How's the trigger of Browning Hi Power Mk3?


September 2, 2011, 07:09 PM
Since the Hi Power 9mm was designed by the same old Browning, is the trigger anywhere near as good as the 1911?

Has FN improved on the Hi Power Mk3 in terms of the trigger?

I am kinda getting used to the 1911 trigger and I am looking for a 9mm steel gun that has the same type of trigger. The closest thing I have tested was the CZ 75 SP01 Shadow that has a really nice crisp competition trigger but it was more $$$ than I want to pay for and it is totally foreign.

Any thots?

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September 2, 2011, 07:47 PM
Crisp, but HEAVY.

September 2, 2011, 07:58 PM
Crisp, but HEAVY.
Without any work done to it, this is pretty much what you're stuck with til you run a few thousand rounds through it.

Even then it won't be a 1911 trigger.

I haven't had the mag disconnect removed nor any smithing on the trigger, so mine is certainly nowhere near that of a 1911.

But, just from what I've heard, it is possible to get it darn near 1911 crispness and smoothness with a little trigger work from a good smith and the removal of the mag safety.

September 2, 2011, 10:35 PM
A Hi-Power will never have a 1911 trigger since it is a different design. That being said: I took the mag disconnect out of mine and did a small amout of polishing on the sear and the difference is day and night. I've done 3 so far and they have all turned out well. You can straighten the main spring to get the trigger pull down but that is best left to someone who really knows what they are doing. You can get it too light real fast and the sear won't reset properly. Cylinder and Slide has several kits you can install, or have installed, and they also improve things. I've never seen an HP with a bad trigger, but you can always improve on what you have.

Claudio Salasa at Briley redid one for my FIL and it is great. Alex Hamilton in SA is also known for his HP work.

The mark III's are good guns and a little smithing is worth the effort.

September 3, 2011, 12:11 AM
Thanks for the overviews. I appreciate it.

September 4, 2011, 12:06 AM
Heavy and stiff.I really love how the BHP feels and points.I like the MKIII with the ambi-safeties and better sights.But the trigger sucks out of the box.

September 4, 2011, 12:15 PM
Short, crisp but heavy.

September 4, 2011, 01:40 PM
It's pretty decent after you remove the magazine safety and put a hundred rounds through it. Also, the pre-MKIII trigger return spring from Wolff is a must for MKIII pistols IMO. It improves the trigger reset greatly.

September 4, 2011, 03:37 PM
The whole "remove the mag disconnect and the BHP trigger becomes magnificent" is kind of a myth.

Removing the mag disconnect WILL improve the trigger to some degree, but the real problem is that many years ago FN changed the hammer spring from 26 to 32 pounds to get better ignition of certain military ammo with hard primers. So, for a lighter trigger you can remove the mag disconnect and change out the hammer spring for a 26 pounder. Both of those mods are easily accomplished at your kitchen table. The hammer spring change will have much more effect that simply jerking out the mag disconnect.

Further work, like polishing the sear, etc, is often best left to to the pro's.

No matter what you do, you won't get a trigger as good as a well tuned 1911 trigger. There are just more moving parts involved... Still, a tuned BHP trigger is a close runner-up to a 1911 trigger. Even the stock trigger is better than most of the mushy triggers out there in newer designs.

Steve C
September 4, 2011, 03:57 PM
I've had my MK3 for quite a while but it hasn't been shot all that much. The trigger has never been worked on. It has a good crisp trigger with no creep after the take up. I would guess pull weight to be 5.5 to 6 lbs but have never had it tested.

One guy I shot with ran his with a 2.5lb trigger.

September 5, 2011, 09:30 AM
Taking out the mag disconnect can improve the trigger, but isn't a cure-all. Taking it out will cure some gritty triggers and shave a bit off the pull weight.

I love the hi-power. The mag disconnect is gone from mine and it breaks very cleanly at about 5 lbs. There is take-up and reset takes some getting used to if you shoot 1911s, but that is the nature of the design.

September 5, 2011, 10:40 AM
Same experience as everyone else here. I removed the mag safety from my MKIII Hipower and that helped a lot. All of those extra moving parts in the mag safety made for a very gritty trigger feel; it's crisp and very smooth now. Unfortunately, it's still pretty heavy. I think that I will be trying out some different springs to lighten the trigger.

I have a couple low-end 1911's (RIA's) and I prefer the triggers on both of them to my other pistols (Hipower, CZ 75B and Glock 19.) The 1911 trigger design is pretty hard to beat.


September 5, 2011, 11:11 AM
Thank you, folks, for more details.

Has anyone compared the trigger of the BHP with the CZ 75 SP01 Shadow?

September 5, 2011, 11:27 AM
Thank you, folks, for more details.

Has anyone compared the trigger of the BHP with the CZ 75 SP01 Shadow?

Not the shadow, but I have the SA model. The CZ trigger is lighter but much longer travel and a bit mushy. I personally prefer HP better.

September 5, 2011, 01:25 PM

My experiences with the Hi-Power Mk.III pretty much mirror those of Steve C. I have an older model that has never had any work done on it, and it still has the mag disconnect intact. The trigger pull is short, crisp, with no discernible creep at all to it. It was this good right out of the box and I have seen no reason to change anything on it since then. The high visibility sights and ambi safety were just icing on the cake.

September 5, 2011, 07:09 PM
I like both my Browning & my CZ

Here's my Browning BDM - a very unique gun that is no longer manufactured.

My newer CZ is a CZ 85 Combat.

If I could only have one ...:what:

I'd probably pick the Browning ... :what:

But I'm lucky .. I don't have to choose .. yet ..:)


September 5, 2011, 07:39 PM
Right out of the box, they have a gritty take up and are quite heavy.
But you can do a lot yourself to improve it....and in the hands of a competent smith, even more can be done.
IMO it will not be as good as a tuned 1911 trigger. But way better than most all the striker fired pieces out there.

Here's my write up on the changes I did to mine.

September 6, 2011, 12:16 AM
Interesting comparisons and thank you, folks, for sharing your findings.

Now, a narrower question: if you have to choose between a BHP and a 9mm 1911, which one would you pick?

September 6, 2011, 04:42 AM
Now, a narrower question: if you have to choose between a BHP and a 9mm 1911, which one would you pick?

I have 1911's and BHP's. I like them both. The 1911 is built around the .45 and is best in that caliber. The BHP holds 16 rounds with the new Mec Gar mags, so in 9mm the BHP is the best choice.

September 6, 2011, 08:54 AM
Triggerwise, the BHP will never be as good as a good 1911, but it will probably be better than everthing else.

September 6, 2011, 10:26 AM

Tough question, to be sure! I have both, and even though the M1911 has a better trigger, the overall "feel" of the Hi-Power and its larger capacity mag would definitely make it my choice between the two pistols.

September 6, 2011, 12:04 PM
That CZ75B shadow that you said has a mushy trigger, I can't tell from the picture, but does it have the plastic trigger? I handled a CZ75B SA a few years ago and I couldn't believe how creepy the trigger was. I heard they did away with the plastic triggers though.

September 7, 2011, 09:17 AM
Actually, the CZ Shadow I was referring to is the CZ 75 Shadow Target ( It's designed by a pro competitor and it's meant for competition. I thot the trigger was quite good but I am not convinced it is worth the price of a lower end mid-tier 1911. The trigger felt like it broke around 3-4 lbs when I tried it.

September 7, 2011, 11:03 AM
I have a MK3 and the trigger was pretty crummy. I took out the mag safety and it improved considerably.

September 9, 2011, 09:57 AM
The 1911 is built around the .45

I tend to think like Kodiak Bear.... specific platforms that were designed from the ground up for specific cartridges work best in the cartridge they were designed around.

You can modify the design for other cartridges, but imo the entire scale of the design can wind up being off.

Putting a slim set of grips on a BHP makes for a very skinny double stack nine that points naturally, feels good in the hand and with a little help, can have a great trigger.

1911s are for .45 acp and .38 super

September 10, 2011, 01:14 AM
Thanks for the response.

Well, I am trying to find the best platform for the 9mm right out of the box. I am looking for a 9mm close to a 1911 trigger system, smooth, crisp and almost no over-travel.

The more I read about the BHP and visiting Stephen Camp's website, it seems to dawn on me that you cannot really get a decent pistol right out of the box. You have meddle with the mag-lock and send the pistol to a smith to smooth out the trigger. That's not what I have in mind.

September 8, 2012, 02:55 PM
Hows' the trigger reset distance of BHP compared to the more recent popular 9mm, like the CZ75 series, Beretta 92 series, Springfield XD, etc.?

September 8, 2012, 03:30 PM
After the mag disconnect, I think it's fine. With it in, it causes a horrible gritty drag. I still shoot it better than my XD.

September 8, 2012, 07:01 PM
Now, a narrower question: if you have to choose between a BHP and a 9mm 1911, which one would you pick?

The 1911, in whatever caliber, got some intense attention to improving its ergonomics, mostly for gun games though a lot of it transfers to practical use, in the 1960s and on, further helped by a multitude of manufacturers trying to carve out market niche by building the better mouse trap. The High Power -- as much as I absolutely love it -- has not reaped the same benefits.

Consequently, you can get a 1911 -- even in 9mm -- in a huge range of options. With the exception of finish, factory stock High Powers are kind of like the what color Model T you wanted -- anything you want, as long as it's black. Want a light rail? Get over it. Want tritium sights? Get over it. And so on.

You can add most anything you could want to a High Power via custom shops like Cylinder and Slide, but that adds to the overall cost of a pistol which is already priced well ahead of polymer framed alternatives. For a 1911, it may or may not end up costing more, depending on who made the 1911. A new 9mm 1911 from Springfield Armory or similar is going to probably cost about the same as a used High Power sent off to C&S for Novak night sights, trigger job, and an improved safety.

On the other side of the scale, even compared to a traditionalist piece of art like a 1911, the High Power is truly that Obi-Wan Kenobi ideal of an elegant weapon for a more civilized age. Fits the hand like it was born there and, mediocre trigger and magazine form issues aside, is a joy to shoot. It's an iconic weapon -- I think I personally decided I had to own one about age five after seeing Sean Connery shoot a Nazi in the face with one in A Bridge Too Far -- and it has no substitute.

September 8, 2012, 11:58 PM
I have a box, stock Browning Hi Power MK III I bought new in 1994. It has one of the best triggers of all my pistols. Due to the heavy main spring (hammer spring) the trigger is a tad heavy like others have said, but it breaks crisply, and very predictably. It is my most accurate centerfire pistol.

If you want a better trigger remove the mag disconnect and install a lighter main spring. Both relatively easy operations.

September 9, 2012, 07:02 PM
My MKIII averages about 8lbs,heavy but crisp.Its all stock and has been flawless so far.It is one of my favorite 9mm platforms.Carries extremely well,slim and trim.Feels great in my hand and point well.

September 9, 2012, 08:36 PM
I find the trigger on my BHP comparable to the DA Trigger on my S&W Model 10. I'm not sure what that says, I'm pretty certain if I can use one without trouble they are not a problem. I hear people say they are horrible Triggers and need work. Mine is stock and I don't mind it a bit

September 9, 2012, 08:51 PM
Without a mag disconnect, the BHP Mk III trigger is decent, but has a long reset distance that you can't do much about. (Although I think the folks at Cylinder & Slide have a fix for this which involves some gunsmithing that's a bit beyond the kitchen table sort.)

For carry, I prefer a 9mm BHP to a 9mm 1911.

For competition, a good 1911 - something like a Les Baer - will probably allow one to shoot just a tad better. Better trigger and extra weight to dampen the already light recoil.

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