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Monday, April 18, 2011

Gun Review: Hi-Point 995 9mm Carbine

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
Fax: 937-454-0503
http://www.hi-pointfirearms.com

Birchwood Casey Dirty Bird Targets
http://sport.birchwoodcasey.com/Targets/TargetDetails.aspx?ProductID=e5ca724c-f8f3-4edb-ba61-4c680535d5b1

12 comments:

  1. Very nice review. Come visit us at www.hipointtalk.net to find out more about your mags hanging up on the 4th round. Its uncommom but has happened to more than one person. We are actually a pretty objective forum for these weapons, we call them as we see them. Hope to see you there.

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  2. Generally speaking, the 995TS will eat anything--but there are a lot of complaints about WWB. Not sure if the same holds true for the older model, but the problem may be the WWB in the mags. Forum users suggest loading new mags and have them sit for a while before using.

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  3. When it comes to Hi-Point Firearms. I am very impressed. A friend of mine mention them to me. I was not sure about this brand and was a little reluctant to purchase one. Done a lot of research and come to the conclusion that these are excellent firearms for the money. I purchased the 995TS and got about the same grouping and even got beter over time. I own the 995TS and 2 9mm Hi-Point pistols. Love them. Was looking at another ruger. Glad I made this choice. My son also purchase (1) 9mm carbines and (2) Pistols from Hi-Point. Retired his ruger also. 4 of my friends also have purchased Hi-Point and none of them have a complaint. One of my friends is a big time gun collector and told me, he has not complaints. So far no one that I know have had not problems at all. Highly Recomment Hi-Point as a reliable firearm.

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  4. I was reluctant about buying a Hi-Point firearm in the past, man was I ever wrong. I have had my 995 that I picked up in a pawn shop for almost 2 years now & upgraded it to the 995TS stock - looks/feels/shoots great. Able to put 10 rounds in a 3" shoot & see target @ 50 yards all day long no problem with Remington 115 grain HP, open sights with sandbags. ( 3" a little hard to see - just lay the tip of front sight on the black dot ) Also have a C9 9mm - shoots great & nice groups @ 10-15 yards. So far no FTF/FTE @ all with several types of ammo. ( Steel & Brass ) If you are as reluctant as I was, I highly recommend you take a look @ one. Even with the LIFETIME WARRANTY, I'm sure you won't be dissapointed !!!!

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  5. Thanks for the great comments! A quick update: I recently had a chance to shoot the 995 again, this time using Federal UMC (yellow Wally-World bulk box) 9mm FMJs. I lubed the gun well before shooting, and it performed flawlessly this go-around. The 4th round FTFs from my previous outing did not recur, and I quickly burned through 150 out of the 250 rounds. I sincerely hope anyone who is in the market for a good pistol-caliber carbine will give the Hi-Point more than a passing glance... these firearms are the real deal.

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    1. Many thanks for the informative review.

      Having read similar reviews over the past several months I finally purchased a 995TS online. The purchase was made very shortly following the Sandy Hook tragedy, so the ability to purchase any type of firearms, particularly magazine loaded rifles, was challenging due to availability. I think I must have purchased the last reasonably priced 995TS (at $279)in the US!

      I am awaiting with anticipation to the time I can next go to the range to check out this "diamond in the rough".

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  6. I purchased my 1st HP 995TS 6 months ago. Very impressed, so I bought the C9 pistol 1 week later. I just purchased the 995 classic this week. I just ordered the ATI stock so I can upgrade the older style. I called MoM for replacement parts this morning, and she is sending me a new receiver cover,charging handle,trigger assembley,sear pin,all nuts & bolts & springs to completly restore the innards inside, for FREEEE! Will Glock do that for a 17 yr old gun?

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    1. As far as I know, no firearm manufacturer is as thoroughly consumer-oriented as Hi-Point. They will bend over backwards to ensure that your firearm performs as it should, whether you are the first owner or the fifteenth. Are they pretty? Afraid not. Lightweight? Not at all. Compact? Only compared to a S&W Model 29 with an 8 inch barrel. But I feel they certainly are reliable, durable, and worth every penny, especially knowing that even if you are able to break it, they will fix it for you.

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    2. I JUST RECENTLY RESCUED A HI POINT 995 FROM A GUN SHOP. ACCORDING TO HI POING IT WAS MANUFACTURED IN 1998. THE PREVIOUS OWNER TOOK THE DON'T HAVE TO CLEAN IT ALL THAT OFTEN ADVICE A LITTLE TOO SERIOUSLY AND I SPENT THE FIRST DAY OF MY OWNERSHIP CLEANING IT. AND, SURPRISE, IT LOOKS AND SHOOTS LIKE BRAND NEW. I LOVE THE HI POINT!!!!!!!

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  7. I'm looking at getting my first gun. Something I can pull out and shoot with little knowledge (although I am reading up and researching). A bug out bag weapon that I can use for defence.
    I was looking at pistol calibers because 1) money is tight and 2) I didn't want to have to carry around 3 or 4 different types of ammo.
    For the price and the reviews from users I don't think I can go wrong. I've read that the mag from the carbine will fit the c9 pistol. Is that true?
    Also last question. My wife has little hands and the hi point pistols seem a little heavy for her. Do you have any recommendations for a cheap, light wait 9mm?

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    1. I am glad that you brought this up. Unless Hi-Point has changed things with the new TS version, the 995 magazines are NOT interchangeable with the C9 pistol magazines. The 4095 and 4595 carbine magazines ARE interchangeable with the JCP and JHP pistol magazines, respectively, however. So if you were looking for a pistol caliber carbine and a pistol that share magazines, you will need to go with the .40 S&W or .45 ACP versions of the Hi-Points.

      As for a cheap, lightweight 9mm for your wife, one thing I will stress is that when you start getting really lightweight with the little polymer "wonder-nines," your felt recoil increases dramatically. I owned a Kel-Tec PF9, one of the first ultra-slim, poly framed, single-stack 9mm pistols, and while it was very slim, small, and light, it was a handful to shoot. After a couple of magazines, the webbing of my hand ached, and did so for a few days afterward, every time I took it to the range. And when we are talking defensive firearms, you want to shoot them regularly, to maintain your proficiency with that particular firearm. So, rather than focus on lightweight, make sure you pick a pistol that you and your wife will be able to shoot enough to be proficient with it.

      You might look at the S&W SD9VE, closer to a full-size pistol, weighs 22 oz, holds 16+1 rounds of 9mm, is a pleasure to shoot, and can be had for under $350. Another good choice would be the Bersa BP9CC, a single-stack (8+1) pistol that weighs in at 21 oz, small, but not too small, with a great trigger pull.

      Of course, if you want to save up for a Glock 19, you can pick up a Kel-Tec Sub2K 9mm carbine which will use the same magazines as the Glock pistol.

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  8. I have the newest version(2013) model and this gun is a workhorse. I have many friends who have the expensive taste, but once they shoot my tuned, decked out, 995....they tend to wind up finding one soon after. Too many people think since their inexpensive their junk...i beg to differ while holding my 100 yard punched targets, a lifetime warranty, and no home mortgage bill to purchase my rifle. The 15 round mags do work...with a little work. You need to bend the lip at top out just a bit to clear feeding. Love the review...love my highpoints!

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