January 30, 2023
By Jake Edmondson
Last year we debuted Springfield Armory’s SA-35 Hi-Power, and now we’re giving you an in-depth look at the made-in-Turkey Girsan MC P35 Hi-Power, imported by European American Armory (EAA) of Cocoa, Florida. Let's explore EAA's Hi-Power in detail.
As you can see from the photographs, the Girsan MC P35 looks a bit different from the traditional Hi-Power because it’s wearing a matte Dark Earth finish. The MC P35 is also offered with black-and-gray two-tone and all-black finishes, too. The grips for all three versions are checkered black synthetic. The grips on our sample have slight thumbrests on both sides. As an aside, the Mec-Gar metal magazine is glossy black, and the sights, hammer, manual thumb safety, external extractor, slide stop, trigger, and magazine release are matte black finish, which I think contrasts nicely with the Dark Earth slide and frame. The slide and frame are steel, and the pistol weighs 32 ounces unloaded with an empty magazine inserted according to my digital scale. It comes in a foam-lined plastic pistol case along with a padlock-style trigger lock, a bronze cleaning brush, and an instruction manual.
Another visible difference that you notice right away is the manual thumb safety is ambidextrous—or bilateral, as some of my compadres like to say. The original John M. Browning-designed Hi-Power had a thumb safety located on the left side only.
Speaking of safeties, the MC P35 has a magazine disconnect. That means it will not fire unless the magazine is inserted into the grip frame. And the hammer has what Girsan refers to as a “resting notch.” It’s kind of like a halfcock notch, but the company specifically warns against using as a manual safety. Its purpose is to prevent the hammer from falling fully forward in the event of a primary sear notch failure. It also prevents the hammer from hitting the firing pin should your fingers slip from the slide or hammer while cocking the pistol, provided the hammer has been moved past the stop.
Yet other immediately noticeable features of the MC P35 are the sights. The rear sight has two white bars, one on each side of the 0.137-inch-wide square notch. The black front sight ramp has a long white stripe on it. The rear sight white bars measure 0.067 inch wide by 0.106 inch tall, according to my digital caliper. The front sight is 0.130 inch thick and 0.150 inch tall, and both sights are dovetailed into the slide.
I’ve written before that I am not a huge fan of three-dot sight systems, but I will confess that I like this white-bars-and-white stripe setup. Whereas I usually find three dots to be distracting, the MC P35’s sights didn’t bother me a bit; in fact, I found them to be quick and easy to get into action.
Like the archetypal Hi-Power, the MC P35 does not have a 1911-style grip safety or a separate barrel bushing or a Model-1911-style swinging barrel link. Plus, the feedramp is an integral part of the barrel itself, and the double-stack magazine holds 15 rounds of 9mm Luger ammunition.
The MC P35’s steel barrel is 4.66 inches long. It has a bright, shiny polished finish and a polished integral feed-ramp. The muzzle end measures 0.498 inch in diameter. The slide is 0.89 inch thick at the rear and 0.77 inch thick at the muzzle end, and it has 23 grasping grooves on each side at the rear. As
I mentioned earlier, it has an external extractor. The grip frame’s backstrap and frontstrap are smooth, and the trigger guard is rounded and big enough to get a gloved trigger finger inside with ease.
The knurled rowel-style hammerspur is 0.264 inch wide, and the smooth, narrow trigger is 0.259 inch wide. The trigger pull on the Shooting Times sample averaged 7 pounds, 5 ounces over 10 measurements with an RCBS trigger scale. Right out of the box, the rather long trigger pull had a fair amount of take-up (as expected because all standard Hi-Power triggers are long and have plenty of take-up), and it was a bit gritty, but it was manageable. Later, after firing 250 rounds for this review, it felt smoother, so I’m thinking with more shooting it may get even smoother. If it doesn’t, if I were keeping this pistol, I would look into having it tuned up by a gunsmith or maybe with a do-it-yourself aftermarket trigger kit.
Speaking of shooting, I test-fired the MC P35 with 10 9mm factory loads, ranging from Norma’s 108-grain MHP loading to Winchester’s Defender Low Recoil 147-grain JHP load. In between were various 115-grain, 124-grain, and 135-grain loads. I fired three, five-shot groups with each load for accuracy at 25 yards on Birchwood Casey targets, and I fired an additional 10 rounds of each load over a Competition Electronics Pro Digital chronograph placed 12 feet from the muzzle to obtain the velocity data. The accuracy and velocity details are listed in the accompanying chart.
As you can see, the MC P35’s range results were rewarding. Despite the rather heavy trigger pull, it was a good shooter. Overall average accuracy calculated out to 3.67 inches. The best five-shot strings, and there were plenty of them, were under 2.00 inches, and the best average accuracy was 2.45 inches. I was somewhat surprised to see that it came with the Norma Range & Training 115-grain FMJ load. That load’s average velocity was 1,095 fps, with an extreme spread of 16 fps and a standard deviation of 6 fps. The largest group average was 5.05 inches, and it was with the Federal 124-grain Punch loading. However, seven out of the 10 factory loads fired averaged less than 4.00 inches.
Additionally, the MC P35 functioned reliably during the entire shooting session. It fed, fired, extracted, and ejected every single round without a single hiccup.
Disassembly & Reassembly
When all the shooting was completed, I disassembled the Hi-Power and gave it a quick cleaning. And I have to say, it was really simple to disassemble. A lot of people say that John Browning designed the Hi-Power as an improvement over his earlier-designed Model 1911, and in terms of being easier to disassemble, the Hi-Power is an improved design, not that the Model 1911 is terribly difficult to disassemble. But the Hi-Power is much easier.
Here’s the procedure. After checking and double-checking to make sure the pistol is not loaded, remove the magazine and pull the slide to the rear far enough to move the thumb safety into the disassembly notch on the left side of the slide slightly forward of the grasping grooves. Push the slide stop out toward the left side by pushing on its pin on the right side of the pistol until you are able to pull it completely out of the frame. Pull the slide back far enough to push the thumb safety down, out of the disassembly notch, and carefully move the slide assembly off the front of the frame.
It is under spring tension, so grasp it carefully. With the slide and frame separated, push the recoil spring guide assembly forward, compressing the spring, and pull it down to remove it from the barrel. Then separate the spring from the guide. Push the barrel forward against the front of the slide and then down, to separate it from the slide. That’s as far as it should go for routine cleaning, lubrication, and maintenance.
Reassembly is just as easy and straightforward. The only step that needs some attention is to make certain the recoil guide assembly goes back into the slide with the head properly positioned on the barrel concave recess. The procedure is easier than for a Model 1911 because there is no twisting of a separate barrel bushing like on the Model 1911, and there’s no getting a swinging barrel link lined up with holes in the frame and then trying to get the slide stop pin inserted into them as with the Model 1911.
The EAA/Girsan MC P35 is a fun throwback to the historical Hi-Power with several more-modern features, such as the ambidextrous thumb safety and the Dark Earth finish. Our sample shot well and functioned perfectly. And I especially like the white-bars-and-white-stripe sight setup. With the very reasonable retail price of just $567, it’s a value-right Hi-Power.
MC P35 Hi-Power Specs
- MANUFACTURER: Girsan
- IMPORTER: European American Armory; eaacorp.com
- TYPE: Recoil-operated autoloader
- CALIBER: 9mm Luger
- MAGAZINE CAPACITY: 15 rounds
- BARREL: 4.66 in.
- OVERALL LENGTH: 7.75 in.
- WIDTH: 1.47 in. (outside the grip panel thumbrests)
- HEIGHT: 5.07 in. (without magazine)
- WEIGHT, EMPTY: 32 oz.
- GRIPS: Checkered synthetic
- FINISH: Dark Earth
- SIGHTS: Two-white-bars-with-one-white-stripe setup; drift-adjustable rear; ramp front
- TRIGGER: 7.31-lb. pull (as tested)
- SAFETY: Ambidextrous thumb safety, magazine disconnect, resting notch on hammer
- MSRP: $567