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Browning Model 1903 / FN M1903

Semi-Automatic Pistol [ 1903 ]

The FN Model 1903 was designed by American John Browning and sold to the world market through the Belgium firm of Fabrique Nationale.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/31/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

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.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Service Year

Belgium national flag graphic


Semi-Automatic Pistol

Fabrique National d'Armes de Guerre (FN) - Belgium / Browning - USA
(View other Arms-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of Belgium National flag of Estonia National flag of Finland National flag of the German Empire National flag of Russia National flag of Spain National flag of Sweden National flag of Turkey National flag of the United States Belgium; El Salvador; Estonia; Finland; German Empire; Paraguay; Russia; Spain; Sweden; Turkey; United States
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Pistol / Sidearm
Compact design for close-quarters work or general self-defense.

Overall Length
205 mm
8.07 in
Barrel Length
127 mm
5.00 in
Empty Wgt
2.00 lb
0.91 kg

Iron front and rear.


Semi-Automatic; Blowback

One shot per trigger pull; self-loading or auto-loading action aided by internal mechanism; trigger management (and initial cocking) typically required by the operator; subsequent shots are aided by the unlocked / moving bolt.
Blowback Operation
Gas pressure from the rearward movement of the ignited cartridge case provides the needed bolt movement, ejecting the spent case and stripping a fresh case from the magazine.
(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)


9x20mm SR Browning Long; 7.65x17mm SR Browning (.32 ACP)

Rounds / Feed

7- or 8-round detachable box magazine
Cartridge relative size chart
*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources.
**Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.
Muzzle Velocity
1,050 ft/sec
(320 m/sec)

Model 1903 - Base Series Designation.
FN M1903 - Alternative Designation.
Pistol m/1907 - Swedish license-production Model 1903 pistols.

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Images Gallery

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Image of the Browning Model 1903 / FN M1903
Right side view of the Browning Model 1903 semi-automatic pistol

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