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Is the SA-35 Suited for Modern CCW? An Undercover Cop’s Perspective

GregT

Alpha
I have owned and carried my SA-35 since the beginning of July, right after I purchased it. I have fired reloaded ammo in it very comparable to defensive ammo currently available. have found NO failures in roughly 250 rounds! This included my "Bear Incident" ( that I published here) when I met a large blackbear on my front deck one stormy evening and used up four rounds of ammo at close range over his head. His exit speed indicated that he did not like such treatment. The firearm works just fine, and while I don't talk fast and loose about the "minimum 500 round then it's reliable" thing, I have no reason to doubt its operating perfection. You all are very much aware of a "bad" handgun when you get one, usually within a couple of magazines. And SA may have made a few lemons. I am happy mine wasn't among them!
GregT.
 

PeterC

Alpha
I bought my SA-35 in December of 2021, and have taken it to the range on numerous occasions. i've never had a failure in I don't know how many rounds, but I would not use this pistol in its present form as my EDC. Why? Because i am left-handed and I carry in Condition One, cocked and locked with a round in the chamber. That's how I was trained and that's how I carry a traditional semiautomatic pistol. I wish that Springfield Armory would offer an ambi option or, at least an ambi conversion that could be installed by the owner or local gunsmith.
 

BCassd

Alpha
It’s not suited for anything if you still can’t buy it a year after it’s supposed to be for sale.
Amen!
When you can find them, the price is marked up or on auction. MSRP is way more than $699. I’ve been waiting since they first came out!
 
Hello all, here is today's article posted on TheArmoryLife.com. It is titled “Is the SA-35 Suited for Modern CCW? An Undercover Cop’s Perspective” and can be found at https://www.thearmorylife.com/is-the-sa-35-suited-for-modern-ccw-an-undercover-cops-perspective/.

The weapon looks big in pic. I've never handled one. I have 12+1 for my conceal. For under shoulder holstered conceal, I still love and depend on my trusty 18+1 Ruger P-85 that I've had since it came out in mid 80's. I love it's dependability and capacity before Glocks came out with equal or more.
 
In the recent past, I've carried both an FN GP-35 and a S&W 586 as a CCW, under a vest and with no problems whatsoever. Admittedly, my usual EDC has been a Glock 26, which I regard as the gold standard for concealability, reliability, and accuracy. This summer, I have gotten a Springfield Armory SA-35. Well reviewed, though I haven't fired it yet. I find references to SA-35 "quality control issues" ominious, and do hope my pistol is free of them. I own a pair of FN Hi-Powers: One will not feed hollow-points reliably, and needs feed ramp machining; the second has the notorious "French" magazine safety from Hell. With jacketed FMJ ammunition, though, either will shoot without stoppages all day long. My biggest quibble with the SA-35 is the confusion over tritium night sights, seemingly shared by Scott Wagner. Don't know why SA didn't use standard Hi-Power sight dovetails, which would have fitted my preferred Meprolights. Apparently, SA is now selling a set of tritium night sights that do fit the SA-35, which I'll buy in due course. Does the SA-35 meet the reliability requirements needed for an EDC? I'll know after sending 500-600 rounds downrange. Until then, I do love Hi-Powers, including Springfiled Armory's better mousetrap, but will continue to carry a baby Glock, which always goes off whenever I pull the trigger.
 

KillerFord1977

Ronin
Founding Member
On a side note, lots of folks refer to 500 rounds before they consider a gun reliable for CCW. I’ll point out that in most of the original reviews from the “test subjects” sent out to places like Garand Thumb, TFB, etc, that they had failures around 800+ rounds … Fyi

I’m not satisfied on a pistol for CCw until at least 1000 and different drills, rapid fire drills and diff ammo brands
 
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Many years ago, around the mid sixties a friend had a original Hi-power that he let me use for abut a month when he was out of the country. I still remember what a great shooting pistol it was, how it felt in your hand and how well it pointed. Have wanted one ever sense but the original was too rich for my blood. My plan is to purchase the SA-35, I'd be willing to bet that Springfield will correct any and all problems as they have corrected other troubles. Haven't been able to find any local at MSRP, have seen them priced over $1200. dollars, I want one but I can wait and I hope the price gouchers choke on the dust they collect.
 

GregT

Alpha
To each their own, I guess. The mindset seems to be at 500 rounds you are shooting a "proven" handgun! But what about round 501? Round 586? Round 731? At a certain point, this entire test become Illogical.
GregT.
 
I'm sorry, and don't want to offend, but it still has the appearances of a status symbol, more than anything else to me. I'm content carrying either my WalCompact. M2 or Beretta M9 if I'm going full size, and either my P365 or PPS if I need compact. If I was jazzed about older designs, an original SIG 210 would be my choice of a dream carry gun, but an original is way outside this retiree's budget.
 

Bassbob

Ronin
On a side note, lots of folks refer to 500 rounds before they consider a gun reliable for CCW. I’ll point out that in most of the original reviews from the “test subjects” sent out to places like Garand Thumb, TFB, etc, that they had failures around 800+ rounds … Fyi

I’m not satisfied on a pistol for CCw until at least 1000 and different drills, rapid fire drills and diff ammo brands
800 rounds at once with no clean or lube? I'm a guy who shoots a lot and I have at least 7 handguns I have bought in the last 4 years that passed the 500 round test and have since had several thousand rounds put through them with no issues whatsoever. I'm not talking about 500 round torture tests, I'm talking about taking it out for a couple hundred, taking it home, cleaning and lubing, taking it out a few days later, etc..
 

KillerFord1977

Ronin
Founding Member
800 rounds at once with no clean or lube? I'm a guy who shoots a lot and I have at least 7 handguns I have bought in the last 4 years that passed the 500 round test and have since had several thousand rounds put through them with no issues whatsoever. I'm not talking about 500 round torture tests, I'm talking about taking it out for a couple hundred, taking it home, cleaning and lubing, taking it out a few days later, etc..
I prefer 1000

I was stating that almost all the SA-35 issues happened after 800 rounds w extractor issues
 
When it comes to choosing if your gun is reliable, does that tale into consideration Ammo Sensitivity? I owned a 1st Gen S&W Model 39 back when I first started carrying, that unless I ran one or two brands, it would fail to feed (if memory serves it was Fed and Speer that ran consistently, everything else I tried would FTF). I ended up shelving that gun early on, as I never could trust it, and going with my early Interarms PPK/S as it never failed to feed whatever I threw in it. Though I retired it 6 years ago due to my aging eyes, I carried it for 25+ years. Still one of the most accurate guns in my modest collection. In 2018, I bought a P365, and I've been pleased with how it has ran. The only issue I had with it involved reloads that were light. I was trying AutoComp for the first time and had issues until I was halfway between Starting Load and Maximum (gave me issues in my M9 too).
Ammo Sensitivity is a concern I have when I'm evaluating, as I prefer guns that will run any factory Ammo without a hiccup. I'm flexible on reloads, but that's because I do hold that you need to find the right combination for a gun. I'd never carry reloads though. It hasn't happened yet that I'm aware of, but it's just a matter of time before some Lawyer will make a bid deal about loading your own in a defensive shooting inquiry. Claiming you loaded Super Man Stoppers or some such crap.
 

Bassbob

Ronin
When it comes to choosing if your gun is reliable, does that tale into consideration Ammo Sensitivity? I owned a 1st Gen S&W Model 39 back when I first started carrying, that unless I ran one or two brands, it would fail to feed (if memory serves it was Fed and Speer that ran consistently, everything else I tried would FTF). I ended up shelving that gun early on, as I never could trust it, and going with my early Interarms PPK/S as it never failed to feed whatever I threw in it. Though I retired it 6 years ago due to my aging eyes, I carried it for 25+ years. Still one of the most accurate guns in my modest collection. In 2018, I bought a P365, and I've been pleased with how it has ran. The only issue I had with it involved reloads that were light. I was trying AutoComp for the first time and had issues until I was halfway between Starting Load and Maximum (gave me issues in my M9 too).
Ammo Sensitivity is a concern I have when I'm evaluating, as I prefer guns that will run any factory Ammo without a hiccup. I'm flexible on reloads, but that's because I do hold that you need to find the right combination for a gun. I'd never carry reloads though. It hasn't happened yet that I'm aware of, but it's just a matter of time before some Lawyer will make a bid deal about loading your own in a defensive shooting inquiry. Claiming you loaded Super Man Stoppers or some such crap.
For me the first thing I do is figure out what ammo the gun likes. I have found ( For me) strikers like HST ( everything likes HST because HST is bad ass :) ) and the first target ammo I try out is usually Blazer Brass or WWB.

Once I have that sorted I start counting. Frankly I don't remember the last gun that had a failure of any kind other than a 1911 or an AR. I had a squib in my P30L because like an idiot I tried to run some Silver Bear through it. Wasn't really a squib though, the case got stuck in the chamber. The Silver Bear was never a consideration I just had some and wanted to get rid of it. Which I did. In the trash can.
 
I picked up my SA-35 on June 11th. As of this writing October 13th 2022 I have put 1050 rounds through it. Everything from 115, 124, 145 and 150 grain jacketed round nose, hollow points and flat nose bullets, without any malfunctions. My SA-35 is in the 9000 serial number range. After I finish writing this I'm heading to the range to try a box of the federal 124 grain flat nose with the polymer coating. I have been shooting and reloading since the late 70s and I'll have to rank the SA-35 as one of my favorite pistols.
 
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