Another SAR find – Chinese Browning 1900 pistol

You might recall our friend Bin Shih from the series of interviews we did with him a while back. Well, he met up with us at the show last weekend, and found a neat pistol there.

Chinese Browning 1900 pistol

It’s a Chinese manufactured copy of the Browning Model 1900, chambered for .32ACP. These were popular pistols in pre-WWII China, and were manufactured by a wide variety of shops and arsenals. Some, like the guns made by the major arsenals at Jinling and Shanghai, were high quality firearms and others were one-off copies made by tiny shops. As a result, markings vary from Chinese characters like this one has, to exact copies of FN markings, to random jumbles of letters.

Chinese Browning 1900 pistolThis particular gun was made in 1919, in Shanghai (according to the writing on the grips and serial number). This was one of the foremost arms producers in China at the time. In total, Shanghai (Jiangnan Arsenal) produced 66,441 of these pistols, including 60,000 of them in 1920 (compare this to a total of about 72,000 Model 1900 pistols made by FN in Belgium). Jiangnan Arsenal also made a smaller number of Browning 1900 copies with 8″ barrels, adjustable sights, and shoulder stock cuts (but still in .32 caliber).


  1. This is very interesting. Thanks for posting! That was a whooping production total. Do you know what was the major destination of this considerable quantity of Browning 1900 copies? The Chinese army? Or did some reach the civilian market?

    • 1919 was at the height of the era of the warlords in China, so there was a very high demand for guns of all kinds.

  2. Just purchased an 8″ model of the 1900 browning Shanghai. Can find no information on it anywhere. Any help greatly appreciated.

  3. Are there any arsenal marks other than the serial number to be found on these guns? I picked one up with different grips markings. Same style just different symbols. P.S. Thanks for filling in some of the questions about the gun.

  4. I just found one of the 8″ barreled FN 1900 clones in my grandfather’s collection of Japan-related WW2 memorabilia. It’s got a C96 Mauser style adjustable sight, a 10 round magazine(!), and a shoulder stock cut, just like you said. They even slapped a unique serial # on there: 4609, on the receiver, the action, and the sight. Unfortunately, It’s missing one of the two pins in the action held in by the flathead bolts.

    Any chance this might be OK to remotely fire if I take it to a gunsmith and test it out behind some nice, thick Lexan?

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