High Standard pistols

The presently named High Standard Manufacturing Corporation, of Hamden, Conn., started out in 1926 as the High Standard Manufacturing Company, in New Haven, Conn., when C.G. Swebilius and three other men began the manufacture of gun barrel drills. At that time the firm had three employees. In 1932 the firm acquired the Hartford Arms and Equipment Co., of Hartford, Conn. This firm had developed and produced a single-shot pistol, a repeating pistol, and an automatic pistol. Although this firm was in operation for only about two years it appears that they made a few thousand pistols, judging from observed serial numbers. There were at least two models of the automatic pistol, differing, however, only in the weights of their barrels and in the types of grip plates used. The failure of this firm enabled the High Standard company to buy their tools, equipment, etc. at a bankruptcy sale.

The first HI-Standard pistols produced naturally bore a close resemblance to the Hartford. The early Model A, however, was provided with an adjustable rear sight and some dimensions were changed slightly. The early Model B was a replica of the Hartford. In 1940, Model B was redesigned, a slide take-down lever being incorporated on the right side of the frame in place of the old style lever located on the left, just back of the safety. This model was chambered for the .22 L.R. cartridge, and a similar model, Model C, was chambered for the .22 Short. As is the case with most subsequent models, these were obtainable in two barrel lengths, 41/2 or 63/4 inches. They had fixed sights and hard rubber grip pieces. Numerous other models followed.

In addition to the original Mod. A (essentially the Hartford) it appears that another Mod. A was introduced in 1936, and one quite similar but having an external hammer and no thumb safety was also produced as Mod. H-A. The external hammer versions are designated by the use of the letter H before the model letter used for the hammerless model.

A variation of the Mod. B was produced in smooth bore, especially designed for .22 Short shot cartridges. This was designated Mod. S-B and was obtainable with 41/2-inch barrel only. Mod. B was also produced in an external hammer version, without the thumb safety, and this was designated Mod. H-B. Mod. D was like Mod. A except that it had a heavier barrel, which increased the weight from 36 to 40 ounces. Mod. H-D was the same as Mod. D but with an external hammer and no thumb safety. Mod. H-DM was the same as Mod. H-D but with thumb safety. This model was the outcome of a war-developed model which will be mentioned later. Under the designation H-DM or H-D Military Model it was made from 1946 to 1951.

Mod. E was derived from Mod. A by using an extra-heavy barrel and grips provided with a thumb rest. With the 63/4-inch barrel the total weight was 42 ounces as against 36 ounces for Mod. A. Mod. H-E was the same as Mod. E except that it had an external hammer and no thumb safety.

All of the above-mentioned (except Mod. H-DM ) are pre-World War II models and all were discontinued in 1942 because of the advent of that war.

During the first part of World War II the company was engaged in the manufacture of machine gun barrels for the British and later for the U.S. Ordnance Department. This led to a separation of the commercial part of the business from the military, and in 1941 the High Standard Manufacturing Corporation was formed to manufacture pistols, gun barrels, etc. This new corporation acquired new space and increased its personnel and facilities for producing gun barrel drills, .30 caliber Browning machine gun barrels, .45 caliber pistol barrels, rifle barrels, and component parts of artillery and bomb fuses.

In 1943 the firm developed and produced a .22 caliber automatic pistol for military training, and this was given the designation Mod. U.S.A.-H-D, and following the war (in 1946) this became Mod. H-DM (or H-D Military Model). As noted above, its manufacture ceased in 1951.

In 1947 High Standard produced the first of a new series of pistols, known as the G series. The first to be produced represented quite an innovation as it was in .380 caliber, whereas all prior pistol manufacture had been confined to .22 caliber. This pistol was designated Mod. G. It had an external hammer, a thumb safety, 6-cartridge magazine (instead of the customary 10), 5-inch barrel, fixed sights, and checkered plastic stocks. It weighed 40 ounces and was made until 1950. The G series marked the introduction of a new type of disassembly. To remove the barrel and slide, a small latch located in front of the trigger guard is pushed down, whereupon both the barrel and slide can be removed by pushing them forward off the frame.

The .22 caliber members of the G series, produced from 1949 to 1951, consisted of the following:

Mod. G-B-A hammerless model with interchangeable barrels, 41/2 and 63/4 inches in length. With the longer barrel it weighed 36 ounces and was 103/4 inches in length. It had fixed sights and the customary 10-round magazine.

Mod. G-D-This was similar to Mod. G-B, in general, but was slightly longer. It had a heavier barrel, bringing the weight up to .41 ounces with the 63/4inch barrel. It was provided with target sights.

Mod. G-E-This model had the same general specifications as the Mod. G-D but had an extra-heavy barrel, increasing the weight to 44 ounces with the 63/4-inch barrel.

The G series was followed by the .22 caliber Olympic model, of which there were three variations which appeared in 1950, 1951, and 1954, respectively. In this series the disassembly latch in front of the trigger guard was replaced by a push button (or rod) which accomplished the same purpose, i.e., releasing the barrel and slide.

Olympic (First model)-This model had no official designation as Mod. I, nor were the following models given any specific model designation. The first model was made in 1950 and

1951. It had the same general specifications as the Mod. G-E but had a light alloy slide and was chambered for the .22 Short cartridge instead of the L.R.

Olympic (Second type)-The second type, made from 1951 to 1954, was of the same general design as the Supermatic (introduced in the same year) but was chambered for the .22 Short cartridge, had a light alloy slide, and weighed 39 ounces with the 63/4-inch barrel. An interchangeable 41/2-inch barrel could be had.

Olympic (Third type)-This type was introduced in 1954. It had a new positive-lock safety, new assembly slide lock, adjustable target rear sight, ramptype front sight, front and back straps grooved to improve the grip, molded grips (checkered and with thumb rest), raised serrated rib on top of barrel, hooded breech, and adjustable (2- and 3-ounce) weights.

Supermatic model-This model and the Olympic (third type) are alike except that this is chambered for the .22 L.R. cartridge. Like the Olympic it had a built-in stabilizer (muzzle brake) and adjustable balancing weights. It also had the same type of target sights, with click adjustments for windage and elevation. In each model the slide locks automatically in the open position after the last shot has been fired. Both the Olympic and Supermatic were especially designed for expert target shooting.

In 1959 there was a radical change made in the Supermatics. Three models were offered. The Supermatic Trophy and the Supermatic Citation are basically alike, but the former is a de luxe model and far more expensive. The Supermatic Citation Olympic is the same as the .22 L.R. model but takes the .22 Short cartridge. These new Supermatics are characterized particularly by having a new type of barrel. Instead of the heavy, weighted barrel formerly used, the new barrel is slender for the greater part of its length and has longitudinal grooves on its outer surface for the purpose of damping vibrations. At the muzzle end the barrel is large in diameter and is not fluted. This gives more weight at that point and more stability. In addition there is an easily detachable stabilizer firmly installed in concentric alignment with the bore. Improvement in the sights, trigger, and arrangement of hammer and sear are also claimed.

Sport King model-This model was introduced as a general purpose, low-cost model. It was originally produced in 1950. It uses the .22 L.R. cartridge, has a magazine capacity of 10, checkered plastic thumb rest grip and fixed sights. Like the other recent models, interchangeable barrels, 41/2 and 63/4 inches, were available. By 1954 it was provided with a new positive lock safety and could be had with either a steel or a forged aluminum frame. With the steel frame and 63/4-inch barrel the weight is 40 ounces, whereas with the aluminum frame and the same length barrel the weight is 30 ounces.

Field King model-This .22 L.R. caliber model was introduced in 1950. As first produced, this pistol was practically identical to the Sport King, except that it had a heavier barrel and was provided with an adjustable rear target sight. It evidently was designed as a less expensive target pistol, compared to the Olympic and Supermatic. This model is not described in the 1958 factory literature and presumably has been discontinued.

Flite King model-This model, greatly resembling the Sport King in appearance, was introduced in 1953. It is chambered for the .22 Short cartridge. It has a light alloy slide and is the lightest of all the models, weighing only 26 ounces with the 63/4-inch barrel.

Duramatic model-This is a lower-priced model, intended for general use, which was introduced in 1954. Several changes in design are incorporated. Instead of the push-button device for unlocking barrel and slide, a circular unlocking nut set into a slot in the slide just in front of the trigger guard is used. Also, different types of thumb safety and magazine release are used and the grip pattern is new. Interchangeable barrels, 41/2 and 61/2 inches in length, may be used. This appears to be the first time a 61/2-inch barrel has been used on any model. This model is not in the 1958 advertising and presumably has been dropped.

Conversion unit-A ā€˛quick change" conversion unit, enabling one to use both L.R. or Short cartridges in the Supermatic, Olympic, Field King, and some of the earlier High Standard models, is available.

The High Standard products have an excellent reputation, and among the expert target shooters the Olympic and Supermatic models are preferred above all others.

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  • kerstin
    How to remove rear sight assembly on supermatic trophy?
    5 years ago
  • maire
    Are high standard slides interchangeable?
    4 months ago

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