high standard

High Standard an American Tradition

by David Higginbotham, Guns.com  |  published on February 24, 2013

Earlier this week, we ran an article about the unique historical role of the High Standard HDM, an integrally suppressed (and exceptionally long) .22LR pistol used in World War II and the Cold War.

But while we’re reveling in the quirky accoutrements of America’s covert past, we can’t forget that High Standard is still making guns. And their .22s are just as dead-on today as they were through the heart of the twentieth century.

High Standard Then

High Standard began back in 1926 as a parts supplier serving the other New England gun manufacturers (a role they played through WW II).

But the times were changing, and Colt was seeing tremendous success from their rimfire automatics. Many others followed suit, including High Standard in 1932.

High Standard is remembered in part because of a subtle change in their grip angle. They moved away from the Luger‘s steep grip angle and modeled their .22s’ grip angle and controls on Colt’s own 1911.

In a time when the Luger had some decidedly negative associations, this move might be considered most patriotic.

And these guns were winning competitions, even the Olympic Rapid Fire Competition in 1952 and 1960.

But that was the height of High Standard’s fame. So what happened? Were they undercut by the competition? Ruger’s rimfires owe a debt to High Standard. And their appearance in the second half of the century had to have eroded sales. High Standard was also making guns under other brand names, including J.C. Higgins (which was the house brand at Sears), so some speculate that they had spread themselves too thin.

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