The Hi-Point carbine is a credible home defender, a good recreational shooter, and in a pinch, it will do for small game at modest range. I was surprised at the low price and by the performance of this firearm. It isn’t a tack driver at 100 yards, but then few firearms firing a pistol caliber cartridge are. The economical Hi-Point carbine we are discussing retails for less than $300.
A young man on a budget who wished to have a firearm with which to defend his home and family purchased the carbine illustrated. The rifle is also intended for recreational shooting—something he enjoys. The caliber was easy. His father-in-law is a 1911 man and his brother-in-law handloads .45 ACP, so ammunition would not be a problem. A bright young man! In addition, for personal defense, the .45 ACP is a preferred cartridge.
The .45 ACP demonstrates low pressure and little muzzle signature. Wound ballistics are excellent. If you are looking at the Hi-Point, it is also available in 9mm Luger and .40 Smith and Wesson. The 9mm isn’t a bad choice. The 9mm gets a considerable upgrade in velocity from the Hi-Point’s 17.5 barrel, giving the 9mm a velocity nipping at the heels of a .357 Magnum. Likewise, the .40 becomes a 10mm in the carbine barrel. When you consider the power of .357 Magnum and the 10mm handguns, having that approximate level of power in a carbine with much better practical accuracy makes a lot of sense in a home defense firearm. That being said we will stick to the .45 ACP.
The Hi-Point is a blowback-operated carbine. There is no recoiling barrel and no gas operation. The bolt simply recoils to the rear. This isn’t the firearm to fire +P loads. The Hi-Point features a cocking handle that is used to rack the bolt and load the chamber. The bolt holds open on the last shot. Magazine capacity is nine rounds.
The sights are good examples of carbine sights, adjustable for both windage and elevation. A metal guard protects the rear sight—a nice touch for a hard-use carbine. The front sight is a hooded post. I like several touches about the Hi-Point. The stock has a recoil buffer built into it, making it among the most pleasant carbines in a pistol caliber to fire. Recoil isn’t sharp.
As a home defense firearm for a slightly built individual or female shooter, the Hi-Point has much merit. Brawny shooters will like it too. By the time I had a chance to test the carbine, the owner had fired 200 trouble-free rounds. The dual magazine rack is handy, and his father-in-law added a SIG laser light. The magazines are well made and feature a bumper pad on the base for positive insertion into the magazine well.
I began my test by lubricating the Hi-Point. A few drops on the bolt were all that was needed. Next, I loaded three magazines with Winchester M1911 230-grain FMJ. I kept the chamber empty until I was ready to fire. This is the recommended ready mode for this or any other carbine kept ready for home defense. There is a manual safety for use on the range or when hunting when the chamber is loaded. I racked the slide and began firing at man-size targets at 7, 10 and 15 yards.
The Hi-Point carbine is surprisingly controllable. Just hang the front sight on the target and keep pressing the trigger. The trigger isn’t match grade, but reset is rapid enough, and it breaks clean enough for personal defense work to 50 yards or a little beyond. When firing the Hi-Point, the grip proved comfortable and fit my hand well. The grip is textured for good purchase when handling the carbine, a nice touch on an economy gun.
I found the carbine sighted a little high for my eyes, but did not wish to change the sights. As it turns out, this young man had been firing at targets on the open range at about 75 yards, and sight regulation was good. I was firing at 25 yards. The adjustable sights are nice to have. The Hi-Point fired 50 rounds of Winchester 230-grain JHP without a single failure to feed, chamber, fire or eject. The carbine is enjoyable to fire. A firearm that is controllable, economical, and accurate is always encouraging for those that wish to master the type for personal defense.
As for accuracy, the carbine did well in offhand fire firing at man-size targets to 50 yards. I tested the Hi-Point carbine for accuracy from a solid bench rest at 25 yards. I added the Winchester USA 230-grain JHP. This an affordable loading with good expansion and penetration, and it performed well from the Hi-Point carbine. At 25 yards, the Hi-Point printed 5-shot groups of 2.5 to 3 inches. At the typical home defense range of 5 to 10 yards, all shots will go into practically one hole. The .45 ACP cartridge is effective because of frontal diameter and bullet mass, but a 50 to 100 feet-per-second super charge from the carbines 7.5-inch barrel doesn’t hurt. The Hi-Point is light enough at 7 pounds, handles quickly, and requires modest familiarization to get up and running well. As a home defense firearm, this carbine is superior to any handgun. As a beginner’s gun or for anyone wishing to acquire serious protection on the cheap, the Hi-Point .45 carbine has much value.
Are you a carbine fan? What about Hi-Point’s carbine? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section.