Lifespan of a Hi Point
Posted Dec 12th 2012 | By:
The Hi-Point pistols and carbines have earned a reputation for rugged reliability under almost all circumstances. They have endured any number of extreme torture tests that have included being run over multiple times with a truck, spun like a slingshot high in the air, severely overcharged cartridges, rifle brass hammered into barrel and fired overcharged cartridge multiple times, 3/8 inch hardened bolt hammered into barrel and fired with overcharged cartridges, twice, and others. After all this, it is generally accepted that it is a rather tough nut to crack. Now let us look at how long one is expected to last.
Design and materials
The Hi-Point design in both pistol and carbine variants use a straight blowback operation rather than locked breech. This saves on some parts and labor in the manufacturing process which in turn contributes to the fact that the firearms some of the most affordable on the market. The downside to this design is that the slide must be massive enough to take the punishment that is ordinarily dished out to a breech lock. This makes the slide much larger than a locked breech weapon and the failure point is almost always with the slide or slide rails. MKS/Beemiller/Hi-Point uses Zamak-3, a zinc alloy similar to the material found in doorknobs on closet doors for the slide.
A broken zinc Walther slide. It happens.
While this is heavier than polymer, it's still not steel and zinc slides are generally seen to have a failure point of about 5000-10,000 rounds in a centerfire gun. Even in rimfire firearms that take much lower pressures such as the zinc-slide equipped Walther P22 distributed by Smith and Wesson here in the United States, it is common for the slide to break or become excessively worn after 10,000-15,000 rounds of much lighter .22LR. The similarly designed SIG Mosquito suffers the same problem. It's an issue of stress fractures in cast zinc slides, not in quality.
Worn out Hi-Points are rather common in our forums. One recent thread highlights typical failures of carbines around the 4,000 round mark and the occasional extreme wear seen as early as the 400-round mark when using rather stiff ammo. Since 2011, Hi-Point has included longer rail inserts in the striker channel of its carbines to strengthen these little wonders up to live past the 4-6,000 round mark. This firing pin channel has been documented to break at around that point previously. Another thread has a user who sees his firing pin channel deformed into an hourglass shape on his C9 pistol after every 2000 or so rounds.
Excessive wear on a 995TS carbine (photo by Yeoldetool for the Hi-Point Firearms Forums)
With proper maintenance and cleaning these failure points can be alleviated and the life span extended. Some report good results with a heavy motor assembly lube like Lubriplate 105 on these channels when used after every firing session.
Even with a lifespan of 2000-10,000 rounds due to the materials and design of a Hi-Point firearm, that is not all together bad. Even if firing a box of ammunition every single week in practice, this allows for a four-year lifespan before you should start to really worry about the firearm's integrity. Many shooters only have a chance to make it to the range 3-4 times per year and by this guideline a Hi-Point could have as much as 60-years of life. By comparison, the US military discards their steel-slide $600 MSRP Beretta M9 (92F) pistols after a 5,000 round service life. Smith and Wesson does not warranty their $300 Walther P22 past one year, seemingly in hope that the user will not fire 10,000 rounds of .22 in 52 weeks.
Hi-Point offers a transferable no-questions-asked warranty service on their guns for life, so if you ever do manage to wear the thing out then just send it back to Mom, and they'll make it right.
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