The Charles Daly Hi Power Compared To The Browning Hi Power

September 30, 2007

Update from Charles Daly 2/13/08:

I’ve learned some sad news directly from Charles Daly this afternoon. The Daly Hi Power has been discontinued. I really hate to hear this news since I think a lot of this gun. There are still some out there at various distributors so if you want a new one now is the time to get it. Of course all warranties are still in effect so that should be of no concern to any potential buyer. After these are gone we’ll just have to locate them on the firearm auctions websites. I did check with some distributors and was able to locate some of these hi powers. The prices are around $330 (includes shipping) to your FFL. Daly has reduced the prices for the remaining inventory.

Information From Charles Daly

For your readers, serial numbers beginning with HP—- were completed by Dan Wesson. Serial numbers beginning with HPM—- were completed by Magnum Research.

I’ve been comparing the Browning HiPower with the Charles Daly version and come up with some interesting conclusions. Now some may say there is no decision to make you can’t beat the original Browning. If a shooter comes to this conclusion that’s certainly fine but here’s some food for thought. I was able to find a Browning HiPower at Bass Pro Shop for $595.00 which is a very good price for a blued fixed sight Browning. I also found a Charles Daly HiPower for $399.00. Ok, $200 difference between these two guns. I’m sure I could find a Daly for less money but lets just go with the $200 difference in price.
Lets make some comparisons between these two fine guns. First the Browning Hi Power is assembled in Portugal from Belgian parts. No big deal on that count. Daly Hi Powers are a joint venture between KBI and FEG of Budapest, Hungary. They
manufacture most of the components and Magnum Research (Desert Eagle fame) doing the final machining, finishing, assembly and test firing here in the US. The Daly Hi Powers are very well made. They weren’t always fine guns (the 1911′s) but in the last ten years quality has been greatly improved.
CORRECTION: I’m not one to try and hide my errors. I asked a gunshop owner I know who makes the Daly Hi Power and was given incorrect information for which I apologize to readers and to Mr. Kassnar. Mr. Michael Kassnar of KBI wrote me to correct my error. I submit the following correspondence from Mr. Kassnar by way of correction. “Just to correct the record, KBI, manufacturer, importer and distributor of Charles Daly firearms, is an American company (incorporated in 1989) located in Harrisburg, PA. Our Hi-Power was the result of a joint venture with FEG of Budapest, Hungary, who manufactured most of the components and Magnum Research (Desert Eagle fame) doing the final machining, finishing, assembly and test firing here in the US. There are no Philippine parts at all in our Hi-Power. Our 1911′s are made in the Philippines by Armscor (same manufacturer as the RIA). Perhaps that is where the confusion came from. Other than that, thanks for the great review on this pistol. We feel it is the great Hi-Power value in the market.”
On to the feature comparison. The Browning has the standard ambi-safety which for me could be improved. The contour and surface area leave something to be desired for positive function. It’s a hard safety to manipulate and many Browning owners change this part out with a C&S thumb safety. The Daly has a single thumb safety but is designed much like those tactical safeties for the 1911. It has a wide flat upper surface which the thumb just naturally engages. The safety is also crisp whether flipping it up to safe or down to fire. The tension is perfect and very positive to engage. The trigger on the Browning is as always very heavy with very perceptible stacking as slack is taken up. This is because of the mag safety which is a useless feature and shouldn’t even be called a safety feature. This can be remedied by replacing the factory trigger with a C&S trigger which has no accommodation to reinstall the mag safety. This greatly improves the trigger pull. The Daly uses the same setup but for some reason the trigger is much, much better even with the mag safety in place. Since all parts between these guns are the same you can also replace the Daly trigger with the C&S for an even better trigger pull. My personal feeling is that once you bring the gun home that’s the first thing I would do is change out the trigger. One consideration is the legal ramifications should, heaven forbid, you ever had to use your gun in a violent encounter. Lawyers love to hang anyone who disengages what they term a safety device. This is a big consideration when having any custom work done on a gun. I can live with the Daly mag safety whereas the Browning trigger is just awful with the mag safety. One minor consideration for me is the hammer. The Browning uses a standard hammer which can bite you pretty good. The Daly uses the commander type which is easier on your hand. Next lets compare sights. The Browning has the usual higher profile plain black sights. Not ideal sights but certainly usable. The Daly has the XS sight system pictured above. It uses a large white dot on the front sight with a v notch on the rear with a vertical white post. You just place the dot on target on top of the rear post and fire. These are also available with tritium inserts from the factory. They also have an option of a larger dot in the front if you prefer. I know some don’t like these sights but after speaking with Sheriff Jim Wilson he agrees that these sights are very fast to get on target. If you are approaching 50 years old your older eyes appreciate this setup even more. Sheriff Wilson has these sights on his Walther PPK and several other of his guns. He also owns a Daly Hi Power. After testing it he bought it:-) These are the basic differences between the two guns but they are major differences. As Jeff Cooper said what you need on a fighting gun are sights you can see and a good trigger. Everything else is secondary in my opinion.
Cosmetically the Browning with a blue finish is beautiful as always. The Daly is also blued but doesn’t have that deep blue the Browning has. One thing Daly did was to get rid of the silver highlight stamping on the slide. I always though that was a bit gaudy. The new ones still have the large name on the slide but has no color to it. It looks much better this way. Both guns are attractive but you have to give the nod to Browning on the guns with the deep blue finish.
Now for the question—do you want to pay the extra $200 for the Browning name and beautiful blue finish and the need to do some type of work for a serviceable trigger which of course means spending more money. Will you be satisfied with the Browning sights or would you rather have a sight system that is superior and very fast on target. Can you live with the thumb safety on the Browning or would you rather have a Daly which already has a fine thumb safety? In short the Daly doesn’t really need anything done to it it’s fine as is or would you rather spend the extra money on the Browning? What did I decide to do? I’m going to buy the Daly. I’ve shot both guns a lot. They are both very accurate and reliable. The Daly is a little more accurate but I believe that’s because of the good trigger. The Browning suffers in accuracy because of a heavy trigger. What would I really like to do? Buy both and have the work done on the Browning but for me that’s not an option. Being a retired police officer I’ve had to save and before retiring work all kinds of off duty jobs to get the guns I have. Some great fellow shooters can afford to do what they want and more power to them but for most of us we have to choose between guns and plan ahead and of course save money for our guns.
One last thing. Do I feel comfortable with the 9MM. In short a resounding yes! Over the last ten years or so ammunition companies have made great strides in developing better loads for all calibers. The 9MM has probably benefited more from these improvements than any other round. Give me a Daly Hi Power loaded up with Speer Gold Dot 124 grn +P or the Remington Golden Saber 124 grn +P and I feel very well armed! One last comment. Stephan Camp is an authority on the Hi Power and has his website listed in the blogroll. He also puts out a very nice book on disassembly of the Hi Power and other reference material. Give his site a look it’s very informative.

XS Sights
Cylinder & Slide
Charles Daly
Browning
As always if you have any questions or comments please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m always glad to help in any way I can.

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23 Responses to “The Charles Daly Hi Power Compared To The Browning Hi Power”

  1. Dion..ops144... Says:

    hey Gunner are all the CD part inter changeable with the browning guns? as in after market parts?

    i ve been thinkin about a 1911 “RA” but iam 9mm guy at heartg17,pt99,kel-tec p11″

    and an hp in the cd price range looks nice.

    thanks


  2. Just to correct the record, KBI, manufacturer, importer and distributor of Charles Daly firearms, is an American company (incorporated in 1989) located in Harrisburg, PA. Our Hi-Power was the result of a joint venture with FEG of Budapest, Hungary, who manufactured most of the components and Magnum Research (Desert Eagle fame) doing the final machining, finishing, assembly and test firing here in the US. There are no Philippine parts at all in our Hi-Power.

    Our 1911′s are made in the Philippines by Armscor (same manufacturer as the RIA). Perhaps that is where the confusion came from.

    Other than that, thanks for the great review on this pistol. We feel it is the great Hi-Power value in the market.

  3. Gunner Says:

    Mr. Kassnar,

    Thank you very much for your comment and straightening out my error. You certainly make fine guns with the HiPower being one of those. I did buy a Daly HiPower since I wrote this and have been very pleased with it.
    I will correct the information on the blog. That’s what I get for asking about where the gun is made from a gunshop owner:-)

    Phil

  4. bernard Says:

    try to find some CD in europe!

  5. Gunner Says:

    Bernard,

    I’m sure that’s true! I bet with your being in Belgium getting an FN Hi Power is probably pretty easy isn’t it?

    All the best,
    Phil

  6. Jeff Says:

    Gunner,

    Great post and great info. These guns are so good, it is ashame that their is not more out there being done. One thing that keeps them from greater prominence is that they don’t have that great trigger you mentioned. If you want a good one, check out samscustomgunworksusa.com. David does great work. In fact, he does hi power trigger jobs for some well known shops. I’ll let him tell you who.

  7. Gunner Says:

    Thanks Jeff! It is a real shame but sometimes it happens even to very good guns.I’ll check Davids wesbite. Thanks for letting me know about him

    Take Care,
    Phil

  8. Matt Says:

    Thank you for this article. I will now be buying a Daly Hi Power this month. I am a big fan of the economy of size in the HP, of Express sight, and a nice SA trigger. I was also considering a Steyr M9-A1 which I feel is underrated, and a RIA .38 Super. I’ve wanted a Super since reading Toland’s “The Dillinger Days” in 2000.
    I feel you about having to save. When money trouble came up, the only thing of value me and the ex had was guns. As I write this I don’t own one firearm, and am about to blow 2000. that I need for other things, on a M1A Socom 16 and Mossberg 930 SPX, now this HP too. I’m cashing in my 401K so I can get some good iron before the election rush, simply fell in love with the 2 long guns.
    Anyway, thank you for answering the questions I was researching.

  9. Matt Says:

    I have no experience, but maybe Belgian heritage will let it click with me.
    My SA Loaded 1911 was the only handgun I ever shot well with.
    Take care,
    Matt

  10. Gunner Says:

    Matt,

    My pleasure sir! I’m always glad to help. Your getting some fine guns! That SOCOM is a fine rifle. Your certainly doing the right thing buying now. If, heaven forbid we get a Democrat in the Whitehouse the first thing they have pledged is to reenact the assault weapons ban and this time instead of 19 weapons there will be 160!!!
    Happy and Safe Shooting:-)
    Phil

  11. Brittany Says:

    Thanks for the great article! I’ve been researching buying a KBI/CD hi-power, and there’s just not a lot of info out there!

    I’m definitely more confident in my purchase now, and glad to have saved the cash!! =)

    Thanks again!

  12. Gunner Says:

    Brittany,

    My pleasure and I’m glad you enjoyed the article. The Daly even though discontinued now is a fine pistol at a good price. There are still a lot out there and any Browning parts will fit.

    Thanks,

    Phil

  13. Franz Says:

    I have shot Hi powers since I was in my early teens. My older brother bought one. It was great to shoot and very accurate.

    I later became a firearms instructor for my police department out in California. (I’ve moved back to the midwest thankfully since then ;0) I received two weeks of great training and passded it on many times to beginners and old hands. I have looked at Hi-Powers over the years until my local gun store had one sitting in there case. I picked it up and was reminded of the first time I shot this great gun.

    Well $400.00 later and two hours after that….I was out shooting at the private police range. I did double taps, near and far targets alternately and so on. Then rapid fire shots.

    All of the shots hit the metal people targets right where I aimed them at 10 to 20 yards with very nice groups.

    I combat shoot and am not concerned about neat little groups from sitting on a bench and taking leasurely shots!

    The gun ran flawlessly. No hiccups at all. The fit and finish is very nice they made a very useful, nice and tight weapon.

    The Charles Day may not have the deep blueing or wood grips, but I don’t want that anyway. Rubber grips and a good durable dark blue finish works great for me.

    It’s sad Charles Daly is out of business. I do wonder where they got the machinery from to make these outstanding pistols!

    Anyway these are great pistols at any price. Buy one and shoot it you’ll love it.

    One thing thought…I do have meaty hands. The commander type hammer doesn’t bite me! Thank you Charles Daly for taking the bite out the High Power.

  14. Gunner Says:

    Hi Franz,

    They are wonderful pistols! They actually were made by FEG in Europe. They sent the parts over where Magnum Research assembled and finished them to a higher degree then FEG made. Then they stamped them Charles Daly:-)

    Phil

  15. mastermason237 Says:

    Nice to hear from you Phil….Love the CD HP!

    Very nice for the price!!!

    Now that’s poetic!

  16. dirk Says:

    Just picked up a nice used CD HP at the Rochester NY gun show. I was impressed by the build quality and price. ($275 w/ extra clip) Took it home and put a few rounds through it; shoots very well but trigger is heavy so I took your advice and sent off an order to C&S for springs and trigger. I did notice the trigger pin tends to back out and wondered if you had any thoughts on that. Thanks!
    Dirk

  17. Gunner Says:

    Dirk,

    Good for you that’s a very good price! I’ve not experienced that problem. I can think of two ways to fix it. One would be my second choice but you could use some Loctite blue and very carefully apply a small amount to both sides of the pin from the exterior. You certainly don’t want it to get into the trigger and lock it down. My first choice and the one I think would be the best is to check Brownells website for a new trigger pin. If Brownells doesn’t have one I would call C&S and ask if they might possibly have an extra around they would sell you. They are nice folks and might even just send you one.

    Enjoy!
    Phil

  18. dirk Says:

    Thanks, Phil! I’ll look into a different trigger pin. When I install the new C&S trigger and remove the mag. safety I’ll mic the pin and see what I can come up with. I’ve even made them from drill bit shanks before!
    Cheers!

    “The problem with Democracy is it attracts too many people with too much time on thier hands”
    -Will Rogers

  19. Gunner Says:

    My pleasure Dirk:-) hey if you can do things like that your in good shape. I’m betting when you mic that pin it will be on the small side which may not be a factory foulup but a previous owner getting carried away.
    Take care

  20. Dirk Says:

    Morning Gunner,

    Measured the OD of my CD barrel at 0.498″ and the ID of my
    slide at 0.511″ giving me a 0.013″ clearance which seems loose to me. Think it’s worth tightening up for improved accuracy in your experience? Wondered if Bar-Sto barrels come with a larger OD. Appreciate your advice!

    Cheers,

    Dirk

  21. Gunner Says:

    Hello Dirk,

    Well sir that sounds a little loose but you have to weigh that with reduced reliability.
    As far as barrels most companies make oversize barrels for gunsmith fitting. C&S may have some as well. http://www.barsto.com/category_main.cfm?ID=BHP This Bar Sto is a match barrel or oversize for gunsmith fitting. The price is $210. There is a drop down menu to pick your choice of barrel. They also have a semi drop in as well.The semi drop in you may be able to fit yourself. You sure can’t beat the quality!
    If it were me I’d go with a Bar-Sto semi drop in unless you know a good gunsmith to fit the lugs and mate the front of the barrel to the frame.

    Take care.
    Phil

  22. Dirk Says:

    Hi Phil,

    I found a easy way to hold the hammer back while working on the sear. I run a zip tie thro’ the ring on the combat hammer and through the frame and over the sear spring. Nice thing is that the zip tie holds the sear spring in place and slightly depresses it for an easier time reinstalling the sear. I ordered a Browning national match barrel last week; too impatient to wait for a Bar-Sto; I guess they are backed up for months. So we’ll see how much better that locks up compared to the OEM barrel.
    Cheers!

    Dirk

  23. Gunner Says:

    Hi Dirk,

    Great idea since we don’t have three hands:-)I’d sure like to hear how it works out when your finished with it!

    Phil


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