Modernizing the Browning High Power: Teaching an Old Dog Some New Tricks

By Alton P. Chiu

The Browning High Power (hereafter BHP) is a venerable design with a proven record that is worthy of a place in any collection.

However, its excellent performance belies its 80 years of age evident in its ergonomics. Following up the author’s observations in The Sun Never Sets on the Browning High Power, Part 1 (see this issue), this article examines how the shortfalls can be addressed with user-changeable parts from Cylinder & Slide (http://www.cylinder-slide.com/) on a surplus MkII BHP.


On a BHP, it is difficult to achieve a thumbs-high, thumbs-forward grip. This is in part due to the lack of a shelf to ride on the original thumb safety and is addressed by Cylinder & Slide’s extended ambidextrous safety (CS0034). The sharp corners of the abbreviated beavertail can also cause discomfort during a high grip for some hands but is difficult for the typical user to remedy at home.

The single-action trigger system of the BHP, while not a deficiency, can discourage those weary of a “cocked and locked” pistol. The Safe Fast Shooting (SFS) system, available from Cylinder & Slide (CS0115), decocks the hammer and adds a firing pin block. The safety lever of the SFS acts as a recocker which releases the hammer back to cocked state and allows the transmission of spring energy to the primer. The kit also contains an improved slide stop, ambidextrous thumb safety and an abbreviated hammer that will alleviate any hammer bite problems.

The BHP is also not too left-hand friendly. The right side of the axial pin on the original safety extended past the lever just enough to irritate the thumb, and the aforementioned Cylinder & Slide extended safety removed that annoyance. The ambidextrous magazine release (CS0117) also significantly helps left-handed users because the magazines do not drop freely and require a positive removal. The original release forces left-handers to use the trigger finger which may require a shift in grip and can slow the reloading process. The slide release itself cannot be made ambidextrous because it...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V21N2 (March 2017)
and was posted online on January 27, 2017


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