Girsan's Modern High Power Pistol

EAA/Girsan delivers a new light-weight High Power with world-famous genetics and modern features.

Girsan's Modern High Power Pistol

One of the most popular pistol designs in firearms history, the Browning High Power was created by American firearms genius John M. Browning. Yet Browning died before actual production could begin, and the pistol was essentially finished and made ready for manufacturing by Dieudonné Saive, a designer who worked for European gun maker Fabrique Nationale (FN).

The first version of the pistol, which FN named the P-35, debuted in 1935. It didn’t take long and the pistol, which was soon commonly referred to as the Browning High Power, was adopted by scores of military and law enforcement agencies, and was a favorite of many civilians, too.

The High Power never actually went away, but its popularity certainly declined as the 20th Century headed towards the 21st Century. All that has changed, though, and rather recently as a number of gun makers decided to build new High Power versions. Those pistols have been very well received.

Included in this new surge of High Powers is Turkish gun manufacturer Girsan, which is producing an extensive line of High Power models imported to this country by the European American Armory, Corp., or EAA, of Cocoa, Florida. And the newest offering in this line is the EAA/Girsan High Power MCP35 PILW.

The new High Power comes in two variations, the OPS and the Match models. The only real difference between the two: the OPS model has an under-barrel accessory rail while the Match does not.

Lighter, Compact

I was sent the High Power MCP35 PILW Match pistol for testing and evaluation. Out of the box, the first thing I noticed about the 9mm was the weight — as in, I was surprised at just how lightweight it was.

As noted, Girsan manufactures a whole line of High Powers offered by EAA. But this model weighs nearly a half-pound less than most of those pistols. Much of the credit for that weight reduction goes to a lighter aluminum frame compared to the other variations.

The MCP35 PILW Match also sports a shorter, 3.88-inch barrel compared to the full-sized High Powers, which are built with barrels just under 5 inches long. Of course, that means the PILW has a shorter slide, too.

With this lighter weight and shorter barrel, and a magazine with 15-round capacity, the MCP35 PILW Match might just be the concealed carry pistol many of your customers want. 

The High Power MCP35 PILW felt great in my hand, too, and had a very nice balance. The pistol stayed very firmly in place when shooting, with very tactile G10 grips. The grips featured four rows of divot-like indentations along the front edge and the more traditional G10 raised lines along the top and rear.

More Features  

The single action, hammer-fired High Power MCP35 PILW also featured an extended beavertail, an optics-ready RMSC cut on the slide located underneath the rear sight plate (easily removable with a small Allen wrench), a front sight tipped with a red fiber optic, a notched rear sight, an ambidextrous manual safety and a beveled magwell.

One of the complaints about the High Powers — really, about the only significant one over the decades — has been over a less-than-stellar trigger. The original High Power and most of its siblings featured a magazine disconnect system which was at least partially responsible for the trigger complaints. 

When the pistol’s magazine was fully or even partially removed, the original High Powers would not fire. The magazine disconnect system mechanically blocked the firing pin from striking the primer. 

The concern seems to have been that people might assume a semi-automatic pistol without a magazine inserted would not fire. Not true. If there was a round in the chamber and the magazine was removed, the round in the chamber could still be fired off — unless the pistol featured the magazine disconnect.

But the magazine disconnect also placed more tension on the trigger, and many criticized the High Power trigger pull as gritty and uneven, and nothing like that on the 1911 semi-auto, another John Browning design. 

The Girsan High Powers, including this newest version, have no magazine disconnect. The flat-faced trigger on my  MCP35 PILW  snapped off at a clean 4.0-pounds average pull. The trigger had approximately .25 inches of uptake before engaging the sear. I wouldn’t put this trigger in the same class as 1911 triggers, but it was certainly a more consistent and smoother trigger than the host of striker-fired triggers I’ve used. 

Range Hot

At my outdoor range, I ran approximately 250 rounds of 9mm ammunition through my High Power without a single failure to feed or eject. The pistol went back into battery every time. Ammunition included three range rounds and two self-defense brands, both of the latter loaded with hollow-point bullets.

For accuracy testing, I used Champion’s RE-STICK Targets, which are technically rifle targets, but ones I use frequently for handguns, too. The center section provides a large area for making sure the handgun is on, while the four smaller circle targets around the center then provide handy spots for placing my accuracy groups. 

I shot the pistol offhand at 5 and 10 yards. At 5 yards, my best five-shot groups included 1.1 inches with Winchester’s USA Ready, and a pair of 1.3-inch groups, also five shots, using Federal Premium’s Train & Protect loads.

The Winchester USA Ready also scored my best grouping at 10 yards with a 1.2-inch  cluster. The self-defense Liberty Ammunition Overwatch, shooting a 72-grain frangible bullet at approximately 1,700 feet per second, made a 1.6-inch group, while Train & Protect came in with two 1.7-inch scores.

Other Features

The extended beavertail on the MCP35 PILW did a fine job of helping me keep the pistol on target when firing off rounds quickly, the beavertail providing good support.

The pistol’s sights are first rate. The generous rear notch and the narrow front post, tipped with a red fiber optic, were easy to pick up with my eye. The narrow front post didn’t fill up the rear notch, so I saw exactly where my sights placed on the targets.  That’s not always the case, especially with compact pistols where the front post completely fills the rear notch, causing actual point of aim to become more of an educated guess than a certainty.

The pistol came with one Mec-Gar 15-round steel magazine which functioned flawlessly throughout my shooting. It loaded to the full 15 rounds easily without a mag loader, too.  

Looking Good

The MCP35 PILW in both the Match and OPS variations can be had in two different color patterns: a black slide, frame and controls; or the Two-Tone Tungsten option, with a silverish-gray frame and black slide and controls.

Mine was the Two-Tone version, and I thought it looked classy but not flashy. If any of your customers are tired of all the black-on-black pistols available, as am I, the looks of this Two-Tone High Power may be a strong selling point.

By the way, Match or OPS, the black versions MSRP for $749.00, the Two-Tones for $772.00. 

Always Be Selling

A customer is browsing and spots the MCP35 PILW in the gun case and asks your sales staffer the question: Is this new?

Time to make a pitch, and Sam Mockensturm, who heads up marketing for EAA, Corp., suggests that the pitch initially mix some history with a look at the pistol’s compact nature.

“The EAA/Girsan High Power MCP35 PILW is the ultimate light-weight High Power on the market today,” Mockensturm says. “It combines the world-famous genetics of the John Browning High Power design with modernized features to accommodate the current firearms market.”

Those modernized features include the aforementioned sights and the extended beavertail, the ambi-safety, and beveled magwell for easier reloads, while the “genetics” include the High Power functionality, and a slide that rides on rails inside the frame so as to better keep out dust and dirt. Plus, the High Power grip angle creates a more natural point-and-shoot presentation. 

“We took our extremely popular PI model High Power and converted it to an aluminum frame to cut the overall weight to 1.34 pounds,” Mockensturm says. “Also, let your customers know that all the slides come optic-ready for their favorite RMS/RMSc footprint optic on top.”

That lighter weight makes the MCP35 PILW a fine choice for concealed carry as well as home defense. 

Let the customer hold the pistol, too, so they can feel the impressive balance as well as the fine G10 grips. And for the customer who is savvy about firearms history, point out the pistol’s lack of a magazine disconnect and the benefit that provides to the trigger pull.

Marketing Help

To offer EAA firearms in your establishment, an FFL retailer needs to go through one of EAA’s many distributors or a group-buying channel.  

For distributors, EAA works with all the majors including Bills Hicks and Co., Ltd, Davidson’s, Lipsey’s, Sports South, LLC., and Zanders, as well as many smaller operations. A full list of EAA’s distributors can be found at:

“Now, we are doing a Brand Live with Davidsons to explain the product, and we have dedicated email sends and digital advertisements set up with our major distributors,” Mockensturm added.

EAA also performed solid work to line up substantial media coverage for the MCP35 PILW. The pistol will be reviewed in numerous media outlets, including those platforms operated by the National Rifle Association and the Outdoor Sportsman Group. 

A good number of influencers have the pistol and will be sharing videos and other social media postings on both the Match and OPS pistol models, too.

Be ready. You may well have customers coming in to specifically inquire about this newest High Power.


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