FN has a bunch of new pistols on the table. Perhaps most importantly, they’ve just re-introduced the classic Hi-Power Pistol in Mk III configuration. This, of course, used to be known as the Browning Hi-Power Mk III, but Browning’s name will no longer be on the gun. Now, it’s called the FN HP-SA. FN is apparently working with members of The Crucible training center, run by Kelly McCann, and Tom Kivlehan out of Guntek, in order to improve the Hi-Power a little bit.
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The most important and necessary change would of course be the addition of an extended beavertail tang, in order to prevent hammer bite(particularly when having to draw and shoot the weapon quickly) and improve recoil control and recovery time while shooting fast strings. It would also enhance the appearance of the piece, and obviate the need to have this added later by a gunsmith. An extended beavertail is one of the single most expensive procedures offered by moste Hi-Power smiths. The new HP-SA will be available in both 9mm and .40 cal.
The second new pistol is the HP-DA, which stands for Hi-Power Double Action. This gun was developed back in the early 80’s, but was never introduced to the public. Geared primarily for the law enforcement market, the HP-DA will only be sold through FNMI’s law enforcement distributors. The gun will take a 15 round magazine(available to law enforcement only), up two rounds from the single action version. Also, what appears to be a safety is actually a decocking lever that is in the same position as the safety on the single-action Hi-Power or 1911, right under the shooter’s thumb. This places the decocker in a superior position to most competing designs, including the Sig. For now, the HP-DA will only be available in 9mm. A .40 cal version may be offered in the future if public demand is high enough.
FN’s Forty Nine Pistol is obviously intended to compete with guns like the Glock 22/23 and 17/19 handguns, Walther P99/Smith & Wesson SW99, and Steyer M9/S9. It utilizes something called an RSS Firing System. RSS stands for "Repeatable Secure Sriker" which basically mean the striker remains totally at rest until the trigger is pulled, while at the same time allowing the shooter to restrike a round that fails to fire on the first pull of the trigger, without having to retract the slide slightly, as has to be done on the Glock and other guns mentioned. In other words, the Forty Nine does not use the slide’s action to partically cock the striker. As far as I know, the Forty Nine is currently only offered in .40 cal.
The last new gun is the FN Five-seveN Tactical model. This new incarnation of the Five-SeveN has been designed to meet the needs of law enforcement counterterrorism units. Basically what FN did was improve the trigger by shortening and lightening it, and adding a frame-mounted manual sweep-down safety located ambidextrously above the trigger area, so that it can be disengaged quickly with the index finger of the shooting hand. Like the previous model, the new Tactical model holds twenty rounds of the highly restricted 5.7x28mm round in it’s magazine, allowing an operator to carry 21 rounds in the gun with one up the pipe.
Combat Handguns has a good article on the new FN HP-SA in their February, 2002 issue that’s worth reading.
And, if you click on this link, it will take you directly to FN Manufacturing Inc.’s pistol page on their website.