A Closer Look at the EAA Girsan MC P35 Hi-Power Clone
Cocoa, Florida-based EAA Corp is a well-known importer of fine firearms from overseas, and its latest offering aims to quench America's Hi-Power thirst with the Girsan-made MC P35.
The 9mm pistol was announced in September and began shipping last month in three different matte finishes. A take on the classic Browing/FN Hi-Power design, it is a short-recoil-operated single-action pistol with a frame and slide crafted from 4140 steel.
Speaking of the magazine that comes with the EAA Girsan MC P-35, it is an Italian-made Mec-Gar flush-fitting model that holds 15 rounds of 9mm, but we also found the pistol accepts standard 13+1 Hi-Power mags.
Compared to other BHPs and clones out there, the P35 seems to be modeled after the Mark II/III models made by FN during the last few decades of the model's run with that company. It has an external extractor, a serrated ring hammer, a slim trigger, windage drift adjustable rear sight, synthetic checkered grips with a thumb groove, an ambidextrous safety, and a magazine disconnect safety.
A peek inside
When it comes to takedown, the P35 disassembles easily.
The single-action trigger on the P35 is, well, about on par for a military contract BHP of years past and is gritty, mushy, and breaks at an average of 7.5 pounds. The magazine safety doesn't help with that. This can probably be tweaked by someone who knows what they are doing and can always be upgraded with drop-in trigger pull sets that are commonly available.
How does it shoot? We've got 100 rounds through it thus far and will check back in at the 500 round point for an update.
The Great Import Hope
Judging from the feedback we have seen on past articles on the P35, there is a palpable interest in an affordable new Hi-Power-style pistol on the market. After all, with the BHP itself out of production, the MSRP on the EAA Girsan version is $528, which is about a third the price of a vintage gun or about $170 less than the published MSRP of the newly introduced American-made SA-35 announced by Springfield Armory.
You could say it would be the latest in a series of clones that goes back some 40 years, back to a time when I could vouch that folks wanted a nice Belgian/Portuguese BHP, but the sticker price built a fence around the gun. This led to the obvious supply and demand answer that someone would build it at a lower price point to give the public a "people's champ" option.
The Hungarian-made FEG P9M/PJK-9HP was a great bargain at the time, able to be had for about $200 if you shopped around. Sadly, the prices rose on these throughout the late 1990s even though the finish got worse, switching from the original deep blue to a more BBQ grill black matte. Then, in the early 2000s importation ended as FEG stopped making guns altogether, moving into HVAC systems and other household goods. Both Dan Wesson (2003-2004) and Magnum Research (2005-2006) took a brief stab at making a Hi-Power clone, branded by KBI – the importer of the old FEG guns – as the Charles Daly Field HP, but that too soon disappeared.
In 2018, an importer called LKCI started bringing in the RegentBR9 made by Tisas in Turkey. That was patterned after the Hi-Power, but they never really appeared in quantity.
So long as it performs adequately, is available on the shelves, and remains at an obtainable price, the Girsan MC P35 could find itself popular.
We'll get back to you with what we find out on the range. Watch this space.