Arcus 94

The Browning Hi-Power is one of the greatest pistol designs of all time. The design was started by John Moses Browning and finished by Dieudonne Saive after Browning's untimely death in 1926. The history of the Hi-Power involves many countries and the Hi-Power is one of the few firearms designs so solid that it was used by both the Axis and the Allies in World War II. The Hi-Power and derivatives are still in use in a lot of countries by military and police forces.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so the designers of the Hi-Power should feel very flattered. The Hi-Power is one of the most copied pistol designs in history. Some interesting features made their debut with the Hi-Power, most notably the "double-stack" pistol magazine.

My Arcus 94 is a close copy of the Browning Hi-Power, but there are a few differences. Most noticably, the frame and slide of the 94 are much more squared-off than the original Hi-Power. Occasionally, Hi-Power grips don't fit properly due to the different frame dimensions. Otherwise, almost everything besides the frame and slide interchanges with a "real" Hi-Power.

arcus 94

The pistol came with the requisite gun lock that's required by law these days, but it also came with two ten-round magazines. I wanted to find some higher-capacity magazines since the Hi-Power was the first truly "high-capacity" pistol design, and CDNN did not let me down. I found some nickel-plated, 17rd, KRD-made, South African military surplus magazines for a Browning Hi-Power that function perfectly in my Arcus. They were only $15 or so a pop, so I bought four.

Overall, this pistol functions well. It fires true and it fires every time you pull the trigger. The trigger pull is rather stiff for a single-action pistol, but I'm going to work on that. I'm hoping a spring kit will drop the trigger pull some, plus I'm eventually going to polish the trigger group components in hopes of smoothing out the rather creepy trigger pull. I'm guessing a real FN/Browning Hi-Power would have a much better trigger out of the box, but I'm hoping to get my 94 to a decent trigger pull and feel.

The pistol came with some Hogue-like factory grips that annoyed me due to their texture. I ordered some Pachmayr grips for the pistol that don't have finger grooves and the Pachmayrs were a definite improvement over the factory grips. However, I'd like to find a set of good grip panels instead of the wrap-around Pachmayrs, mostly cause the Pachmayrs were designed for a Hi-Power and don't quite fit the Arcus perfectly.

Recently I removed the mag disconnect from the Arcus. It seemed like a silly safety feature, plus it adversely affected trigger pull. I haven't yet got the Arcus out to the range, but the trigger feels much less gritty and requires less effort now.

The purpose of the mag disconnect is to disable the pistol when a magazine is not properly loaded in the pistol. Apparently the idea was to make the pistol more safe when it didn't have a mag present, even if there was a round in the chamber. However, the mag disconnect negates any benefits of a tactical reload (not like I'd ever need to do anything of the sort), etc. Since everyone should treat a firearm like it's always loaded, I felt the mag disconnect was an unnecessary safety. Lots of others agree with me, like certain militaries that still use the Hi-Power, the Germans during WWII, etc. since they all built or ordered their Hi-Powers without mag disconnects.

After obtaining the hammer spring pack from Wolff, I decided to try changing out the Arcus' hammer spring in hopes that a bit softer hammer spring would help with the still-stout trigger. This was the first change Wolff suggested when I called them. Unfortunately, the Arcus' hammer spring is shorter than a real Hi-Power's, so the springs I got from Wolff were fairly useless. I did try cutting some coils off the 26-lb. spring I got from Wolff, but the trigger is effectively no different.

I also ordered a reduced-power trigger return spring from Wolff, still in the search for a lighter/smoother trigger. Unfortunately, the reduced-power, three-coil trigger spring won't fit in the Arcus' trigger, so the OEM spring is back in the gun.

I did make one good change to the gun, though...I took the grips off, discarded the backstrap cover and cut the frontstrap cover off the grips, essentially making the originally-wrap-around grip in to regular panels that actually fit the gun better. With the unaltered grips, removing the backstrap cover would show some nasty gaps behind the grips and you could see in to the magazine well. Now, the panels fit much better and the grip feels better overall.

Page created 20050529 03:18.
Page modified 20060609 01:32.
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