New Model Melior: A Remarkably Nice Belgian FN Lookalike

The New Model Melior was patented just before World War One, but did not go into production until 1920. It was a visual lookalike of the FN Model 1910, where the (retroactively named) Old Model Melior had been a copy of the FN Model 1900. The New Model was actually a remarkably well designed and well-made gun, with a working system quite different from the FN it was externally modeled after. It was in production until the 1950s (with a hiatus during World War Two), which is a remarkable achievement for this sort of pistol. This example is in .380 caliber, which was introduced after 1945, along with a .22 rimfire model.

Thanks to Ozark Machine Gun for loaning me this pistol! Check out his cool machine gun rental range in Missouri, and his sales on GunBroker.

Reference: Ed Buffaloe has good reference pages on both the Old Model Melior/Jieffeco and the New Model Melior.


  1. I like that “pommes frites” whats not to like; tell you what I do like, especially… Aren’t all these old guns, well made. I mean look at that, quality.

  2. Do my eyes deceive me, or @ 7:10 in the video is the firing pin bent? Neat design, very easy to take down and clean indeed.

    Ian, hope you can get back on the road soon. Obscure pocket pistols are neat, and some like rare fancy engraved stuff, but we want meat back in our diet instead of vegetables and candy.

  3. As a Hi Point collector, (yes, we do exist, and no, we aren’t crazy) I like that the firing pin ejector has such a classic line of descent.
    And as such, I also thought the firing pin might be bent, it’s all too common for firing pins that stick out that far to get bent. Like I said, not crazy….I carry a CZ.

    I also collect old rifles, and it IS amazing how well those guys performed their craft with their hands and tools, the fit and the finish are better than anything you get today unless you go to the high dollar guns.

  4. I hope Ian soon finds an Old Model Melior to look at. Although it imitates the FN Browning 1900 in appearance the slide mechanism is both bizarre and neat.

  5. Thanks for that link, Daweo. There can’t be many pistols that can be field stripped by simply pulling the front of the slide forward!

  6. This is probably the pinnacle of the evolution of pocket brownings. At least in this caliber.
    For all its simplicity, the design is closest to perfection.
    It is especially remarkable that they managed to get rid of the main problem of pocket brownings, related to the way of installing the barrel.
    While the disassembly method chosen obviously has its drawbacks, it is still better.

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