Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weak say, "I am a warrior." Joel 3:10
Browning Model 1922 Pistol
By LTC Joel Johnston (Ret), US Army Ordnance Corps
Browning Model 1922 Circa 1923,1940, and1944
History: The Browning Model 1922 is an interesting pistol that is under appreciated in the United States. It was a modification of the Model 1910. The M1910 is the gun that started WWI when members of the Black Hand assassinated Arch Duke Ferdinand and Princess Sophie in Serbia. The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (Yugoslavia) asked Fabrique Nationale to extend the M1910s barrel, slide, and lengthen the grip thus allowing two more rounds in the magazine. This customer modification became the M1922 and was THE European pistol of the 1920-30s. The very first ones were delivered to Yugoslavia in 1923-1925. The pistol was contracted by numerous countries and manufactured until the early 80s. Calibers were 32 ACP and 380 ACP. See note on calibers:
9x17=9mm Browning Short=9mm Kurz=380ACP
One of the best features of the M1922 is the lack of interest in the US. Yes, this is a goofy looking pistol, but once you get used to its long snout, you will like the balance and the function of this European mainstay. Lack of American interest means low prices as well. There are many out there to be had in the $300 range and most were not imported; they were bought back by American WWII soldiers who liberated them from the Germans. The M1922 definitely belongs in any WWII gun collection as they were used extensively by the Luftwaffe, German Government, SS, and partisans. There is not a lot of information out there about the various varieties, but the following chart attempts to capture what is known.
Manufactures and Varieties:
|Yugo||Cyrillic "Property of State"||380||1-60000||Many captured during WWII, German designated P641j|
|Dutch||Crown W, Post 1948 Crown J||32/380||Used by Dutch police and military in 1930s-1960s.|
|Greece||380||9980 ordered||Delivered 1926-29, used by Army and Air Force|
|Turkey||3 Types as below||Ordered for Turkish Army|
|type 1||TC Subay|
|type 2||TC Ordusuna Mahsustur|
|type 3||Subaylara Mahsustur|
|Romania||Interior Ministry Crest||Ordered in 1935 for law enforcement|
|France||Naval Anchor||32||Black baked enamel, post-war reworks are green parkerized.|
|Dennmark||32||3000 ordered||Police issue 1930s.|
|Germany||WaA613||Only 6300 with this mark, German designated P626b for 32 and P641b for 380.|
|captured Dutch order||380||63000-77000||Ordered for Dutch police, never got delivered, captured by Germans in 1940|
|captured FN commercial||32/380||288000-289000||Captured by Germans in 1940 for commercial FN sales,|
|captured pre-war parts||32||20000-23000||Assembled for Germans with pre-exixting parts, pressed into German service.|
|Germany||WaA103||32||24000-60000||Some pre-war parts, more common than the WaA613|
|Germany||WaA140||32||67000-155000||Most common, went to German letter suffix system, 325,000 made, poor quality|
|Post WWII||32/380||A-Prefix, used by German and French police, imported until 1968, many varieties.|
Click to Enlarge
Browning M1922 Gallery
There are many varieties and most are unmarked.
Customer Pics of Their Browning 1922s
send me your Pics and show off your Brownings!
Easy Company Browning Owned by Ted D.
This M1922 was put on the market in 1996 by MAJ Dick Winters of the now famous E Co, 1-506th PIR, 101st ABN DIV. The lucky owner also has several photos of MAJ Winters holding this pistol and you can make out the serial number in the pic. Other pistols owned by MAJ Winters are out there and are going for about 10 times the face value of the pistol, so I would value this Turkish Subay at $3000-$4000. It is always good to be an officer, but back in the day, you could apparently bring a whole duffle full of pistols back.
Pistol of Gary H.
Pistol of Marty C.
This M1922 was stolen from a CA gun store and had the serial number ground off. The LAPD re-numbered the pistol prior to returning it to its rightful owner.
Eagle N Variant
Very Rare "Eagle N" M1922. This is the acceptance mark indicating use by German Police. Owned by Howard W
David O's Wa 140 with rubber grips
Daniel D owns this interesting M1922.
The serial number suggests it should be a Wa Amt 103, but it is not marked. Very nice condition and excellent photography skills!
Another rare, Eagle N brought back from WWII by Charlie B's father.
Rod M owns this high quality Post-War Bahn Polizei M1922
Bahnpolizei is German for "Rail Police" in the American Occupied Sector following WWII. This appears to be a very high quality pistol and I am guessing it was made around 1947-48. 32 caliber.
John E of the UK owns this West German Police M1922 marked for the American sector of West Berlin.
Obviously, original finish, matching numbers, and non-import are the most desirable pistols. Pistols associated with the Third Reich will always be more valuable. The Yugo model will also appreciate because many were captured by the Germans and supposedly used extensively by the SS.
(Make Sure Your Weapon is Unloaded first!)
|2||Inspect Chamber to ensure it is empty.|
|3||Slide barrel cap catch forward and rotate barrel cap up until lug disengages the slide.|
|4||Remove barrel cap and spring. Do not lose the barrel cap catch.|
|5||Lock slide to rear using forward notch|
|6||Rotate barrel from 12 to 3 o'clock position. This disengages the barrel locking lugs from the receiver lugs.|
|7||Release slide lock and slide/barrel assembly will come off the front of the receiver.|
|8||Rotate barrel from 3 to 12 o'clock and it will pull out of the end of the slide.|
Pistol is field stripped for cleaning.
|10||insert barrel with lugs to the 12 O'clock.|
|11||Rotate barrel with lugs to the 3 O'clock|
|12||Replace slide onto frame. Slide all the way back until you can engage the slide catch into the forward notch.|
|13||rotate the barrel so that the lugs engage at the 6 o'clock position on the frame.|
|14||Replace main spring and barrel cap so that lugs on cap engage the frame.|
|15||push barrel cap against slide and rotate downward so the catch is engaged.|
Disclaimer: Ol' Army Joel accepts no responsibility for accidents involving improper handling of firearms. Virtual Arms Room is no substitute for expertise and gun competence.