Hi-Point C9 9mm Pistol: Viable Option for Defensive Use?

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by David Crane


And, speaking of pistols, here at DefenseReview, we carry Glock pistols (primarily G19s and G30s), HK P7s (HKP7M13, specifically), custom Browning Hi-Powers, and custom 1911s. Recently though, we’ve considered adding one of the Springfield XD .45 pistols (.45ACP pistols made by Springfield Armory) to the mix, since they’ve been getting rave reviews from a number of very knowledgable professional contacts. Not only is the Spingfield XD .45 reliable, but it’s also reportedly very strong with a well-supported chamber, so it can handle some pretty high-pressure ammo.

The reason I’m going into all that is to give the reader an idea of our tastes when it comes to pistols. I’m about to write about a pistol I never thought I would, and I do it with some trepidation. Gunwriter Paul Markel recently wrote a rather positive article on the…

Hi-Point C9 9mm pistol for the "Combat Test" section of the November 2006 issue of Combat Handguns magazine, titled "Hi-Point C9 9mm: A no-nonsense, no-frills sureshot you can bet your life on!" Wow. That’s quite a title. The article surprised us. Apparently, Mr. Markel was pretty impressed with the C9. In his testing, Mr. Markel fired Federal 124-grain Hydra-Shok, Cor-Bon 125-grain JHP, and Winchester USA roundnose/hardball through the Hi-Point C9 with zero gun-related malfunctions.

Markel actually experienced two non-gun-related/operator-error-type malfunctions. The first happened when he inadvertently hit the magazine release button with his right-hand thumb. When the magazine released, the safety engaged. Markel re-seated the magazine, racked the slide, and he was back in business. The second malfunction happened after he changed his grip after the first malfunction and attempted to use a high-thumb grip. Markel’s thumbs contacted the slide and impinged slide cycling during the recoil stroke. Markel "tapped and racked", and he was back in the game, again.

While those two malfunctions do tend to indicate operator-error, it’s also possible for a gun to have ergonomic deficiencies that can lead to these types of malfunctions. However, Markel didn’t write about any such ergonomic problems with the C9.

Markel only tested the C9 at 10 yards, since, in his words, "this gun is not a 25-yard bench gun". He proceed to write that the sights "were right on from the factory", "the gun was pretty darn accurate", and that "the rounds went exactly where they were supposed to go." He wasn’t any more specific than that, so Defense Review doesn’t know how many inches the test rounds went into at the 10-yard distance.

Bottom line is, while he described it as the "anti-BBQ gun" (a "BBQ gun" being the kind of gun you show off at a barbeque), Markel liked the Hi-Point C9 for what it was, and essentially recommended it for anyone who presumably doesn’t have the approx. $500 necessary to purchase a pistol like the Glock 19 or Springfield XD series. So, what’s suggested retail on the Hi-Point C9 9mm pistol? $140. No that’s not a misprint.

Hi-Point C9 Pistol Specs:

Weight (dry/empty): 25 oz.
OA Length: 6.75 inches
Barrel length: 3.5 inches
Caliber: 9mm
Capacity: 8-shot box mag
Sights: 3-dot, fully adjustable rear
Safety: Frame mounted manual, left side
Action: SA (Single-Action)
Grips: Polymer
Price: $140

While DefenseReview still recommends that the reader save up for a Glock 19 (G19), Springfield XD (9mm, .40 S&W, or .45ACP), Smith & Wesson 5906 (9mm), or some other more expensive pistol if he/she needs a ready-out-of-the-box carry gun for serious social purposes (CCW, home defense, etc.), the C9 may just be worth taking a look at by those who need an inexpensive pistol in short order and simply can’t get $500 or more together for those more expensive pistols in the requisite amount of time, or if one is just looking for an inexpensive plinker for recreational shooting. However, DefRev simply can’t recommend the Hi-Point C9, at this point. We haven’t handled it, shot it, or even seen it in person, yet. And, the $149 price tag doesn’t exactly instill confidence with regard to perceived quality. We’re not saying the C9 isn’t a quality handgun. It might be. However, DefenseReview has found that in general, you get what you pay for in this life.

I decided to write about the C9, since I have a tendency to be somewhat of a snob when it comes to combat pistols, and I wanted to try to defy that a little bit, here. Time will tell if the C9 is actually worth the ink I’ve just given it. We’re going "Fox News" on this one–we report, you decide.

Editor’s Note: DefenseReview isn’t really crazy about the Springfield XD’s grip safety. We’d prefer to see the gun without it, and our specific preference would for either a frame-mounted sweep-down thumb safety (manual safety) a la 1911 pistol or a front-situated grip safety a la HK P7 pistol series or Beretta PM12S2 submachine gun.

Hi-Point C9 9mm Pistol: Viable Option for Defensive Use? by

About David Crane

David Crane started publishing online in 2001. Since that time, governments, military organizations, Special Operators (i.e. professional trigger pullers), agencies, and civilian tactical shooters the world over have come to depend on Defense Review as the authoritative source of news and information on "the latest and greatest" in the field of military defense and tactical technology and hardware, including tactical firearms, ammunition, equipment, gear, and training.

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