Browning Hi-Power BDA

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Browning Hi-Power BDA
Browning Hi-Power BDA
TypeSemi-automatic pistol
Place of originBelgium
Service history
Used byFinnish Defence Forces[1]
Production history
ManufacturerFN Herstal
Mass920 g (32 oz) (BDA, BDAO)
840 g (30 oz) (BDAM)
765 g (27.0 oz) (BDAC)
Length200 mm (7.9 in) (BDA, BDAO)
173 mm (6.8 in) (BDAM, BDAC)
Barrel length118 mm (4.6 in) (BDA, BDAO)
96 mm (3.8 in) (BDAM, BDAC)
Width38 mm (1.5 in) (BDA, BDAO, BDAM)
27 mm (1.1 in) (BDAC)
Height130 mm (5.1 in) (BDA, BDAO, BDAM)
93 mm (3.7 in) (BDAC)

Cartridge9×19mm Parabellum
9×21mm IMI
ActionLocked Breech, Short Recoil
Muzzle velocity350 m/s (1,148 ft/s) (BDA, BDAO)
Feed system14-round detachable box magazine
7-round magazine (compact models)
SightsFixed iron sights, front - blade, rear - notch

The Browning Hi-Power BDA (Browning Double Action) is a 9mm semi-automatic pistol developed in the early 1980s at the Belgian Fabrique Nationale arms factory in Herstal. The pistol was conceived in 1983 to compete in the United States XM-9 Pistol Trials to select new sidearm chambered for the 9×19mm Parabellum cartridge that would equip all the branches of the United States armed forces. Ultimately, the winner of the bid was the Italian Beretta 92F. The Finnish Defence Forces accepted the weapon into service as their general service pistol under the designation 9.00 PIST 80 and 9.00 PIST 80-91.[1] The pistol was marketed in Europe as the HP-DA.

The overall design layout of all versions of the pistol is based on the Browning Hi-Power, but the firearm features significant ergonomic changes designed to update the weapon to modern military requirements. The most notable is a shortening of the hammer spur, which would tend to cut into the web between the thumb and fingers of the grip hand if an original Hi-Power was held incautiously.[2]

Design details[edit]

The Browning Hi-Power BDA is a semi-automatic short recoil operated locked breech firearm. It has a vertically tilting delayed camming action. This locking mechanism was borrowed from the Browning Hi-Power. The handgun features a double-action trigger which cocks and then releases the hammer.[2] The recoil of the slide recocks the hammer, and all consecutive shots are fired from the single-action mode. A disconnector ensures the pistol fires in semi-automatic mode only. The spring-loaded external claw extractor is mounted in the slide, while the fixed ejector – inside the pistol’s frame. The BDA is secured against unintentional firing with an automatic firing pin safety which blocks the firing pin and is released only when the trigger is pulled to fire. Immediately after a round is fired, the safety reengages itself even if the trigger is not released. The BDA also has a decocking safety that safely releases and captures the hammer in a safety notch. A decocking lever is mounted on each side of the pistol’s frame.

The BDA feeds from a dual-column box magazine with a 14-round cartridge capacity. (The FN HP-DA however uses a different 10- or 15-round magazine which is interchangeable with the Browning BDM but will not fit in a Browning BDA-9 though the guns look identical and they are both made by FN Herstal.) The magazine release button, located aft of the trigger, can be configured for either right- or left-hand users simply by swapping out the push-button. The BDA is fitted with a slide catch that holds the slide open after depleting the magazine. The slide can be released by pressing the slide release lever, placed on the left side of the frame. The pistol is aimed using fixed iron sights with contrasting dots – a front blade and dovetailed rear notch. As an option, tritium-illuminated Meprolight night sights can also be fitted.

The BDA is chambered in the 9×19mm Parabellum cartridge, but a 9×21mm version is also available for those countries where military calibers (such as the 9×19mm) are prohibited for civilian use.


Apart from the standard version of the BDA (initially designated BDA-9S) two compact variants were also produced: the Medium (known interchangeably as the BDAM or BDA-9M) – aimed at the law enforcement market and the Compact model (called the BDAC or BDA-9C) – designed for air force personnel.

A variant of the BDA is the BDAO pistol (short for "Browning Double Action Only"), which received a different trigger mechanism that cocks and then releases the hammer which is automatically decocked following each shot. Presently, Fabrique Nationale no longer advertises the pistols in their sales offerings.



  1. ^ a b c "9.00 pistooli 80 ja 9.00 pistooli 80-91". The Finnish Defence Forces (in Finnish). 2013-10-07. Archived from the original on 2014-01-10. Retrieved 2014-01-09.
  2. ^ a b Charles E. Petty (December 2001), "Double Action Hi-Power", Guns Magazine


  • (in Finnish) Graham, Smith (ed.): Sotilaskäsiaseet, Jyväskylä, Helsinki: Gummerus, 1996, ISBN 951-20-4750-0

External links[edit]