Review: Girsan MCP35 PI LW Match

by Braxton Taylor

When it comes to the evolution of handguns, it stands to reason that size is a key element in the evolutionary chain, with a service- or duty-size pistol residing at one end of the spectrum. As we move away from the needs of military and law- enforcement personnel, the full-size service pistol, while still beneficial for utilitarian use by civilians, may be a bit excessive for those who wish to carry it concealed for personal protection or self-defense. To satisfy that need, line extensions appear with compact and micro/subcompact variants—the frames and slides of which are noticeably shorter than their predecessors.     

This evolutionary path can be seen with Turkish gunmaker Girsan and its superb line of Hi Power-pattern pistols imported by EAA. After releasing its standard Hi Power pistol in 2021, Girsan released a compact model with shortened barrel and slide, dubbed the PI, which I reviewed in the June 2023 issue of this magazine. The pistol performed so well, it hasn’t left my side since. And, when a recent conversation with someone at EAA hinted toward yet another tactical variant destined for the PI line, I jumped at the chance to review it.

In addition to conventional sights, the MC P35 PI LW sports an optics cut and can be outfitted with any MRDS with the RMSc footprint • The risk of hammer bite is eliminated by an extended beavertail • Integral to the pistol’s optics plate, the low-profile rear-sight assembly provides welcome contrast with the front sight • A red fiber-optic pipe in the front-sight blade promotes rapid alignment • The flat-face trigger provides a touch of aesthetic appeal • An ambidextrous thumb safety is one of the pistol’s many practical features • While handsome, some may find the texturing of the pistol’s G10 grips too aggressive.

While it may look like a standard MC P35 PI at first blush with its full-size frame paired with a truncated barrel and slide, as its name might imply, the MC P35 PI LW Match boasts an aluminum-alloy lightweight frame along with several other transformative enhancements. (EAA also offers a variant with an integral accessory rail named the LW Ops.) The difference in frame material shaves 8 ounces from the handgun’s weight—making it even more conducive to concealed carry. There’s also a slightly raised nub at the bottom of the frontstrap. I suppose an argument can be made that it helps maintain finger placement when obtaining a firing grip on the pistol. Either way, I found it unobtrusive during testing.

Obvious enhancements can be seen in the pistol’s fire controls. Instead of an OEM trigger and traditional spur-style hammer, the LW Match sports a Cylinder & Slide Commander-style rowel hammer. The size of the hammer’s ring (or rowel) has been reduced to be the same as on a Colt Commander hammer and has been raised as high as possible, another feature designed to safeguard the shooter’s hand from hammer bite. The edges of the hammer are chamfered to minimize slide drag and clothing wear.

The LW Match’s trigger has a flat, smooth face, as opposed to the more traditional rounded contour. The flat face allegedly provides consistent trigger feel, no matter where your finger contacts it. Whether it’s true or merely the current “hotness,” it sure does look cool, and while looks aren’t everything, they are something.

Like previous PI model pistols, this variant retains its ambidextrous thumb safety. The extra lever not only makes the pistol more conducive to southpaw shooters like me but also, more importantly, it adds the versatility of being able to manipulate the pistol with your support or weak hand, which could be useful should your strong hand become injured in a gunfight. Similarly, the pistol has an extended slide stop, lessening the amount of reach required to actuate.

Speaking of versatility, the slide of MC P35 PI LW contains the standard, low-profile, plain-black rear assembly paired with a dovetail-mounted front blade adorned with a red fiber-optic pipe. I’m not a fan of fiber-optic sights because of their less-than-rugged design and their knack to shear off when you least expect it. I am, however, quite a fan of this pistol’s rear-sight assembly. The absence of white dots fosters a sight picture that is simple and fast to acquire. The assembly is also integral to a cover that conceals its optics-ready cutout. The cover/rear-sight assembly has two notches that help to hold it in place along with a single screw. Beneath, the cutout is compatible with any MRDS with an RMS/RMSc footprint.

Girsan MCP35 PI LW Match shooting results

On the range, the newest addition to the MC P35 PI line didn’t disappoint (though at one point during testing the grip screws needed to be tightened), and no stoppages of any type were experienced. For those looking for a Hi Power-pattern pistol optimized for concealed carry, the EAA MC P35 PI Match is worth a long, hard look. Oh, the price is right, too.

Girsan MCP35 PI LW Match

Girsan MCP35 PI LW Match specs

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