I have an admission to make. I have been a gun snob for about the last six years or so. Why am I telling you this? Because the Hi-Point 1095TS 10mm Carbine, which is the gun I am writing this piece about, is the first Hi-Point firearm that I have ever reviewed for USCCA.

This is likely due to one particular reason: Hi-Point firearms, particularly handguns, do not look conventional enough. The handguns in particular are bulky, and they are — horror of horrors — not only inexpensive, but very inexpensive.

On the other hand, Hi-Points have been made in the U.S.A. in Mansfield, Ohio, since 1992. Hi-Point handguns come in compact and full sizes in .380, 9mm, .40 and .45 ACP calibers. Hi-Point’s carbine line is a relatively new addition to the company’s inventory, with the new 10mm 1095TS being the newest of the lot. Hi-Point also offers a pretty solid warranty and repair program.

The reason that Hi-Points are bulky and inexpensive is that they use blowback operating systems. These operating systems require a heavy slide and bolt assembly to retard the operation of the bolt during firing. Other pistols use recoil-locking systems or even some form of gas-piston operation to do the same thing. In order to further save on manufacturing costs, the slides are die-cast from Zamak 3 zinc alloy, which is lighter than steel. Hi-Point slides need to be larger than slides made of steel in order to have the equivalent operating weight. This explains why the Hi-Point .380 ACP CF380 costs only $179 but weighs 29 ounces. Everything in life is a trade-off.

The 1095TS carbine is basically a Hi-Point 4595TS .45 ACP carbine chambered for the hot 10mm Automatic round. It is truly a pistol-caliber carbine because it is based off the Hi-Point pistol design but modified with a 17.5-inch rifle barrel, stock and other rifle features. There are few (if any) modern pistol carbines based off an existing pistol design as the 1095TS is. Using a pre-existing pistol design to create a carbine not only saves manufacturing costs but also engineering costs.

The 1095TS weighs 7 pounds. While this is a reasonable weight, it is quite a bit heftier than the U.S. M1 Carbine, which weighs in at only 5.5 pounds. However, 7 pounds is well within the weight range of most M4-type AR-15 carbines currently being offered.

The 1095TS definitely has a solid feel. The front forend is ribbed rather than solid. It is not a passé quad rail. The forend has Weaver railing on the underside of the far end, and there’s an additional Weaver rail on the underside of the barrel. There is also a Weaver rail atop the receiver for additional sighting equipment. The fully adjustable, factory rear-sight assembly is mounted to this rail segment. A sling, swivels and scope base are included with the carbine. The front sight is mounted directly to the barrel. The rear peep sight is well-marked in yellow for the windage and elevation adjustments. The front sight should probably be a fiber-optic pipe rather than a black metal post. It was a bright, sunny day during the test, but I had problems contrasting the front and rear sights. A fiber-optic front would help alleviate that issue. The capped, .57 x 28 threaded muzzle can mount suppressors and other accessories.

The pistol grip holds the magazine, and there is a standard round button release in the normal pistol position. One 10-round magazine was included with the carbine. The 1911-style safety is found in the same position on the left side as it is on others in the Hi-Point pistol line.

The trigger is single-action. It proved to be comfortable and reasonably crisp, which came as a pleasant surprise. The bolt locks open on the last shot. The stock is skeletonized to save weight and contains an internal recoil buffer, which is a good touch considering that the 10mm is a powerhouse of a round.

There is one other nice touch — one that I did not discover until I removed the 1095TS from the box. The user chooses the side he or she wants the charging handle on. There is an equally sized charging slot on each side of the receiver. The charging handle is a knurled sleeve that is mounted to the action by a bolt that runs through the center of the handle. A small wrench tightens it down.

Even though I am right-handed, I mounted the bolt handle on the left side. This allows me to maintain the carbine in a shooting position while charging it, and I do not need to reacquire the grip following the charging action. My left hand simply moves to the forend. I charge my ARs the same way, using only the left latching side of the charging handle while my right hand maintains shooting control at the pistol grip.

I conducted the range test with a lieutenant from my police department at his own range. I loaded up the single included magazine with 10 rounds of ammo. The carbine charged easily. I checked the safety and was ready to go. I moved to the 50-foot line.

When the gun fired, my cheek hurt. I fired again and kept feeling the same uncomfortable sensation. The carbine was performing splendidly in terms of function and accuracy, but it was causing a type of shooting discomfort that I had not experienced before. I brought the carbine back and loaded 10 more rounds. The lieutenant fired 10 rounds and felt the same thing. We looked at the stock and discovered the problem.

It was 89 degrees out when we did the test. The included rubber cheekpiece had become soft and tacky and was now acting as a cosmetic waxing that was attempting to remove our facial hair. The cheekpiece had softened enough that I was able to peel it off. The pad was only ¼ inch thick at most, so nothing was lost in terms of target acquisition. Hi-Point should look at a different (perhaps plastic) adjustable cheekpiece.

The Hi-Point 1095TS functioned flawlessly and produced very tight groups at 50 feet. The groups landed in the same hole while I was standing unsupported, but they were somewhat low and to the left. Adjusting the rear sight solved the problem, and the remaining groups were then dead-on.

The velocity of the 10mm rounds got the anticipated boost from the longer barrel. The SIG Sauer V-Crown 10mm ammo averaged 1,390 feet per second from the compact 17.5-inch barrel. That’s an increase of 140 feet per second compared to its factory-declared velocity. This results in muzzle energy of 772 foot-pounds, which is nothing to sneeze at.

The Hi-Point 1095TS has a definite place in the defensive-shooting world. It would be a fine survival arm to leave packed up with little concern for maintenance or a compact arm to carry around the farm or in a pickup truck, Jeep, boat or ATV. It appears that it can take a good amount of abuse and neglect and keep running. As a travel or vacation arm, it should arouse little ire in most jurisdictions since its magazines are limited to 10 rounds. It certainly packs enough power to defend against dangerous people and large animals. With an MSRP of $389, losing it to a police evidence locker for a while in the aftermath of a justified shooting would not be as big a deal as losing your $2,000 tricked-out AR the same way. I now have a different view of Hi-Point firearms and will likely review some others in the future.

More info at: www.hi-pointfirearms.com