Browning BDM and FN HP-DA


June 10, 2011, 06:38 PM
I saw several threads on the old forum about the Browning BDM (most of you know FN owns Browning) and thought I'd put in my two cents worth. I bought one used several months ago and am happy with it. It came with only one 15 round factory mag and the first thing I naturally wanted to do was get a second one for the range. Those of you who have one know that they're scarce as hens'a teeth at any affordable price as the gun is no longer manufactured and factory mags aren't available from Browning. I've seen good Samaritans offering them for $125-150. Favors like that we don't need.

What I would warn you about is trying the ProMags- I paid over $60 for one and it jams the gun something fierce. After several weeks of searching the Web I got lucky and saw an ad for SoCal Gun saying thay had LOTS of mags so I emailed to see if they had any for the Browning BDM and lo and behold they had one, and only wanted $50 for it plus shipping. When the salesman described it to me I knew it was factory as it's just like the one I have. There are three holes in the back labeled 5, 10 and 15 rounds, and on the right side (the way it goes into the butt with the barrel facing right) near the magazine butt it says "9MM LUGER MADE IN USA". The ProMag doesn't have the 5-10-15 rounds holes or any name or words on it at all. Anyway you should do business with these people if you need mags for an autoloader- they're honest.

By the way, the 15 round factory mags will also work in the FN HP-DA but the HP-DA 10 round mags will NOT work in the BDM. None of them are interchangeable with the Hi-Power either; I have a fine Practical model.

The BDM fired flawlessly and is a well built gun though not made of all top quality material. The one piece plastic grip is kind of cheesy; however, it is sort of Pachmayr designed and comfortable to hold and shoot. It is a VERY SLIM GUN even through the butt, much more so than the Hi-Power. The safety operating the reverse of standard- up for fire and down for safe is hard to get used to if you use other semiautomatics but if it's your main gun it shouldn't bother you.

I also bought a FN HP-DA shortly after the BDM. This is an entirely different gun from both the BDM and traditional Hi-Power. It is very high quality as it was made at FN in Herstal, not Portugal (though the Portugese Brownings are said to be high quality- my Practical is one and it sure is) or in the U.S. as was the BDM. Unfortunately FN discontinued it also and I think they made a mistake; from what I read they didn't market it enough. It does have an almost identical plastic grip to the BDM but it is heavier and you just can tell by the feel that it's built more solidly than the BDM. Instead of a safety it has a decocker. It came with three 10 round mags; I don't believe 15 rounders were ever sold for it in the US- just in Europe. But with my extra factory BDM mag I'm set.

By the way, if anyone has any factory BDM mags they want to sell, please let me know at If you buy either of these guns I think you'll like them.

Good shooting,
Bill in Cleveland

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June 11, 2011, 09:06 AM
nice read on what I always thought was a nice pistol that flew under the radar...thanks for for the Hi Power...the Portuguese Hi Powers are nice because they are still made in Belgium...just assembled in Portugal...

June 11, 2011, 10:42 AM
:) Very good review. Thanks! Don

June 11, 2011, 02:25 PM
Nice write up. Welcome to the forum.

I hear good things about how well the BDM feels and shoots. I think Browning/FN *almost* had a winner there. I think they really messed up with 3 things though that hurt the gun in the long run.

1. The "convertable" DAO/DA-SA system. This idea was just goofy. I mean, it's fine to offer a gun with versions available in both DAO and DA/SA, but who really needs to swap from one version to another by turning a screw on the gun? If they would have just offered two different models individual buyers could pick either the DAO or DA/SA version and LEO agencies could have done the same. The "quick change" feature added some complexity and design cost to the gun and wasn't really needed.

2. The safety. Most people find a safety that goes down for "FIRE" easier to use then a safety that goes up for "FIRE." And, since the BDM's stablemate, the High Power, uses a safety that goes down for "FIRE" it's especially weird that Browning/FN would reverse this and use a safety that goes up for "FIRE" with the BDM.

3. The magazines. Browning/FN missed the point here when they designed new mags for this gun. If they would have stuck to High Power mags it would have received greater market acceptance.

It makes a lot of sense to market the BDM to fans of the High Power as sort of a "modernized and improved" High Power. But, the incompatable mags and especially the backwards safety really worked against that idea.

I think the BDM is an interesting gun, and I'd like to shoot one sometime, but no matter how well it feels or shoots, I'll pass on owning one myself. If the backwards safety wasn't enough, the fact that the gun is an orphan with no parts support or easy access to mags rules it out for me.

June 11, 2011, 03:56 PM
I have 2 15 round mags for mine and a 1/2 dozen 10 rounders. They are a great feeling gun in hand and pleasent to shoot. My Kids or grandkids will have to keep or sell mine I'll never get rid of it.

June 21, 2011, 05:00 PM
How would you (either/all who have both or have fired both) compare the BDM to the Hi-Power? I've got a Hi-Power that I love, just wondering if adding a BDM to my collection is worth it? Thanks

June 21, 2011, 08:13 PM
I had a BDM but sold it a few years ago as the DA trigger pull was long and mushy with no feel for let off. The SA trigger was acceptable and it was comfortable to shoot. The grip was small and good for those with small hands. Back then magazines were expensive as well, but they were available. Have regretted selling the BDM but it is water under the bridge. Have been trying to find information on the BPM and BRM, can anyone help?

June 22, 2011, 07:48 AM
A shooting buddy of mine bought a BDM when they first came out. It was the height of the wondernine craze before the magazine capacity ban. I shot it a lot, and found the gun very interesting. I did not like how the safety operated opposite of my Hi Power and the accuracy wasn't up to Hi Power standards either. I like the gun, but just prefer the Hi Power all around. Its an interesting addition to a collection though, and one of the slimmest hi-cap 9's made. Its ashame it can't use BHP mags.

June 23, 2011, 12:16 AM
I have both and don't think they are all that much alike the longer I have them.

The grip angle is a little different on the BDM. The trigger is quite different. Both my HPs break very cleanly. The BDM not so much. I have a hard time deciding between Pistol mode and Revolver mode. The P-mode DA pull is very long and the reset is very short. Sort of like a Sig. The R-mode drops the hammer to a half-cocked position. The pull is not as long as the hammer down DA pull and quite light. It is more like a revolver. I shoot my S&W's often enough that this works well for me.

The nice thing about the BDM is it so thin. It's VERY THIN. It's also quite light. I think it kicks a little harder than the HP. I don't shoot mine as much as I used to -- but I'm not getting rid of it either.


June 23, 2011, 12:24 PM
thanks for the info, I just sent my payment off the seller. The price was right and if nothing else, it will make a nice addition to my Hi-Power which I love to shoot. I'll post my thoughts once I've received it and had a chance to hit the range with it.

June 25, 2011, 03:21 PM
I have a couple of things to offer re recent posts:

Trebor- you're 100% right on in your assessment of why the BDM didn't make it. Those were stupid mistakes FN made.

VMR357- I have a question about the bottom gun in your photo. Looks like a High Power Practical, like mine, but the grips are standard Hi-Power and not Pachmayr as mine came with. Did you switch them out or did it come that way?

chez323- As I own all three guns my personal recommendation would be to go for a FN HP-DA (also called the Browning BDA9) as all things being equal (both are no longer manufactured so parts may be equally hard to come by) I feel it is a better constructed gun- made by FN Herstal. You can still get 10 round mags for both with little trouble at a reasonable price. And always buy FACTORY mags. As for getting either repaired, Midwest Gun Works in Kansas City has a lot of Browning parts and will probably be able to help.

This last is for the complete novice investigating the advantage of getting a "double action" pistol- this refers only to the different trigger pull; IT DOES NOT FIRE THE FIRST SHOT without pulling back the slide and releasing it first. It's necessary in order to chamber the first round; just inserting a magazine won't put one in the chamber. That's what makes it a pistol. So if you want to just pick up the gun and shoot it, buy a revolver-or if you can store the gun safely without children or fools getting their hands on it, keep it cocked. After all, a double action semiautomatic is just like a revolver once cocked- when you pull the trigger it will fire. The hammer doesn't have to be back- pulling the trigger will move the hammer back and release it just like a revolver.

Best regards,

June 28, 2011, 09:14 PM
I just picked it up tonight, will post pictures later once I've had a chance to hit the range. Gun is in like new condition with the primal box, paperwork and two 10 round magazines. Looks like it just came off the assembly line and has a nice feel to it. We will see how it compares to my Belgian hi-power this weekend. I must say I am pleased with it so far. I've added a picture of the BDM next to my Hi-Power for comparison. I'll be hitting the range on Saturday if all goes well

June 28, 2011, 10:00 PM
I have also bit the bug. My experience to date is that I have altered one BDM ten round mag to function in the FN HP. I had to remove a tab on the bottom rear and about 26 file strokes of the top for the action to function.

This is a superior firearm!

June 29, 2011, 02:37 AM
Now that's a variation I haven't seen. It's an offshoot of the HP-DA but plainly says on the right side of the slide "Browning single action". Very interesting. Just like the BDA-9 except no decocker or safety. Do you know when that one was made? It must be the second incarnation after 1990. There is also a DAO model without the decocker made at that time according to the photo on the site article on them.

Best regards,

June 29, 2011, 09:14 PM
The FN HP DAO, in my humble opinion, was a fine concept but it was not in the thinking of the mainstream firearms buyers. I regret not having purchased the full size and the compact.

June 29, 2011, 09:41 PM
Well guys I lifted the pics off gunbroker at time of posting. Its a re-list @ $389.00.

Dive in

SA : Societie Anonymous (Belguim version of Inc., Ltd., Gmbh etc.)

Mfg. date latter 90's

June 30, 2011, 11:30 AM

Sorry to be so slow in answering.

I have a question about the bottom gun in your photo. Looks like a High Power Practical, like mine, but the grips are standard Hi-Power and not Pachmayr as mine came with. Did you switch them out or did it come that way?

The Practical has a pair of Navidrex Micarta grips. They are very thin and I like them quite a bit. I've since pulled the Pachmayr's off my C series and replaced them with some Spegel grips. I really like them and will eventually put a set on the Practical.

As for racking the slide to load the gun, that is true of course. But with the BDM, when you engage the safety you will decock the hammer. So you will have a double action first trigger pull. Depending on the P/R setting it will be a full or partial trigger pull.


June 30, 2011, 12:58 PM
Browning S.A. is the Belgian Import Company mark...


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