05 August 2016

Browning Dual Mode 9x19mm Luger

The Browning Dual Mode, also known as the Browning BDM.

It was supposed to be the successor to the High Power, alas...

It was originally developed to compete for the FBI's Secret Service's (thanks Dan) new pistol contract in the early 1990's.  The SIG-Sauer P228 won that one and commercial sales were hampered by the 1994 assault weapons ban on normal capacity magazines.

Limiting it from 15+1 to 10+1 in its infancy killed off it's chances for wider acceptance.  Maybe if it had taken the same magazines as the older gun...  We'll never know.  But it came to market as Glock was becoming dominant in police holsters and the government lashed out against guns of its kind.

It's very similar in size to the old Hi Power, but much thinner in the grips.  They're nearly the same weight loaded, but BDM magazines are slightly heavier.

The safety works backwards.

Down for decock/safe.

Up for fire.

At least the safety is mirrored ambidextrous, I guess.

Unlike its predecessor, The BDSM BDM is a double action gun, with a twist.

With the mode selector on the side of the slide oriented thus with the dot on the 'P' the gun is in "Pistol" mode.  Which is what we think of as normal everyday double-action for a pistol.  Double action for the first shot and single action thereafter.

But if you rotate the dot to align with the 'R' it's in "Revolver" mode, or what we call Double-Action-Only today.  This was to specifically mimic the revolvers that were still plentiful in police hands at the time.  You can use a cartridge rim or a flat screwdriver to rotate this selector, but the magazine has a small tab that's supposed to be used.  The magazine also makes that nice round scratch you can see above.

The mode selector simply rotates a nub that trips a decocker bar inside the frame.

Revolver Mode
Pistol Mode
Decocking bar.
The firing pin block works differently from most others in the firing pin stop slides up when the trigger is pulled and lifts the firing pin clear of two rails that otherwise block it.  The hammer is also cut to hit above the firing pin if the stop isn't raised.

Stop in the lower position.

Raised position.
The checkering on the back of the slide, "...lets you assure that the slide stays in battery during holstering."

Why doesn't this gun use the proven HP mag?  Because they made the magazine release reversible and there's only one cut on the HP magazine.  The thinner grip also mandated a different taper from the double column to single feed.

Another oddity to me is you cannot lock the slide back if the decocker/safety is engaged.  Hitting the decocker will drop the slide even on an empty magazine.  It might be easier to hit the decocker than the slide release when reloading too, the release is very small and smooth.  This might be a "feature" to make the gun more ambidextrous.

Now, how much would you pay?

It was marked $499.  When Willard asked about their bottom dollar, the counter drone said $469.  Yet moments later when the question was rephrased to "what's that come to, out the door?"  The drone recalculated it at $369.  SOLD!  Says Willard, thumping cash on the counter.

Making it an even better deal, it came with the box, booklet and the original spare magazine.


  1. FWIW: The BDM was groomed for the US Secret Service, not the FBI.

    1. I got my information from the most unimpeachable source there is: The Internet!

      Now you tell me that I have to consider actual events and facts? This is the internet! We need no PROOF!

  2. Regardless of who ordered it first, thanks for the info. Interesting little pistol. I've never seen one.

  3. Certainly unusual, probably fairly rare. I'm not sure if that spells high $$$ down the road. I suppose it depends mostly on if there is every anything that drives up demand.


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