The Browning HP may be regarded as one of the most successful pistol designs in history. Not only is it still in widespread use around the world, in numbers that almost surely surpass all other pistols combined, but it has also been produced in many countries across the globe. The Browning HP is one of the last designs of Jon Browning before he died in 1925, but it was not until 1935 that the Browning HP was placed in production by FN at LiƩge. From this derives the name which is generally given as the HP (High Power) or Browning GP 35 (Grand Puissance model 1935). Many versions exist of the Browning HP, but they all fire the standard 9-mm Parabellum cartridge. Versions exist with box fixed and adjustable rear sights, some models were produced with a lug on the butt to enable a stock, usually the wooden holster, to be fitted, allowing the pistol to be fired as a form of carbine. Other versions feature a light alloy receiver slide to reduce weight.

One factor that is common to all the numerous Browning HP variants is strength and reliability. Another desirable feature that has often proved invaluable is the large-capacity box magazine in the butt, which can hold 13 rounds. Despite the width of the grip, it is not too much of a handful, although training and general familiarization are necessary to enable to firer to get the most out of the weapon.

The pistol uses a recoil-operated mechanism powered by the blowback forces produced on firing and has an open hammer. In many ways the actions can be considered the same as that of the Colt M1911, also a Browning design.

Within a few years of production the Browning HP had been adopted in as the service pistol of choice in numerous countries including Belgium, Denmark, Lithuania, and Romania. After 1940, production continued, but in Germany where the Browning HP was adopted as the standard pistol of the Waffen SS although other branches of the German armed forces also employed the weapon. To the Germans the Browning HP was known as the Pistole P620(b). However the Browning HP was not unique to Germany, a new production line was opened in Canada. To this day the British still use the Browning HP as the Pistol, Automatic L9A1.


  • Cartridge: 9mm Parabellum
  • Overall length: 196 mm (7.75 in)
  • Barrel length: 112 mm (4.41 in)
  • Weight: 1.01 kg (2.23 lb)
  • Muzzle velocity: 354 m (1,160 ft) per second
  • Magazine: 13 rounds

Source: The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II

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