John M. Browning, creator of military and sporting weapons for Colt, Winchester, and Remington, is widely regarded by industry experts as one of the greatest American gun designers. Browning designed the first production handgun to use a slide mechanism, the FN Browning M1900, a single-action semi-automatic pistol produced by Belgian arms manufacturer FN Herstal from 1899 to 1910.
Since 1935, the gun maker's signature pistol has been the Browning P-35 Hi-Power 9 mm pistol based on John Browning's patented short-recoil, locked-breech, and exposed-hammer semi-automatic design. Originally produced in 9 mm, but now also available in S&W .40 caliber, Browning's pistol is one of the most widely adopted military pistols in history. The pistol has been used by armed forces in dozens of countries.
Other popular models include the Browning BDA 9 mm, developed in the early '80s with the hope of becoming the official U.S. military sidearm. The pistol was instead adopted by the Finnish Defence Forces. The Browning BDM 9 mm, produced in the '90s, was created for service trials for the FBI. It was never adopted and instead sold to the civilian market.
- Would-be Turkish assassin Mehmet Ali Agca seriously wounded Pope John Paul II in a May 13, 1981 attempt on his life using a Browning pistol
- In 2011, Utah became the first U.S. state to name an official firearm, choosing the Browning Model M1911. This pistol was adopted for use by the U.S. Army in March 1911
- A one-of-a-kind engraved and inscribed Browning Hi-Power acquired from Saddam Hussein’s palace in Tikrit, Iraq sold at a 2013 James D. Julia auction for $10,000