A Turkish Delight

The Tisas BR9 Browning Hi-Power Clone

The BR9 is an excellent clone of Browning’s design featuring a blend of original and
upgraded components like a barrel feed ramp. Tiger geared his up with this BH Spring
Solutions kit for ultimate reliability.

The 9mm FN/Browning Hi-Power, one of John Browning’s best designs, was released in 1935 – the same year as the S&W .357 Magnum. The “Browning” was the first semi-auto high capacity pistol. Pre-Glock, it was the most popular handgun in the world, except the U.S. where the 1911 was king. Sadly, FN/Browning stopped production of the Hi-Power in 2017 – which fueled interest and drove prices up. Fear not. Tisas, a Turkish company, offers an excellent Hi-Power clone, and at an affordable price.

John Browning started work on the Hi-Power in the 1920’s when France wanted a new 9mm military pistol holding at least ten rounds and featuring an external hammer. Their request for this Grande Puissance – Hi-Power – included other details, including a magazine disconnect to prevent the pistol from firing without a mag locked in place. Finished by Dieudonné Saive after Browning’s death, FN began selling the pistol in 1935. The French didn’t buy it, but others did, so it’s been battle-tested ‘round the world. Both Allied and Axis powers carried it during WWII, and about half of the world’s countries have chosen it for military and law enforcement use.

Tiger did some offhand shooting and found the BR9’s practical accuracy to be solid.
So far, he’s put over 300 rounds through it with no malfunctions or stoppages.

A Special Gift

My history with the Hi-Power started in 1978 when my parents let me pick a pistol for a high school graduation gift. I was already familiar with 1911s, so I researched “Small Arms of The World” for other options. At the gun shop I handled various models before proclaiming the Hi-Power as “the one.” When Dad – a special forces veteran – and the shop owner exchanged knowing smiles, I knew the Browning was the right choice.

For the next thirty plus years I carried, shot and trained with my 1911 Colt until a couple years ago when I rediscovered the Browning. But, like any military pistol it needed a few modifications for carry. I still have my graduation Browning and an engraved Hi-Power presented to dad by the 20th Group S.F. during his change of command ceremony, but for sentimental reasons didn’t want to do anything to those pistols. I found a good used Browning and modified it. That’s what I carry now. But we all need a spare, right? I resumed my search and ended up with the Tisas BR9 Hi-Power clone.

Turkey has become a hotbed of firearms production for clones and original designs, now ranking fourth on the list of companies importing firearms into the US. Tisas (Trabzon Silah Sanayi A.Ş.) was founded in 1993, producing their first pistol – the 7.65mm caliber Faith 13 in 1994. They currently build a variety of 1911’s in .45 ACP and 9mm, the Zigana, a 9mm polymer double/single-action handgun and select fire semi/full-auto rifles in 5.56×45 and 7.62x51mm. The Regent BR9 Hi-Power clone is a newer offering, available in carbon or stainless steel. Selling for about $500 retail, there’re plenty of reasons to buy a BR9.

Pair the BR9 with some good leather, like this rig from Red Nichols Holsters, quality
ammo and a reliable light and you’re set defensive use and the occasional BBQ affair.

A Quality Clone

For one thing, the fit and finish on Tisas Hi-Power clones is superb. I know, people are leery about clones produced in a foreign country, but the BR9 is more than $500 nice. Brownells sells the Regent BR9, and it’s used by several custom shops for custom Hi-Power builds. Even the “paint ‘n bake” finish on the carbon steel model is excellent; at first glance under the glass at my gun shop, I mistook the BR9 for an actual FN/Browning.

According to those in the know, this clone uses a mixture of old and new model Hi-Power components. However, most FN/Browning factory parts will fit the BR9. For those who plan on heavy use, BH Spring Solutions offers an Essential Reliability kit with new extractor, pin and spring, a firing pin retaining plate and heavy firing pin spring, plus sear pin and lever pin. For full details see BH Spring Solutions’ website and their reliability torture testing of the BR9.

However, I wanted to test the BR9 as it came from the factory. I might add it ships with two Mec Gar magazines, the preferred mags of many Hi-Power aficionados. In hand the BR9 feels just like a Browning, and its accuracy is comparable too. My first group from seven yards, standing, measured about an inch, except for one when I anticipated the shot. The factory sights are OK, but for carry you’ll want to replace them with something better. At this time the sight dovetails are a proprietary size, so we’ll have to see what we can do about that later. The trigger is a little crunchy on take-up thanks to the magazine safety but broke at a crisp 7 ½ pounds. A couple of other shooters, one of them a long-time Hi-Power fan, test fired the BR9 and were pleased with it as well. Function was good – the BR9 has the later model feed ramp on the barrel – and over a couple of hundred rounds of assorted ammo there were no stoppages.

An original Hi-Power from the mid 70s (left), a Hungarian clone from FEG (center),
and the Tisas BR9 (right). On the range, Tiger had trouble feeling the difference
between the BR9 and the original.

A Hi-Power For Regular Folks

So, who needs a Regent BR9 clone? Anyone familiar with Hi-Powers knows they’re a great platform – reliable and more easily concealed than any other full size hi-cap pistol I know of. If you own one, you’re probably looking for another. Having a spare affordable clone to use for training/practice saves wear and tear on your original. Plus, after replacing a few parts, you’ve got quality mirroring the original FN/Browning Hi-Powers. For those not familiar with the Hi-Power, the BR9 clone is a great way to experience a classic without investing the dollars required to buy a nice original. For me, being a do-it-yourself guy, it’s perfect. I can modify it, acquire some new skills, and if I make any mistakes, I haven’t ruined a classic. To sum it up, anyone interested in a Hi-Power should investigate the Regent BR9 clone. It’s a true bargain.

For more info:
www.brownells.com, Ph. 1-800-741-0015
www.bhspringsolutions.com, Ph. 1-877-423-2477

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