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Rifleman Review: Springfield Armory SA-35

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In 2021, Springfield Armory brought out its SA-35, a rendition of the classic Browning Hi Power, one of the iconic handguns of the 20th century. In our “American Rifleman Television” Rifleman Review segment above, American Rifleman Editor In Chief Brian Sheetz examines the details of this American-made pistol.

“If you’re a student of handguns, you instantly recognize this as a Browning Hi Power clone. The SA-35, though, I think, takes the Browning Hi Power to a new level,” Sheetz said. “Not only does it benefit from modern manufacturing, modern metallurgy, it also benefits from some enhancements and some improvements that few of the former High Power models from other companies tended to have.”

Left side of the Springfield Armory SA-35 pistol.

One of the improvements on the Springfield Armory SA-35 is the inclusion of 15-round Mec-Gar magazines, which provide two extra rounds over the original 13-round magazine design used with the original High Powers. Additionally, the pistol includes dovetailed sights and a redesigned, rowel-style hammer that eliminates the hammer bite experienced on original guns.

“There aren’t a lot of over-the-top enhancements on this particular model because we believe that Springfield is going to come out with some newer models in this line as time progresses,” he said. “So, you don’t have checkered backstraps or frontstraps or that sort of thing. You just have a really nice execution of a classic form.

Rowel hammer and single-sided manual safety on the Springfield Armory SA-35 High Power.

Another enhancement included on the SA-35 is the removal of the traditional magazine-disconnect safety, which significantly improved the trigger pull on our test sample compared to older Browning Hi Powers we’ve fired.

“On this model of the High Power, you have a safety that, in my opinion, is one of the best designs ever on a High Power,” Sheetz said. “It’s a shelf style with a bend to it in the middle, and it has enough length to provide adequate leverage to engage and disengage positively with a tactile and audible snick to it.”

Even with these improvements, the Springfield Armory SA-35 still evokes the classic lines and design of the original High Power, down to the svelte, sleek profile at the nose of the slide that makes it easy to re-holster.

Right-side walnut grip panel on the Springfield Armory SA-35.

“The High Power is just a classic, and it’s a pleasure to carry, and it’s a real pleasure to see a major American manufacturer bring it back to the American shooting public,” Sheetz concluded.

To watch complete segments of past episodes of American Rifleman TV, go to americanrifleman.org/artv. For all-new episodes of ARTV, tune in Wednesday nights to Outdoor Channel 8:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. EST.




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