View Full Version : Questions about s/n on my FN Browning 1922 (imperfection?)

August 31, 2012, 08:21 PM
So, I'm curious about my Belgian FN Browning's serial number [pictures attached], first things first. It does not have the waa nazi marking. There is what appears to be a lion and a P.V stamped under that. Ive already gone through the troubles of trying to date it via searches through other sites. But now that I have been staring at the serial number at the end of the barrel and on the frame it almost appears to have an S at the end. So really Im curious if there is any relevance or maybe it is an imperfection that just so happened to occur twice on stamping this gun? It is definitely a different font then the rest of the digits. If someone could help point me in the right direction of determining whether my serial number is 2XXXS OR 2XXX5 it would be greatly appreciated.





Here is a picture of the gun full frame if it helps figuring out what variation etc

August 31, 2012, 08:35 PM
Looks like a 5 to me. The pistol looks post-war to me.

August 31, 2012, 08:37 PM
It does, but why would it be different from the rest of the digits, twice? its smaller and more crude then the rest.

Jim Watson
August 31, 2012, 08:45 PM
Lion PV is a Belgian proof mark.
Is that and the funky serial number the only markings on the gun?

Maybe they broke the 5 stamp and ground out a replacement in a hurry.

September 1, 2012, 10:43 AM
There are inspectors marks, E with a star above appears three times on various parts.

September 1, 2012, 10:51 AM

if the serial number referencing charts are correct it would be dated in 1930.
the serial numbers were pretty high by the time the war rolled around. in the hundred thousands. then again it seems to be relatively difficult to date these guns. considering contract production with separate serial numbers for inventory reasons.

James K
September 1, 2012, 10:51 PM
It is not uncommon for a factory to break a number stamp and replace it with one from a different font. No big deal and nothing to worry about as far as record keeping goes.

There are some cases where a number added at the front or back of a serial number would indicate a problem, like a "1" added at the front of the serial of a low-number M1903 rifle to make it look like a double heat-treated, but this is not one of them.


September 1, 2012, 11:49 PM
@removebeforeflight - before the war, all guns made on contract received contract numbers, not serial numbers. Furthermore, the contract numbers all started at the same number. All contract numbers were numbered between 0 (well something larger than 0 but i don't remember which number) 200,000. Contract pistols typically included a roll mark indicating the country or department that ordered the pistols.

Pistols made for commercial sale were numbered above 200,000 and those were serial numbers.

During WW2, while under German occupation, the numbering scheme was changed.

Still more confusing, a large number of records from FN were destroyed during the war.

I haven't studied post-war pistols as diligently but FN did not follow the same numbering schemes as before or during the war.

Lastly, FN is very protective of their records. Very few people outside of their facilities have ever been granted access to those records.

This means a number of things.
1) there are multiple contract pistols all sharing the same numbers. (e.g. There may have been a Dutch contract pistol with contract number 12345, and a Serbian contract pistol numbered 12345, etc.). These pistols could have been produced a decade apart.
2) you have to know whether your pistol was produced pre-war, wartime or post-war for any serial number chart to have any meaning.
3) there will be post-war pistols that share serial numbers with pre-war contract or commercial serial numbered pistols.

The style of grip panels on your pistol were introduced by the Germans during WW2. This styles was continued for a short time after the war. It is possible the grip panels were swapped. Who knows. There are a few minor design details that would define it as a pre-war or post-war pistol but I would need to see it side by side with known examples to be able to tell. I still believe your pistol was produced a few years after W2.

September 2, 2012, 09:41 AM
Thanks! I never in a million years when acquiring this piece would I have thought it would be this difficult to date. The guy I got it from said "just look it up by the serial", now that ive done research theres multiple variations etc. It just gets deeper and deeper the more I look into it. Ive heard the book " Side-Arms that Shaped World History" would be a lot of help. But I have yet to muster up the will to spend $65 to date my gun. Once again, Thanks to all for the responses!!

James K
September 3, 2012, 07:24 PM
Hi, Darwins,

You wrote, "... before the war, all guns made on contract received contract numbers, not serial numbers. Furthermore, the contract numbers all started at the same number..."

I wonder about your source for that info. As I understand it, the customer, not FN, decided whether to have his guns in a separate number series, based on his needs and inventory control. So one order might start with 1, while another might be like the first Dutch order - two thousand pistols but starting at #3000.

The Greek 1926 order, on the other hand, had the normal serial numbers (in the 202xxx-215xxx range) but the Greeks stamped their own control number on the slide.

One thing is for sure. Numbering of the Model 1922 is confusing!

A general note: Before the passage of various gun control laws, factories rarely cared about serial numbers. Most did not put on any and those that did didn't always keep records of them. Factories making military arms (including Springfield Armory) considered serial numbers a means of inventory control at the using unit, not a means of tracking changes or keeping records at the factory itself. FN was no different in this regard, except that they supplied weapons to many armies, not just one, as at Springfield.


Rainbow Demon
September 27, 2012, 10:43 AM
I have a Yugoslav contract model.
Don't know much about these, only got this one dirt cheap in some horse trading years ago because the guy who had inherited thought something was wrong because it was marked as a 9mm but 9mm luger cartridges wouldn't fit.

The pistol is in great condition.

From what I've read the Yugoslav contract pistols were delivered without serial numbers, and were numbered by Yugoslav military inspectors after being stripped down to their component parts and carefully inspected. I guess they did not want to have to reject and replace a part then substitute a non matching number part later.

There are copies of the Browning pistols, some indistinguishable from the originals. The Brownings were a favorite in Japan and China so knock offs have shown up, usually pretty well made, though some are rough as a cob.

Some wartime P-35 pistols made for the Germans were returned to FN after the war and refurbished to be sold to European police departments. Could be some 1922 pistols were refurbed and NAZI markings polished out.
The Nazi markings on a friends P-35 were very lightly stamped. The die had been very sharp they just used a very light hand when stamping. Markings this light could disappear in a refinish. I managed to talk him out of rebluing it.