Firearm: Girsan/EAA MC P35 PI (MSRP: $585)
For fans of the Browning Hi Power, particularly the elusive Detective variant, models have been few, far between and pricey. That changed recently with the addition of the MC P35 PI model to EAA’s offerings of Hi Power-style pistols. Let’s start with a little history lesson. In the latter part of the 20th century, Argentina had been importing FN small arms on such a large scale the country worked with FN to start an authorized factory right in Argentina. The Argentinian factory worked with the Belgian factory to such an extent that any changes made to FN firearms were shared and then incorporated in Argentina. One lone standout was a one-off pistol made solely at the Argentinian factory, the FM Detective. EAA’s MC P35 PI is an obvious reference to this curious pistol.
With the resurgence in interest in the Browning Hi Power pistol, it makes sense someone would re-introduce the Detective. The slightly shortened barrel is a nod to concealed carry, like the Commander-size 1911 vs. the Government model. In the MC P35 PI, the barrel is shortened to 3.9 inches from the standard 4.9 in the full-size EAA version of the Hi Power, reducing overall length by 1.5 inches and weight by nearly 3 ounces. Beyond those changes, the PI version is pretty much identical in operation and feel to the full-size pistol.
With the PI version of EAA’s vision of the Hi Power, there’s now a concealed-carry friendly offering of John Moses Browning’s last design. Why opt for it over, say, the archetypal carry pistol, the Glock G19? Well, first and foremost, there’s the single-action trigger. While the MC P35 PI’s trigger is slightly heavier than the striker-fired Glock’s, it’s smoother and can be made better. One common alteration is to remove the magazine disconnect, meaning the pistol can be fired without a magazine locked in place.
Surprisingly, given its all-metal construction and Hi Power lineage, the MC P35 PI isn’t much different in size and weight than a Glock G19. Sure, it’s 5 ounces heavier, but it’s more than an inch shorter in overall length, with barely a tenth of an inch less barrel. It’s functionally the same height, has the same capacity and is only marginally wider with the ambidextrous safety levers. About the only significant advantage for the Glock is the ability to add an optic—but that may change in the future. In any case, fans of the Hi Power now have a version very well suited for concealed carry.
Holster: Galco Combat Master custom (MSRP: $130 for base, custom is extra)
Fitting for the MC P35 PI is Galco’s Combat Master holster. Constructed of premium steerhide with double-stitched seams, the Combat Master is precision-molded to the firearm. A slight cant puts the pistol’s grip in a more forward position to facilitate a faster draw, while the reinforced mouth keeps the holster clear when it’s time to reholster. The traditional pancake design spreads the weight of the firearm out across a larger section of the belt for greater comfort, and the belt slots can accommodate up to a 1¾ inch belt.
Since the MC P35 PI is based on the Hi Power and similar in dimension to the Springfield Armory P-35, Galco was able to offer a custom fit for the shorter PI version. This does come with an upcharge, but if you want the holster to precisely match the pistol it’s worth it. Otherwise, simply use the holster for the full-size pistol and there’s an extra inch or so of holster. It’s really not a big deal, and if you’ve chosen an inside-the-waistband design it can actually be beneficial, as the holster helps keep the rig upright with the extra real estate below the belt.
Knife: Bear Ops Auto Bold Action XV (MSRP: $179.99)
Rounding out today’s kit is another handy item, the Bear Ops Auto Bold Action XV automatic knife. In places where automatic knives are allowed, there’s nothing easier for one-hand operation: press a button and the blade opens, press the same button and the blade can be closed. Featuring a 3 1/8 inch blade constructed of 14C28N Sandvik steel with a reverse-tanto profile, the Auto Bold Action XV also has a black aluminum handle and a steel pocket clip.
Much like a handgun with a manual safety, the Auto Bold Action XV also comes with a safety lever. Push the lever up to engage and the blade will not open when the button is pushed; slide the lever down to release the safety and it can open. There’s even a familiar red dot that tells you the knife is ready to fire, err, open. And again, as a different sort of safety reminder, check all local laws on automatic knives first.