FN 1910 Pistol History and Shooting

The FN 1910 was an extremely common pocket pistol in Europe, and was produced in both .32 ACP and .380 ACP. Around 700,000 were produced over about 70 years, and yet it is little known in the US, where it was largely eclipsed by the Walther PPK.

In this video, we take a look at its history, and give it a little run on the range.

Guns in this video:
FN 1910

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Transcript ….

[coming soon]

Mike B

Mike was lucky enough to go to a school with a 25 yard smallbore range, only 25 minutes from the centre of British shooting at Bisley, and had a firearms certificate before he had a driver’s license. Moving to a more gun-friendly country has allowed him to service his milsurp habit. He lives up in the mountains in Switzerland and vlogs at YouTube as Bloke on the Range. He can be reached at mike@tfb.tv.


  • Madison J Coleman

    Nice. I love these videos about historic guns.

    • PersonCommenting

      Same, keep it up TFB!


      good video

  • DanGoodShot

    I don’t know why, but I really liked that point shoot demonstration. At one point by the look on your face I thought you where really having at someone! lol

  • What a cool pistol

  • derpmaster

    Swiss-British dude is part of TFB now? Excellent.

  • marathag

    Got a MAB D in .32 and it’s based off the 1910.
    Other than the slidelock/safety, it’s an awesome little gun. Accurate and as he mentions, it’s very pointable.
    Best thing was they used to be cheap when they were imported years ago.

    • gunsandrockets

      Yeah I stumbled over one of those when I was on the hunt for a 1910 Browning. Nice pistol.

      And even though the MAB D doesn’t seem nearly as well made as a 1910, I like the design improvements over the 1922 the French made with the MAB D.

  • Rimfire

    why don’t more of today’s pistols have such graceful lines, that 1910 is a thing of beauty

    • Edeco

      Drives me bonkers. To be clear I’m not a proponent of old world craftsmanship; down the commode of history with that, I say.

      But I miss the trimness of old guns. In some contemporary niches (such as rimfire target pistols, compact sub-9mm, compact single actions, and revolvers to some extent) I think it could still be done, just that makers are lazy, pawing for fresh attention and self important.

      • ostiariusalpha

        The Wondernines were a bit hit-or-miss with their styling, but it was really the rise of the Glock that put a damper on ensuring that the guns had beatiful lines. What’s the point when all the consumer cares about is price and reliability?

  • Matt Robinson

    Great article. Quick look at an antique firearm from a European perspective.

  • Ed Ward

    Will there be subtitles at some point 😉 Of course I jest as this was a very interesting piece to be sure.

  • LAMan

    A much appreciated look at an oldie but goodie, that is widely encountered around the world in both original form and knock-offs.

    Also enjoyed your take on defensive point shooting, which was clearly Browning’s design intention for the gun. Raise arm and fire, or extend arm below line-of-sight and fire, if a bit closer. In your case, punch out and fire. All work with a well-designed gun at close range, where *fit* and *fast* commonly matters far more than sights. Anything that allows you to rapidly start drilling 5/16″ or 3/8″ holes in an opponent before he starts shooting *usually* tilts the odds heavily in your favor.

    I have the “Long Nose” 1910/22 version, engineered by FN to satisfy the belt pistol requirements of the newly-formed army of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (soon renamed Yugoslavia). I’ve had a 1910, which is far handier to carry, whereas the 1922 with its 4.5″ barrel is less handy, but generates higher velocity and points well to a slightly longer range.

    You do a great job pointing out how slim and pocketable these guns are. No “de-horning” needed, and nothing tangles in clothing as the gun is drawn. Except for the safety catch, which is somewhat problematic, the 1910 was ergonomic before that word was in use. And for those approaching a dangerous situation, the option exists to disengage the safety catch and rely upon the grip safety. With the fairly heavy trigger pull, that probably is about equivalent to a lemon-squeezer revolver of that era. Neither was truly drop-safe, and that is a major advantage of modern handguns.

    I also noted your point about “pharmacology” and the modern requirements for stopping power. The .32 and .380 can drill a bunch of holes quite quickly in an opponent, and cause normal men to surrender, flee, or stop, drop, and bleed. Back in the pre-antibiotic era, it was also well-understood that any wound could cause fatal sepsis, and any gut shot could bleed you out or kill you via peritonitis after several agonizing days. Even as late as about 1930, a pocket automatic was used to kill Huey Long in the Louisiana State Capitol…well actually, surgeons sewed up every hole they found in his entrails, missed just one in the poor light, and Ol’ Huey bled out on the table not long after being shot. The Austrian Crown Prince and consort in Sarajevo were also immobilized immediately by torso shots by a Bosnian Serb nationalist (shades of the 1990’s), and both bled out shortly.

    Shooting a meth head or crack monster is a dicier proposition, and modern-day thugs fully expect to survive if they can just make it to a hospital, so those categories of BG are often tougher to deal with than many opponents in olden times (although many a drunk, mean gambler or gunman soaked up several .44’s or .45’s and kept shooting). Plus, any muscled-up modern opponent has quite a store of physical vitality to withstand shooting.

    For the modern gangsta tasks of shooting through automobiles and houses in their foe’s general vicinity, the .32 and .380 can’t penetrate as much as 9mm can, but German police supposedly valued the .32’s ability to drill through a car door up close.

    With all of those caveats, let me finish with this observation. We now have plenty of analysis (and common sense) to emphasize to us that the mere presence of a defensive firearm usually suffices; anything going “bang!” saps the courage of many more; and an actual hit seals the deal for most of the rest. I’m not arguing for mouseguns, I’m simply pointing out that John Moses Browning designed pistols and ammunition companies designed matching .32 and .380 ACP cartridges for him (and yes, even the oft-maligned .25) for point-blank self-defense in a flat, concealable package more concealable than a revolver. In *lots* of cases, the cartridges and any serviceable gun firing them will still accomplish the job. Funnily enough, our modern revival of short-barreled pocket .32’s and .380’s now leaves many searching for the magic compromise of penetration and expansion with hollowpoint bullet designs, moving at substantially lower velocities than Browning intended. Other faults aside, his .32 and .380 FMJ bullets did, and still do, penetrate to the vitals.

    Thanks for a nice review of a truly golden oldie!

  • gunsandrockets

    I would have like to know why Mike thinks the Colt 1903 is a better handgun than the Browning 1910. Maybe when he does a video on the Colt?

    • ostiariusalpha

      I’m guessing here, but the Colt is actually 3 oz. heavier and has a longer grip. There is also the ergonomics of where the web of your hand seats itself: the frame tang of the 1903 is mostly parallel to the trigger area, whereas the 1910 has the tang a little lower. This puts the bore axis a bit higher and your hand in a slightly more awkward angle.

    • Glad you asked. It’s more accurate and sits in the hand better due to the bigger grip, and for some reason the grip safety doesn’t seem as stiff so doesn’t seem to affect the shooting as much. But that 1910 just points so incredibly well! ~mike

  • iksnilol

    Just don’t bring one to Sarajevo, please, it went badly last time someone did.

  • Vizzini

    I don’t know much about pistol design. I’ve wondered why you rarely see the recoil spring around the barrel in modern pistols, as opposed to on a separate guide rod. It seems like a more compact design

    • Tom

      Off the top of my head I think its simple that its not practical to put the spring around the barrel of a tilting barrel weapon which most locked breech pistols today are.