Inside the “Browning Europe” Factory

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Imagine what the history of American firearms would have been without John Moses Browning.

We certainly wouldn’t have commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Model 1911 pistol, to this day widely considered to be the world’s most popular handgun.

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Dozens of other famous firearms would never have existed were it not for Browning. He was the most prolific and innovative gun designer during the early years of what we know as the modern-day firearm. From 1879, when he received his first patent at age 24, until his death in 1926, Browning designed more than 30 rifles, handguns and shotguns for some of the world’s most prominent firearm manufacturers including Winchester Browning, Remington, Colt, Fabrique Nationale and others.

Several are still in production today and most out-of-production models are widely sought after by hunters, shooters and collectors.

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According to the website History.com, since Browning died, “there have been no further fundamental changes in the modern firearm industry.” Browning was a man before his time, and his creations have stood the test of time.

As the Italian Alps Ambassador of this incredible Brand, I had the chance to visit one of the Browning’s several factories around the world, actually one of the largest: the Herstal’s one, in Belgium.

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The Browning company has always had a tradition of using the finest manufacturers in the world to produce their designs and so now: they are bear true to this. I must say that it’s very interesting to look inside the plant and see shotguns in process.

There’s lots of hand fitting going on it. These shotguns are very well made and cannot be beat for the price.

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Most Browning guns were made in Belgium by Fabrique Nationale (FN) until the mid 1970s when some production was shifted to Miroku in Japan. Today’s Browning firearms are made in either Belgium, Portugal, Japan or in the United States.

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I also had the chance to visit the military installation of Browning’s factory, the Fabrique Nationale d’Herstal (French for: National Factory of Herstal), owned by the holding company Herstal Group.

Over the years the design expertise of FN expanded to provide many of the most famous defense-related firearms to the world market. In fact, at various times throughout its history, FN has been the dominant provider in national defense for many countries and it’s superb FAL battle rifle was often called “The right arm of the Free World.”

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Browning has been part of the Herstal group since 1977 and Winchester Repeating Arms joined in 1990. Factories are positioned around the world, with the Herstal factory still being the anchor of worldwide production.

Today FN’s firearms are used by the armed forces of over 100 countries and the Group is a primary provider of light machine guns to the U.S. armed forces. Continuing John Moses Browning’s legacy, the Browning brand remains a leader in innovative sporting arms design and is appreciated throughout the world as “The Best There Is.”

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FN is a subsidiary of the Belgian Herstal Group, which also owns U.S. Repeating Arms Company (Winchester) and Browning Arms Company. FN America was formed by the merger of FN’s previous two American subsidiaries: FN Manufacturing and FNH USA. FN Manufacturing, located in Columbia, South Carolina, was the manufacturing branch of FN Herstal in the United States, producing firearms such as the M249 and M240 machine guns and the M16 rifle, among others. FNH USA, located in McLean, Virginia, was the sales and marketing branch of FN Herstal in the United States.

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Firearms designed and/or manufactured by FN include the Browning Hi-Power and FN Five-seveN pistols, FAL, FNC and F2000 rifles, P90 submachine gun, and M2 Browning, MAG and Minimi machine guns  – all of which have been very successful for the company. 

FN Herstal’s firearms are used by the militaries of over 100 nations.

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Last bit not least, during my visit at the Browning Herstal factory in occasion of my first Ambassador day, I was allowed to see what Browning is planning to bring out next year… are you curious?’

Sorry Ladies and Gentleman,  access restricted for now!

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