The Hi Power and Hammer Bite


The Hi Power's hammer biting the hand that holds it is not an uncommon problem for quite a few of us. Usually, it is not all that difficult to cure.


This affliction usually occurs when the tip of the hammer spur hits the shooting hand behind the pistol's abbreviated tang. Folks who are bitten by the spur hammer will usually get the same if using the factory ring hammer which is the hammer almost always seen on the Practical out of the box.


Folks bitten by the Hi Power usually fall into three categories:


1.        Those who get hit by the rear of the hammer spur or the lower rear of the factory ring hammer.


2.        Those who get the web of the hand pinched by the rear of the hammer shank and tang.


3.        Those who get bit for the reasons cited in both #1 and #2!



I fall in with the first group and have found that the easiest way to rid myself of this problem is to bob the hammer spur off at about the second lateral serration from the rear of the spur.  This is a small amount, but it makes a huge difference for me.


The hammer on the left is factory and is stock. I bobbed the one shown on the right using a Dremel tool and a cutting wheel and then reshaped using files and stones.  I then cold blued to refinish.  (I heated a small amount of cold blue in a plastic cap in the microwave for a very few seconds and this did help the degreased hammer surface to take an even blue.


Here you can see the bobbed hammer atop the factory. Not much metal is removed, but the relief for me has been very well worth it. I do not find the hammer hard to manipulate with the slightly shortened spur. The miniscule loss of weight doesn't come close to causing light primer strikes. With the original mainspring, the bobbed hammer will fire any 9mm ammo I've tried and probably any in the world.


Usually taking the steps mentioned above will solve hammer bite from the Hi Power for most people.  Another option is to use a C&S Type I ring hammer. This hammer is very similar to the old "Commander" hammer seen on 1911 pistols with the ring being more circular than the FN factory ring hammer. The C&S hammer does not extend as far rearward as the factory hammer.  For those who might be interested, here's the link to the Cylinder & Slide website:


If you pistol has a spur hammer and a good trigger pull, I'd simply bob it.  If you go with the C&S ring hammer, you may need to go with their sear as well.  It seems harder than the factory sear and using their hammer with the factory sear does not result in a stable trigger pull for more than about 2K rounds in my experience although I only tried this combination twice so it can be argued that what I witnessed is statistically invalid.  In both instances I was using  later-production cast FN/Browning sears.  Some well-respected Hi Power gunsmiths disagree with this so it may be that I was simply "lucky" a couple of times.  In any event, such were my experiences and I leave it to the reader to make his own decision and see what happens.  If you get the hammer and the sear, you may very well need a trigger job as well.  This is considerably more expensive than just bobbing the spur or bobbing and having a trigger job done.


If you are in group #2, click to the next page after clicking on the link above to see the C&S "no bite" version of the Type I ring hammer. What it amounts to is that the shank is relieved so that the lower portion of the shank doesn't get close enough to the tang to pinch. These are sold in blue and hard chrome and sets with the hammer and sear are available.


Taking one of the approaches described above usually solves hammer bite problems for folks in groups 1 & 2. A gunsmith can also remove the lower portion of the factory ring hammer should this be desired. This is harder than it looks, especially in reshaping, and I suggest one hire a gunsmith for it. Some gunsmiths can make your existing spur or ring hammer into a "no bite" hammer like the C&S.  If your pistol already has a great trigger pull, but you get pinched all of the time, this is an option that will save you the cost of a trigger job and C&S parts. The relief cut on the shank of a factory spur hammer as well as bobbing it should solve the problem for almost all the folks bitten by their Hi Powers. Ditto using the C&S parts.


If you are "lucky" enough to be one who finds no relief, several of the name Hi Power gunsmiths like Novak's, Bill Laughridge, Don Williams, Ted Yost, or Gartwaite (and others) can weld an extended tang onto your Hi Power.  This is expensive and requires that the frame be refinished, but this will solve the problem.


The C&S Type I abbreviated ring hammer is shown on the 9mm Mk III below the CZ-75.  I'm "lucky" with both guns. Despite its longer tang, I had to bob the spur hammer on the Pre-B CZ-75 to avoid hammer bite.




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