Pillars of Gediminas: The Lithuanian High Power

Between 1935 and 1937, the recently independent nation of Lithuania purchased 5,000 Browning High Power pistols from FN. These were early pattern guns, with 500m tangent rear sights and stock slots, although Lithuania did not purchase holster stocks to go with them. The guns are also early enough to have rounded barrel cams. Externally, they are easily spotted by the distinctive Pillars of Gediminas symbol on the top of the slide, which is repeated as a proof mark internally on the barrel lug, recoil spring guide, and inside of the magazine floorplate. They also have a unique rectangular lanyard loop on the bottom of the grip.

Sold for $3,450 at the December 2019 RIA Premier auction.


  1. I bet that pistol has interesting story behind it. How it escaped the turmoil of its home country and ended up in USA.

    • One of the possibilities it was in possession of somebody fleeing the country during the first soviet occupation in 1940, or at the end of WW2, when the Germans were pushed back.

  2. Why the divot on the right front of the slide? I have noticed it on a couple of the older High Powers that Ian has shown, but no comments on it. I have a fairly recent commercial Browning that doesn’t have it.

  3. Beautiful weapon. IMHO, the best pistol from the mid-Thirties to when the Wonder Nines and Glocks came in (P38, eat yer heart out) and I’m not so sure the newer weapons really are better. Question to the assembled multitude, if you owned an early Mle 35, would go up on the wall as a collectible or be a shooter? I have an Inglis made example and I’m not sure what to do. Also have a FN made commercial example (blued finish, walnut grips, target sights), first firearm I ever owned, from 1976, and that has always been a shooter.

    • Colonel,
      what is your problem? You have an excellent 1976 FN HP for shooting. Why risk damage to the early model? (Over the years, I have seen several pistols getting damaged in normal shooting, among them a wartime FN HP.)
      If the early FN HP were your only pistol (due to legal constraints, for example), then in my view using it for shooting would be OK, of course.

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