Tag Archives: Browning

FN Model 1910/22: John Browning goes to Europe


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.

DSCN1395Anyhow, 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.DSCN1397
  • Find the lever on the front lower left of the slide, this is used to release the front barrel cover on the 1922 model.DSCN1398
  • 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.DSCN1399DSCN1400
  • 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.DSCN1401DSCN1402
  • 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.DSCN1403 DSCN1404
  • 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.DSCN1405DSCN1408


  • Reinsert firing pin into channel, observing how the post fits into the grove.DSCN1406
  • 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 :pDSCN1409


Dealing with 90 year old glue, starring: Colt 1903 Pocket Hammerless


Well, I intend to do a more in depth review and teardown guide on this handgun, but since an issue came up that required a quick fix, I thought I’d document and share.

First some background on this firearm.  This little Colt is yet another marvel of turn-of-the-century design by John Moses Browning, predating the 1911 by a couple of years, but sharing some design features and having ergonomics very similar to the later Colt Government.  Though mechanically different (striker vs. hammer), you can see the relation between this handgun and the FN 1910/22, a later model by the same legendary designer (which I’ll be featuring at a later time).  This was basically the one of the first Concealed Carry autoloaders, with a very slim profile, “hammerless” (internal hammer) so as to not snag, low-profile rounded sights, and higher capacity and more firepower than an equal sized revolver.   This role was well embraced by characters throughout history such as Al Capone who was said to always have one in his coat pocket, and Bonny used one to break Clyde out of jail by getting one in taped to her thigh.  John dillinger was carrying one when he was shot by the FBI, and those very agents that shot him were likely carrying these as BUGs.  This didn’t go unnoticed by the government either, and the OSS and later CIA used these as concealed carry guns all the way until the 1970s.

Anyhow, if there’s interest, I’ll go into more detail in a later post.  As for this one, the S/N puts it’s production in 1920, making it a type III.  It’s my significant other’s current favorite range gun, because it fits her tiny hands perfectly, is lightweight, firing a lightweight but still useable round (.32 ACP / 7.65, get the Fiocci, europeans load it hot), and it’s got that extra bit of history and panache that her Colt Government lacks.  …part of which led to our problem.

I like to imagine this thing was carried by a gangster in the roaring 20’s, as it was ordered from Colt with custom mother-of-pearl grip panels.  Unlike the wooden or hard rubber grip panels of the period, these were simply flat backed, and didn’t have a raised area that fit into the frame.  This meant that simply screwing them in would not hold them in place, so they were glued in place.  I’m not quite sure what kind of glue was used on firearms furniture in the 1920’s, but I do know that they clearly weren’t taking into consideration how disgusting and inconvenient it would be to future owners in 90 years.  After this piece of history’s long slumber was awoke by the report of several hundred Fiocci 7.65 FMJ rounds, the glue decided to finally give out, forcing me to clean and reattach the grips.


Now… this may not be the BEST way to handle this as I was risking the finish under those grips, but this thing’s no museum piece so I wasn’t going to baby it, the main concern was getting the grips back on and still in one piece, and making sure they’d stay that way for a couple more decades.

After unscrewing and GENTLY rocking them back and forth, freeing from the remaining glue, both the grips and frame needed that ancient gunk removed.  Enter my new best friend (which will be featured in the next post about proper cleaning supplies), Mil-Comm MC25, sprayed on the back of the grips and on the frame and allowed to soak for a bit.


A makeshift scraper out of a cloth-wrapped mini flathead and some (very careful) elbow grease later, and that evil crud has been removed.  It didn’t bind very well to the pearl, and was very easy to remove (practically wiped off with cloth after the MC25 got to it).  I’d have preferred to use a wooden or plastic scraper of some sort, but with the effort required to get some of this buildup off, it would’ve likely bent or cracked.  I still managed to get this stuff off with minimal scratching to the finish, all in areas that will be covered by grips anyway.  Just to be a bit anal and not want to leave unprotected scratches, even under the grips, I filled in the couple scratches I did make with a Birchwood Casey Presto Gun Blue Touch-Up Pen
(sorry, not pictured, stopped taking pictures at the point that I had funky old glue residue on my hands).


A fine bead of Locktite Super Control Gel and 2 screws later, and we’re back in business.  I’ll be sure to update with how well this holds up, but I’d like to think that super glue technology has gotten better in the last century.


(Also, regarding this last picture, I never really noticed the difference in grip size on either side, odd.  It does fit the hands really well though, and I’ve been told they’re at least period correct if not originals, so I’ll just chalk up another one to turn-of-the-century ergonomics)