View Full Version : Who made the commonwealth's Hi-Powers?

February 12, 2014, 13:24
Were they all made in Canada? Did GB, Australia etc make their own domestically?

February 12, 2014, 16:36
The British and Australian Hi-Powers that I've seen were all made by FN.

February 13, 2014, 15:46
No xpert on HP's, but heard that FN saw the Germans coming somewhere around 1939 and sent the drawings and permission to manufacture the HP to Canada. John Inglis of Toronto got the contract to produce the pistols for the allies, including China. The Chinese pistols had a serial number that indicated the China contract, but not all these pistols were delivered and some of the Chinese pistols ended up in the commonwealth supply. I don't know of any other armories making them.

Given the Nazi's on the doorstep situation at the time, Canada would be the best choice to gear up to make the HP's. Britain was kinda "iffy" in those days.

I think the Commonwealth HP's were MK I's up until 1962 and became L9?? (L9NI) ? after that year. Don't remember the new designation. :sad:

Retired Bum
February 13, 2014, 23:12
The Belgian Army adopted the FN P35 aka High Power in 1935. After completing the contract FN started marketing the pistol to foreign customers. The Nationalist Chinese wanted the P35 and so did Greece as well as others. But the German invasion of Belgium in May 1940 put the kibosh to those sales. The FN executive staff fled Belgium and went to France. But the German Army invaded France and so the FN staff then fled to the UK.

The FN exec's offered to manufacture the P35 for the UK military if the British could provide the means to do so. But in the summer of 1940 the UK was facing invasion and it wasn't possible to divert badly needed resources to the FN offer. So in due course the FN exec's sailed for Canada along with all the master drawings and technical data on the P35.

They settled in Montreal, Quebec and started talking to the people at the Inglis factory. A lot of problems had to be taken care of before production could commence. All of the master drawing measurements were in metric and they had to be converted to the English decimal inch system because all of the machine tools needed for production were set up for the decimal system. A new wing to the factory had to be built, machine tools acquired, and workers hired and trained. All of this took time but finally in Feb 1944 production began on the High Power pistols. As noted the factory started turning out HP's with the tangent rear sight and the shoulder stock for the Nationalist Chinese. On a side note when these pistols made it to China the troops had a habit of burning the stocks for firewood.....

Other pistols were produced for Canadian and British forces. The bulk of the 200,000 pistols produced went to China. Production ceased shortly after the end of the war. The British forces went back to their Enfield .38 revolvers and it wasn't until 1957 that it was replaced by the P35. All of the UK's P35's were produced in Herstal although the new Mark III's were assembled in Portugal. To the best of my knowledge all the UK Commonwealth's P35's were made by FN.

And so it goes.

The Retired One