This High Standard Model B was manufactured in 1941. The Model B is a self-loading, recoil operated, semi-automatic pistol that is chambered for the .22 Long Rifle cartridge. The pistol originally had a blued finish but it is starting to turn a brownish patina color now. This internal hammer fired pistol incorporates a Patridge type sighting system which includes a blade front sight and a rear sight that is drift adjustable for windage only. This pistol has a 6 3/4 inch round barrel that is not easily removed as seen on other High Standard pistols such as the Supermatic S-101. It is fed by a single column 10 round detachable box magazine. On the pistol's butt there is a European style heel magazine release. The pistol does not employ a slide hold open feature to inform the operator that the last round has been fired. The grip panels are a checkered hard rubber and sport the High Standard "HS" monogram in the middle of each grip. There is a manual thumb safety lever located on the left side of the receiver and behind the grip panel.
The High Standard Model B was first introduced in 1932 starting with serial number 5000 and it is basically the same pistol as the Hartford Arms 1925 automatic. The Model B was the company's first pistol design. The Model B along with later models such as the C, A, D, E and S designs have come to be known as the letter series. The company manufactured approximately 65,000 of these Model B pistols. The Model B was offered with either a 4 1/2 inch or a 6 3/4 inch barrel. The Model B and the Colt Woodsman look almost like identical pistols, although they are not. They were both derived however from the same earlier Browning design.
The pre-WWII High Standard pistols utilized three different types of takedown designs.
Types I-A were manufactured from 1932 through February of 1938. This type is found with a takedown lever on the left side of the frame next to the safety. There will be a round retracting rod on the rear of the slide and slightly off center toward the left side. Type I-A takedowns were only used on the early B and C models.
Types I-B are similar to Types I-A and were manufactured from February of 1938 through August of 1939. Like the I-A, this type is found with a takedown lever on the left side of the frame next to the safety. This type differs from the I-A in that there will be a rectangular retracting rod on the rear of the slide.
Types II This style has the takedown lever on the right side of the frame with a round pick-up button on the top of the slide and slightly off center toward the left side. The Model B featured on this page has the Type II takedown.
A brief history of the High Standard company.
The High Standard manufacturing company was founded in 1926 by Carl Swebilius and Gustav Beck as a supplier of deep hole drills and specialty machines tools. Later, they purchased the Hartford Arms and Equipment Company in 1932 and started production of pistols chambered in .22 caliber. Development continued and large numbers of .22 caliber pistols were sold to the U.S. Government during WWII which were used to train servicemen and women. During the war, the company also produced thousands of .50 caliber machine guns and machine gun parts for the U.S. military.
As the company grew, its product line included such items as derringers, .22 caliber revolvers and rifles, and both sporting and police shotguns. The company also manufactured the J.C. Higgins line for the Sears, Roebuck, Company. The original High Standard plant was located in New Haven, CT. from 1932 until 1952 when they moved to a larger facility at Hamden, CT. The company also had a second Hamden, CT. plant that was in operation from 1940 through 1949.
In 1968, the company was sold to the Leisure Group Inc., but the timing of this purchase could not have been worse for the new owners. The Gun Control Act of 1968 caused nearly 60% of High Standard's customers which were the retailers to drastically curtail firearms sales. This dramatic loss of business forced High Standard to downsize and by 1975, the Hamden plant and the company museum were sold.
The company relocated to a more modern and leased facility at East Hartford in 1976. The company president, Clem Confessore and a group of investors bought High Standard from the Leisure Group in 1978. During this time the company was still having some trouble and borrowing started to increase but sales did not. By the early 1980's, sales had slowed to the point that the company began to wind down operations in East Hartford.
In December of 1984, the company assets were auctioned off. Gordon Elliott, who had been the National Parts Distributor for High Standard since the middle 1970's purchased the .22 Target pistols, the Crusader line which included calibers such as .357 and .44 magnum along with .45 Long Colt and the High Standard name and trademarks. A few years later in the spring of 1993, the High Standard Manufacturing Company, Inc. out of Houston, Texas purchased the Company assets and trademarks as well as the .22 Target Pistols. These assets were then transferred from Connecticut to Houston, Texas in July 1993. Soon after the transfer, production started in Houston, TX with the first pistols being shipped out beginning in March of 1994.
Today the company is still located in Houston, Texas but continues its Connecticut roots with their National Parts Distributor, G.W. Elliott Inc., which is located in East Hartford; CT. as well as with Bob Shea who works in their custom gun shop located in North Haven, CT.
Did you know that in 1960, the Gold Medal in the Olympic Rapid Fire competition was won by Colonel William McMillan who used a High Standard pistol for this event? This is the only Gold Medal won using an American made firearm in this event. The High Standard company of today is continuing on with this tradition and their "Choice of the Champions" firearm products are among the best and finest produced today.