For this installment of Shooting from the Hip, I decided to do a review of the Hi-Point 995 9mm Carbine. Now, before I get too far, you should know a few things about me and this blog. When it comes to firearms and their reliability and function, I am not going to take someone else's word for it. I will not make a decision on a firearm until I have had personal experience with it. If it works as it should, I will share that information with you. If it fails to function as it should, I will share that with you as well. This blog is not sponsored by anyone, and I am not beholden to anyone.
That said, you should know that one thing I cannot abide is gun-snobbery. Especially when it comes from someone who has never owned or used the firearm they are detracting. I do not need someone telling me that a firearm is "junk" who has no basis for their assertions. Granted, there are cheap firearms out there. But there is a difference between a cheap firearm and an inexpensive firearm. And that is the primary purpose of this blog: to get hands-on experience with many different firearms, and to provide readers with a description of my personal experiences with those firearms. And hopefully, you will add your own personal experiences in the comments, so that I and others may learn from those experiences as well. Perhaps together we can separate the wheat from the chaff, as it were.
Hi-Point Firearms are 100% American made, manufactured in Ohio. The company manufactures semi-automatic pistols in various calibers: .380 ACP, 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP. They also produce semi-automatic carbines in 9mm, .40 S&W, and (finally!) .45 ACP. All of their firearms come with a lifetime, no questions asked warranty: if anything goes wrong, send it back to them and they will fix it, guaranteed. I have owned two of the Hi-Point pistols in the past: the C9 9mm and the JCP, the .40 S&W. The C9 currently resides with my father, and I traded the JCP away, primarily as a means of reducing the number of calibers I had to buy ammo for. Aside from a malfunctioning magazine for the JCP (replaced free of charge by Hi-Point under the warranty), I had never had an issue with either of the pistols. As of the publication of this blog, I own only the 9mm carbine (model 995). I would like to add a .45 ACP carbine (4595TS) to my arsenal at some point, especially since I now own a 1911, and can share ammunition between the two.
On to the 995 review. For those of you who are familiar with this particular firearm, you know that it has undergone a face-lift during the past few years. The new carbine has been given a very tactical profile, as seen here:
(Image courtesy of calguns.net) This gun has rails, well, everywhere. More than enough rails to add optics, lasers, vertical foregrips, flashlights, etc. And all of these are available as accessory packages from Hi-Point. The buttstock is adjustable for length of pull, as well. The gun comes stock with a 10-round magazine. I imagine that this self-imposed limitation is intended to shield Hi-Point carbines from another assault weapon ban, or to allow them to be sold in those States where the Second Amendment takes a backseat to the liberal anti-gun, anti-freedom agenda... but I digress. 15-round magazines are available from ProMag, but while they are praised by some, they are considered to be problematic by most 995 owners. Additional factory magazines are available from Hi-Point. The new 995TS, as it is called, retails for $259 new, although they may be found a little cheaper than that at some gun shops. When you can find them, that is... it seems Hi-Point carbines are in very high demand, and a lot of shops are struggling to fill the orders that are flooding in.
My 995 is one of the older models, with the camouflage stock that is no longer produced. I did not buy it new: I bought it used at a local gun shop several years ago. I do not normally buy used guns, but at the time (some things never change it seems), Hi-Point carbines were hard to find, and the camouflaged versions with the compensator and laser were about as elusive as an albino Sasquatch. So when I happened to come across this one at an almost-good price ($186 OTD), I jumped on it. These old carbines have a decidedly odd appearance. They are often referred to as the "Planet of the Apes" stocks, as they somewhat resemble the rifle that Chuck Heston carries in that movie.
(Image courtesy of hi-pointfirearms.com) As Bon Scott says of Rosie, these rifles "ain't exactly pretty." Unlike the carbine pictured, mine has had an olive drab coating added to the receiver and the heat shield, giving it a somewhat different look. It also has the compensator and laser attached (by the way, I love how the laser has a warning label on it that says "Laser Radiation: Avoid Direct Eye Exposure"... I think I would be a little more worried about the muzzle of that rifle pointing at my head than the laser, but hey, that's just me). Since the original camo stock is not adjustable for LOP, I added a slip-on buttpad to make it a little longer. I also added a carry-strap (sling swivels come standard). Here is a cell-phone picture of how mine appears:
For this review, I set up two Birchwood Casey 8" Dirty Bird targets, one at 30 yards and at 50 yards. Today, the wind was relatively light, with just an occasional breeze crossing the field of fire. I brought two10-round factory magazines for my 995, so each target had a full twenty rounds of Winchester White Box 115 grain FMJ fired at it. I did use a shooting bag to support the fore-end as I shot today, in order to see just how close I could get my groups with the gun. As you can see from the above photograph, my 995 has open sights (hooded front post and fully adjustable rear "ghost ring" peep sights), and the sun was too bright today to employ the laser. After twenty rounds, the 30 yard target looked like this:
As you can see, there were a few fliers, but those were all on me. The shot at the top and the shot at the bottom that are outside of the main group were the first shots out of each magazine. This carbine shot amazingly tight at 30 yards. Once I settled down and got into a groove, the bullets just kept hitting the same spot over and over again. So, after taking a pause to reload the magazines and allow the barrel to cool a bit, I trained the sights on the 50 yard target, with the following results:
A somewhat larger spread, but still not bad at all for open sights at 50 yards. While shooting at this target, I did have a couple of failures to feed, the fourth round in both of my magazines both nosed up in the chamber, which caused me to pause a moment to clear the jam. I am not sure what caused these failures, as it was the same round (4th) in both magazines. I will take the mags apart and clean and lube them, and will hopefully get a chance to try them out again soon, and will post an update when I have more data. The fliers in this group came when changing magazines and after pausing to clear the jams. Otherwise, all of the other shots clustered pretty well.
I am very pleased with the performance of this carbine. Recoil is negligible. The sights are easy to use. One thing that takes some getting used to is the fact that the charging handle is on the left side of the receiver, rather than the right side where I am used to having it. I am used to bolt guns with monte carlo stocks where the bolt is worked with the right hand. The placement of the 995's handle makes sense in that I need not remove my hand from the pistol grip to charge the rifle, but it will take some adjustment on my part. The plastic stock at first seems a little flimsy, but it is light and easy to handle, and shoulders well. This gun may be ugly, but there is no denying that as it is designed, it is comfortable to hold and shoot. I would like to get my hands on one of the new versions to see how well made the new stock is. I am a bit troubled by the two failures to feed, but I need to try some different ammunitions, as different firearms like different ammos, and the WWB is not known for its tight manufacturing tolerances: it is economy bulk ammo, after all.
Based on the performance today, as well as the previous outings I have had with this rifle, I can recommend the 995 to anyone who is looking for an inexpensive pistol caliber carbine for plinking, and if I can get the FTF issue resolved, I think it would be a reasonable alternative to a pistol for home defense (especially with the laser). It would make a great zombie gun too, although the 10-round magazines might diminish that role somewhat.
One last thing: if you have not tried the Birchwood Casey Dirty Bird targets, give them a try. I love being able to look out at 50 yards and actually see where my shots are hitting, without having to use a spotting scope! That is just one less case I have to drag out to the range every time I go shooting.
For more information regarding Hi-Point Firearms and Birchwood Casey:
Hi-Point Marketing and Distribution (MKS Supply)
8611-A N. Dixie Drive
Dayton, OH 45414
Toll Free: 877-425-4867
Birchwood Casey Dirty Bird Targets