I am pretty hard on firearms and like to give them as thorough a test as feasible. Firearms have evolved in the Darwinian sense. The best designs and those best suited to warfare, surviving and earning military and institutional contracts.
In my opinion, modern manufacture and cloning of previously splendid pistols, notably the 1911, has lessened the fitness of the type for service use. Some have become so ubiquitous as to be worthless. However, I am here to open a subject for discussion, not shut it down.
While cheapening a well-made firearm results in a less desirable tool, often a purpose-designed firearm built from the outset for inexpensive manufacture may prove suitable for home defense. I may offer advice on firearms while some make poor choices. I have learned to give them the dignity of their own experience. A firearm I have come to respect as a viable choice for those on a budget is the Hi-Point carbine.
Hi-Point Pro Carbine
Many folks need a suitable home defense firearm but cannot afford some of the higher quality firearms, including an AR rifle. There are many obstacles to firearms ownership when the budget is limited.
Family responsibility comes first. But defending the family is important. By the same token, you cannot afford to make a bad choice. Hi-Point firearms has manufactured guns for well over 20 years. The price point is attractive. The firearms don’t win beauty contests, but serve a real purpose.
Competition, hunting, and concealed carry don’t fit the role of the bulky Hi-Point pistols. The carbines are a different matter and have earned a decent reputation for reliability. There are more AR rifle makers than I could name, and many have come and gone. Hi-Point has proven it has staying power.
I don’t think the looks of the carbine are a valid criticism. It isn’t built to impress, but to operate. The .45 caliber Hi-Point Pro Carbine is similar in some ways to the Hi-Point pistol, but it differs as well. The grips are not removable. The safety locks the trigger. The striker-fired carbine is a blowback action.
The receiver is a cast type of nonferrous alloy. The gun features a bolt handle on the left side. For most shooters, this is handier than the usual right-hand bolt handle. The furniture, grips, and stock are what the company calls high-impact polymer, it seems to just be hard plastic.
The carbine has a lot of room for mounting red dot sights or a combat light. The barrel is 17.5 inches long. A receiver-mounted rail features an adjustable rear sight. I mounted a Barska 30mm Red Dot sight. This 1x30mm red dot has ½-MOA adjustments. The reticle is 5 MOA.
The Barska is worth the money, even if it isn’t a high-grade red dot. It stayed sighted in during the test program. The only real complaint was despite the settings, the red dot didn’t get noticeably brighter as I cranked the dial up. Just the same, for test purposes and even for home defense, the Barska fell into the OK-for-the-money category.
The rifle is supplied with a 9-round magazine. The stock on the Pro version is different for certain. The stock fits most shooters well and offers a good line of sight. At first, I thought it featured an adjustable recoil pad. This feature is actually a recoil buffer.
A .45 ACP carbine isn’t a hard kicker, but there is some thump. The recoil buffer system gives a little as the rifle fires. You may compress the stock and buffer pressing it into the shoulder. This is a well-designed system.
The carbine isn’t a heavyweight at 7.75 pounds. The trigger is manageable, but is mushy without a detectable reset. The trigger break averages 7.2 pounds.
Before the firing tests, I obtained two Redball 20-round magazines. This ups the ante for personal defense and offers a good reserve of ammunition.
At the firing range, I lubricated the bolt liberally. The magazines were loaded with Remington 230-grain FMJ. Hardball is the load most .45 ACP pistols are designed for, and this load is proven in combat and many competitions as well.
The carbine was fired in the initial stage at 7 yards — a common engagement range. I began with the magazines fully loaded. I brought the carbine to eye level, cocking the bolt as I did. I centered the red dot and fired for the X-ring. I progressed to firing double-taps, then triples, and finally hammers. Hammers are two shots as quickly as I can fire two rounds.
The carbine is surprisingly lively in the hand, easily coming on target. The trigger was controlled by simply mashing it to the rear and then moving the finger forward for reset. There isn’t a lot of feel in the trigger, but it works well enough for good control. The X-ring was torn to shreds.
The carbine handles well in fast defensive firing. Moving to 10 yards, it was much the same. At 15 yards the carbine was effective. I simply slowed down a little, taking more time to aim and press the trigger for good results.
Redball magazines really added to the carbine’s versatility. It is asking a lot for a magazine to feed from full compression to almost no compression. These magazines were not difficult to load to fully capacity, but feature a strong magazine spring that feeds with real reliability.
The extended length of the 20-round magazine is easier to remove and replace quickly than the 9-round magazine. During the test program, a 50-round ammunition box was dropped, and a tab broken. I inadvertently loaded a piece of the plastic magazine carrier into the magazine. It was peeking out under a Remington cartridge. Perhaps out of meanness, I left the plastic tab in the magazine. The Hi-Point simply snapped the plastic to pieces and fed normally.
A short-range reactive firearm for home defense should be simple to operate and simple to use. The Hi-Point carbine meets those criteria. I also wished to confirm absolute accuracy by firing at 25 yards.
Many shooters cannot hold a pistol close enough to the point of aim to be credible shots at this range. A five-inch offhand group isn’t good enough for consistent fight-stopping accuracy at this range. Firing the carbine offhand, it isn’t difficult to keep five shots in three inches at 25 yards.
Moving to a solid, braced, benchrest firing position, I added another load. The Remington 230-grain Golden Saber brass jacketed hollow point is proven for effect and accuracy. Firing carefully with every advantage for accuracy, the carbine put five shots of the 230-grain FMJ Remington into two inches and five shots of the Golden Saber into 1.9 inches. That is good accuracy for the type and a long stretch for home defense.
The Hi-Point would be effective in clearing coyote or pests from the homestead. I like the Hi-Point Pro Carbine. It is easy to use and easy on the wallet. While I have quite a few carbines, the Hi-Point is well worth a look — regardless your budget!
Model: 4595TS Pro Carbine
Action: Blowback-operated semi-auto
Caliber: .45 ACP
Barrel: 17.5-inch blued steel
Trigger: Single-action striker-fired
Stock: High-impact polymer with recoil buffer
Front Sight: Hooded post
Rear Sight: Adjustable peep sight
Overall Length: 32.25 inches
Weight: 7 pounds, 13 ounces
Capacity: 9+1 rounds
A Note on Ammunition Performance
In a carbine-length firearm, pistol calibers gain a measure of velocity. The 9mm is a high-intensity loading that may gain 150–200 fps in a carbine compared to a handgun, a useful increase. The .357 Magnum with its relatively heavy charge of slow-burning powder generally gains 400–500 fps or more in a carbine.
The .45 ACP uses a modest charge of fast-burning powder. This means a full powder burn and low pressure as well as limited muzzle signature. In the Hi-Point carbine, in common with HK and Auto Ordnance carbines, the velocity increase is limited. The average is 40 fps increase, with a +P loading perhaps 50 fps.