Browning 1910 Pistol

Browning and the Belgian company of FN had enormous success with the Browning 1900 .32 pocket pistol; it was the first slide operated semi-automatic and the principle has remained the most common method of operating a pistol to this day. By 1910 that design was becoming a little long in the tooth and a new pistol was desperately needed and so Browning provided the company with a new pocket pistol design that moved the recoil spring from beneath the barrel to around it, making a much more ergonomic design that would become known as the FN Model 1910 pistol:

This new pistol could be offered in both .320 and .380 (9mm Browning) cartridges, the only change that needed to be made was to the barrel. The .380 version could hold 6 rounds, the .320 held 7 rounds. This example is the .320 version, the magazine being a slim single stack, single feed design:

The magazine was retained by a heel-release magazine catch:

The pistol had three safeties: a magazine safety that meant the magazine had to be fully inserted before the gun would fire, a grip safety that had to be depressed by the operator before firing:

And a manual safety that rotated in the body and blocked the internal mechanism from working:

One of the weakest points of the 1910 are its sights, which by modern standards are very small and hard to read. The sights use a channel, chequered to reduce glare, and a small front post:

Although these are poor by modern standards, it must be remembered that they are typical for the era the gun was designed in.

The cartridges offered for the 1910 were of comparatively low power, so the gun works by simple blowback and without the need for locking surfaces. This makes the gun simple to produce and operate as there are fewer moving surfaces within the pistol.

The 1910 is remembered as the design of pistol used in the assassination of Franz Fedinand in 1914 that triggered the Great War, however it is not usually associated with the British Empire. There was one user at least, however, the Australian Postal Service who bought the pistols to arm their couriers when transporting currency. The pistols were also issued to banks in Australia for protection and remained in service until at least the 1960s.

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