The 9mm Arcus 98DA from Century International Arms offers Hi-Power-inspired styling and design in a modern, double-action combat pistol. Featuring all-steel construction, the 15+1 pistol offers shooters a great deal of gun for the money.
Most Americans, even gun folks, have never heard of Arcus. The company is located in Bulgaria and has been making pistols, revolvers, grenade launchers, artillery rounds, mortars and other military hardware for many years and is rated as ISO 9001:2000 compliant. That takes dedication and work to achieve and means Arcus adheres to high standards in the production of its goods.
Those standards apparently apply to the 98DA, which is a tilt barrel, recoil operated semi-automatic pistol chambered in 9mm and is used by the Bulgarian military and police. At first glance, it looks a lot like a Browning Hi-Power—and that’s a good place to start when designing a gun, because it is a proven and reliable design that some people say is what John Browning really meant to do with the 1911. However, the 98DA is a bit different.
The main difference from the Hi-Power is the trigger mechanism, which is similar to the proven SIG P220 double action design. The 98DA is also equipped with a passive firing pin block that prevents the firing pin from striking the primer unless the trigger is pulled. So, in addition to allowing the gun to be carried like the single action Hi-Power with a round in the chamber, the trigger cocked and the safety engaged, it could also be carried with the hammer down on a loaded chamber. When lowering the hammer however, extreme caution must be exercised because there is no decocker. Like the Hi-Power, the gun is built for right-handed shooters and although the thumb safety is not large, it is still big enough to be easily swiped down to the off position. It’s a bit hard to push up and engage with the thumb, but it can be done with practice.
The 4.66-inch barrel of the Arcus 98DA mates directly to the Hi-Power-style slide through an integral bushing, and there is no full-length guide rod system located under the barrel assembly. The front sight assembly, which features a white dot, is situated in a dovetail slot.