Today we dive deep into the world of budget firearms. We have in our hands one of the most affordable semi-automatic handguns ever created, the Hi-Point C9. Today we are going to see if the juice is worth the squeeze.
Hi-Point C9 Specs
- Barrel Length 3.5 inches
- Overall Length 6.75 inches
- Weight 29 ounces
- Caliber 9mm
- Capacity 8
The Mission of Hi-Point
It seems that the mission of the Hi-Point company is to provide American-made handguns and carbines at a price anyone can afford. The 2nd Amendment is for everybody, and not everyone can afford a Staccato or even a Glock. Thus, the Hi-Point brand aims to produce simple pistols and rifles at a low price point.
The Hi-Point C9 series is the 9mm variant. It joins a 380 ACP, 40 S&W, and 45 ACP variants of the gun. The C9 aims to be their compact model. However, as you can see, the C9 is not exactly small. The massive slide certainly warrants an odd look. Especially for a pistol labeling itself as compact.
The slide is a factor of the gun’s low price point. The reason being the gun uses a direct blowback system instead of the more machine-intensive Browning action. As a straight blowback gun, you have to keep the breech closed until pressure levels have dropped to a safe level. With a straight blowback handgun in 9mm, you either need a super stiff recoil spring or a heavy slide.
Hi-Point went with the big heavy slide route. Admittedly a spring stiff enough to contain the pressure of a 9mm would challenge strong men in the ability to rack the firearm and fix malfunctions.
The C9 features a 3.5-inch barrel with a 6.75-inch overall length. On top of that, the gun weighs 29 ounces. We get a single stack 8 round magazine, with plenty of options out there for higher capacity mags.
Hi-Point C9 Features
1 Adjustable sights
2 +P Rated
3 Last Round Lock Open
4 Manual Safety
5 Magazine Disconnect
Taking the Hi-Point Out – Our Take
Can the C9 with an MSRP of $199 dollars ring steel, shoot true, and be combat effective? That’s the main selling point of this cheap little handgun. In terms of accuracy, the Hi-Point does have a few things going for it. Shooters can adjust the sights easily enough, and a fixed barrel traditionally helps with accuracy.
The C9 trigger isn’t terrible either. At least not for a gun that traditionally retails for 169 bucks at Academy. It’s got a very little take-up. It hits a wall and then breaks. It does have a fair bit of overtravel and the spongiest reset known to man. The reset doesn’t have an audible or tactile clue that the trigger has reset. The trigger would likely be even better if they removed the magazine disconnect.
So how’s accuracy? It’s average! I won’t win a match with a Hi-Point, but I can hit a bad guy and hit him center mass with ease. At 25 yards, I’m tapping on my ability to do headshots quickly. I find the sights a little small, but I appreciate the yellow-on-orange contrast. For comparison with my much smaller P365, I can make headshots at 25 yards all-day in under 1.5 seconds from the low ready.
How’s It Handle?
With a direct blowback system, you are getting some recoil to the gun. The heavy slide also presents a lot of weight reciprocating rearward, causing a fair bit of muzzle flip. It handles like a much smaller gun and not like a weapon that weighs 29 ounces. The grip texture also isn’t the best and doesn’t stick to your hand very well between shots. I found the grip to be a bit short as well.
This means the weapon tends to shift in hand under recoil, and after a rapid-fire string, your hand will shift. This requires a little readjustment. The slide doesn’t bite with a super high grip, so that’s nice. The experience isn’t all bad, and it’s just not what you expect from such a heavy gun. It still feels like it has the snap of a subcompact due to the overall design. Can you accurately and effectively engage a threat with a C9?
Yes, yes, you can. Will you be more effective with a more refined firearm? Yeah, you likely will.
200 Dollar Ergos
The ergonomics are a mixed bag and one of the bigger downsides to the gun. The one highlight is the magazine release. It’s large, easy to engage, and placed perfectly for a quick shift of the thumb. Dropping magazines and reloading is surprisingly quick. Everything else is not good to average.
You can get a high grip on the C9, but it feels odd. There isn’t an undercut on the trigger guard, so getting a high grip feels like stretching your hand. The pistol’s grip is oddly wide, especially for a 9mm. It’s also short, and my pinky hangs off the bottom a bit.
The manual safety is super small but textured, so it grips your thumb. Swiping it off is easy, but it’s easy to miss the swap, moving the safety upward. I don’t mind personally because sweeping off is much more important than sweeping on.
The slide is massive but has very little grip texture to rack. It’s honestly silly. It’s already a tougher than average gun to rack, and it would benefit greatly from a lot more texture. Nothing ergonomically strikes an unsafe chord, but nothing stands out as awesome by any means either.
Does the Gun Bang?
None of the above matters if the gun doesn’t fire reliably. Somehow, a $199 dollar gun runs reliably. In the last two years, I’ve owned the C9, I’ve had a single malfunction. Sure it doesn’t get shot a ton compared to my other guns, but it’s a favorite to break out among friends. It’s easily seen 600 rounds throughout the years. My single malfunction came from a failure to eject on the very first magazine fired.
I had two malfunctions with my aftermarket extendo, but I’m blaming the fact the magazine is meant explicitly for the carbine and moves back and forth in the shorter C9 grip for those failures. I’ve yet to have a failure with the stock standard magazine or even my ProMag extended magazine.
With an MSRP of 169.99, the C9 performs well above its price point. It’s not a gun that will change the world, but it does help bring the 2nd Amendment to those on a tight budget. I would choose the C9 over several other budget brands.
Hi-Point Pros and Cons
- Surprisingly Accurate
- Great Magazine release
- Huge slide and 29-ounce weight
- Poor ergonomics
- A fair amount of recoil for such a big gun
Does it snap, pop, and hurt? No, not at all. However, the recoil is excessive for the gun’s size, and the grips need more aggressive stippling for sure.
It’s not perfect as I did get a malfunction. However, the weapon has no business being as reliable as it is for the price point. I do keep it clean, and I imagine that helps.
The slide’s massive, the weapon’s heavy, but the grip is short. A high grip can be achieved at some discomfort. The saving grace is the great magazine catch.
It’s acceptable, so it gets a passing grade. Yet, it’s far from perfect and won’t win you a match by any means.
Well, duh. Rarely is a gun this cheap that actually works? The value skyrockets to an A easily
Hi-Point C9 Ammo
Hi-Point C9 Starter Pack
If you’ve decided to pick up the Hi-Point C9, or found another firearm that suits your needs, there are some bare essentials you’re going to need to pick up in order to maximize its potential and your safety regardless of if it’s your first firearm or not.
- Gun Cleaning Kit: Otis All Caliber Elite Range Box on Amazon or build your own personalized cleaning kit with premium components.
- Shooting Glasses: All it takes is one piece of rogue hot brass, and you’ll learn the importance of shooting glasses. But not all glasses are built the same. See our recommendations for the Best Shooting Glasses.
- Hearing Protection: Firing a gun without wearing proper ear pro can be very dangerous and detrimental to your hearing. Find out the best hearing protection for you in our full length review.
- Storage: Check our our article on the Best Biometric Gun Safes
- Targets – If you’re wanting a great resource for shooting practice or zeroing your optics on your optics rifle or pistol, download our FREE Sighting in Targets below.
Upgrades and Accessories
Hi-Point C9 Accessories
Caring for your Hi-Point C9
It’s critical not only to keep your guns secure, but also to understand how to care for your firearms properly. We’ve located a fantastic video below on this subject.