Tag Archives: collectible gun

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.

Whispers of a Portland Colt

You often hear, when talking about old firearms, “if only they could talk.” Well, they can’t, but sometimes their hidden history tells a story.

Speaking of which, I recently came across a nice early Colt 1903 Pocket Hammerless and did some digging on its background. Turned out, it was made in 1911 and was one of 25 pistols of the same type shipped to Honeyman Hardware in Portland some 111 years ago.

Who is Honeyman and why is that interesting? Find out in my column at Guns.com.

Why the Lange Face, Luger edition

I’ve seen hundreds of Lugers come through the Guns.com Vault in the past few years, ranging from Swiss-made Berns to American Eagles, Naval Lugers, Black Widows, and 1980s commemoratives, but the “Artillery Luger” is more of a unicorn.

Officially dubbed the Lange Pistole 1908, or LP.08, while the rest of the Imperial German Army was using the regular 9mm P08, it was decided the cannon cockers of the field and fortress artillery, in 1913, were to be issued a lengthened (lange= long) version with a 7.87-inch barrel and a graduated tangent leaf rear sight marked to a wildly optimistic 800m.

The LP.08 would take the place of both the short carbine and the revolver for the artillery, making it something of a Ragtime-era PDW.

And it is just so friggen cool looking…

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.

On Deck for 2022: Colt Combat Pythons and S&W Firestorms

Although they haven’t “officially” announced them, both Colt and Smith & Wesson seem to have new handguns inbound for this year that mines at the tried-and-true vein of gun culture nostalgia.

Smith’s new CSX (Chief’s Special X?), a single-action-only subcompact 9mm that is hammer-fired, has an alloy frame, and a 10+1 or 12+1 magazine capacity, could be a hit with folks that don’t want polymer striker-fired micro 9s and are more familiar with carry-friendly M1911s such as the Colt New Detective or Sig Sauer P938.

The S&W CSX

It also, in my opinion, looks a lot like the old Star Firestar M43, although with a larger magazine capacity.

The Star Firestar was made from 1992-97, and would probably still be in production if the Spanish gunmaker was around as these were well-received little guns

Then there is the Colt Python with a 3-inch barrel.

While Colt produced the original Python in several barrel lengths between 1955 and 1994, including 2.5-inch snubs and commanding 8-inch Python Hunter, Python Silhouette, and Python Stalker models, the big I-frame snake gun rarely came with a factory 3-inch barrel. This was reserved for a short run of “California Combat” guns and a batch of 500 “Combat Pythons” made in 1988 for Lew Horton complete with a special “K” prefix serial number.

This circa 1974 Colt Python with a factory 2.5-inch snub-nosed barrel is sweet, but folks just went ga-ga for the 3-inch version, and Colt could do well to put such a thing back in production

The rebooted Pythons, introduced in 2020, including both a 4.25- and 6-inch model, with nothing shorter. With all that being said, the new 3-incher could prove both a hit with collectors as well as providing a more “carry friendly” Python for a new generation of wheel gun aficionados.

Either way, SHOT Show doesn’t start for another two weeks, so get ready for much more new gun news…I got my bags packed.

The Priceless Warehouses of Addis Ababa

By nature of the past 130 years frequented by conflict in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia has tons of vintage military arms up for sale.

One European importer, based in the Czech Republic, has been detailing their shopping trips to the African country where surplus firearms are stacked deep and priced cheap. Zelený Sport Defence’s mononymous globetrotting buyer, Schuster, has been sending snaps back from his trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s ancient capital, filled with historic firearms.

The old Ethiopian Empire fought several wars against Italy (in 1887–1889, 1895-1896, 1935-37), a cycle that was only broken after liberation in World War II. This left the country with not only stacks of guns both bought to fight off the Italians– M1874 Gras rifles, Gewehr 71s and 88s, Remington Rolling Blocks, FN-made Mausers, British Lee-Enfields, Russian Berdan and Model 91/30 Mosin-Nagants– but also those captured from the Italians including Vetterlis, and Carcanos of every stripe.

And that’s not even scraping the surface…

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. 

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