22 June 21
“No generalization is worth a damn, including that one”
Justice OW Holmes
At the beginning of the 1900s, both Colt in the USA and FN in Belgium had an association with prolific American gun-designer, John M Browning (who died in 1926), and both produced pistols that look very much like a classic 1911, in various calibers.
Both companies had informally agreed that Colt would market in North America, and FN would confine itself to Western Europe, but South America, the Balkans, etc were up for grabs!
With WWI breaking-out and Colt being awarded America’s War Department’s contract to produce what we call the 1911 Pistol in 45ACP caliber, and FN’s facilities in Belgium being overrun by German forces, rivalry stalled until the end of the War.
With the end of the Great War, and at least the American market being awash with 1911 Pistols, both new and surplus, FN (once back on its feet) decided not to try to re-introduce their version of the 1911, but instead make a new pistol, but along the same lines.
The new pistol would be in 9mm, have a double-column magazine, but would still work on the tilt-barrel Browning pattern, like an American 1911.
They called it the “Browning Hi-Power,” or the “P35,” and as the designation suggests, introduced it in 1935, nine years after Browning’s death.
The Hi-Power went on to be enormously popular, both in Western Europe and America, right up to the present day.
Likewise, the 1911 pistol (most in 45 ACP caliber) continues to be popular, but its popularity is confined largely to American consumers.
In recent years, both the Hi-Power and the 1911, while still enjoying a following, have been mostly superceded by the Glock Pistol and its ever-expanding family of imitators.