Book Review: FN Browning Pistols | Side Arms That Shaped World History (3rd Edition)

posted on August 12, 2023
Vanderlinden Fn Browning

FN Browning Pistols: Side Arms that Shaped World History, by Anthony Vanderlinden, is a greatly expanded follow-up to the author’s 2nd edition, single-volume, 334 pages of the same name. This a beautifully rendered edition and a “must have” addition to your library if you have the slightest interest in the pistols produced by Fabrique Nationale.

The book starts off with a very concise and interesting history of gun making in Belgium and the establishment of the FN factory in Liege. It continues with a decade-by-decade history of FN from 1889 through World War I and then every decade after to the current time.

Anthony Vanderlinden, who has authored five books on FN arms as well as published more than 10 gun books via his Wet Dog Publishing house, has done much to further our understanding of many of the nuances of European arms manufacturing that would be understandably lost to those of us who are only fluent in English. His in-depth history of FN and the European gun trade alone are reason enough to delve into this massive two-volume tome, but he has also scattered numerous gems throughout the text to keep the reader curious as to what bit of new-found information will change our perceptions of what we thought was gospel truth.

Case in point: Is it High Power or Hi Power? The reader will find that both are right, depending on the actual year and manufacturer of the pistol. Details never published before about the biography of John M. Browning are covered in the last chapter and again, are worth the price of admission.

The full-color photography that graces the 840 pages gives the book an almost 3D feel, so much so that the chapters on factory engraving give the reader such a clear picture of the engravers art that it is almost impossible not to run your fingers over the photos.

Of special interest to the collector will be the serial numbers and years of production of every FN made pistol from the Model 1899 through the Hi Power. Proofmarks and codes are revealed in detail, and no attention to detail is overlooked in the description and illustrations of grips, accessories and even user manuals and advertising broadsides.

Even if you have the 1st or 2nd editions of the same title, you will be well served to add this edition to your collection as the information added is vast and significant.

MSRP is $149.95, and NRA members will receive free shipping by using the code ‘NRA’ when purchasing online from Wet Dog.


Creedmoor Sports Multi-Caliber Bullet Comparator
Creedmoor Sports Multi-Caliber Bullet Comparator

Preview: Creedmoor Sports Multi-Caliber Bullet Comparator

When loading rounds tailored for a precision rifle, ensuring the bullet is loaded until it sits just off the lands is a crucial component of accuracy. Measuring this distance involves the use of a bullet comparator tool.

Mike Fuljenz Wins Highest Numismatic Honor

Prominent rare-coin and precious-metals dealer Michael Fuljenz of Beaumont, Texas, an NRA Golden Ring of Freedom member, is the 2023 recipient of the Chester L. Krause Distinguished Service Award—the highest honor bestowed by the congressionally chartered American Numismatic Ass’n, the largest organization of coin-collecting enthusiasts in the United States.

Colt's Rarest Clandestine Pistol?

According to advanced Colt collectors, only about 35 or so of the original 400 factory Colt 1911s chambered for .38 Super have surfaced in the United States postwar, with only about a dozen of those remaining in their issued condition with their original finish, and given that the war officially ended on August 14, 1945, and since the OSS was dissolved on October 1, 1945, it isn’t likely any of them were issued before the Armistice. 

New For 2023: Taurus 917C

Taurus is re-introducing a Beretta 92 clone in the form of its 917C, and this compact variant provides a "Commander-sized" option for fans of the DA/SA semi-automatic pistol.

Preview: Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro 17-Round Magazine

Springfield Armory’s Hellcat Pro is a slightly larger, yet still easily carried, version of its micro-compact Hellcat for personal defense, and the gun’s flush-fit magazine capacity was also increased to 15 rounds.

Gun Of The Week: Browning X-Bolt Target Max

Watch American Rifleman staff on the range this week to get a close look at an improved X-Bolt rifle from Browning. The Target Max is the latest iteration of the famed X-Bolt action, and it’s designed for long-range work, thanks to its Target Max customizable stock, adjustable trigger, bull barrel and more.


Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.