FN 1900: Most Important Carry Pistol Of All Time

The FN 1900 is a classic John Browning design that put affordable, reliable semi-automatic pistols in the hands of the common man. The simple blowback guns were small enough to carry in a pocket, and .32acp was considered more than adequate for personal defense at the time.
The FN 1900 kicked off a revolution whereby manufacturers in Europe and the United States were scrambling to produce pistols to fulfill similar roles, and this period of time in history produced some spectacular handguns for personal protection.

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Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


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  • Just Sayin’

    “He has a 32 gun in his pocket for fun and a razor in his shoe. ‘Cause he’s bad, bad Leroy Brown, basest man in the whole darn town”

    • Joshua

      badder than ol’ king kong!
      meaner than junkyard dog!

  • ostiariusalpha

    “Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory.”
    – Ghandi

    Well, that explains a lot about why India is the way it is. They certainly put in plenty of effort on the INSAS and MCIWS, so… Full Victory!

    The low bore axis on the 1900 must be nice, but with such a low ejection port, I’m curious if there were any drawbacks. I noticed you had your shooting hand bare, and there were residue marks on the web of your hand, Alex. Did you feel it in any way, or was it not even noticeable?

  • Black_Viper

    Why is the 32 no longer adequate for self defense? Did humans grow thicker skin?

    • mike207

      It’s not that it’s no longer adequate. It’s that we now have a better understanding of what is and isn’t adequate.

    • Now firearms exist that are smaller and can handle more powerful cartridges. Tiny, locked breech semi-automatic handguns did not become common and affordable until recently. I suppose a better word would be obsolete.
      Think of it this way: The Ford Model T did for automobiles what this pistol did for carry pistols. It was fantastic in its day but certainly would be considered a most inadequate automobile despite its merits in context.

      • demophilus

        You have a point, but the .32 is still viable. If it wasn’t Beretta, Seecamp, Kel-Tec, Jimenez, Zastava, etc. couldn’t and wouldn’t sell them.

        Also, let’s not assume small .380 or 9mm platforms are improvements. A lot of people don’t shoot them as well as they would something a little bigger, longer and heavier.

        Sure, the 1900 is like a Model T, but if you took its ease of manufacture and assembly, and low parts count, then combined that with modern materials, you might have something. Ditto for the 1910, or Colt 1903 — if you could simplify and update them (particularly the 1903) it wouldn’t be a Model T. More like a Honda Civic. Or, a Dacia Sandero.

        • Roy G Bunting

          I’d place the 32s you mention in the same category as factory NAA mini revolvers, better then nothing, but not the best choice. People buy them because they are small and light and easy to carry. If you need a gun you have one, but if you have to use a gun, a more powerful caliber might be a good idea.

          Or, all 32s should have really good triggers to facilitate perfect shot placement.

          Other then that I’d agree with your points, and I’d also love to see modernized classic guns like the 1903. And even larger pistols in 32ACP and 380. Something big enough to get a grip on, but still thin and not too heavy.

    • Austin

      It’s good enough for Bond and for me that’s enough to trust it.

      • Laserbait

        “You carry a 00 number, it means you have License to kill, not GET killed!”

      • The_Champ

        Interesting to note, in the novels Bond originally carried a .25 cal Beretta, and I believe later upgraded to a .32 cal, as well as a .38 revolver for really serious work 😃

    • Arandor Thinnorion

      In the 20th century, more handguns were chambered for .32 ACP than any other round. It definitely isn’t the “underpowered”, “useless” round some people make it out to be.

      That fact comes from: Woodard, W. Todd. Shooter’s Bible Guide to Cartridges, New York: Skyhorse, 2011.

  • mike207

    Alex, I love these videos you do with old guns. You inspire me to broaden my collection.

  • RustyWindmill

    Is there a firearm a you dont own??? Cause I want to get it and say, “Neener neener!”

    P.S. Great job on all the videos!

    • A Glock

      • RustyWindmill

        Not quite the neener neener moment I was hoping for, but Ill take it!

      • ElderAmbassador

        I applaud your impeccable taste. I, too, do NOT own a Glock. Fired it and did NOT like it. I have no idea why Any LEO would carry a handgun that does NOT have a safety that a thug has to defeat Before shooting that LEO!

  • Oldtrader3

    I would place the FN 1910 model as the preeminent pistol of the 20th Century. The 1910 was still selling briskly, all over the world in the 1990’s. I feel that this madel was the archetype for all .380 pocket pistols which followed

  • Laserbait

    It’s an homely little thing, but I really like that!

  • mazkact

    Folks act like low bore axis is a new thing the same act as though 6.5 is a new thing. Great work Alex, now you just need to shoot some Black powder cartridge rifles 😉