What weapons are the most popular among people that collect miniatures? First and foremost, historical models, which are removed from production now, but entered our mind with books and films, so you want to hold them in your hands.
Famous Browning pistols often become prototypes for miniature collectible guns. They inherited the name from their creator. John Browning is a great inventor of weapons. In the 19 th century, he developed and opened almost all schemes for automation of self-loading pistols, that are currently used: short recoil operation, blowback system and gas operation.
In his further developments, he used the first and second schemes, creating on these bases the models that were suitable for serial production.
Browning pistols that have been being massively produced since the beginning of the 20th century, have won great popularity in the world thanks in large part to their portability. They have become samples for copying and imitation, in fact they have determined the appearance of designs of many next automatic pistols.
The first and the largest manufacturer of Browning pistols in Europe was the Belgian firm Fabrique Nationale d’Armes de Guerre (FN). Hence the stable word combination “Belgian Browning”. But Browning pistols, designed for the American company Colt, are called “Colts”, as a rule.
Although John Browning worked a lot and fruitfully on other classes of weapons — automatic rifles, smooth-bore rifles, machine guns — the collectors associate his name with small self-loading pistols.
The first Browning developments in this field began in 1895. In 1897, he received a patent for the invention of this type of gun, and in 1898 began its production. Two years later, after the release of the first three thousand copies, the model was improved and was called Browning 1900.
The next model, created in 1903, became a standard weapon of the Belgian army. In 1906, a miniature “ladies” Browning pistol with 6.35 mm caliber was released (it is also called “Baby Browning”). Another development appeared in 1910, it was double-charged. A shot made from this pistol caused the start of the World War I. However, the most famous model of the inventor was Browning High Power pistol.
Browning High Power Gun
The development of this pistol, which became very popular later, began in the early 1920s. The initiator of this work was again the Belgian FN, acting this time on the initiative of the French military: they were interested in obtaining a combat pistol with a magazine that could contain 15 cartridges. But Browning himself believed that a two-row high-capacity magazine would not be reliable, and the main designer of the FN, Dieudonne Saive, began constructing this part of the pistol. On the basis of magazines created by Saive, Browning developed two pistols, differing in the design of locking, and in 1923 he applied for a patent. This patent was issued only in February 1927, a few months after the designer’s death. Pistols developed in 1922, despite the promise, were not adopted by the French army and their improvement began to conduct Dieudonne Saive. In 1923 he replaced a hammer cock, putting a trigger cock mechanism instead, in accordance with the requirements of French military experts.
By 1927, Saive had carried out a number of works to improve the gun, reducing the store capacity to 13 rounds and shortening the shutter-casing. In 1929, the shape of the rear part of the handle was changed, and in 1931 the pistol became look as we know it now. French experts considered this firearms to be quite successful and consistent with all of their requirements, but their government decided to adopt for French army a model created in France, although the SACM Mle 1935A was inferior to Browning. It concerned both about the capacity of the store, which was only 8 cartridges, and the capacity of the ammunition, as the 7.65 mm French Longue (7.65 × 20) can’t be compared with the 9 mm Parabellum in penetrating and stopping power of their bullets. By 1934 works for serial production of the gun were carried out.
In 1935, the Belgian army has adopted the gun “Pistolet Automatique Browning FN Modele 1935 de Grande Puissance” and the company received the first order for 1000 copies. But then it got a much shorter name: “GP-35”. The name “Grande Puissance”, that means “Great power”, was given, of course, for promotional purposes, but the pistol really had excellent combat qualities, and at that time, it was unsurpassed. The handgun was produced in two versions. One with vertical grooves on the back surface of the handle for fastening a holster-butt and adjustable sector sight, designed for shooting up to 500 m. The other was equipped with simple sighting devices and did not have grooves on the handle. Then a few more European countries began to buy it for their armed forces. Since 1935, the pistol, known worldwide as Browning High Power, has been in service in Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Holland, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Peru and Israel.
During the World War II, HP was used in the German Wehrmacht under the designation “Pistole 640 (b)” as a limited standard weapon. From 1939 to 1945 about 319,000 such pistols were manufactured. High Power guns manufactured in Canada was originally supplied to China. Then the company John Inglise started manufacturing it for the needs of its own army, as well as the armies of Great Britain and Australia. Canadian Brownings differed in the shape of the sight device and had four cuts in the barrel channel, instead of six. This weapon is still in the arsenal of the Canadian army. In the British and Canadian armies, Browning pistols got the designation Mk I. These pistols were improved: the reliability of cartridge sleeves extraction was increased by placing the ejector inside the shutter-casing. Such weapons got the designations №1 Mk I* and №2 Mk I*. In 1946, the production of High Power was resumed at FN.
In 1954, the gun was officially adopted by Britain, then in 1962 it was replaced with its improved version called №2 MK1 or L9 A1. FN Browning High Power is used by the famous British CAC (Special Aircraft Service) from the Second World War to the present, and it is also in service of the Royal Marine Corps Fleet’s Defense Group. HP is a permanent pistol of SBS (Special boat service — the unit of special forces of the Royal Marines of Great Britain). It should also be noted that after the end of World War II, the pistol with a regulated sight device was produced as High Power Captain for the civilian arms market. There are very beautiful examples of this version, engraved, with gold inserts and blue bluing.
In the 1982 MK II modification, the pistol got an elongated fuse lever, which was more convenient for manipulation. In addition, the fuse became two-sided, since another lever was placed on the right side of the frame. This modification is also characterized by more ergonomic plastic cheeks on the handle and a small protrusion on the front surface of the shutter-casing, designed to protect the muzzle. Another very important feature of the MK II was the possibility of uninterrupted supply with cartridges with expansive bullets that differ from traditional military ones with more complex configuration of their front part. In the mid-1990s FN started the production of High Power pistols for the .40 S&W cartridge. This version was intended primarily for the civilian firearms market of the United States.
For decades of service and combat use in the most difficult conditions, the weapon proved its worth. This superb pistol was used by armies of about 55 countries and it is one of the most common combat handguns in the world. The main characteristics of this weapon are: an original locking system of the barrel with a short stroke, a two-row magazine that contains 13 cartridges, the use of very efficient 9mm Parabellum cartridges. The combination of these qualities with a convenient shape of the handle made this high power gun very reliable when used in difficult conditions.
The automation works on the principle of using a recoil of a short-stroke barrel. Browning’s breechblock is performed according to the scheme with a falling block, using a figured groove located under the chamber. When the barrel is retracted back due to the impact of recoil, this groove interacts with the axis of the barrel retention, as a result the breech part of the barrel falls. At this time the ledges of the barrel come out of their engagement with the grooves of the shutter-casing, the barrel stops, and the shutter-casing continues to move back, throwing out the empty cartridge sleeve. Browning has a single-action trigger mechanism. After consuming all the cartridges in the magazine, the feeder presses on the shutter delay, which rises and enters the corresponding groove of the shutter-casing. As a result, the shutter-casing is fixed in the rear position and signals about the need for recharging. After attaching a loaded magazine you should press the shutter delay lever down, and release the shutter-casing, thus you will send the cartridge into the chamber.
A manually operated fuse blocks the sear and the shutter-casing, its lever is located on the left side of the frame in front of the back part of the handle. The gun is equipped with a detail that does not allow making a shot when the shutter is not fully closed. Automatic magazine fuse blocks the trigger when the magazine is removed. The earliest version had an ejector located in the inner bore of the shutter-casing. In 1965 the pistol has got an open ejector, which simplified production and reduced its cost, and the trigger has got a spoke, instead of a massive head. The magazine with a two-row arrangement of cartridges has a single-row output, which allows the cartridge to enter the chamber in a straight line, that increases reliability of the supply. The magazine is fastened with a latch placed in the base of the trigger clamp. The pistol handle has an excellent ergonomics, providing a deep and tight grip, that stabilizes the weapon when aiming and improves stability when firing.
Browning High Power is almost ideal gun for army. It uses the world’s most common and powerful pistol cartridge, it has a capacious store and a reliable single-action trigger mechanism. Long-term use in the troops and law enforcement structures around the world and vast experience of combat use evidence the excellent combat and service-operational qualities of these firearms. The main advantages are: high reliability of operation in extremal conditions; high stopping power of the cartridge; simplicity, convenience and safety of handling the gun; simplicity of care of the weapon; shooting accuracy; high firepower. Some owners say that their HP made about 30,000 shots without any delay when using cartridges with full metal jacket bullets.
FN High Power is very popular not only among servicemen and policemen, but also among ordinary citizens who purchase firearms for self-defense or sports shooting. HP is often modified by various firms to meet some specific requirements. For example we can mention Delux Custom BHP gun made by Novak company. In general, improvements are made for practical shooting. Producers install adjustable aiming devices with luminous inserts, more convenient increased fuse lever and shutter delay lever, variously shaped handle cheeks with different textures. On front lateral surfaces of a shutter-casing an additional notch is sometimes made for more convenient operation and faster cartridge dispatch from the magazine to the chamber. Browning High Power, both in standard model and with various improvements, is still in demand. Taking into account its numerous advantages, we can suppose that it will be very popular for a long time all over the world.
Miniature Browning guns
The most complete and remarkable line of mini-pistols of this series is currently offered by the Russian company Miniature Arsenal.
Ramp-Type-Sight Browning Pistol. The scale 1:2. Some metal parts of this model are covered with gold. The frame and the shutter-casing are decorated with an engraved floral ornamentation and a notching in the form of gold threads.
The cost of such a beautiful “toy” is about $15,000. Pretty expensive? Then we can offer you another version of a miniature silver pistol that fires real cartridges. This model also perfectly combines authenticity and aesthetics, but it costs only $400 in silver version and $1200 in gold version. More details about it can be found here.