Tag Archives: Browning

Ever wanted a red dot on a BHP?

EAA over the past couple of years has been bringing in the new MC P35 platform from Girsan in Turkey, and the guns, essentially clones of the old Mk III BHP, have proven to be popular. Not content to rest on that, the company has responded to calls to update the classic and earlier this year delivered the OPS series, which adds an accessory rail to the frame and a flat-faced trigger without the mush of a magazine safety plunger to overcome.

Now, the logically named new MC P35 OPS Optic goes one better and comes from the factory micro red-dot slide cut in the RMS/RMSc footprint.

Better yet, they even throw in an optic.

You have to wonder what John Moses Browning would think of such a creature…

More in my column at Guns.com.

Battle of the (Hi-Power) Clones

I’ve been kicking around a pair of 21st-century Hi-Power clones with two different origin stories, and we have a few things to talk about.

John Browning’s GP design, as delivered to the firearms world in 1935 via Fabrique Nationale’s resident gun genius Dieudonne Saive, was given its gold watch by FN in early 2018, and BHP fans the world over wept. While Turkish gunmaker Tisas briefly sent their Regent BR9 clone over here, other one-time Hi-Power clones such as Israeli-made Kareens and imports of the same branded by Charles Daly, Dan Wesson, and Magnum Research were history.

Then came 2021.

In September of that year, EAA announced they were on the cusp of bringing in the Girsan-made MCP35 from Turkey while Springfield Armory in October started hinting around at the gun they would soon introduce as the SA-35. Both were different takes on the classic Hi-Power of old, offering new ways to satisfy that eager fan base that was left with separation anxiety after FN exited the BHP biz.

Since then, I’ve given each of these newcomers a series of tests and evaluations, including putting over 1,000 rounds through each model. With that, let’s see how they stack up against each other – and the ghosts of Hi-Powers past with which they must contend.

At the end of the day, it boils down to why you want a Hi-Power in the first place. Both guns are better clones than I have seen in some past efforts under other banners (see the FEG, PJK, and the Bulgarian Arcus 94). Heck, even when stacked against late-model FN MK IIIs assembled in Portugal in the 2000s, there is little to grouse about. This is firmly an apples-to-apples comparison.

More on said apples in my column at Guns.com.

The Hi Power was Dead, then came the SA-35…

A modern and attractive reboot of a classic complete with new features for a 21st Century market, Springfield Armory’s SA-35 has a lot going for it.

Introduced late last year, the SA-35 isn’t a page out of the old FN/Browning catalog, although it generationally has a lot in common with the latter’s 1960s “T/C-series” Hi-Powers. This includes an external extractor (a little foreshadowing is due here), ring hammer, and “smooth” slide, lacking the earlier thumbprint take-down scallop seen in guns prior to that time. I personally think the T/C-series was the summit of BHP evolution, so that’s a wise choice on Springer’s part.

When Browning halted production of the Hi-Power in 2017– let’s just admit they allowed it to wither on the vine for 20 years beforehand– it started the clock running for someone else to pick up the design and run with it. Cue Springfield.

So far, I’ve put 1K rounds through the SA-35 since last November, and have a full report in my column at Guns.com.

$500 Turkish Hi-Power, with a Catch

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 Browing/FN Hi-Power Mk III design, it is a short-recoil-operated single-action pistol with a frame and slide crafted from 4140 steel.

Basic specs are like any standard BHP, having a 4.87-inch barrel with a 7.8-inch overall length. Weight is 32 ounces flat with an unloaded 15-round magazine inserted.

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.

But it did turn out to be reliable in testing.

It’s a blend of both old and new, and allows someone to get into Hi-Powers without having to spend Hi-Power money.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Is EAA closer to what the Hi-Power folks want?

As I previously passed on, FN pulled a Kevorkian on the elderly Browning Hi-Power in 2017 then last week announced a “we have the technology” FN High Power (note the extended spelling) that kinda uses some BHP DNA but is a totally new gun with a lot of the same styling but none of the reverse compatibility and support.

As a counter, EAA is working with Girsan in Turkey to produce the P35– a play on the fact that the original BHP was the Grande Puissance 35 when introduced just prior to WWII. Taking the MK II/MK III model of the Hi-Power as a starting point, they met with success last year with EAA telling me at SHOT last week that they have seen remarkable interest in the new, $500ish BHP clone.

Speaking of EAA at SHOT, they also had some modernized prototypes on hand that include an extended beavertail grip on the frame, a straight trigger, adjustable fiber optic sights, G10 grips, a built-in flared mag well, and an option for an accessory rail. 

More in my column at Guns.com.

Whelp, looks like the SA-35 is the Hi-Power FN *Should have* made

I dig FN. Not even gonna lie. I probably have 15 FN-made handguns and rifles in my collection, including three generationally different Hi-Powers. My first EDC, back in the early 1990s, was a Hi-Power. Probably only two people bought the SFS version, one of them being me. I even owned a factory two-toned .40S&W variant briefly before I realized that I made a horrible mistake and traded it away. 

But FN stopped production of the gun in 2017, after slowly declining their emphasis on the model for two decades prior. In short, I think they just fell out of love with it and the catalog can only be so big.

On the flip side of that, I am not a Springfield Armory fan.

Other than the Omega (a German-import 10mm) and a few of their latter model Operator, TRP, and Ronin models of the M1911A1, I never really found a Springer that I had more than a passing interest in.

Then they made the SA-35. For $699!

I mean look at this thing:

I’ve been kicking one around for a couple weeks and have some feedback on just where it fits in the Hi-Power evolutionary chart, and where it has some improvements that FN should have done and kept the gun in production.

One of these things is not like the other…

More in my column at Guns.com.

The Springer Hi-Power may just live up to the Hype

Springfield Armory kinda broke the gun internet a week ago when they introduced their new take on the classic Hi-Power (GP-35) design of John Moses Browning and his Belgian understudy, Dieudonné Saive. While the gun looked great in early photos, and promised lots of minor improvements (no magazine cutoff with a resulting better trigger, a beveled magwell, 15-shot MecGar mags, user-replaceable combat sights, a redesigned hammer to curb hammer bite, and an extended safety lever) people were still skeptical because, well, SA has kind of a reputation some times.

Well, I just got one in over the weekend for T&E and, on initial impressions, this gun looks and feels great.

Now that is a pretty gun, and Springfield says it is made in America. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

The mags (both vintage milsurp and new MecGars) drop free. It has an excellent trigger. Great build quality and fitment. I am really impressed.

Plus, it has an MSRP of $699, which should translate to a local gun store price in the $599ish area. Never mind the fact that they are going for twice that on Gun Broker right now.

Anyway, expect a few updates as I take a closer look at the new SA35 and head to the range later in the week.

Springfield Armory of all folks is bringing the Hi-Power Back

Springfield Armory has delivered on rumors of a return of one of the world’s most iconic firearms, John Browning’s P-35 series pistol.

The newest version of the Hi-Power-style double-stack 9mm handgun, the Springfield Armory SA-35, seems like it stepped right out of the golden age of circa 1960s T- and C-series Brownings, but it only seems that way. While still showing off the vintage “wood and steel” look of mid-century commercial series guns, Springfield’s chapter in the firearm’s history has subtle upgraded enhancements that give a nod to more contemporary defensive pistols.

I’m not gonna lie, I have never been a Springfield Armory fan– although I know people who love their stuff– but I am looking seriously at the SA-35– and FN/Browning really screwed the pooch by ending the Hi-Power line in 2018.

More in my column at Guns.com. 

John Browning’s Swan Song

As a guy who has a few FN/Browning Hi-Powers, ranging from a circa 1943 Pistole 640b to a downright wonky circa 2005 SFS, I had fun examining a wide range of BHPs recently.

Browning’s original 1923 concept, as patented in 1927.

This rare late 1940s-produced Hi-Power is a very early model featuring the “dimple” on the right side of the slide to help with take down for maintenance and the “thumbprint” style internal extractor. Marked “LGK OO”: Landes Gendarmerie Kommando für Oberösterreich (Provincial Gendarmerie Command for Upper Austria), it is a former Austrian police-issue handgun.

This circa-1969 commercial Browning Hi-Power still features the original wooden grips that the model first entered production with but shows the updated external extractor. Also gone is the slide/frame dimple.

More detail in my column at Guns.com.

Know anybody with some Oerlikon parts gathering dust?

They basically need everything you see above in gray…

I recently talked to Clark Perks, development director at the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial and he has an 888-foot battlewagon full of armament that includes nine massive 16-inch and 12 5-inch guns, but what they are missing is a complete 20mm Oerlikon cannon.

They have the gun itself, they just need the mount and shield and can work to fab one from an original if they could work out the loan…

More in my column at Guns.com

P.S. They just got their 40mm quad mount restored– and it even fires.

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