Lots of folk have posted about how nice their Bulgarian Makarovs are, what a great value they represent, how they are accurate and reliable, simple yet rugged. And it's all true. But...
there is another great import from Bulgaria. It comes from a 40 some year old company named ARCUS.
The Arcus semi-automatic is based on the grand old HiPower, the P-35. The P-35 is another of Browings designs that has really withstood the test of time and is today, still competitive in every way with any of the new designs and models.
The current offerings from ARCUS come in a traditional DA/SA action (M-98) and a SA action (M-95). Each action comes in two models, standard and with a slightly shorter slide and barrel as a compact. It's all steel construction and like most of the Eastern European guns, built like a tank. These are solid guns designed for years of use.
The ARCUS is not as svelte
as the BHP, FEG or FM. The corners are sharper and more defined. This is mostly a manufacturing change. The rounded, softened corners on the BHP are more expensive to make and while a case can be made for the aesthetics of the original, the function of the ARCUS is certainly equal to the BHP.
In this picture, the ARCUS (an M-95) is at the top.
Century Arms imports the ARCUS today but it is also sold through AIM and can be found in many gun shops. They sell for well under $300.00, are available in 9mm only, and come with a minimal number of frills and accessories. It will accept all of the HiPower mags so higer capacity magazines are rewadily available and inexpensive. A few people have had some problems with the KRD mags from South Africa but mine has been flawless with them.
The worst feature I've found on the ARCUS is the sights. From the factory, they suck. The paint they use to highlight the dots is, well, pretty sorry. They are dove tailed though so most after market sights that would work on a BHP could be installed. But I can say that on mine, even though they were anemic, they were right on.
The ARCUS will accept almost all internal parts from a BHP. The Slide and the frame are not interchangeable although fit is so close that it would probably work in a pinch. Barrels, grips, safety, and most internals are identical.
So for all you folk that have discovered the Bulgarian Makarov, here's another to check out.