The High Power design is rightfully a classic. It was the first commercially-successful doublestack 9mm and served militaries, police, and civilians for decades before production stopped. While popularity remained among collectors, the rest of the handgun world advanced considerably over the decades as did consumer preferences. When FN released a new High Power hopes for modernization went partially unsatisfied. Later Springfield Armory released a High Power model, but effectively just a reproduction of the classic design.
Now EAA and Girsan have released a variant of the High Power design that offers the potential to satisfy fans of the classic, those wanting a modern handgun, and those who may not have known about the High Power design in the first place.
What Is It? The EAA Girsan High Power Lightweight (MCP35PILW) builds upon the classic High Power style, but adds the following:
Optics Cut (RMSC pattern)
Increased capacity (15 rounds)
more compact overall size
reduced weight (1/2 pound lighter than a steel model)
NO magazine disconnect safety
Ambidextrous extended manual safety
enlarged beavertail (no more hammer bite!)
Who's It For? With this feature set, the Girsan High Power Lightweight could easily fill mutiple roles. Finally a High Power that is reasonable for carry, capable for duty, and pleasant on the range. This is an exciting development that is decades overdue.
See the tabletop video below for a closer look at the pistol. Keep in mind that I was sent a pre-release model, so the contents of the box may be different on regular models.
I was of course very excited to see a full modernization of the High Power, but what really caught my attention was the weight difference. When measured unloaded, with empty magazine insered my scale got the following results comparing against other High Power models.
Tisas classic High Power clone: 32.8oz
FN New High Power: 36.9oz
EAA Girsan High power Lightweight: 25.7oz
Barrel Length: 3.88″
Overall Length: 7.5″
Suggested Price: $749 in black, $772 for two-tone.
Check HERE for pricing and availability including other Girsan models
Of course I had to get the range as quickly as possible to try out the High Power Lightweight. Fortunately our range protocol prevents personal bias from influencing what's in the video. That's why the range videos seem so repetitive; it's on purpose. Whether or not a reviewer personally likes, wants to like, or dislikes a firearm should not influence a video unless they are only putting on a show. In an effort to provide real journalism we use a protocol for every gun and let the gun's performance in that protocol speak for itself. Commentary as a handgun nerd is added throughout for perspective, but not as facts.
Cold Shots: Truly our first rounds through the gun, on camera, with first thoughts shared.
What's For Dinner™: A test to see what ammunition the gun will eat. Does the gun feed the round from slide lock, will it cycle and feed another round of the same type, does the slide lock to the rear on empty, and is there any notable point of impact change with different loads.
For this gun we used the following ammunition:
Priced and linked where found at the time this article was written
50gr+p Liberty Ammunition Civil Defense $31.99 / 20 at Optics Planet
100gr Hornady Critical Defense Lite $23.89 / 20 at Global Ordnance
115gr Sierra Sports Master JHP $6.99 / 20 at Palmetto State Armory
115gr Sig Elite Denfense V-Crown JHP $23.99 / 20 direct from Sig
115gr Wolf Steel Case: $13.77 / 50 at Sportsman's Guide
115gr Blazer Aluminum Case $17.59 / 50 at Optics Planet
124gr Hornady Critical Duty $22.61 / 20 at Global Ordnance
138gr Federal SCHP $19.59 / 20 at Optics Planet
147gr Remington High Terminal Performance JHP $15.51 / 20 at Global Ordnance
150gr Federal Syntech Action Pistol $21.05 /50 at Palmetto State Armory
Sights & Trigger Control: on a 6" spinner target at a distance of 12 yards. We got this from Titan Great Outdoors and use it to gauge how learnable the trigger is and usable the sights are for forced, timed, precise shots.
Practical Accuracy: Five shots from a distance of seven yards at a one inch target. This isn't so much about printing a tight group as it is a culmination of our shooting experience and time for us to collect thoughts prior to making a conclusion.
After Shots: Final impressions and reflections from the range session.
You can watch the entire experience including some interesting notes learned while shooting in the Shooting Impressions video below:
My range experience was what I had hoped for. The joys of an all-metal single action pistol, with the classic feel of a High Power, but modernized. The trigger is not the crispest single action out there, but for a carry gun is good. Thanks to the extended beavertail I got no slide bite, and although my hands are possibly too large for the grip, I've come to expect that from most 15-round 9mm pistols. I had some issues with high points of impact, but with a red dot could negate that easily enough.
If you've admired the High point design, but not wanted to spend that much money on a pistol of potentially limited utility (compared to more modern pistols), the EAA Girsan High Power Lightweight is likely the option you've been waiting for.