Girsan MC P35 Match/OPS — A Great Shooting 9mm

Girsan MC P35 9mm semiautomatic Hi-Power on a blue and white silhouette target

The Girsan MC P35 Hi-Power clone has been getting a lot of attention. A faithful copy of the Browning MKII Hi-Power in most ways, the pistol features an ambidextrous safety, good fit finish, sights, a 15-round magazine, compatibility with Browning Hi-Power parts and magazines, and good reliability. If the pistol also has a trigger about as heavy as the original, well, it is a faithful clone.

MC P35 Features

The MC P35 is a good shooter well worth its modest price. Girsan has gone one better with the new P35 Match. This pistol features a flat trigger and adjustable rear sight. When the frame has a light rail, the variant is called the OPS. This is a pistol that builds on the performance of the original Hi-Power with additions the classic pistol never had.

Girsan MC P35 9mm semi-automatic Hi-Power pistol, right profile
The Girsan 9mm pistol exhibits a high level of fit and finish. This is the Match pistol.

The P35 Match OPS, as I call the light rail pistol, is to the best of my knowledge the first Hi-Power pistol with a modern light rail. The Match features adjustable sights — something several Hi-Power handguns were equipped with. The pistol also has a flat trigger. This trigger is in many ways the best feature of this desirable handgun.  

The fit of the slide to the frame is good with very little lateral play. The ramped barrel is well-fitted. The front sight is a bright red, fiber-optic. The rear sight is a compact, but fully adjustable, unit. The rear of the sight is serrated. A square notch offers a good sight picture.

Moving to the controls, the ambidextrous safety is well designed and positive in operation. The slide lock is an extended type, compared to the original Hi-Power. This control works well when conducting speed loads.

A high-profile magazine catch is another touch that aids in speed loading the piece. The primary difference in the frame, compared to original and close clones of the Hi-Power, is the light rail. The light rail brings the Hi-Power to 21st-century standards. Perhaps the modern low-reflection finish does as well.

The frame features a scalloped-out section behind the trigger guard. This helps lower the centerline of the bore’s position over the hand. A low bore axis results in less muzzle flip. At the base of the front strap, the frame is also re-designed to flare a bit, keeping the hand secure.

Coyote Glock 19 top and Girsan MC P35 Hi-Power below
The Girsan is thinner than the Glock 19X, top, but heavier.

The picture I get is of a well-designed pistol sensibly upgraded for modern shooters. The grips are modern G10 types with a pleasant texture. You will find purchase with these grips in any weather — even with damp hands.

The trigger is a flat type. Most Girsan MC P35 actions break at seven pounds. The flat trigger of the P35 Match exhibits a compression of six pounds even. The trigger proved controllable in all drills and during accuracy testing.

There is a slight take-up, and the trigger breaks clean. Reset isn’t audible, but it is fast enough. Reset isn’t as fast as a quality 1911 — there is only so much you can do with a Hi-Power trigger and the way it operates running on a tangent to clear the wide magazine.

Girsan P35 Hi-Power with flat trigger
Combat accuracy was outstanding.

Range Results

Firing the pistol was pleasant. A 35-plus-ounce handgun chambered for the 9mm Luger isn’t a hard kicker. Just the same, attention to the basics is required to control the pistol.

Firing the handgun well takes acclimation. I engaged in some dryfire before heading to the range. Run the trigger straight to the rear while holding the pistol firmly and you’ll have a hit.

I scraped together five Hi-Power magazines and engaged in serious range drills. The pistol is supplied with one magazine. I had on hand some aging Wolf brand steel case 9mm ball. I also had a few boxes of WW 88 stamped NATO-spec ammunition.

Adjustable rear sight on the girsan P35
An adjustable rear sight allows sighting the pistol in for diverse bullet weights.

The Wolf loads ran 1,105 fps in the Girsan with a standard deviation (variation in standard velocity) of 38 fps, while the Winchester loaded NATO ammunition ran 1,216 fps with an SD of exactly 6 fps! I also had a single box of Federal 138-grain Syntech hollow point as a defense load. The pistol survived the first range session of 120 rounds without any failure to feed, chamber, fire, or eject.

Like all Hi-Power-type pistols, the Girsan fits most hands well. The starburst-type grips offer a good balance of adhesion and abrasion. I would apply Talon grip material to the front strap if keeping the pistol. Getting on target quickly, the sights are excellent for fast work. Just follow the fiber-optic sight and you’ll have a hit.

The trigger proved controllable. Most of the range firing was done at 5–10 yards. Results were good to very good in homing rounds into the X-ring of a man-sized target. I added the Inforce combat light with good results. This is a rugged capable combat light. The pistol locked on the last shot without any problems.

Bob Campbell shooting a Girsan MC P35 through recoil
Running to slide lock the pistol is comfortable to fire.

During the next range session, I used a solid benchrest firing position and tested the pistol for accuracy. I set the target at 75 feet. That is a long shot for a pistol. If you are going to use the P35 Match in a pistol match, it must perform at this range at a minimum. I used the Winchester 124-grain NATO load, Federal American Eagle, Fiocchi Extrema, and Wolf steel case, firing five-shot groups, taking every advantage for accuracy. Here are my results, the average of two 5-shot groups.

Winchester NATO                               2.9 inches
Federal American Eagle                      2.8 inches
Wolf 124-grain                                     4.1 inches
Fiocchi 124-grain XTP Extrema        2.7 inches

The results with premium loads are very good and the inexpensive Wolf loads are accurate enough for meaningful practice. The pistol may be a bit more accurate than I can fire, but I felt I was firing right up to the pistol’s mechanical accuracy.

Specifications: Girsan MC P35

Finish: Blue/Black
Caliber: 9mm Luger
Capacity: 15+1 rounds
Barrel length: 4.87 inches
Overall length: 7.75 inches
Weight: 1.8 pounds

Final Thoughts

If you are a Hi-Power fan as it stands, the EAA Girsan MC P35 Match has the most features at the best price. With an adjustable rear sight, light rail, and a flat trigger, this is quite a pistol. You could afford a trigger job for competition or for personal defense use it as it is. The OPS, my personal choice, is perhaps an even better overall choice.

Are you a Hi-Power fan? How does the Girsan MC P35 compare to John Moses Browning’s original design? Do you prefer pistols with a front Picatinny rail? Share your answers in the comment section.

  • Girsan P35 Hi-Power with flat trigger
  • red fiber optic front sight on a handgun
  • Girsan MC P35 with the hammer locked back and the safety engaged
  • Adjustable rear sight on the girsan P35
  • Girsan OPS Hi-Power 9mm with Inforce weapons light mounted
  • Bob Campbell shooting a Girsan MC P35 through recoil
  • Girsan MC P35 with the slide locked back
  • Girsan MC P35 9mm semi-automatic Hi-Power pistol on a wood shooting bench top
  • Bob Campbell shooting a Girsan MC P35 9mm semi-automatic Hi-Power handgun
  • bob campbell aiming the Girsan MC P35 9mm semi-automatic Hi-Power pistol toward the camera
  • Girsan MC P35 9mm semiautomatic Hi-Power on a blue and white silhouette target
  • red fiber optic front sight
  • Girsan MC P35 9mm semi-automatic Hi-Power with light rail on the dust cover
  • Coyote Glock 19 top and Girsan MC P35 Hi-Power below
  • Girsan MC P35 9mm semi-automatic Hi-Power handgun, right quartering to
  • Girsan MC P35 9mm semi-automatic Hi-Power pistol, right quartering away
  • Girsan MC P35 9mm semi-automatic Hi-Power handgun, left profile
  • Girsan MC P35 9mm semi-automatic Hi-Power pistol, right profile

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (8)

  1. I have a Browning P-35 Hi-Power from WWII and I love it, just removed the black plastic grips and the lanyard ring and put on the walnut checkered grips. Now I also have a Girsan P-35 which shoots as good as the older pistol. The first thing I did was remove the plastic grips and put the checkered walnut wood grips on it, I just don’t like the feel of the plastic grips. I really like the sights on this one although the older pistol is very accurate my eyes are getting a little older (I’m 79) and the Girsan’s sights are more visible to me. I’m left handed and these pistols work well for me.

  2. My story is less pleasant. MC P35 Match purchased and sent back to EAA for barrel replacement. The pistol shot high before and after replacement even with a new barrel. Rear sight cranked all the way down. Novak sights put a new taller front sight on for me. Great company!! Reset the rear sight and found it to be very loose and settings not solid. Fixed the high focus, but the shotgun pattern of the shots is still there. This is match in name only. Feeds fine but trigger is very heavy. Again match in name only. I bought a Canik TPSF that shoots better for less money.

  3. I bought one last year and can say it’s a fine pistol with just a couple huckleberries. First, I almost immediately removed the magazine safety and completely eliminated that terrible “squishy” trigger feel. A most noticeable improvement in perceived trigger pull weight. Second and still weighing options, the front sight is awful. The steep front ramp disappears in daylight and is a bit too thin. Why Girsan chose not to use the standard Browning type escapes me. I’ve tried multiple options to improve it, but replacing it with an adjustable possible but a challenge. Love it otherwise.

  4. I’ve got the base model without the extended tang. It came with the mag disconnect. When I removed it I added the cylinder and slide spring kit and a no bite hammer. I have several custom pistols from about all the major makers. The girsan outshoots all of them. It’s my edc and better than anything else in the safe. Buy one. Make a couple upgrades and you have a world class gun at less cost than a Glock.

  5. Got me one and I do like it but it wouldn’t lock back on the last shot when firing. Not once. I had the supplied Mecgar 15 rounder and 5 more purchased ones plus 13 and 17 rounder mags used in my other HP’s. It would lock back on hand cycling but not when firing. It also has quite a bit of slide rattle.

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