A Turkish import via Florida-based EAA Corp, the affordable and well-made MC P35 is set to go the distance for those looking for an affordable Hi-Power clone.
EAA announced the MC P35 late last year, and it is finally filtering out to distributors' warehouses and gun store shelves. A resurrection of the classic late 1980s Browning/FN Hi-Power Mk III design, it is a short-recoil-operated single-action pistol with a frame and slide crafted from 4140 steel.
The MC P35 has a couple of noticeable differences from the late Cold War-era Hi-Powers: a ring hammer rather than the more typical spur hammer used by the Mk III and a 15-round flush-fit magazine produced by Mec-Gar of Italy. In a move sure to hurt the feelings of Hi-Power fans the world over, the Girsan has a magazine safety disconnect – in other words, it doesn't fire without a magazine inserted.
We evaluated the Girsan MC P35 with just over 1,000 rounds of ammo from Barnaul, Browning (see what we did there), Federal, Winchester, Remington, and Speer. These ranged from 115 grain through 147 grain in weight, and across both ball and jacketed hollow points.
At the end of the day, we wound up with a grand total of two malfunctions, with the last round in an old magazine failing to feed into the chamber. This was more than likely due to the mag rather than the gun.
The trigger, even for having the magazine safety disconnect, wasn't horrible for a single-action "combat" pistol of 20th century design. It broke at about 4 pounds on average with just under half an inch of travel with a corresponding reset.
Could the trigger be better? Sure. However, keep in mind this is a $500-$600 all-metal gun with the only plastic being in the grips, so you must set your expectations in a realistic region. Of note, we did find it smoothed out a little after the first 500 rounds or so.
The folks over at BHSpring Solutions in Indiana have been evaluating one of these for a couple of months and confirm that all internals such as the springs, trigger, etc. are replicable with OEM parts and their aftermarket custom items. They also did a material hardness study and found the slide, barrel, and many of the internal components to be anywhere from 10 to 20 percent harder than common OEM parts.
The fixed sights on the Girsan MC P35 utilize a long white stripe on the front with two corresponding stripes on the rear. They can be replaced should the user desire.
At the end of the day, the Girsan MC P35 from EAA is a shot in the arm for those who have always wanted a Hi-Power but didn't want to pay that Hi-Power money. However, picking up where FN/Browning left off when they closed the line, the design is dated compared to what you get for the same amount of cash these days, but that isn't the point. It's fun to shoot, a bit retro, and gets lots of curious looks on the range and gun counter.
If nothing else, it allows a canvas for custom Hi-Power builds at a price that doesn't make you wince. Speaking of customizing and moving into the 21st Century as far as features go, EAA is planning to release updated variants of the gun, including some with a flat trigger and accessory rail.
We'll bring you more on that as soon as we get it.