REVOLVERS & PISTOLS PART 3:

Ruby M/19 and FN pistols

 

 

7,65 mm Pistol M/19 "Spanish":

(Pistola automatica "Ruby" 7.65 mm)

PICTURE: Spanish pistol M/19. This individual pistol was manufactured by Beistegui Hermanos (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (96 KB).

Calibre:

7,65 mm x 17 (.32 ACP)

Length:

160 mm (typically, varies from one pistol to another)

Barrel length:

81 - 94 mm

Weight:

About 850 g

Magazine:

9, removable

Official abbreviations:

"7,65 pist/19" and "765 PIST 19"

Country of origin:

Spain

Finnish use: About 10,000 bought from France in 1919. The first pistol model acquired for Finnish Army. Mainly used in Finnish home front during World War 2, but also few frontline units got these pistols issued.

During World War 1 both French and Italian armed forces had shortage of pistols and were buying this quite heavy 7,65 mm blow-back pistol manufactured around Eibar in Spain. Demand was so large that a large number of small companies in Eibar and Guernica started making their own versions of this pistol during World War 1. This pistol unofficially called Ruby was produced in large numbers, but as practically all manufacturers did it with slight variations parts of different weapons were not interchangeable and getting exactly right kind of spare-parts was close to zero. When 7,65 mm x 17 ammunition used was also quite weak it was no surprise that both Italian and French Armies were eager to get rid of them as soon as possible after World War 1. Serbia had received 5,000 of these pistols, and for some reason Yugoslavia bought more of them between 1931 - 1933 and named them Pistolj 7,65 mm/VTZ 1933.

Trade names that can be found in M/19 pistols:

  • Arizaga (manufacturer: Gaspar Arizaga)
  • Beistegui Hermanos (manufacturer: Beistegui Hermanos)
  • Bolomburu
  • Bristol
  • Cebra (manufacturer: A. Zulaika)
  • Doc
  • Ideal
  • Leturiondo (manufacturer: Aldabazal Leturiondo Y.CA.)
  • Looking Glass
  • Marina
  • Martian (manufacturer: De Martin a Bascaran)
  • Regina
  • Retolaza (manufacturer: Retolaza Hermanos)
  • Rex
  • Salaverria (manufacturer: Iraola Salaverria Y.CA.)
  • Vendecor
  • Victor Bernedo
  • Zulaika (manufacturer: M. Zulaika Y.CA.)
  • At 1919 Finland was shopping new weapons for its newly born Army in France. Finnish Ministry of War was foolish enough to be tempted by these cheap pistols and bought 10,000 pistols worth of these maintenance nightmares. Pistols were shipped to Finland in July of 1919 and were distributed to Finnish military units. It didn't take long for those military units and weapons depots to find out just how problematic pistols M/19 were. While not having interchangeable parts between individual weapons in small small arms still was not exactly unheard during World War 1 in case of these pistols the level of imcompatability borderlined ridiculous. Pistols M/19 manufactured by different manufactures simply did not necessarily have any part incompatible pistols manufactured by other manufacturers - and this included even magazines. As Finnish Armed Forces had a serious shortage of pistols these caricatures of pistols had to be kept in use for decades. During World War 2 even some unfortunate combat-units got issued with these dubious pistols, even if intention was not to issue them to non-home-front units. Year 1943 some 4,500 pistols M/19 remained, but by year 1951 their number had dropped to 2,581. After World War 2 they remained warehoused until most of them were sold to military personnel and collectors around 1965 - 1971. From collectors point of view the value of M/19 pistols can be best considered as contradictory - they were poor pistols, but also the first official military pistols of Finnish Armed Forces.

     

    7,65 mm Pistols M/1910 FN and M/1910-22 FN:

    (Pistole Automatique, Mle 1910)

    (Pistole Automatique, Mle 1910/22)

    PICTURE: FN M/1910 pistol (Photo taken in Sotaamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (73 KB).

    PICTURE: FN M/1910-22 pistol (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (70 KB).

    Calibre:

    7,65 mm x 17 (.32 ACP)

    Length:

    152 mm (M/1910) / 178 mm (M/1910-22)

    Barrel length:

    89 mm (M/1910) / 114 mm (M/1910-22)

    Weight:

    570 g (M/1910) / 730 g (M/1910-22)

    Magazine:

    7, removable (M/1910) / 9, removable (M/1910-22)

    Official abbreviations:

    "765 PIST 10 FN"

    "765 PIST 22 FN"

    Country of origin:

    Belgium

    Prototype:

    1908

    Production:

    M/1910: 1912 - 1983

    Finnish use:

  • FN M/1910: 2,500 bought from Belgium in February of 1940. During Continuation issued to home front troops.
  • FN M/1910-22: 2,500 pistols bought from Belgium in February of 1940. Both Finnish home front troops and frontline troops used them during Continuation War.
  • M/1910 was simple and functional blowback pistol designed by John Moses Browning. FN (Fabrique Nationale located in Herstal, Belgium) manufactured this pistol from 1910 till 1940 in very large numbers. And after World War 2 its production was restarted and continued until 1983. The pistol was manufactured in two calibre: 7,65 x 17 and 9 mm x 17, which were both cartridges designed by Browning. The 7,65-mm version was much more usual of the two - over 770,000 were manufactured by end of World War 2, while only about 138,000 pistols in 9-mm calibre were manufactured in that same period. This pistol type enjoyed popularity among Police departments in several countries (among them Finnish Police). However the pistol was not popular among German military, which lead its production basically ending for rest of the war once the Germans had captured the factories in 1940. Copies of this pistol were made in large numbers in numerous countries. The pistol was quite modern when introduced and proved good among pistols of its size class, but by end of World War 2 new double-action pistols of the same calibre made its design look old-fashioned. Structurally the pistol is typical blow-back with recoil spring located around barrel. The pistol has three safeties: Grip safety, which disengages when grip is squeezed, magazine safety and typical thumb-operated safety switch in left side of grip. The basic appearance of M/1910 is very sleek without any sharp edges and sights machined on top of the slide.

    M/1910-22 was specially developed for order of Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians (also known as Yugoslavia) in 1923. That order of 60,000 pistols specified a pistol with at least 8-round magazine capacity and 114-mm barrel. Fabrique Nationale (FN) had no such pistol in production at that moment so lengthened version of M/1910 pistol (with longer grip and barrel) was developed. Pistol proved to be quite good as such an emergency version and sold well in commercial markets. Among pre World War 2 customers were Dutch Army, Police and Military Police, which called the pistol "M25 n:o 1". Pre World War 2 export customers included Turkish Army, French Navy, Greek Army and Air Force. During Belgian occupation of World War 2 Germans called M/1910-22 and kept it in production for their own Armed Forces. The Germans preferred 7.65 mm x 17 calibre version (Pistole 626(b) in German inventory) so they stopped production of 9 mm x 17 version (Pistole 641(b)) as soon as the factory run out of readily available parts (presumably already in 1940). During the war German military acquired some 363,000 "Pistole 626(b)". Even ending of the war didn't end production of M/1910-22, which continued well to 1960's. Total production of M/1910-22 is estimated have been around 760,000 - 800,000 (depending source).

    At February of 1940 Finnish Armed Forces bought 2,500 M/1910 and 2,500 M/1910-22 pistols from Belgium. During Continuation War M/1910 pistols were used by Finnish troops stationed in home front, while M/1910-22 were used both by Finnish frontline troops and home-front troops. Just about all M/1910 were transferred to Finnish Police during and soon after WW2. M/1910-22 pistols were also given to police, sold abroad or scrapped soon after World War 2. Both pistol types did very short career in Finnish military and disappeared from its weaponry by 1950. However their career with Finnish Police proved much longer - some M/1910 remained in use of Finnish Police until 1990's. According what is known all M/1910 and M/1910-22 pistol delivered to Finland were in 7.65 mm x 17 calibre.

     

    9 mm Pistols M/03 FN and M/07 Husqvarna:

    (Pistole automatique Browning, modele 1903)

    (9 mm pistol m/07)

    PICTURE: FN pistol M/03. Markings in side of the frame indicate that this individual pistol had served in regiment I26 (Vaxholms Genadjärregemente) of Swedish Army before its arrival to Finland with volunteers during Winter War. Notice stylized "FN" in grip panels. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (102 KB).

    PICTURE: Husqvarna pistol M/07. Notice Husqarna emblem (stylized "H" in a ring with crown on top of it) in grip panels. Also notice magazine release in bottom of the grip. Markings indicate that this individual pistol had served in regiment I2 (Göta Livgarde) before arriving with volunteers to Finland.(Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (69 KB).

    Calibre:

    9 mm x 20 SR browning long

    Length:

    203 mm

    Barrel length:

    128 mm

    Weight:

    930 g

    Magazine:

    7, removable (10, removable)

    Official abbreviations:

    "9,00 pist/07 FN"

    "900 PIST 07 FN"

    Country of origin:

    Belgium (M/03) /Sweden (M/07)

    Prototype:

    1902

    Production:

    M/03: 1903 - 1914 and 1918 - 1927, about 58,000 manufactured

    M/07: 1917 - 1942, about 94,700 manufactured

    Finnish use: Less than 100 cumulated at 1918. Used by Swedish (SFK) Volunteer Force during Winter War. When SFK returned to Sweden after Winter War it left behind 860 FN M/03 and Husqvarna M/07 pistols, which were issued to the Finnish front-line troops during Continuation War.

    This pistol developed by John Moses Browning was unusual in being blowback weapon using such a powerful cartridge (9 mm x 20 SR Browning Long cartridge is almost as powerful as 9 mm x 19 Parabellum). Early on it was called Modèle de Guerre (war-model) and Grand Modèle. Several countries (including Imperial Russia, Turkey and Sweden) bought these pistols as sidearms for their military before World War 1. The first Swedish order of 9,000 pistols made in summer of 1907 carried notable historical significance. By that time FN had manufactured only a handful of these pistols and had declined some smaller military orders - presumably because they might have not covered additional expenses related to starting manufacturing of new pistol model. There is also a possibility that FN had left open the possibility for the first buyer to request minor changed to the design without extra expenses. Once the production really started in year 1907 it continued in FN (Fabrique National in Herstal Belgium) factory until year 1927. Even German occupation of Belgium during World War 1 merely succeeded to pause the manufacturing for couple of years. But, since this pause also stopped deliveries to Sweden, it resulted Swedish Husqvarna factory to start its own production of the pistol. Husqvarna manufactured M/07 pistol (as the Swedes called it) from 1917 till 1942 (production was not constant) making some 94,700 pistols of this model. Some 88,600 of these Husqvarna manufactured pistols were delivered to the main client - Swedish Armed Forces. The pistol remained in Swedish use even long after World War 2. It is rather ironic that Husqvarna ended up manufacturing more M/07, than the number of M/03 manufactured by FN. Total production of model 1903 pistol in FN factories was about 58,400. There were apparently several Russian orders with pistols going mainly to police use. From pistols ordered by Imperial Russia most (about 7,000) were issued to Gendarme units, some 3,100 pistols to Moscow Police Department and few hundred to railway police units. The pistol had two safeties: grip-safety and thumb-operated safety switch in left side of the weapon. Additional equipment available for these pistols to those customers willing to purchase included 10-round magazines and holster-stock, which depending exact version of M/03 pistol could be attached to rear part of grip or to this extended magazine. For obvious reason the 10-round magazine and stock holster attached to it were not exactly the most ideal combination, as when they were attached replacing magazine (part of normal reloading process) meant also removing the stock holster with it. Post World War 1 FN model 1903 customers included at least Estonia, El Salvador, Paraguay and Turkey. Only known export deal made by Husqvarna for M/07 pistol seems to have been to Columbia in 1930's. Both FN M/03 and Husqvarna M/07 remained in use of Swedish Armed Forces until being replaced with Glock 17 in late 1980's.

    The tests that the Swedes organised for selecting service pistol to their military in year 1903 were broad. The tested pistols included: 7.65-mm Parabellum model 1900 with 12-cm barrel, 7.65-mm FN model 1900, .38 Colt calibre Colt-Browning, 7.63-mm Mannlicher model 1901, 7.65-mm Mannlicher carbine-pistol model 1903, 6.5-mm Hamilton, 9-mm Browning (model 1903) and 8-mm Frommer. These pistols also tested against old Nagant revolvers - Swedish Nagant model 1887 and Russian Nagant model 1895. From these weapons Parabellum proved most accurate, but otherwise the FN model 1903, which was still called "experimental-model" at that time, ruled the tests. So, the Swedes selected 9-mm Browning "experimental" as their new military pistol and it got named model 1903. While the pistol was officially approved for Swedish military use in 1904, the actual first order to FN was apparently delayed due to debate concerning if Swedish officers should be equipped with automatic pistols or pistol carbines.

    PICTURE: FN pistol M/03 with 10 round magazine and holster-stock. This pistol and the holster stock had once been property of railway security of North-West Railways of Imperial Russia and had probably been captured in year 1918. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (70 KB).

    During Finnish Civil War of 1918 small number of these pistols was captured or otherwise acquired from various sources, but the total number did not reach even 100 pistols. So at that time they got just listed among "pistol miscellaneous" and remained warehoused until end of Winter War. During Winter War Swedish volunteer force SKF brought hundreds of these pistols to Finland among its weaponry and used them. When SFK returned home after Winter War in year 1940, this unit handed over its weapons to Finnish Armed Forces. Grand majority of the weapons used by SFK had been financed with donations of Swedish private citizens, who had wanted to help Finnish defence financially. Hence they were considered to be Finnish property. SFK had been equipped with standard issue Swedish military small arms of that time. So among the weapons handed over by SFK to Finnish military were some 860 ex Swedish Armed Forces FN M/03 and Husqvarna M/07 pistols. Transferring them to ownership of Finnish Army increased the total number of M/03 and M/07 pistols in inventory of Finnish military to well over 900 pistols. This number was substantial enough for them to be issued to Finnish Army front-line troops during Continuation War, even if it was the only weapon with 9 mm x 20 ammunition in Finnish inventory. Spring of 1944 about 772 of these pistols still remained, but when the most seriously worn out pistols were scrapped by year 1951, the total number dropped to mere 331 pistols. The remaining pistols M/03 and M/07 were sold (mostly to military personnel) between 1965 - 1971.

     

    9 mm Pistol M/35 FN "GP":

    (Modele 1935 pistole automatique, Grand Puissance)

    PICTURE: FN High-Power M/35 pistol. All M/35 pistols bought for Finnish military had early tangent rear sight. The hammer is in unusual position (these pistols have no half-cocked notch) - possibly to allow safety being on. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (81 KB).

    Calibre:

    9 mm x 19 Parabellum/Luger

    Length:

    197 mm

    Barrel length:

    118 mm

    Weight:

    900 g

    Magazine:

    13, removable

    Official abbreviations:

    "9,00 pist/FN"

    "900 PIST FN"

    Country of origin:

    Belgium

    Prototype:

    First in 1923. Later (Saive designed) in 1928.

    Finnish use: 2,400 bought from Belgium in February - March of 1940. Finnish frontline troops used some during the last weeks of Winter War and in larger scale during Continuation War. Also issued in large numbers to Finnish pilots during Continuation War.

    Better known in English speaking word as High-Power this pistols design was started by John Moses Browning and after his death (1926) finished by D.J. Saive. Name Grand Puissance (= high power) came from magazine capacity, which was larger than other pistols of 1930's. In this magazine cartridges were in interlocking array, which made magazine quite short but allowed it to carry large amount of cartridges at the same time. Otherwise the basic structure of pistol used basically same "tilting barrel" concept, that Browning had used earlier in Colt M1911, but the concept had been somewhat modified. The pistol had two safeties: Magazine-safety (which unfortunately often have rather unpleasant effect to trigger feel) and thumb-operated safety switch in left side of the grip. Unusual for European pre World War 2 pistols was also location of the magazine release switch - typically it was located below grip in European pistols of that time, but in FN GP it was located next to trigger arc. The pistol was immediate success, during the few years before WW2 some 70,000 (or 56,500 depending sources) were made and sold to Armed Forces of Belgium, Estonia, Lithuania, China and Peru. During WW2 this pistol was used by both sides and manufactured both in occupied Belgium for the Germans and in Canada for the Allies and China. During WW2 some 319,000 were made in Belgium and some 150,000 in Canada. The Germans knew the pistol as Pistole 640(b) and Allies mostly called it "Browning High Power". After WW2 high-power pistols were purchased by dozens of countries (among them Belgium, Denmark, Great Britain, Netherlands, Austria and West Germany) for their Armed Forces and/or Police. Copies have also been manufactured with or without license in several countries like Argentina (FM), Hungary (FEG), Indonesia (Pindad), Canada, Nigeria, Venezuela, United States and Israel (Kareen). Later versions of this pistol are still used by authorities in many countries even today. FN GP was also one of the participants in Finnish pistol tests of 1939, whose winner was VKT L-35 pistol.

    During World War 2 Finland bought some 2,400 M/35 pistols from Belgium, 900 of them arrived in February of 1940 and 1,500 in March of 1940. Number of these pistols were issued to Finnish pilots during Continuation War, since with holster-stock they were considered to be best pistol available. Those pistols that went to Army were issued mostly to frontline infantry. The pistol proved to be not only very reliable and accurate, but also very durable structurally - they were commonly known as only pistol model in Finnish use that could be used with Suomi M/31 submachine gun ammunition. The pistols delivered to Finland had adjustable rear sights with sight tangent settings up to very optimistic 500 meters. The holster-type Finnish military used with FN M/35 during World War had holster attached to wood holster stock. But apparently they were often used without this stock holster, since it made the pistol holster clumsy to carry.

    PICTURE: FN High-Power M/35 pistol with holster-stock. This was the standard holster type with FN M/35 pistol in Finnish use. (Photo taken in Sotamuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (95 KB).

    Hard wartime use was visible in survivability rate of this pistol in Finnish use. Year 1951 only 1,378 pistols remained. They stay in use until 1985 - 1986, at which time they were decommissioned and sold away. Early 1980's Finnish Defence Forces selected a further double-action development of High-power pistol called FN HP DA (better known as Pistol 80 in Finland) as its new service pistol. Unlike the earlier single-action High-Power M/35 version, the double-action version has gained rather poor reputation in Finland, even with later improvements after which it was renamed as Pistol 80-91.


    SOURCES:

    Markku Palokangas: Sotilaskäsiaseet Suomessa 1918 - 1988 osat 1 - 3 (= Military Small Arms in Finland 1918 - 1988 parts 1 - 3)

    Timo Hyytinen: Arma Fennica 2, sotilasaseet (Arma Fennica 2, military weapons)

    Ian Hogg and John Wells: Pistols of the World

    Edward C. Ezell: Handguns of the World

    John Walter: Luger

    Article: Browning "kymppi", FN Mle 1910 by Jussi Peltola in Ase-lehti magazine vol. 5/96.

    Article: FN Mle 1910/22 by Jussi Peltola in Ase-lehti magazine vol. 6/96.

    Article: Ruotsalainen sotilaspistooli m/07 eläkkeelle in Ase magazine vol 3/88.

    Article: FN 1903, tuntematon suuruus by Jussi Peltola in Ase-lehti magazine vol. 3/96.

    Article: Lisenssiwanhus, FN M/03 - Husqvarna M/07 by Ari Nirri in Rekyyli magazine vol. 6/2006.

    Article: Nollakolmosesta Husqvarnaan, Fabrieque Nationalen Ruotsin pistooli by Mika Pitkänen in Kaliberi magazine vol 8/2009.

    Article: Browning High Power, maailman suosituin sotilaspistooli? by Jussi Peltola in Ase-lehti magazine vol. 1/97.

    Article: FN High Power pistooli Mle. 1935 by Matti Ingman in Ase-lehti magazine vol. 6/2000.

    Article: Kymppi ja napakymppi, FN 1910 ja 1910/22 by Mika Pitkänen in Kaliberi magazine vol. 5/2009

    Military manual: Pistoolit 23 ja 19. Rakenne, huolto ja käsittely by Sotaväen Esikunta (1925).

    Special thanks to Sotamuseo (Finnish Military Museum), Helsinki.

    Special thanks to Ilmatorjuntamuseo (Finnish Antiaircraft Museum), Tuusula.


    Last updated 29th of May 2014
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