Browning BDM

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Browning BDM
Browning bdm 1.jpg
A Browning BDM with the slide open.
TypeSemi-automatic pistol
Place of originUnited States
Production history
DesignerBrowning Arms Company
ManufacturerBrowning Arms Company
Produced1991 - 1998
VariantsBRM and BPM-D
  • 870 g
Barrel length120 mm

Cartridge9×19mm Parabellum
Feed systemDetachable 15-round box magazines

The Browning BDM is a semi-automatic pistol designed and manufactured by the Browning Arms Company until production ceased in 1998. Similar in appearance to Browning's (FN Herstal) P-35 model "Hi-Power" pistol, the BDM was actually a new design created to compete in service trials as a standard issue pistol for the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation. However, the BDM was not ultimately adopted for issue by the FBI, and was instead sold only in the private market.


The Browning BDM was developed in 1991 by the Browning Arms Company, and unlike Browning's (FN Herstal) P-35 Hi-Power model, was manufactured only in North America.

The pistol is a magazine fed, self-loading, hammer firing type which was designed with a trigger "mode" switch installed on the left-hand side of the slide (actually only a flush inlaid disk with a bisecting groove), toggling between double-action/single-action(DA/SA) pistol mode, and the double-action-only (DAO) or "revolver" mode—though, of course, other than the similarity of the trigger mode, the BDM has no resemblance to revolvers. This mode switch is what gives the handgun its name, with BDM standing for "Browning Dual Mode" or "Browning Double Mode".

Variants of the design lacked the mode operating switch, and so were either full-time revolver mode, model BRM (Browning Revolver Mode), or full-time double-action/single-action pistol mode, model BPM-D (Browning Pistol Mode Decocker). Finishes included blued, matte-chromed, which Browning advertising called "silver chrome", and a two-toned combination of a silver chromed frame and blued slide, called the "practical" finish.

The BDM and BPM-D variants have an ambidextrous frame-mounted safety/decocker lever, which when operated returns the pistol to the hammer down pre-cocked setting. After the next fired cartridge cycles the pistol's slide, subsequent rounds are fired in the single-action mode, until the decocker is used to drop the hammer to the "safe" position. The BRM variant lacks a safety/decocker lever, leaving the pistol in the hammer down "safe" double-action position after every shot, i.e. DAO.

The BDM and its variants utilize removable cartridge magazines, of the double stack variety with a capacity of 15 rounds of 9×19mm Parabellum ammunition. To comply with the 1994 U.S. Assault Weapons legislation, BDM magazines were limited to 10-round capacity for civilian purchasers, although 15-round magazines were available for law enforcement use. After the 2004 expiration of the 1994 U.S. Assault Weapons legislation, 15-round magazines became legal and available in most states for civilian use.


  • Martin J. Dougherty: Pistols and Revolvers: From 1400 to the present day, Amber Books Ltd, 2017, S. 181, ISBN 978-1-78274-266-1.