The Fabrique Nationale FN Model 1903 was a solid, well-traveled pistol used in both World Wars. The gun was produced to the tune of some 153,173 examples and utilized by the likes of Belgium, Estonia, Paraguay, Russia, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom where it served in quantity with military and police forces. The handgun was yet another in the long line of weapons designed by American gunsmith John Browning with production occurring under the Belgium Fabrique Nationale d'Armes de Guerre branding.
Design of the Model 1903 (also known as the Browning No. 2) began in 1902 and entry into service was 1903, hence the designation. The Model 1903 was designed as a self-loading, semi-automatic pistol with a blowback operating action and firing the 9x20mm SR Browning Long cartridge from a box magazine fitted into the pistol grip. The 9x20mm SR Browning Long was longer than the typical 9mm Parabellum popular throughout and only a smidgeon weaker. The reloading action was noted for its quickness and the gun itself was of generally light weight. Externally, the Model 1903 was a smooth design and was typical John Browning. In practice, the Model 1903 unsurprisingly proved an accurate, reliable and robust weapon worthy of the Browning name.
The Model 1903 was manufactured under license as the Pistol m/1907 by Husqvarna Vapenfabrik. Interestingly, the Model 1903 (among other Browning designs) was heavily copied throughout Spain without license for nearly 30 years.
Many Model 1903s are still in circulation even today, a testament to its sound design and construction.