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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Caliber: 9mm Luger
Capacity: 15+1 rounds
Barrel length: 4.87 inches
Overall length: 7.75 inches
Weight: 1.8 pounds
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.