was going to be painful. The BR9 was going to need some help to make it a shooter.
After this range session, I gave the pistol a more detailed inspection, I found it was not a perfect clone. An email to the importer verified my hunch; two areas were not to Browning Mk lll specifications; the safety/hammer strut and dovetails of the sights. I asked why they did this and were they going to correct these areas. The answers were brief if not blunt; because we did and no we do not plan to; alrighty then. As a Hi Power aficionado I want this pistol to succeed and politely informed the importer not using Browning sight dovetails and safety stud size, they could see sales fall flat. Browning dovetail sights would allow the table top gunsmith to install sights for the cost of the sights. Having non-traditional dovetails adds an extra $200 plus to the job.
Fortunately, Cylinder & Slide has a no bite, Drop-in Trigger Job offered with a safety/hammer strut to fit the BR9 and a Hi Power Wide Trigger were ordered. This helps reduce the felt trigger pull weight. Knowing the way C&S pays attention to details, I was not surprised when all the parts fit perfectly. The trigger pull was reduced to 5 pounds. I chose to keep the OEM mainspring instead of the C&S reduced weight spring that would have reduced the pull weight to 4ish pounds. Keeping the OEM mainspring would help reduce frame to slide impact if shot some hot loads.
The most important part in the DTJ is the no-bite hammer. While the reduced trigger pull is great, the OEM large ring hammer draws blood when shooting. I have had a non-custom Hi Power cut me deeply enough I had to shoot a Glock to finish a class. This incident led me to learn how to modify a ring or tang hammer or just install C&S’s no bite hammer. Even though the BR9/C&S pistol did not bite at the range, I can see the BR9 going to KGB Custom for a beavertail. If I grip too high shooting an action pistol, l know blood will be drawn.
With the trigger pull addressed, it was time to fix the sights. Over the years, I have been a fan of Heinie Sights. They give a sharp clear picture. The Ledge allows you to rack your pistol off your belt or a prop is need be and they are tough as nails. A couple of emails later, the slide was off to Heinie to have sights installed. Normally this is a quick out and back job, but the non-standard dovetails, required Mr. Heinie’s evaluation of the slide. He sent me an email back and told me the slide was not as hard as a Browning or FN slide so the dovetails might not be “Heinie perfect”. I do not know how much better the cuts could have been, they looked outstanding to me. Mr. Heinie we mere mortals appreciate your being so up front about this issue. The Ledge rear and fiber optic front were dead on Point of Aim/Point of Impact at 25 yards. Having Heinie’s Ledge and fiber optic sights installed was around $250, check with Heinie.com for cost and turnaround time.
The last addition to the BR9 was a set of grips from VZ Grips and some anti-skid tape on the back and front straps. This combination gives a rock solid grip surface and it looks good too. I also topped the entire BR9 off with a Woodland Camouflage job using DuraCoat.
Finished pistol in hand it was off to the range. I took test ammunition from Black Hills, Federal, Hornady, Sig Sauer and Super Vel. Bullet weights ranged from 100 to 150 grains. Bullet types were full metal jacket, various hollow points and Black Hills HoneyBadger a solid copper controlled expansion bullet. Even the unique bullet design of the HoneyBadger did not affect feeding. Over 200 rounds were fired and there were no reliability issues.
When it came to accuracy, there was no one stand out. The average size of the 5 shot groups fired at 25 yards was just over 3”. Since many of these groups had a few rounds touching, it is a safe bet this pistol could should 3” groups. At nearly 60, I am more than happy with these groups.
I am hoping our friends at Brownells will be able to get Regent’s importer to change the dovetails and safety strut to a standard Hi Power dimensions. With those two changes the BR9 could become a perfect pistol for the home gunsmith. If you are looking for a quality clone of a Hi Power, get Brownells to deliver the Regent BR9 to your local dealer. With the BR9 you too can get the Hi Power bug. The steel frame and ergonomic design allows you shoot fast, accurately and have fun doing too.