February 2001:

Israeli Flag Argentine Browning High Powers Israeli Flag

Argentine High Powers - M95 Classic, M95 Deluxe, and Detective Models
Type:  Single Action Self Loading Pistol
Caliber:  9x19mm
Capacity:  10  round magazine supplied, will accept all High Power 13 round magazines
Sights, front:  Blade, adjustable for windage (Detective Model has fixed front sight)
Sights, rear:  Tangent U-notch adjustable for windage
Length: 7.8" (6.8" for the Detective)
Barrel length:  4.7" (3.7" for the Detective)
Weight (unloaded):  32 ozs (30 ozs for the Detective)
Suggested Retail Prices: 
M95 Classic:  $410
Detective:  $400
M95 Deluxe:  $510
Argentina's love affair with the Browning High Power has been long and intense.  It began in 1937 when the Policia de la Capital (The "Police of the Capital City," now known as the Policia Federal) ordered 1,600 Browning High Powers from Fabrique Nationale (FN) in Belgium for issue to high ranking staff officers.  The military was slower to follow suit, but by the early 1960's issue of Belgian made High Powers was standard for Argentine Army officers, and by 1967 the Policia Federal had replaced its aging .45 ACP pistols with High Powers.

In the late 1960's, the Direccion General de Fabricaciones Militares (DGFM) (General Directorate of Military Factories) entered into negotiations with FN in order to obtain a license to domestically produce the High Power.  This license was granted in 1968, and in 1969 the Fabrica Militar de Armas Portatiles Domingo Matheu (FMAP "DM") (Domingo Matheu Military Small Arms Factory), located in Rosario, Argentina started to produce High Powers in Argentina.  The Argentine High Powers followed the pattern of the FN Model of 1965; the pistols had externally mounted extractors, later style slide machining, roll pins, a two piece barrel, a phosphated finish, plastic grips, and a lanyard ring.

The licensing agreement between Argentina and FN specifically permitted the export of Argentine made High Powers.  As a result, Argentine military High Powers were exported to Bolivia, El Salvador, Honduras, Uruguay as well as a few other countries.  Some of these Argentine Brownings, bearing the legend "Modelo Militar" as well as the DGFM slide legend were imported into the United States in 1976.

In the late 1970's, the Argentine Brownings were again updated, this time to match the specifications of FN's Model of 1973.  These updates included a redesigned barrel bushing, spur hammer, and the deletion of the lanyard ring.  Additional updates in the late 1980's yielded two primary export models - the M90 and the Detective.  The M90 is a slightly redesigned High Power.  The stepped contour at the front of the slide was eliminated, the number of cocking serrations was reduced, and the serrations made wider, the top of the slide was milled to provide a non-glare aiming plane, and three dot sights were fitted.  Overall weight increased about one ounce as a result of these changes.  The Detective is a compact version of the M90, with a slide and barrel that are one inch shorter than standard.  The Detective also features a redesigned recoil system with a full length guide rod and a nested pair of springs.  The latest offering in Argentine High Powers is the M95.  The M95 is analogous to FN's Mk. IIIS High Powers, and incorporates improved sights, an ambidextrous safety, as well as an internal firing pin safety.

JLD Enterprises of Farmington, Connecticut is now importing current production Argentine High Powers produced at DGFM's Fray Luis Beltran (FB) factory.  These include the standard M95, the M95 "Deluxe," and the Detective.  Being big fans of the High Power, we ordered one of each.  A day or so later, the BBT arrived, bearing a trio of High Powers.

External Inspection

M95 Classic
M95 Classic
The M95 "Classic" is little more than the current version of the Modelo Militar.  Finish is a baked on black enamel over phosphated metal.  The pistol arrived with one ten round magazine, but readily accepted a variety of military, commercial, and aftermarket High Power magazines.  Grips are made of contoured black rubber that faithfully reproduce the pattern on current production Belgian High Powers.  The gun is equipped with an ambidextrous safety lever and the
latest version of High Power sights, which incorporate three vertical lines.  As with all High Powers, the M95 retains the magazine safety that prevents the gun from firing unless the magazine is present.

Handling a High Power for the first time is an experience.  The pistol has a reputation for excellent ergonomics, and it is not at all undeserved.  The High Power settles into the hand as though it had been custom fitted.  It points naturally, and balances perfectly.  The M95 is no exception to this rule.  We found the M95's soft rubber grips to be more comfortable than the the hard plastic grips of a similar contour on a comparable Belgian Mk. IIIS High Power.

Finish was perfect, even and smooth.  The right side of the slide bears the FM logo and a proof mark behind the cocking serrations, and the legend "M95 Classic" forward of the ejection port.  The serial number is shown in three places:  On the chamber area of the barrel, directly below it  on the slide, and directly below that on the frame.  The left side of the slide bears the inscription "FM Hi Power" over "Industria Argentina" forward of the ejection port.
Fitting of all parts was generally excellent, with one glaring exception.  The contour at the rear of the slide did not mate with that of the frame, overhanging by between 1/32" and 1/16."  Based on a comparison with the Detective model, it seems that an M90 frame was mated to a revised and revamped slide to make the M95.  While this has no functional impact, based on previous encounters with Argentine pistols, it is not up to the standards of manufacturing we have come to expect. 

The M95's key improvement over the M90 is the addition of an internal firing pin safety.  As with the Mk. IIIS High power , the breechblock portion of the slide is milled through to accept a redesigned sear lever.  The sear lever has a "paddle" which fits

Rear of M95 - Note 
slide overhang and 
ambidextrous safety
Firing Pin Safety
Firing Pin Safety - Note Redesigned Sear Lever
between two collars on a redesigned firing pin.  The paddle prevents the firing pin from moving forward unless the trigger is pulled, minimizing the danger of an unwanted discharge.

M95 Deluxe
M95 Deluxe
M95 Deluxe
The M95 "Deluxe" is basically a cosmetically enhanced version of the M95 Classic, and is mechanically identical.  The finish is described by the manufacturer as "nickel," but appears more like a matte brushed chrome.  Other upgrades include a gold plated trigger and hammer, polished blue extractor, safety levers, slide stop, and magazine release, checkered hardwood stocks, and sights that are outlined in red, instead of the standard white.
While we're generally less than enthusiastic about dressed up service pistols, this is a very attractive gun.  The enhancements are subtle and to an extent, functional (nickel and/or chrome provide a degree of weatherproofing).  The Deluxe model suffers from the same slide overhang as the M95.  Fit and finish on our sample was excellent.

The Detective differs from either the M95  or the Deluxe in that it is not a Mk.IIIS High Power clone.  The Detective is a shortened M90, with a 3.7" barrel and a commensurately shorter slide.  Additionally, it lacks the later features such as the ambi- dextrous extended safety and the internal firing pin safety.  Also, the Detective retains the M90's three-dot sighting system as opposed to the vertical lines used on the M95 and later FN High Powers.
One feature unique to the Detective is the recoil spring design, which is optimized to work with the shorter barrel and less massive slide.  Standard High Powers use a single recoil spring with a short guide that fits into a closed tunnel in the slide.  The Detective uses a full length guide rod that travels in an open tunnel in the slide (it is exposed when the slide is fully recoiled), and is surrounded by a spring within a spring arrangement.

The Detective we received wore the same contoured rubber grips as the M95.  Fit and finish were excellent, and there was

High Power Springs
Detective Springs and Guide Rod, Top
Standard Spring and Guide Rod, Bottom
no slide overhang at the rear.  The Detective balanced differently than a standard M95 owing to the shorter slide and lower forward mass.  While this took some getting used to, it was not uncomfortable or unpleasant in the least, and in fact improved the pistol's pointing qualities.

Shooting the Argentine High Powers
High Powers are generally fun guns to shoot.  They're comfortable, accurate, and have a tendency to make the shooter look good.  Given that we can use all the help looking good that we can get, we were excited about shooting the Argentine guns.  So, we packed a range bag, and drove off into the sunset, or at least out to the NRA range in Fairfax, Virginia.

We brought along three types of 9x19mm ammunition with which to test the High Powers:

South African PMP 115 grain FMJ
Federal Hydra-Shok 124 grain JHP
Remington Golden Saber 124 grain JHP

All guns were fired for accuracy at a 2.5" black center at 40 feet using the 115 grain FMJ ammunition

Accuracy with the M95 was quite good, with our best group of the day measuring approximately 1.2".  In fact, we were able to fire an entire fifty round box of ammunition into a group measuring slightly less than 2" at forty feet.  Given the combination of a fixed sight service pistol and our less than match quality shooting abilities, we were quite impressed with the gun.

M95 Deluxe
The Deluxe fared rather worse than the standard M95, owing entirely to the difference in trigger pull (see below).  Our best group was about 2", which, given the M95's performance, was somewhat disappointing.  Despite this, when taken on its own merits, the Deluxe's performance is still respectable.

The Detective turned in groups similar to the M95, with our best group measuring approximately 1.3", and a fifty round group measuring right about 2".  Again, given the combination of a service pistol with fixed sights and our abilities, we were very impressed.

Recoil and Ergonomics
Recoil with both the M95 and Deluxe was negligible, owing in large part to the High Power's grip design.  There was slightly more muzzle flip on the Detective, it being a shorter and lighter pistol, but it was not anything that could be considered unpleasant.

Ergonomically, the pistols are a comfortable as any Browning High Power we've ever held.  However they suffer from the same shortcomings the High Power is known for, notably a heavy, less than perfect trigger pull.  In part this is due to the pistol's design.  The magazine safety acts directly on the trigger mechanism, and often adds a dragging sensation.  Additionally, High Powers often have very heavy mainspring, which adds to the weight of pull.  The Detective had the best trigger of the three, breaking crisply and cleanly.  The M95 was substantially similar to the Detective, but had a slightly hesitant, gritty feeling, most likely the result of the additional drag on the sear lever caused by the firing pin safety.  The Deluxe had a manifestly gritty, hard, and sloppy pull.  We're not sure why the trigger on the Deluxe was poor, but we do note that it began to improve with use.

Each pistol was fired 200 times with FMJ ammunition, and 50 times with JHP ammunition.  No failures were noted with any of the guns.

With the price of FN High Powers running in excess of $600.00 these days, the Argentine Brownings represent an exceptional value for both the collector wanting a Browning High Power for his collection and for someone looking for an excellent value in a personal protection firearm.  While the guns do have a negative point or two, they are well made, very accurate, reliable firearms.  More than this, we're not sure that one can ask of a service pistol.  These are excellent guns at very competitive prices.

And now, our Buy-O-Meter rating for the M95:

And now, our Buy-O-Meter rating for the Detective:

And now, our Buy-O-Meter rating for the M95 Deluxe:


What In Blue Blazes Is A Cruffler??
What Do You Do At Cruffler.Com?
Products & Services
Shops Specializing In C&R Firearms
Links Of Note
Contact Cruffler.Com
Becoming a Cruffler
Secure Communications with PGP
Results >From Cruffler Matches One   And Three And A Consolidated  Match Database!
The Best in South American Military Surplus from JLD Enterprises, Featuring M1911A1 Style .45's!
Paying by Credit Card with!