I finally have a source for top quality reliable 7.65mm French Long, thanks to Steinel! I can’t link to them, but I’m sure anyone who wants some themselves can find them online. Anyway, with ammo now available, I decided to test out the French 1935A and 1935S pistols side by side. First slow fire at 10 yards for groups, then 30 yards at a steel plate, and then rapid fire at 5 yards.
Both of these pistols were formally adopted for French military use. The 1935A was first, designed by Charles Petter and made by SACM. When production was not sufficient to meet Army demand, the St Etienne design from the trials was also adopted and put into production. Both guns use the same cartridge, and both are Browning-type tilting barrel actions, but the mechanical similarities end there. Handling-wise they are quite similar, both using magazine release buttons and similar safety levers on the back of the slides.
The verdict for me from shooting both was that I prefer the 1935A. Its trigger was more predictable for me (although that may not be representative of all 35A and 35S examples), and I like the handling of the grip better.