Springfield Armory has brought JMB’s iconic 9mm Hi-Power pistol back with their new SA-35, featuring some subtle improvements over the original design.
The Hi-Power, or P-35, is one of the world’s most iconic handguns. While it never achieved the popularity stateside that it did elsewhere, since its release pistol cognoscenti have recognized its qualities and the role that it played in modern handgun development. New models have unfortunately been missing from the American market for several years, and those in search of a Hi-Power have been stuck considering expensive original models, beat-up surplus or foreign-made clones of questionable quality. Now, thanks to Springfield Armory, there’s a new Hi-Power option on the table—the SA-35.
In a world of black plastic guns, it’s refreshing to see some new wood and steel for sale. Even most 1911s sold these days are more “tactical” than classic, but Springfield decided to stick to the BHP’s roots when they designed the SA-35. Sporting checkered walnut grips and a matte blued finish, Springfield’s new Hi-Power harkens back to the era of the man who designed it. Most of the details on the SA-35 are true to the original as well, including its single-action trigger, 9mm chambering and the “no-bite” rounded military-style hammer. While they mostly stayed true to the original, Springfield has also included some modern improvements and upgrades on the SA-35.
Better Than Ever
The SA-35 is the first American-made Hi-Power, so it’s only natural that it would be the best one. The first modern improvements found on the SA-35 start during the manufacturing process, where they are built using precision CNC machined, forged steel components. This gives the gun extremely tight tolerances and should contribute to its already excellent accuracy provided by the cold hammer-forged barrel. All parts are now also heat-treated using modern techniques, meaning the SA-35 should be more resilient than any previous iterations of the design.
Another significant departure from the original P-35 is the lack of a magazine disconnect safety, something which should be appreciated by most fans of the design. An otherwise wonderful pistol, Hi-Powers always suffered from less-than-ideal triggers and an inability to freely drop magazines, both things that are remedied by the removal of the disconnect safety. Originally included to prevent conscripts from injuring themselves while cleaning their guns, omitting this device enables the SA-35 to have a better trigger, faster reloads and a gun that can still go bang if the magazine gets lost. Speaking of the magazine, the SA-35 includes a single flush-fitting 15-round mag. That’s two more rounds of 9mm than what the original revolutionary Hi-Power mag held, but the SA-35 is still compatible with original 13-rounders too.
Other subtle upgrades to the design include a slightly beveled magazine well, an extended safety and new “tactical rack” sights that offer both an improved sight picture and a faster way to charge the gun. All that’s missing to make the SA-35 truly modernized is a rail segment and an optics-ready slide.
It’s nice to see such a classic gun become available once again, and it will hopefully stoke a newfound appreciation among American shooters for one of John Browning’s final and most inspirational designs. The SA-35 has an MSRP of $699 and is available now.
For more on Springfield Armory, please visit springfield-armory.com.
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