Gun Show: High Standard 22LR Auto Pistols

I had the pleasure of handling two old High Standard target/survival pistols together, and so I took the opportunity to snap some photos. These two stablemates from the early 1950’s are widely regarded as some of the most accurate automatic pistols ever produced. The larger Supermatic Citation with its 6.75″ interchangeable fluted barrel and optional military grip angle is particularly legendary for accuracy. The Sport King’s 4.5″ barrel is still remarkably accurate, and its heavily sculpted Luger-angled grip is a pleasure to wield.

The US Military took notice of High Standard accuracy, and procured many of the pistols for pilots as a survival weapon. They also saw clandestine use as the preferred weapon for US assassins and covert operatives. Military contracts led to the company’s expansion from its original facility in New Haven, CT to a larger plant in Hamden.

How accurate are they? From a bench, they will drill the bull every single time at 25 yards. That’s better than most shooters can muster, so on the one hand it is wonderful to be limited only by your own talent, while on the other hand it’s humbling to be stripped of all excuses for missing!

Sadly, the High Standard name lost some of its luster beginning in the 1970’s, after the factory in Hamden, CT burned to the ground. The company subsequently fell into turbulent times, with ownership changes, relocation, and struggles with adaptation to the national climate after the Gun Control Act of 1968. Due to the shift of manufacturing costs from expensive tooling and cheap labor to cheap tooling and expensive labor, it is likely that we will never see another mass-produced handgun made to the accuracy levels of the High Standard line.

 

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