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A Short History of Browning Guns

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Author: Joseph Bryson

A Short History of Browning Guns

Browning is one of the oldest gun manufacturers in the world and has produced some of the most popular guns in history.

Even though the company has faced setbacks in recent years, gun enthusiasts are still passionate and willing to invest in their beloved firearms. Let's examine the organization's past as well as some of the most sought after models they have crafted.

Model 1900

The Model 1900 is one of the most widely recognized Browning guns. It was the first semi-automatic pistol designed in the United States. 

Initially designed as a military weapon, it soon earned a reputation for ruggedness and reliability. Eventually, the gun was adopted by many other countries.

In the late 1890s, John Moses Browning began to design several semi-automatic pistols. He offered his design to the Fabrique Nationale, a Belgian firearms manufacturer. FN agreed to manufacture the gun under a contract.

FN's original Model 1900 was a highly successful design. For the next few years, the FN Browning Model 1900 saw widespread use by the German police and various other warring nations.

FN Browning's Model 1900 semi-automatic medium frame gun is wildly renowned for its single-action trigger and spring above the barrel. It was chambered in 7.65x17mm Browning SR caliber rounds, a cartridge powerful enough to have seen action during World War I and even the Boxer Rebellion! And perhaps most notably, it was chosen as Eugen Schauman's weapon when he attempted an assassination on Nikolai Ivanovich Bobrikov – a testament to both its reliability and effectiveness.

There are three main types of FN Browning Model 1900s. Some have an ivory grip plate, while other versions are nickel plated. Those that are nickeled have been given a black undercoat before plating. 

FN's Model 1900 pistol was a go-to choice for citizens across the world due to its rounded contours and slim profile, making it easy to conceal. Even so, FN decided to prioritize military contracts over civilian purchases-- resulting in an astounding 700,000produced! Notably, Jiangnan Arsenal alone created 60,000 of these pistols back in 1920. Not only that but this model proved exceptionally popular in China too.

Model 1903 Colt

In the 1920s, the Model 1903 Colt was used by military officers, criminals, and even Al Capone.

While it may not be the most accurate firearm ever made, the pistol was a success. Its grip safety is a feature that would become popular on other revolvers from Colt.

During the Mexican Revolution, these guns were not only implemented by paramilitary forces but also provided to US military officers and were popular among civilians as well as law enforcement agencies. Generals too relied heavily on their capabilities in battle.

One of the most popular models was the Model M. This was a semi-automatic pistol designed for use by the US military and law enforcement personnel worldwide. Thousands were manufactured for 42 years.

This gun was available in various finishes, such as blue and nickel. Plus, there were some editions that featured United States property markings. On top of that, it was a trailblazer for having grip safety integrated into its design. Additionally, the manual safety lever served two purposes - both acting as a slide lock and providing an extra layer of protection at the same time!

Although the 1903 is not the most miniature gun, it was the smallest to carry the 'M' moniker. It is an enjoyable pistol to shoot.

The barrel is about three and a half inches long, and its single-stack magazine holds eight rounds. There is also thumb safety.

You can't buy one of these guns today, but you can get a replica of the hammerless Model M from Colt. Unlike the original Model M, the grip isn't silver but gold.

While it might not be the prettiest pistol in the world, the Model 1903 Colt is a creditable recreation. It is well built and a good buy.

Browning Hi-Power

John Moses Browning designed the Browning Hi-Power. 

After his passing in 1926, Dieudonne Saive assumed the role of successor and maintained Browning's designs. While they had some similarities to Colt 1911s, the differences outweighed them. Not only was it a more comfortable pistol for users but its reliability and ease-of-use surpassed that of any other gun at this time.

A Browning Hi-Power is a 9mm ammo semi-automatic, single-action handgun. There are many variants of the weapon. Some of them have fixed rear sights, while others feature adjustable ones. Most of these variations are manufactured in Belgium and licensed in other countries. The ammo is available in bulk all over the world. 

During World War II, the Belgian firearms factory was taken over by the Germans who wanted a pistol capable of handling an even larger cartridge than what their M1911 model could handle. Thus, they opted for a more efficient firearm that held up to eight rounds of 9mm ammunition per magazine.

Since its introduction in the 1930s, the Browning Hi-Power has been refined and adapted. Currently, it is available in the 9x19mm Parabellum caliber. It has been used by many militaries and adopted as the standard service pistol in over 50 countries.

Production of the Hi-Power ended in February 2018. The weapon is no longer manufactured.

Model 1911

The Model 1911 of Browning guns is one of the world's most recognizable and popular handguns. It has been used in every war since it was first developed. Even though it is still being manufactured today, it has seen a renaissance in the past decade.

Nowadays, the iconic Model 1911 is available in multiple sizes and finishes. Its popularity has spawned a plethora of gunmakers producing their own versions of it - from its original blueprint to civilian-crafted parts for more modern takes on this timeless design.

The Model 1911 of Browning guns was also one of the first guns to include parts that could be removed to make cleaning easier. These parts included grip safety, ambidextrous thumb safety, and slide stop.

During World War II, Browning's Model 1911 pistol was sent to countries such as Mexico and Brazil, the Commonwealth of South Africa, and Argentina. While these pistols were discontinued after the war had ended, various modern variants are still being utilized by American military units today.

The Model 1911 of Browning guns is a highly reliable and versatile weapon. The pistol was tested over 6,000 rounds in a few days and had no malfunctions. 

Final Word

Browning guns have a rich and storied history. From the early beginnings of John M. Browning's inventions to the modern firearms manufactured by FN Herstal today, these guns have been utilized by law enforcement officers and civilians for self-defense and hunting purposes. 

The design of the Browning gun has also been copied and used by many other gun manufacturers, making it one of the most recognizable firearms on the market. With its combination of reliability, accuracy, and versatility, Browning firearms are a popular choice for shooters worldwide. 

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