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This Nazi marked FN Browning model M1922 is a self loading, semi-automatic pistol that utilizes the blowback system of operation. The pistol is made from carbon steel and has a blued finish. It has been chambered for the 7.65mm Browning(.32 ACP) cartridge. It is fed by a single stack 8 round detachable box magazine. This pistol is striker fired and incorporates a front blade sight and a V notch rear sight that is drift adjustable for windage only. The barrel length is 4 1/2 inches and contains 6 grooves with a right hand twist. The total length of the pistol is 7.01 inches and it has an unloaded weight of at 25.7 ounces. On the pistol's butt there is a European style heel magazine release. This firearm does not incorporate any type of slide hold open mechanism to inform the operator that the last round has been fired. Although the manual safety lever can be pushed upward and engaged with a notch in the slide which will lock it open for general cleaning. The checkered grip panels are made from Walnut.

The Fabrique Nationale d'Armes de Guerre or National Factory of Weapons of War Herstal Belgium or simply FN for short, was established in 1889 when the Belgium government decided to build 150,000 Mauser model 1888 rifles for the Belgium military. Eleven years later, FN entered into a long lasting relationship with the firearms designer John Moses Browning. The M1922 was designed after John Brownings M1910 pistol.

In 1922, Browning modified the M1910 pistol to suit the requirements of the military of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes which today is known as Yugoslavia after being renamed in 1929. Browning and the FN Bureau d'Etudes or Research and Development Office took the M1910 and lengthened the slide by adding a removable frontal portion, added a lanyard ring, they also lengthened the barrel and elongated the grip frame which gave the magazine more capacity. This newly designed pistol would come to be known as the FN M1922 and was just what the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes had wanted and on February 28, 1923 they ordered 60,000 pistols. This also gives the M1922 the distinction of being developed solely at the request of a customer rather then being targeted for a particular market.

In 1940, Nazi Germany occupied Belgium and took over production of the M1922 at the FN plant. The Germans had two different designations for the M1922 pistol. Depending on the caliber, these pistols were designated as either the Pistole 626(b) for the 7.65mm version or Pistole 641(b) for the 9mm Short version. The (b) was an abbreviation for belgisch indicating Belgium. Another Heereswaffenamt name for the M1922 was Die Lange Browning Pistole or The Long Browning Pistol. The pistol has also been called the 1910/22 or 10/22 which is short for 1910/1922. An interesting note is that the Browning model M1922 was produced in larger numbers than any other firearm at the Fabrique Nationale plant during the Nazi occupation of Belgium. In 1944, Belgium was liberated by the Allies and production of the M1922 continued with most of these post war pistols going to fill military and government contracts.

Up until around 1942, the M1922 was made available as a commercial pistol being offered as a sidearm for factory security personnel and police. The model M1922 pistol was very popular with the German officer's and many took this pistol as their official sidearm. The primary user however of the M1922, was the German Luftwaffe(air force). The M1922 pistols that were accepted by the German military will have one of three Waffenamt stampings or Weapons Office inspectors stamps. These would be WaA 103, WaA 140, and/or WaA 613 which indicate the following....

WaA 103 = Fabrique Nationale d'armes de guerre, Lüttich (Liège) Belgium (January 1941 - May 1942).

WaA 140 = Fabrique Nationale d'armes de guerre, Lüttich (Liège), Belgium (Late 1941 - to liberation in 1944).     

WaA 613 = Fabrique Nationale d'armes de guerre, Lüttich (Liège), Belgium (May 1940 - early 1941).

The Waffenamt stamping, WaA140 on the pistol featured on this page was used from the 1941 to the liberation of Belgium in 1944 with approximately 325,000 of these 7.65mm pistols being produced. The serial numbers for these pistols started around the 67,000 to 68,000 range and proceeded to approximately serial number 155,000. 

At the end of 1943, serialization of these pistols was changed so that it limited serial numbers to five digits and a one letter suffix. The letter indicated a block of 100,000 pistols. So for example, a serial number of 55555c is actually the 355,555th pistol that was produced. The first block of 100,000 had no suffix, then pistols numbered 100,000 through 199,999 were suffixed with the letter a, pistols in the range of 200,000 through 299,999 were suffixed with a b and so on.

Due to the increase in demand for arms during the war, the serial number markings were simplified in 1944 to include just the full serial number on the slide and the last four digits of the serial number on the frame. The pistol pictured above has a six digit serial number with no letter suffix.

The FN M1922 pistol has been used by numerous countries including: Yugoslavia, Holland, Greece, Turkey, Romania, France, Denmark, Nazi Germany and later West Germany. It is an smoothly elegant and graceful pistol design that became immensely popular with both the military and the commercial markets.

The Fabrique Nationale firm is still in business today and is a subsidiary of the Herstal Group. The company now owns the Winchester U.S. Repeating Arms Company as well as the Browning Arms Company which was founded by the family of John Moses Browning. They are now located in Columbia, South Carolina in the U.S.A. The FN Manufacturing LLC company is responsible for the development of U.S. government contracted military and law-enforcement weapons.  

The photographs on the left are of the front and back of the FN Browning M1922, while the pictures on the right show the top and bottom of the pistol. In each of these photographs the magazine is shown fully inserted.

In the picture on the bottom left the grip safety is visible. There is actually a total of three safeties on this pistol, a magazine safety which blocks the firing of the pistol when the magazine is removed, a grip safety and a manual safety that is located on the left side of the frame and operated by the users thumb. The M1922 also incorporates a disconnector in conjunction with the trigger bar which prevents the sear from being tripped unless the slide is fully forward.

The serial number should be found in four different places, on the right side of the frame above the trigger, on the right side of the barrel chamber, on the inside rear of the slide and on the right side of the slide extension at the muzzle of the pistol. This encompasses the four major parts of the firearm. The smaller parts are not numbered with a partial serial number. Due to the increase in demand for arms during the war, the serial number markings were later simplified in 1944 to include just the full serial number on the slide and the last four digits of the serial number on the receiver.   

The photograph on the left is of the left side slide inscription. The top line reads as follows, "FABRIQUE NATIONALE D'ARMES DE GUERRE HERSTAL BELGIQUE" and then underneath that is "BROWNING'S PATENT DEPOSE". The top line is in French and translates to "National Factory of Weapons of War Herstal Belgium". The bottom line tells us that the Germans are in full control and that the Browning patents to this pistol are no more. Also shown in the photograph on the left is three WaA 140 Waffenamt's or Weapons Office inspector stamps and two eagle over swastika in a circle stamps.

Two of the WaA 140 stamps are located on the slide at either end of the bottom line in the slide inscription, and the third one is located above and to the rear of the trigger. Directly above the Waffenamt 140 stamp at the rear of the trigger is a German military test proof in the form of an eagle over a swastika in a circle. There is another one of these military test proof stamps on the slide located directly below the letter "E" in the word "DEPOSE".

The picture on the right is of the rear of the barrel and here again we have two more WaA140 Waffenamt stamps. On the other side of the barrel and above the serial number is another German military test proof in the form of an eagle over a swastika in a circle. Notice as well the notches that are milled into the bottom of the barrel. These notches mesh with a similar set that has been milled into the receiver and are used to secure the barrel to the receiver when the pistol is being fired.  

The purpose of the Waffenamt stamps was to prove that each firearm and its components met the quality standards set forth by the Heereswaffenamt or Army Weapons Office. In order to carry this out, inspectors were assigned to individual firms for large corporations or to a specific area if there were several smaller manufacturers. These inspectors and their Waffenamt or WaA were responsible to the Heereswaffenamt rather than the manufacturer to which they were assigned. Each weapons office can be correctly identified by the individual acceptance stamp they used. During production of the M1922 pistol, the inspectors at Fabrique Nationale d'armes de guerre plant used the eagle over 140 stamp.

 

  

Resource:                

German Handguns by Ian Hogg                

German small arms markings by Joachim Gortz & Don Bryans                               

The standard directory of proof marks by Gerhard Wirnsberger               

Official guide to gunmarks by Robert Balderson                  

Mauser military rifle markings by Terence Lapin               

Handbook of military rifle marks 1866-1950 by Richard Hoffman & Noel Schott  

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