Browning Double Mode

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posted on October 17, 2013
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The BDM was a high-capacity, 9 mm pistol made in the USA and sold by Browning Arms in the 1991 to 1998 period. Browning gave it this name, which stands for “Browning Double Mode.”

The BDM system was like no other and has never been imitated or duplicated. For reasons that escape me, the BDM did not sell and was discontinued in 1999, some eight years after a splashy introduction. The main appeal of the design was a means of alternately configuring it for either DA/SA trigger action or the increasingly popular DAO style. This was performed by simply turning a switch on the slide to “R” for a revolver-like double-action trigger pull for every shot. Using the screwdriver-like tool on the magazine baseplate, the shooter turns to “P” for typical DA/SA trigger action-first shot DA, subsequent shot SA. The lever (not the mode switch) on the frame acts as a decocker and a manual safety in the “P” mode. In the “R” mode, it is a plain safety. Peter Sodoma, the Czech designer worked hard to make this pistol fit every possible police, military and concealed-carry need.

I had a couple of the guns for review back in the 90s and fired them a good bit more than I usually did with a new model. There were no malfunctions in probably 1,000 rounds and I felt the gun’s performance was excellent. Since then I have read other reviews that also gave the BDM high marks. But I have also read a couple of highly critical ones. This seems odd, but that is the report. The system may have been a little “busy,” and I think it may have confused some shooters. There were some subtle features that were particularly attractive, like the way the “R” mode worked. The hammer was down for all shots and the shooter had to work a pretty decent DA trigger to cock to fire each shot. If, for any reason, he or she wanted to fire with a short, light, crisp single-action pull, he just cocked the hammer. Also, the pistol had superior ergonomics, which made it a natural for shooters with small hands. BDMs were not widely used in law enforcement, but I know of one Sheriff’s Department that approved their use. Some of their more active officers used them in actual shootouts. It is sad that such a good design never achieved the recognition it deserved.

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