Girsan MCP35 LW OPS

A Modernized, Compact Hi-Power

The Girsan MCP35 LW OPS is designed for carry—a bit shorter and a lot lighter!

It’s really nice to see the famous Hi-Power design coming back. Arguably, depending on where you are in the world, it never really went away, but we haven’t seen much mainstream production and innovation until the last couple of years. A great design is a timeless design, and I, for one, welcome the tweaks and changes we’re seeing with modern versions. Who can argue with the many improvements made to the 1911 platform over the years?

The extended slide lock is very easy to release with a casual thumb motion.
No adjustment of the firing grip required.

Girsan’s Hi-Power Take

Hi-Powers aren’t new to Girsan, but this model is. Owing to its aluminum frame, it weighs in at about ½-pound lighter than the company’s full-size 35. In rough numbers, while it’s the same height as my SA P35, it’s just over ½” shorter in the muzzle, so with the lighter weight and more compact size, it’ll make a sweet carry handgun.

Speaking of size, while it feels “smaller,” it’s really not. I can comfortably fit all fingers on the grip when shooting. There’s a tiny “beavertail” at the forward base, which compresses slightly against my pinky.

G10 grips on a Hi-Power? Yes!

The grips are G10. They look and feel spectacular. The textured dark gray and blue pattern yields an overall “medium gray” effect, and the texturing is just right. The front and rear backstraps are smooth metal, and I had no trouble keeping a solid hand position when firing.

Modernized Guts

Like other modern iterations of the Hi-Power, the MCP35 does away with the original magazine disconnect—it will shoot with the magazine removed. This is a good thing, as that disconnect tended to booger up the trigger feel.

Other modernized features in this one include a ramped, black rear sight with glare-reducing serrations paired with a fiber-optic front sight. The rear sight is actually mounted in a one-piece cover for the … optics cut. Yes, you heard that right: this model is ready to go with an RMSC-compatible system.

You’ll also notice a straight trigger. Hey, if you’re gonna modernize the design, why not go all in and be fearless about it? I actually like the straight trigger — a lot. While the aggressively curved Hi-Power triggers are comfortable in hand, I don’t shoot with them particularly well, and the straight model was much easier for me. This is a completely subjective thing, and your mileage may vary. The pull weight was on the heavy side, right around six pounds, but it was consistent and smooth. I’d get a little polish and tuning work done to lighten that up.

A straight trigger? Tom really liked it compared to the heavily curved alternative.

The slide lock lever deserves a call-out as well. It’s extended, as you see on other models, but the thumb pad is most definitely modernized. It presents to you at about a 45-degree angle and is placed for easy, and I do mean easy, activation without any change at all to the firing grip. It’s really easy to operate.

And there’s more. The safety for this single-action is fully ambidextrous, not just reversible. Levers are present on both sides. Disengaging the safety is easy with a downward sweep of the thumb knuckle. If I were going to nitpick, I’d like a more positive click, but it’s not going anywhere once in the fire position. A casual sweep upward with the thumb will not put this back into safe mode — you need to bring your thumb down and push up aggressively with the tip. Perhaps this is a good thing, as it’s a very deliberate movement. You won’t engage the safety inadvertently while shooting.

Last but not least, the heresy. But I am completely fine with it. This one has an accessory rail. Girsan advertises this as a carry gun, so that’s a welcome addition. I’m sure people called rails on 1911s heresy, too, but I’m OK with those depending on how I intend to use the gun.

The safety is fully ambidextrous—there's a lever on the opposite side too.

More heresy! An accessory rail? Certainly handy for carry or home defense.


The MCP35 LW OPS is a nice shooting gun. It won’t fatigue you at the range from recoil or hand abuse. The 9mm chambering helps that, of course, but the well-rounded grip and combination of smooth metal and textured G10 go a long way. I had no trouble maintaining a small paper-plate-sized group when shooting dirt clods on the 25-yard berm.

I did perform more formal accuracy testing, also from 25 yards, using the Ransom Multi-Caliber Rest. Since it had the accessory rail, I geared up with a UM Tactical scope mount paired with a Bushnell 2-7x handgun scope to remove all sighting error. With Federal Premium Syntech Action Pistol 150-grain ammo, I was able to print a five-shot group measuring 1.59″. Moving to Norma MHP defensive ammo, the MCP35 printed a 2.06” group. Last on the accuracy charting list was Black Hills 115-grain JHP. Those printed a stunning 1.12″ five-shot group. Not bad!

I’m looking forward to spending more time with this nifty little (sort of) pistol, so perhaps we’ll do some more in-depth testing in a future issue of American Handgunner. It’s bargain-priced at just $749 MSRP. The two-tone similar model is $772, and two new Match versions in the same LW family carry the same price points.

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