Military Wiki
Browning BDA
Browning BDA
Type Semi-automatic pistol
Place of origin  Belgium
Service history
Used by Finnish Defence Forces
Production history
Designed 1983
Manufacturer FN Herstal
Weight 920 g (32 oz) (BDA, BDAO)
840 g (30 oz) (BDAM)
765 g (27.0 oz) (BDAC)
Length 200 mm (7.9 in) (BDA, BDAO)
173 mm (6.8 in) (BDAM, BDAC)
Barrel length 118 mm (4.6 in) (BDA, BDAO)
96 mm (3.8 in) (BDAM, BDAC)
Width 38 mm (1.5 in) (BDA, BDAO, BDAM)
27 mm (1.1 in) (BDAC)
Height 130 mm (5.1 in) (BDA, BDAO, BDAM)
93 mm (3.7 in) (BDAC)

Cartridge 9x19mm Parabellum
9x21mm IMI
Action Short recoil operated
Muzzle velocity 350 m/s (1,148 ft/s) (BDA, BDAO)
Effective range Sights fixed for 50 m
Feed system 14-round detachable box magazine
7-round magazine (compact models)
Sights Fixed iron sights, front - blade, rear - notch

The Browning Hi-Power BDA 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 U.S. bid for a new sidearm chambered for the 9x19mm Parabellum cartridge that would equip all the branches of the United States armed forces (ultimately, the Italian Beretta 92F would emerge as the winner). The weapon was however accepted into service with the Finnish Defence Forces as their general service pistol under the designation 9.00 PIST 80 and 9.00 PIST 80-91.

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.[1] The BDA’s name is an abbreviation for "Browning Double Action ". The pistol was marketed in Europe as the HP-DA.

Design details

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.[1] 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 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 9x19mm Parabellum cartridge, but a 9x21mm version is also available for those countries where military calibers (such as the 9x19mm) 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.


  •  Finland: Standard service pistol.[2]



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

External links

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