Why are Hi Point Slides So Heavy

  1. christophereger
    For those Hi-Point owners and aficionados out there, one thing quickly sets your pistol apart from others such as the SIG, Glock, and S&W, is the huge heavy slide. Why is it so large and thick? Let's take a look at that.

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    Blowback Retardation

    When a round fires in a semi-automatic handgun, the slide cycles back and in this movement ejects the spent cartridge case, and inserts a new round from the magazine into the chamber. Most of these are either recoil-operated (such as in the Colt 1911 or Glock) or blowback operated (such as in the Walther PPK or Makarov). A recoil-operated pistol has a barrel that pivots or swivels or moves to some extent when fired, whereas a blowback-operated pistol has the barrel permanently locked to the frame and doesn't move. Blowback action is normally reserved for lower powered cartridges as the action uses the weight of the slide to retard (slow) the action before the spring forces it back into battery.

    The more stout the cartridge, the heavier the slide needs to be. Hence, in a 9mm or 45ACP chambered locked-breech blowback pistol, you need a massively heavy slide. To save on cost and machining, while still delivering a reliable product, Hi-Point uses a ZAMAK alloy slide.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lX0MB7pJtKs

    As Boris the Blade would say, "Weight is a sign of reliability. If it doesn't work, you can always hit him with it!"

    What is ZAMAK anyway?

    Hi-Point pistol slides are made of ZAMAK-3, a non-ferrous (won't attract a magnet) Zinc-Aluminum Alloy (ZnAl4) that is popular in the die-cast industry. Usually ZA3 is 96% pure zinc coupled with a blend of 4% aluminum, magnesium, and copper. A pinch of iron, cadmium, and tin are also thrown in for flavor. It has a melting point of 718-728F and can be electroplated, wet painted, and chromate conversion coated well. It is the easiest alloy to cast, has extremely high ductility, and high impact strength, and a tensile strength of 40,000 lbs. While many zinc alloys are popularly referred to as pot metal, monkey metal, or white metal, ZA3 is held too much higher industrial standards, so don't confuse the two. More than 70% of all North American zinc die-castings are made from ZA3, whereas China is the leading exporter of lesser 'pot metal' types of zinc alloys. Many commercial items such as oxygen tank wrench keys, exterior door handles, gearshift handles, seat belt components, and others are made of ZA3. Don't get me wrong, it's not steel, but it's not a true pot metal either. Nevertheless, Hi-Point adds steel to the frame for extra strength and uses steel barrels and other components, but the bulk of the slide is ZA3.

    This leads to a certain indestructibility of the design.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FoWpog5KU4

    Cleaning

    Hi-Point recommends hosing out the action with a powder solvent like break free powder blast or another aerosol solvent after every firing. The manual states that every 300-400 rounds the barrel should be brushed free of debris by running a few cleaning patches through the barrel. Full disassembly and cleaning is only recommended after every 1500-2000 rounds. That is relatively low-maintenance. Especially when you consider that SIG recommends cleaning their handguns after every 250-rounds and Taurus every 200.

    The neat thing about these guns is that all Hi-Point firearms carry a lifetime, "no-questions asked warranty." Whether you are the original purchaser, or the third-hand owner, your Hi-Point firearm will be repaired free of charge.

    The slide may be heavy, but the guns work, and for the price are hard to beat.

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