TESTED: Hi-Point Model 995 Classic Shines Well Beyond Value

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I don’t remember the first time I saw Hi-Point’s original 9mm 995 carbine, but I do recall it reminded me of the guns featured in the 1968 Sci-fi classic movie “Planet of the Apes,” which starred Charlton Heston, later president of the National Rifle Association, in the lead human role. As it turned out, it really doesn’t look all that much like the guns in the movie, but something about it channeled the spirit of that superb film, and I wasn’t the only one to make the connection. It remains commonly described as the “Planet of the Apes” carbine. 

Hi-Point Model 995 Classic Details

Compared to the present Model 995 carbines, the Model Classic 995 is lighter in weight and slimmer in the forend with a sheet metal heat shield/upper handguard. It is lean and uncluttered by Picatinny rail, and the entire stock consists of two injection-molded plastic halves joined at the centerline and secured together with “u” clips and transverse captive bolts. The absence of a rail makes it difficult to readily accessorize like the contemporary models, therefore lacking their practical utility. However, the lean and light Classic 995 is more agile in handling.

Like all the Hi-Point carbines, the Model 995 Classic comes with good iron sights. The aperture rear sight easily adjusts for windage and elevation with a small flat-tip screwdriver. The front sight also adjusts for elevation by loosening its mounting bolt on the front sight base and sliding it up or down. Hi-Point offers a polymer Picatinny rail accessory set for $24. But it only fits the receiver via direct installation on the Classic carbine. Installation also requires trimming the front, overhanging portion. That would give you enough rail for a red dot optic, and possibly a scope, though I’d recommend a one-piece base. Remember, the rail is plastic, not aluminum. However, handy people should find installing a piece of aluminum rail manageable, with plenty available at Brownells.com.

Budget-Friendly Platform

With a street price around $270, the Classic 995 ia about $30 less than the tactical models, but aside from the stock (the Classic stock only accepts 10-round magazines), they are the same gun. Not only are Hi-Point carbines inexpensive, they are also accurate, very reliable with most ammo, and come protected by warranty, regardless of owner, for the life of the gun. They are a rare example of a product that delivers more than your money’s worth of value. To understand how Hi-Point can do this, and to really appreciate the brilliance of their design, you need to take one apart and see how efficiently these guns are made.

In manufacturing, machining time is expensive. The only machining work apparent on the Hi-Point carbine is the barrel chamber and feed ramp, the firing pin and firing pin channel though the breech bolt, and the sear. Other than a few springs, screws and pins, every other part is a zinc or steel casting, sheet metal stamping, or injection-molded plastic. The barrel is actually a rifled steel sleeve cast into a zinc trunnion. Molding, casting and stamping produce parts that are at, or close to, final form, which saves lots of manurfactuing time and money. Eventually, some of the parts in a Hi-Point carbine may break, and when they do, they will be very inexpensive for the manufacturer to replace.

Hi-Point Model 995 Classic full left view.

Reliable Carbine

Let me start off by saying that I’ve never actually heard of a Hi-Point carbine breaking, but it’s possible. It’s a bummer if a recreational gun goes out of action because of a parts failure. If that happens in police or military service it can be a life or death problem. That’s why the Hi-Point carbine isn’t the first choice of law enforcement or the military who need extreme durability and reliability. That’s not to say a Hi-Point carbine wouldn’t be potent in a self-defense role. If you can’t afford a professional grade firearm, these carbines are respectable stop gaps. If I had to choose between an excellent 9mm pistol and a Hi-Point carbine in a “S— hit the fan” scenario, I’d grab the Hi-Point carbine.

Hi-Point carbines are simple blowback operation semi-auto guns. The breech bolt does not lock when in battery. Instead, like many World War II-era submachine guns, they rely on the sheer mass of the breech bolt and recoil spring pressure to delay the opening of the action until barrel pressures drop to safe levels. The heavy cast zinc breech bolt of the Hi-Point completely enshrouds the barrel trunnion when the action is closed in the fashion of the Isreali UZI submachine gun. A tab at the bottom front of the breech bolt encircles the barrel and bears directly on the recoil spring oriented below the barrel.

Adjustable front sight and handguard on Model 995 Classic.

Classic Component Details

The extractor is a double-thick sheet metal stamping. The reciprocating cocking handle is a 1/4-20 thread bolt with a knurled roller on the end threaded directly into the left side of the breech bolt. The bottom of the roller is rebated so it can be pushed into a recess in the exterior sheet metal receiver cover to hold the bolt open. When the breech bolt recoils, the firing pin protrudes from the breech face and ejects the spent cartridge case. 

In keeping with the spirit of the gorilla warrior class of the Planet of the Apes movie franchise, shooting the Hi-Point carbine is a something of a brutish experience. That heavy bolt transmits recoil directly into your cheek. Hi-Point has a self-stick cheek pad to address this, which was a more elegant solution than my idea of taping a foam shoe insole to the comb. The recoil also has a tendency to loosen up the cocking handle and the front sight base screws and it is advisable to have an Allen key and 5/16-inch box wrench on the range to retighten them.

Lower receiver group from Model 995 Classic.

Rounds Downrange

I tested a mixture of ball and hollow points in 115-, 124- and 135-grain weights. Reliability was not perfect, but was limited to failures to feed of the first round of a fully loaded magazine, especially when the magazine was pressed into the grip against a closed bolt. That changed the orientation of the first round slightly to a level or downward pointing position and sometimes nosedived into the feed ramp and jammed. Dropping the magazine cleared the jam, allowing the rounds to drop from the mag well. 

When magazines were loaded with nine rounds, or inserted with the breech bolt open, the first round chambered reliably with ball rounds and pointy or smooth mouth hollow points. Depressing the rim of the top round in the loaded magazine reoriented the cartridges to point upward in the magazine, which I suspect also helped chambering, as did always working the cocking handle without authority and allowing it to slam forward with full spring pressure. Operate it like a gorilla, and you’re doing it right.

Hi-Point Model 995 Classic exploded view.

Finer Points

The only round tested that I had notable trouble with was the 135-grain Federal Premium Hydra Shok Deep JHP. That round shot quite accurately, averaging five-shot groups of 3.03 inches at 50 yards from the bench, but its long, saw edged, JHP bullet almost always jammed on the first round. The carbine’s feed ramp is rather roughly machined, and first round feeding problems off a full magazine might be corrected by polishing it. 

Winchester’s flat point, 115-grain FMJ rounds fed perfectly once I got my King Kong action handling routine down. Average groups measured 2.86 inches.  Conical point Hornady Custom 124-grain XTP JHP always fed perfectly, producing groups averaging 2.60 inches.

Most of my casual shooting was done with ordinary 115-grain round nose ball ammunition, which shot accurately and gave me no feeding issues. The trigger is overly pointy in shape and got uncomfortable on my fingertip after only 20 rounds. The trigger pull itself is long, inconsistent, and full of creep, but it didn’t hurt accuracy as much as I feared it might. At 50 yards I was able to shoot off-hand, five-shot groups under 3 inches, which is only a little bigger than I shot from the bench.

I rarely get a gun for testing that shoots exactly to the point of aim right out of the box like this carbine did. I tested it prone at 100 yards and shot groups under 5 inches when I did my part. For an inexpensive PCC with a less than ideal trigger pull, the Model 995 Classic carbine manages to perform way above its price point.

Specification: Hi-Point Model 995 Classic

  • Caliber: 9 x 19mm
  • Operation: blowback, unlocked breech, semi-automatic
  • Barrel: 16.5 inch, 8 lands & grooves, ½ x 28 threaded muzzle, fitted with screw on thread protector. (Also available in a 19 inch barrel version.)
  • Overall Length: 31 inches with 16.5 inch barrel
  • Weight empty: 6.25 pounds unloaded
  • Magazine capacity:  10 rounds
  • Trigger: 6.75 to 7.25 pound pull
  • Sights: aperture rear sight adjustable for windage and elevation with screws and elevation adjustable front sight
  • Stock: black plastic
  • Accessories: black nylon friction buckle adjustable sling/sling swivels
  • MSRP: $333 (Online price check suggests a street price around $270)

Performance: Hi-Point Model 995 Classic

Load Velocity Best Group
Winchester USA Ready 115-grain Flat Point FMJ 1,340 2.42
Hornady Custom 124-grain XTP JHP 1,223 2.25
Federal Premium Personal Defense 135-grain Hydra Shok Deep JHP 1,035 2.13

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