FN M1922: Yugoslavian Contract

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FN M1922: Yugoslavian Contract

Postby martin08 » Sat Nov 07, 2015 10:39 am

From its inception prior to the turn of the 20th Century, Fabrique Nationale of Belgium had become a significant supplier of small arms to Serbia. By the eve of the Balkan Wars (1912-1913) and WWI, the most common officer-issued sidearm for the Serbian Army was the Browning FN Model 1910 in 9m/m kurz in (.380 acp).

One pistol in particular - it was the infamous FN M1910 with serial number 19074 which was allegedly used by the Young Bosnian member, Gavrilo Princip, to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in Sarajevo in June 1914. This event is most commonly cited as the tipping point to roll the world into the chasm of The Great War.

Two good reference links:

http://www.cruffler.com/historic-may01.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FN_Model_1910

Of course, the best Fabrique Nationale pistol reference is the book by Anthony Vanderlinden, FN Browning Pistols, Side-Arms that Shaped World History.

http://www.fn-browning.com/new_page_1.htm

Through the two Balkan Wars and WWI, the number of FN sidearms were greatly depleted in Serbia. And in the early 1920's the newly formed conglomerate country of Yugoslavia (Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes) sought to re-outfit its army, but with a more significant pistol in terms of barrel length and capacity. Fabrique Nationale was again chosen to be the producer.

To defer the cost of retooling for a new gun design, the Browning FN M1910 in 9m/m kurz was chosen as the base. As with the original M1910 design, the blowback/striker-fired pistol would employ three safety mechanisms - grip, thumb and released magazine.

The major changes were:

1. The barrel was lengthened from 88mm to 113mm, which required the introduction of an interlocking extension collar to the front of the main slide. This provided for a greater sight radius.

2. The grip frame and magazine were extended to allow for an eight vs. six round capacity.

3. A lanyard ring was also added to the lower left rear frame.

The upgrades were finalized in 1922 and the new pistol design became known as the FN Model 1910/22, also referred to as the FN M1922 or FN1922. In early 1923, Yugoslavia contracted for 60,000 units, with the final orders being filled into the late 1930's.

Wikipedia file photo of FN Model 1910

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Yugoslavian Contract FN Model 1922

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The relatively simple and reliable design of the M1922 became a great selling tool for Fabrique Nationale. It was offered in 9m/m kurz (9mm short, 9 X 17mm Browning, .380 acp) or in 7.65m/m (7.65 X 17mm Browning, .32 acp). The model began to spread throughout Europe in the 1920's and 1930's, with military, police, private security and commercial contracts going out to Holland, Turkey, Greece, France, Romania, Finland and Denmark. During war-time occupation of Belgium, Germany produced more M1922 pistols than any other model at FN (1940 - 1944). And post-war contracts continued up through the early 1980's to countries such as West Germany and France.

Fabrique Nationale pistols were once again depleted from the Balkan Region during the occupation of Yugoslavia in WWII, with a large percentage of them being pressed into German service. Other country's contract versions of the FN 1922, as well as those produced under Nazi occupation at the FN factory, were already popular with German officers, and the Luftwaffe in particular.

Today's featured pistol is the most commonly seen version of the Yugoslavian Contract FN M1922, and has the Serbian Cyrillic stamp on the right side slide of Војно државни, for Army (or Military) State. Another version is rarely encountered and is stamped as официрски, for Officer's issue (not pictured). The Yugoslavian crest is stamped into the top forward area of the main slide.

Following WWII, a great many FN pistols came to the US with our returning service members. The Yugoslavian Contract pistols were among them. They are not rare in the States, but are less commonly encountered than those FN1922 pistols of other major contract countries.

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My example is in pretty decent overall shape at 90-plus % of finish, with light freckling and grip thinning, some minor edge/holster wear, and minor scattered pitting on top of the slide. The signature rust bluing on these FN 1922 pistols is very attractive, and the same specimen can range in appearance from a near royal blue in natural light, to a dark slate gray in artificial or low light.

Interesting to note that the two-line left side slide is stamped with "FABRIQUE NATIONALE D'ARMES DE GUERRE S.A. HERSTAL BELGIQUE" and "BROWNING'S PATENT DEPOSE". All of my later slides from other M1922 contracts are marked similar, but absent of the "S.A." (for Société Anonyme or Incorporate Company) which precedes the Herstal Belgique.

The Lion over P.V stamp is the nitro powder proof, and the Star over Y stamp identifies the proof controller, Chesnoy Léon.

Belgian Proof Mark reference: http://damascus-barrels.com/Belgian_All_Proofmarks.html

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The Yugoslavian Contract specimen is fitted with the pressed horn grips with the intertwined FN logo. Other contract examples may be found with formed plastic grips, or flat wooden checkered grips (Nazi occupation). My grips show moderate wear, with a few chips and scratches. A single magazine came with the gun, and has the proper oval-FN and 9m/m caliber (.380 acp) stamps.

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Matching numbers are found on the right frame, slide and slide extension collar. Another serial is stamped on the underside of the main slide. Disassembly is required to view the matching barrel number.

The 9m/m caliber and Belgian nitro and black powder proof stamps can be viewed on the barrel through the slide ejection port. Crowns over K and B inspection marks are found on the left front trigger guard, with C/K appearing again on the underside of the slide. An A/S (inspector?) stamp appears on the right trigger guard

And perhaps a returning GI or subsequent U.S. owner, McNeil, scratched his name on the right side trigger.


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The holster appears as the post-war Belgian Police style for the FN M1922. Imprints on the inside leather from the pistol backstrap and lanyard ring suggest the two items have been together for a while. It is difficult to read the ink stamp for the maker and date on the inside body - 1957? 67? 87?


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In conclusion, the FN Model 1922 became one of the most prolifically distributed military, police and security pistol models of its time. Its inter-war and war-time popularity were reflections of its simple operation, maintenance, and reliable design. As a bonus, it is one fine looking piece.

The model is gaining recognition and popularity among today's collectors, but it is still one of the most attainable and affordable items on the historic pistol market. Anyone with an interest in twentieth century European sidearms should consider an FN M1922 as an important slot to fill in the collection.

And as always, thanks for looking and listening.

-Matt Martin
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Re: FN M1922: Yugoslavian Contract

Postby jeffchance » Sat Nov 07, 2015 10:50 pm

And another very nice addition. Congrats :D
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Re: FN M1922: Yugoslavian Contract

Postby adam01364 » Sun Nov 08, 2015 6:59 am

The Yugoslav and Dutch versions of the M1922 are on my wanna-buy list. The few I've seen have been in rather poor condition or priced astronomically.
Congrats on another awesome addition!
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Re: FN M1922: Yugoslavian Contract

Postby bitsman » Sun Nov 08, 2015 2:15 pm

Very nice addition... I have been looking into these surplus C&R guns.. prices are very reasonable currently... a nice 7.62x25 in on my list....
"You broke into my house, Stole my property, Murdered my Servants and my pets, And that is what GRIEVES me the most" Can you name the movie????

"Remember Ladies.... If you don't stand for something, You'll fall for anything..."
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Re: FN M1922: Yugoslavian Contract

Postby Flowmaster » Wed Nov 11, 2015 10:02 pm

The next time I'm in Maine I'm going to hit you up. Your C&R list must be full of good stuff.
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Re: FN M1922: Yugoslavian Contract

Postby Erich » Thu Nov 19, 2015 1:19 pm

Cooler than a fan - I was hoping this would be a fun thread, and I was not disappointed. Thanks for sharing! :)
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