SOLD FOR: $3025
Make: Fabrique Nationale (FN), designed by John Browning
Serial Number: 1863
Year of Manufacture: 1900-1901
Caliber: .32 ACP
Action Type: Striker Fired Semi Auto Pistol fed by Detachable Magazine
Barrel Length: 4”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a blade fixed to the slide above the muzzle. The rear sight is a V-notch grooved in a boss at the top rear of the slide.
Markings: The left of the rear sight assembly, slide, and frame have Belgian inspection and proof marks. The left side of the slide is also marked “FABRIQUE NATIONALE HERSTAL LIEGE (BROWNING’S PATENT)” and a circled lower case “d”. The left side of the frame is also marked with a circled pistol and “FN” logo over “BREVETE S.G.D.G.” and a crowned “JD”. The safety markings are in French: “SUR” and “FEU”. The left side of the frame is marked “1129” and “ORION”, the latter of which is faintly hand scribed in front of the grip. The right side of the rear sight base, the right side of the slide, and the right side of the frame are all marked “1863”. The right side of the sight base and slide are also marked “E / GB / *” in an oval. The right side of the frame is marked “KAT” upside down. The left side of the barrel is marked with three proof marks and an inspection mark. The right trigger guard bow is marked “R”.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are two-piece checkered black hard rubber. The left panel is relieved for the lanyard ring. The grips show light nicks and contact wear with some minor handling and storage marks. The checkering is well defined, generally sharp. There are no chips or cracks. The grips are in Very Good-Plus overall condition.
Type of Finish: Blue
Finish Originality: Original. The letter coloring may have been refilled at some point.
Bore Condition: The bore is dim and the rifling is worn. There is scattered erosion and pitting throughout. In this writer’s opinion, this bore rates a 1 out of 10.
Overall Condition: This pistol retains about 50% of its metal finish. There is scattered surface oxidation, the most notable is visible on the grip straps, and a sizable spot of pitting on the left side of the frame. The balance of the finish shows several nicks, scratches and spots of contact wear. The screw heads are lightly tool marked. The markings are clear. Overall, this pistol is in Good-Plus condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. We did not fire this firearm. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance requirements.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This handgun comes with one (1) 7-round magazine with intact feed lips and strong follower spring.
Our Assessment: From Vanderlinden, “The FN Browning Model 1900 was the first practical and reliable automatic and reliable handgun to be adopted by any army. While the Swiss adopted the Luger pistol that same year, the FN Browning Model 1900 was easier to manufacture, and significantly more reliable.” This particular example is from the first year of production between 1900 and 1901. It has some interesting markings that we could not determine the significance of. A small number of pistols were delivered to Katanga in the Congo Free State in 1901 which may shed some light on the “KAT” marking on the right side of the frame, but this is purely speculation. The action functions correctly and 50% original finish remains, in Good Plus condition. This would make a fun research project for the Browning pistol enthusiast. Please see our photos and good luck!