The below image shows Maj. A. D’Arcy Marks and Capt. A. Brandon Conron of the Canadian 6th Armoured Regiment (1st Hussars) (6 CAR), posed in front of an M4A2 Sherman medium tank near Colomby-sur-Thaon, France, 28 June 1944 in the push out from Normandy.
Marks has what appears to be a Browning Hi-Power (or M1911?) in a very interesting holster that appears to be a British Pattern 37 flap holster that has been partially cutaway. Conron, meanwhile, is well-outfitted with a revolver rig that includes not only spare rounds but also a cleaning rod in the holster.
As for the 1st Hussars, formed in 1856, they served overseas with distinction in the Great War, earning honors at Vimy Ridge. They returned to France in 1944, landing at Juno Beach where they were “the only unit of the Allied invasion forces known to reach its final objective on D-Day,” which certainly lived up to their motto of Hodie non cars, (Today not tomorrow).
Still part of the Canadian Forces Reserve, they are currently stationed at London, Ontario as part of the 31 Canadian Brigade Group.
I get myself involved in firearms debates pretty frequently with people and, as a guy that has extensively carried and/or used dozens of different handgun platforms across the past 30 years, I have logged lots of time with both contemporary guns– such as Glocks, HKs, S&W M&Ps, FN 500-series, et. al– as well as more traditional classic guns like Smith J- and K-frames, Colt D- and I-frames, Walther P-38s, etc.
With that being said, I took a 2,000~ word deep dive over in my column at Guns.com into the subject of if two of John Browning’s most-admired handguns, the M1911, and the Hi-Power, are still relevant when it comes to EDC and personal protection these days.
Some things, like an M1911A1 GI, a Browning Hi-Power, a Swiss Army knife or a P-51 can opener, have been augmented by more modern offerings but that doesn’t mean they stop working as designed. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)
Your thoughts? More on the article, here, for your reference.
As a guy who has a few FN/Browning Hi-Powers, ranging from a circa 1943 Pistole 640b to a downright wonky circa 2005 SFS, I had fun examining a wide range of BHPs recently.
Browning’s original 1923 concept, as patented in 1927.
This rare late 1940s-produced Hi-Power is a very early model featuring the “dimple” on the right side of the slide to help with take down for maintenance and the “thumbprint” style internal extractor. Marked “LGK OO”: Landes Gendarmerie Kommando für Oberösterreich (Provincial Gendarmerie Command for Upper Austria), it is a former Austrian police-issue handgun.
This circa-1969 commercial Browning Hi-Power still features the original wooden grips that the model first entered production with but shows the updated external extractor. Also gone is the slide/frame dimple.
More detail in my column at Guns.com.
The Browning Hi-Power was a first (and has remained a constant) love. I mean all the good parts of John Moses Browning’s 1911– single action/light trigger, all-steel construction, the simplicity of maintenance, long sight radius contributing to accuracy– while ditching the goofy barrel bushing, thinning the profile, and nearly doubling the capacity from 7+1 to 13+1.
At one time or another, more than 50 countries had adopted the BHP during WWII and the Cold War. However, as lighter (polymer) and more modern (accessory rails, night sights, modular ergonomics) combat handguns have come to market since the 1980s, the old warhorse has been increasingly put to pasture.
Except in Commonwealth countries like India, Australia, and Canada, where they are still seeing regular use, even if they are a bit long in the tooth.
Canadian Browning Inglis Task Force Mali conducted small arms training near Gao, Mali Feb 2019
More in my column at Guns.com.
During the darkest days of WWII, with Belgium overrun along with most of Europe in 1940, the FN factory in Liege went with it. There, the brand new top of the line military sidearm, FN’s Grande Puissance GP-35, had its production line taken over by the Germans as the new Pistole 640(b) for Hitler’s special units. Of the gun’s inventors, John Moses Browning was long since shuffled off to the great gun shop in the sky, but the man who finished the design on Browning’s demise– Dieudonné Joseph Saive– was free in the West and ready to work.
He soon recreated production drawings for the Hi-Power and set up shop in John Inglis’ factory in Toronto where he began making the very slightly modded HP in Canada for the Nationalist Chinese, the Free Greek forces, and British Commonwealth forces, eventually making 153,480 pistols before the end of the War.
Terry Edwards over at Small Arms Defense Journal has a great piece on the 100,000th, which is still in circulation.
Browning has announced that John Browning’s final handgun design, a pistol that at one time armed most of the militaries in the Free World, has been discontinued.
In a notice posted on their website, the company advised that “although it is possible to still find a few Hi-Power pistols at dealers across the U.S., the Hi-Power is technically out of production. Current dealer inventories will be the last available from Browning for the foreseeable future.”
The gun was a classic of the 20th Century and I have had several pass through my hands over the years.
The BHP is literally a work of art.
Pacific, by Alex Colville, 1967
Designed just before the outbreak of World War II by FN in Belgium, the factory that made the Hi-Power was repurposed in 1940 after the Germans occupied the country and production started back up to provide the handy 9mm pistols to Hitler’s legions.
However, the Allies soon started making the 13-shot semi-auto in Canada, manufactured in Toronto, by John Inglis and Company with a little help from Dieudonné Saive, the Belgian firearms engineer who helped design the gun in the first place.
The Canadian-made Browning-Inglis 9mm has been iconic to the country’s military since World War II, but they may soon get a much-needed replacement.
The Canadian forces have just 13,981 Hi-Powers left–of which 1,243 are parts guns, and are looking to replace the design by 2026.
More in my column at Guns.com
I’ve always had a soft spot for the Browning Hi-Power GP35 and have written about them extensively.
With that in mind, as a departure from the popular polymer and plastics of today, I give you the new and beautiful Browning Hi-Power family from Nighthawk Custom Firearms of Berryville, Arkansas….
I really hated handling these guns at SHOT.
These custom makeovers come with :
Hand Textured(Stippled) Frame and Trigger Guard
Hand Textured Slide Top and Rear of the Slide
Custom Extended Beavertail
Heinie Slant Pro Black Rear Sight
Nighthawk (14K) Gold Bead Front Sight
25 LPI Serrated Mag Release
Competition Steel Hammer, Improved Sear Lever, and Trigger
Custom 4# Crisp Trigger Job
Cera Kote Satin Rust Resistant Finish
Custom Select Cocobolo Checkered Grips or Combat Rubbers grips with NH Logo
Two 13 round Capacity Magazines
One question: Is it possible to fire them with an erection?