Lightly "Personalized" Mk II Hi Power
Between 1982 and 1988, FN morphed the classic style Hi Power into the Mk II via several changes, including a departure from the flat checkered French walnut grip panels to black checkered nylon having ambidextrous thumb rests. A thin rib ran the full-length of the top of the slide with the front sight integral to it. The fixed rear sight still dovetailed into the slide but had a wider notch than that of the old "Vigilant" fixed sight classic. There was also a small hole drilled in the front of the slide below the muzzle. I can only assume that this was to let water drain from the pistol in the event that it was submerged, as could happen in a military scenario. Until production runs later than 1985, no internal firing pin block was present. On the Mk II Hi Powers I've owned, the serial number is on the barrel, slide and frame. My guns came with parkerized finishes that ranged from black, dark gray to dark olive green. The extended ambidextrous thumb safeties common to today's Mk III pistols debuted on the Mk II as did the grips. Some of these came with lanyard rings and some without. The Mk II Hi Power came with the same spur hammer seen on the "C-Series" classic Hi Powers from the 1970's.
The first Browning-marked/FN-manufactured Mk II I bought bears a 1985 production date and without a doubt had the absolute worst finish on any gun at any price that I had ever seen. To this day I have not seen any rougher finish on any firearm...including other Mk II's. The steel on the slide flats looked as though it had been "smoothed" with a wood rasp and to make things worse, at the lightening cuts at the muzzle, the tool marks changed direction ninety-degrees, running up and down rather than lengthwise!
...and then I shot it!
What a beautiful pistol after all!
It fed JHP ammunition as slickly as the proverbial gut and was my first introduction to the new "flat" feed ramp that debuted with this model. Accuracy was fine and the wide rear sight notch (0.13") made finding the front sight easier for me than with the classic fixed-sight Hi Powers, especially in dim light. The trigger-pull was acceptable but the hammer spur bit me as I knew it would from past experiences with "C-Series" Hi Powers equipped with the same hammer. That could be quickly corrected by bobbing the hammer spur or through the use of a Cylinder & Slide Type I ring hammer and sear.
After a several hundred rounds with the pistol in factory trim I had it lightly "personalized". This is a term I use when the actual custom work performed is but minimal.
Both the front and rear sights are as they came from the factory other than my having them serrated by master gunsmith, Lou Williamson of Williamson Precision Gunsmithing in Hurst, Texas. He also removed the tool marks present on the slide and refinished the gun with a flat matte blue. (Note the full-length rib atop the slide. This is a sure indicator of the pistol being a Mk II. The front sight is integral to the rib. I find it interesting that the rib is angled on the non-ejection port side.)
This Mk II is the first one actually authorized to use for duty as a police officer. I had carried one under my uniform jacket in cooler months as a backup for my duty revolver but this Mk II was the first Hi Power I was officially approved to carry. I used this for patrol duty as well as tactical team service.
No work was required for reliability or accuracy. This pistol has worked smoothly when any ammunition I fed it, be it FMJ or JHP.
My Mk II normally wore Mr. Craig Spegel’s black delrin stocks and was soon fitted with the Cylinder & Slide Type I abbreviated ring hammer. This eliminated hammer-bite for me but there is no guarantee that such holds true for all people. Not much was necessary on this pistol for it to serve me well. Though it no longer belongs to me, I got the opportunity to photograph this old friend for a project I am doing and decided to share a little about this pistol. (If this thing could talk, I truly would have to kill it.)
This rather minimally-altered Mk II is certainly not fancy but it has proven reliable in the extreme. Accuracy has been well up to anything I’ve ask of it and I found myself able to regularly make headshots on human silhouette targets at 20 to 25 yards. When the Mk III came out, it “sang” to me “louder” than the Mk II and I wound up selling this one well over a decade ago.
In my opinion and based on more than a little shooting and “hands on” experiences in “critical situations” with this very Mk II, I still believe them to be very “street capable” and would not hesitate to use one in the “dark place”.
Understand that this model was only produced from ’82 to ’88 so if you like this version and see one, get while the getting is good if the gun’s condition and the price are right.