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Old March 15, 2011, 11:53 AM   #1
a7mmnut
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Browning BDM

Anybody ever owned one of these? Wiki says it was made for the US market from 1991-1998, traditional or DAO in 9mm. Any problems, likes, dislikes, current value in good to excellent condition? Thanks in advance,

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Old March 15, 2011, 12:13 PM   #2
rigby06
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I am not sure about the BDM part, but I thought it was the same as a Browning P220 that I had years ago, it was a Sig 220 with Browning name on it, it had the European magazine release which is at the bottom of the magazine well instead of the button by the trigger. I traded that Browning in on a Sig 220.
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Old March 15, 2011, 01:10 PM   #3
Omaha-BeenGlockin
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I think the Sig offering was the BDA and not the same thing as the American made BDM.
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Old March 15, 2011, 01:15 PM   #4
Charlie Fox
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I believe the BDA was a .380, a lot like a Beretta. The BDM was designed to compete in the high capacity 9mm race (I think it might have been developed for the US Military trials when the M9 was chosen). No market = extinction.
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Old March 15, 2011, 01:17 PM   #5
Mike Irwin
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It was a rather interesting design that paired a high-capacity magazine with a VERY thin grip profile.

At least one model had a selector switch on the slide that, when rotated, changed it from traditional double/single action to DAO.

I really liked the ones that I handled and shot, but it just never seemed to catch on.
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Old March 15, 2011, 01:17 PM   #6
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I had one, maybe 15 years ago. Nice gun for what it was. I bought it about the time the high capacity magazine ban became law. The one I had did have a full capacity magazine.

It really was one of the thinner pistols, although in other dimensions it wasn't so small, nor all that light, either. But it was thinner through the grip than a Colt Government Model but no thinner than the Ruger P345 that I have now (I think!). Mine was a 9mm and I suspect that's all it was made in. The unique feature was that you could switch it from double-action only to DA-SA. There was a place on the side that you turned, using a coin as a screwdriver. Otherwise, it was just a nice pistol, though I don't ever seem to heap praise on any gun compared with other people here.
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Old March 15, 2011, 01:51 PM   #7
scottl
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Quote:
I believe the BDA was a .380, a lot like a Beretta.
Yes.Plus there was also a Sig look alike.
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Old March 15, 2011, 08:03 PM   #8
tekarra
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I had a BDM a number of years ago. It was a pretty good pistol with a small grip and selective SA/DA or DAO fire capability. In mine, the DAO, or R mode as it was called, the trigger pull was long and very mushy. In P mode, the trigger was not bad at all. Mine came with 15 round mags and magazines were expensive. Kind of regret selling it now as it was a bit of a novelty.

Browning also made a BPM and BRM on the same basic pistol as the BDM. Do a search on Google and you will find some interesting reading.
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Old March 15, 2011, 09:27 PM   #9
Harry Callahan
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I have 2 BDMs. One in flat black and one in 2 tone or "Practical" like the Hi Power. Like others have said it is VERY thin. Quite possibly the thinnest full sized semi auto you will ever handle. These could be adjusted to fire DAO or SA simply by turning a switch on the side. Many may not know that at the bottom of the magazine, at the rear, is a "tang". This was designed to be the tool that turns the switch. The BDM is the weapon I carry when I vacation or work outside of Illinois. It's 15+1 capacity is just what the doctor ordered and I shoot very well with it. It's true, the trigger leaves something to be desired when fired in DA. SA is just fine, at least for me. Can find them on Gunbroker for $300-$500, in most cases.
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Last edited by Harry Callahan; March 16, 2011 at 11:37 PM.
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Old March 16, 2011, 09:59 AM   #10
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Thanks to all for the great responses! I am always amazed by the technical info I find on this one website on what I consider as "niche" guns-be it limited production runs, odd models, discontinued versions, etc., etc.

A coworker new to handguns and CCW in general bought this Browning to use to qualify in his class. He let the cat out of the bag early and told me he got it from a retired LEO for a song. Now he's got his CCW permit and is totally convinced he wants a small .357 to use on his church's security team. He was still taken aback by my quick offer to buy, knowing how tight I am for many years.

Man, this thing really feels sweet in the hand-just like the High Power. I'm not overwhelmed by the looks, but it points like a dream and barely shows any wear. Well, if the price is right......who knows? Thanks again, team.

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Old March 16, 2011, 03:16 PM   #11
Willie D
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Adding to the confusion, there is the old "BDA" that looks a lot like a BDM as well as the BDA .380 that is a sister to the Beretta 80 series of guns.

BDA




BDM




BDA

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Old March 16, 2011, 05:50 PM   #12
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I had a BDM, really liked the thin profile as well. It came with 6 mags from a local gun shop. I had a hell of time with accuracy. It probably was me, but I adjusted the sights to the point where I couldn't make heads or tails of it. IIRC, you needed a slim allen-wrench which I always misplaced...I'll say one thing, it went "bang" everytime so I could "spray & pray" if needed to.....
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Old March 19, 2011, 09:06 AM   #13
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Browning BDM

I am a new FL member and was searching for any info on the BDM pistol. I have two of them and have always loved the pistols. I bought my first one back in '94 and it is my carry weapon. I have done a great bit of research on these pistols over the years and wanted to post my findings.

The pistol was designed by Peter Sodoma at Browning. They are all steel and are investment cast. ATI in the Salt Lake City area built all of them through late '96 or so. Then FN in Columbia, SC picked up production the last 2 years or so - some say these pistols were more "refined", I am not sure. The earliest (1991) production runs were weak in the locking lug area. The Secret Service found this to be an issue after sustained +P+ ammo firing (over 4,000 rounds). The pistol was beefed up to take the additional pressures and in the mean time the SS decided to give the contract to Sig Sauer. The DA trigger weight is around 9-10 pounds and the SA weight is 4-5 pounds. The triggers are not great but after some use they feel much better and lighten some. My pistol really got better after 3K rounds or so. I have shot +p and +P+ ammo with no issues at all. I would recommend a Wolff 16-18 pound recoil spring if one plans to shoot a lot of high pressure ammo.

Three areas draw criticism - the safety operation (combo lever), accuracy, and the finish. The combo lever is the decocker, safety and slide release all in one. The only real issue with that is putting the pistol in safe mode when using it as a slide release. My solution is to simply pull back on the slide and I rarely use it as the slide release. As far as the function being backwards from 1911 an Hi-Power types - it is true, but the same as Berettas, S&W, Walther P88, etc. So I guess those guns are backwards too. The accuracy is great in my experience. I shot with my brother and Dad for years and the BDM was more accurate than the Glock 19 and similar but slightly less accurate than my Dad's Beretta 92FS. We are average shooters and found the BDM to be mid pack. It will shoot lighter handloads with the factory recoil spring also. The black factory finish is my biggest complaint and I was offered a factory refinish early on. Instead, I had the pistol hard chromed and have not regretted that. I found Browning's support to be dismal overall which was disappointing. It is really a shame that Browning dropped this pistol rather than offereing a .40 cal upgraded version and my understanding is that currently parts and support are nil.

BTW - the pistol feels better to me than ANY other Wonder9 and will eat any ammo. I have had zero failures in 4K+ rounds, with the exception of a few dud rounds.

Last edited by MrMagoo; March 19, 2011 at 09:16 AM.
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Old March 19, 2011, 09:46 AM   #14
Harry Callahan
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Nice write up Mr Magoo, and welcome to TFL!. I would definitely agree with everything you said, especially about the finish. Seems to wear excessively where the slide meets the barrel at the breech. While their are a few faults with this pistol, overall I think it is a fine design and is one of my most accurate pistols. BTW, you said you had your's hard chromed. What did that set you back, if you don't mind my asking?
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Old March 19, 2011, 09:58 AM   #15
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Hi guys,

I'm much more of lurker than a poster, so much so I had to re-register as I couldn't remember my original username or password.

I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to post about the BDM, I like every feature that is designed into them. I have two, just like Harry C. I find them to be the best handling pistols I have, and I shoot them very accurately. I agree that the trigger is not the best, but it was not designed as a target pistol. I like the fact that they are rugged and will eat anything I feed them. I especially like the "tangs" to make it easier to grasp the slide with sweaty hands. I like the fact that the safety is opposite of the norm. If some one should ever grab the gun they may not be able to make it fire right away.

It might not be the perfect CCW because of it's size and weight, but because it's so thin it carries very well OWB.
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Old March 19, 2011, 10:11 AM   #16
MrMagoo
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Thanks Harry for the comments. I had my first BDM hard chromed by Accurate Plating & Weaponry in Safety Habor, FL. I had this done in the mid-90's for around $150-175, IIRC. They plated everything including the magazines. My recommendation if you consider this is to go with a matte finish all over. Mine is a bit shiny on the flat areas but overall they did a great job. I wish someone would offer aftermarket stuff for these pistols. I saw that Pro-Mag had 30-round mags for this gun at one time but that is about the only aftermarket item offered. I am a CNC machinist and made a titanium recoil guide rod for mine and tightened the slide to frame fit by slightly pressing the slide width narrower. Do you know anyone that "works" these pistols, (ie-trigger work)?

GuyM9 - Thanks for the input. You are absolutely right, the BDM is a great pistol and mostly overlooked. With the open Sig style lockup they will eat ammo very well. Some say the fast twist of 1:9.84 will stabilize the 147 grain bullets well. I have always shot 115 & 124 grain JHPs with no problems in the accuracy dept.

Last edited by MrMagoo; March 19, 2011 at 10:16 AM.
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Old March 19, 2011, 01:15 PM   #17
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+1 MrMagoo and GuyM9 comments. Best feeling "wonder nine" out there and--at the time--disproved that a truly hi-cap 9 couldn't be slim like it is. Odd that the market didn't take more to it. Reverse safety is also a little odd coming from the company that designed the 1911 and Hi Power system and made them such icons.

Last edited by gak; March 19, 2011 at 01:21 PM.
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Old March 19, 2011, 01:23 PM   #18
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I have always been fascinated with the BDM and since I am a huge Hi Power fan, I may pick one up some day as a novelty. A friend bought one in the mid 90's, so I was able to shoot it some. I always liked it except for the way the safety works which is opposite to all my other semi auto that have a safety. I know, I know, you get used to it, and it wouldn't be a carry gun anyway. I have also heard accuracy is pretty average, but I found I could shoot fine with it. I like the slimness, the all steel contruction and that its a bit different from the other wondernines.

A local gunshop has one but I think they want over $600 for it.
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Old March 19, 2011, 07:08 PM   #19
Harry Callahan
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Mr Magoo,
I would be most interested to see your hard chromed BDM. Could you post some photos?
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"Ah ah. I know what you're thinkin'. Did he fire 6 shots or only 5? To tell you the truth in all this excitement I've kind of lost track myself. But with this being a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off... you've got to ask yourself a question. Do I feel lucky? WELL DO YA, PUNK?!!!"- Harry Callahan(Dirty Harry)
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Old March 19, 2011, 09:01 PM   #20
MrMagoo
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Yes Harry I am uploading a photo for the forum. This is the original pistol I purchased in early '94 and had hard chromed in '95 and it has 4K+ rounds on it. This pistol has been carried, hauled in vehicles, etc while holstered in a DeSantis forward tilt holster for most of that time. I would not say it has been abused but neglected compared to a blued pistol that would have long rusted by now. I plan to send it to Browning or a pistolsmith to have some minor work done soon. My other "new" BDM has only a box of rounds through it and is the standard factory black finish.
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Old March 19, 2011, 09:49 PM   #21
Harry Callahan
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Wow. Really nice! I'm really in to the shiny stuff, too! Don't know how much of a photographer you are but would you mind posting a few larger, different angles also? I may have to do something like that to mine also. That really looks sweet.
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"Ah ah. I know what you're thinkin'. Did he fire 6 shots or only 5? To tell you the truth in all this excitement I've kind of lost track myself. But with this being a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off... you've got to ask yourself a question. Do I feel lucky? WELL DO YA, PUNK?!!!"- Harry Callahan(Dirty Harry)
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Old April 2, 2011, 07:52 AM   #22
MrMagoo
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Sorry Harry for the long delay responding. I am not much of a photographer (or at least web uploader) but I would be happy to PM you some more photos, if interested.

FWIW, some time back I noticed the trigger in my carry pistol had become loose in the pivot pin area. I tried to correct it but made matters worse since the part is made of cast aluminum (pot metal). So, I need a trigger for one BDM and ordered one from MGW. After receiving it and attempting the installation I discovered the part is completely different than the one I removed. A quick call to MGW and they had to ask their gunsmith about this. As it turns out, the early and late BDMs used different trigger groups (a total of 6 parts, nearly $200 in parts alone). So, as much as I love these pistols I am finding more issues regarding parts and repair. Browning does not support them any longer and MGW is limited in their parts available, with no early production triggers any way. I will now build one from solid steel or aluminum to get my pistol shooting again. Even though mine has been exceptionally reliable other than this one issue I wanted to research how durable/reliable these pistols are. I came across an old article where a LEO in South FL had put over 10K rounds through one with no issues. Then I found another thread where one guy has put over 38K rounds through one with a spring or two replaced. That said these must be fairly robust pistols, overall. I hear that firing pins can break rather easily but I have not experienced that. The early ATI produced BDMs are what I have but I would like to find one of the later FNMI produced ones to see if they are truly improved as I have heard.
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Old April 13, 2011, 04:26 PM   #23
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Hi guys! It's nice to find some fellow BDM owners. This was my first 9mm pistol when I bought it in 2000. I have put thousands of rounds through the thing, and it has been a BEATER! I take it everywhere. I didn't like the plastic guide rod it was built with, so I had a machinist make me a stainless steel one. That upgraded it nicely. As others have said, it's a very slim gun and just feels good in the hand. I've had many guns since, and nothing feels like my comfortable old BDM. I've used it as a carry gun, but mostly now just take it camping and throw it under the seat of the car when travelling. The only real ammo failures I've had were some hand loads with cast bullets that had headspace problems. So it was kind of picky that way. But otherwise it has been a very reliable gun. My chief complaint is the wrap around plastic grip. I'd love to replace it with an aftermarket grip, but in 11 years I have found NOTHING. I'd love to have it converted to take screw on side panels, but I know that would take some smithing because there's no real backstrap to it. Anyone have experience here upgrading the grips?
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Old April 13, 2011, 08:27 PM   #24
gyvel
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Pros: Excellent grip.

Cons: Bizarre fire controls, some Zamak parts, some internal parts held in place with Silastic RTV.
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Old April 22, 2011, 08:27 PM   #25
Coltommando38
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Hey everyone, I've been watching the thread, and hearing a lot of great things about the BDM. My local gun shop has a used one up for sale at a reasonable price. I'm rather new to autoloaders, but thought a BDM would be a good first 9mm. Does anyone have any advice against buying one used? I understand parts are still available, but very few gunsmiths will work on the BDM. I would be concerned that if the previous owner put some serious mileage on it, and it would be difficult to have repaired. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
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