Thoughts from a cranky old gun guy
The irony is never lost on me that the gun designing genius John Moses Browning the man that bought us the 50 Cal Browning Machine Gun also produced the M1908 25 ACP pocket pistol which bore the typical Browning traits of being simple but incredibly effective. As well as FN, Browning also sold the design to Colt who manufactured the little guns from 1908 till 1959 and once again showed Mrs Browning’s boy was no fool when it came to making money.
Originally marketed as the VP model, I can hear you all scratching your heads out there (it stands for Vest Pocket Model), anyway it was a very different time and men wore vests and you kept your pocket watch in one pocket and if you were of that persuasion your Browning in the other and of course the ladies kept one in their garter belt. For our younger readers if you’re not sure how a ladies garter belt fits in to this go and ask your grandad and watch his eyes light up.
So you had a handgun of just 4.5 inches with a barrel of 2 inches which weighed 0.18 lb. and if nothing else it was the ultimate concealed carry. A simple blowback design, striker fired 6 round gun chambered to 6.35 mm, that’s 25 ACP to all you non-European types. It also featured a grip safety and was extremely reliable and they sold like hot cakes.
Unfortunately for Browning FN there were soon a lot of copies floating around such as the Colts so FN decided that a bit of a redesign was in order and in 1927 they came up with the “Baby Browning”, and it this model you see featured in the excellent photo’s supplied by our in-house media guru Nicholas…. and YES the gun is for sale.
Of course by 1927 John Browning had passed away the year before, so one of FNs designers Dieudonne Saive took on the task of improving on John Browning’s design. He managed to produce a gun that was actually a bit smaller and a bit lighter, he did away with the grip safety and incorporated a bit more traditional safety lever on the left side of the gun, a cocking indicator at the back of the gun and some slightly improved sights. He also worked on the grip which in conjunction with losing the grip safety made the gun much more controllable. In production from 1931 till 1979 I think you would have to say the redesign was a success.
Buts let’s talk about the elephant in the room here, 25 ACP, the late great Jeff Cooper labelled the Baby Browning’s and their clones as “mouse guns” meaning they were only good for defending you from enraged mouse attack, this is from a man who championed the 45 ACP and helped bring us the 10mm, but that aside he does have a point, back then the cartridges performance was only marginally better than 22 LR but I think Colonel Cooper also missed the point a bit.
Rule 1 in a gunfight, have a gun! and if your situation dictates, you need the ultimate concealment gun, then the “Baby” is the gun for the job.
Another factor you have to consider as well is the state of modern ammunition; everyday better designed and better manufactured ammo is coming onto the market. A prime example is 9mm, long considered marginal for law enforcement work it is making a comeback with the advent of new round design, some much so it threatens to knock over the 40 S&W as the must have law enforcement round in the states. We are also seeing huge improvements in 380, 32 ACP and of course the 25 ACP so there may be life for these old guns yet.
It is of course a moot point here in Australia as they are collectors only but just imagine at the next Arms and Amour shoot you get to engage an enraged mouse target at 10 meters…..
“mouse trap we don’t need no stinking mouse trap”