John Moses Browning was known to have stated his High Power designs and the technological upgrade and successor to the venerable 1911 handgun. Using a double-stack 9mm magazine and the first handgun to feature the now ubiquitous Browning tilting block operation, the High Power has served and continues to serve as a stalwart military sidearm… but its a heavy one.
Clocking in at 35 ounces, the High Power cannot typically be viewed as a svelte design. Unlike many more recent designs, both the frame and the slide are steel. While certainly strong, the steel construction makes the High Power the modern handgun equivalent of a functional boat anchor – a fact not lost on many, including the handguns’ manufacturers.
Canada, in fact, was at the forefront of potential weight reduction on the handguns. After an initial successful experiment at milling material from the slide, the Canadians proceeded to manufacture High Powers out of billet aluminum. Sent to the US, UK, and to domestic armories, the various militaries found the weight reduction quite agreeable, though the aluminum did show some wear issues around the locking block (which could and would have been easily solved).
For the full story, to see the handguns themselves, and brush up on your post World War II weapons development, check out the video from Ian over at Forgotten Weapons.