In a previous post, I covered the Colt Model 1903, now we’ll move on to another John Moses Browning .32/.380 design which, just as before, and as always, was ahead of it’s time. Except this time, Colt didn’t want to make it, and looking back with that 20/20 hindsight, that was probably a poor choice, since the FN Model 1910 was in production all the way until 1983.
Innovations in this model included a new type of recoil system, wherein the recoil spring surrounds the barrel. This made for the handgun’s signature slim design and light weight, as it removed the need for a guide rod. This style was later used in the Walther PPK and made standard in the Makarov. It also incorporated a Striker firing mechanism, included a grip safety similar to the earlier Colt 1903 and later 1911, a magazine safety (no trigger activation without a magazine inserted), and an external safety lever at the rear. This made up what was referred to as the “triple safety.” Hmm, an innovative striker fired handgun with triple safety features… can we get some photo comparisons between JM Browning and Gaston Glock, we may have an immortal engineer on our hands.
Anyhow, in 1922, some modifications to the design were made, lengthening the barrel, slide, and handgrip, lending to increased accuracy and an additional 2 rounds in magazine capacity. This was done for the purpose of military contracts. Sadly, the military they’re most associated with would be the German army, as they were produced by the Nazis after Belgium was occupied.
This guide is specific to the Model 1922 or 1910/22, but for a Model 1910, simply ignore the steps involving the Front Barrel Cover. Obviously (but I’ll say it every time) make sure the weapon is unloaded, and no ammunition is in your workspace.
- Remove magazine from weapon by pressing the magazine release on the bottom of the grip to the rear, and withdrawling. Also, disengage the thumb safety if it’s engaged.
- Find the lever on the front lower left of the slide, this is used to release the front barrel cover on the 1922 model.
- Twist so that you’re twisting the front sight blade towards the right side of the weapon. When it’s at 90^ from it’s original position, the front barrel cover should pop off revealing the front of the barrel and spring.
- This is the only tricky part, as unlike the Colt 1903 and other handguns that use a rotating barrel design, there’s no mark showing you how far you have to pull the slide back to free the barrel to rotate. See picture for approximation, but basically slide it back slowly and keep attempting to twist the barrel (same direction you turned the barrel cover). Once you have rotated it as far as you can, you should be able to withdrawl the slide forward off of the frame.
- Rotate the barrel the rest of the way in that direction until it’s lugs are no longer locked into the slide, and withdrawl it from the front of the slide. Remove spring for cleaning.
- Remove the firing pin from the rear of the slide.
- Clean, then reapply lubrication to obvious contact surfaces (groves, barrel lugs, etc.) remembering that a little goes a long way.
- Reinsert firing pin into channel, observing how the post fits into the grove.
- After replacing the recoil spring, reinsert barrel into slide from the front with the lugs facing down. When the lugs are lined up with the gap where they engage with the slide, rotate the barrel 90^ into them.
- Replace the slide onto the frame and again begin feeling for that spot. When you’ve found it, rotate barrel the opposite way as before until it locks in place.
- Attach front barrel cover with the front sight blade 90^ from center to the right (same direction as when it popped off). Push flush with the frame and twist so that you’re moving the sight blade back up into position, it will click into place. Be sure not to do this backwards, or you’ll end up with a front sight post on the bottom :p