Hi-Point C9 Review: Is the price worth the performance?

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.

  • Hi-Point C9 handgun with the 8-round magazine next to the gun
  • close up of the trigger on the Hi-point C9 pistol
  • Orange rear and yellow front post sight picture of the Hi-Point C9 pistol
  • Ryan Domke holding the Hi-Point C9 pistol at an indoor range
  • Drift adjustable rear sight on the hi-Point C9 semi-automatic handgun
  • paper target with four target zones showing the groupings at various distances

About the Author:

Ryan Domke

Ryan Domke is a freelance writer, photographer and social media consultant with a passion for guns and tactical gear. He works with some of the largest manufacturers in the firearms industry, allowing him the opportunity to continuously learn from and knowledge share with the 2A community. When he’s not spending time with his family, you’ll likely find him at the range or starting a new DIY project. If you’d like to check out some of his other content, you can find him on Instagram at (@TheGuyGearReview).
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (24)

  1. I have owned a C9 for over ten years. Shoots reliably with all ammo except steel and some hollow points. However, that is after I had to do some mods to the magazines and some polishing of the feed ramp. I own many different brands of pistols. I never had to do anything to any other of my guns or magazines to make them work correctly. Not saying that it is not reliable, but I may have to call “BS” on the people saying this is their gun that never fails.

  2. I enjoy my HP C9, it has been 100% reliable and the price was nice. Great to buy American and its accuracy is great…I have laser attached…eyes ain’t what they used to be…good for vehicle/carry/home defense/self defense. Happy 4th to all Patriots.

  3. I had the .45 cal. It was a great first gun. I almost never took care of it and it always shot. Not a single misfire in the time I owned it.

  4. I have both the C9, at the 995 carbine. I received an NRA marksman ship award with a s&w model 19. My first time on the range with the c9, after 8 rounds, I had 1 hole in the bottom left corner. I had to learn how to shoot it! Now I can say, it is very accurate, and combined with an Alien gear tuck holster, I have carried it concealed for over five years. However, It doesn’t like steel casings.

  5. I had a 40s&w version of the full size and I couldn’t hit a barn with it at about 30 feet. Why does the plastic gun feel so cheap as compared to quality manufacturers out there??? The glocks and Springfield Armory are plastic guns but they feel great and the hipoints feels like a cheap throw away.

  6. I had a 40s&w version of the full size and I couldn’t hit a barn with it at about 30 feet. Why does the plastic gun feel so cheap as compared to quality manufacturers out there??? The glocks and Springfield Armory are plastic guns but they feel great and the hipoints feels like a cheap throw away.

  7. I bought the 45 acp 4.5 barrel no issues definitely a tank but accuracy was good no problems with different ammo won’t win any beauty contests got it for a truck gun I am quite happy for the price and extra mags don’t break the bank it came with the ghost sight which is what I put on it

  8. I’ve owned a C9 for years now and while they may not be beauty queens, they are reliable. I’ve heard all about how heavy and ugly they are but the work like a sewing machine and eat everything you feed it. I have some guns that are prettier, but none more reliable.

  9. I have the JHP 45. As noted, it is a “brick”, but I’m a skinny (old) guy with broom-stick wrists and don’t find the weight to be an issue. Recoil and muzzle rise are pretty much nil (no doubt due to the heavy slide). One quirk it took a minute to get used to was a feeling of “frame twist”. That could be purely in my imagination or maybe the poly frame does have a little give? All I know is I don’t get that sensation with my 1911. The accuracy seems just fine – it’s as accurate as I am, which is to say “acceptable”, lol.
    Overall, I like it just fine. It’ll hold down a stack of paperwork in the strongest wind, you could probably knock a bear out using it as a club, and, oh yeah, it goes “bang” every single time. The $147 I paid new didn’t hurt my feelings or wallet either. But as pointed out, for “concealed carry”, this ain’t it…

  10. I have a .45 pistol and carbine also the 9mm pistol and carbine, shot alot through both sets with no problems at all. The pistols are heavy and bulky, on the upside when you are out of ammo they make a nice club so you can fight to the end. The carbines are a real kick and everyone wants to take a look at them when they see I have one. They are all four bullet launchers and will do it every time. I am very happy to have all four.

  11. I have fired both the C9 and the TS995 Carbine in the past.

    The C9 I bought as a divorced dad paying CS more then 10 years ago. Probably closer to 15 but anyway I needed a budget gun. The C9 at the time proved to be a jam o matic. Actually ended up shipping it back to HP for fixes. it was better when it got back but as soon as I could afford it I moved up to a name brand gun and later sold the C9. Ironically I bought the carbine and it has been flawless never jammed on me in well over a decade plus of ownership. I surprises me how the carbine could be so good and my C9 so poor at the time from the same company.

  12. I’ve had a C9 for a while now, and mostly because it’s cheap. The gun is reliable enough, but the one issue that pushed this one to a drawer gun for me was the mag release. I found that it was easily hit while shooting, which as you could imagine, is not ideal. Obviously it creates jams and the like. Also, yes, it is heavy up top. Again, that’s why for me it’s a drawer gun, not something I celebrate or carry. Cheap and forgettable.

  13. I own 3 Hi-Point guns : the .380, .45 cal pistols and also one .45 carbine. I am impressed by the accuracy of shot placement accuracy and low recoil of all three. There are those who declare that Hi-Point guns are ugly, but I don’t think so. The are just a little bigger and heavier. I am sure that is what helps with recoil. I, too, had an issue with a wrong sized magazine. It was my fault for the mistake and i waited too long to try to get it straightened out. No problem with them as they swapped out the wrong one with the size I needed. Good company!

  14. Have a couple .45 Hi-Point handguns. They are easy to shoot accurately due to the weight of the pistol. It’s a big ugly gun that will get you some sarcastic comments from gun snobs but anyone who owns one or has had the pleasure of shooting them knows that the gun is an incredible value. As far as reliability and in the 10+ years I’ve owned the Hi-Points, I don’t think I’ve ever had a failure with the exception of a squib round that would not fire out of any gun.

    It’s a great first gun or to have but would not recommend as a concealed carry due to the bulk. If it’s what you can afford, try to make it work. It may save your life if needed.

    The downside to me other than the looks and bulk is the single stack magazine. That’s fine if you live in a non-friendly 2A state that restricts magazine size but I’m not a fan.

  15. I agree with Eugen in that I own a Hi-Point 9mm carbine and we use it to play tic-tax-toe a 15 feet. Very accurate and fun. I done need a C9 but think I will give one a try.

  16. With over 6000 rounds through my 40 cal hipoint without a single failure to fire I can never complain about the gun. It’s ugly, it’s heavy, it only holds 10 rounds but it goes bang every time. A friend of mine had the 45 version that he carried in Afghanistan because it was the only pistol that always worked for him.

  17. You mentioned “… I was shooting groups near the 60-inch mark”. I really hope you meant six inches, not 60 inches. Either way, those groups are terrible.

  18. I own five Hi-Points, 2 carbines in .40 and .45 and three pistols in 9mm, .40 and .45. The rifles are plinkers, good for some range time. The pistols are car/truck guns, often used when I travel to a venue where firearms are not allowed but I still want to have a firearm in the vehicle traveling to and from a location. I also own Rugers, S&Ws and Sigs as my first-choice, go-to weapons.

    Being so inexpensive I won’t be put out that much if someone breaks into my vehicle and makes off with my Hi-Point. I won’t like it but I will only be out less than $200. It is better than losing a $900. favorite to some thief.

    Hi-Points shoot well enough and are reliable. They are not suited for CCW but can serve in other capacities and have the advantage of going ‘bang’ when you pull the trigger, gritty or not. Its accuracy is sufficient at close quarters.

  19. I just bought my fourth Hi-Point and I enjoy firing each one. I haven’t had any issues at all. Yes, they have a little heft to them but they are on point every shot. The author failed to mention their outstanding, TRANSFERRABLE, no questions asked lifetime warranty. I’m very happy with my Hi-Point pistols. Just as happy as I am with my Rugers, Barettas, and others that are in my inventory.

  20. I have a 995ST carbine that is every bit as accurate at 35 yards as my CZSCORPION EVO 3 that sells for $1000.

  21. I like shooting the gun….which is the main point of having one. I have purchased 3 of them….have owned them for about 9 years without a failure….Use it as home defense backup and target shooting mostly….also good for vehicle gun…concealed carry I go with Walther or Springfield XD. I also own Hi-Point 9mm carbine….that is almost like plinking with a .22. Very fun to shoot!

  22. I have a number of pistols, Kimbers, Colts, Rugers, Rock Island Arms, SAR, to Kel-Tech and Hi-Points. From new to used, and I enjoy them all. What I like about Hi-Point besides their price, they will fix it and it doesn’t matter if you bought it new or used. I bought a C9 at a on-line auction, along with two other C9’s, but hadn’t read the description that close, that it was being sold as for parts or for a gunsmith who may want to rebuild it. When I received it from my FFL dealer, Most of the internal parts in the slide were gone, and a rubber band was holding the slide on the frame of the gun. Knowing that Hi-Point has a great Warrenty program, I called them, and explained what I bought, and asked what it would cost to have them repair or, sell me the missing parts, so I could make repairs myself. The Lady who answered the customer service line explained, if I had it mailed to them, them would make any repairs, and would check over all of the existing parts to make sure nothing else needed replaced, and would also check the magazine, so send it also. If the magazine was bad they would replace it free also. After repairing, they would pay to ship it back, and also send an additional magazine, to help offset the shipping I had paid, to send it to them. This was about a week ago, so I haven’t got it back yet, but I was amazed by a warranty that covers everything at no cost to the owner.
    I know many other firearms have great Warrenty for the original owner, but haven’t heard of too many that last for ever, and cover about any needed repairs. Thank you Hi-Point, I haven’t shot one yet, but have about a dozen various caliber pistols and a couple carbines.

  23. I agree with the author for the most part. However, the accuracy on my C9 at 10 yards (30FT) is very good. I can put all 8 rounds on paper.
    My Hi Point JHP .45 ACP, is EXTREMELY accurate. I can put all 9 rounds within a 3 inch group at 10 yards (30 FT). I do have a Taurus G2 and a SCCY. However Hi Point is the better bang for the buck. You just can’t beat them for the money.

  24. For so many people needing a gun to defend the home and on a strict budget- the HP is an across the table gun. Good review!

    I would spend about 400 and get a SAR 9 or something of the type- but then for some young and old that is out of the budget. The HP serves a purpose.

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