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Old 02-08-2015, 12:57 PM
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An often overlooked collector piece - the FN Browning Model 1922 An often overlooked collector piece - the FN Browning Model 1922 An often overlooked collector piece - the FN Browning Model 1922 An often overlooked collector piece - the FN Browning Model 1922 An often overlooked collector piece - the FN Browning Model 1922  
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Default An often overlooked collector piece - the FN Browning Model 1922

This is another "sneak peek" at a future article. As always, comments welcome.

John





The FN Browning Model 1922 pistol

The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later called Yugoslavia) was formed after World War I, or “the Great War.” After the Balkans Wars and WWI, the country’s stock of rifles and pistols was severely depleted, and it sought a new standard pistol. Inasmuch as the majority Serbs in the country had a relationship with the Belgian firm Fabrique Nationale de Arms de Guerre (FN) as customers dating back to the 1890s, this gunmaking colossus was an obvious choice for help. FN’s Model 1910, a John Browning design, was an early contender. This was a blowback semiautomatic design chambered for the .32 ACP or .380 ACP. It had no external hammer, and was a popular gun in Europe, quite similar to the Colt-manufactured Model 1903 pocket pistol. The Model 1910 was somewhat famous (or notorious) for setting off World War I in 1914. It was used in the Sarajevo assassination of the Austrian archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie. Some selling points were its lower price, and the fact that it could chamber the Serbs’ large stocks of 9mm Short (.380) cartridges. However, that gun was considered to be lacking in accuracy, and the Kingdom thought that a similar pistol incorporating a longer barrel would make for more precise shooting. FN really needed more business at that time, and was very interested in satisfying this potential customer.

Accordingly, knowing that the newly-formed Kingdom could not afford new development costs and tooling, FN figured out an economical way to lengthen the slide and barrel of the Model 1910 without materially increasing production costs. The solution was a forged extension cap on the slide that could accommodate a longer barrel. A number of prototypes were crafted and tested between 1921 and 1922. Experimentation was carried out with longer grip frames giving increased ammunition capacity. What resulted and became officially adopted was the Model 1922, and it was to become an extremely popular gun in many countries around the world. This model became the European handgun for several decades. It was selected as a standard military pistol not only with Yugoslavia, but also with Holland, Greece, Finland, Turkey, Romania, France, Denmark, and most notably, Nazi Germany. It was manufactured by FN until the early 1980s, and a modified version was imported by the Browning Firearms Company into the United States in the post-war years.

Variously known as the Browning 1922 or 10/22, the FN Model 1922, or the Pistole 626(b) as made for the Germans, its specifications are as follows. It was chambered either for the .380 ACP (9x17mm Browning Short) or the .32 ACP (7.65x17mm SR Browning). It was a blowback striker-fired design with a magazine capacity of 8 or 9 rounds depending on caliber. It had an overall length of 7.01 inches and a barrel length of 4.49 inches. It weighed 1.61 pounds empty. The sights were fixed non-adjustable, with the rear driftable for windage. The trigger’s face was flanged, wider than its sides. The pistol was equipped with a manual safety located at the left rear of the frame, and a grip safety which ensured that the gun could not be fired until gripped securely. There was also a magazine safety that prevented firing the piece when the magazine was removed. Field stripping involves first removing the magazine and clearing the chamber. Then slide the release catch on the extension cap forward. Rotate the cap turn counterclockwise (as viewed from the front), and carefully remove the cap, which is under heavy recoil spring pressure. Then the slide must be retracted and the manual safety engaged in the forward notch in the slide. The barrel is then grasped and rotated counterclockwise out of its seat in the frame. Following disengagement of the safety, the slide and barrel can be removed from the front of the pistol.

The most interesting part of the gun’s history occurred during WWII when the FN plant in Herstal was overrun by the Germans in May of 1940. Many of the company’s senior staff evacuated prior to the German invasion and found refuge with the Allies where they assisted in the Allied war effort. It’s well known that the Germans manufactured the Model 1935 High Power pistol when FN was under its control, but not quite as well known is that the Model 1922 was the most produced FN gun for the Nazis. Initially, most of these pistols went to the Luftwaffe, or German Air Force. A lesser number were issued to government officials and the SS. Earlier-manufactured and captured wartime pistols were also popular with partisans in occupied countries. Although the pistols produced during the occupation had a German designation (Pistole 626(b)), that marking was never stamped on the pistols. They retained only their standard FN markings. The (b) suffix in the official German term stood for Belgium, the pistol’s country of origin. This was standard German practice at the time. Pistols made during the takeover by the Germans will bear one or more waffenamt inspection stamps, which will be, in successive chronological order of their application, WaA613, WaA103, and WaA140. All were chambered in .32 ACP, which was a standard round in Germany at the time. Curiously, some commercial production continued during the occupation years.

The pistol illustrated is an interesting German gun in that its frame is marked with the first and last of the waffenamt stamps mentioned. This indicates that it has an earlier frame (possibly pre-war), but was assembled and accepted for use in mid-1942, considering its serial number. The slide on the pistol has several of the later WaA140 marks only. Although later guns often employed substitute wooden grips, this piece retains its earlier FN-logoed synthetic grip panels. The finish is quite decent also. In the later stages of the war, pistols made under German occupation showed declining attention to fit and finish. These also eventually dispensed with the trigger flange.

Following the war, the Model 1922 was issued to West German troops when Germany was divided into zones of occupation. In the 1950s, the Browning Arms Company, headquartered in Utah, marketed a number of John Browning’s FN-manufactured pistols in the United States. The Browning Model 1971 (1971 – 1974) was a deluxe offspring of the original Model 1922 that was modified by using adjustable sights.

Often overlooked in the U.S., the Model 1922 is a “sleeper” on the collector market. Most are still available at semi-reasonable prices. A premium price would be reserved for the original Yugoslav contract pieces and the earlier Nazi-proofed specimens in excellent condition. Both of these types are getting quite hard to find now, but when encountered, should not be ignored. They are historically significant firearms and well worth having. No WWII collection would be complete without one of the German occupation specimens.

(c) 2015 JLM
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Old 02-08-2015, 01:49 PM
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Thank you for the great article as I really enjoyed it.
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Old 02-08-2015, 04:33 PM
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Excellent write up:
I have been quietly collecting these for years but now the secret is out as to just how undervalued they have been. I continue to look at all examples that come my way and lucked into an early WaA613 at a recent gun show where the seller clearly didn't know what he had. If memory serves me correctly there were only 10,000 Model 1922s with the WaA613 stamping and around 140,000 stamped WaA140.
Jim

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Old 02-08-2015, 04:58 PM
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At one time I had 4 of these, 1 pre-war with beautiful finish, and 3 WW2 WA140 ones. I sold all but the best of the WW2 ones with a Luftwaffe holster.

Great article John!
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Old 02-08-2015, 06:22 PM
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My wife "inherited" her dad's FN when he passed away. The story was that it was a relative's in the British army that he carried during WWII. After he passed away I was cleaning it up and noticed the Nazi markings. It had to be a bring-back from the war. The last one I saw at a gun show with the Nazi markings had a $600 asking price. Those little guns are built like tanks, aren't they?
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Old 02-09-2015, 05:53 AM
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Here's some tidbits from Vanderlinden's "FN Browning Pistols". The 1922's production run was from 1923 until 1975. Under Nazi control, FN produced around 450,000 of these pistols. In the 20's, various Dutch para-military and military organizations ordered 1922s, mostly in .380. The Royal Military Constabulary and the Police Troops liked spare magazines. They carried one in the gun, one in a pocket on the holster, and four more in a pouch on the belt. Various police agencies in Europe still had 1922s on duty through the 80's. The list of countries that ordered the pistol is quite long.

Not everybody likes the 1922, but I think it was a very clever approach to making an affordable duty pistol in its day. The longer barrel gave some extra sight radius and also some oomph to the .32ACP and .380ACP, which were already usually loaded slightly hotter than the American versions.
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Old 02-09-2015, 07:04 AM
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Great article. I will look forward to seeing it as the "centerfold" in Dillon's Blue Press.
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Old 02-09-2015, 08:23 AM
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PALADIN85020,

thanks for the well researched and narrated article here. They are intrigueing little guns and of traditional solid quality.

I own three WaA140 marked ones among a handful of other .32 ACP's of that period. Unfortunately the FN1922-10 is not among the best handling nor most accurate pistols of that lot but a very reliable gun, that is for sure.

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Old 02-09-2015, 09:39 AM
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Cool article.

I like my 1910 a lot.


I've read it was John Brownings favorite pistol design...
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Old 05-21-2015, 03:49 PM
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Default FN 1922 with two barrel set

John:

I have recently seen a WaA140 proof FN 1922 offered for sale with serial number matching 2 barrel and 2 mag set, in .32 and 9mm. Everything looks legit, but....

Ever heard of such an animal?

Jim
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Old 05-21-2015, 04:24 PM
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I had the much later version of that pistol. In about 1971 I bought the newest version with the thumb rest grips and the huge adjustable sights that was mandated by the 1968 Gun Control Act. This pistol was really quite a nice performer but due to the large thumb rest and sights, the gun wasn't really a good carrier. In those days, the only ammo was FMJ stuff, and I found how in effective it was when shooting at an old washing machine at the dump. Those FMJs would even penetrate the side of the washer, but my buddy's Hi-Power in 9mm with the FMJs would easily do so. I wished that I still had it. With today's ammo, this pistol would be a decent carry piece. I'd prefer small sights and slimmer grip panels, but otherwise function on this Browning was excellent.

Ah,.....the days gone by, and the stuff I should've kept....

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Old 05-21-2015, 08:28 PM
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great article -- thank you very much! Where will it be published?
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Old 05-22-2015, 12:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wjhpc View Post
John:

I have recently seen a WaA140 proof FN 1922 offered for sale with serial number matching 2 barrel and 2 mag set, in .32 and 9mm. Everything looks legit, but....

Ever heard of such an animal?

Jim
When Germany took over the FN factory they had found some 9mm Kurz pistols and completed about 3,200 of them, proofed them and they were issued. Afaik the early gun had WaA613.

Since handguns with WaA were usually issued to enlisted men and officers had to buy their own guns, I believe a conversion to be faked.

There is a very interesting website about Wehrmacht handguns by an Austrian collector but it is in German.

Pistolen der deutschen Wehrmacht
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Old 05-22-2015, 05:17 AM
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Interesting article....thanks for sharing. i passed on a Yugoslav contract gun a few months ago and am still regretting it.
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Old 05-22-2015, 09:30 AM
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Lots of Nazi marked 1922s show up on the net auction sites. They
used to sell at quite reasonable prices but more recently they have
been going up in price like all ex military guns. I have three model
1910s but have never cared for the size or handling qualities of the
1922 so I have never owned one. The 1910 is really more of a SD or
pocket gun and a bit small for a holster gun. The Nazis must have
really liked the 1922 as they used a lot of them.
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Old 05-22-2015, 09:59 AM
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One minor point I would like to make regarding the 1910 as being
"quite similar to the Colt-manufactured 1903 pocket pistol" in the OP's
text above. The 1910 and the Colt 1903 are really very different
designs with nothing much in common. The 1903 Colt was a scaled
down version of the 1903 Browning external hammer 38 auto and the
very similar concealed hammer 1907 Swedish model. The 1910 model
was in some ways a scaled up version of the Colt 1908 25 acp and
shares several design features with it. The 1908 Colt was a Browning
design of course and made in Belgium by FN and in the US by Colt from 1908 until about 1941.

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Old 05-22-2015, 10:06 AM
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Interesting synopsis accompanied by your usual outstanding photography! Thanks for posting that.
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Old 05-22-2015, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alwslate View Post
...The Nazis must have
really liked the 1922 as they used a lot of them.
The Wehrmacht was under pressure, a small country facing an overwhelming enemy. They took what they could get.

Handguns were not of real importance in that war.
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Old 05-22-2015, 12:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wjhpc View Post
John:

I have recently seen a WaA140 proof FN 1922 offered for sale with serial number matching 2 barrel and 2 mag set, in .32 and 9mm. Everything looks legit, but....

Ever heard of such an animal?

Jim
Short answer: No. According to my research, the German-marked guns were nearly all in .32 ACP caliber only; just a few in .380 ACP only. I believe that the gun you referenced with two barrels and two mags was probably put together outside the factory.

John
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Old 05-22-2015, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beetledude View Post
great article -- thank you very much! Where will it be published?
It will be in the July, 2015 issue of Dillon's Blue Press catalog/magazine; it's being printed now, and will be distributed in June. Subscriptions are free for the asking; you can do so on dillonprecision.com.

John
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Old 05-22-2015, 10:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PALADIN85020 View Post
Short answer: No. According to my research, the German-marked guns were nearly all in .32 ACP caliber only; just a few in .380 ACP only. I believe that the gun you referenced with two barrels and two mags was probably put together outside the factory.

John
There are 3,200 recorded 10/22s in .380 ACP. It is inaccurate that the 10/22 was issued to West German troops, the 10/22 was instead issued to the police.
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Old 05-23-2015, 12:28 PM
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Living in the native country of this nice little gun, and having one in .32 ACP, many say here that the only different part between .32 and .380 is the barrel. So, if one has both barrels, it would be possible to shoot both calibers with same frame and slide of course, but more important same recoil spring and magazine. Is this a confirmed fact ?

Below is a picture of mine - bought a few months ago for 60 $ - in good shape. There are so many around here prices are between 50 and 200$ equivalent. Mine is dated July 1945, according to FN historical foundation.
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Old 05-24-2015, 03:25 AM
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I have read this supposedly dual cartridge capability before in several
different articles and have wondered if it was true. One of my reference
books consists of reprints of the old original owner's manuals of many
semi auto pistols. The one for the FN 1922 says that when ordering
parts it is neccessary to state the caliber of your gun so....don't know.
I have one Browning 1910 in .380 and two old FN 1910s in .32 acp
so I may get all three of them out someday and find out.
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Old 05-24-2015, 01:09 PM
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I accidentally bought a magazine for the 1922 FN in .32. I was intending to buy a FN 1910 .380 magazine. I love to trade the 1922 mag for a 1910 .380 mag. The Mag I have is marked FN 7.65mm, and it looks brand new unused, not even a scrape mark on the follower. Or, make me an offer on it.
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Old 05-24-2015, 02:00 PM
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This auction is for a FN 1922 set with both 7.65 & 9mmK barrels

Matching numbers...


Unique 2 Barrel Nazi 1922 FN Browning : Curios & Relics at GunBroker.com


Not mine...

Edit: Ick. I just noticed how close the seller is to me. Must. Not. Bid...


Also:

9mm Kurz mags have 7 holes. 7.65mm have 8...

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Old 05-24-2015, 10:57 PM
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I just checked my three 10/22s with WAAs and all have the same size digits of the serial number on frame and barrel. The one up for auction has a different stamping on the spare barrel and you can guess what I think about it?

Last edited by Andyd; 05-24-2015 at 11:00 PM.
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Old 05-25-2015, 08:46 AM
alwslate alwslate is offline
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Claudel I hate to be the one to do it but someone needs to tell you
that posting links to live auctions is verboten by the rules of the big
guy. So...you might want to edit your post.
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Old 05-25-2015, 02:33 PM
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Don't feel sorry for this overlooked pistol. In my neck of the woods the prices on them at shows tells me that they are not
"Over looked", any thing with FN or Browning markings goes for
top dollar.
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Old 08-22-2015, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Belgian686 View Post
Living in the native country of this nice little gun, and having one in .32 ACP, many say here that the only different part between .32 and .380 is the barrel. So, if one has both barrels, it would be possible to shoot both calibers with same frame and slide of course, but more important same recoil spring and magazine. Is this a confirmed fact ?

Below is a picture of mine - bought a few months ago for 60 $ - in good shape. There are so many around here prices are between 50 and 200$ equivalent. Mine is dated July 1945, according to FN historical foundation.


The magazines are marked with an FN and either a 9mm or 7.65 so NOT THE SAME. As for slide and such I cant say.
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  #30  
Old 08-22-2015, 04:02 PM
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An often overlooked collector piece - the FN Browning Model 1922 An often overlooked collector piece - the FN Browning Model 1922 An often overlooked collector piece - the FN Browning Model 1922 An often overlooked collector piece - the FN Browning Model 1922 An often overlooked collector piece - the FN Browning Model 1922  
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Default stampings question

I have some questions as to some stamps not mentioned.
This is a 7.65mm 1910/1922 There is an
(H) on the slide.
The serial number is 18931C on Slide
{on BBL, and extension} is 8931C
An MR is on the trigger guard.
BBL and frame have one eagle stamp.
Slide has two eagle stamps one with WaA140 below.

What do I have here

eek:

Thanks in advance,
Steve
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  #31  
Old 08-22-2015, 04:39 PM
Buford57 Buford57 is offline
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An often overlooked collector piece - the FN Browning Model 1922 An often overlooked collector piece - the FN Browning Model 1922  
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Interesting stuff, as usual. A Nazi-marked .32 was my first off-duty gun. Gave $15 for it if I recall and later sold it for $35 after having the missing thumb safety replaced. It liked to jam, but it was easier to conceal than a M28.
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  #32  
Old 08-22-2015, 05:21 PM
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An often overlooked collector piece - the FN Browning Model 1922 An often overlooked collector piece - the FN Browning Model 1922 An often overlooked collector piece - the FN Browning Model 1922 An often overlooked collector piece - the FN Browning Model 1922 An often overlooked collector piece - the FN Browning Model 1922  
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I inherited my father-in-laws when he passed away. The story behind it was my mother-in-law's cousin carried it as a British soldier in WWII. I was cleaning it up and noticed the Nazi markings so it had to be bring back and not an issued gun. Those little things are built like mini-tanks. Last one I saw at a gun show was priced at $600.
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Last edited by fiasconva; 08-22-2015 at 05:35 PM.
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  #33  
Old 08-22-2015, 06:12 PM
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Interesting!

I didn't know how much people liked these until I sold mine a couple of years ago (I think to someone on this Forum). My FFL handled the transaction and was he irked when he saw it. "I'd have bought that from you!!!", was his comment. Who knew?

I did buy something else that I wanted more - I can't recall what it was but i imagine it was a S&W revolver. I tend to gravitate in that direction.

Nice write up!
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  #34  
Old 08-22-2015, 06:34 PM
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I have a civilian model of the 1910 made in the 1950's and known as the 1955 in 380 ACP. It's more compact and shoots like a laser beam.
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