Cheap Arcus 94: buy or not buy?


May 21, 2005, 12:38 AM
After reading about them online, I wanted to see for myself whether this High Power clone really approach does FN/Browning quality, but at a rock bottom price. Of course, now that I am trying to get rid of stuff preparatory to moving, I stumble across an Arcus for $170.

The example I saw was a full-size, single-action, two-tone model, imported by the now defunct Miltex. The black finish on the slide was pretty thin, and was scratched a bit. Still, the action was just as tight as the BHP that I also looked at for comparison (which earned me some snarky comments from the guy at the counter). The Arcus shared the same gritty trigger as the High Power, but I am more willing to tolerate this on a much cheaper gun. I could always chuck the magazine safety.

So, do I get the Arcus? Is it a cheap gun, or just inexpensive? I was planning on getting a full-size 9mm range gun after my move anyway. If the Arcus was accurate and reliable, I could funnel the money I'd save compared to a costlier pistol into a Bushmaster, ammo for my Kimber, or, well, rent.

Or, would I just be throwing money at something that I will eventually want to replace with a better 9mm range gun (CZ75, Glock, Sig, etc.)? Maybe I'm just getting caught up in the novelty of buying an all-forged 9mm for under $200.

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Walt Sherrill
May 21, 2005, 08:05 AM
Everything I've read about them, and one acquaintance who has one, says they're inexpensive, not cheap.

May 21, 2005, 08:33 AM
I have owned the Arcus,FEG,Browning ,FN Browning and Practical.My Arcus experience (bought brand new),was tainted by ejection/cycling problems.Unfortunately the dealer I bought it from (local Gun show) was not local.A smith fixed it and I sold it.CDNN has FN's at $279 (da) to $399.If you can swing it,you will probably be happier.I don't believe the Arcus is intrinsically faulty or poorly designed,but I suspect 6 months from now you might not be that excited.Don't mean to rain on your parade.On the other hand,it's all relative,given the price.
(Don't neglect to look over the old Firing Line Forums.Probably a lot more info there,given the probable age of the Arcus.)
Good Luck

sigma 40ve
May 21, 2005, 08:54 AM
I have one of the early imports, it has an ambi safety. I removed mag safety, stoned some burrs and polished the feed ramp. What I have now is a real sweet pistol. Accurate and IMO VERY little felt recoil. I like it just as well or better than my more expensive big name 9mm's. If I could get another for $170, I would do it in a heartbeat.

May 21, 2005, 09:27 AM
Great advice, guys. I already did some poking around on the TFL an THR, and, overall, Arcus buyers seemed pretty satisfied with the quality. One theme that kept popping up (and here as well) was that most of these guns benefit from a little "fluffing and buffing".

So, the decision really seems like a choice between saving some money and having an diamond in the rough, or springing for a more expensive gun that will probably not need to be tweaked from the get go. I say "probably" because the new BHPs I have handled have also had mediocre to downright awful trigger pulls. It kills me to spend seven bills on a gun that will still need polishing or at least a ton of dry firing. Still, past experience tells me that if I try to save money upfront, I usually trade up later. My Bulgarian Makarov was an exception.

May 21, 2005, 11:28 AM
I loved mine. I put all kinds of ammo through it. Never any problems.

It feels good, shoots great. How can you go wrong... its like getting a makarov.

It will take all HiCap BHP mags and the only problem you will run into is that finding holsters can take time. It is not exactly the same dimensions as the BHP.

Its still a kick-ass deal. and I paid $70 more than what you are being offered... go for it... I paid $240 mine, and sold it used on GB for $230

The only reason I sold it was to get $$$ for my wife's ccw piece.

May 21, 2005, 11:59 AM
Ditto, in general they are vantastic guns. Mine ran anything I could put into it for ammo and the recoil comment is right on the recoiled less than any gun Ive had in 9mm...including 24+ CZ's. If I found one for 170$ would be in my safe and my post would say......."Looky what I found!"..................
Shoot well.

May 21, 2005, 12:24 PM
Just called the shop today: I snoozed and I "losed"!

In a way, it's kind of nice to have the decision made by default. Now I can keep looking for something else (heh-heh-heh).

May 21, 2005, 12:42 PM
I have a 94 compact, and I love it. The only time I have ever had a problem with it is when using 30rd USA brand magazines. Other than that, it has been absolutely flawless.

The only real complaint I have is that some of the parts don't interchange with regular Hi-power stuff. The grips particularly annoy me, because they have finger grooves, and my giant ogre sized fingers are always to big for finger grooves. This wouldn't be a problem if it took regular hi-power grips, but it doesn't and I haven't seen arcus 94 replacement grips anywhere.

May 21, 2005, 01:26 PM

Are you sure BHP grips do not fit your Arcus 94? I have Arcus 98 DA, and I have a set of aftermarket BHP wood grip, the left side grip fits very well but the right side does not fit becasue of the DA trigger latch in the way. I would think the SA 94, without the trigger bar, should be fine.


May 21, 2005, 03:05 PM
I've tried before, and it didn't even seem especially close. Has anyone else found grips that fit the 94?

May 21, 2005, 10:06 PM
My 94 had nice rosewood grips on it from a BHP and they went right on. So I cant answer this one............
Too bad you missed it..................Shoot well.

May 21, 2005, 10:35 PM
Ha! The saga continues.

For some reason I didn't believe the gunstore guy who told me over the phone today that the Arcus had sold yesterday. My instincts turned out to be right for a change. I called the store again, got a different employee on the phone, and learned that the Arcus was right where it had been the day before. I drove to the store, figuring what the hell? Well, there it was, resting between an XD9 and an FEG P9R. I handled the Arcus again, and the action was just as nice as I recalled. No offense to anyone, but I could not discern a yawning difference in quality between the Arcus and the Mark III High Power I also handled.

Upshot: bought the Arcus. Paid $218 out the door (though state law requires ten days before that gun goes out that door). Money well spent? I'll found out.

May 22, 2005, 03:27 PM
If I were you, I'd buy it in a heart beat.

Mine shoots every bit as well as my Wilson modified HP up to 25 yards. Over 25 yards the Hp is more accurate.

I use RD-50 lubricant on the front of my magazines and on the magazine safety. It smooths out the trigger nicely.

Not a very good picture, Top is my HP center is my Arcus with an Argentine 17 round magazine from CDNN and on the bottom is a FEG with the lug broken off the barrel. It's not worth fixing!

May 22, 2005, 04:20 PM
Removing the magazine disconnect on my arcus made a huge difference. The trigger is pretty good now

May 22, 2005, 09:27 PM
The good news is that the Arcus is mine. The bad news is that it will be nine more days before the state lets me get my hands on it. Won't be a moment too soon until I move elsewhere.

Anyway, since the Arcus was so cheap, it would be funny to send it to some place like Cylinder and Slide for accurizing. That is, of course, if they would be willing to touch such a gun in the first place. A lot of local smiths won't.

If the steel is as good as rumored, than the Arcus would be a great starting point for a sleeper project--sort of the BHP equivalent of the Norinco 1911. I would love to have the lockwork tuned, but leave the exterior finish alone. Maybe I could earn some pocket change from the doubters. :evil:

Or, maybe I'm getting a little ahead of myself.

May 23, 2005, 01:24 AM
I stumble across an Arcus for $170.

For that price, its definitely a buy!

Edited to add:
Sorry, I didn't know you bought it already. :o
Anyway, great find! As far as accurizing, I say shoot it first, then decide. Most guns got decent accuracy out of the box. Try to improved the trigger first, start by removing the mag safety, it does make a big difference on the trigger pull.

May 23, 2005, 02:07 AM
Or, maybe I'm getting a little ahead of myself.Probably. I'd wait to see how it shoots, and feels, before making any radical changes. Especially reliability/accuracy tuning. It may be accurate and reliable as is. "If it isn't broken, don't fix it."

May 23, 2005, 10:05 AM
I'll post a range report in the next couple of weeks. I can't wait to see what kind of deal I actually got!

May 26, 2005, 09:09 AM
Take a look at the Bianchi Accumold line of holsters, the one for the BHP should fit your Arcus 94 (I know mine fits real sweet in the Bianchi). I have a set of Spegel cocobolo grips on mine, dresses it up real nice. Enjoy the firearm, I know I enjoy mine every chance I get.

May 26, 2005, 11:58 AM
I have an Arcus. Wouldn't change a thing - except maybe a better finish then the parkerized type finish on the slide. Wears pretty easily. Holsters: When I asked the local leather guy if he had one, he suggested a CZ-75 holster, which worked pretty well (he could have held onto the gun and made a holster for it, but his quick solution worked for me). It would fit an HP holster but it was tight and he said I'd have to work it in. He hasn't seen enough of these locally (mine was the first request for a holster) to justify getting a mold or one of these guns.

May 26, 2005, 02:31 PM
Glad to know that folks here have had good luck with Arcuses (Arci? Arcum?) If these things are the deal they appear to be, I don't know why everyone doesn't have one or two. Seems like the perfect plinker or "truck gun" to me.

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