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FN Browning Model 1900

The Model 1900 was highly regarded in Europe and Asia.


The FN Model 1900, though based on American John Browning’s 1897 patents (it was his first semi-automatic pistol design), was actually developed by Fabrique Nationale in Belgium and was the second handgun to be chambered in 7.65 mm (.32 ACP), the first being the similar Browning Model 1899.

Although having a somewhat archaic appearance and lacking the streamlined silhouette of its follow-on, the Model 1910, the 1900 still remains quite a clever design. A blowback, the 1900’s recoil spring, which is enclosed in a channel above the barrel, also functions as the firing pin spring, giving the gun plenty of power to set off even the most stubborn primer. Unlike later pocket automatics, the 1900 had a separate breechblock that attached to the slide by means of a pair of large-headed screws. The safety was a small lever sited on the left side of the frame where it could be flicked down to fire (“FEU”) and up for safe (“SUR.”)

The magazine held seven rounds and was secured by a small heel-style catch. Grips were of checkered hard rubber and, depending upon when the gun was made, displayed the initials “FN” below a facsimile of the gun itself, or simply “FN.” Sights were a non-adjustable rear notch and rounded blade front, the rear incorporating an ingenious feature consisting of a rounded pin that rose up to block the notch when the trigger was pulled on an empty chamber. This device warned the shooter that the pistol was unloaded, as the gun’s slide did not remain open after the last shot.

The most common 1900s were blued, though nickel was not unusual. Reflecting the esteem in which the pistol was held, many were also highly embellished with engraving and gold inlay—a good example being an elaborate cased version of the pistol made for Belgium’s King Albert.

Almost as soon as it hit the market, the 1900 earned a reputation for ruggedness and reliability. It was immediately adopted by Belgium as its service sidearm and over the years saw employment by the militaries of many countries, including Greece, Austria-Hungary, Russia, France and Germany. Despite the introduction of the sleeker, more modern-looking Model 1910, the 1900 continued to be offered until 1914, by which time some 724,500 had been made.

It was also popular with civilians. Measuring only 63⁄8-inches long and weighing but 22 ounces, the gun was easily concealed and its rounded contours allowed it to be easily drawn from pocket, purse or holster. And while it never achieved great popularity in the United States, due in part to the preeminence of the 1903 Colt, it was well thought of elsewhere. Copies of the 1900 were even made in the Middle East and China, where the pistol was held in particularly high regard.

The gun depicted here is in superb condition, showing little use. Bluing is in the 98 percent range, and the piece is mechanically perfect. As such, it would probably bring a solid $650 on today’s market.

Gun: Model 1900 FN Browning
Manufacturer: Fabrique Nationale
Serial Number: 679663
Condition: NRA Excellent
Caliber: 7.65 mm (.32 ACP)
Manufactured: c. 1912
Value: $650

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14 Responses to FN Browning Model 1900

Ed wrote:
July 10, 2014

I am looking for and needing a slide with firing pin and extractor for a Browning FN Model 1900. Help!!!!

Ed Moncus wrote:
July 10, 2014

I have a Browning fn model 1900 and I need a slide with firing pin and extractor. Can anyone help find one? Thanks, Ed. 770-547-8590

jerry wrote:
April 12, 2014

have 1900 s-311 great cond. need extra 32 cal clip please help thanks

ken wrote:
February 23, 2014

I have a 1900 fn browning .32 and my firing pin is broken.Does any one know were I can buy a new or used pin.

Judy wrote:
October 26, 2013

I have a FN Browning Model 1900. Nickel plated, I think. Black handle. All emblems & wording visible. Prob. made around 1901 to 1902 acc to serial #'s. Anyone have a guess as to it's worth?

kp wrote:
July 15, 2013

What is the purpose of the notch on the back of the magazine if it has a heal-release? Does anyone know if the magazine from a 1910 will fit the 1900?

sam wrote:
May 07, 2013

I have an FN 1900 serial number K.P.D.M. No.394. My uncle brought it back from the European Theater. Can someone fill me in on the history of this weapon? THANKS!

Jim wrote:
March 02, 2013

Smitty, the screw for the grip is to tight and not letting thr magazine go n

Daniel wrote:
January 01, 2013

I found this on another forum. Its out of a book called "The Bellgian Brownings." 1900-1901 10,000 FN 1900 pistols serial # 1 to 10,000 1901-1902 21,700 pistols produced 10,001 to 31,700 1902- 1903 40,000 produced serial # 31,701 to 71,700 Aug 4, 1904 serial number 100,000 1903-1907 328,300 produced serial # 71,701 to 400,000 1907-1910 275,000 produced serial # 400,001 to 675,000 1910-1914 49,550 produced serial # 675,000 to 724,550 You can also use this Formula to narrow it down within the year range. Take the number produced divided by the the number of years produced to get the average number produced per year then divide your serial number by that number. It gives you the year in that range it was produced (well it might be close anyway) an example: Im looking at a serial number 314300 so i know its from the 190-07 range 314300 divided by 65660 produced per year = 4.7 so it was built late in the fourth year of the 03-07 range making it (probably)a 1906. A bit complex for a guess at the number but i think is fun to try to figure out. I've been doing a lot of reasearch in preparation to buy one. I hope ive helped also for more info visit: http://unblinkingeye.com/Guns/1900FNB/1900fnb.html

Barry wrote:
December 27, 2012

Mine won't hold a FULL magazine AND one in the chamber. Try removing one round from the magazine and see it that works.

smitty wrote:
December 05, 2012

I have a 1900 also in excellent condition. It will chamber a .32 round but when the rounds are placed in the magazine i cannot insert the mag into the pistol??? any thoughts?

November 09, 2012


William wrote:
July 29, 2012

Mine was stolen last year in alabama. I know it wasn't the 'special' one, but it was flawless in action when it was over 100 years old.

Jay wrote:
July 25, 2012

I just purchased a Model 1900 a few days ago. I picked it up for $80.00 and it is pretty darn good condition. The serial number is 195XXX. I stripped it down and cleaned years of old congealed oil off of it. All the numbers match and I have the original magazine. The bore is in clean with no pitting and great shape and it has about 80% of its original bluing. Seems like a neat pistol. It functions perfectly. Does anyone know its year of manufacture and approximate value?