Even if Springfield Armory jokingly warns at the launch: "Don't call it a classic", the sight of the new SA-35 brings back memories and one could almost become sentimental! Because a Belgian FN High Power in 9mm Luger was the very first ceterfire pistol of the author of these lines, who competed in his first IPSC matches with it many decades ago. The FN High Power (or in French FN GP, for "Grande Puissance"), which appeared on the market in 1935, was the first "high capacity" pistol in 9mm Luger with a double-stack magazine and a firepower of 13+1 rounds. It is one of the most widely used service pistols in the military and law enforcement worldwide, although it was only recently replaced in the British armed forces by the Glock G17 Gen4 as the "L9A1". John M. Browning had presented the design in 1925, but died in 1926. Only the designer Dieudonné Saive completed the model, among other things with a double-stack magazine instead of the single-stack magazine still envisaged by Browning.
At that time, when handguns were still allowed in the hands of civilians in UK, there were three different disciplines at the huge "Pistol Anno Domini" match in Bisley, in which the shooters competed with their original FN High Power service pistols. Among them, the "Long Range Service Pistol", where they shot at ranges of 100 and 200 meters!
The "JMB" locking system, with a fixed control cam as an integral part of the barrel rather than a movable chain link as in the Colt Government 1911 in .45 ACP, proved to be extremely rugged and functionally reliable as history progressed. While other iconic service pistols such as the P08 or P38 have long since disappeared from the market, the Hi Power was still carried by the Belgian Fabrique Nationale and Browning USA until 2018.
But such classics are no longer in demand nowadays due to their costly manufacturing. All the more reason for fans of such early service pistols to be pleased that Springfield Armory is reviving the history.
2021: the Springfield Armoury SA-35 continues the legend...
The new Springfield Armory SA-35 is built on forged steel main components, promising longevity in continuous use. All the little flaws of the classic, which the author had to have laboriously changed by tuning specialists on the Belgian original, have apparently been erased by the US manufacturer on the new SA-35 right from the factory. These include: the slightly sluggish single action trigger, which is now supposed to come factory with better characteristics; the very rudimentary sights, which have now been replaced by a modern, practical sight configuration; the hammer bite on the holding hand, which is supposed to be a thing of the past thanks to a newly contoured ring hammer; an extended thumb safety; the omission of the superfluous magazine safety; and the increase in magazine capacity from 13 to 15 rounds. Weighing around 31.5 oz/820 grams empty, the Springfield Armory SA-35 with 4.7”/120 mm barrel is also said to be suitable for high-capacity +P ammo and is currently offered in the US for $699.
Detailed info and videos on the new SA-35 can be found on the Springfield Armory website. When and at what price the model will come to Europe is currently unknown. We will stay on the ball for you.
For further information, please contact the European distributor: RUAG Ammotec GmbH, Kronacher Straße 63, 90765 Fürth, Germany, phone: 01805-5797797 and fax: 0180-2797797.