Browning BDM Controls (Video)

Last week, we talked a bit about obsolete firearms controls, and that discussion made me think of a fairly recent pistols with a fairly unique feature, the Browning BDM. Mechanically, the BDM is a pretty standard modern automatic pistol – it uses the ubiquitous Browning short-recoil system, and feel like most other service handguns. What makes it unique is the trigger and hammer setup, which are designed to replicate the manual of arms for either a DA/SA automatic or a double action revolver. I think the idea was to minimize the amount of retraining necessary for a police department that decided to switch to issuing BDMs. Have a look:


  1. I always thought those were really neat pistols and wanted one of those and a regular Hi-Power. But, I read that the BDM model does not take regular Hi-Power mags. I always passed on buying the used BDMs I saw because the BDM mags were really expensive.

    I did end up buying a used Charles Daly Hi-Power a few months ago. I’m happy.

  2. Ian,

    If you really want to do an interesting piece on odd Pistol Controls, you should do a segment on the Daewoo DP51


  3. Whichever briliance of an approach has, the success of it, is based upon the
    capability of the most foolish user.

    Especially a service pistol should be safe, strong and simple. Trigger systems
    of various release features confuse the mind and may cost even the life of the
    user in a hurry.

    Pistols like Walther p99AS, Browning BDM, DaewooDP51 may be classified not in
    “Service”, but in “Secret Service” handguns.

  4. I always admired the BDM, but since they appeared around the time of the then looming AWB and mags were hard to come by – I stayed with the BHP (or clones thereof) since mags were readily available. I have a Hungarian FEG Clone that has been heavily customized/modified, to include installation of the SFS system…interesting design, but with the advent of the Glock I see no need (except perhaps, a WANT) to own one…

    CB in FL

  5. Thank you for another interesting video. The quality of your videos, especially your narration, is much appreciated.

  6. In revolver mode, does the safety do anything at all in either position or is it completely non-functional?

  7. I think the combo safety/slide-release was included to allow the user to safely holster the pistol after loading like you would a revolver.

  8. This gun was designed by a talented designer Mr. P.Sodoma which I had the opportunity to meet one time. He put lots of effort into it, however gun did not sell well and eventually the unsold units were given away for fraction of intended price. This was by any account lot better pistol than similar in intent (but different in conduct) – 9mm Colt AllAmerican. This event teaches the obvious lesson – whatever the amount of know-how is put into a product it does not guarantee sales success.

    There is 3 page write-up on the subject in American Rifleman, May 92’s issue.

    • Colt destroyed Mr. Stoner’s and Reed Knights design. The original concept prototypes were similar in size to the HK P7 and with a wonderful trigger pull. Colts attempt was crude. I guess that’s what happens when you try saving a buck or two…

      • I think there was one more issue there and that was rapidly increasing sales of Glock and some other Euro plastic framed models, although I never heard true reason for this project’s flop. It definitely is a shame.

  9. @ Denny & ESK :

    Excellent and highly-relevant comments, gentlemen!

    Yet another of innumerable examples of how “market timing” — and, by extension, “marketing” attempts and everything they imply in terms of “modification”, “improvements to” and therefore bastardization of an otherwise basically sound design — has resulted in the commercial failure of an otherwise satisfactory firearm.

    There are so many examples to this effect throughout history that it boggles the mind.

    • That’s true Earl, isn’t it? Very mind boggling indeed. You cannot predict practically anything, no matter how much sense it makes.

      At the same time we are witnessing almost miraculous sales of one particular European brand sold under name Springfield which does not bring essentially anything new; just the catchy price tag perhaps. In that way many American borne products have become victims of all-mighty (also American-style)consumerism.

      • How very true! The popularity and sales of the Springfield XD-series of pistols, a.k.a. HS Produkt HS2000 and variants, has exceeded the wildest dreams of its I.M. Metal and HS Produkt originators. Marko Vukovic and his team must still be both at once incredibly proud and almost astonished at this success stemming from their original PHP and HS95 designs.

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