August 10, 2022

Hi-Point C9 handgun with the 8-round magazine next to the gun

If you’ve ever done a web search for budget handguns, Hi-Point likely was one of the first results. Hi-Point delivers one of the most, if not the most affordable handguns in the market. Prior to conducting this review, I admittedly had never shot a Hi-Point. So, when I was sent the Hi-Point C9 to test, I was excited to see how reliable and accurate it could be — given the low price.

The C9 is the compact model of Hi-Point’s lineup, but it definitely doesn’t fall into the smaller subset of compact pistols. Since it utilizes a blowback design, the slide is large and heavy to help keep the breech closed until the round has exited the barrel. The slide definitely doesn’t help the gun look very compact.

Ryan Domke holding the Hi-Point C9 pistol at an indoor range
With the magazine inserted, the author was just able to get his pinky to rest on the grip.

First Thoughts and Unboxing

The first thing I noticed as I grabbed the Hi-Point C9 at my FFL was how slick the grip was. Thankfully, I was going to be shooting in an indoor and temperature-controlled range where I wouldn’t have to worry about my hands getting wet or sweating too much. However, the grip was actually comfortable and felt proportional given the larger slide. In addition to the grip, I noticed right away how top-heavy it felt, at least to me. It wound up seeming to help with recoil once I started shooting though. So, I wouldn’t say it’s a con.

In the box, you’ll find an eight-round magazine, a rear ghost-ring sight, and the typical lock and reading material. At such a low price point, it was a nice surprise to find the ghost-ring sight included.

Features and Specifications

The Hi-Point C9 features a three-dot sight setup, with an adjustable rear sight. The rear is painted orange while the front is yellow, giving it a nice contrast to quickly focus on the front sight. The colored sights were easy to pick up in brighter conditions, but once light conditions started to dim, it quickly became harder to acquire the target.

The trigger was very unpredictable. With some shots it felt gritty, some it felt smooth, and the break seemed to vary every other pull. The reset was hard to pinpoint without there being a clear indicator of any sort. The only thing I found to be consistent was the trigger pull.

I’m still waiting on my new trigger gauge to come in to verify, but I will say the pull felt lighter than the eight or so pounds that are mentioned. I think some trigger improvements would go a long way, easily warranting a small increase to the price tag in turn.

Drift adjustable rear sight on the hi-Point C9 semi-automatic handgun
The rear sights are adjustable and easy to see in daylight. The author has some reservation whether the paint will last long, but time will tell.

The mag release is textured nicely and easy to manipulate. It didn’t seem to get in the way while shooting. The safety though, which doubles as the slide stop, was really tough to manipulate when testing. I did not have a chance to break it in, so it seemed to stick and catch when flipping it on and off. The slide, as mentioned above, is bulky. Not only is it bulky, but it’s slick and the slide serrations didn’t help much with racking the slide. I was able to rack it fine with a firm grip, but I would have liked to see some more aggressive serrations.

For those of you who enjoy the finer details, here are some quick and dirty specifications.

Caliber: 9mm Luger
6.75 inches
Weight: 29 ounces
Barrel Length: 3.5 inches
3-dot, adjustable

Range Report: Reliability and Accuracy    

Aesthetics and first impressions aside, the range is where my feelings towards the Hi-Point C9 started to change and improve. I had heard the C9 was reliable, but I had my doubts. Much to my surprise, I did not experience even one failure through 250 rounds. I made sure to shoot a mixed bunch of ammo through it that included remanufactured 115-grain FMJ, Blazer Brass 124-grain FJM, and Norma 115-grain JHP. I even went as far as to alternate JHP and FMJ rounds in the same magazine and “dump” a few mags quickly that way… still no issues.

paper target with four target zones showing the groupings at various distances
Once the author pushed the target to farther than 15 feet, accuracy quickly began to diminish. It could have been operator error, but the groupings were worse than expected.

I wish the accuracy was as impressive as the reliability, but it also could have been operator error. My first grouping out of the box at 10 feet was a little low and to the left, but very tight. I had a brief burst of confidence through 15 feet, but it was short-lived. By 21 and 30 feet, I was shooting groups near the 60-inch mark, which for me is not up to par. Again, some of my shooting could have been attributed to having a couple off days. I don’t think I’ll be entering any competitions with the Hi-Point C9.

Overall Impressions

If you’ve read this far, you should probably just order a C9 and test it for yourself. In all seriousness, for a $200 gun that is American-made, the Hi-Point C9 delivers. Due to the reliability (from historical reputation and the start to my own personal testing), I can see the C9 serving well for someone as a truck gun, garage gun, or the like. As far as carrying goes, I think the heftiness and lower capacity would not be ideal, so I would not recommend it for that purpose. If you’re on a tight budget and are looking for a gun that’s going to go bang! when you need it to, I suggest you check out the C9 for yourself.

Have you ever shot any of the Hi-Point models? If so, did you find them to be reliable like the C9 the author reviewed? Share your answers in the comment section.

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