First Look Review
The Browning High-Power Pistol
The Browning High-Power Pistol
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by: Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]

This is a review by Randy L Harvey of The Browning High-Power Pistol by author Leroy Thompson and illustrators Adam Hook and Alan Gilliland and series editor Martin Pegler.


** Making its debut in 1935, the Browning High-Power was the world’s most widely used military pistol for much of the 20th century. Military and law-enforcement agencies in more than 90 countries have issued the High-Power and it has seen combat in conflicts from World War II through to the ‘War on Terror’. After conquering Belgium in 1940, Nazi Germany produced more than 300,000 High-Powers for use by the Waffen-SS, airborne troops and others, and after 1945 the High-Power became standard for most NATO-armed forces as well as scores of others. Chambered for the 9x19mm Luger cartridge, the semi-automatic pistol featured an innovative 13-round magazine, designed by Dieudonné Saive, which staggered the cartridges for high capacity without unduly increasing the grip size. During its 82-year production run at Fabrique Nationale (FN) in Belgium, the design evolved slightly, but a 2017 High-Power is still easily recognizable as a descendant of the original model.

Packed with gripping material including detailed technical specifications, contemporary photographs and specially commissioned full-colour artwork, this book is a comprehensive and informative guide to this legendary weapon. **

** Quoted from the back cover of the book.

Osprey Publishing has released The Browning High-Power Pistol as Number 73 in their Weapon series. It is a soft cover book with 80 pages. Included with the text are black and white photographs and color photographs, color illustrations, detailed captions, original patent drawing and more. It has a 2020 copyright, a publication date of April 30, 2020 and the ISBN is 978-1-4728-3809-4. Providing the history of the The Browning High-Power Pistol and it’s use by several countries’ militaries and law enforcement agencies from its introduction to its continued use through today.

- Introduction
- Development
- Towards the High-Power
- Use
- The High-Power goes to war
- Impact
- An influential handgun
- Conclusion
- Bibliography
- Index


Author Leroy Thompson does an excellent job of describing the various models of the Browning High-Power and their accessories. The author provides the history and development of several models and versions of the Browning High-Power and their introduction into various countries militaries and law enforcement agencies from their introduction through to today. Thompson details each of the weapon’s attributes, shortcomings, updates, improvements and associated equipment such as wood shoulder stocks and leather and canvas holsters. The purchase and use of the weapons by various countries in several different conflicts is well documented as is which countries were allowed to produce the weapons and which ones produced near copies of the weapons to bypass patent laws. Thompson discusses very well which countries used the high-power weapons in their militaries and law enforcements agencies and which firearms were chosen by them to replace the high-power once more modern and advance weapons became available. Also included is a section titled “Using the Browning High-Power” which comes with nine detailed photographs in step-by-step format with corresponding detailed text showing and explaining o the reader how to load and fire the weapon and how to remove the ammunition magazine once the once the weapon is empty. I feel that is helpful to the reader that is not familiar with firearms as it explains the process of loading, firing and clearing the weapon. The text in the book is nicely written and well detailed. As I read through the text, I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. I feel that if the text is well written then it shows that the author has taken the time to be a professional with their writing. Anyone wanting to add an excellent reference and history book of the Browning High-Power pistol and it’s use from its introduction to its continued use through today to their personal library will be pleased with this very informative and interesting book.


A total of 12 black and white photographs and 78 color photographs are included in this volume. The majority of the featured photographs are close-up detailed photographs of the Browning High-Power and other weapons discussed. The majority of the photographs are clear and easily viewable and provide excellent details for the reader to examine. There are a few photographs from the history of the weapon and its use by various individuals including Prince harry while serving in Afghanistan. Author Leroy Thompson stuck to the title of the book and chose subject specific photographs and did not include photographs that strayed from the main subject of the book. The majority, if not all, of the photographs will prove to be a wealth of information to anyone interested in the Browning High-Power pistol and other similar firearms due to the details they contain.

Some of the Browning High-Point variations and other handguns shown and discussed are:
    - M1900 FN/Browning
    - Husqvarna m/1907 Browning
    - M1910 Browning
    - M1910/22 Browning
    - Colt M1911
    - Mk II High-Power
    - Pre-World War II FN GP 35 Browning
    - Inglis No. 1 Browning
    - Inglis No. 2 Browning
    - HK MP5 sub-machine gun
    - Glock 17 Gen 4
    - Polish Radom
    - Czech CZ 75
    - Smith and Wesson Model 59


There are 4 color illustrations by illustrators Adam Hook and Alan Gilliland. Adam Hook created the battle scene artwork and Alan Gilliland created the cut-away artwork. The illustrations are very well done, nicely detailed and are of:

Plate A

The High-Power Exposed
(see attached scan)

- A cut-away view showing the internal workings of the 9x19mm Browning GP 35. Also provided is a key which details 28 specific items on the High-Power,

Plate B

Operation Varsity, March 1945

- A two-page action double scene depicting two Canadian paratroopers engaging five German Fallschirmjäger of 1. Fallschirmkorps in a forest setting. The Canadians are armed with a Bren gun and a Sten gun and the Bren gunner has drawn and is using his Inglis-produced High-Power pistol. The Germans are armed with Mauser Karabiner 98k rifles and Sturmgewehr STG-44 "assault rifles, one of which is a sniper version. One of the Germans has drawn his Belgian High-Power pistol. On the following page is an informative caption detailing what is taking place.

Plate C

The High-Power in the Chinese Civil War

- A two-page action double scene depicting fighting on Kinman Island on the 25th through 27th of October 1949. Members of the Chinese PLA (Peoples Liberation Army) 244th Regiment are being attacked and driven back to the beaches by soldiers of the Chinese ROC (Republic of China) 18th Army who are being supported by US-supplied M5A1 tanks. The soldiers of the Chinese ROC (Republic of China) 18th Army are armed with US-supplied Thompson sub-machineguns, M1903A3 Springfield rifles and a ROC officer is seen armed with an Inglis High-Power pistol with the wooden holster/shoulder stock attached. On the preceding page is an informative caption detailing what is taking place.

Plate D

Afghanistan 2012
(see attached scan)

- A one-page action illustration depicting members of the 51 Squadron, RAF Regiment armed with L85A2 rifles engaging Taliban fighters who are disguised as Afghan soldiers and are attacking the British military base Camp Bastion targeting USMC aircraft. Among the British soldiers is a dog-handler who has drawn and is using his L9A1 High-Power pistol with his right hand while he controls his dog’s leash with his left hand. On the preceding page is an informative caption detailing what is taking place.


The captions are well written and explain the accompanying photographs and illustrations in great detail eliminating any doubt as to what is shown. The captions go into very specific detail as to the specific individuals shown, various weapon models and caliber, associated weapon accessories, dates and locations and other such pertinent information. I was impressed by Leroy Thompson’s captions as they are very helpful to the reader due to their detailed content as opposed to other captions that I have seen that are very brief and lacking in detail.


There are 5 notes included in this volume and they are:
    - A note on terminology
    - Dedication
    - Acknowledgements
    - Editor’s Note
    - Artist’s Note


Leroy Thompson has trained and advised military and police special-operations units around the world, focusing especially on the tactical use of firearms. He has previously had more than 50 books published, and appeared as a weapons expert on documentaries for Discovery, National Geographic and the BBC. He lives in Missouri, USA.


Adam Hook studied graphic design, and began his work as an illustrator in 1983. He specializes in detailed historical reconstructions, and has illustrated Osprey titles on subjects as diverse as the Aztecs, the Ancient Greeks, Roman battle tactics, several 19th-century American subjects, the modern Chinese Army, and a number of books in the Fortress series. His work features in exhibitions and publications throughout the world.

Alan Gilliland, born in Malaya in 1949, studied photography/film and architecture, and has worked as a photojournalist and cartoonist. He also spent 18 years as the graphics editor of The Daily Telegraph, winning 19 awards in that time, including numerous UK Press Awards. He now writes, illustrates and publishes fiction (www.ravensquill.com), as well as illustrating for a variety of publishers (including Osprey, the Penguin Group, Brown Reference Group, Ivy Group and Aurum), architects and developers, such as John McAslan (Olympic Energy Centre) and Kit Martin (Prince Charles’ Phoenix Trust advisor on historic buildings). www.alangilliland.com

As with the other Osprey Publishing titles I was impressed with this book. This is a very nice reference book that contains a well written informative text, many subject specific photographs and illustrations, well detailed captions and more, with the main focus being on the Browning High-Power pistol and it’s use from its introduction to its continued use through today. As with the other Osprey Publishing titles, I would have no hesitation to recommend this book to others as it will be a welcome addition to one’s personal reference library.

Osprey Publishing also offers The Browning High-Power Pistol as:

eBook (ePub) ISBN: 978-1-4728-3810-0


eBook (PDF) ISBN: 978-1-4728-3808-7

Osprey Publishing’s, The Browning High-Power Pistol is also available as a Kindle version through Amazon.


The Military Book Club Encyclopedia of Infantry Weapons of WWII
Ian V. Hogg
Saturn Books Ltd.

Guns of the Reich
Firearms of the German Forces, 1939-1945
George Markham
Arms and Armour Press

Gun Digest Book Of Classic Combat Handguns
Dan Shideler
World Publications Group, Inc.

Standard Catalog of Military Firearms
The Collectors Price And Reference Guide
Phillip Peterson
Krause Publications

This book was provided to me by Osprey Publishing. Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here on the KitMaker Network when you make your purchase. Thank you.


UK £13.99 / US $22.00 / CAN $30.00
Highs: Well written text and captions. Subject specific photographs and illustrations.
Lows: Nothing to mention.
Verdict: An excellent volume by Osprey Publishing. Definitely beneficial to the military small arms enthusiast and historian.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: Weapon 73
  PUBLISHED: Apr 30, 2020
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Randy L Harvey (HARV)

I have been in the modeling hobby off and on since my youth. I build mostly 1/35 scale. However I work in other scales for aircraft, ships and the occasional civilian car kit. I also kit bash and scratch-build when the mood strikes. I mainly model WWI and WWII figures, armor, vehic...

Copyright ©2021 text by Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]. All rights reserved.


This was my first handgun and I used it extensively over the following years in various IPSC and Action Shooter events throughout Canada. I can tell you that it is a quality-made precision weapon and that I was very taken by it. So are most users and those issued it in the Forces. Unfortunately, much like with cars, a prettier model wandered by (a H&K) that won my heart and improved my competitive standing. Another story.
APR 30, 2020 - 12:01 PM
Great review on a great topic, thanks. it's a single action pistol, so I was glad when the double actions with its smooth triggers came. But it's a workhorse, a real workhorse.
APR 30, 2020 - 06:01 PM
Thank you for sharing your story Frank. Good to hear from someone who has used the weapon. Thank you Philippe and you're welcome. I am glad that you liked my review. It is always good to hear that someone got some good out of one of my reviews. Thank you both, Randy
MAY 03, 2020 - 03:02 PM

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