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July 16th, 2022

Saturday at the Movies: Five Classic Metal-Frame 9mm Pistols

9mm metal frame pistol sig sauer P226 hk P7 PSP P7m8 P7m13 CZ 75 Beretta 92 M9 Browning Hi Power semi-auto 9x19mm 9mm Luger

This week we focus on five classic metal-framed 9mm pistols. These five world-class handguns all shoot the 9mm Luger (9x19mm) cartridge. Most have been used by military and police forces as well as used by civilians for sport-shooting and defense. This Editor has shot all five pistol types and owned three. I can recommend all of them. Metal-framed pistols typically have a lower center of gravity and weigh more than Glocks and other polymer-framed handguns. Consequently, they tend to have less muzzle flip, and less perceived recoil than polymer-framed handguns.

SIG Sauer P226

The SIG Sauer P226 is a high-quality, ultra reliable single-action/double action handgun with a proud Swiss/German heritage. It has a very ergonomic grip that fits most hands very well. Standard P226s do NOT have a manual safety, but the P226 has a decocking lever drops the hammer safely. This Editor has trained new shooters with a Sig P226 and Glock 17. For 80% of my trainees the Sig P226 pointed better due to the superior grip design. This meant that the sight picture was better, and the trainees achieved better results with the P226 vs. the Glock 17. The P226 is also a very reliable firearm. I have over 6000 rounds through my P226 with not one single jam. That’s impressive. The first video, reviewing the SIG P226, has over 1.4 million YouTube views, indicating it is very popular with pistoleros.

HK P7 Series (PSP, P7m8, P7m13)

This Editor has shot a P7m8 extensively. It is superbly accurate. With a very low bore axis, it has much less muzzle flip than most 9mm pistols. And with a fixed barrel, the slide moves straight back during cycling. The HK P7 blowback-operated semi-automatic pistol was designed and manufactured by German gun-maker Heckler & Koch (H&K) from 1978 to 2008. It is thin, superbly accurate, with a precise trigger that shames the Glock. The P7m8 features a unique gas-delayed blowback system, which uses gas from the cartridge to retard the rearward motion of the slide. This works via a barrel port and a piston inside a cylinder under the barrel. The signature feature of the P7 series is the “squeeze cocker” on the front of the grip. Squeezing the cocking lever cocks the firing pin. When the front of the grip is released, the weapon is fully de-cocked, making it safe with a round in the chamber.

Browning Hi-Power

The Browning Hi-Power is a single-action, semi-automatic handgun with a legendary heritage. This handsome all-metal pistol was based on a design by American John Moses Browning, and completed by Dieudonné Saive at Fabrique Nationale (FN) of Herstal, Belgium. J.M. Browning died in 1926, several years before the design was finalized. FN Herstal initially named the design the “High Power”, which alludes to the 13-round magazine capacity, almost twice that of other designs such as the Luger or Colt M1911. The name was later shorted to “Hi-Power”. The Browning Hi-Power has served military forces and police in many countries throughout the world. It is a very well-balanced pistol, with a nice, crisp trigger. After 82 years of continuous production, FN Herstal announced that the Hi-Power would be discontinued in 2018. However, in 2022 FN resumed Hi-Power production, so this classic lives on.

CZ 75

The CZ 75 is the flagship pistol of CZ-USA and has been a staple among 9x19mm fans for over 45 years. Originally introduced in 1975, hence the name, the CZ 75 remains viable as a defensive pistol. CZ claims the CZ 75 is “used by more governments, militaries, police, and security agencies than any other pistol in the world”. The CZ 75 is very reliable and works well for both defense and IDPA competitions. The ergonomics are good, controls are intuitive, and the trigger is very nice. Over the years, CZ has made numerous variations of the CZ 75 pistol, but the original is still an excellent handgun.

Beretta 92FS and Military M9

For Americans, the Beretta 92 series of pistols is best known as the official sidearm of the American military for 30+ years. The United States military replaced the .45 ACP M1911A1 pistol in 1985 with the Beretta 92FS, designated as the “M9″. The M9 and the civilian models 92/92FS have a distinctive, recognizable feature — the cut-away slide which exposes most of the 9mm barrel. The metal frame also has an attractive grip design. The 92FS pistols we’ve shot were accurate and reliability was good. There have been various modifications and upgrades over the years. However the M9 was replaced in 2017 by the new polymer-framed SIG Sauer P320, adopted as the military’s M17/M18 modular pistols.

This Hickok 45 video review of the Beretta 92FS has over 2.5 million views:

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January 7th, 2022

Springfield Armory SA-35 NRA Publications’ Handgun of the Year

browning hi-power belgium SA-35 9mm pistol

Springfield Armory’s new 9mm SA-35 pistol has been chosen as the NRA’s American Rifleman Handgun of the Year, and 2022 Golden Bullseye Winner. The NRA Publications Golden Bullseye Awards acknowledge important new products. The winners are selected by a committee of NRA Publications staff, representing more than a century of collective experience in the shooting and hunting industry.

Compared to the classic Browning Hi-Power pistol on which it is based, the new SA-35 offers enhanced controls, modern sights, improved feed ramp design, beveled mag-well, and increased 15-round capacity. Additionally, the SA-35 dispenses with the magazine disconnect as found in the original design. This provides the ability for magazines to drop freely. The new SA-35 also features forged steel parts for strength and durability.

“We are incredibly proud that the SA-35 has been given this prestigious award,” said Dennis Reese, CEO of Springfield Armory. “With this pistol, we have taken a revered design and updated it for today’s shooters.”

browning hi-power belgium SA-35 9mm pistol
CLICK HERE to read full Springfield Armory SA-35 review in Guns America Digest.

Springfield Armory SA-35 9mm Pistol

browning hi-power belgium SA-35 9mm pistol

Springfield Armory’s new SA-35 semi-auto pistol takes advantage of modern materials and manufacturing techniques, while retaining the appeal of the J.M. Browning’s original P-35 design. The 9mm features a forged carbon steel frame and slide and a cold hammer-forged barrel.

browning hi-power belgium SA-35 9mm pistol

Enhancements include subtle but significant changes to barrel feed ramp and extractor geometry to ensure the SA-35 will work with today’s defensive rounds. A factory-tuned trigger, 15-round flush-fit magazine, beveled magazine well, re-contoured “no-bite” hammer design, modern Tactical Rack sights, extended thumb safety and more round out the package. The SA-35 is compatible with the original pistol’s design, ensuring access to the broad selection of aftermarket parts and accessories available.

Guns America has done a thorough Review of the new Springfield Armory SA-35.

The modern SA-35 is based on the original Browning Hi-Power, aka the P-35. The Browning Hi-Power military pistol, considered the best 9mm handgun of all time by some collectors, is one of the most widely-used handguns in history, and is found in over fifty countries.

browning hi-power belgium SA-35 9mm pistol

The initial Browning Hi-Power design came from John Moses Browning, but was then finalized by Dieudonné Saive at Fabrique Nationale (FN) in Belgium. Browning died in 1926, several years before the design was finalized. There have been many variants based on the Browning Hi-Power and many clones as well. See: Top Ten 9mm Handguns of All Time.

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February 25th, 2015

Fabrique Nationale (FN) Featured on American Rifleman TV

Fabrique Nationale d'herstal FN Herstal TV NRATonight American Rifleman TV visits Herstal, Belgium, to examine the rich heritage of Fabrique Nationale d’Herstal (FN Herstal), a company originally founded in 1889 to produce one gun — the Belgian Mauser. FN Herstal has now been producing firearms for more than 125 years, including iconic designs of John Moses Browning. FN Herstal’s firearms are now used by the armed forces of over 100 nations.

The FN Herstal episode (on the Outdoor Channel) is previewed in this video starting at 00:30. You may learn some surprising facts. Did you know that FN’s factories also produced bicycles, cars, trucks and motorcycles?

Preview Fabrique Nationale Episode on American Rifle Television

Fabrique Nationale d’Herstal (aka FN Herstal) is a major firearms manufacturer located in Herstal, Belgium. This enterprise is currently the largest exporter of military small arms in Europe. Firearms manufactured by FN Herstal include the Browning Hi-Power pistol, Five-seven pistol, FAL rifle, FNC rifle, F2000 rifle, P90 submachine gun, M2 Browning machine gun, MAG machine gun, and Minimi machine gun.

History of Fabrique Nationale d’Herstal
FN Herstal originated in the small city of Herstal, near Liège. The Fabrique Nationale d’Armes de Guerre (French for National Factory of Weapons of War) was established in 1889 to manufacture 150,000 Mauser Model 1889 rifles ordered by the Belgian Government. FN was co-founded by the major arms makers of the Liège region, with Henri Pieper of Anciens Etablissements Pieper being the driving force and the primary shareholder of the new company. In 1897 the company entered into a long-lasting relationship with American Gun Designer John Moses Browning.

Fabrique Nationale d'herstal FN Herstal TV NRA

American gun designer John Moses Browning did the preliminary design work for the Browning GP35 ‘High Power’ (sometimes written as Hi-Power) pistol, the GP standing for Grande Puissance or “high power” in French. However, the weapon was finalized by Dieudonné Saive and did not appear until nearly a decade after Browning’s death.

Fabrique Nationale d'herstal FN Herstal TV NRA

The American Connection — Winchester and Browning
FN Herstal is a subsidiary of the Belgian Herstal Group, which also owns U.S. Repeating Arms Company (Winchester) and Browning Arms Company. FN Herstal is the parent company of two United States entities: FN Manufacturing and FNH USA. FN Manufacturing in Columbia, SC, is the manufacturing branch of FN Herstal in the United States, producing firearms such as the M249 and M240 machine guns and M16 rifle, among others. FNH USA, located in McLean, VA, is the American sales and marketing branch of FN Herstal.

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