Hi Point 916 C9 handgun and 995TS carbine, self defense on a budget
I have been in contact with Hi-Point about a self defense on a budget article for a few months now and getting some ideas on the best and least expensive way for someone on a tight budget to be able to have a handgun for legal concealed carry and something for home defense. After a few emails and some brainstorming my friend at Hi-Point suggested the 916 C9, a handgun chambered in 9mm Luger and a 996TS carbine also chambered in 9mm Luger. Combined MSRP is $486 for both. Now Hi-Point also offers the pistols and carbines in .40 Smith and Wesson and .45 Automatic but in keeping with the thoughts of the least expensive idea we went with the 9mm set. Hi-Point also produces a pistol in .380 Automatic for MSRP $151 but no carbine in that caliber.
So, we had a plan and shortly thereafter I had the two test samples. The C9 holds eight plus one with a magazine holding ten rounds also available. The 995TS holds ten rounds standard. Now the cool part is the magazine for the carbine will work in the pistol but obviously will stick out the bottom a bit. Since the pistol magazine holds eight rounds it is too short to work in the carbine. The Hi Point pistols and carbines work on a straight blow back design, which is different than a locking breech design in that the recoil spring and slide mass is what resists movement during firing. The barrel is stationary which makes for a simple design that is not prone to problems that can happen to other link and linkless barrel designs.
So, I will address the elephant in the room. The C9 is not a very attractive pistol to some, but as we all know, ugly folks get married everyday and are happy. I would take an ugly pistol that runs over a beautiful pistol that is unreliable all day long. Talking with Hi-Point about some of these points I learned that part of their mission as a manufacture is to provide firearms that are reliable and accurate at a price point where anyone could afford one. Yes, there are gun snobs that will run down the inexpensive firearms but to me that is an issue they have. Think of the kid just out of college waiting tables while they are looking for a job, or the single mother working two jobs to just make ends meet. They deserve viable options for reliable firearms just the same as anyone. All that plus Hi-Point firearms are made in America and have a lifetime warranty.
Initial Range Trip
I took both test samples out to the range with some of my reloads using a 115gr Montana Gold JHP and Unique propellant as well as some factory defensive rounds to see how they would cycle. I also wanted to get some numbers on the difference between a pistol and a carbine in the same round. I measured velocity difference and ballistic gel penetration. Running several magazines through both samples I experienced no malfunctions. Sights were tried initially at twenty-five feet and they were right on. After a few magazines through each I loaded up a few Hornady Critical Defense 115gr, Hornady XTP 147gr, and Federal Guard Dog 105gr for the ballistic gel test. You can see those results by following this link. Both the pistol and carbine ran just fine and gave no issues whatsoever. Recoil was very manageable with the pistol and almost nonexistent with the carbine. After about fifty or so rounds through each I decided to pack it in and get an early start on the next trip.
Second range trip
Clinton Jamieson, a fellow reviewer, and I set out to really wring out the carbine and pistol and get some accuracy tests done to see what these firearms are capable of. This time we brought along defensive rounds, factory ball, remanufactured rounds from Fort Mill Munitions, and three different reloads. We had about 400 rounds total and intended to use them up. First we started out at twenty-five yards to shoot the carbine and pistol for accuracy and then it was game on loading magazines and running them dry as hard as we could go. As we were wrapping up and both satisfied the firearms were reliable and accurate there was a handful of one of the reloads left so we went to the 100 yard line to see what the carbine would do.
After the initial range trip, ballistic test, and accuracy test the round count was about 100 rounds per and no issues. During the course of the live fire Clinton and I ran another 200 rounds through the pistol and 220 through the carbine. If my math skills have not deteriorated through years of semi professional beer drinking that brings 300 rounds through the pistol and 320 through the carbine without issue. I went to the 100 yard line with the carbine and the reload 1 and was able to get a few three inch groups from a rest with iron sights.
The accuracy chart. Reload 1 was a 115gr fmj loaded with 5gr of Unique and Reload 2 was a 124gr jhp loaded with 4.8gr of Unique. I do not have the propellant data on Reload 3 as they were donated but it is the same round we used for the 9mm Luger ballistic test.
Left side of the carbine, you can see the charging handle here as well as the safety just behind and down, which engaged firmly. The magazine release is just behind the trigger, which broke at 6 pounds.
Right side of the carbine, here you see the bolt and rear sight set up.
There are several option along the bottom and back of the butt stock to add the sling swivel. There is also a spring loaded recoil pad that absorbed a great deal of the recoil. With the carbine chambered in 9mm Luger recoil was similar to an AR 15 in 5.56 so recoil was not great but the recoil pad makes a difference.
The rear sight aperture adjustable for windage and elevation, marked clearly in yellow for reference.
The front sight post well protected by a shroud. Anyone who has shot service rifle or has been in the military will be right at home with these sights.
The contoured grip which was comfortable and a generous magazine well.
Plenty of weaver style rails on the carbine. If you run out of room on the 995TS for your accessories, you have too many accessories.
This was a stand out point for me, note the USA inscribed on the bolt handle and front sight fastener. The bolt handle can be used to lock the bolt to the rear by pushing in the charging handle in the opening at the end. America!
The C9 with the 995TS carbine magazine inserted. It hung out the bottom a bit but functioned perfectly.
Speaking of the C9
Here you will see the contoured grip like the 995TS carbine that was very comfortable. The trigger, which also broke clean at 6 pounds and the safety just behind the trigger, engaged positively.
The adjustable rear sight and the front sight. Highlighted with orange and yellow to index quickly and the top was serrated to cut down on glare.
The muzzle, yep that is about all I can say about that.
The rear of the slide, nicely serrated for cocking the slide even if your hands are dirty or sweaty.
Optional extended magazine that holds 10 rounds.
The magazine well, plenty generous.
The slide locked back on an empty magazine. There is not a slide stop release on the pistol so the “sling shot” method is your only option for dropping the slide on a loaded magazine.
And I saved the best for last, the tool that was included. I added it to my key chain right away. Not only did it work as a disassemble tool for the pistol and carbine, but it also had a cut out that fit the bolt handle on the 995TS, and could disassemble the included trigger locks it was a perfect punch to detail strip a Government Model, Glock, and my CZ75B. Hell, the tool is worth an extra $10 at least. Oh and I may of cleaned under my fingernails with it.
For the budget minded or for someone looking for an inexpensive firearm as a “truck gun” one thing has to be considered and that is, with all firearms, reliability. From what I have experienced with both of these Hi-Points that part is covered. They both also proved to be plenty accurate. The C9 is small enough it can be concealed but like any midsized pistol it takes a bit of planning. It’s sights were easily picked up on, even in bright daylight. Recoil was very manageable so quick follow up shots were not a problem. The C9 comes with an optional ghost ring sight that easily installs. That gives you options on rear sights but personally I preferred the standard rear sight installed in the factory. As far as the carbine, the 9mm Luger round did pick up some velocity and expansion out of the carbine, enough so to validate it’s usefulness. Not to mention with the longer sight radius and weight there was very little recoil. The carbine has plenty of options for accessories such as lights, lasers, foregrips, and so on, making it ideal to customize for home defense. One thing to also think about is many indoor ranges do not allow rifle cartridges so with a carbine such as this you can utilize such ranges and not violate policy. With a defensive rifle training is a must and the reduced cost of the 9mm Luger round can ease some of the expense of practice ammunition. The triggers on the two were very similar enough that when you get used to one you will be used to the other. Another advantage to such a matched pair. So beauty is in the eye of the beholder and when I am holding a reliable firearm, that is a thing of beauty.
Here is a shot on the C9 along with a Hi Point pistol in .45 Auto. I am about half way through with the review of the .45
Barrel length: 3.5″
Overall length: 6.75″
Weight: 29 oz.
Frame: High-impact polymer
Finish: Black powder coat
Capacity: 8-shot mag standard (10-shot avail)
Sights: 3-dots, fully-adjustable rear sight
All Hi-Point handguns feature:
High-impact polymer frame
Durable, attractive easy-grip finish
3-dot, fully adjustable sights
Free extra rear peep sight
Last round lock open
Free trigger lock
Magazine disconnect safety
Quick on-off thumb safety
Operations & safety sheet
100% American parts & assembly
Barrel length: 16.5″
Overall length: 31″
Weight: 6.25 lbs.
Capacity: 10-shot magazine standard
Stock: All-weather, black molded polymer
All-weather, black polymer skeletonized stock
Sling, swivels and scope base
Internal recoil buffer in stock
Weaver style rails
Fully adjustable sights (“Ghost Ring” rear peep & post front)
Quick on/off thumb safety
Grip-mounted magazine release
100% American-made parts and assembly
Free trigger lock
Last round lock open
Optional forward folding grip
Gabriel Nelson f/stop Grooves Photography