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Thread: Book Review: FN Browning Pistols Sidearms That Shaped World History

  1. #1
    Member JonInWA's Avatar
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    Book Review: FN Browning Pistols Sidearms That Shaped World History

    In conjunction with my recent FN 49 rifle acquisition, I became acquainted with Wet Dog Publications, via their publication of the late Wayne Johnson's "The FN-49 The Last Elegant Old-World Military Rifle."
    It's a superb one-volume essential reference for pretty much all things FN-49, with superb information and layout; it's aimed at historians, collectors and users, and succeeded in my opinion on all accounts.

    I had some questions, which led to my speaking directly with Anthony Vanderlinden, the publisher, and an FN expert of world-wide repute; we had an excellent conversation on some of the interesting features on my Luxembourg contract FN-49. I noticed that he had a two-volume set on the FN Browning pistols overall, which I thought would be interesting to review, and Anthony was happy to accomodate.

    Shortly, the two volume set "FN Browning Pistols Sidearms That Shaped World History" arrived, literally triple-boxed for protection, and weighting 11.1 lbs-that's more than my FN-49 rifle, which weighs in at 9.5 lbs...




    The retail price of the 2-volume set is $149.95, and Anthony has been kind enough to set up free shipping for any pistol-forum members interested in purchasing; order from him directly at www.fnbrowning.com and here is the free shipping code: PISTOLFORUM Just use that in your order.

    Pistol-Forum is noted for being populated by serious users and students of the handgun, so here's a spoiler alert: There's virtually nothing about actually shooting these pistols in the books; they're a compendium of detailed knowledge about FN itself, John and Val Browning and the relationship with FN, his designs and patents, the political and manufacturing histories of the factory, organization, and pistols themselves. Discussed in thorough detail are FN Models 1899, 1900, 1903, 1907, 1905(06), 1910, the Grand Browning, 1922, Baby, Grand Rendement, the High Power, and the 100-Series guns. as well as their cases, grips, magazines, sights, holsters, manuals, accessories, marketing and special/engraved editions.

    The information is exceptionally organized and laid out, with color-coded page indexing for the models.




    Of particular interest to both collectors and users are discussions about counterfeit components/guns, which are icon highlighted:

    Another topic that is very thoroughly discussed are occupation FN pistols produced under the Nazi occupation of Belgium. The discussion goes into how the Resistance worked throughout the factory, and the specific Resistance and production sabotage techniques. Of specific interest to p-f WWII Occupation produced High Powers is the warning NOT to shoot any WaA140 or Eagle N pistols produced during December 1942-August 1944, as the sabotage techniques included difficult to detect irregularities and induced manufacturing flaws in the heat treatments and component tolerencing.

    These volumes should be among a serious FN/Browning pistol user's library, along with the late Stephen Camp's "the Shooters Guide To The Browning High Power (preferably the later {and currently still available} Revised Edition, Collector Grade Publications "The Browning High Power Automatic Pistol" by the late R. Blake Stevens, and Duane Thomas' superbly researched article on the .40 High Power in the May 1995 issue of Handguns magazine.




    The Vanderlinden books give collectors and users of FN Browning pistols a superb research base for the guns and their associated accoutrements. There's a great concurrent review of the books on YouTube, where the reviewer uses the books to explore and validate his personal FN 1900 pistol, which does a great job of walking the viewers of the facets of both volumes; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wtb2Bsx0i0E

    There are no shooting reviews or techniques discussed in the Vanderlinden books-that's not their mission; those aspects are best covered in Stephen Camp's book, or in pistol-forum discussion threads or on 1911forum.com threads. But if you're like me, knowing about the details, intricacies and history of ones' weapons is powerful stuff, and a tangible aid to fully utilizing them. These are quality books, in terms of information, editing, layout, quality of images and paper stock itself. I highly recommend them.

    Best, Jon
    Sponsored by Check-Mate Industries and BH Spring Solutions
    Certified Glock Armorer

  2. #2
    Site Supporter Trooper224's Avatar
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    Oh my, I need those.
    We may lose and we may win, but we will never be here again.......

  3. #3
    Member JonInWA's Avatar
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    A couple of other comments: The books are in a large (9" x 12") format, allowing more information and images, but not becoming so huge as to be practically unusable. There are a huge amount of images-both photographic and diagrams, as well as copies of pertinent correspondence that make these books a very (and practical) user friendly, especially when you're concurrently holding a pistol, or relevant components of one while flipping pages to track down essential details. The books' color-coded page tabbings are a huge facilitator of this, as well as the specific chapter headings, as well as the icon cues provided for cross-referencing. The attached YouTube reviewer makes good use of these features as he explored his Model 1900.

    Within the two volumes' combined total of 840 pages, there are in fact some 2,70 images, and the heavyweight semigloss paper stock materially contributes to the quality of the images, as well as being easy on the eyes; Anthony Vanderlinden specifies that the books are made completely in the US, with US paper, materials and labor, a tradition Wet Dog Publications has had for 25 years.

    What would I have wished for? Keeping in mind the books' collector oriented mission, I still would have appreciated a bit more in-depth discussion and material dedicated towards the High Power, especially the later production Mk III, Standard, Practical and the several limited/special editions that were fielded, like the digital camo finished version, the 75th anniversary versions, and a more thorough discussion of the .40 variant development and production.

    But those are relatively minor criticisms, and oriented around my own High Power centric interests. These books are a superb compendium of FN/Browning knowledge and source material-as well as discussing some of FN's varied manufacturing endeavors, such a milking machines, vehicles, and F-104 jet fighter engine manufacturing.

    Best, Jon
    Sponsored by Check-Mate Industries and BH Spring Solutions
    Certified Glock Armorer

  4. #4
    Glock Collective Assimile Suvorov's Avatar
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    I’d be very interested is seeing what they have to say about the HP-DA/BDA9!

  5. #5
    Member JonInWA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonInWA View Post
    A couple of other comments: The books are in a large (9" x 12") format, allowing more information and images, but not becoming so huge as to be practically unusable. There are a huge amount of images-both photographic and diagrams, as well as copies of pertinent correspondence that make these books a very (and practical) user friendly, especially when you're concurrently holding a pistol, or relevant components of one while flipping pages to track down essential details. The books' color-coded page tabbings are a huge facilitator of this, as well as the specific chapter headings, as well as the icon cues provided for cross-referencing. The attached YouTube reviewer makes good use of these features as he explored his Model 1900.

    Within the two volumes' combined total of 840 pages, there are in fact some 2,70 images, and the heavyweight semigloss paper stock materially contributes to the quality of the images, as well as being easy on the eyes; Anthony Vanderlinden specifies that the books are made completely in the US, with US paper, materials and labor, a tradition Wet Dog Publications has had for 25 years.

    What would I have wished for? Keeping in mind the books' collector oriented mission, I still would have appreciated a bit more in-depth discussion and material dedicated towards the High Power, especially the later production Mk III, Standard, Practical and the several limited/special editions that were fielded, like the digital camo finished version, the 75th anniversary versions, and a more thorough discussion of the .40 variant development and production.

    But those are relatively minor criticisms, and oriented around my own High Power centric interests. These books are a superb compendium of FN/Browning knowledge and source material-as well as discussing some of FN's varied manufacturing endeavors, such a milking machines, vehicles, and F-104 jet fighter engine manufacturing.

    Best, Jon
    Whoops-make that 2,790 images, not 2,70....My bad.

    Best, Jon
    Sponsored by Check-Mate Industries and BH Spring Solutions
    Certified Glock Armorer

  6. #6
    Great thread. I love it when JoninWA goes on a P35 thread.

  7. #7
    Member JonInWA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suvorov View Post
    I’d be very interested is seeing what they have to say about the HP-DA/BDA9!
    The HP DA, HP DAM, HP DAC & BDA9, BDAO, BDA Compact and BDM are covered in Chapter 18c; there's 4 pagers devoted to them. I owned a BDM for a period in the 1990s. It was probably killed by low sales induced by the 1994 magazine limitation law, which as I recall came about pretty soon after the BDM was offered, really stifling consumer interest in them, and hindering its further development and further refinement. It ended up being a decent, but essentially somewhat mediocre gun who's safety levers in its initial incarnation moved opposite to user (i.e., American) expectations. Novak's was totally uninterested in doing anything whatsoever with them (I posed the question to them about mine after I got it). The ergonomics and design was actually quite well done overall, but it quickly became the wrong (and somewhat unrefined/undeveloped product at the wrong time in a harsh market niche, and died somewhat arguably prematurely on the vine.

    Best, Jon
    Sponsored by Check-Mate Industries and BH Spring Solutions
    Certified Glock Armorer

  8. #8
    Ready! Fire! Aim! awp_101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonInWA View Post
    Pistol-Forum is noted for being populated by serious users and students of the handgun, so here's a spoiler alert: There's virtually nothing about actually shooting these pistols in the books; they're a compendium of detailed knowledge about FN itself, John and Val Browning and the relationship with FN, his designs and patents, the political and manufacturing histories of the factory, organization, and pistols themselves.
    For me, knowing (or at least being aware of) the history is part of being a student. Not the most important part and not everyone’s cup of tea but a part I thoroughly enjoy.

    Thanks for the review and the shipping code. I’ll have to see how far over budget our vacation winds up being before I order…🤣
    Nothing so needs reforming as other people's habits - Mark Twain

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