Canadian Government Aims to Destroy Browning Hi-Power Pistols

Canadian Browning Hi-Power, image courtesy Rock Island Auction

David Pugiliese, the reporter on Canadian Forces and military issues, has been following the saga of replacing and destroying the Browning Hi-Power pistols, which have been used by the Canadian military since WWII. Most of the pistols were part of a production run done at the end of the war.  The Canadian military has been working on the project for many years. From David Pugiliese, Ottowa Citizen October 13, 2022:

At this time the Canadian Forces has 11,896 Browning handguns in its inventory, National Defence spokesman Dan Le Bouthillier told this newspaper. Of those, 1,323 are non-functioning.

As the Browning 9mm pistol is currently in use, the details of a disposal plan still have to be worked out, Le Bouthillier explained. “However at this time it is anticipated that given the age and wear of the pistol fleet as well as the fact that the Browning is a restricted firearm and the magazine is a prohibited device, disposal will be through destruction by smelting,” he added.

The magazines of a typical Browning Hi-Power, put into production in 1935, typically hold 13 rounds. They are forbidden in Canada. The highly restrictive Firearms Act of 1995 was passed into law as an extreme mass murder in Montreal.

A semi-automatic rifle was used to commit the murders. The murder was committed by Gamil Rodrigue Garbi, who changed his name to Marc Lépine because he hated his father.  His father had repeatedly beaten the boy before the family broke up when Gamil was 7. Gamil changed his name to Marc Lépine when he was 13.

Handguns with barrels of less than 105 mm (4 1/8 inches) were banned, as were magazines that held more than 10 rounds. No handgun was used in the mass murder. The barrel length was specifically crafted in the law to ban most handguns. Browning Hi-Powers have a barrel of 4.7 inches or 119 mm.

On April 24, 2024, David Pugiliese, an Ottowa Citizen, received an email confirming the long-held plans:

The Canadian military plans to destroy 11,000 of its Second World War-era pistols by the end of this year.

The move comes as the Canadian Forces confirmed it has received the final deliveries of a new 9-mm pistol as part of a $19.4-million project.

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The military purchased the Sig Sauer P320, which is being distributed to units. It replaces the Browning Hi-Power pistol that has been used by the Canadian Forces for decades.

The Canadian Forces Browning Hi-Power pistols are described, on the net, by Canadian Military veterans as “worn out” “antiquated”, heavy, and lacking spare parts. This may be so. However, pistols are one of the least fired firearms in any military, given their specialized role.

The service life of a Hi-Power should be 30,000 – 50,000 rounds. As these pistols are nearly seventy years old, they would have to have been shot about 500 rounds per year to be worn out.  This is not an unreasonable figure, if ten people were qualified on each pistol each year.  Several veterans said most of the problems they experienced with the pistols were cured when a new magazine was substituted for the old magazine.

There is a market for these historical guns, especially in the United States. It would ordinarily not be too hard for the Canadian government to sell them to an American distributor. However, with the hard commitment of both the Trudeau administration in Canada, and the Biden administration in the United States, to proclaim the ownership of pistols or “weapons of war” by anyone except a government, to be an intrinsic evil, such an eventuality is extremely remote.

The historic pistols will be melted down as a sacrifice to the gods of governmental power.

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean WeingartenDean Weingarten

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