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.
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.
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.