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Information about the Model 1899 FN Browning pistol was often incorrect or lacking altogether until the publication of Anthony Vanderlinden’s book FN Browning Pistols, Side-Arms that Shaped World History.  Vanderlinden has restored the Model 1899 to its rightful place in the history of Browning’s automatic pistols.  I recently acquired a Model 1899 and decided I would compare it closely to its better known cousin, the Model 1900.  This will be a photo essay, with a few choice comments and a comparison of measurements.

3663-1899-FN-SN231-L-M

This specimen (serial number 231) has the scarce safety lever with concentric circles instead of checkering.  The area for gripping the slide has six steps up to the broadest point where the front screw is installed through the breech block, whereas the Model 1900 has five.

3662-1899-FN-SN231-R-M

3673-2FNBrownings-L-mod

The Model 1899 is on top.  Note the difference in the shape of the back of the frame where the hand grasps the gun.  Also note that the reinforced area of the frame above the triggerguard has been enlarged and made thicker on the Model 1900 (bottom).  The barrel on the Model 1899 protrudes slightly from the front of the slide.  The Model 1900 has markings to indicate when the safety is in the ON (SUR) or FIRE (FEU) position; the Model 1899 has no such markings.  The Model 1899 has no provision for locking the slide open, whereas when the slide is drawn back on the Model 1900 and the safety lever is turned upward it serves to lock the slide open for cleaning. 

3668-2FNBrownings-M

The Model 1900 (on right) has a cocking indicator, which is merely an extension of the internal cocking lever--it blocks the sight picture at the rear sight when the gun is not cocked--it can be seen clearly in the photo above.

3676-BreechBlocks

The two breech blocks with attached recoil spring and guide rod are identical in weight, but the configuration is a little different (Model 1899 on top and Model 1900 on bottom).  Note that the Model 1899 shown in this photograph has a broken extractor tip.

3677-BreechBlocks-M

The Model 1899 breech block is on top.  Note the larger holes in the Model 1900 breech block--the diameter of the screws was increased.  You can also see the cocking indicator on the Model 1900, in position to indicate that the gun is not cocked.  Again, you can see that the tip of the extractor is missing on the Model 1899.

3674-Grips

The grip plates on the Model 1900 (right) are slightly wider than those on the Model 1899 (left), and the retention method is different.

 

1899

1900

Length - Overall

163mm

162.5mm

Length - Slide

159mm

160mm

Length - Barrel

101.78mm

101.57mm

Width - at Grip Frame

15.43mm

15.41mm

Width - at Reinforced Area of Frame

17.54mm

18mm

Thickness of Wall - at Reinforced Area of Frame

.73mm

1.01mm

Width - of Grip Plate

29.69mm

30.76mm

Diameter - of Breech Block Screws

4.68mm

5.93mm

Weight - Overall

586g

611g

Weight - Magazine

34g

33g

Weight - Frame

270g

291g

Weight - Slide

161g

158g

Weight - Breech Block & Spring

92g

92g

Total Production (approximately)

14,400

724,550

Copyright 2014 by Ed Buffaloe.  All rights reserved..


References

FN Browning Pistols, Side-Arms that Shaped World History, by Anthony Vanderlinden.  Wet Dog Pub., Greensboro, NC:  2009.

 

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