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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My net search has failed to produce an e-mail address for Fabrique Nationale. Even their website remains blank when I click on "contact us". Am trying to date a five digit BHP (516xx, frame & slide #s match) and not having much luck.

Previous owner thinks it is pre-war commercial (no suffix, no crest) but I am very doubtful. Gun is in mint condition & how would've it got here anyway back then. Standard sights, internal extractor, thumbprint. No import marks, no BAC logo just "Fabrique Nationale D'Arms De Guerre" with "Herstal Belgique" below that on left side of slide.

Numeral 2 on butt behind mag well along with an underlined I and upside down underlined G. These are small markings and seem randomly placed. Barrel has a slew of proofs (lion over top of PV, over star, over P, over crown, over circled LG) imprinted on top of CAL.9m/mP.

Any help GREATLY appreciated.
 

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http://www.fnhusa.com/pl/contact-us/

FNH USA CONTACTS FNH USA Commercial, Law Enforcement, and Military Sales PO Box 9424
McLean, VA 22102
Phone: 703-288-3500
Fax: 703-288-4507
E-Mail: [email protected]

For sales inquiries please email [email protected]


For customer service inquiries please call (703) 288-3500 option 4 OR 1-855-5FNHUSA
For technical inquiries and/or repairs please call 1-800-635-1321

For FNH USA e-store inquiries, please email [email protected]
For parts inquiries, please email [email protected]

For marketing, tradeshow, public relations or media relations inquiries, please email [email][email protected][/EMAIL]
 

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My European-spec (thought to be a police gun, though not so marked) BHP in the 50K range is supposed to have been early 1950s. FN will NOT be very helpful in dating.

Will be surprised if your gun doesn't turn out to be fairly early post-War production, rather than pre-War.

Guns not exported to the USA or Canada for commercial sale will not have any markings beyond those you describe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Agreed on all points Clyde. Sincerely doubt I'm in possession of one of about 3800 pre-war fixed sight/non-slotted BHPs !

FN site posted above has referred me to a gentleman associated with them who should be able to date my Euro piece.
 

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Serial numbers in the range of your weapon with the Herstal markings on the left side of the slide are fairly common from the early 1950's. There was some duplication of serial numbers, but there were some differences in slide markings (double line with Browning Patent info) to differentiate the models. I handled a BHP with FN Hertal Markings with the internal extractor in Panama in 1985. If my notes are correct, the serial number is within 5000 numbers of your piece. It had been converted to select fire by someone in Panama, and the weapon was being modified by a friend at the Canal Zone security office for someone in authority there (the mods were adding the MMC small adjustable sights of the time). I remember that the man who was the rep for Interarms was a former member of the Panamanian Defense Forces under Trujillo, and I believe that all the BHP's were from Interarms from the late 1950's......so whether this is helpful I do not know.

I do know that you can break down the time frame a little more by tracking down the Belgian proof marks on the barrel and receiver, proper, since some of the sanitized BHP's that were purchased by the US Government and some arms dealers of the time had different proof marks and mixture of extractors and serial numbers, maybe on purpose.

I was given a US Special Forces issued BHP, that was issued to a fairly well known CIA Op, who was known as the Inspector Gadget of the CIA, and I was told as a young boy that the piece was from the CIA small arms depot in Taiwan. It had the FN Herstal 2 line slide markings and the serial numbers were stacked on the right side with a range of 108xxx. There were no proof marks on the barrel or slide/receiver. Except for the serial number, it looked exactly like 3 of the famed MACVSOG Silver pistols that were presented to Recon Team leaders with that classified Vietnam program, with the exception of being blued steel and not silver chromed like the SOG presentation pieces. I no linger have my BHP, since it was stolen out of my Jeep in the 1990's. Either way, the piece like you have is one of the primo Brownings both in manufacture and finish work.

You can try writing to Herstal, versus FH USA. I received a nicely written letter on FNH letterhead a while ago trying to locate info about some G series FN products and found out there were originally shipped to Browning North America (Canada). It did take quite a long time for a response, but they were helpful.
 

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I handled a BHP with FN Hertal Markings with the internal extractor in Panama in 1985. If my notes are correct, the serial number is within 5000 numbers of your piece.

I was given a US Special Forces issued BHP, that was issued to a fairly well known CIA Op, who was known as the Inspector Gadget of the CIA, and I was told as a young boy that the piece was from the CIA small arms depot in Taiwan. It had the FN Herstal 2 line slide markings and the serial numbers were stacked on the right side with a range of 108xxx.
Are you saying that the serial number of the BHP you examined was in the 46xxx or the 56xxx range? It makes a big difference.

From the data I have collected over the years, the BHP you had with 108xxx number falls into the serial number range of BHPs associated with the CIA in Viet Nam.

I'm sure any information from the FN Factory would not mention ANY association with the US Government as the purchaser of the BHPs. They would use a "cut-out" such as the factory ships them to the West German police. When they arrive in Germany, they are "lost" and suddenly appear in a Taiwan warehouse!
 

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Based on all the help here and a phone call to a Browning historian my piece has been dated to 1953. Thanks to all !
That would fit what I was told about mine. Just for any interest it may provide, i got mine out and here are the markings visible (including those visible after normal field-strip):

Left side of slide:

FABRIQUE NATIONALE D'ARMES DE GUERRE over
HERSTAL BELGIQUE with BROWNING'S PATENT DEPOSE at lower edge of slide and proofs of Rampant lion over bar over PV and *P in line with the patent marking.

On left side of frame Rampant lion over bar over PV and *P

Right side has serial (50899) on slide and frame, and through ejection port barrel has rampant lion over bar over PV, *P and crowned ELG/* in oval over CAL.9m/mP.

Front of trigger guard (right side, on web) has two markings i can't quite make out even with bright light and magnification. Looks like an open square with the top line missed and a faint letter, plus what looks like a backwards "N". Bottom of frame behind magazine well has a 1, a G with underline, and a 10, plus a crescent (or maybe an "O" only partially stamped) closer to the rear edge of the frame bottom.

Firing pin retainer has an open square with numeral 1 above the FP and a lower case "v'' below.

Numeral "5" on bottom of slide behind slide face.

Barrel: Left side serial number 50899 on flat of chamber area (one piece barrel), D, underlined R and numeral 1 on lug.
Right side: Underlined R and numeral 2 inside a square lacking the bottom stroke (so a sort of up-right, upper line, up-right) on lug. Plus the markings visible through the ejection port when the gun is assembled.

Front side of magazine body is marked J1, but I think it may be one of the spares.


Have been told it was police contract gun from the early 1950s.
 

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Clyde - probably a police gun from the early 50s. But not all of the Hi Powers made during that time went to the police.

There was not a single unified order for the West German Police - rather each police department ordered their own Hi Powers. And not all of the West German police departments ordered the Hi Power, but ordered pistols from other countries, ie: Spain.

The only was to be sure that it went to the West German police is if you have the holster that is serial numbered to the pistol. Practically speaking, it is likely that it came from the West German police as those police departments, as soon as they were allowed to buy German weapons, disposed of the Hi Powers on the secondary market many of which were imported into this country.

The serial number range of those going to the West German police has not been verified. I will say that I have one in my collection that is 28602 serial number which has a holster that is serial numbered to the pistol.
 

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Clyde - probably a police gun from the early 50s. But not all of the Hi Powers made during that time went to the police.

There was not a single unified order for the West German Police - rather each police department ordered their own Hi Powers. And not all of the West German police departments ordered the Hi Power, but ordered pistols from other countries, ie: Spain.

The only was to be sure that it went to the West German police is if you have the holster that is serial numbered to the pistol. Practically speaking, it is likely that it came from the West German police as those police departments, as soon as they were allowed to buy German weapons, disposed of the Hi Powers on the secondary market many of which were imported into this country.

The serial number range of those going to the West German police and not been verified. I will say that I have one in my collection that is 28602 serial number which has a holster that is serial numbered to the pistol.
Came from the Hanau Rod & Gun Club in 1968. Nothing with it except one magazine. No box, no spare mag, no holster. Cost about $50-55 dollars. Paid for it with a $50 jackpot from a dime slot machine in the OOM bar.
 

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I have a hi power in the 58K range that I thought was mid late 50's...
Bought from an estate about 10 yes ago...no box or papers, one mag and 2 boxes ( 13 rounds missing) of period Remington ammo ...
I'll post a pic when I get home this evening
 

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I have a hi power in the 58K range that I thought was mid late 50's...
Bought from an estate about 10 yes ago...no box or papers, one mag and 2 boxes ( 13 rounds missing) of period Remington ammo ...
I'll post a pic when I get home this evening
As to fixing dates, remember tha Browning Arms Company started importing the Hi Power in 1954 (Actually 1953 but no offered for sale until 1954) This was at serial number 70000 +/-.
I have one in the 71k (71016) range and have seen others in the 70k range (I used to own 70867). So the 58k range had to be before 1954. I have Serial No. 85949 which has the Cuban crest. It was made in 1958 or 1959 - before Castro took over the country.
 

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Came from the Hanau Rod & Gun Club in 1968. Nothing with it except one magazine. No box, no spare mag, no holster. Cost about $50-55 dollars. Paid for it with a $50 jackpot from a dime slot machine in the OOM bar.
Most likely West German police contract.

When these were imported into the US, a few had the serial number stamped on the magazine. I have one that has the holster and 2 mags serial numbered to the pistol. One has to be careful with this as a bunch of mags were numbered after they got here. In my instance there was a table full of them at the OGCA show so I has my pick. Can't remember what I paid, but it was not expensive. The majority of those on the table did not have the numbered holster.
 

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Most likely West German police contract.

When these were imported into the US, a few had the serial number stamped on the magazine. I have one that has the holster and 2 mags serial numbered to the pistol. One has to be careful with this as a bunch of mags were numbered after they got here. In my instance there was a table full of them at the OGCA show so I has my pick. Can't remember what I paid, but it was not expensive. The majority of those on the table did not have the numbered holster.
Was close to 100% when I got it, 46 years (and maybe 15 years old) ago. Some finish wear since then, but the internals have held up well to several thousand rounds.
 
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