Tisas Regent BR9: CRITICAL REVIEW OF THE: Tisas / Regent BR9 HP Hi-Power

CRITICAL REVIEW OF THE:  Tisas / Regent BR9 HP Hi-Power

On May 10, 2018, BHSpringSolutions performed a complete Spring Optimization and Fast Safety (SFS) conversion of the Tisas / Regent BR9 HP, a Turkish made Hi-Power and currently the only new Hi-Power pistols being imported into the United States.  The Tisas that is the subject of this review was sent to the BHSpringSolutions Service Center (BHServiceSolutions), unfired.

The Tisas / Regent Hi-Power is made in a Parkerized black finish, and a Stainless Steel model – today’s subject was a Stainless model.

Prior to diving into the Tisas HP and some specific observations, it can first be noted that, to date, we know of no manufacturers of the Hi-Power design that have not made an excellent product.  It is a true statement, BHSpringSolutions LLC founders own or have owned virtually every Hi-Power and Hi-Power clone and/or variant, and most have been extensively tested – or in the cases of models we haven’t owned, we have repeatedly performed service work on all of them, giving us the opportunity to study and assess everything, down to each and every part and pin.  We achieve highly reliable function, accuracy, and buttery smooth trigger pulls in all of them.  The Tisas / Regent BR9 HP is no exception.

THE TISAS / REGENT BR9 HP – DOWN TO THE DETAILS

Our subject Tisas HP appeared to be in New condition and unfired.  Tisas has publicized that this HP trigger pull is 5.0 – 5.5 lb break weight.  This one came to us with an 8.0 lb Trigger Pull as measured on two different Trigger Pull Scales.  We’ve had reports from customers that their Tisas HPs arrived to them with a 10 – 12+ lb Trigger pull.  We have discovered some probably reasons for this – fortunately, the remedies are rather easy, straight-forward, and not expensive.

FRAME AND SLIDE:

Inside and Outside – no shortcomings.  Interestingly, the Grip Frame of the Tisas is the only Hi-Power Clone (Non-FN/Browning Hi-Power) on which RDIH Tactical Shooting Grips will fit.  Slide to Frame “fit” is impressive – not “match-grade” or $3,000 custom Hi Power tight, and probably not as tight as some FN/Brownings I’ve handled that were manufactured in the past 10 years, but this does not indicate any insufficiency in the Tisas – slide to frame fit in the Tisas is impressive.

As clones of the FN/Browning Hi-Power are concerned, the Frame and Slide of the Tisas appears to be identical to the FN/Brownings.  We found no places in the Tisas that would not accept a replacement FN/Browning part or pin, and we found no places in the Tisas that would not accept BHSpringSolutions Optimized Hi-Power springs.  So, this knowledge creates a good baseline and back-drop for our other observations.

Tisas did a good job on the sights – three dot white sights with a slightly lower profile than on the Browning HP Mark III – good for fast sight acquisition – we still recommend replacement with Night Sights if using in any defensive role.  Our BHServiceCenter installs a lot of Meprolight Night Sights on our customer’s Hi-Powers.

The barrel looked really great.  The feed ramp is “straight”, not “humped”, as were all Hi-Powers until around 1985.  Feeding all ammunition through a Tisas should not be a problem.  Barrel to Slide Lock-up and fit is fine – – – not “Match-Grade-fitted” by any means.  Compared to the FN/Browning barrel to slide fit that we’ve seen from the last 20 years of FN production, which has really been excellent….the Tisas is not quite that good…but close…..and certainly more than close enough for a $550 New Hi-Power.  The Tisas HP barrel appears to be a One-Piece barrel and appears to be very well done in all respects.

The single-sided, old style, nub of a safety, is a disappointment.  This can be changed out with an FN/Browning Ambidextrous Manual Safety or  by installing a Hi-Power SFS Kit , as we did.

Grip Panels of the Tisas – if you do decide the nub of a manual safety needs changed out, you’ll also be using different Hi-Power grips, because the stock grips on the Tisas are essentially FN/Browning’s design from 30 and + years ago, and they are not compatible with any Ambidextrous Safety.  This is not a big loss – the slab grips of the Tisas are made like a Hi-Power is made, as compared to the grips you will see here. The difference you’ll see on the BHSpringSolutions MastersGrips page is that the surface area of the grips that contact the hand is made like the hand is made (and of course the backs of the grips are made like the Hi-Power is made.  It’s the difference in grips made for a gun and grips made for a hand.  Because we were installing SFS on this Tisas, we had to install a pair of BHMastersGrips with the RDIH Tactical Shooting Grips being the other alternative.

The Tisas Frame / Slide and all parts such as Trigger, Extractor, Firing Pin, and all parts, are as near a carbon copy of an FN/Browning Hi-Power as we’ve ever seen.  In all these areas, the Tisas HP deserves an “A Rating” – this is the good news, and it is very good news.  That leaves only the firearms Pins and Springs, and this is where things get much more “interesting”.

There’s an old saying that goes something like “The last 5% of the project is sometimes toughest to finish”.  Ever noticed that about a home improvement project?  It appears that old saying may apply to the Tisas – possibly more time could have been taken in these areas.  Following is our analysis of our findings that are noteworthy:

The Hi Power’s Sear Pin is a Solid Pin, not a roll pin.  The Sear Pin of the Tisas was found to be 0.00185” larger in diameter than an FN/Browning Sear Pin yet the hole in the frame of the Tisas where the Sear Pin is installed is identical to the hole in an FN/Browning frame.  This made the Sear Pin fit very tight in the Tisas frame, requiring a hammer and a punch to remove (typically this pin pushes out with only a pin punch in your hand).  This provided a small amount of resistance on the original Sear.  When installing SFS, the SFS Return Lever would not fit on the Tisas Sear Pin at all.  This is the first time in any model of Hi Power that we have ever seen this dimension used for a Sear Pin.  We replaced the Tisas Sear Pin with an FN/Browning Sear Pin, and everything fit and installed and functioned as it would in a Browning Hi Power.  There’s no way to explain what Tisas is going for with this over-sized Sear Pin, because it simply doesn’t work out well.  The Sear / Hammer Tooth relationship on the Tisas pistol are impressive – probably more well done and more refined than those same two parts were on any new FN/Browning Hi Power.  To then essentially compromise the function of those two parts with an over-sized Sear Pin is too bad.  The good news, installing an FN/Browning Sear Pin which is not difficult, fixes this problem.  The over-sized Sear Pin was a contributor to the 8 lb Trigger Pull and would completely prevent installation of SFS.  Finding this nuance in any Hi Power, is a first.

Sear Lever Pin: This, is another first.  The Sear Lever should not encounter any resistance in it’s movement because of the Roll Pin that holds it in place, called the Sear Lever Pin.  The Tisas Sear Lever was demonstrating some resistance in it’s movement.  When removed, we found the Sear Lever Pin basically “crushed” down small on one end of the pin, and the other end of the pin was bulged, and the Sear Lever Pin could not pass more than half-way through the Sear Lever.  The Sear Lever Pin of the Tisas was replaced with an FN/Browning Sear Lever Pin and the Sear Lever then had freedom of movement that would be expected.  Again, the installed “OEM” Sear Lever Pin on the Tisas was obviously an oversized pin that interferes with free movement of the Sear Lever.  Aside from another point of unnecessary resistance on the trigger pull, a Sear Lever that does not have complete freedom of movement can present a hazardous scenario.  A Sear Lever that doesn’t work properly is one of the parts that can turn your Semi-Auto into a Hi-Power that pops off more than one round per trigger pull…..

Extractor Pin: The Roll Pin that holds in the Extractor.  This pin removed normally, we installed a BHSpringSolutions Optimized Extractor Spring that did enhance the “hardness” of the Extractor (always a good thing on a Hi Power).  When re-installing the Extractor Pin, we noticed that it reinstalled rather easily.  Out of curiosity, I tried pushing the Extractor Pin back out of the slide with only my hand and a 1/16” punch tool – and it worked!  Well, THAT does not work.  Extractor Pins must be more secure than that – if this pin moves, much at all, during shooting, malfunctions will result because the Extractor will no longer be in the slide.  So, so far, we’ve encountered two clearly over-sized pin……the Extractor Pin is a clearly under-sized pin or is just of very poor quality steel – in any event, the Tisas Extractor Pin was replaced with an FN/Browning Extractor Pin that installed securely just they always do in an FN/Browning Hi Power.

Trigger Sub-Assembly Pins: The Solid Trigger Pin that is usually a beast to remove on an FN/Browning Hi Power, removed almost too easily with nothing more than a standard 3/32” pin punch tool.  The Trigger Pin reinstalled sufficiently snug that we did not replace it – if it’s removed another time or two, necessary replacement is likely.  When this pin is not sufficiently snug, we’ve seen them work their way out of the pistol from right to left.  The two smaller pins in the trigger, which are sometimes solid and sometimes roll pins depending on the manufacturer of the HP, are roll pins in the Tisas and do their jobs well.

Our suggestion for Tisas owners, you’ll improve your Hi Power if you just replace all the Roll Pins and Solid Pins with FN/Browning Pins, the possible exceptions being the two Roll Pins in the trigger.

Springs in the Tisas:

Recoil Spring – Tisas Recoil Spring is “just enough” spring for it’s job.  We recommend replacement with a 17 lb BHSpringSolutions Optimized Recoil Spring for Standard Pressure Ammunition, 18.5 lb for +P Ammunition, and 15 lb for “light reloads”.

Extractor Spring – The Tisas Extractor Spring is fine and the BHSpringSolutions Optimized HP Extractor Spring does the job better.

Firing Pin Spring – Tisas has utilized a “Light Firing Pin Spring”.  In the opinion of BHSpringSolutions, this spring application is inappropriate and presents an unnecessary safety hazard in the event of a muzzle drop.  There is often misunderstanding about the function of a Hi Power or 1911 Firing Pin Spring.  Unlike in most striker-fired handguns where the Firing Pin may propel the Firing Pin forward into the primer of the ammunition, in the Hi Power the Firing Pin Spring’s function is to keep the Firing Pin rearward away from the primer.  When the Hammer slams home into the Firing Pin, the force of the Hammer needs to be enough to overcome the resistance of the Firing Pin Spring so that the Firing Pin impacts the primer causing the bullet to be fired.  In Hi Powers that do not contain a mechanical drop-safety (firing pin block), the FIRING PIN IS THE ONLY “DROP SAFETY” in the picture.  BHSpringSolutions LLC manufactures a “Light Firing Pin Spring” that is included only in spring kit versions for FN/Browning Mark III Hi Powers, and FM 95 Hi-Powers containing the Type 2 Sear Lever that also serves as a Firing Pin Block, and the Light Firing Pin Spring finds one more application in the Arcus 98 Series Hi-Power Inspired pisols.  It is the opinion of BHSpringSolutions, which was also consistent with the Firing Pin Springs available from FN/Browning, that Hi-Powers like the Tisas that contain no mechanical Firing Pin Block, should always contain a Heavy Firing Pin Spring.  This discussion will continue when we discuss the Hi Power Main Spring a.k.a. “Hammer Spring”.  In our subject Tisas, the OEM Light Firing Pin Spring was replaced with a BHSpringSolutions Heavy Firing Pin Spring.

Main Spring (Hammer Spring): The Tisas Main Spring / Hammer Spring seemed a lighter spring than an OEM FN/Browning Main Spring.  And, this is not a bad thing.  An OEM FN/Browning Main spring is a 32 lb spring which is like applying a ton of pressure to the Hammer / Sear relationship.  BHSpringSolutions LLC manufactures the HP Main Spring in 32 lb., 30 lb., 26 lb., and 24 lb versions.  We are assuming that since Tisas may have chosen a lighter than 32 lb Main Spring, they sought to compensate by also using a Light Firing Pin Spring.  At BHSpringSolutions LLC, all of our testing with all of our Main Springs, even the 24 lb Main Spring, have been performed with our Heavy Firing Pin Spring, and we have never experienced a light primer strike resulting in any failures to fire.  Our favorite in Hi Powers with the traditional operating system (non-SFS) is the BHSpringSolutions 26 lb Main Spring and always used with a Heavy Firing Pin Spring in Hi Powers like the Tisas that do not contain any mechanical drop safety provision.  In our subject Tisas, we installed the SFS system which replaces the hammer/hammer strut/Main Spring.  The SFS Main Spring is a 30 lb Main Spring.

Magazine Latch and Magazine Latch Spring – This device functions fine in the Tisas.  Device and spring appear to be FN/Browning copies.  In our subject Tisas, we installed the RDIH Ambidextrous Magazine Catch and it functioned perfectly.

Magazine Disconnect and Magazine Disconnect Spring: The controversial device that can be in or out of any Hi Power.  Installed, this device disables the Trigger when the ammunition magazine is not installed in the Hi Power.  When the magazine is installed the trigger becomes active and will fire the pistol.  When this device is removed, the Hi Power’s trigger is active 100% of the time, magazine installed or not.  The Tisas retains the Magazine Disconnect Device, and can be removed, as in all Hi Powers.  Tisas has installed a reduced power Magazine Disconnect Spring which reduces the negative influence of the Magazine Disconnect while retaining positive influence on the positioning of the Trigger Lever.  Some owners of the Tisas will remove the device, and some will retain it.  Tisas has done some nice work on the Magazine Disconnect device to reduce it’s negative influence – we give Tisas an A+ on their work on this part of their Hi Power.  It is obvious that the quality of the trigger pull in the Regent BR9 was on the minds of folks at Tisas and with respect to the Magazine Disconnect device and it’s spring, Tisas has done as good here as any maker has ever done.

Trigger:  The Tisas trigger is standard Hi Power trigger.  The Tisas will benefit from a wide trigger such as this one sold at BHSpringSolutions.com

Trigger Return Spring: The Tisas Trigger Return Spring sought to copy the “3-Coil” Trigger Return Spring design used by FN/Browning starting approximately in 1989 in the Mark III models.  Out of the box, the Tisas has less than optimal trigger reset.  The Tisas trigger return spring was replaced with the BHSpringSolutions Optimized 3-Coil “Target Trigger Return Spring” and the trigger reset did become more authoritative without adding resistance on the take-up or break…..indicative that the BHSpringSolutions Trigger Return Spring is geometrically superior and better in the application.

Manual Safety: As previously mentioned, the Tisas has the disappointing single sided nub of a safety that contains a spring.  Everything here is a copy of FN/Browning’s nub of a Hi Power installed on pre-1989 Hi Powers.  We know of no fans of this Manual Safety design.  While it is more than sufficient for military applications where Condition 3 is common….in which case the manual safety is mostly a non-factor…..it is not a sufficient manual safety device on a 21st century firearm.

Magazine: The Tisas magazine is a 13 Round Magazine and functions excellent.  Magazine spring is sufficient.

SFS Installation: After installing a dimensionally correct Sear Pin, the SFS system installed seamlessly in the Tisas.  All functions were excellent and the unique functions of the SFS (Fast Safety) were snappy and decisive.  Today’s SFS from BHSpringSolutions contains two Sear Springs – we installed the Optimized version.  All SFS components including the Extended SFS Slide Stop install and function flawlessly.

POST SERVICING RESULTS:

All reassembled, trigger break weight was measured at 6.5 lbs.  So the trigger break weight was reduced by 1.5 lbs.  The quality of the trigger pull was greatly improved.  As is typical with installation of SFS and BHSpringSolutions Optimized springs, all aspects of the trigger pull improved and the break is crisp/clean.  It is likely that, with some shooting, the trigger break weight will reduce further as metal to metal mating surfaces “self-polish”.  A 5 – 6 lb trigger pull in the Tisas is certainly achievable by an Internals Polishing.

FUNCTION TESTING:

As with all work performed at BHServiceSolutions, live fire Function Testing was performed.  We use standard pressure ammunition.  Function was flawless with no malfunctions of any kind.  Ejected empty brass landed in a tight group 5’ – 7’ from the Tisas HP – PERFECT!  Ejected shell casing distance provides excellent feedback about slide velocity.  In the Hi Power, we’re looking for ejected empty shell casings in the 4’ – 9’ range……. This result of 5’ – 7’ is a bulls-eye!  Accuracy was as excellent as a Hi Power should be.

SUMMARY:

Overall, the Tisas/Regent BR9 HP is a really well-done Hi Power.  Tisas gave excellent attention to things not easily changed: slide/frame/barrel, and all parts – no downsides in these areas.  This makes the Tisas an ideal platform for an excellent Hi Power “build” / customization.

In the case of the Tisas, the devil is in the details, and the Tisas will not currently win any awards for Springs, Pins, or final quality control.  The R&D and Quality Control folks at Tisas have not taken Springs and Pins nearly as seriously as they should – the great news is that these deficiencies are easy to upgrade and not expensive.  All Hi-Powers can be improved with installation of BHSpringSolutions Optimized Hi Power Springs – the fact that the Tisas can be improved with the same springs was not unexpected.  Use of a Light Firing Pin Spring, in a non-drop-safety-equipped Hi Power, was a surprise and is poor judgement and was never seen in Hi Powers made in Belgium, and would not likely ever be seen from a manufacturer of a Hi Power in the U.S., if there was one – because the potential liability factor is much too great.  Never before however have we encountered problems with multiple pins installed by any manufacturer.  So the need to replace pins, for cause, because they are provably either too large or too small or just too poor of quality for the application, came as a surprise.  In the case of the Sear Lever Pin, this miss by Tisas is a serious legitimate safety concern.  The Sear Lever on the Tisas was definitely being influenced by the Sear Lever Pin – and it is an absolute MUST that the Sear Lever NOT be influenced by an oversized Sear Lever Pin.  All Tisas owners should inspect the Sear Lever Pin and replace if, when removed, it cannot be passed completely through the hole in the Sear Lever.

Tisas owners with intentions of utilizing the Regent BR9 in any defensive role, or competition role, will seriously benefit from installing the Fast Safety (SFS) system, BHSpringSolutions Optimized Springs, a Wide Trigger, and new FN/Browning pins.  Tisas owners who confine use to Range and Target use, installing BHSpringSolutions Springs and FN/Browning Pins may be sufficient, along with any other upgrades an owner may desire.

As modified and serviced at BHSpringSolutions Service Center, this Tisas / Regent BH9 HP would now qualify as an Excellent Hi Power, well set-up for any role.  Other modifications that could have been done but were not desired by the customer: Internals Polishing and Wide Trigger, two modifications that would bring function, in all respects, to that of any $3,500 custom Hi Power.  Other Tactical Upgrades offered by BHSpringSolutions that could be done to the Tisas: Picatinny Rail, and Upgraded Sight installation.