March 07, 2018
By James Tarr
Hi-Point originally made a name for itself making inexpensive, reliable handguns, but seemingly just as popular these days are its pistol-caliber carbines. Hi-Point makes carbines in .380 ACP, 9mm and .40 S&W, but where I think its design shines is with the .45 ACP carbine.
Officially the 4595TS, the .45 ACP Hi-Point carbine is available in woodland, desert digital, pink camouflage and basic black. Hi-Point sells versions with a 4X scope, forward folding grip, flashlight, laser, red dot and buttstock magazine carrier, but for this review I secured the standard version.
One of the reasons for this firearm's popularity is its affordable price. It's just $349 suggested retail for the standard .45 ACP carbine, which means a street price that will likely be under $300.
The carbine has a 17.5-inch barrel and is 32 inches long. Empty, it weighs seven pounds. It is fed by the same nine-round magazine as Hi-Point's .45 ACP pistol and sports a pistol-style button magazine release on the left side of the grip. The bolt locks back on an empty magazine. Trigger pull on my sample was 5.5 pounds.
The receiver is stamped steel, and the stock and fore-end are black polymer. There's a lot of polymer Weaver-style rail space above and below for mounting optics, lights and lasers. The carbine sports a protected front post sight that's adjustable for elevation and a fully adjustable rear ghost-ring aperture protected by big wings.
I own a Toyota FJ Cruiser. Automobile magazines like to describe its looks as "polarizing"—by which they mean some people love it and some people hate it, with few people on the fence. The same could be said about Hi-Point carbines.
My 15-year-old son, who gets to handle and shoot every gun I test, loved the looks of the plain black Hi-Point. Pistol-caliber carbines are perfect choices for teaching youngsters how to shoot, and having a carbine that a kid thinks looks cool could be a motivator to help.
Hi-Point firearms are all blowback-operated, which means they are dependent solely upon the recoil spring and the mass of the slide or bolt to control recoil. For the .380 ACP and 9mm handguns this is practical, but the slide on Hi-Point's .45 ACP pistol has always seemed disproportionately large to me. However, put that big mass inside the receiver in the form of a bolt in a shoulder-mounted pistol caliber carbine and the bulky awkwardness disappears.
The carbine jumps a little with each shot, but recoil is not bad. Remember, you're firing a pistol cartridge out of a seven-pound carbine. The buttpad sticks out a little from the stock because it is mounted on three spring-loaded shock absorbers, but on the .45 ACP carbine recoil is so low the shocks barely get a workout.
Pistol-caliber carbines are a lot of fun to shoot, and as I mentioned they are also good for training new shooters—because they're easier to aim and have less recoil than handguns and less blast than rifles.
You will also get more than a 100-fps boost in velocity out of defensive handgun ammo when firing it out of a carbine-length barrel, which usually means increased terminal performance. (And I should point out here that all Hi-Point carbines are rated for +P ammo, which provides more velocity from the start.)
For these reasons, I think the pistol-caliber carbine is the ideal home-defense weapon for most people. I recently saw a news story about a woman who drove off three armed home invaders with a Hi-Point pistol-caliber carbine, and the accompanying photo showed the gun covered in rust. That's another great thing about the design. While I recommend keeping it lubed, clean and rust-free, it is just a simple blowback carbine with few parts, and generally with firearms, simple equals reliable.
Over the past decade or so, I've put thousands of rounds downrange through Hi-Point carbines for magazine articles and for television shows—and that is no exaggeration. I've used every caliber of carbine from .380 ACP to .45 ACP, and I've never had one break.
The only time I had any reliability issues was trying to feed .45 ACP carbines jacketed hollowpoint ammo that had a hollowpoint cavity so wide (the Hornady 200-grain XTP, if I remember correctly) the edge of the bullet was catching on the carbine's feed ramp. I consider that more of an ammo incompatibility issue than a true malfunction.
I wish the Hi-Point had a simpler rear sight; the one that comes with the carbine features wings and is a little busy for my tastes. And I wish Hi-Point offered an extended magazine for this .45 ACP model like it does with the 9mm version—or that it took 1911 mags instead of proprietary ones. But those are subjective complaints about what this carbine isn't. I'm satisfied with what it is.