FN’s DAO “Hi Power”

The pistol shown is the DAO version of the "HP-DA". The traditional DA/SA version came out in the '80's circa US military testing for a new 9mm handgun to replace the 1911. This pistol has been an on-again/off-again production item with FN. (Introduced in 1983 but discontinued four years later, but produced again in 1990. I am not sure when production actually ceased last.) I think that it was imported by Browning for a short time as the "Browning DA9" or something similar, but not to be confused with the double-action .380 actually manufactured by Beretta or the "BDA" models made by SIG-Sauer. I have not tried it but I am told that the magazine for the short-production Browning BDM will work in the FN-HP, be they the DA/SA or the DAO version shown.


I bought this one from Cabelas but returned it (unfired) a couple of days later. It came with a standard-capacity 14-shot magazine and one 10-shot. No single-action Hi Power parts will interchange with this pistol or its variants other than the recoil spring; not one. Internally, these are very different pistols. FN is playing off of the Hi Power's name and appearance. Other than similar appearances and the names, the guns are separate designs. (This pistol’s length is 7.9”and is 5.1” tall and the all-steel design weighs just over 2-lbs. The barrel on it is the same length and twist as the “regular” Hi Power: 4.66” and 1:10.)


The pistol’s extractor is very different from the classic Hi Power’s and appears “beefed up”.

Double-action on the example pictured measures a smooth 11-lbs. There is some stacking at the end of the trigger-pull and it has second-strike capability for those interested.

Sights are wider than the steel ones on the single-action Mk III Hi Powers. The ones on the HP-DA (actually in this case: "MK3 HP-DAO9") would not attract a magnet; I believe them to be plastic.

Here you can see the top inside of the slide on the HP-DAO. Note that the barrel cam on this one is round as opposed to the more rounded rectangle-shaped one on the classic Hi Power.

The pistol has a plastic trigger stop dovetailed into the frame behind the trigger. It is fitted nicely in this gun with zero overtravel...at least none that I could feel.


The stock is a wrap-around affair of nylon or plastic and attached with a single screw on the rear ala Makarov pistols. There is no rear grip strap steel frame as on the single-action Hi Power and this gun has a mousetrap-type mainspring rather than a coiled-spring design.


There is no external safety on this pistol. The firing pin retaining plate is in a downward position when the trigger is forward. Its design precludes the firing pin moving. Think of it as the "firing pin lock".

When the trigger is pressed, the retaining plate moves upward and will allow the firing pin to move.

So far as I've been able to find out, some of the Finnish military uses this handgun. I have been unable to locate any supplier of either used parts (or any spare parts) or even any magazines for this design. Unless it miraculously begins being produced again, I see spare parts only becoming rarer with each passing year. (I could be wrong but I do not believe that this pistol has been manufactured since the mid to late '90's.)


The barrel on this FN pistol appears similar to that of the Hi Power and uses the same two locking lugs on top but below, the barrel differs.  It uses an entirely different recoil-spring guide and is not interchangeable with the Hi Power.  This DAO pistol has a serrated front strap. (I cannot be sure but I believe the marks visible above the serrations to be casting marks.  I think this pistol uses a cast frame as do current single-action Mk III pistols.


This “Hi Power’s” magazine is very different with the classic one for the single-action version of the pistol.  They definitely do not interchange.

I returned mine after photographing simply because of the lack of spare parts and extra magazines. Perhaps this is not an issue with others, but be aware that this situation exists. I wish it were otherwise.


Home Browning Hi Power Other Handguns Products FAQs