The Browning Hi Power and the Magazine "Safety"


Fans of the Browning Hi Power frequently debate the merit of the magazine disconnect present in most Hi Powers except some made during Nazi occupation when they were not included in the pistols.  We will probably never know from FN, but it is possible that some special order runs did not have the part.  Generally speaking, all commercial Hi Powers have the thing.


For those who don't know what this does, it simply requires the magazine, empty or not, to be in the gun before the hammer can be dropped by pressing the trigger. Unfortunately, on most Hi Powers this makes the trigger pull heavier and grittier. Unless the magazine has the mousetrap type spring on the follower to eject it, the magazine "safety" usually prevents the magazine dropping from the pistol when released.


Proponents of the magazine safety offer the following arguments in favor of leaving the device intact:


1.        A Hi Power gunsmith can put a good trigger pull on a Hi Power without removing the magazine "safety".

2.        Removal might result in possible criminal or civil charges in the event of a "bad" shooting.

3.        If in a hand-to-hand struggle over the pistol, it could be disabled by releasing the magazine and might prevent its owner from being shot with his own Hi Power.

4.        Some say the trigger return is altered or diminished with the removal of the magazine "safety."


Proponents in favor of its removal suggest:


1.      Its removal frequently reduces trigger pull up to about 15%.  It tends to alleviate "grittiness" and might eliminate a trigger job.                       

2.        Magazines usually drop free with the removal of the magazine disconnect.

3.        You could fire the pistol at least once without the magazine under emergency conditions.

4.        In the event of a shooting, your Hi Power without the magazine "safety" is no less "safe" than a 1911, SIG-Sauer, Beretta 92, Glock, Springfield XD, and so forth.


I fall with those who remove the magazine disconnect. Don't let that mean that you should be, too.  It's an individual choice and one that can be argued either way. I do not believe that the magazine disconnect being out will affect the legal outcome of an otherwise good shooting.  In the event of an accidental shooting by a kid or some unauthorized person handling the pistol, the magazine safety's removal might very well allow the complainant to prevail in a civil suit. I'm aware of no criminal cases being filed or won in which any citizen deliberately shot another with a Hi Power not having a magazine "safety." I'm personally aware of a couple or three of these and the magazine disconnect was never an issue. That was several years ago, too, so things could have changed. I still believe that if it's brought up in a deliberate shooting incident, it can be successfully argued away. If you want to avoid that altogether, don't remove it.





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