An incredible piece of history

Another piece of history has come into the shop. This is a Belgian-made FN model Icebox Armory - Blog Image 31910/22, or what some call a model 22. It is a 7.65×17 mm (.32 auto in the US) caliber pistol designed by John Moses Browning. The original design in 1909 with a 3.5″ barrel was offered to Colt by Mr. Browning, but they declined to take it. He sold the rights to FN as he did with many of his later pistol designs. The original variant is the gun that started WW1 by being used to assassinate Archduke Ferdinand; one was even used to kill Louisiana Governor Huey Long.

After WW1, several European countries wanted a gun like this one for service use, but wanted a longer barrel. In 1922 FN obliged by adding the muzzle extension to the slide, which is evident in the picture, and lengthened the barrel to 4.48″. When the Germans occupied Belgium they continued FN manufacturing of the gun and put inspection/quality control markings on what they made. This is one of those Nazi-produced guns. They were typically issued to Luftwaffe pilots as most .32 auto caliber pistols were, however this one is nickle-plated and no pilot would have gotten this, his would have been in a blued finish.

This is fartoo fancy and was most likely belonged to a government official or a higher-ranking officer in the SS. Unlike many wartime firearms which have mixed parts from several guns, this is a 100% original piece. Every part has the same serial number on it and inspection stamps. Variations of this firearm were made right up into the 1980s. The bore and outside finish are extraordinary in that it is almost perfect. What a find!

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