|Magazine||7 rnds rmvbl mag||Weight||1.4 lb|
Browning’s Model 1900 pistol was an icon and reasonably simple to manufacture. So when soldiers went looking for pistols in China, this one was an obvious choice.
John Browning introduced the first slide operated handgun through Fabrique Nationale d’Herstal in Belgium. The original design was the Model 1899, but a slightly modified version was adopted by the Belgian government in 1900. Originally known as the “Browning Pistol,” its widespread popularity made his name practically synonymous with semi-automatic pistols. After other Browning pistols released, the Model 1900 title was adopted to differentiate the designs.
Browning made his pistol easy to produce with simple machine operations. This, combined with its reputation, made it especially popular in China. Small workshops were able to create clones of the gun with simple tools and weak metals. Obviously this did not hold up as well as an original and discerning Chinese buyers would be put off by native production. So they attempted to emulate the English and French markings on the guns with limited success. What we now see are various stamps somewhat out of place and incomplete phrases, sometimes upside-down, on these guns.
These copies vary in size, weight, quality, and general configuration. Interestingly, an apparent majority of them (again somewhat varied) display the same serial number: 126063. It appears the 1 might have been damaged or lost, as some have been found with the serial 26063. M1900 copies are almost always chambered in the same .32ACP cartridge and are better off left in the display case. They should not be fired as the springs, fittings, and overall metal used for production cannot be considered reliable. The broad majority don’t seem to have much a provision for a rear sight any way.
While the unlicensed Chinese M1900 copies are among the worst guns mass produced, they did serve from the Chinese Warlord Period through WWII and the Chinese Civil War. They are obviously collectable and offer a unique, “hand-crafted” piece for C&R collectors.