POTD: High Capacity, Eventually High Gloss – The Hi Power
Welcome to today’s Photo of the Day! Here we have a very well-known handgun that needs little introduction. This is the Browning Hi Power. Also known as the P35, P-35, HP, HP-35, BHP, 9mm Pistole 640(b), Grande Puissance, and Grand Rendement. I am sure there are many others, but you get the idea. This handy little pistol is one of history’s most fantastic and beloved sidearms. A well-liked pistol by civilians but really shining as a military and police pistol in over 70 countries and still serving today. The Hi Power has had countless manufacturers, reproductions, and clones. The one pictured today is a very early Hi Power from 1936. Make sure to look out for an upcoming Curious Relics on the Hi Power starting on Wednesday the 15th (6/15/2022).
“This is an excellent example of a very rare pre-war Estonian “Home-Guard” contract Browning High-Power pistol as produced by FNH. In 1936 the country of Estonia placed an order for 120 HP pistols with a second order for an additional quantity of 5,338 in 1937. All pistols received an Estonian property mark but were issued to two different groups within Estonia. The Army received approximately 3,038 and were marked with a large “E.V.” on the back strap, which stood for “Eesti-Vabarik” of Republic of Estonia. The second group, was for 2,300 pistols and were intended for the “Home-Guard”, as in this case and were marked on the back with “K.L.” which stood for “Kaitseliit” or Home-Guard. Both groups of pistols had the standard slide and frame markings, as well as all the early pre-war features such as the tangent rear sight and slotted back strap with stacked serial numbers. These are a very rare pistol as most were stored in the arsenal in Tallinn with most of them confiscated by the Russians during and after WWII. This specific pistol is accompanied by an original Estonian contract leather holster and shoulder strap. It should be noted that within this auction there is also an original “Estonian Army” contract Belgium High Power pistol also for sale. Certainly this is your chance to acquire both rare models.”
Lot 540: Fabrique Nationale 1935 Pistol 9 mm Luger. (n.d.). Rock Island Auction Company. photograph. Retrieved June 13, 2022, from https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/56/540/fabrique-nationale-1935-pistol-9-mm-luger.