Hello and welcome back to another edition of The Rimfire Report! This ongoing series is all about rimfire firearms, ammunition, sports, and accessories. A few days ago I was browsing around my local gun shop and came across what I recognized as somewhat of a rare find these days – a High Standard Flite-King. The High Standard Flite-King was a series of pistols (and shotguns) developed by High-Standard Manufacturing in the earlier half of the 20th century and the pistols would remain in production for quite some time before eventually being discontinued sometime between 1954 and 1967 for different models of the pistol. I knew from several conversations I’ve had over the years that these High Standard Flite-Kings or Sport Kings (we will get into nomenclature later) were very reliable and accurate pistols for their time and had phenomenal handling as well. So today on The Rimfire Report we will go over my experiences with the High Standard Flite-King that I purchased from my local gun store.
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The Rimfire Report: The High Standard Flite-King 22LR Pistol
The High Standard Flite-King was the result of the company’s varied lineup of 22 Short and 22 Long Rifle pistols. High Standard marketed the pistol as a less expensive training implement as the “Victor” model of the pistol had the exact same grip angle and manual safety location as the M1911A1 pistol. The pistol was so popular, in fact, that it became a common site in national-level NRA Bullseye matches. Over the years, the pistol would end up going through several different variations and generations which added to its prevalence and popularity.
The version I wound up buying happens to be part of the 5th generation of revisions for the High Standard .22 pistol lineup. This SK-100 series pistol featured a steel slide and frame, adjustable rear dovetail sight, and brown plastic grips. Keen-eyed or well-versed individuals will have probably already noticed that my particular gun seems to be somewhat of a mashup. While my SK-100 slide’s serial number matches the number on the frame, the barrel itself is quite possibly from a completely different model of Flite-King pistols.
As far as I can tell, the pistol in this particular configuration would never make it out of the factory and is likely a 50% conversion using a Fite-King barrel and Sport King slide. In any case, I was more than excited to finally try out one of these pistols. After taking the pistol apart to make sure everything looked good, I cleaned and lubed the pistol and tossed it in my range bag along with the single 10-round magazine the pistol came with. In the course of cleaning the pistol, I noticed the rifling on the barrel was more worn than I had initially observed – this observation would later come back into play at the range.
Having heard a lot about the High Standard Flite-King’s ergonomics and accuracy, I was excited to get started putting some groups on paper. However, this didn’t happen as quickly as I had thought. I found that at a range of 25 yards, my sights needed to be held at the bottom of an 8″ steel target in order to hit it in the center. This was further confirmed when I began putting shots on paper. I was holding about 4 inches low in order to make the groups you see below.
I found the accuracy of the pistol to be decent. I think I would have had much better results with a barrel that wasn’t so shot out but I think given the circumstances that these groups were decent (about 3″ in size). The sights are not quite as fine as I would like on a dedicated target pistol, but again, there could be a mismatch from the slide to the barrel in terms of sight widths.
The reliability of the pistol is very good, at least with round-nose ammunition. The pistol functioned flawlessly save for when it was being fed a steady diet of Winchester Super X High-Velocity hollow points. For some reason, the pistol would fail to properly feed the next round and the nose of the bullet would always get caught up near the breech of the barrel. The three other types of round-nose ammunition I tried (CCI Standard, Federal 45-Grain, and CCI Mini-Mags) all ran the pistol just fine and I had no further malfunctions until this happened:
While running through a short course of fire, after the last round ejected from the magazine, my magazine’s follower also decided to eject. Given that this pistol could be half a century old, it’s not surprising that the plastic follower would give out eventually. Thankfully I was able to recover most of the follower and fellow writer and 3D printing wizard Giorgio O has provided me with an STL file that should give me a replacement follower. Hopefully, I’ll be able to report back to you guys on that in a future article.
Overall I was pleased with my experiences so far with my High Standard Flite-King (or is it FrankenKing?). The ergonomics were very good and the pistol is extremely comfortable to hold in the (right) hand. I shot the pistol one-handed and unsupported for several magazines and the pistol’s grip angle, thumb rest, and width all lend themselves to making the Flite-King feel like a true target pistol. While it feels great to shoot, I do have to admit that the controls are quite antiquated. For example, the pistol still features a heel magazine release which is curious if it was meant to be a training stand-in for the M1911A1 pistol. The pistol also features a weird right-hand side slide stop that is hard to use since it sits flush with the right-hand side grip. In short, it’s a bit dated pistol but I think that a refurbished one could keep up with any modern semi-auto pistol.
I think my plan going forward from here will be to find a suitable replacement barrel and perhaps replace my 4-1/2″ barrel with the proper Sport King barrel 6-1/2″. My hope is that I can somewhat restore this pistol to its former glory and then take it back out to the range to see if I can shrink those groups a bit more. In any case, that’s all I have for you today on The Rimfire Report, we’ll see you in the next edition.