Why No 45-Caliber Hi Power?

“Why are there no Hi Powers in .45 ACP?”

This question pops up in both printed media as well as Internet firearm forums.  I can come up with a couple of reasons.  One is simply that the .45 ACP’s physical dimensions are too large for the relatively petite Hi Power.  Early prototypes of the Hi Power were larger than the finalized 9mm version.

45vs9mmsizewithmags 002.JPG

In traditional trim, .45 ACP FMJ weighs 230 grains versus the 9x19mm’s 115 or 124 grains.  The .45 ACP has a maximum length of 1. 275”, case mouth width of 0.473” and measures 0.480” across the base.  The 9x19mm’s maximum length overall is 1.169”.  The case mouth is 0.380” wide and the base measures 0.394”. The picture above graphically shows these differences in cartridge dimensions in my opinion.

45vs9mmsizewithmags 014.JPG

On the left is a 9mm FMJ in a Hi Power magazine compared to a .45 ACP in a Colt 7-round magazine. That the .45 ACP magazine is longer for the larger round is obvious.  It also becomes clear that a double-stack would add quite a bit of width to the magazine.  Frame dimensions for the Hi Power would have to be significantly changed for a .45 ACP Hi Power whether the magazine was single or double-stack.

45vs9mmsizewithmags 020.JPG

There’s just not enough steel in the existing barrels chambered for 9mm or .40 S&W to safely hold the wider .45 ACP.  Barrel dimensions would have to be increased, which would lead to significantly increasing slide width, altering the breech face and possibly slide length.  We wind up with a much altered Hi Power probably having a much different feel and handling characteristics.  With the 9mm’s popularity in most of the world, such changes are probably not considered financially feasible.

I am not at all sure how popular a .45 ACP Hi Power would be in the western hemisphere where its Browning-inspired sibling, the 1911-pattern pistol, still ranks as “top dog” in that caliber. I feel sure that this has not escaped the attention of the good folks at Fabrique Nationale.

Though the trim Hi Power could be bulked up for a .45 ACP version, it is probably never going to happen for one would essentially have to rework the entire pistol to wind up with a single-action autoloader having to compete with the thoroughly entrenched 1911-type pistols.  Such changes would alter the “feel” of the Hi Power in a fashion similar to the 9mm/.40 CZ-75’s versus the .45 ACP CZ-97.

I just don’t think it will happen. Maybe…if the 1911 didn’t exist, but as we all know, it does and in my opinion remains a most comfortable, long-lived and shootable forty-five autopistol.  It just fills the “single-action .45 ACP” niche too well for a 45-caliber Hi Power to topple.

Let’s enjoy our 9mm and 40-caliber Hi Powers…and 1911.45 ACP’s.


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